Red Shrimp + Garlicky Cauliflower Rice

Alright, friends - I've got a super simple dinner recipe for y'all today! All growing up we ate tostones (fried green plantains) with a sauce made of equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise. Sounds weird but I promise it is so good. Anytime I make this sauce for friends, they comment about how good it is! So it got me thinking if there were any other ways I could use this sauce in a meal, and I came up with this dish. 

Red Shrimp + Garlicky Cauliflower Rice // Natasha Red
Red Shrimp + Garlicky Cauliflower Rice // Natasha Red
Red Shrimp + Garlicky Cauliflower Rice // Natasha Red

If you think it might be weird to heat up mayo and ketchup, it's totally not! I was worried it would create a weird texture, but instead I was left with a creamy and delicious coating on already phenomenal shrimp. 

A bed of cauliflower rice is the perfect pairing, but you could serve this on toasted bread to make a po' boy of sorts, or even stuff them in lettuce wraps with some coleslaw....so perfect for the warmer months!

Red Shrimp + Garlicky Cauliflower Rice // Natasha Red

And my favorite part about this recipe? It's kid approved! Reaghan and Everett both devoured it and honestly shocked me! Here's Rae's funny bunny smile showing off her plate ;) 

Red Shrimp + Garlicky Cauliflower Rice // Natasha Red

Ingredients: 

For the shrimp:

  • cooking spray
  • 1 pound shrimp, deveined and tails removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Cauliflower rice:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces of riced cauliflower
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions:

  1. Coat a large pan in cooking spray and let it heat up. Make sure your shrimp are completely thawed and toss them into the pan with salt and pepper, until they are pink. Stir them around occasionally so they don't stick to the pan.
  2. While the shrimp is cooking, whisk all sauce ingredients together and set aside. 
  3. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. 
  4. Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan along with the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper and allow the cauliflower to get tender. 
  5. Add broth and turn up the heat, deglazing the pan. (this just means getting all the brown bits leftover from cooking the shrimp off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.) The broth will soften the cauliflower and make it nice and tender, and also flavorful.
  6. Add garlic to the cauliflower and cook for about 10 more minutes until all of the broth is absorbed. 
  7. Remove cauliflower from the pan and serve on your plates. Place shrimp back in the pan along with your sauce and stir around for about 1 minute, just to coat all the shrimp and warm everything up again. Serve and enjoy!

Pesto Chicken Salad

I've been making a quick pesto chicken salad for easy lunches during my Whole30. With a little adjusting, I created a new pesto recipe, a variation from the one in my cookbook, with all raw ingredients (the pesto in my cookbook is partially cooked), and with Whole30 compliant ingredients. 

One way I've used this chicken salad is by stuffing Swiss chard wraps. To make, remove the hard stem down the middle and boil for 30 seconds to soften the Swiss chard. Let cool a few seconds, layer 3 evenly to make a long wrap surface, and roll up like a burrito! Stuff it with avocado, compliant bacon, chicken salad and homemade ranch. Or you can top a bed of romaine with it, and throw a bunch of other goodies on top like I did here - whatever you like on your salad! 

Whole30 Pesto Chicken Salad // Natasha Red

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I buy the large package from our grocery store, approx. 4 lbs.)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Spinach Pesto 
  • 1/2 cup Mayo

Notes:

  • On my Whole30, I make my own mayo. A compliant brand is Primal Kitchen. 
  • This recipe can easily be halved for a smaller portion, but the amount made here makes enough to feed our family of 4 for a week.
  • Adjust the amount of pesto and mayo to your liking. I like mine more creamy. 
  • The pesto recipe makes more than what you will need for the chicken salad. Freeze the rest in an ice cube tray then transfer to a plastic bag for easily using in the future. 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  3. Place chicken on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. 
  4. Let the chicken thighs cool, then chop up with a large chef knife. You can also pull apart with your fingers, but I find chopping to be much faster and less messy. 
  5. Mix in pesto and mayo and store in the refridgerator for up to 1 week. 
Whole30 Pesto Chicken Salad // Natasha Red

Whole 30 Spinach Pesto

I love pesto, and always have a stash of it frozen in ice cubes to quickly add to meals. It's just one of my favorite flavors; mixing the zestiness of lemon with a kick of garlic and the creaminess of cashews creates an addicting, spreadable dip or sauce to add to any meal. See below the recipe for a few ideas of how I use pesto! 

Whole30 Spinach Pesto // Natasha Red Blog

This pesto is a variation of the spinach pesto found in my cookbook, Nourished. With a little adjusting, I created a new recipe, with all raw ingredients (the pesto in my cookbook is partially cooked), and with all Whole30 compliant ingredients as well. Enjoy!

Whole30 Spinach Pesto // Natasha Red Blog

Ingredients:

  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • 10 basil leaves (.66 oz container)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw cashews 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup light flavor olive oil, plus more while puréeing 

Instructions:

  1. Place cashews in a small saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 15 minutes until fork tender. If you have the time, you could soak them in cold water overnight, but boiling quickly works just fine. 
  2. Drain cashews and add all the ingredients to a food processor. 
  3. Purée, drizzling additional olive oil in very slowly until pesto has reached the consistency you like. (think a spreadable paste, rather than a runnier "dressing" as the best consistency)
  4. You may have to scrape down the sides and continue blending to incorporate everything. 

Use this pesto on my Pesto Chicken Salad, as pizza sauce, as a sauce over brown rice pasta and shredded chicken, or even mixed with mayo as a dip! Sounds weird, but don't knock it until you try it ;) 

Whole30 Spinach Pesto // Natasha Red Blog

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and ProYo, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ProYoHighProteinIceCream http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Does anyone else have trouble with the ice cream truck coming to their neighborhood? I'm all for letting kids indulge every once in a while, but not every Tuesday when she comes to our street ;) I try to keep something, whether a homemade popsicle, ingredients for a smoothie, or ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams in my freezer so that I have a delicious, low-glycemic and high protein treat to offer Reaghan when I disappoint her with a "no" to the ice cream truck.

Since we've had some warmer days lately, I decided to stop by Kroger and pick up a few flavors to work up a guiltless sweet treat for us. ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams are available nationwide at Kroger and other Kroger banner stores. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

I love that I can also eat ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams as a treat or snack for myself without wondering if I'm messing up the hard work outs I've done or worrying about having a stomach ache from too much sugar. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

I'm not a fan of straight up sugar treats, and you know by now that I am trying to get protein into every meal for myself, Jordan and the kids. The high protein content (10g of protein per serving!) makes my mama heart so happy. ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams taste amazing too. Rae has loved the Coconut flavor as well as the Dutch Chocolate and LOVES this smoothie bowl too!

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams also packs prebiotic fiber into every container and has no hormones, artificial ingredients, soy or gluten. The reason why I usually say no to treats (or limit them at special occasions) is because of the negative impact they have on Reaghan's behavior. Mama's of 3-year-olds all know how hard behavior is on it's own, so I don't want to add any "help" in that area. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

Every time I give Rae a processed sweet, we have major meltdowns, tummy aches, and heightened emotions. With ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams, she's never had a bad reaction. Even for me, I've never had a stomach ache after eating it. That's saying a lot, in my opinion, since I just ate an "organic" oatmeal ball at a natural grocery store the other day and immediately had a stomach ache. Not all treats are created equal, so check those labels and especially the sugar content!

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

We make up this smoothie bowl into a drinkable smoothie as well if we are about to go play outside or leave the house! The rich Dutch Chocolate flavor makes this recipe so creamy and delicious. I like to mix and match my flavors so included a scoop of Dutch Chocolate and a scoop of Dark Chocolate Toffee for an extra strong chocolate flavor. I like really thick and creamy smoothies, so if you are wanting more of that consistency, add less almond milk. If serving to kids who need something a bit more drinkable (like we did in this recipe), go ahead with the entire 3/4 cup of almond milk. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Toffee ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Cream
  • 1 scoop Dutch Chocolate ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Cream
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (optional but double's the protein!)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 stems of fresh mint leaves, removed from the stem

Instructions:

  1. Pour everything into a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. As noted above, if you want this smoothie bowl (or plain smoothie!) more drinkable, add the full 3/4 cup. If you want the texture more thick, add a little bit less.

Take advantage of this online coupon! Buy 1 ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Cream and Get 1 Free now through 7/7, while supplies last. Use this store locator to find the closest store near you. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

What's your favorite summer treat for the kids (and yourself ;)) Share with me below or over on Instagram! 

4 Steps to Cooking Dinner with Less Stress + The Benefits!

I originally heard of preparing parts of dinner in advance from one of my most beloved cookbook authors, Jenny Rosenstrach. She talks about this quite a bit in her book Dinner, A Love Story. Prepping ahead is the idea that you can take components of a meal that are simple or CAN be made ahead and do what you can earlier in the day, so as to make the dinner time hours more enjoyable and less stressful. If you get a chance, I highly recommend this cookbook. Many parts read like a memoir and it's wonderful. 

An example of what you wouldn't want to do with this method would be to cut up white potatoes and let them sit (they will brown), or cook collard greens and let them sit (they will be terribly soggy and wet). What you can do is cook some brown rice ahead of time or chop up most vegetables for a meal so it's done in advance, for example. 

I cook this way all the time and it has been such a blessing to our family and to my own sanity! ;) 

I realize this is going to look different for everyone depending on what season of life you are in. When I was a single working woman, I often would have my mornings free and would work on campus until just before dinner. I'd have a short window for dinner, then back on campus for more ministry. During this time I very well could have prepped dinner in the morning, but for some of you, doing it the night before would be a better use of your time. As a stay at home mom of two who also runs a business, most of the time I'll get things prepped in small chunks throughout the day versus doing it all at once in the morning. Either way, here are my 4 steps to cooking dinner with less stress. 

1. Cook simple

The first thing you need to do is an inventory of the meals your family loves. You've heard me talk about it before, but set yourself up on a seasonal rotation - where you pick 16 dinners per season to rotate through. These should be simple meals your whole family loves, with few ingredients and ingredients you're used to. I'm not saying to never branch out of your comfort zone, but if you're wanting to save on money and stress at dinner-time; cooking simply is the first place to start. 

2. Get kids involved

I honestly think dinner prep goes better when I get Reaghan involved. She LOVES to help anyway, and it provides a fun activity for us to do together. It also means that I don't have to take up time while the kids are napping to cook, since that's the time I usually try to work or rest. This may not be possible for everyone, and some of you may not have kids! 

3. 10 minute chunks

I mentioned above that preparing dinner ahead usually looks like doing it in smaller chunks throughout the day for me. I've noticed that in this current season, Reaghan is especially needy most mornings. If she's busy playing or eating quietly, I try to get it done, but if she's really needing me, then I may do a bit during breakfast time, a bit mid-morning, and a bit around lunch time. Being a mom at home, I usually only have about 5 minute chunks to do things anyway, so this makes things fairly simple for me. I feel like I can accomplish anything if it's a small task rather than being overwhelmed by the big task, so give this a try too if you can! 

4. Do what you can

Instead of prepping day by day, maybe you cook up a whole bunch of meat over the weekend to add to meals throughout the week, or maybe you chop up all the veggies you need in advance. It never needs to be perfect and you don't have to do everything all at once. Just focus on doing what you can and then be grateful that it's done! Some days I don't get anything prepped ahead, and that's okay. Some days I really blow it and unexpected things happen that make me too tired to cook, and we end up eating out. It's all a balance that shifts with every season. 

 

Benefits

 

Saves time during the late afternoon

I hate the feeling of needing to leave the park or a friends house early to go home and make dinner. There have been countless days when I have gotten to have that deeper conversation with a friend, or just linger longer outside playing with the kids because I wasn't rushing us home to cook. My kids also need a ton of attention at about 5 o'clock - anyone else? I've learned that this is not the time to tackle a new project or be productive. It's really just a time for me to be still and play with them - whether it's cooking in the play kitchen (HA!), swinging outside, or legos on the floor - they just like to be close to me and I like it too! I hate saying "not right now" or "wait a minute" over and over. I'd rather be free to love on them how they need. 

For those working mama's, the LAST thing you want to do is start cooking a full meal when you get home. You want to spend that precious time with your family! I get that, and I think this method is perfect for you too! 

Lowers stress

We never know what the day will throw at us. We may need to deal with an unforeseen problem at work, an unexpectedly sick kiddo, or may just use that extra time to bless someone else! For me I find that I am able to spend time with friends and linger a bit with the kids - filling up their love tanks during a time of day where they truly need me the most, instead of beating them off me so I can make dinner. 

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I also notice that when I cook dinner earlier, I enjoy it so much more. Cooking has always been enjoyable for me, but when it's done at 5 o'clock with screaming demanding hungry babies on my feet, I like it a whole lot less :) This enables me to actually like feeding my family, which I know that for a lot of you is a real struggle, and also include my kids (well just Reaghan for now) in on the process! 

Saves money

We are more likely to eat at home if things are already cooked or well on their way to being fully cooked. Often times when we go over our miscellaneous budget, it's because we ate out more than we anticipated. The two main instigators of this is when we don't have a stocked fridge or when life throws us a curve ball and we're just too emotionally spent to do one more task like cook dinner. 

 

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How I get it done

I wouldn't be able to cook this way if I didn't already have a plan for our meals previously set up. I use our Seasonal Meal Planner to keep me organized so that we lower the stress in the area of meals for our family.

The SMP allows you to plan your meals for the week in a simple way, while prompting you to use food as a means for building relationships and blessing others. It's also set up seasonally so you can make that seasonal rotation and not keep spinning your wheels each week when you go to make a menu plan! 

Right now we are all sold out of the SMP's, but the new editions will be coming out this fall! Sign up for our newsletter and follow along on Instagram to stay up to date with when they will release!