WGN TV: Family-Friendly, Quick Snacks + Dinners

Who doesn’t need quick, but whole food-based recipes to appeal to all tastes and ages? The APL Kitchen set out to keep it simple, but bring nutritious + simple options to Erin and Demetrius’s home last week in order to enlighten them on some new recipes and particular ingredients you can use to get in more veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, but full flavors.

First things first, which they seemed fascinated by, I ordered my groceries from Instacart.com who sends personal shoppers with your grocery list to your favorite local store (Mariano’s, Whole Foods, Costco, and more) and packages them up to be delivered right to your door. You can get groceries in as little as an hour and your first time is free! I am, as a new mom, always searching to add hours into my day! I HAD to do this in order to optimize my time and it is just such a genius idea! 

After shopping and replenishing your house with new + healthy foods, it’s meal prep time! Check out our recipes below for our specific snacks and some healthy shout-outs as to what separates them from others.

SNACKS

APL Trail Mix

makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • ½ TB Raw pumpkin seeds – raw is best so you skip the sodium + fat from roasting with oil + salt
  • ½ TB Goji berries, no added sugar and amazing health benefits when compared to processed dried fruit choices
  • 1/8 cup dried banana slices, love these for a filling add-on- you can make your own! APL uses plantains
  • 2 TB vegan Marshmellows, because you still need some “fun” stuff in there!
  • ½ TB Hemp seeds, are  healthy fat + these Navitas Naturals are my fave to put in trail mix, on top of popcorn, in salad dressing, et al.
  • ½ cup Whole Grain Rice crisps or Quinoa Cereal is ideal versus the white, sugary kinds – kids need fiber!
  • 1 TB Dark chocolate chunks, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and is still sweet enough to cure your need for those trail mix M&M’s
  • 1 TB Coconut flakes, when it comes unsweetened, it packs a healthy fat you will want on everything!
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ TB Coconut oil, melted

To Make:

  1. Simply place the ingredients through the coconut flakes in a bowl or baggie, throw the melted coconut oil on top and then the salt, shake + enjoy!

Popcorn Trio

Popcorn has a bit of fiber- it’s better than chips. But, let’s face it, it gets boring. So we flavored it up a bit and added some healthy super food add-ons to make it an even better snack!

  • Cinnamon-Crunch – 1 cup popcorn tossed with 2 tsp melted coconut oil in a baggie, then topped with 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. coconut sugar, + 1 TB hemp hearts. — Shake to mix + enjoy!
  • Taco Time – 1 cup popcorn tossed with 2 tsp melted coconut oil in a baggie, topped with flaxseeds + 2 tsp. homemade taco seasoning:
    • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
    • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
    • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
    • 1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
    • 1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
    • 1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
    • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

–Shake to mix + enjoy!

  • Cheesy-Kale Crunch – 1 cup popcorn tossed with 1 cup pan-sauteed kale (sauté over medium heat with 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil) + 1 TB parmesan cheese. –Toss it all together + enjoy!

Spinach Bites

Dr. Praeger’s spinach + broccoli bites get some veggies in when kids may not want them, like at snack time! We serve them with a healthier version of the American classic, Onion Dip.

APL Onion Dip:

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups organic yogurt or coconut yogurt, choosing a non-dairy yogurt like coconut yogurt is ideal because it is less processed with fewer add-ins and easier to digest vs dairy
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

To Make:

  1. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and toss in the onion and scallions- heat until lightly browned and soft- roughly 10 minutes.
  2. Combine yogurt with the onion mix and remaining ingredients in a small bowl- mix well. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

DINNERS

Sausage + Pepper-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash – cut in half, seeds spooned out, drizzled with unrefined olive oil, roasted at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until soft. Spaghetti squash is a veggie vs a white, processed pasta with no nutrient benefits.
  • 1 cup andouille chicken sausage, sliced – we used Amylu, our fave chicken sausage
  • 1 cup organic red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup organic marinara (or make your own!) – low-sugar premade marinara is ideal- some brands sneak 5g+ of sugar per serving, so check the label!
  • Optional: dash of raw, organic parmesan cheese to top

To Make:

  1. Simply roast the squash until “noodles” are soft and easily forked out.
  2. In a medium pan with a dab of virgin coconut or unrefined extra virgin olive oil, toss in the onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender over medium heat- roughly 6 minutes.
  3. Add in the chicken sausage and cook until well-warmed.
  4. Remove the squash from the oven when done and fork up the noodles, keeping them in the squash. Then, top each half with half of the sausage and veg mixture and half of the marinara- sprinkle with optional Parmesan. Place back in the oven until warm and Parmesan is melted.

Kung Pao Chicken – serve with 1 cup steamed broccoli

makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB sesame oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 LB skinless, boneless chicken thighs- chopped into small pieces
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3 TB Bragg’s liquid aminos – no wheat or gluten in this bad-boy!
  • 2 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp coconut nectar – unrefined sugar source replacing brown sugar. It is not as harsh on blood sugar and is not as “addictive” or processed.
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • Serve with a side of steamed broccoli

To Make:

  1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat-add onion and sauté for 10 minutes. Add garlic- sauté for another 30 seconds. Finally,
  2. Add the chicken in and cook until lightly browned-roughly 10 minutes.
  3. Combine 3/4 cup water, soy sauce, arrowroot starch, sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl-whisking it until the sugar and arrowroot starch dissolve. Add water mixture to pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Add bell pepper and snow peas to pan and cover- cook until vegetables are crisp and sauce thickens-about 10 minutes.

We served our favorite quick, but all-natural Applegate chicken nuggets with these sides (you can buy them gluten-free or not,) because they are non-GMO, the chickens are raised humanely and  are never treated with antibiotics.  Not to mention, the nutrition profile for a packaged food is excellent:

  • A serving of Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets contains180 calories, 9 grams of fat and 210 mg of sodium compared to 220 calories, 13 grams of fat and 470 mg of sodium in the leading conventional brand of chicken nuggets. 
  • Applegate also makes a full line of deli meats that are antibiotic-free, humanely-raised and GMO-ingredient free, so you don’t have to worry about what’s in your sandwich, especially know with back-to-school time. 

Buffalo Mashed Cauliflower

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, steamed
  • 2 TB Virgin Coconut Oil or Dairy-Free Butter
  • ½ -1 Cup Buffalo Sauce, or make your own!

To Make:

  1. Steam the cauliflower until it is tender when forked, let cook for
  2. 5 minutes. Place the coconut milk and buffalo sauce in a blender or food
  3. processor with the cauliflower and process until creamy and smooth.

Sweet Potato Fries

No one wants to say goodbye to fries, so sweet potato are a common, nutrient-filled version of the all-time fave.

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, sliced into thick fries
  • 1 TB coconut oil, melted
  • Sea salt, to taste

To Make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the sweet potato wedges around. With a food brush, brush the olive oil on top of the fries.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned + tender.

 We hope you enjoy these recipes!

Xoxo,

Ashley