Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Nacho “Cheese” Dip

It’s amazing what you can do with vegetables. Seriously. So many possibilities and fun ways to experiment. In this recipe, I used roasted butternut squash as a base for a nacho “cheese” dip. Nutritional yeast and coconut milk help give it a creamy texture and cheesy flavor, and there’s a little punch from smoked paprika, cayenne, and fresh jalapeño. It’s wonderful served right away, while it’s fresh and warm. I recommend serving this with grain-free tortilla chips, as seen in the photo, but veggies, plantain chips, and sweet potato chips are all great options too. You can even spread it on a grain-free tortilla (this variety is my favorite) and add some shredded chicken to make a quesadilla or taco. Regardless of how you eat it, it’s another tasty and healthy option to have at a Super Bowl party (that is this weekend, after all).

Also, know that I made this as a thicker dip, but you can water it down more for a thinner/saucier consistency, if desired. This does thicken after being in the fridge as well, so keep that in mind.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, separated
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small jalapeño, finely chopped (leave desired amount of seeds in, depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup filtered water or more if you want a thinner “cheese”

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash on a large sheet pan (use parchment, if desired) and toss with avocado oil, 1 tsp of the smoked paprika, and sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  2. Roast squash in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once squash is done, add to food processor with remaining ingredients (don’t forget the extra 1/4 tsp smoked paprika). Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust spices to your liking. If you want a thinner “cheese,” add more water until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Serve warm with grain-free tortilla chips, veggie slices, plantain chips, etc.
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Dairy-Free Buffalo Chicken Dip

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I am not a sports person. I only bring this up because the Super Bowl is right around the corner. Naturally, I don’t plan to watch the game or attend any parties, but obviously, many of you will. That’s great…it’s just not my thing! I’ll admit that I sometimes watch the halftime show, but it’s usually always after the fact. Oh, and per usual, I have no idea which teams are playing this year. Like I said, not my thing!

However, I am happy to offer a recipe for all you Super Bowl partakers and of course, it’s a healthier version of a party classic. I know buffalo chicken dip or wings are common football food and even outside of a football context, I’ve never had buffalo chicken dip and am straight up not a chicken wings fan. With that said, I opted to make a healthier, dairy-free version of buffalo chicken dip, so it was my first time ever having something of the sorts. And, I liked it…a lot! If you’re looking for other healthier versions of party food to share at your Super Bowl gathering, be sure to check out my spinach artichoke dip too.

Also, I’ll be making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live next Friday, February 2, so stay tuned! Oh, and if you didn’t get my update on Facebook and Instagram, my January segment that I recorded earlier this month will be shared at a later time. It was recorded, but the main host and producer were sick, so they had to do things a little differently that day. I’ll be sure to share it once it’s released! UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cup homemade avocado oil mayonnaise or a high-quality brand like this one
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Original — it’s straight forward and clean)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chives, chopped, for garnish

Options for serving:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add shredded chicken to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayo, hot sauce, and all the spices except for the chives. Pour over shredded chicken and stir to coat.
  3. Pour chicken mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until edges are bubbly and light brown. Garnish with chives and serve warm.

 

Sheet Pan Spiced Chicken and Vegetables

One pan meals are pretty much my favorite. They’re simple, efficient, and most importantly, easy to clean up! I also love that ample leftovers are often a result. Plus, the options and flavor varieties are endless.

This recipe is loaded with everything you need: healthy fats, good-quality protein, healthy carbs, green veggies, and herbs/spices. Feel free to tweak the spice ratios to your taste and swap out any of the veggies based on preference or what you have on hand.

Meanwhile, I’ll be making this recipe TODAY on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll be sure to share the replay link once it’s available, but if you want to tune in live, the show is on from 3-4pm PST.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into large chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large broccoli crown, chopped into florets
  • 3-4 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large bowl, add the onion, chicken, sweet potato, carrot, and broccoli. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, sea salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over chicken and veggies and stir well to coat.
  3. Pour chicken and veggie mixture onto prepared sheet pan and spread out in an even layer.
  4. *Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are fork tender. *Note if chicken is done before the vegetables (mainly the carrots and sweet potatoes), feel free to remove what’s done from the sheet pan and set aside while veggies finishing cooking.

Yields: ~4 servings

Citrus Herb Chicken & Veggie Bowl

Mark this as another delicious one-pan meal to add to your list of easy, healthy recipes. It’s a great go-to anytime, but especially on a busy day. One pan, a complete meal, reasonable number of ingredients, and lots of flavor. The citrus herb marinade really works its magic and takes this dish to the next level. You can find the marinade online at Thrive Market (get 25% off your first order HERE) or at Whole Foods.

On a separate note, I am so excited for tomorrow because I’m going to see Jim Gaffigan live here in Portland! I can’t wait to laugh a lot, kick back, and spend quality time with Jesse and our close friends (we’re going with another couple). I won’t go into details, but life has been a bit heavy lately, so this comes at the perfect time. For those who don’t know, Jim Gaffigan is a comedian and one I’ve been wanting to catch live for a long time. My opportunity is finally here! Meanwhile, if you need a good laugh, check out some of his clips on YouTube.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed ghee or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large broccoli crown, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup The New Primal Citrus Herb marinade (find HERE and get 25% off your first order)

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for a couple minutes. Then, add the diced chicken and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook for about 5-6 more minutes, until chicken is nearly done.
  2. Add the sweet potato and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the broccoli and marinade, and more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired. Cover again and let cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Check doneness of broccoli and sweet potato, and if need be, let cook a little longer.

Yields: 2 servings

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken

It is scorching here this week! Our perfect summer temperatures have skyrocketed and we’re all seeking ways to stay cool. I know, kinda crazy that I’m sharing a slow cooker recipe, but I made this on a more normal hot day, so it was fine. If it is extra hot, get this going early in the morning to beat the heat. It’s worth it and makes for such a great summer meal. Plus, you really can’t go wrong with barbecue shredded meat. I highly recommend serving this with homemade coleslaw on the side, along with whatever else you like (roasted sweet potatoes are especially wonderful with both).

Meanwhile, I’m headed back to Michigan for a visit this Sunday and will be gone for 10 days. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing my family and friends, and spending time on the lake. I’m ready for a little R&R.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (roughly 2-2.5 lb worth)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup paleo BBQ sauce, either homemade or a high-quality brand like this one

Directions:

  1. Add chicken, onion, and garlic to the bottom of the slow cooker. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Add BBQ sauce and cover with lid. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5.
  2. Once done, shred the chicken with two forks and stir to coat with the sauce.

Yields: 4-6 servings

One-Pan Roasted Veggies & Sausage

 

veggies-and-sausageCan’t beat a simple, one-pan meal. It makes for an easy lunch or dinner and involves little fuss, other than chopping the vegetables. But, that’s a very small task to accomplish to create a healthy meal.

Feel free to make this dish your own by using the veggies, sausage and seasonings that you like. It’s easy to customize and leaves lots of room for variety. In terms of the sausage, I used Aidells Artichoke & Garlic Chicken Sausage, but an Italian variety (Applegate makes a good one) would be great too.

On another note, my 32nd birthday is today! Cheers, joy and well wishes to me! And, on yet another note, my husband and I leave for Iceland this Sunday! We will be there for a full week. It’s going to be majestic! The first stop once we arrive (at 6:45 a.m. their time) is the Blue Lagoon to restore, relax and kick the jet lag. We’re getting shuttled straight there from the airport. Expect some beautiful photos to ensue soon!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 small-medium white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small heads broccoli, chopped into florets (peel and chop stem too)
  • 16 oz package artichoke & garlic or Italian chicken sausage, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. On a large baking sheet, mix together the chopped veggies (make sure pieces are uniform for even cooking), minced garlic, sliced shallot and sliced sausage.
  3. In a small dish, mix the melted coconut oil (or avocado oil) with the apple cider vinegar, oregano, thyme, parsley, cayenne, granulated onion (or onion powder), sea salt and black pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss with tongs to coat.
  4. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Stir and place back in oven for another 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and tender.

Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

Isn’t it hard to believe that it’s almost Autumn already? We’ve already had several days that feel and smell like fall, but they’ve been interspersed with hot days. I do enjoy fall, but am not quite ready for summer to be over yet, even though it’s been a scorching one. Summer is definitely my favorite and I love the warm weather. But, I have a lot of exciting things on my plate this fall, so the anticipation of the changing season is sweet.

Next month, Jesse and I are headed down to the LA area to complete a week-long training with Jill Miller of Yoga Tune Up. We both have a lot of respect for Jill’s work and are grateful for the opportunity to train with her. Then, in November, I’m headed to NYC with a very dear friend of mine. We’re going to a conference called, “I Can Do It!” and are spending some extra time there for fun (it’ll be my first visit to NYC!). I’ll get to visit my second cousin who lives in Brooklyn as well. In December, Jesse and I are headed to Honolulu for a week of pure vacation. The ticket prices were a super good deal, so we decided to bite. We won’t actually be spending Christmas there, but will be there a little bit before.

Tonight, we’re headed to an Empire of the Sun concert at Edgefield, and I’m really excited! Jesse surprised me with tickets a couple months ago, and it definitely was a pleasant surprise. I get the evening off from work to go too, which is a nice change of pace for a Friday.

Meanwhile, enjoy the soup recipe and if it’s still warm wherever you are, tuck this one away for a chilly fall or winter day.

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Italian pork sausage
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 5.5 cups beef and/or chicken bone broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 box (~18 oz) unsweetened tomato sauce (I used this brand)
  • 2.5 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 medium zucchini, “noodled” with a spiralizer or julienne peeler
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for topping, if desired
  • Raw Parmesan cheese for topping, optional and if tolerated

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the ground beef and pork sausage, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Add the sea salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme and cayenne to the mixture, and stir.
  2. Once the meat is browned, add the broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste and bay leaf. Stir well and then add the zucchini noodles and fresh basil. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Taste soup after simmering and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remove bay leaf when ready to serve.
  3. Garnish with extra chopped basil and/or raw Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.