Farro 3 Ways – Easy Weeknight Meals


As most of you can probably relate, my crazy schedule sends me looking for easy, healthy, weeknight meal ideas. I recently gave farro a couple makeovers so I could enjoy it three times in one week as simple, vegetarian entrées. I present: Farro 3 Ways – Easy Weeknight Meals.

Farro 3 Ways - Easy Weeknight Meals

Do any of these meals look intimidating? If you don’t cook often, they could. But trust me, they were so easy! If you can make rice pilaf, you can make the main farro dish that kicks off all of the other easy meals.

Farro 3 Ways - Easy Weeknight Meals

#1 – Black Eyed Peas with Farro

My easy eats began with a trip to the farmers market. I’d had a long day at work and had left a little late. I love going to the market after work because I find it a relaxing place where I can get delicious, local ingredients. The market is full of good energy, so I like to soak that up and start to un-wind after work sometimes. I picked up some radishes, sweet potatoes, kale, onions, and apples without knowing what I’d do with it.

By the time I was finally headed home, I didn’t want to stop at even one more place. I decided to make something for dinner out of the pantry and found some Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro and a can of black eyed peas. I did a play on my Rosemary Garlic Farro with Chickpeas recipe, except I didn’t even bother to chop up some garlic. The 10 minute farro helped speed up the total cooking time. I roasted the sweet potatoes, which didn’t take too long since I cut them pretty small. I kept the flavors simple and roasted the sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I learned a tip from the vendor who sold me the radishes. She said I could sauté the radish bottoms and greens (adding these near the end of the cooking) with butter. She was right. It was good!

The whole meal was pretty straightforward in cooking methods and flavors, but I really enjoyed it. I also thought this was slightly easier for cooking for one, since hubby was having dinner out.

Farro 3 Ways - Easy Weeknight Meals

#2 – Sautéed Garlic-y Black Eyed Peas with Farro

I’m not a fan of microwaves, so I decided to sauté the leftover black eyed peas with farro from the night before with a little oil and garlic. I heated the oil in a pan and cooked the garlic till it was fragrant, just under a minute. I added a nice portion of the leftover farro and sautéed the whole thing till it was warmed through. I also roasted another sweet potato and steamed up some kale. We usually put butter and a sprinkle of salt over our steamed vegetables, but I like my kale drizzled with just a little soy sauce instead sometimes.

Farro 3 Ways - Easy Weeknight Meals

3 – Tofu Farro Stir-Fry

On the third day, I still had leftover farro, so I decided to change the flavor profile by making a quick stir-fry. I swung by the grocery store on the way home from teaching Zumba to get another time-saver item – cubed tofu. No pressing and cutting tofu for me! I started this dinner by sautéing the tofu in a pan with a little oil and soy sauce. I added the farro and cooked everything until the farro was heated through, adding a little more soy sauce, to taste. Meanwhile, I steamed up some cabbage and kale, which I served with a drizzle of soy sauce. This may have been my laziest preparation of the black eyed peas with farro, but I think it was my favorite.


Though I prefer eating different things every night, I appreciated how simple and healthy these weeknight meals were. They were a huge relief after a long day of work and teaching my Zumba class. And they were so good too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Whole Health Noodle Soup {Recipe}


I know you guys know I like my noodle bowls, but this week, I’ve been feeling something else – noodle soup! And by the way, is it just me, or do the words “noodle soup” conjure up memories of Joey on Friends? “Mmm…soup…I mean noodle soup! I mean soup!” Oh Joey…


I’ve been a bit under the weather this week, so I’ve had a big, hot, comforting bowl of noodle soup every day for lunch this week so far.


I love them because they’re so easy to throw together and taste great. They even use a lot of pantry ingredients (boxed broth, dry noodles, long-storing tofu, and you could probably use frozen vegetables, though I prefer fresh).


I’ve made a few variations this week – all using tofu because it was easier to cook than meat since I basically just warmed it through in the last couple minutes of cooking. But, you could easily cook chicken, etc. in the broth, or even saute it in a separate pan and add it to the soup (or even serve it on top!).


Today I tried a new type of noodle – spelt (love!) soba. I thought they were really good, not that they were all that different from other soba (or even udon) noodles. I’ve found the Eden Organic brand noodles to be a bit thicker than some others, so they take about twice as long to cook and will yield a different texture. There are other brands that cook faster if you’re in even more of a rush. Honestly, I usually just buy whichever one is on sale.


Whole Health Noodle Soup

One big bowl of noodle soup is sure to comfort a sore throat, warm you from the inside, and just make you feel better overall. But, you don’t need to be sick to enjoy this dish. Noodle soup makes a great light lunch or dinner when you want something small, stress-free, and/or quick.

Overall cook time will depend on how long your noodles take. The ones I used for this recipe cook in 8-10 minutes, so adjust cooking time as needed.

Ingredient amount ranges are provided below so you can use the amount you prefer depending on taste preferences and hunger levels. I really love vegetables, so I get pretty heavy-handed with them. Love onions? Add more! Hate garlic? Leave it out, or go with one clove. Feeling famished? Maybe add in some extra noodles and tofu. Customize!

*Vegetarian* *Vegan*

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes (depending on how long your noodles take to cook)
Serves: 1


  • 1 1/2 cups broth (vegetable – or chicken if you want to go non-vegetarian/non-vegan)
  • 1/2 cup water (or just use more broth)
  • small handful noodles – about 1/4-1/2″ in diameter, depending on how much you want
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/8-1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4-1/2 cup tofu
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • sesame seeds, optional


  1. Pour broth and water into a small/medium pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add onions and garlic. Add noodles, gently pushing dry noodles into the broth. Set timer for recommended cook time following package. Note: The package I used had a cook time of 8-10 minutes
  3. With 4 minutes left on the timer, add broccoli and stir into soup.
  4. With 2 minutes left on the timer, add spinach, tofu, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce.
  5. Cook until spinach is wilted and tofu is warmed through (this should be done in the 2 minutes remaining on the timer). Taste test and add additional soy sauce for more of a salty flavor and add pepper as you like.
  6. Pour into a large bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds, if you want. Serve and enjoy.


Dear noodle soup, I love you. <3


Hubby brought home a snack for me today – a pumpkin scone from Starbucks. I really liked the flavor, but thought the icing was a little overwhelming in sweetness levels. I prefer how they do the icing drizzle on their cinnamon scones. Anywho, I’d really like to try to make some pumpkin scones from scratch some time. They’d be a great brunch item for this time of year.


But uber-sweet or not, I thought the scone was very thoughtful. :) Thanks hubby!


And one more photo I had to share from today – I found Bailey lounging on the couch just like this earlier today. I think his butt is about one foot higher than his head. Silly boy!


Thanks so much for reading guys! Want to read TCL easier? You can get free updates by clicking here.


Reader question: What’s your favorite type of noodle? Whole wheat spaghetti, regular angel hair, spelt soba, udon, ramen…?

Parmesan Parsley Mini Frittatas Recipe + More Casual Eats


One of my favorite things to do when I have guests over is make them TCL-style eats. My sister is the easiest to please because she always comes prepared with a list of things she wants to try.

I decided to make a few of my most popular recipes for my friends Beth and Bri.


Basic Green Monster Smoothies


I even decided to do a play on one of my faves for entertaining – mini frittatas.


This time, I made them sans rice and just with parsley and parmesan…and served them with Individual Blueberry Breakfast Crisps.

Parmesan Parsley Mini Frittatas

These easy mini frittatas are not only great for sharing…they whip up in under 5 minutes and take only about 10 in the oven. Switch out your favorite mixins to suit your tastes.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

Serves 4 (makes about 16-18 mini frittatas)


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and prep a mini tart/frittata pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl. Stir in cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  3. Use a mini ice cream scoop (or melon baller) to fill tart/frittata cups about 3/4 full.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes until the eggs are cooked through (I usually wait till the tops are just starting to brown lightly).


Hello gorgeous! ;)


In the afternoon, I did a super-fun kickboxing-inspired workshop that my friend Megan was leading with another friend Ashley.


And post workshop, I went with my friends Sarah and Bri to Mac’s for some casual afternoon eats.


We shared a basket of fried pickles. I’m starting to think that Mac’s makes the best fried pickles I’ve ever had. They’re nice and crispy with just the right touch of spice to let you know it’s there without burning your tongue.


Hubby stayed home to watch football, but he requested I bring home leftovers. So, I ordered the small (haha – do you see that photo?!) combo, which yielded plenty of leftovers.


After such a big lunch, I just whipped up a simple bowl of udon-noodle soup for a light dinner.


I had to save room for dessert…two desserts!


First up…a hefty slice of cheesecake that my friend Sarah made (thanks Sarah!). She first made this tasty dessert way back when for my housewarming, and I still rave about.


Plus, I had caramel apples, which were birthday gifts from Megan and Erica (thanks guys!).


They gave me four fun flavors, but I decided to crack open the pecan pie first.


It had a lovely layer of chewy caramel with crunchy nuts and warm cinnamon.


Delish! I think I’ll be ordering more of these in the upcoming holiday season. I mean…is it just me or do caramel apples scream “holidays”?!


All settled in for a cozy night at The Chic House.

Fried Pickles: Yay or Nay?

Reader Question: Do you like caramel apples? Have you tried any interesting flavors?

End of Summer Chilled Cucumber Tomato Soup


Well folks, we have about one week of summer officially left in the year. Are you ready for it to be over? I guess I am, but I’m still celebrating the last week of summer with some favorites – flirty skirts & flip flops and of course eats.


Not sure what to do with the last of your tomatoes? Why not try this End of Summer Chilled Cucumber-Tomato Soup?


I used Green Zebra and Sweet 100 tomatoes from my garden, along with this cucumber that we got from I forgot where – my mom? A co-worker? Who knows. But I had it.


Since it was a traditional cucumber, I peeled it…


…and seeded it.


And these Green Zebras are really fun to work with – check out the bizarre green color! If you don’t have these, don’t worry, other tomatoes will work. See recipe notes for tips.


Anywho, this has to be one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. You basically just put all the ingredients (save for the cherry tomatoes) into a blender, blend…


…chill…stir in some extra flavors and…


Voila! Lunch is served…with maybe a nice, hearty piece of buttered whole grain toast. Gotta have my carbs.


End of Summer Chilled Cucumber Tomato Soup

This chilled soup is similar to a gazpacho but with a shorter ingredient list. It uses what I like to think of as the most common summer vegetable garden ingredients: cucumber, tomato, and basil. And is it supposed to be eaten cold? Why yes. You know those days where it’s so hot outside, you almost don’t want to eat? This would be perfect for such a day…or really any warm weather day where you just want something cold on your tongue – like a day you want a smoothie, but aren’t feeling something sweet.

Don’t have Green Zebra tomatoes? Sub roma – the smaller ones are similar in size.

*Vegetarian, Vegan*

Serves 1

Prep time: Does rinsing and chopping count? No, since I put prepped ingredients in the list? Ok, then I’d like to say 0, but let’s go with 5 minutes to be safe.
Cook time: Hmm…is this a trick question? Also 0. There is no cooking involved in this recipe. But there is 1 hour of chilling and some mixing involved, so let’s say 1 hour (for chilling) and 10 minutes (for blending and stirring).


  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and de-seeded and cut into chunks
  • 3 green zebra tomatoes, quartered
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small sprig fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or go a little heavier for a more tangy flavor)
  • small handful cherry tomatoes (about 6), halved
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place cucumber, tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt and pepper into a blender. Blend until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Pour soup into a container and cover. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one hour. Note: You can probably eat it sooner – temperature is up to your personal taste.
  3. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Pour soup into a bowl, add cherry tomato halves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, serve and enjoy.


Don’t forget the extra virgin olive oil drizzle!


Now, go enjoy this somewhere warm. Stop and smell the roses. Admire the sunlight. Enjoy the fresh air.

Reader question: Which summer fruit or vegetable will you miss most?

Individual Italian Spinach Parmesan Egg Bake Recipe


I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready to head back to work yet. I could use another morning sleeping in if nothing else. But if you’re like me, and you want something easy and delicious to help ease you back into the daily grind, then look no further.


How about an Individual Italian Spinach Parmesan Egg Bake?

You can make this individual egg bake while you’re getting ready. I know baking things seems complicated, but hear me out. If you made a fried egg, or stovetop oats, you’d have to sit there stirring the darn thing. With this, you spend about 5 minutes or less stirring and the oven does all the heavy lifting without requiring your attention. Winning!


Here’s what you need: an egg, a little milk, some frozen spinach, some parmesan (or click here for a version of this recipe using cheddar)…


…and some Italian spices: basil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, plus salt and black pepper.


All you need is a little stirring…


…some grating…


…more stirring


…veg serving (with a wee bit of stirring here, too)…


…pour, bake, and…

(don’t worry – there’s a short cut allowing you to skip the excessive stirring)




Breakfast is served!

Individual Italian Spinach Parmesan Egg Bake Recipe

This egg bake recipe looks more complicated than it actually is. I love making this breakfast on even my most busy days. It requires a mere 5 minutes of your attention and then your oven does all the work without needing you. You get the best of both worlds – a tasty breakfast and more time to get ready for work…or whatever lies ahead of you that day. PS: I’ve also made this for a super simple lunch or dinner (paired with whole grain toast). Uh-huh!

Easily customize this recipe by substituting your favorite cheese, vegetable, or spices.

Note: In the photos, I added my egg, milk, spices and stirred, then cheese and stirred, then spinach and stirred – but you can just mix it all up at one time if you’re in a rush, and this recipe is written for a busy morning. ;)


Serves 1 (but easily multiplies to feed more people)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 16-19 minutes (enough time to do your make-up or pack lunch!)

  • non-stick spray
  • 1 cage free or farm fresh egg
  • 1 tablespoon frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried basil
  • pinch of salt
  • a bit of fresh-ground pepper
  • dash of garlic powder (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • dash of red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray individual casserole dish(es) with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
  3. Pour egg mixture into individual casserole dish (evenly distribute if you multiplied the recipe). Bake until edges are golden brown and egg is set in the middle, about 16-19 minutes (depending oven temperature, etc.). Note: I used a toothpick to check doneness, sort of like you would for cake.
  4. Serve with a tasty carb like zucchini muffins or whole grain toast. Enjoy!


Did I mention this breakfast goes great with homemade Oat-licious Zucchini Muffins? (I like to freeze my leftovers and re-bake them for a fresh-out-of-the-oven taste without all the work)

If this doesn’t make a post-vacation work week better, I don’t know what will. ;)

Reader question: How long do you spend making and eating breakfast during the work week?

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins


Please answer yes/no for the following foodie questions:

  • Are you looking to do something with all that summer zucchini around right now?
  • Are you looking for an easy baking project for this weekend?
  • Are you crazy about zucchini bread?
  • Are you still drooling over the zucchini bread/muffin photos I posted on Facebook earlier?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then I have the perfect recipe for you! Healthy and Oat-licious Zucchini Bread and Muffins.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Ooh la yum! ;)

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

I have a few squash plants in my garden outside and they are producing like crazy. I accidentally let one get a little on the large side.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

For a split second, I was sad that it probably wouldn’t be good in a stir-fry (or soup)…until I realized that the large zucchini in my hands would be perfect for one of my favorite breakfast treats – zucchini bread and muffins!

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

All I needed was some flour, apple sauce, eggs, lemon, and a couple other pantry ingredients.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Ooh and a food processor (to finely cut that zucchini) and a stand mixer (though you could easily do this by hand).

Mix a little of this and a little of that and before you know it, you have…

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Warm, sweet, delicious zucchini muffins and bread (perfect weekend brunch eats). I like doing both the muffins and the bread because I get to enjoy a little variety.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Ok, ok, and my impatient side likes the instant gratification of baking muffins since they take a fraction of the cooking time of the bread (and if I time it right, I can be eating muffins while the bread finishes baking away). It’s like having your cake muffin and eating it, too!

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Now, I haven’t always been such a zucchini bread fanatic.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

I distinctly remember the first time I heard about zucchini bread (or at least my reaction to it). I was a young kiddo back in elementary school, and I didn’t like vegetables nearly as much as I do now. The only kind of sweet breakfast bread I ever wanted to eat was my mom’s piping hot banana bread.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

I don’t really remember the exact conversation around the zucchini bread, all I remember is they (they=adults) said something about zucchini bread, and I was instantly disgusted. Vegetables? In a sweet bread? Whoa. I couldn’t imagine how that could be a good thing. (If only I knew back then that I would one day develop a sweet bread/muffin recipe made with spinach!)

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

The adults around me claimed that the zucchini bread tasted like banana bread, but I refused to accept that truth. What child listens to an adult, right? In fact, it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally caved. I’m stubborn like that sometimes.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

But you know what, I enjoyed every last bite of that first slice of zucchini bread. I even asked mom to make it! And of course, she did. :) And thus, a love for zucchini bread began.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

It was a long time before I decided to try making zucchini bread on my own (mostly because I didn’t have a food processor for a long time). When I finally did, I was so pleased to find this tasty recipe (click) by Cooking Light.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

I made a few changes the first couple times I made that Cooking Light recipe, but a week or so ago, I decided to do a few more:

  • I subbed white wheat and oat flour for the all purpose to utilize less-processed, cleaner ingredients
  • I made the overall flavor less sweet by reducing the amount of sugar used (hello Not So Sweet recipe!)
  • I don’t like egg substitutes (unless it’s going to be a flax/chia seed egg), so I just used real eggs
  • I reduced the amount of oil used by subbing in some applesauce
  • I increased the amount of lemon zest used because it is truly one of the signature ingredients of this recipe and deserves to stand out a little more
  • I topped my bread/muffins pre-baking with oats and nuts so you can really see what’s inside – I think it looks cool
  • And finally, I increased the amount of nuts used in the recipe

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

The result – pure deliciousness that middle-school-me would have been proud of.

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins


Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This easy and healthy zucchini bread/muffin recipe has a light flavor with full satisfaction. Feel free to use any flour (or combination of flours) that you’d like. I just used less processed ones because I like that they’re better for you and don’t detract from the tender texture. Be sure to use all the lemon zest suggested in this recipe for full flavor. Bakes 2 loaves, 24 muffins, or if you’re like me – the best of both worlds – one loaf AND 12 muffins. Adapted from this Cooking Light Zucchini Bread recipe

*Vegan if you use vegan options indicated below* *Vegetarian*
Serves: 6
  • 2 cups white wheat flour (or flour of choice)
  • 1 cup oat flour (or flour of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 2 large eggs (or vegan egg substitute, for example: flax/chia seed egg)
  • ¼ cup canola oil (or oil of choice, preferably a non-flavored one)
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest (be sure to not skip over this ingredient – it’s the key)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans (or nut of choice), toasted (if you want), plus more for topping, about ½ cup
  • Cooking spray
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Pre-pare baking containers of choice (see recipe notes above for options) – I used one loaf pan and one muffin tin – with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine white wheat flour, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Whisk till evenly combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine applesauce, eggs, oil, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Whisk till evenly combined. Whisk in sugar. Stir in zucchini.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients. Stir gently to combine, just till all dry ingredients are mixed in (careful to not over-mix). Fold in ½ cup pecans, if using.
  5. For muffins and loaf (like I made) – Using an ice cream scoop, put one scoop worth of batter into each cup of a 12-cup muffin tin (should fill muffins cups about halfway up the sides). Repeat if making 24 muffins total. Otherwise, pour remaining batter into your prepared loaf pan.
  6. Sprinkle oats and reserved nuts, if using, over batter evenly. Bake muffins for 14-17 minutes and bread 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin or loaf comes out clean. Note: I chose to put both my muffin tin and loaf pan in at the same time, removing the muffins when they were ready while my bread finished in the oven (so I could enjoy the muffins whilst waiting for the bread to finish baking).
  7. When the muffins and/or bread are safe to consume, serve and enjoy.
Note #1: muffins and bread will be a little shorter than most recipes I’ve seen, but they will be just as tasty as ever.

If making all muffins, evenly distribute batter between 24 muffin cups.
If making all loaves, evenly distribute batter between 2 loaf pans.

Note #2: this is a Not So Sweet recipe. I’ve reduced the sugar by a bit, so if you like a sweeter bread, you may wish to add about ½ cup of sugar back in.

You may also like:

Healthy Oatlicious Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Did I mention the muffins (or bread slices) are tasty on their own or served with a lovely cage-free fried egg and some bacon and OJ? Yummm…hello weekend brunch!

How old were you when you first tried zucchini bread? Did you think the name sounded weird, too?

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