Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

Category: Dinners (page 1 of 7)

Instant Pot

Hi friends! I hope 2017 is off to a great start for you! So far, I’ve done really well with my nutrition goals (more veggies, more protein, & less processed junk). My fitness routine has been great too! I’ll be sharing more of that with you next week.

In the meantime, I have to share the kitchen appliance that is helping to make dinnertime a breeze (while also helping my family stick to healthy home cooked meals). The Instant Pot has been nothing short of amazing!








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I’ve had my eye on an Instant Pot for the past 4 months. In fact,  it has been in my Amazon shopping cart for awhile. I was waiting for the price to drop before making the purchase. On Thanksgiving, the price dropped from $99 down to $59, so I went ahead and bought it.  I am pretty sure this is my all-time favorite kitchen appliance!

If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s an electric pressure cooker. You can do all sorts of amazing things with it. You can use it like you would a rice cooker, slow cooker, or steamer. You can also sauté and brown things in it. But the most important feature is that it cooks meals faster with less energy while preserving more nutrients.

I cannot tell you how many times we planned to have chicken for dinner, but I forgot to take it out of the freezer. It drives me crazy when this happens. Well, with the Instant Pot, it doesn’t matter. You can cook frozen chicken breasts in it and it only takes 25 minutes!

Here are a few meals I’ve made using my Instant Pot:IMG_5848 









We’ve made turkey meatballs & spaghetti (6 minutes), white chicken chili (25 minutes), and BBQ pulled pork (25 minutes). Our favorite was the BBQ pulled pork. I’ll be sharing the recipe with you guys, but I have to make it again to record all of the ingredients.

Tonight, I’m going to make a red lentil butternut squash soup in it. Hopefully, it’ll turn out as good as everything else has.

Have you tried the Instant Pot? If so, what is your favorite meal to make in it?

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Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Wednesday, friends! Chances are, you’ll be spending time today prepping some delicious food for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast! I figured I’d share some of the recipes we’ll be making. We’re making most of the food, but we did order 2 sides from Wegman’s.

B is smoking a turkey like he did last year. Here is the recipe we’re using again this year Smoked Turkey. Currently, the turkey is in the refrigerator brining. Check out this interesting set up going on. Smile  The brining bag kept falling over, so we used an old Pampers box to keep the sides from falling (so far so good).











I’m also making my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe from this cookbook:









I’ll be making my mother’s Sage Cranberry Stuffing. I’ve never made it before and there isn’t exactly a specific “recipe” (so I’m hoping it will turn out as delicious as hers does). If it turns out, I’ll post how to make it.

For dessert, I’ll be making pumpkin pie, apple pie, and streusel pumpkin cheesecake bars. I’m using the recipe on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can for the pumpkin pie. For the apple pie, I’m using the recipe from The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.











The Streusel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars is a favorite recipe of mine.

streusel barsstreusel







The other sides are coming from Wegman’s. We ordered their Cranberry-Orange Sauce (I tried to make my own and it wasn’t good at all).

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The other side we’re getting from Wegman’s is their Roasted Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach & Cranberries. It’s absolutely delicious!








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Some of our family is brining other dishes, so we should have a lot of delicious food!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Hi friends! I hope you’re having a nice week. We’ve had such a fun and busy week. I finally tried out a new recipe! We’ve been in such a food rut lately (this explains the lack of blog posts), so I wanted to try something new. I’m so happy I gave this one from Cooking Light a try. It was SO easy to make and absolutely delicious. This will be in our regular dinner rotation for sure. From start to finish, it took about 20 minutes.  IMG_3380

 Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Servings: 4 (1 serving is 2 tacos)
Calories: 302
Fat: 9.5 g
Carbs: 30 g
Protein: 22 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

  • 2 (6 oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. wing sauce (I used Frank’s )
  • 1 tsp. melted butter
  • 2 tbsp. low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas


Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat (or heat outside grill). Cut chicken in half horizontally (to create 4 cutlets). Sprinkle chicken with salt & pepper to taste. Grill chicken for about 3 minutes on each side (or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees).

Time saver tip: While chicken is cooking, prep your sauces.

Combine hot sauce and melted butter in a bowl; whisk until blended. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk, mayonnaise, and cheese in a bowl, mashing with a fork. Set aside.

Remove chicken from grill and cut into thin slices. Add chicken to bowl of hot sauce.

Add lettuce to bowl of cheese mixture.

Warm tortillas according to package instructions. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas; top with lettuce mixture. Enjoy!

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Veggie-Packed Enchiladas

Hi there! I hope you’re having a great week. I made this recipe this past weekend. It was so good that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. As an added bonus, it’s super healthy too!

IMG_3068 (1)

 Veggie-Packed Enchiladas

Servings: 5
Calories: 447
Fat: 5 g
Carbs: 85.7 g
Protein: 21.6 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

  • 2 cups peeled Sweet potatoes (cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper (from the jar; drained & chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (from the jar; drained & chopped)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (I use this Himalayan Pink Salt)
  • 5-6 soft tortillas (calorie information is without tortillas)


Coat an 8×12 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Boil the chopped sweet potato. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, stir together the oil, onion, and garlic and sauté over medium heat for around 3 to 5 minutes until the onion softens. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add the chopped roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet potato, spinach, and black beans. Cook over medium-high heat, until the spinach is wilted (about 5 minutes).

Stir in 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt.

Add 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce onto the bottom of your casserole dish coating the entire bottom.

Next, you’re going to scoop 3/4 cup of the sweet potato and black bean filling onto each tortilla. Wrap each tortilla and place it seam side down (on top of the enchilada sauce). Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas until they are completely covered. Top with cheese (optional).

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is melted.


veggie enchiladas

This recipe was delicious! Please be sure to check out the original recipe from Oh She Glows. Her recipe calls for a homemade enchilada sauce (I cannot wait to try it) and her photography is amazing!

Take a look at the great nutrition stats:

  • Low in saturated fat
  • No cholesterol
  • High in dietary fiber
  • High in iron
  • High in manganese
  • High in magnesium
  • High in potassium
  • High in thiamin
  • High in vitamin A
  • Very high in vitamin C
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Spicy Veggie Hash

Hey there! I hope you’re having a great start to your week. It has been awhile since I’ve tried (and posted) a new recipe. We had this for dinner last night (and luckily there are leftovers for lunch today)!

I feel like weeknights are so busy, so I always try to plan dinners that are quick to prepare and healthy at the same time. I came across this recipe in the latest copy of Cooking Light magazine. It was definitely an easy recipe to make. Peeling & slicing the sweet potato was the most time consuming part of this recipe. Everything else was a breeze. It was delicious & healthy! Timesaver tip: peel & slice sweet potatoes ahead of time. Store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.

 Image-1 (3)

Spicy Veggie Hash

Servings: 4
Calories: 318
Fat: 12.1 g
Carbs: 42 g
Protein: 12 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups diced peeled sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp. oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can unsalted black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 oz. queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/2 cup) (this was my first time trying this kind of cheese, it was SO good)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded & diced


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl.

Add potato, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cumin, cinnamon, red pepper, garlic; cook 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup water; cover, reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes. Uncover; cook 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Bring remaining 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and green beans; cook 4 minutes. Stir in adobo sauce & black beans. Place 1/2 cup potato mixture in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each with 1/2 cup bean mixture, 2 tbsp. cheese, 1 tbsp. sunflower seeds, and 1 tbsp. tomato.


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Smoked Turkey

Happy Sunday everyone! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this week?

The holidays are definitely my favorite time of year, but this year just seems so much more exciting with a 1-year old. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and I’m really looking forward to it. To be honest though, we are only making a few things from scratch. The majority of the food is being ordered through Wegman’s. If you’ve never tried their catering, I highly recommend it. The food is fresh and they have such a large assortment to choose from. We are buying a deep-fried turkey and cooking one ourselves. My husband got a new smoker so he’s planning to smoke a turkey. He tried it out last week (so that we would know how it would turn out). It was delicious! In fact, it was so good, that I wanted to share the recipe with you.

It’s a 2-day process because we you brine it overnight. I’ve roasted turkeys before, but never brined or smoked one. I forgot to take a picture before we cut it, so here’s a (not so great) picture.

Smoked Turkey


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a smoked turkey:

For the brine:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1.5 cups salt
  • 1/4 cup apple spice dry rub
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bundle of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. whole peppercorn

For the smoker, turkey, & seasoning rub:

  • apple & cherry wood chips (soaked prior to use)
  • whole turkey (ours was 14lbs.)
  • 1 cup of Ghee
  • 1/2 cup salt; divided
  • 1/2 cup garlic powder; divided
  • 1/2 cup Louisiana spice mix; divided
  • 1 large onion; quartered
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1/2 bundle of fresh thyme


For the brine: (Be sure to brine the turkey for at least 12 hours before planning to cook)

1. Boil 1 gallon of water. Mix all of the brine dry ingredients together.

2. Dissolve all ingredients in boiling water (about 10 minutes).

3. After everything is dissolved, add ice to mixture to cool. Place 2 oven bags (double-bagged) into a deep disposable aluminum baking pan. Place thoroughly cleaned turkey into the bag. Pour mixture to turkey bag (be sure to have turkey completely submerged…you might need to add water to the brine to ensure that the turkey is completely covered).

4. Place in refrigerator and let it soak for at least 12 hours.

Prep Smoker:

1. Preheat smoker to 350 degrees. Add apple & cherry wood chips.

Turkey Seasoning:

1. Mix rub ingredients together (1cup Ghee, 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 1/4 cup Louisiana spice mix).

2. Using your hands, cover turkey well with the rub.

3. Mix the remaining dry ingredients (1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 1/4 cup Louisiana spice mix). Use this mixture to coat the top of the turkey.

4. Stuff the turkey with quartered onion, orange peel, lemon peel, & 1/2 bundle of fresh thyme.

Smoke turkey:

1. Place turkey in smoker directly on rack.

2. Cook turkey at 350 degrees for about 3 hours (or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees). Replace wood chips and water after about 1 1/2 hours or so.

3. Enjoy!

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Hey there! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week (I have a recipe that I plan to post later this week)?!?!? Time is going by so quickly. There’s been so much going on here lately.

First, the 2015 Fall Shred is underway and the group of people doing it are nothing short of amazing. Not only are they working hard to reach their goals, but they encourage one another along the way. I’m honored to be “coaching” this awesome group.

I’ve made spaghetti “noodles” with spaghetti squash a lot and it’s definitely a meal I enjoy. But, I just recently made spaghetti “noodles” using zucchini and I LOVE it so much more than spaghetti squash. I think that the zucchini noodles have more flavor and a better texture. I also think that it’s so much easier to make (especially if you use a spiralizer). My husband and my 1-year-old both love this meal too!



Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make 2 servings:

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Cut both ends off of zucchini.












Using a spiralizer, attach zucchini and make “noodles”.












Boil “noodles” for about 3-4 minutes. Drain.

Divide into 2 equal portions and cover with tomato sauce & cheese. Enjoy!












I am going to make this again this week, but I am going to add some meatballs. Let me know if you give it a try. I’d love to hear what you think.

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Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Chicken for dinner is a staple in our house. The problem is, I tend to get into a rut with they way that I prepare it. Our “go to” is usually grilled chicken. I wanted to try something different and found this recipe on Pinterest. My husband and I LOVED this, and it was SO easy to make. We’re planning to have this for dinner again this week.

Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make 4 servings:
Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

  • 4 (3 oz.) chicken breasts (I butterflied 2 large chicken breasts)
  • salt & pepper to taste 
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper.

Melt butter in a large oven-proof skillet (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add chicken to skillet and sear both sides until golden brown (about 3 minutes on each side). Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Add garlic to skillet, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.

Stir in chicken broth, cream, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, thyme, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Return chicken to the skillet. Place skillet into oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes (or until chicken reaches temperature of 165 degrees).

Place 1 chicken breast onto each plate & top with sauce. Enjoy!

Full disclosure: You’re going to want to drink the sauce (it’s THAT good). Smile

Nutrition information:Label

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Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries & Feta

Hi there! It’s a late post for today, but I wanted to share last night’s dinner with you because it was so delicious. This was super easy to make and very healthy!

Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries & Feta

photo (46)Here you go:


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World Menu Foods by Giant

Hey there! I hope you’re all having a nice weekend. I wanted to share some exciting news about a new food line that was recently launched.

Giant Food Store has a new line of frozen foods called “World Menu”. These ready-made meals are perfect for busy nights because they are incredibly easy to prepare.

world menu imagesource

The best thing about these meals are that they are made with quality ingredients and actually taste homemade! Here are a few that I picked up the other day:

photo 1 (4)

Last night we had the Gnocchi Sorrentina for dinner. It literally took 7 minutes to cook. We simply had to put the gnocchi into a skillet over medium heat (uncovered) for 5 minutes and then covered for an additional 2 minutes.

photo 2 (3)

This dish only had 320 calories. Pair this with a garden salad and you have a delicious and healthy dinner. We are planning to have the Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce over zucchini pasta this week. I’ll let you know how it is!

Be sure to check out your local Giant Food Store to select from more than 50 Italian and Asian foods.

I hope you have a great Sunday!

Full disclosure: Giant Foods sent me a gift card and coupons to purchase World Menu products. However, this review and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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