Maple Butter Carrots

Get your kids eating this easy carrot side dish on a weeknight dinner this week! They hold up well in the fridge for a few days, too- making it a meal prep rockstar.

Hey, wanna know how to get your kids eating more vegetables?

Make a carrot dish dish with butter and maple syrup.

I know, I know. It sounds like you’re basically making candy out of carrots.

And honestly, in a way, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

This kid-friendly carrot side dish is big, soft bites of carrot, cooked in butter and maple syrup.

First, you caramelize the carrots in butter, getting a lovely brown and toasty thang going.

Then, you add maple syrup and a lid to the pot, so they steam in the sweetness and retain that lovely brown caramelization.

We love these carrots on the side of something hearty, like a pot roast or roast chicken.

And they hold up like rockstars in the fridge for up to 5 days, so they get an extra participation trophy in the meal prep game!

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Maple Butter Carrots

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Description

Bite-sized chunks of carrot are browned in butter and then a lid is added and they are steamed with maple syrup, making these kid-friendly and a great side dish for your weeknight dinner tale. I used peeled, chopped carrots but baby carrots work great, too!


Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

3 pounds carrots, peeled and ends trimmed

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons maple syrup

½ cup water


Instructions

Chop the carrots into bite sized pieces.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the carrots and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots have begun to brown and caramelize in the butter.

Add the maple syrup and stir to coat, then add the water and quickly cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.

Cook the carrots until the water has dissolved and the carrots have softened through, about 5 minutes.


Green Thai Quick Chicken Curry with Vegetables

A simple green Thai curry that you can throw together faster than the delivery guy can roll up to your home. 

Stop calling for takeout! This quick chicken curry recipe is packed with Thai flavors, including green curry paste, creamy coconut milk, bell peppers, eggplant, and carrots, all served over steaming long grain rice.

I love ordering Thai food for delivery. It’s my favorite style of takeout food, especially since our neighborhood here in NYC boasts some of the best Thai restaurants in the city.

But making a quick chicken curry at home is actually faster than waiting on my local takeout guy! Plus, I can make twice the amount of food and eat the leftovers for lunch for like, 3 days. As a work at home mom, having something like a quick chicken curry that I can just grab and go is so helpful.

 

In Thai cooking, curries are named after the color of the curry paste that is used as a base: red, yellow, and green.

I’ve always had a soft spot for green curry paste; made with cilantro, lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal (an Asian member of the ginger family), it’s the sweetest and freshest flavor of the Thai curry trio.

This particular Thai curry can be made with any whichever curry paste you use; I usually buy sets of 6 curry paste at a time on Amazon and keep them in my fridge. They make whipping up a quick chicken curry (or vegetable curry, or shrimp curry) on a weeknight twice as easy.

Nabbing the flavors of Thai cuisine usually requires the balance of four specific flavors: creamy, sour, spicy and sweet.

It’s what makes Thai cooking so freaking delicious- it attracts just about every taste bud in your mouth!


Related: Creamy Weeknight 20-Minute Pumpkin Chicken Curry


For this quick chicken curry, the sauce includes coconut milk (creamy), lime juice (sour), curry paste (spicy) and a dash of white sugar (sweet). Balance each of these flavors together and you’re rocking at this curry business.

I can’t talk about making a quick chicken curry without making a shout out to our go-to rice. With kids running under my feet as I cook most evenings, I’m not always in the mood to cook rice on the stovetop or by hauling out the Instant Pot (which doubles as a rice cooker).

My husband and I discovered VeeTee Quick Cooking Rice a few months ago (you may remember it from this Weeknight Kimchi Fried Rice recipe!). We loved it so much we started buying it off Amazon in bulk!

I like that the rice can be made in just 2 minutes in the microwave and comes out tasting exactly the same as the rice I used to spend 20 minutes babysitting at the stove; it’s perfectly cooked through and seasoned.

So, I’ve joined with VeeTee Rice to give you a three-part blog series of my all-time favorite rice dishes! This quick chicken curry is the first, and I’ve got one recipe coming in August and another coming in October.

VeeTee has saved our weeknight dinner making on more than one occasion. So I’m thrilled to be able to bring you some recipes in the next few months that highlight some of our favorite VeeTee flavors!

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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Vegetables

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Description

A simple green curry that you can whip up on a weeknight. Beat the urge to call for takeout; the homemade version is quick and tasty!


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and cut into 1″ pieces )
  • 2 bell peppers, membranes and seeds removed (diced )
  • 1 small eggplant, diced ((about 2 cups) )
  • 1 pound chicken breast (diced )
  • 4 ounces Thai green curry paste ((about 5 tablespoons))
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 13.5 ounces coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat until oil is shimmering. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots have softened, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken, curry paste, dried ginger, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and toss to coat.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and chicken broth. Let the mixture come to a hard simmer, then let cook, stirring occasionally, about 12-15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and starts to thicken.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve over cooked long grain rice.

Sheet Pan Portobello Tacos with Simple Salsa Verde

Today I’m guest posting over at HippieDippeiMom.com with these banging Sheet Pan Portobello Tacos! Made with a simple salsa verde, they come together in just under 20 minutes.

I mean, look at these babies! Sheet pan portobello tacos are the winner dinner you haven’t made just yet. SO Good, guys, for real. And so quick to put together, too!


Read: Loaded Sheet Pan Cauliflower Nachos


Just perfection, right!?

You can grab the recipe over at HippieDippieMom! 


And while you’re at it, pin it so you don’t forget: if you love Sheet Pan recipes, you’ll LOVE this helpful cheat sheet of 10 DELICIOUS sheet pan meal ideas!!

SHEET PAN RECIPE IDEAS!

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Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Meal with Olives, Eggplant and Feta

Please Note: affiliate links are (or likely are) included in this post. That means if you make a purchase through any links I’ve included here, I may receive a pennies on the dollar commission for sending you there. I would never recommend a brand or products I didn’t know and trust. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

I’ve spoken to no less than 5 people in the last week who have never even heard of sheet pan meals. To which I whip out this incredibly easy chicken sheet pan dish, raise my arms to the heavens, and sing the praises of a dish that literally goes from cutting board to tabletop in like, 20 minutes. Tops.

All that to say if you’re not on the sheet pan meal train yet then choo-choo, mama. Because finding a simple chicken sheet pan meal – or any sheet pan meal, really- is gonna suddenly make your weeknight cooking so much easier.

The beauty of a sheet pan meal is threefold:

  • It has to be simple, or else it won’t cook right
  • The best sheet pan meals contain a veggie, a protein, and a sauce (that’s it!)
  • You have one pan to wash at the end of it all. And if you line your sheet pan with tin foil, you have no pans to wash at the end of it all.

Here’s me, after successfully cooking this Greek chicken sheet pan meal the other night, and discovering it only took 20 total minutes from start to finish:

It’s that easy.

Of course, you can’t just throw a bunch of ingredients on a sheet pan and hope for the best. There are a handful of rules that should be followed for maximum quality:

Use a heavy bottom sheet pan. That is- not a jelly roll pan, not a cookie sheet. A strong, durable, rimmed sheet pan. I got these Analon-brand pans in my wedding registry almost 10 years ago and they are still holding up like champs. In fact, they’ve gotten better with time.

Make sure your ingredients are all cut or prepared in a way that makes them cook in the same amount of time. 

Case in point: This Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Meal I’m highlighting in the recipe at the bottom of this post. I took one of those gargantuan chicken breasts and sliced it in half, so each piece was about the same size- this ensures even cooking.

Then I paired the chicken with eggplant, a veggie that roasts well but not super quickly. By chopping the eggplant into ½” slices, it ensured they were the right size to roast to a perfect texture alongside the chicken. Bigger, or thinner, or smaller slices would have cooked differently. So until you’re comfortable with cooking times of various ingredients, make sure you find recipes from people you trust and follow their recommendations.

✅ While the pan’s in the oven, make a quick side. 

I like serving my sheet pan meals with something starchy on the side, like boiled potatoes, or cheesy grits. While the sheet pan is in the oven, I make the starch quickly on the stovetop.

Or I just, you know, don’t do any extra cooking and use the time to chillax with my family and start unwinding at the end of a long ass day. You totally have permission to do that as well, mama.

✅ Line it up.

We had a big discussion in my Busy Mamas Cooking Facebook group the other day regarding reusable silicone sheet pan liners: are they worth it? While I personally don’t own any, I think they’re pretty cool to have and they definitely are cheaper than buying tin foil all the time. Regardless of whether you use reusable liners or tin foil, line your sheet pan for super easy cleanup.

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Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Description

This simple chicken sheet pan meal comes together easily, making it a great weeknight dinner! Serve with a side of rice pilaf or a big leafy salad.


Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 pound boneless (skinless chicken (thighs or breast))
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted black or green olives
  • 1 large eggplant (ends trimmed and cut into big dice)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 450*F.
  2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.
  3. In a small bowl, add the paprika, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix with a fork to combine.
  4. Rub the chicken thighs with olive oil, then place on the sheet pan, leaving an inch or so of space between each thigh. Sprinkle evenly with the spice mix, and rub the spice mix evenly into the thighs.
  5. Scatter the eggplant and olives around the chicken, and use tongs to toss and combine. Spread all ingredients in the pan in one even layer.
  6. Place the pan(s) in the oven and roast, 12-15 minutes, until eggplant has browned and the chicken is cooked completely through (juices from the chicken will run clear when sliced with a sharp knife)
  7. Sprinkle the entire pan with the crumbled feta, transfer to a serving platter, and serve.

Weeknight Kimchi Fried Rice with Leftover Vegetables

Click for my disclosures page

. This post is sponsored by VeeTee Rice. 

Kimchi Fried Rice is super easy to whip up on a weeknight for dinner, and it’s a great way to use up leftover ingredients hanging around in the fridge.

The spicy, umami flavor of kimchi tossed in fried rice elevates the dish and perks it up, while being good for your gut health at the same time!

And using VeeTee Rice is a super easy way to make fried rice, which is always best when made with slightly old, dried out rice. Since VeeTee is a parcooked, microwaveable rice, it’s cooked just enough and dry just enough to toast and caramelize the rice, making this dish a perfect “I’m in the mood for fried rice” option that you don’t have to think ahead for.

I’ll also confess that I have a major soft spot for kimchi, which is a Korean style of spicy pickle.

Koreans add kimchi to tons of different dishes, and it’s so good for you. If you’re thinking about hopping on the fermented foods bandwagon, kimchi is a great place to start.

Where we live in New York City, kimchi is really easy to find. You can even grab a jar in our local bodega/deli!

However, if it’s not something that’s found in your neck of the woods and you’d like to try it, I’ve used this recipe from The Kitchn to make my own before, and it’s crazy simple. You can purchase gochugaru, a Korean style of chili flakes, on Amazon.

If you’re used to getting your fermented goodness from things like sauerkraut or kombucha but you haven’t given kimchi a try, I really recommend it. It’s a cool, pickle-y, spicy flavor that adds so much to any recipe. My favorite way is on the side of my scrambled eggs in the morning!

Remember the secret I just told you, about how the perfect fried rice, kimchi fried rice or otherwise, starts with slightly old and dried out rice?

It’s by losing its moisture that puts rice in its best position to be fried, so VeeTee’s pre-cooked Heat and Eat Single Flavor packages are a great pantry option to keep on hand for nights when you’re in the mood to whip up a batch of fried rice.

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Weeknight Kimchi Fried Rice

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Description

In this particular recipe, I used roasted broccoli I had made earlier in the week as part of my power hour meal prep sesh.

if using fresh broccoli: about 1 1/2 cups fresh florets, chopped fine.

I didn’t know how I would use it that when I was prepping, but chopped broccoli florets were on sale at Fresh Direct this week, so I bought two packages and roasted them up on Sunday.

I love the way roasted broccoli takes on almost a popcorn-y flavor, and it’s so good to have on hand as an addition to meals, or just as a side dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 small onion (diced (about 1 cup diced))
  • 2 carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 1 package VeeTee Heat and Eat Long Grain Rice (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped prepared kimchi
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/3 cup green peas
  • 1 cup roasted broccoli (see note if using fresh)

Instructions

  1. Combine vegetable oil and sesame oil and heat until shimmering in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and carrots and cook until the onions have gone translucent and the carrots have softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and break apart with a wooden spoon. Toast the rice, stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes or until it has started to brown.
  4. Add the kimchi,, garlic, ginger powder, peas and broccoli and cook, stirring to combine, another 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables have heated through.
  5. Remove from heat and serve,

Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners: Thai Larb Rice Bowls

This post sponsored by Farm Promise Pork. Click here to see my disclosures and privacy policy. 

Are you new to the idea of meal prepping work lunches for the workweek? Easy meal prep recipes for beginners can feel hard to come by.


READChili-Lime Tuna Salad Pita Pockets (Low-Carb Make-Ahead Lunch Idea!)


Thai Larb Gai is a traditional meal from Laos, an area in Thailand. On your typical Western-style Thai restaurant menu, it’s usually served as seasoned ground meat with red onions and other veggies, on a bed of lettuce and drizzled with a bright and zesty lime dressing.

I took that standard appetizer dish, layered it with rice, and turned into a perfect working lunch.

These Thai-style rice bowls make an awesome meal prep recipe for beginners, and they come together quickly. Plus, they taste even better as the week goes on!

Bonus: this meal prep recipe works as a hot or cold lunch option! This means you don’t have to have lunchtime access to a microwave or stove in order to enjoy it #LunchtimeWins

I mean, those pretty bowls on Pinterest look like they take forever to assemble!

Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’m not on any special diet or meal plan, like paleo, 21-Day Fix, Whole30, etc. And sometimes it seems like every meal prep recipe out there is geared specifically to some sort of diet or meal plan.

Don’t get me wrong; diets and special meal plans are awesome for some.

But when I go to search my Pinterest boards or Google for meal prep recipe ideas, I find myself wading through bodybuilder and paleo sites and have trouble finding what I want: a make-ahead lunch that is simple, tasty, and portable.

That’s why I’m starting a new series of recipes, for those of us who want make-ahead lunches but aren’t especially following a specific diet or meal plan. And to kick off this series, I’ve teamed up with Farm Promise pork to make these crazy easy, super delicious Thai Larb Rice Bowls.

A big part of what makes these Thai Larb Rice Bowls so good is using quality pork from Farm Promise.

Farm Promise recently reached out to me to see if I would be interested in developing recipes highlighting their new pork products, which are sold in ShopRite stores throughout the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

Once I looked a little more into their standards and promises and discovered what a quality brand they are, the offer was an easy one to agree to.

You guys know that I’m not one to advocate for a specific brand or company unless I 1,000% believe in it. It’s simply not worth my time or yours to recommend a product I’m not excited about.

But Farm Promise is good stuff. Farm Promise farmers don’t use antibiotics in feed for their pigs. They’re raised humanely on family farms, fed a vegetarian diet, and are raised without growth promotants.

Basically, it’s farming like it should be, on local farms run by families that care about their products. And it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy, either.

To make these Thai Larb Rice Bowls, ground pork is browned in a hot pan with brown sugar, garlic, and lemongrass paste.

After the pork browns in the pan, it’s taken off the heat and tossed with a simple lime juice, fish sauce, and basil dressing.

Divide the pork over cooked rice, and you’re good to go! If you’ve already got rice prepared, the whole dish comes together in about 10 or 12 minutes. (so easy!) 

It’s the perfect amount of food for 4 on-the-small-side lunches; if you’re serving this dish for dinner, it makes enough for 2.

Meal prep for work lunches = never easier.

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Thai Larb Meal Prep Bowls

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minute
  • Total Time: `
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 pound Farm Promise ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 leaves basil (roughly chopped)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Thai chili paste (optional)
  • 4 cups basmati or white long grain rice

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Cook onions in the oil over medium heat until they have started to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and lemongrass paste and stir, cooking until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted, then immediately add the pork to the pan. Cook, breaking the pork up with a wooden spoon as it browns until the pork is cooked through completely and no pink parts remain.
  5. While the pork is cooking, combine the lime juice, basil, fish sauce and (optional) Thai chili paste in a small bowl, stirring to mix.
  6. After the pork is cooked through, remove the pan from heat and stir in the lime juice mixture.
  7. Divide the rice into four meal prep containers (or bowls, if serving immediately). Top each container with an even amount of the pork mixture.
  8. Cool to room temperature, then store, tightly covered and in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

If you’re new to meal prepping, you’ll LOVE my Meal Prep Power Hour Worksheet. It breaks down exactly how you can plan, prep, and cook a week’s worth of lunches and dinners- in only 60 minutes!

Leave your name and email below, and I’ll send it to you straight away.