Instant Pot Ground Turkey Chili

This is another easy class night dinner that can simmer away for several hours while you’re busy. It’s a versatile recipe that you can swap out pretty much any of the ingredients depending on what you have in your fridge and pantry. Mine turned out a little watery, so next time I’ll use only half a can of water and it was pretty bland. If I’d had a white or yellow onion or fresh garlic around, I definitely would have thrown some in. And though I intentionally make it not spicy for the kids and add in hot sauce later to my own bowl, this one could have used some chili flakes or just a pinch of cayenne for better flavor. If you don’t have an instant pot, brown the turkey in a skillet and use a crock pot instead. Or if you are going to be home the whole time, you can also use a dutch oven.

Ingredients I Added:

  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Water
  • 1 Can Black Beans (Drained and Rinsed Well)
  • 1 Orange Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Onion Flakes
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin

Other Ingredient Ideas:

  • Jalapenos
  • Green Chiles
  • White or Yellow Onions
  • Minced Garlic
  • Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Flavored Tomatoes
  • Red or Green Bell Peppers
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Hot Sauce
  • Chili Flakes
  • Cayenne Pepper

Steps:

Raid your pantry and fridge for all the chili ingredients you can find.

Turn the instant pot on the “Brown” setting, spray with non-stick spray and brown the ground turkey. If you use beef or anything with fat, you will add calories and need to drain after browning, but it’s not necessary with lean turkey.

Chop any veggies you’ll be adding while the meat browns. Add any veggies like onions, garlic or peppers and continue browning for a few more minutes. Add all the spices you like and stir.

Add the canned items, including some water (I used a whole can after adding the tomatoes, but would only use half next time). Stir. Close the instant pot lid, but do not pressurize. Turn the setting to crock pot low and add enough time until you return from class or being busy. I needed about 3 hours, but set mine to 3.5 just in case. Serve with any chili toppings you like. We did taco night ingredients.

Nutrition Facts: (1 Serving of this recipe split 4 ways without any toppings added)

  • Calories: 332
  • Protein: 30
  • Fat: 16
  • Carbs: 32

Oven Baked Italian Chicken or Fish

This recipe was inspired by Parmesan chicken. My middle daughter loves Parmesan chicken, but I don’t always want to eat mozzarella cheese when I’m watching my nutrition. So this night I made some chicken with cheese and some fish without any cheeses. Double bonus for getting some healthy nutrients from the fish and making my non-fish eating family happy without adding much extra work. I didn’t take many pictures of this meal, but did end up serving it with roasted cauliflower and mini penne pasta. I had leftover fish and cauliflower to eat for lunch later in the week.

Ingredients:

For the Chicken Recipe:

  • 3 4 oz. chicken breasts
  • Avocado Oil Spray
  • ½ C. Garlic or Italian Flavored Breadcrumbs
  • ¼ C. Parmesan Cheese (chopped fine)
  • 1 ½ C. Jar pasta sauce (I used Classico Fire Roasted Garlic)
  • ¾ C. Shredded Mozzarella
  • Salt or Garlic Salt
  • Pepper

For the Fish Recipe:

  • 3 5 oz. Orange Roughy or other white fish fillets, still partially frozen
  • Avocado Oil Spray
  • ½ C. Garlic or Italian Flavored Breadcrumbs
  • Salt or Garlic Salt
  • Pepper

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 375.

Sprinkle salt or garlic salt and pepper on all the chicken and fish fillets.

Finely chop the parmesan cheese if needed. Add parmesan cheese and ½ C. Breadcrumbs to one shallow bowl, add ½ C. Breadcrumbs to another shallow bowl. Spray the chicken and fish fillets with avocado oil. Dip each chicken into the crumbs with cheese and flip and spray the other side with avocado oil. Flip and pat until well coated. Do the same with the fish in the crumbs without cheese and be sure to wash hands in between so as not to cross contaminate.

Place the chicken and fish fillets on a sheet pan covered with foil. You can make a fold in the foil to make a barrier in between the chicken and fish, although it’s not really necessary. I was afraid my fish juice might get over on the chicken side, but the juices didn’t stray too far.

Bake 15 minutes. Flip each of the pieces carefully and bake about another 15 minutes. If your fish was fully thawed or very thin pieces, you may need to remove them earlier than the chicken pieces. Use a thermometer to see if the chicken is at least 165 degrees and test the fish with a fork for flakiness.

Add ½ C pasta sauce and ¼ C. mozzarella cheese to each piece of chicken. Broil under oven broiler until cheese is melty and slightly browned. (You can either leave the fish if it’s still on the pan to get it a little crispier, or turn the pan to only broil the chicken side if the fish is crispy enough already)

Nutrition Facts Chicken (including pasta sauce and mozzarella):

  • Calories: 387
  • Protein: 39
  • Fat: 13.3
  • Carbs: 22.7

Nutrition Facts Fish:

  • Calories: 188
  • Protein: 25.8
  • Fat: 2
  • Carbs: 14.6

Hard Boiled Egg Snacks 2 Ways

It’s important to eat enough protein. Sometimes it’s difficult to get enough protein in the day without also eating a lot of fat too. We could just go around eating bacon all day, but it wouldn’t be good for digestion or heart health. I sometimes make a batch of hard boiled eggs on Sundays and then use them for higher protein snacks throughout the week. I like to come up with different ways of eating them cause plain old hard boiled eggs are pretty boring.

First up is an easy lower fat take on Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 2 T. 0% Fage Yogurt (or other low fat Greek style yogurt)
  • 1 t. Dijon Mustard
  • 1-2 t. Pickle Juice or Red Wine Vinegar
  • Spices to taste (I like garlic, onion and celery powder, salt and pepper)

Steps:

Peel the eggs. Cut them in half carefully and place the yolks in a small ziplock bag (or in a bowl if you want to be more green and have time to wash dishes later). Add the remaining ingredients to the bag/bowl. Start with 1 t. of pickle juice or vinegar and add more if the consistency of the mixture is too dry after the next step. Squish the ingredients together until well blended. Cut the corner of the bag and use it like a pastry bag to fill the egg whites, or use a spoon to fill the eggs if you used a bowl.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 151
  • Protein: 14
  • Fat: 9.5
  • Carbs: 1.3
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt stands in for the traditional mayonnaise without adding extra fat
The ziplock bag doubles as a way to mix the ingredients and pipe the filling into the egg halves. If you are making eggs for more than one person this also works using a larger ziplock.
This day I could have used another teaspoon of pickle juice as these turned out just a tad on the dry side

The second recipe is one I like to have for breakfast when I’m not feeling like My Favorite Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole Wheat Hamburger Bun (or English muffin or Thin Type Sandwich Rounds)
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Mustard
  • Mild Pepper Rings or Pepperoncini
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps:

Toast the bun/bread in the toaster. Slice the egg using an egg slicer or carefully using a sharp knife. Place the egg slices on the toast (eat the ones that don’t fit), add mustard, peppers and a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fruit or veggies for more nutritional value.

Nutrition Facts (not including fruit):

  • Calories: 280
  • Protein: 20
  • Fat: 12
  • Carbs: 23
Mustard and pepper rings add flavor without adding calories

Tri Tip Beef Stew Crock Pot

Tri Tip Beef Stew Crock Pot

This blog is about real food and not perfect food. I leave a lot of things vague or add extra suggestions. In real life, it makes sense to use what you have on hand and spice things with flavors you like best. Following recipes with scientific precision is too much work for everyday life and really only matters if you’re making something touchy like a souffle.

My husband got a box of Tri Tip steaks from Omaha Steaks from a family reunion auction winning. This recipe was another way to use them on a class night in the crock pot. It has a lot of protein and everyone got fed and no one complained, but it wasn’t my favorite. If I had it to do over again, I would have used beef broth instead of chicken (I didn’t have any on hand…) and floured and browned the steak (I didn’t have time between work and Krav class).

Ingredients:

  • 4 5oz. Tri Tip Steaks (or other Beef for Stew)
  • 8 to 10 Small White Potatoes
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 6 White or Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1 t. or more Minced Garlic
  • Spices or Beef Stew Spice Pack (I used Garlic Salt, Onion Powder, Mrs. Dash, Parsley Flakes and a Bay Leaf)
  • 2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 C. Beef Broth
  • Crusty Bread for serving

Steps:

Chop all the vegetables and meat into bite size pieces. Be sure to use different cutting boards for the meat and the veggies for food safety. If you have time, add the meat to a ziplock bag with flour and shake until coated. Brown the meat in 2 T. oil in the instant pot or a skillet. Add all ingredients to the instant pot/crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour and low for 2, or cook on low at least 4 hours.

Nutrition Facts:

I calculated these based on one tri tip steak and ¼ of the remaining ingredients (not including crusty bread).

  • Calories: 455
  • Protein: 37
  • Fat: 10.5
  • Carbs: 54.3
  • Fiber: 8.3

Easy Chicken Broccoli Soup

This is a super easy and versatile recipe that is one of my go-to’s when I’m counting calories. It’s easy to make, fills you up (see if you can even eat the whole bowl), and makes you warm from the inside. It’s as easy as making a bowl of ramen noodles, but with actual nutritional value…

I make this for lunch when I’m tired of salad with chicken. I make it for dinner when the kids are eating MacD’s or mac and cheese or something else that won’t fit into my day. I eat it when I’m saving calories for something special like dinner out with my husband.

This recipe is super budget friendly if you can buy the chicken from Costco or use leftovers from another meal, but you can change the ingredients to whatever you have on hand and make more expensive versions if you’re not counting cash along with your calories.

This recipe has a lot of sodium from the bouillon and canned chicken. If you are watching sodium, be sure to use a low sodium broth and leftover baked chicken from home.

Easy Chicken Broccoli Soup

Basic Recipe

  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube or other broth
  • 2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Broccoli
  • 1/2 of a 12 oz. can of Kirkland Chicken Breast drained or any 4-6 oz. leftover chicken (baked, rotisserie, etc)
  • Spices or Hot Sauce to taste (I like garlic, pepper, dry mustard and poultry seasoning)

Steps:

Add 2 cups of water and bouillon cube or broth and water to make 2 cups liquid to a small saucepan. Heat on high until boiling and bouillon dissolves completely. Add chicken and broccoli and continue cooking until broccoli is hot but still fairly crisp (about 3 minutes from frozen). Add spices to taste. Pour into a really big bowl and allow to cool a bit before taking a bite.

Add-in option ideas:

If you’re not on a super tight budget or have other things to use up in the kitchen you can try some other options. These are just ideas, use whatever you like:

  • Use any frozen vegetables like mixed veggies, cauliflower, asparagus or Brussels sprouts
  • Use any broth like vegetable broth, beef broth or bone broth (I’ve even used the sauce packet from a package of ramen in a pinch…)
  • Add a handful of fresh spinach or power greens right at the end
  • Add fresh minced or canned garlic or some green onions
  • Add diced fresh or canned mushrooms
  • Only if you want to add more calories/carbs: Add leftover cooked quinoa, brown rice or farro

Recipe nutrition facts for Basic Recipe:

  • Calories: 172
  • Protein: 25.3
  • Fat: 2.95
  • Carbs: 13.08
  • Fiber: 4.7
  • Sodium: 1267.5 <–That’s almost a whole days worth!!
Basic Chicken Broccoli Soup with a handful of spinach. Yum!