Finally seeing some sunshine here in Tennessee. Wonder how long it will last? Sunshine has got me like….mmm, I need TACOS! I whipped up some delicious 100% plant-based Mexican cauliflower tacos topped with a super easy Mexican slaw, and I’m sharing it with you today! This preps so well and keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days. Make it on a Sunday and enjoy it later in the week to make your busy week a little easier! (If you can wait that long to eat it, that is!)
Ok, Tennessee. I’ve had about enough of your weather identity problems. Bring on spring already!! I swear my sons have had more cancelled soccer and flag football games than they’ve actually gotten to play. Bummer!
One thing that always make me happy is… ranch. Since moving to a plant-based diet, I have really missed dipping any and everything in creamy fattening Ranch dressing. Good news is I’ve perfected a plant-based version of Ranch dressing and it’s coming soon to this blog! You know who else loves Ranch? My two boys. And thanks to them, I get to share with you a delicious Ranch chicken you can easily make in your Instant Pot.
Here’s to clean plates and NO complaints!
Check out this video to see how it’s done:
A quick reminder that my monthly challenges are still happening – if you are ready to change your health and fitness for once and all, send an email to moderndayfox at gmail.com and let’s get this party started!!
Pasta with white beans is a recipe has appeared on my menu a couple times over the last few weeks. I made the Red, White and Green Pasta from The Simple Vegan Cookbook and loved it. Then, my weekly order from My Veggie Chef had a very similar dish. Both times my family really liked it, so I knew I had to create my own recipe for the Instant Pot. I think I came up with something very special with this recipe! It is low in fat, vegetarian, and delicious!
The sky is the limit on how you can improvise with this recipe. Add some chicken or sausage if you eat meat. Add some feta if you eat cheese. Add olives and pine nuts to make it even more Mediterranean. Switch out the spinach with argula or kale. You do you, and make this dish your own. I do recommend using the sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes that are soaked in oil. It gives the pasta great flavor! If you opt for ones that are not soaked, you may need tom compensate with additional spices. Remember, any change in the recipe that you make can affect the outcome. The directions are for white penne pasta. If you change the pasta, you may need to research to see how that changes cooking times.
Check out how to make this recipe here on my youtube channel:
I had a yard sale yesterday and it was interesting to say the least. I personally love yard sale shopping, but it brings out some mighty strange characters. One guy ripped into the driveway with an overflowing truck full of junk. He looked like Uncle Fester and talked in a gruff voice like he had a mouth full of marbles. He handed me a plastic cup with a Taco Bell dog on the front and asked me for black coffee. “No coffee here,” I said. Then he proceeded to tell me how pretty my smile was and he would like to take me home. I told him I come with a husband. Then he went around and made a huge pile of stuff (including a box of nursing bras) and struck a deal with me. He said he would come back with the money. He didn’t, but he left his dog cup.
Another young girl asked if she could just buy a whole tub of baby clothes for $25. I told her I wasn’t ready to sell it like that, but if she came back at two pm I might be feeling generous. She came back and by that time all the clothes were mixed up in the various tubs. I told her she could go through them and make a big pile of items she wanted. As she worked on her pile, she told her friend she didn’t want coats, anything over 12 months, and nothing stained. She made a pile and asked me how much. I said, “$20?” (There were 38 pieces of clothing.) She said, “Well, I thought I was gonna come back here and grab a tub for $25.” I said, “Well you can add more clothes if you’d like to your pile and pay $25.” She was really stuck on grabbing a tub. I asked why she would want to grab a tub of mixed up clothes when I’m letting her pick the pieces she wants. Again, I told her she could add more clothes to her pile and still pay just $20. She said, “But I only brought $11.” Um, ok. “Alright, you can have that pile you picked out for $11 then.” She said, “But I thought I’d be getting a tub full,” she said. I replied, “I’m trying to follow your logic. You wanted to grab one of these tubs ‘as is’ and pay $25, but you only brought $11. And now, I’m letting you pick the clothes you actually want instead of a tub full of junk and agreeing to accept $11, and you clearly aren’t happy. What do you want exactly?” She said, “I don’t know. I just thought you said you’d be feeling generous, so I would get a tub.” She was pretty ticked off, but she gave me the $11 and took the clothes that I let her hand pick. Her friend later came back to buy something and told me that she was upset because she felt I misled her. I am still mystified by the whole thing. I truly thought I was being generous by letting her hand pick the clothes she wanted rather than take a random tub of mixed up sizes and conditions.
Anyway, I do understand that money is hard to part with, especially when you only have a little. For that reason, I’m sharing a cheap and easy Instant Pot recipe that is tasty and versatile. You can add hot sauce, top it with chicken or smoked sausage, or roll it up in a burrito. It will makes several meals, and stretch your hard earned dollar so that you can buy more at your next yard sale.
Here is a video to see how I did it:
I feel like a lot of people psych themselves out by making food prep way too complicated. There is a saying called KISS that I love and follow: “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Especially when you are new to meal planning, you don’t have to pretend you are a master chef and cook things that have a 100 different ingredients and take 3 hours. Choose recipes that are easy and quick, and that have enough servings to make multiple meals.
I have many people in my monthly fitness challenge group that are doing the 21 Day Fix and searching for easy ways to use their containers. I came up with this simple Instant Pot prep that makes at least four meals with chicken leftover for other meals. I suggest serving the chicken and black bean salad over two cups of chopped romaine lettuce with a 1/4 avocado. If you are using the container system, that would calculate to a red, yellow, 2 greens, and a blue container. Not only is it low fat, low calorie, and delicious, but it all comes together in roughly 15 minutes including the time your Instant Pot needs to come to pressure!
Check out this video to see the prep in action! Make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel too!
I’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster this weekend. My Gram is 94 years old and has been in nursing home for the last few years. She is blind and pretty much confined to her bed, only occasionally going to the cafeteria if a relative insists she does. Everyday my dad (her only child) goes to visit her and she asks why God won’t just take her home. It must be so hard on them both to have that conversation everyday.
This weekend she developed pneumonia and was taken to the hospital. They told us that the infection was in her blood and the antibiotics probably would not knock it out of her system. Since she requested no life saving measures, any other treatments would be too invasive. My dad said she appeared close to passing on and started meeting with Hospice. I prepared myself minute by minute for the “call.” I was so sad, but I knew she had been ready for so long. My brother went over for a visit after work. He said when he walked in she looked as if she could go any minute. But only 30 minutes later, she woke up and started talking. She was confused, and mad! But, to say she did a 180 is an understatement. When my dad returned, he said she was back to complaining about everything which is a good sign.
When my dad called me to tell me, I honestly didn’t know how to feel. I wanted to feel overjoyed that she turned for the better. Ultimately, I am of course so happy that I got to talk with her again. But, I also feel a lot of sadness for her. She feels so much misery with a life of just “existing.” I feel selfish wanting her to live forever, but I feel guilty as hell wishing for anything else.
Today when I spoke with her she said, “You all thought the good Lord was gonna take me home, but He fooled the hell out of you!” I cracked up. That right there is why it’s so hard to say good-bye.
So, like I said, I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. When your emotions get the best of you, that might be a sign it’s time to make a pasta dish. And, that’s what the rest of this post is about. Here is the easiest one pot Pasta Bolognese for your Instant Pot ever. It’s perfect a busy weeknight when you forgot to plan your dinner. You can make it vegan by subbing out the ground beef with diced mushrooms. Saute them just like you would the meat, and then follow the rest of the directions.
Check out this video to see just how easy it is!
The next few recipes I will be posting on Modern Day Fox were designed specifically for a prep that I created for a friend in need. I have been six weeks meat and dairy free, and focused on a whole food, plant based diet. I’m feeling great, but I have to admit that I miss cooking meat in my Instant Pot even more so than eating it. How crazy is that? What can I say? I just love experimenting with my IP. When my friend, Cassie, asked if I would help with some freezer meal prepping for her to use post-surgery, I jumped at the chance. Not only would this allow me to be of service to a friend, but I would also be able to whip up some fun meat-based recipes to share with you.
There are many Beef Stew recipes out there, but mine was probably most heavily influenced by this one at Budget Bytes. I prefer a specific mix of vegetables though – always gotta have potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery in my stew. I also do not love worchestershire or thyme flavors in my stew. I love to add red wine in my beef recipes as that added layer deepens the flavor. Finally, an arrowroot slurry gives it the perfect stew texture.
I hope you enjoy my version of this American classic!
I love cooking pork in my Instant Pot. Pork happens to be my favorite meat, and I make it for my family regularly! The Instant Pot has made it a much faster process. Pork Carnitas is my favorite way to prepare the meat, but often the recipes are a bit too spicy for my little guys. Because of this, I decided to throw together my own version and share it with you. Feel free to spice it up with extra cumin, chili powder, and even some habanero peppers if that is your jam!
Remember that the cut of meat is very important depending on what results you want get from your pork. In my video below, I chose a slightly leaner cut of meat with a pork tenderloin. But, a pork shoulder roast has much more fat and makes for a more tender dish. I’m trying to watch my weight a bit right now due to the holiday temptations in every direction, so I opted for a cut less fatty. I don’t recommend trimming the fat on a pork tenderloin. You need the fat to keep the meat nice and tender!
Check out a video of this prep here:
I hope your family enjoys this dish!
I stumbled across a really tasty looking recipes on the Wegman’s website for Roasted Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach and Cranberries. This looked like the perfect side dish for fall or for the Thanksgiving table, but I felt like it could also be turned into a delicious one pan dinner.
These day I’m loving nitrate-free Apple Chicken Sausage. It’s one of the meats that my husband (who has UC) can handle in small doses. I love slicing the sausage and throwing it on top of roasting vegetables. Food prep doesn’t get easier than that. When I saw the Wegman’s recipe, I knew the Apple Sausage would compliment this dish perfectly, and walnuts would take it over the top. I was right! We loved this fall-inspired dish!
Here’s a bonus tip – While you can certainly buy butternut squash that is peel and cubed already, it’s cheaper to buy a whole squash. Microwave your squash for three minutes and then it will be so much easier to cut and peel. I use a peeler and it was easy, peasy!
We ate dinner tonight by candle light! Thankfully for me, I zipped through dinner prep in less than 15 minutes using my Power XL Air Fryer and had everything done just as the power went out for the next 30 minutes. My kids thought it was pretty cool to have dinner in the dark. I was just thankful that my meatballs were not interrupted halfway through cooking. It would have been a real shame if those bad boys would have been ruined.
Since my husband went grain-free, I have found making meatballs without a binding ingredient such as bread crumbs or oats is pretty tricky. Too many times my meatballs ended up dissolving into mush and it was very frustrating. While surfing the web, I stumbled upon an idea for an unusual grain-free ingredient in meatballs and knew I had to give a shot. The magic ingredient? Potato chips! That’s right. Finely crushed potato chips is the perfect substitute for bread crumbs. It created a perfect texture and held the meatballs together extremely well. Now, I admit, I used Lay’s Potato Chips. Maybe not the healthiest choice. You can get organic potato chips, and I’ve seen recipes that use Sweet Potato chips or even beet chips.
The other key to making perfect meatballs is using a “meatballer!” A what?? I know, I know. I’d never heard of such a thing either, but a friend told me about hers and I had to buy one. Take a look at the one I got here. I was able to portion out my meatballs evenly because of this neat little tool.
I can already think of three questions that are going to come up, so I’ll just address them now.
#1 I don’t have an air fryer. Can I bake these? Well, hello! Of course you can. I would try baking them at 375 degrees for 20-25 min until they reach 165 internal temperature.
#2 Can I leave out the parmesan cheese? Sure! It won’t be exactly the same texture and taste, but it will still work.
#3 Can I use flavored chips? I haven’t tried this yet, but I think it would totally work. I want to try using barbecue chips and simmering them in BBQ sauce. My only thought about using flavored chips is to make sure the other seasonings will work with the flavor of your chips. The Italian season, for example, might need to be swapped for a seasoning that compliments your chips.
#4 Can I freeze these meatballs? You sure can. I have not tried cooking them from frozen in the air fryer, but I saw in some other meatball recipes that you would keep the cooking time the same as if they were fresh. Again, I haven’t tried it yet.
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