Sausage and Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner

I keep a variety of things in the freezer and fridge for emergency meals. That can be when we are completely out of fresh produce or I forgot to thaw out meat, but I always have something on hand to throw together a healthy, balanced dinner when I don’t feel like cooking.

Insert sheet pan dinners.

I try to always keep some kind of sausage in the fridge. Usually, it is an apple chicken sausage I get from Walmart, but lately I’ve been getting an apple gouda sausage from Natural Grocers. Both are delicious and serve the purpose I need, which is get dinner ready quickly.

The reason I love sheet pan dinners is because you can use whatever you have in the fridge, and it always turns out delicious.

Sheet pan of roasted asparagus, delicate squash, onion and sausage fresh out of the oven

I encourage you to make one for yourself. Experiment with different veggies and spices. This one was fairly simple, but I did have one secret ingredient that I can guarantee you will make your sheet pan dinner a success.

What you need:

  • 2 sausages (your favorite brand and flavor), sliced into rounds
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 onion, diced into large chunks
  • 1 delicata squash, seeds removed and chopped
  • A drizzle of avocado oil
  • Seasoning of choice: I used salt, pepper and garlic powder in this one
  • Secret ingredient: 6 small dollops of bacon grease scattered around the pan

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep the veggies and sausage, and place on a parchment lined baking dish. Drizzle with oil and seasonings. Go easy on the salt since the bacon grease will add a nice amount of saltiness.

Bake for 12 minutes and stir around. Bake for 12 more minutes.

Roasted sausage, asparagus, delicata squash and onion with kraut and Dijon mustard on a blue plate

Serve hot with a side of Bubbie’s Kraut and your favorite mustard. We used Dijon, but also like spicy brown mustard.

The beautiful thing about sheet pan dinners is the ability to use whatever you have on hand. I make these at least once a week, but it is hardly ever the same one twice. Get creative and enjoy yourself. It’s so easy and turns out perfect every time.

cheesy keto cauliflower soup

Cheesy Keto Cauliflower Soup

I’ve got a bad case of the winter blues. I’ve done a lot of traveling over the last week, and my schedule is just now getting back to normal.

I went to Walmart on my lunch break yesterday to pick up some staple items to get us through to the weekend. I always find it challenging to find good organic produce and pantry items at my rural Walmart, but yesterday I was able to find a handful of things to whip up a new spinoff of my mom’s famous Cheesy Potato Soup.

Organic produce and items from Walmart

I have been craving comfort food. Everything cheesy and warm since the weather has been so rainy and cold lately. I decided to make a keto version of Cheesy Potato Soup. Instead of using potato, I decided on cauliflower because it has a lower carbohydrate count and still has the chunky consistency of potato.

What you need:

  • 2 Tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1 head of organic cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 organic onion, diced
  • 2 organic carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of organic celery, diced
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth
  • 1/2 block organic cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups organic cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
cheesy keto cauliflower soup

Prep your veggies by chopping up the cauliflower and dicing the onion, carrot and celery into similar size pieces. Pre-heat a pot on medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt.

Add the onion, celery and carrot. Season with salt and pepper Cook until onions are translucent, or about 5-7 minutes. Add the cauliflower, chicken bone broth and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.

Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted throughout. Add in the heavy cream and cheddar cheese. Check for seasoning, and add salt, pepper and garlic powder until you get it right for your tastebuds.

Top with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream, if you like.

Enjoy.

Chicken Meatballs with Eggplant, Leek and Kale Ragu over Almond Flour Fettuccine

This dish is amazing. Not tooting my own horn, but it just is. I was in a complete state of starvation after a very stressful day of waiting at the hospital for Brad’s latest check-up when I started crafting this dish in my head.

Before leaving to go to the clinic for the check-up, I had set out ground chicken to thaw. I had all the intentions of making soup in the Instapot. But after two and half hours at the hospital and another hour out running errands, I was hungry and dreaming of bigger and better things than a measly ole soup.

Chicken Meatballs with Eggplant, Leek and Kale Ragu over Almond Flour Fettuccine in a pot on the stove

Which is exactly how this gorgeousness was born. Straight out of my hungry mind palace. Even in the state of my hunger, I knew it would be totally worth it. I knew I had to have the comfort food of pasta and the savory meatballs and the veggie loaded ragu.

Now, bare with me. It kinda has a lot of steps. And I didn’t really write anything down measurement-wise. It was completely intuitive cooking at its finest. So take these directions and ingredient list with a grain of salt. Use what you have on hand, and I’m sure you will end up with something just as tasty.

For the chicken meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons almond flour, to help bind
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Form into meatballs, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the Ragu:

  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale, chopped
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used a Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Tomato Sauce)
  • Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste

Heat a large pot with avocado oil. Add in the leek, eggplant and kale. Sauté until eggplant is soft and the kale and leek are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add in the tomato sauce. Taste. Season again until you get it to your likely. Cover and simmer while the meatballs bake.

Once the meatballs are cooked, add them to the ragu. Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes so the flavors of the meatballs and sauce combine.

While your sauce simmers, heat a pot of water to cook the noodles. I used Cappello’s fettuccine noodles because they are the best pasta substitute I’ve ever found. Cook noodles according to the package directions. I actually undercooked mine so they could soak up some of the sauce.

Chicken Meatballs with Eggplant, Leek and Kale Ragu over Almond Flour Fettuccine in a blue bowl.

The outcome was the gorgeous, delicious veggie-heavy sauce with the added bonus of savory, juicy chicken meatballs and perfectly cooked pasta.

You just can’t beat that.

Chicken Enchiladas

Mexican food is my jam. I’m sure I could live off of it, if I had to choose just one thing to eat for the rest of my life.

Over the weekend, I shared what I bought at the grocery store. Now, I want to share how I’ve been using some of those items so you can get some ideas on how cooking can be fun and full of flavor.

Added bonus…it’s all good for you.

These enchiladas were no joke. We ate the whole pan. But don’t judge. It was a brownie sized pan.

What you need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 bag of Horizon Organic Mexican Cheese blend
  • 1 pack of Siete Foods Almond Flour tortillas
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • Fennel and Fire Fajita Seasoning, to taste

First, you want to throw the chicken breasts in the Instapot with 3/4 cup of water and some fajita seasoning. Set to 10 minutes on manual, and let the pot do all the work for you. Once it is ready, quick-release the pressure and shred the chicken. I shred chicken with a hand mixer. It’s so easy and mess free.

Now you assemble the casserole. Salsa, chicken, green onion and seasoning on the bottom. Add a layer of tortillas. Then continue layering chicken, cheese, seasoning, onions, salsa, tortillas until you run out of chicken. Top with the final layer of tortillas, cheese and salsa.

Bake covered with foil in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove move foil and back for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.

It was absolutely delicious. I usually try to make enough for leftovers, but this little guy didn’t make it. We ate the whole thing. If you are cooking for more than two people, just double the ingredients and use a 9×13 pan. You may have to bake it for a longer time period, but the outcome should be just as good.

Enjoy this one. We sure did.

Do No Harm

2018 was a tough year for me. I lost my favorite kid in the entire world to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, and my boyfriend was diagnosed with a malignant neuroendocrine tumor (NET) in his small intestine, which thankfully they removed right before Christmas.

I can’t help but think that these life-shaping moments mean something more, and I personally have felt very called, convicted to share my knowledge on how to help people make safer, better choices.

The mantra “Do No Harm” comes into play here. We are hardwired to go with the flow, the masses. Society can make choices that we automatically deem ok because “other people are doing it.” I remember in elementary school getting in trouble for doing something against the rules, and my teacher saying something like if everyone jumped off the roof, would you do it, too?

We have to stop “jumping off the roof” when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it the best choice for each of us.

I love the idea of exploring this whole idea of don’t just go with the flow when it comes to your health. It’s a loaded topic. And I know people will get testy on the subject because we want to believe that we are doing the right thing. Health and wellness is just a touchy topic because everyone choices to live differently.

But let’s unpack this idea. For fun. Particularly for the endocrine system.

I found this article from Dr. Axe, and it totally hit home for me.

With Brad’s cancer specifically affecting hormone cells in his small intestine, changing his diet won’t be enough on the preventative side we can control. There are so many things that we use on our bodies, breathe in through the air and eat that can effect our endocrine system. So diet is only one of many things.

Well, you can’t control what chemical makeup of the air we breathe.

But you can get a home air filtration system or diffuse clarifying essential oils or use safer cleaning products. I started looking into household cleaners once I signed on with Beautycounter and started learning about all the ways our endocrine system can be affected by what we put on our bodies. That translated quickly into changing our everyday cleaners and detergents.

Brands I use include Seventh Generation, Better Life and Doterra. Better Life is a new one for me, but proving to be a good one. I get mine through Thrive Market or on Amazon.

I use EWG’s Skin Deep Site or app to check out beauty and skin care products that fall outside of Beautycounter‘s current product offerings. Finding Beautycounter was a total game changer for me and my skin care. I’ve always suffered with oily, acne-prone skin, but now I believe that was totally because the products I was using were full of harmful chemicals, additives and questionable ingredients. Beautycounter has a list of over 1,500 ingredients they never use in any of their products. It’s a company I’m proud to support because we are collectively changing the beauty industry for the better.

I realize this is a heavy subject, but we need to be talking about it as consumers. We need to be voting with our dollars for company’s that put people first, instead of profit. This is something I’m deeply passionate about, and it is so very important as we move forward.

The goal is not to have everyone I know using Beautycounter or brands I love (though I would love it if you found Beautycounter to be your thing that works for you).

The goal is to get you thinking about things in a new way.

To question.

To not jump off a roof just because everyone else is doing it.

To take your health and wellness seriously.

Because, y’all, we only get this one life.

What do you want to do this year to take control of your health and wellness? What small changes can you make? What things can you get rid of? How can I help you? Because I truly feel called to help you take the steps to make a choice.