It’s fall, ya’ll! This seasonal shift comes with a full to-do list, each year. Fall is inevitability one of the busiest seasons for me. Work obligations, holiday promotions for my small business ventures, plus the general, rapidly approaching “holiday buzz” as I prepare my mind for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything in between! This year’s full to-do list is compounded by a new baby in the Griffin household. We have always been fans of meal prepping. In this season of life, we have an even greater appreciation of quick, guilt-free nourishing foods that fuel our bodies, give us comfort in unison with the chill in the air, and -(here is the most important part)- DON’T REQUIRE 10,000 dishes! With so much going on, a sink full of dishes robs time that can be used for family activities, relaxation, exercise, or sleep. In this post, I will share a few favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack!
Breakfast – Aun’t Linda’s Sausage & Cream Cheese Croissants
1. Jimmy Dean’s Hot Breakfast Sausage 2. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (2 packs) 3. 8 oz Cream Cheese
Brown sausage on the stove top. When it has cooked thoroughly, drain the meat. While it is draining, I like to use a few paper towels to soak up the grease and also break the sausage down into tinier pieces.
Next, return the sausage to the stove top and add in your 8 oz. of cream cheese. Melt the cheese into the sausage over medium heat.
After you have a thorough mix, pull out your croissant dough. (It is important to keep it refrigerated up until this point, because it will get too soft if you leave it out during the previous steps). Roll out your first croissant sheet onto a big baking pan.
Now you can begin to transfer your sausage and cream cheese mixture onto the croissant rolls. Evenly spread the mixture onto the croissant sheet. Once the sausage and cream cheese blend has been evenly distributed, top it with your second croissant roll sheet. (Press the edges of the croissant sheets together for a more polished final result).
Cook in an oven, preheated at 375 degrees. Some ovens cook faster or slower, so stay close by. You just want to slightly brown the croissants. If you find that they could use a little extra time (which happens), turn the oven setting to broil and pop them back in for a few minutes.
Last step: Allow to cool, cut into sections, and enjoy the yummy goodness!
Lunch – BLT Spinach Wrap
Highlight of this meal– It is protein packed! The spinach wrap, alone, has 6 g of protein! This meal is also versatile. You can customize it to your liking, by adding or taking away ingredients.
- Chicken 2.Bacon 3. Veggies of Choice (Greens, Onions, Peppers) 4. Spinach Wrap 5. Avacado (optional) 6. Dressing (Chipoltle ranch is great for this recipe)! 7. Seasonings of choice for chicken (I use paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper). 8. Shredded cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a baking sheet, spread well-seasoned chicken and bacon strips evenly across the pan. Cook for 15 minutes (or until meat reaches desired crispiness).
- Cut up vegetables and set aside.
- After removing meat from oven (and draining any excess grease), assemble the meat and veggies on the spinach wrap.
- Top with sliced avocado, shredded cheese of choice, and dressing of choice. (optional)
- Fold wrap into a burrito shape, making sure that all ingredients are securely placed inside of the wrap.
- Additional step (optional): Lightly brush melted butter or olive oil onto outside of the wrap. Allow each side of the wrap to simmer on medium-low heat on the stove top, until desired brownness.
Dinner- Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup
Highlight of this meal – You can use ONE pot for this delicious, copy-cat, comfort recipe! If you have more time, the crock-pot is a wonderful option. However, this recipe only takes 40 minutes, stove-top, if you need dinner ready sooner!
1. Meats- Italian Sausage (ground spicy), Bacon (bacon bits are an easy substitute that give the same effect) 2. Produce – Minced Garlic, Kale (or spinach), One pack of Simply Potatoes diced potatoes with onions 3. Canned goods- 32 oz Chicken Stock 4. Baking/Spices – flour, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes 5. Dairy- one cup of heavy cream 5. Shredded Parmesean cheese (optional topping)
- Brown the Italian sausage over medium heat, seasoning with salt, pepper and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. Drain well.
- In the same pot, saute garlic. Once garlic begins to brown, add 1 tbsp of flour to the pan and continue to sautee’ until well blended. (This flour will help thicken the texture of the soup, later).
- Add the full bag of diced potatoes. Pour the chicken broth over the potatoes. If the broth does not fully cover the potatoes, add a little water until potatoes are covered. Stir and bring to a boil. **Allow the potatoes to boil until they are tender enough to pierce with a fork. Keep an eye on them to ensure that they don’t become too mushy.
- Reduce heat. Pour the cooked, crumbled Italian sausage into the pan.
- Add heavy cream, stirring in lightly.
- Throw in a couple of handfuls of kale or spinach and allow the greens to wilt. Simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Top with parmesean cheese and bacon bits.
Enjoy! *Pro tip- alter the texture of the soup, as needed. If the soup is too thin for your liking, begin adding flour by the teaspoon until it thickens. If the soup is too thick, add water -stirring until the texture transforms into your preference.
Snack- Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites
Highlights of this snack: You can adjust the ingredients to fit your preference, seasonally. For fellow nursing mamas, throwing in some brewer’s yeast can turn this into a lactation snack. However, this is a great, on the go snack for all ages and stages! It kicks your sweet tooth and it is guilt-free, if you indulge in more than one! Long before having a baby, I ate these as pre/post workout snacks!
- Oats (1 1/2 cups 2. Pumpkin puree (1/2 cup) 3.Honey (1/4 cup) 4. Almond Butter (1/2 cup) 5. Flaxseed 6. Semisweet chocolate chips (1/2 cup) 7. Vanilla extract (1 tsp) 8. Seasoning Blend: Cinnamon (1/2 tsp) , Brown Sugar (1/2 tsp), Pumpkin Pie Spice (1/2 tsp)
- Use a large spoon to combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a large, mixing bowl. Once the mixture is well blended and moist, slowly fold in chocolate chips.
- Scoop large spoon fulls into your hand and roll into balls. Transfer to a plate. Refrigerate for 30 min- 1 hr. (These are safe in the fridge for up to a week and safe in the freezer for months)!
***Pro tip: Prior to making the mixture, spray all surfaces (mixing bowl, spoon, your hands) with baking spray for easier clean up and a less messy process!
I hope you all enjoy these quick, painless eats! Ditch the tedious, time-consuming meals that obliterate your energy and use that extra time for quality time for yourself or with your family!