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!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Spinach and Sausage
This one pan dinner was inspired by a recipe posted by Wegman's. See the link in my post. I bulked up the dish with some natural apple chicken sausage and walnuts, making it an easy fall-inspired meal!
Meal prep can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Instant Pot to the rescue!
I’ve been experimenting with cooking spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot. It is admittedly a bit of a different texture than when baked in the oven as it is cooked with moisture in the Instant Pot rather than dry heat. But, it gets done SO much faster and I like that. I love how spaghetti squash is so porous and takes on flavors so easily. I recently had a meal from my favorite meal service, Paleo Works, that combined spaghetti squash, chicken and tomato bruschetta. I decided to try to do a quick copycat recipe using my Instant Pot. While mine is admittedly a hack in comparison to that chef’s creation, I think I threw together a tasty meal. You can certainly make your own homemade bruschetta, but I use a jarred grocery store kind in this recipe in order to save time.
I also have been exploring warm potato salads. Have you ever had a Hot German Potato Salad where the potatoes are slightly over cooked and starting to fall apart? The potatoes begin to fall apart as you stir in the dressing and it creates a thick sauce. It is so good! It occurred to me that I could create an Italian version of Hot Potato Salad using jarred basil pesto and red potatoes. I also threw in some green beans for a veggie kick, and chicken for added protein. Best of all, I could cook it all in the Instant Pot at once!
I made four of each of these meals for a total of EIGHT meals all at the same time in roughly 45 minutes. While the squash was cooking, I prepped the chicken, green beans, and potatoes. When the squash finished, I removed it and washed my pot. I then added the chicken, potatoes and green beans to the pot to cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. I scraped out the spaghetti squash and mixed in some tomato bruschetta. I portioned it out in four containers. When the pot timer went off, I released the steam and removed half of the chicken and evenly distributed over each of the servings of squash. I added a heaping spoonful of bruschetta on top of the chicken, and BAM! Four meals were done. Next I scooped out the potato mixture and put it in a bowl. I thinned out some jarred basil pesto with olive oil and then gently tossed the potato mixture with the pesto until it was coated evenly. I divided it into four servings, and BAM! Four more meals done!
A couple notes: I tried the hot potato salad using frozen chicken. I cooked it for 13 minutes. It was good, but the potatoes were extremely soft. I think if you are using frozen chicken, then you should cook the potatoes and green beans separately for 8 minutes. Cook the frozen chicken for 13 minutes. Then, combine. Also, if you don’t like basil pesto, just use melted butter instead. I also made this with cilantro pesto and it was delicious!
This prep is easy, quick, AND healthy. Get yourself an Instant Pot and give it a try!
Interested in the mesh steamer basket shown in my instruction video! Grab it here! Or, try this one that was just released on Amazon!
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Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Spoon out seeds and strings. Place halves in steamer basket and into liner pot. Add one cup water.
Set pot to manual high pressure for 4 minutes and allow 5 min natural release. If you like firmer strands of spaghetti squash, you may opt to do 3 minutes instead.
While squash is cooking, cube red potatoes. Trim ends from fresh green beans and cut into thirds. Cube raw chicken and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. You may choose to add additional seasonings of your choice. I typically add a garlic seasoning from Sprouts that I like.
When Instant Pot timer goes off and steam has released for five minutes, turn the valve to release remaining steam. Use an oven mit to remove squash from pot. Allow to cool.
Wash your liner pot.
Add potatoes, green beans and chicken (in that order) into pot. Add one cup broth.
Replace lid on pot, turn valve to sealing, and reset to 8 minutes high pressure.
While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, use a fork to scrape spaghetti squash out of its skin. Transfer strands to a large bowl.
Stir in 6 oz (half the jar) of Tomato Bruschetta. Portion out squash into four meal prep containers.
When timer goes off in Instant Pot, use a quick release for the steam.
Use a large spoon to scoop out half of the chicken chunks and evenly portion in each container on top of the squash.
Spoon remaining Tomato Bruschetta evenly across all four containers over the chicken chunks.
Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese, if desired.
Carefully use a slotted spoon to scoop the remaining chicken, potatoes, and green beans out of the pot. Potatoes will be very soft so handle with care. Discard broth that remains in the pot.
Combine pesto and olive oil in a small bowl to thin it out a bit.
Spread pesto over chicken and potato mixture, and carefully toss to coat evenly.
Distribute to four meal prep containers.
Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and walnuts or pine nuts, if desired.
I’m always searching for creative ways to get my vegetables in. To me, the best vegetable is a disguised vegetable. (I’m working on that.) Broccoli that doesn’t look like or taste like broccoli sounds good to me! A couple months ago, I was looking at a recipe for squash fritters and a light bulb turned on. Yet another way to disguise a serving of veggies! Better yet, these fritters would hold up better in the fridge through the week in my food prep containers.
I decided not only would a fritter be delicious using mixed vegetables instead of just squash, but that I could also easily make this without wheat flour. I figured coconut flour would be the best choice combined with the steamed vegetables and eggs because it would help bind everything together. I kept the seasoning fairly standard with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but feel free to make them more savory with herbs like rosemary or thyme.
You can certainly bake or pan fry these fritters, but my world currently revolves around my air fryer so the directions below are for the air fryer. Heat up a little oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook about 4 minutes per side if you want to use your stove. I have tried both ways and I prefer the air fryer as it cooks through more thoroughly..
This probably won’t win any culinary awards for best dressed or fanciest, but it’s a quick and easy food prep option that I hope you enjoy!
Here is a photo of how I used them in my weekly prep:
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I was inspired to try the ever popular Zuppa Toscana soup in my Instant Pot, but trying to find sausage without added sugar and additives proved to be a tough feat. Just take a look at the sausage in the meat department of your local grocery store and you will find all kinds of unsettling things in the ingredients list. For this reason, I decided to change up the traditional recipe using sausage and instead use reduced fat ground pork and seasonings. The result was absolutely delicious, completely sugar-free, and got six thumbs up from my crew!
Although I don’t follow a whole 30 or Paleo diet exclusively, my husband does in an effort to help with his Ulcerative Colitis struggles. It’s hard trying to keep things interesting but this recipe hits the spot!
This is a tough one to calculate on 21 Day Fix, but here’s what I came up with: 1/2 red, 1 yellow, 1 blue (for coconut cream) and 1 green IF you make sure to get a lot of kale in your serving. If you think the container counts should be different, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did!
This post contains affiliate links which directly help support this blog. I only post links for products I’ve purchased and recommend, and my opinions are my own.
Whole 30 Zuppa Toscana Soup
Hearty and delicious, this soup is whole 30 compliant and similar to the popular dish served in Olive Garden.
Press Saute function on Instant Pot and add oil to liner pot. Add chopped onion to hot oil and cook until translucent. Add minced garlic, ground pork, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. (I used about a half teaspoon of salt, and quarter teaspoon of pepper.) Brown pork.
Press cancel on Pot. Add broth, potatoes, and basil.
Replace lid and set pot to Manual 10 minutes, high pressure. When the timer goes off, use a quick release to release steam.
Remove the lid and add two cups kale.
Add in 1/2 cup canned coconut milk.
Add additional seasonings like crushed red pepper, if desired. You may opt to add additional salt and pepper to your liking as well.
Today is Monday. Today feels like Monday. I’m stressed already and I just woke up.
There is a bug in our house that started with a friend that was visiting who got it, and then passed on to my older son, and then last night struck my three year old. Luckily, it seems to only be a 24 hour bug, but my little guy was up half the night getting sick. There is nothing worse than seeing your child suffering.
On top of this, my dad is going in for hip replacement surgery today. I live 650 miles away from him, and it’s killing me to not be there to support him in person. He has been in a lot of pain for the last 9 months. Although he is very much looking forward to this surgery, it doesn’t stop the worry!
Today feels like a good day for some “get well soon” soup. I’m revisiting a recipe I posted several months ago because I found a different kind of pasta that my family just loved. My son loves Campbell’s Double Noodle Family Style Soup, but I do not love all the sodium and yucky stuff that is in it. I found Fideo Cut Spaghetti in the pasta aisle and I knew this would make my soup recipe a lot more like Campbell’s. Fideo is basically just short pieces of regular spaghetti. My son was convinced my soup was from his favorite can. Win!
If you are also having the Monday blues, give this soup a try and cheer up, buttercup. I’m gonna do the same!
Better Than Campbell's Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Sauté minced garlic, diced onions, celery and carrots with heavy seasonings (I used S and P, Italian seasoning, and onion powder) in pot using olive oil.
Add two chicken breasts on top. Pour enough broth in to just cover chicken breast.
Turn Instant Pot on Manual High Pressure for 7 minutes with 3 min NPR before releasing pressure.
Remove chicken breast and place on cutting board. Shred and dice. (You can shred while the noodles are cooking!)
Turn pot to Sauté and adjust to More. Add another 32oz of broth to pot. Let it come to a boil. When it is boiling, add 6 oz Fideo Cut Spaghetti.
When noodles are al dente', turn off your pot and add chicken. Stir well.
At this point, you may want to add more seasoning to taste and additional broth or water if you like a brothier soup. I do, so I added another 32 oz of chicken stock. In total, I probably used 3 boxes of broth. (I made my own previously so I wasn't really measuring.) Enjoy!
My parents recently sent me a text that said a “Sushi Bazooka” was on the way and to watch for it in the mail. What the heck? A what?? My mom said that my dad saw it on television or Amazon or somewhere, and he decided that they needed one. He also decided that my brother and I needed one. Alrighty then! I can’t laugh at my dad too hard. My love for kitchen gadgets clearly comes from him. He texted me the other day to tell me he had just found a pressure cooker in the garage he’d never even used and forgot he had. I’m going for a visit to Maryland this weekend and though my parents will be out of town, I’m staying at their house. I might have to see what else in that garage!
Anyway, the “Sushi Bazooka” post will be coming soon since you know I have to review and link you up to this contraption. In the meantime, I want to share a 21 Day Fix Approved sushi “unroll.” This sushi bowl is sure to hit the stop for you raw fish lovers out there. I found my “sushi grade” tuna at Sprouts. The butcher recommended that I trim a very thin slice off each side of the steak and wash well before consuming. She said that although the tuna is “sushi grade,” it is still cut on the same board as the other fish. I’m very glad she told me that, and I certainly took her advice.
Now that I know I can successfully work with raw fish, I am ready to tackle my Bazooka! Stay tuned!
Wanna see me make it live? Check out my youtube video and make sure you subscribe!
Also, here is a link to Steve’s Kitchen where I found the great instructions for the sushi rice.
Want more info on 21 Day Fix! Hit me up with questions! I’d love to have you join my team. The fastest way to get a message to me is through my Facebook page! Hope you are following me!
*These instructions are based off an instruction video from Steve's Kitchen." Please see the link to the video below.
Rinse sushi rice well to remove as much starch as possible. Combine rice, water, and dash of salt in saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to boil, turn heat down to simmer. Cover saucepan with a clean dish towel or aluminum foil and then place glass lid. (Make sure to fold the edges of your dish towel up and over the lid as to keep it safely away from your hot burner.) Do not disturb for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Place cooked sushi rice in a plastic or wooden bowl.
In a small sauce pan, add rice vinegar and sugar and cook over medium heat. Stir and allow sugar granules to dissolve completely. Remove from heat, and drizzle over sushi rice. Stir gently with a plastic spoon.
Thoroughly wash sushi grade tuna. On a clean service, dice tuna into small pieces. Place into bowl.
To the tuna, add diced green onions, lite soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Stir well to coat tuna.
Build each serving by adding 1/2 cup rice, 1 and 1/4 cup cucumbers, 1/2 of the tuna mixture, and 1/4 avocado to two bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with 1/2 TBSP sesame seeds.
You will prepare more rice than you need for this recipe. I did this purposely in case you want to use additional rice in your bowl. If you are following 21 Day Fix, I recommend using the 1/2 cup that I put in the instructions as this equals one yellow. If you are not following the Fix, you may add as much rice as you like to your bowl. You may have family members (in my case, my husband) who will want a lot more than a half cup. The rice recipe works equal parts rice to water, so adjust up or down as needed.
The counts for the bowls assembled as listed in the instructions: 1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 Green, 1 Blue, 1 Orange
Hi I'm Jaime.
Modern Day Fox is a place where we celebrate the multi-passionate people in this world who are making it happen. This is also a place for me to create content around the topics I am personally most passionate about – personal development, photography, fitness, food, image, and music. This is a space to inspire and to be inspired. It's a classroom to teach and to learn. It's a table to share and explore. Together, let's learn how to "outfox them all!"