Freezer-to-Crockpot: Beef & Broccoli

Are you a busy mom who loves her slow cooker?  I don’t know what I’d do without mine.  Your family will love this Asian-inspired dinner because it tastes delicious.  You will love it because you can make in advance, pop it in the freezer, and later take it out to cook in the crockpot without any hassle!  I made mine about 3 weeks before serving for dinner, and it held up in the freezer beautifully!  As if you needed more reasons to try this — it’s nutritious (full of fiber, vitamin C and iron) and economical (only $2.82 per serving).  Enjoy!

Beef & Broccolibeefbroccoli

Yield: about 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 beef boullion cube
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 16 oz bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick circles
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice

Directions

  1. In a 1-gallon size plastic freezer bag, place beef, boullion cube, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and cornstarch.  In a separate plastic freezer bag, place broccoli and carrots.  Seal tightly and freeze for up to 3 weeks.
  2. When ready to prepare, dump contents of beef bag into slow cooker.  Add 1 cup water.  Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.  Add vegetables to slow cooker during last hour of cooking time.
  3. Serve over brown rice.

14 Nutritionist-Approved Eats

Stuck starving in an airport or out running errands?  What to do?!  Check out my Reader’s Digest article with the top choices for breakfast, lunch, drinks and dinner at Starbucks, Panera and Chick-fil-a!

14 Nutritionist-Approved Eats

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Lemons: One Sheet Lemon Chicken-Cabbage-Carrot Dinner

Guys – I am ALL about the one-sheet pan dinner craze!  Only one pan to clean up?!  Yes, please!  This delectable dinner came together super quick, and used up 2 large lemons (bonus!).  By the way, we harvested ONLY 140 pounds of lemons this year….. last year was over 200 pounds.  So, still a ton to use, but definitely less than prior winters!

Hope you love this!

One Sheet Lemon Chicken Cabbage Carrot Dinner

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 large lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cut into large slices
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Arrange chicken, cabbage and carrots on sheet pan.
  4. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over chicken and vegetables.  Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink inside and vegetables are tender.

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Lemons: Easy Fresh Lemon Salad Dressing

I use this on sooooo many foods….. salads (obviously), roasted Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sandwiches, steamed veggies…. it is super versatile and takes only a couple minutes to throw together.  And, the best part – it does not contain unpronounceable ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, salt or any other weird undesirable ingredients!  Hope you love it!

Easy Fresh Lemon Salad Dressing

Yield: about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Garlic-Herb flavor Mrs. Dash seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Put all ingredients into a mason jar & shake to combine.  Stores well in refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

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Lemons: Creamy Lemon Pistachio Pesto Pasta

img_6857What is more comforting than a warm bowl of creamy pasta?  Even better, add in some greens for fiber and vitamins, lemons for vitamin C, pistachios and avocado for healthy fats, and Greek yogurt for protein!  This dinner is fancy enough for company, yet quick enough for a weeknight!  I hope you love it!

Creamy Lemon Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Grated peel and juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, warm the yogurt with lemon peel.  Do not boil, just warm thoroughly.
  3. In a food processor, combine lemon juice, parsley, parmesan cheese, pistachios, avocado and garlic.  While processor is running, drizzle in olive oil until well combined.
  4. Place pesto in a large bowl.  Stir in yogurt-lemon peel mixture.  Stir in pasta and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Cheers, Jenn

Lemons: Juicing

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My husband weighs our lemon crop nearly every year.  Believe it or not, last winter we harvested over 200 pounds (WHAT?!) of lemons from our one tree!  We gave them away to friends & family & co-workers (& basically anyone we saw!), traded friends for oranges or grapefruit, but still had an overabundance of lemons to deal with!

I have a little juicer that we received as a wedding gift over 25 years ago.  It’s nothing fancy, but it sure does a great job!  I’ve juiced a bazillion lemons over the past 25 years.

Here are my tips:

  1. Get a huge trash can.  Make sure your garbage disposal is in top-notch working condition!
  2. It is best to pour the juice into plastic ice cube trays.
  3. Pop those ice cube trays in the freezer.
  4. If you have too much juice & not enough ice cube trays, you can either juice the lemons in shifts OR you can put the excess juice into plastic cups.
  5. It is nice to have both options of frozen lemon juice cubes AND frozen lemon juice cups.  Some recipes call for a little lemon juice and others will need more.
  6. When the ice cube trays are frozen, place the lemon juice cubes into a gallon-size freezer ziploc bag.  These will keep for up to a year (trust me, I know because we’ve had lemon juice forever & it is in perfect shape!)

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Cheers, Jenn

Lemons: Lemon Brownies

This may not be the healthiest lemon-based recipe, but it is truly decadent!  And, in our house, the fact that this recipe uses up about 3 large lemons is a huge bonus!  Sugary treats are okay once in a while, right?  Remember, I’m the down-to-earth Dietitian and I love goodies just as much as anyone…. well, maybe not as much as my teenager, but you get the idea….img_6794

Lemon Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest, divided
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9×9-inch baking dish with cooking oil spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together flour, sugar, salt and butter.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together eggs, 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 1/4 cup lemon juice.  Pour into flour mixture and beat at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 1/2 cup lemon juice.  Set aside.  Allow brownies to cool completely before glazing.

Hope you love it!

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