Quick Healthy Dinner Recipes

quick healthy dinnerQuick healthy dinner recipes are essential to planning meals for a busy homestead family. Even if the family is a downsized family of two! Dinner brings us together for a connection. Sharing the food we grow and prepare at home or purchase locally gives us nourishment to do our work. 

It’s no mystery that as our family’s grow and change direction, our meals need to adapt. If we don’t adapt we can find ourselves staring at an empty oven at 6 PM, wondering how to salvage dinner time.

Quick Healthy Dinner- Our Needs Change

As empty nesters, we face this scene too often for my comfort. Yes, we could go out since it’s now just two of us and not too costly. However we prefer to stay home, most nights. Both of us still work, plus the farm and other obligations find us seeking a quiet evening after the days work.  Eating at home means we know exactly what we are eating. Knowing what went into the meal is becoming more and more important to us as we strive to stay fit and  healthy. Some families have diet restrictions or concerns. Having meals planned helps to ensure a good meal is on the table, and no family members health is jeopardized. 

What I Need for Quick Healthy Dinners

Meals that require a little prep time to deliver a tasty, hot, dinner in less that an hour fill many of our needs. These recipes are what I find myself searching for more and more. Quick healthy dinner recipes can be prepared in the oven, crock pots, and pressure cookers. One dish meals are delicious and nutritious even on the most hectic school, work, harvest, canning, sports days.  

In addition, many of these recipes are perfect for teaching beginner cooks how to prepare a meal from fresh ingredients, instead of a box. Having more than one cook in the house is always a good thing!

While I am not good at planning or organization, having ingredients on hand helps. Then, add a stack of recipes that can be pulled together quickly, and I am saving dinner time and avoiding  take out food. 

Recipes From Our Kitchen and Others

quick healthy dinner

quick healthy dinner

Chicken Chile is a crock pot recipe that takes little time to throw together. Allow 4 hours for it to cook in the crock pot. It uses cooked chicken, so save some from a roast chicken, or cook ahead of time, and place in the freezer. Then quickly assemble this recipe and go on with your day!

But Wait! There’s More! 

I asked some of my friends that blog, to share some recipes with me for this post. Mouthwatering ideas popped into my inbox! Please click the photos or the link provided to get to the original post. 

 

This one popped up in my news feed recently on facebook. I follow the site Grow a Good Life and was thrilled to find a recipe that I had all of the ingredients in the house ready to make! We had this for dinner that same night and it was delicious! You can substitute the veggies to suit your taste and preference. I am looking forward to trying it again with fresh from the garden summer squash.

Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Vegetables

 

quick healthy dinner

From Homespun Seasonal Living

Nothing says quick like a ready made batch of sloppy joe filling. Grab the rolls and salad and everyone is fed! Here’s the trick. This recipe was intended for pressure canning. When I made my batch, I froze three cups in zip lock bags in the freezer. It takes little time for the small amount to thaw and we had yummy sloppy joe sandwiches in no time!

From 104 Homestead.

Nothing says Comfort Food like a casserole.  And don’t miss the funny story at the beginning of this recipe post!

A Farm Girl in the Making Shared a delicious comforting soup recipe.

Attainable Sustainable

No one argues with a good bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup in front of them. Make up this version in very little time.

Reformation Acres shares a delicious idea for Chicken with Bok Choy

All I can say about this recipe from Green Eggs and Goats for Shrimp and Grits is “get in my belly!”

 

Stay Tuned for More Quick Healthy Dinner Recipes being added here soon!

quick healthy dinner




Stacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook

 

stacy lyn's harvest cookbookStacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook has been released! I have long anticipated this day not just because it’s a wonderful book of homesteading and delicious recipes. Stacy Lyn Harris is also my friend. Yes! I have a friend who is a talented chef, mother of seven delightful children, and wife to her best friend. Well known in her southern community and due to the popularity of her previous books and television show, I am sure Stacy Lyn’s Harvest doesn’t need me, to tell you how wonderful the book is.  You are probably waiting in line to buy it already. Or you have it saved to your “wish list”. In any event, however you plan to bring Stacy Lyn’s Harvest home to your family, you will be so glad you did.

Why do I Feel So Strongly About Stacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook?

I first learned of the book quite a few months back. Stacy Lyn called me because a deadline for the book had been changed and she needed some help proof reading before the pages were sent to the design team and printer. What?!  I was momentarily awed. I would get to preview this new book while helping a really sweet friend.  

And so we began. We proofed and compared notes along the way. The time allotted was short but by midnight we had almost finished the read through. I had drooled all day over the recipes in this book! But there was more. Helpful personal stories and ideas on how to run many facets of a country homestead. Chickens, honeybees, vegetable gardening, harvesting, preserving, and most importantly, putting family first, at all times.

Stacy Lyn’s Harvest cookbook will encourage you to prepare dishes that you may have thought were above your skills. And she makes it easy!  (have you been watching her live video tutorials this month on line?) 

There is not much more I can say. I will be bold at this point. Buy the book!  

stacy lyn's harvest cookbook

 

But Wait, I Almost Forgot….

Stay tuned to my social media channels next week because I have included a copy of Stacy Lyn’s Harvest in an awesome giveaway to welcome spring and spring cooking, harvesting, homesteading and more. Stay tuned for more on that coming up this weekend and early next week.

Here’s the sneak peek!  (If you don’t do social media, the same option will be in my weekly newsletter.  sign up to receive the newsletter here.)

stacy lyn's harvest cookbook

 

If you want to keep on reading, here’s the press release about the new book, Stacy Lyn’s Harvest. 

Southern chef Stacy Lyn Harris is the bestselling author of three books , founder of the popular Game and Garden blog, and  a co-host of “The Sporting Chef” on The Sportsman’s Channel. Her simple approach to sourcing and preparing delicious meals makes life easier for those who want great fresh food everyday. 

As her family began to grow, she left her career as a lawyer to raise seven children (now ages 7 to 22), a garden full of vegetables and a few happy chickens and bees. Throughout her homesteading journey, she has shared her knowledge on wild game, sustainability, cooking and gardening in three cookbooks

 

With nine mouths to feed on a daily basis, Alabama chef Stacy Lyn Harris keeps it simple, but doesn’t skimp on elegance. Her seven kids enjoy homegrown food, prepared beautifully and sustainably thanks to a few chickens in the back, a year-round kitchen garden, milk from a dairy farmer just outside of town, and locally-sourced free-range meats. 

Always served up in Stacy Lyn’s rustic-refined style, her dishes are classic Old South, but with a fresh, healthy, beautiful twist. Culled from her family’s farmstead near Montgomery, Alabama, Stacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook (March 2017) offers recipes and tips for a simpler, better way of life through growing, harvesting and cooking from nature’s bounty. 

As founder/editor of GameandGarden.com, Stacy Lyn is known for her elegant approach to outdoor living and natural, free-range cooking. Featuring full-color photos, Stacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook includes more than 100 field- and farm-to- table recipes that meet her three-part criteria: family friendly (easy, with simple ingredients), fresh, and tasty. 

There are cherished family recipes, free-range meat dishes derived from her husband’s hunting obsession, and lighter takes on decidedly southern classics—all prepared simply, in the freshest way possible. The book covers food from the garden, pasture, woods, and water in four sections: 

  • “The Garden” features Fried Green Tomatoes, Jalapeño Poppers, Corn Chowder, Fried Squash with Tomatoes and Pesto, and other recipes to make you wish it was summer all year long.
  • “Beyond the Garden” delves into beekeeping and raising chickens for an amazing Honey Butter to pour over Cinnamon Pear Buns and your favorite Egg Salad Sandwiches with Refrigerator Pickles.
  • “From the Pasture” focuses on free-range, pasture-fed game recipes like Braised Short Ribs, Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo, and Juicy Pork Chops, plus a how-to on sausage-making.
  • “Seafood and Fish” includes Stacy Lyn’s favorite entertaining recipes, Best Ever Clam Bake and Perfect Fish Tacos.
    For city dwellers or anyone who feels Stacy Lyn’s way of life is out of reach, 15 “how to” articles sprinkled throughout the book offer steps for cooking and eating sustainably in any setting—including container gardening, saving seeds, preserving, foraging, composting and more. 
  •  For more information about Stacy Lyn, subscribe to her websites, stacylynharris.com and gameandgarden.com and follow her on your favorite social networks @stacylynharris on Facebook and Instagram. 



PEAR APPLE JAM for a Delicious Combo Spread

Gathering the fruit for the pear apple jam was easy. Our local market had some delicious looking pears and I had been wanting to make a pear jam. I purchased five pounds of the fruit, but I am not sure how much was left when I went to make the jam!  Fortunately I did have enough for two cups of finely chopped pears called for in the recipe.

I searched for a pear jam recipe and came across this one for PEAR  APPLE JAM.   It is from Recipe4Living.com.  Great!  I still had apples too!

Ingredients

pear apple jam
PEAR-APPLE JAM

2 cups peeled cored and finely chopped pears
1 cup peeled cored and finely chopped apples
6 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
6 ounces liquid pectin (2 pouches)

Directions for Pear Apple Jam

Crush the apples and pears in a large heavy  bottom saucepan. and stir in the cinnamon.  Thoroughly mix sugar and lemon juice with the fruits and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  
Immediately stir in pectin.  Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  
Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam and fill hot sterile jars leaving 1 inch of headspace.  
Wipe jar rims, and cap the jars.
Process for 5 minutes for 4 ounce jar,  10 minutes for 8 ounce jars in a hot water bath canner. **

Yield: 7 – 8 half pint (8 ounce) jars

pear apple jam

 Note-  I was able to fill 8 half pints and 1 four ounce jar.  I usually have an extra jar or two ready to go, just in case.
** I amended the directions to include the canning times I use.

More on Safe Canning

When learning to can food for storage, fruits, jams and jellies are a good place to start. Canning the acidic fruits requires a couple hours of prep time and a short processing time in the hot water bath canner.  The high sugar content in many jam and jelly recipes can be slightly adjusted to taste once you get a feel for making jam and jelly. 

Vegetables require the use of a pressure canner in most cases. The lower acid content in most vegetables means that a higher temperature and longer processing time is necessary to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria. Use the canning methods outlined on the USDA website or the Ball Canning Guide for best results.

Canning Green Beans

How to Pressure Can Root Vegetables

PIN ME!

pear apple jam




Low Sugar Muffins You Can Bake Today

 low sugar muffins
 Could I find a recipe for low sugar muffins? Baking is fun for me.  Not only do I love baked goods, I love whipping up something yummy for my family.  Most muffin mixes and recipes are loaded with sugar!
I used to love the packaged muffin mixes, you know the just add this and that and mix it up kind. That is until I started to change our family to more clean eating habits. To me clean eating does not mean we can’t enjoy tasty treats and desserts, it means that we do so without the added junk of boxed mixes. I have found a lot of from scratch recipes I love, but hadn’t found one for muffins yet. So, one day I did some research and came up with a few recipes I pulled from and ended up with this one. 
 

Low Sugar Muffins, You Can Make Today!  

Easy Recipes  and Simple Ingredients

This recipe really does not take long to whip up either. I’m finished spooning the batter into the muffin pan before my oven is even finished preheating, that’s how quickly you can enjoy these tasty muffins! An added bonus I’ve discovered is that this recipe with chocolate chips, or even blueberries, you do not need a whole lot of sugar. So many muffin recipes use way more sugar that I want to eat in a muffin. I don’t need to feel guilty over the amount of sugar I have consumed by 8am. I have made these with dark chocolate chips and but semisweet chocolate chips would be tasty too! This recipe also works for berries! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! 
 low sugar muffins

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

(recipe for low sugar muffins)

Makes 12 muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Bake time 15-20 minutes

 

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup of sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp sea salt

1 beaten egg

¾ cup milk

¼ cup coconut oil, melted 

1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips or 1 cup of berries

Mix Up the Goodness!

  1. Grease muffin tray cups or line with paper cup liners
  2. In a mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
  3. In another bowl combine wet ingredients
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients all at once and mix until moistened, don’t over mix.
  5. Add in chocolate chips or berries
  6. Spoon batter into the muffin cups about 2/3 full
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

You can also use semi sweet chocolate chips and this works well for blue berry muffins as well!

Banana Muffins or Bread 

Next, I turned my thoughts to the family recipe for banana bread.  The recipe had been used by all of us for years.  Its easy and standard with a lot of butter and lots of sugar!   The butter part doesn’t bother me as much as eating the large amount of sugar does. So I decided to make some changes to the recipe.  Honey was considered but the conversion would still require a lot of honey.  I thought, why not just reduce the sugar and see if it works.  I adjusted the fats too, because I was feeling daring.

Banana Bread or Muffins

 A low sugar muffins recipe 
makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup of butter softened
1/4 cup of coconut oil softened
1/2 cup of sugar 
1 egg 
3 bananas mashed 
1/4 cup of buttermilk 

Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl.   In a large bowl, cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugar together.  In a third bowl, mash the bananas.  Add the buttermilk and the egg.  Mix well.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the banana mixture to the butter and sugar.  Mix just until combined.

Options for Banana Muffin Batter for Low Sugar Muffins 

Banana Bread – Grease a loaf pan.  Spread the batter in the loaf pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 50 minutes.  (test with a toothpick inserted in center) Remove from oven, let cool for about 10 minutes in pan.  Turn the loaf out of the pan onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Banana Muffins – Grease muffin tin or use the cupcake liners.  Fill the individual muffin slots about 2/3 full. 

Bake muffins in a preheated 350 F oven for 15 to 18  minutes  Cool on a baking rack.

Keep scrolling for the printable recipe cards. Please share your ideas for low sugar muffins and other baked goods in the comments. 

 

Banana Muffins or Bread
Serves 12
A low sugar variation on banana muffins
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cup flour
  2. 1 tsp baking soda
  3. 3/4 tsp sea salt
  4. 1/4 cup of butter softened
  5. 1/4 cup of coconut oil softened
  6. 1/2 cup of sugar
  7. 1 egg
  8. 3 bananas mashed
  9. 1/4 cup of buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Banana Bread or Muffins
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugar together. In a third bowl, mash the bananas. Add the buttermilk and the egg. Mix well. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the banana mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix just until combined.
  3. Banana Bread - Grease a loaf pan. Spread the batter in the loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 50 minutes.(check doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf. It should come out without batter on it) Remove from oven, let cool for about 10 minutes in pan. Turn the loaf out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool before slicing.
  4. Banana Muffins - Grease muffin tin or use the cupcake liners. Fill the individual muffin slots about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake muffins in a preheated 350 F oven for 15 to 18 minutes until the center is baked, when tested with a toothpick.
  6. Cool on a baking rack.
Adapted from family recipe
Adapted from family recipe
Timber Creek Farm http://timbercreekfarmer.com/
 

 

Dark Chocolate Muffins
Serves 12
A low sugar muffin recipe
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  2. 1/3 cup of sugar
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. ¼ tsp sea salt
  5. 1 beaten egg
  6. ¾ cup milk
  7. ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  8. 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Grease muffin tray cups or line with paper cup liners
  3. In a mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
  4. In another bowl combine wet ingredients
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients all at once and mix until moistened, don’t over mix.
  6. Add in chocolate chips
  7. Spoon batter into the muffin cups about 2/3 full
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. You can also use semi sweet chocolate chips and this works well for blue berry muffins as well!
Timber Creek Farm http://timbercreekfarmer.com/
 

Feeling adventurous?  You could try this recipe for Corn Cob Jelly – Low Sugar from Homestead Lady

Pin the recipes for later

low sugar muffins




Canning Green Beans from the Harvest

canning green beansCanning green beans brings back memories of long summer days and warm sun. Listen for the fresh snap as you prepare the beans for canning, right from harvest. Every speck of work needed for canning green beans will be worth it when you eat fresh all winter long.

First, let’s review some of the basics of preparing vegetables for canning recipes. Vegetables almost always need to be pressure canned. The hot water bath canner that is used to as a food preservation method for many fruits and pickles, does not reach a high enough temperature to preserve the lower acid vegetables. The investment made in a quality pressure canner will last a lifetime.

What Will You Need for Pressure Canning?

Gather your canning utensils and canning jars, and fill the canner to the recommended level according to the instructions. Pressure canners do not need to be filled to cover the jars as the hot water bath canner does. Make sure yu use only jars intended for canning. Reusing other glass jars in a pressure canner can lead to unpleasant breakage and food loss.

Start with clean, sterile glass canning jars from a reputable canning jar company. Look for chips around the rim, cracks and any abnormalities or signs of stress on the glass. These jars should only be used for dry storage or recycled with your household recycling. Gather enough two piece lid pairs. Keep separate. The flat disc lids will need to be clean and possibly sterilized. Wash the rings in warm soapy water, rinse completely and air dry.

What is a Five Piece Canning Tool Set?

In addition to the green beans, the canning jars, lids and the canner, you will want to have a canning tool set. This includes tongs made to lift the hot jars in and out of the canner, a funnel for filling the jars, a magnetic lid grabber and a packing tool. Use the packing tool to assist you in getting the vegetables packed into the jar and measure the required head (air) space above the liquid. Jars come in various sizes and styles. Usually, for green beans, pints and quarts would be selected. Salt is needed, in small amounts in each jar. Be sure to use a pure salt or a salt labeled for canning.

Always Start with Clean Jars

Prepare the jars,before beginning to work with the fresh vegetables. You can choose from two acceptable methods of sterilizing the jars before filling with food to be canned. One method is to run the regular cycle on your dishwasher, which heats the jars and the wash water to a high enough temperature for sterilizing. The other method requires two steps. Wash the jars in warm, soapy water. Fill the canner with enough water to cover the jars, bring the water to a simmer and heat the jars on simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the flat lids and a small saucepan of water. Bring the water to simmer and keep the water simmering until you use the lids. Do not boil the water. The boiling water could damage the rubber seal. Wash the ring portion of the two piece lids in hot soapy water, rinse well and set aside to dry.

canning green beans

Preparing the Vegetables

When you are canning green beans start by preparing the vegetable. Wash the beans and drain. Snap off the ends of the beans and either leave whole or cut into smaller, bite size pieces. At this point, you have two methods of proceeding with the canning. One method is called Hot Pack and the other is referred to as Cold Pack.

Hot pack is preferred for dense vegetables like green beans.  It makes it easier to pack them into jars. Cold pack or Raw pack is used for more fragile vegetables that might be too soft if pushed into a jar. This method calls for the food to be packed in the jars cold, then boiling water is added to the jar.

Blanche and Pack the Beans 

In preparing for canning green beans, place the beans in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil the beans for five minutes. The beans will still feel firm, but will be more pliable for packing into the jars. Begin filling the glass jars with the beans using a slotted spoon and the canning funnel. I like to use this scoop I found online to fill my jars. It holds one cup so usually two scoops fills the jar.

After the jars are full with a one inch head space, add boiling water to cover the beans. Maintain the one inch head space at the top of the jar. Add one teaspoon of salt to each quart jar and a half teaspoon of salt to each pint. The salt does not need to be stirred into the beans. It can sit on top of the vegetables. The salt will filter down as the liquid is reheated in the canner. Using the head space tool, run the tool around the inside of each jar, along the sides to help release any air bubbles. After all the jars are filled, using a dry cloth, wipe the rim of each jar. This will help ensure a good seal when the lid is added.

canning green beans

Getting the Jars Ready for the Pressure Canner

Using the magnetic wand, grab one lid from the saucepan and place it on the rim of the filled jar.  Using a towel or pot holder to steady the jar, screw on the metal bands that you hand washed and set aside.  Finger tighten the bands. This does not have to be as tight as you can possibly make it, but just snug. Using the jar tongs, place each jar into the canner which has the required amount of water in the bottom. (refer to your canner’s instruction manual.)

Usually the amount of water in the bottom of a pressure canner is only a couple of inches deep. Always read the instruction manual for operation of the canner. The steps from this point are similar but may vary slightly with each manufacturer’s model.

canning green beans

Basic Pressure Canner Operation for Canning Green Beans

Place the filled jars down into the pressure canner. Apply the canner’s lid and set into place. Bring the water in the canner to a boil. Allow the steam to begin to add pressure. DO NOT attempt to open the canner after the water is boiling. Most canners now have safety mechanisms in place that prevent you from opening a canner under pressure.

While the water is heating and the pressure is building, the steam vent is left open. The steam is left to vent for approximately ten minutes, then the weight is applied that came with the canner. The weight closes the steam vent, allowing the pressure to build. At a point, the vent will close and the canner will lock. The pressure should build and the gauge will move up in pressure. Do not start timing the processing until the pressure has built up to 10 pounds and is stable at that level. Begin timing the processing time at that point and adjust the heat to keep the pressure steady. This does take some practice, but you will soon know what works best with your stove and your canner.

Canning green beans require 20 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for pint size jars and 25 minutes for quart size jars. Always check processing times for your altitude.

The Processing Time is Up

When the time for processing at 10 pounds of pressure is over, turn off the heat. Do not attempt to open the canner. Leave the canner on the stove to cool completely. As it cools, the pressure will dissipate. When the canner is no longer under pressure the locking mechanism will release. The canner will still be hot! Some people leave the jars in the canner overnight and remove them the next morning.

Find a space on the counter to place the jars. Using the jar lifter tongs, place the jars on a towel to cool and rest. Stacking or moving the jars too much at this point could break the seal on the jar, resulting in product that cannot be stored long term. The recommendation is to leave the jars undisturbed for about twelve hours. Safe canning requires that you check the seals on the jars before putting the jars away. To check the seal you press on the center of the lid. If it does not move up and down under pressure from your fingers, the lid has sealed. When you remove the metal ring , the lid does not move or shift. If any jars did not seal, refrigerate and use the contents soon.

canning green beans

How Long Will the Pressure Canned Food Last?

The canned food shelf life is about a year for green beans. Optimize the storage by keeping the jars  stored in a cool, dark, dry space. The recommendation is to store the jars without the metal ring portion of the lid and do not stack the jars on top of each other. Stored this way, there is less chance of the jar having a false seal and staying preserved safely. When ready to serve, empty the contents into a saucepan, add enough liquid to cover and gently boil for 10 minutes.

Once you enjoy the fresh taste of your garden all year long, you will be canning green beans every year. How do you like canning green beans? Here’s a link to more methods for preserving green beans.  I suggest you try the Dilly Green Beans! Do you have a favorite vegetable that you can for eating later?

 

canning green beans