cara clark nutrition

Easy Weeknight Dinners

With kids headed back to school and all the activities and extracurriculars that come with it, time in the kitchen is about to become scarce. We've rounded up a few of our favorite recipes that will have dinner on the table in no time. The best part is, it's food your kids will eat! 

 

Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ pound green beans trimmed
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (Vegetarian: Substitute chicken with 2 cups pinto, kidney, or cannellini beans.)
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce, divided (look for clean ingredients and low sugar, like Noble Made BBQ sauce)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into ½-inch chunks. Chop onion into 1-inch pieces and add to a foil-lined sheet pan along with the sweet potatoes. Toss the sweet potatoes and onions with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and chili powder until well combined. Bake for 20 minutes.

Push the sweet potatoes to one side of the pan. Add the green beans and toss with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add the chicken breasts and brush with ¼ cup BBQ sauce. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Remove the pan from the oven and shred the chicken breasts using two forks. Toss the chicken with the remaining BBQ sauce. Add to bowls along with the roasted vegetables and serve immediately 

One Pan Wonder Taco Bowl

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 8 ounces shrimp OR chopped chicken (vegetarian: omit meat)
  • ½ cup black beans
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, and green)
  • ¼ cup sliced onion (or more if you prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (be sure you’re choosing a clean version)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup rice (brown, wild, or jasmine)
  • Handful of chopped spinach
  • ¼ avocado sliced
  • Optional toppings: clean salsa, cilantro, chopped tomatoes
Directions:

 

In a pan, sauté oil and garlic for 2 minutes. Add chicken/shrimp, beans, peppers, onion, seasonings, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Check to see that the meat is cooked thoroughly. Serve over prepared rice, a handful of spinach, avocado, and your choice of optional toppings.

Spaghetti & Meatball Mason Jars

Serves Makes approx 4 (3- ounce) Mason jars

Ingredients:

  • 1 (24-ounce) jar tomato sauce, clean, low sugar (Such as Rao’s brand or similar)
  • 1 (8-ounce) box chickpea pasta (or other gluten-free pasta) cooked according to instructions
  • 2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 2 cups turkey meatballs, cooked and sliced into quarters (We love the Applegate brand)
  • 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

Directions:

Divide sauce among 4 Mason jars. Next, for each jar layer in 1 cup noodles, ½ cup spinach, ¼ cup turkey meatballs, and 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast. (Vegetarian: omit the chicken and increase nutritional yeast to 2 Tablespoons per serving)

 When ready to eat, dump the pasta mixture in a bowl and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Make ahead and store these jars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Quick Thai Quinoa Bowls

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 2 cups broccoli, cooked and diced
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup cucumber, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (Vegetarian: Substitute chicken with 1 cup garbanzo or white beans.)
  • ¼ cup candied peanuts
  • ¼ cup Thai dressing

Thai Dressing

  • ½-inch peeled ginger root, grated (or use 1 Tablespoon ginger paste)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions:

Directions: Combine or shake dressing ingredients in a Mason jar to blend. Store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

TIP: Tastes better when made ahead of time and the ingredients can set. I like to make it the night or the day before. 

Family Style Pizza Night

2 options: 

  • Everyone does their own DIY individual pizzas 
  • Same pizza for everyone 

Crust options: 

  • From scratch, whole-wheat crust (see recipe below), made into one large pizza or several smaller (see recipe below) 
  • Purchased clean cauliflower crust (like CauliPower and CauliFlour Foods brands, Trader Joe’s, etc) 
  • Large, whole-grain, or Siete brand grain-free tortillas 

Sauce options: 

  • Homemade or purchased clean pesto sauce 
  • Clean, no-sugar-added marinara sauce 

Toppings: 

  • Turkey pepperoni 
  • Sliced Italian chicken sausages (or flavor of your choice) 
  • Chickpeas seasoned with Italian seasoning 
  • Veggies of your choice (for example sliced bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, julienned, sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil), quartered artichokes, chopped spinach, sliced olives, etc.) 

Cheese: 

  • Shredded mozzarella 
  • Sliced, fresh mozzarella 
  • Fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese 
  • Feta or goat cheese crumbles 
  • Nutritional yeast (dairy-free option) 

Directions:

Set out crusts (pre-cook a bit for a crispier crust if you are loading up with veggies, which you should!). Spread your crust(s) with a sauce of your choice. Set out bowls for toppings and let everyone put together their pizza or contribute to one (or two or more) pizza(s) for the whole family. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly (usually about 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees for a large pizza). Slice and enjoy!

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet instant active yeast (about 1 Tablespoon – we recommend Hodgson Mill brand)
  • 1 cup warm water (about 112 degrees, you don’t want it too hot or it will kill the yeast)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb mix (optional)
  • 2 ½ cups whole-wheat flour

Directions:

Mix the yeast and warm water in a medium bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes until slightly bubbly

Add honey, olive oil, salt, optional garlic powder, Italian herbs, and ½ cup flour. Stir until well mixed. Continue adding flour in ½ cup increments until you have formed a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until elastic. You can also do this with a dough hook attachment on a stand mixer.

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes before tossing or rolling out for a pizza crust. 

Want more easy weeknight recipes? Check out our FREE Download – 5 Free Weeknight Recipes Your Whole Family Will Love

 

Meet Cara Clark

I began my career as a way to heal my own body and give me the energy to seek the life I was called to live.

Now, as an integrative nutritionist and wellness educator, I help people nurture their bodies through a non-dieting approach to food and the beautiful connections between physical wellness, mental and emotional health, and spirituality that have taken my own life to the next level.

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