10 healthy dinners that my whole family loves!!!

Lets talk about something that has absolutely nothing to do with photography.

Something that is only one step above my least favorite daily thing I do every day.

Something that CREATES my least favorite thing to do…

Cooking food.

I know…  There are a lot of people out there that LOVE cooking.  I just don’t.  AND it creates dishes.  I hate doing dishes. So I play this game while I am cooking, to see how few dishes I can use to create dinner. Lol.  I am also a firm believer that no “unitasker” belongs in my kitchen (thank you Alton Brown <3)

So why am I writing this?

It’s complicated.  You see, as much as I have an intense dislike for cooking, I actually care about the food we eat quite a lot.  Health starts in the gut, and through my Hashimoto’s diagnosis last year, I strongly believe that our food really matters.  My mom was always a bit “crunchy”.  Growing up, she often baked our bread to avoid the preservatives, there was always a veggie tray on the counter as our snacks, fruit was the go to sweet treat, and most everything she cooked didn’t require a box.

I started off with a good model of what “healthy eating” looked like, but matched with my distaste for cooking, and how much more work creating meals with fresh items is, and 6 years in college (working full time AND going to school full time) I developed a more “simplified” way to eat (packaged food on the go) After that came about 4 years of seriously struggling with my thyroid levels, and barely keeping my head above water.

Fast forward a few years and we moved from Alaska to Alabama.  We were on a tight budget, and I hit couponing HARD!  It got us through the lean times, but it truly wasn’t a healthy way to eat.  Slowly, I started to shift.  I found a local co-op where I could order high quality food in bulk to get the price a bit lower.  I found a source for raw milk and I started cooking from scratch.  All the while, I was popping Sudafed and Motrin like there was no tomorrow!  For the past 8 years, I easily had a headache that bordered on migraine 5-6 days a week!  It wasn’t always like that, but around the time my thyroid crashed, I started getting them, and it slowly started to take over my life.

My husband finally got mad at me. “JENNI, you are spending a ridiculous amount of time providing healthy food for our family, but you have got to stop “just medicating”, and figure out what is wrong!  Its not healthy!”  He was not nice about it… but it was said in love with lots of frustration.


He was right.

I started researching different supplements that might help treat the cause instead of the symptoms…  It took 6 months to finally stumble upon Turmeric.  Apparently, my headaches were driven by inflammation (something that makes complete sense now that I have my Hashi’s diagnosis) and Turmeric helps decrease inflammation.  Once I had that figured out, I learned that there are 5 main foods that contribute to inflammation in the body.

Sugar   –   Wheat   –   Soy   –   Corn   –   Conventional Dairy

I began to pay attention and keep a food journal.  I noticed that sugar gave me an instant headache, and wheat made my joints feel 20 years older.  I could eat some corn and soy in moderation, but too much would give me a lot of edema in my hands/feet and make them ache like I had arthritis.

I can’t even tell you how amazing AND frustrating it is to FINALLY figure out why I have felt like crap for the last FOURTEEN YEARS only to realize I will never be able to indulge in Christmas morning cinnamon rolls and birthday ice cream cake without serious consequences.  I had figured out the puzzle to feeling better, but the answer was difficult to accept.

You know what happened though?

The headaches went away.  I don’t feel like there is sand in my joints anymore, and I actually have motivation to DO things again! So when I talk about “eating clean” or “healthy food”, I’m not just talking about something trendy or a way to loose weight.  I am talking about dramatically improving the quality of my life, and actually enjoying living it again. <3

All that to say, I have gotten really good at cooking healthy foods that don’t require a ton of time or require you to use every dish in my kitchen! (I know, I know…  Took me long enough to get to the point. lol)


So, here you go!  My favorite 10 healthy dinners that my whole family loves!!!


Rainbow Chicken Salad (My kid’s favorite salad!)

BBQ Ranch Salad (Probably MY favorite salad in the whole world!  I replace the onion with avocado, swap the tortilla strips for crunchy onions, and make the BBQ dressing by thinning BBQ sauce with seasoned rice vinegar and a dash of cyan!)

White Chicken Chili (Had this last night and they ALL went back for seconds and thirds.)

Home Made Spaghetti (I always make a huge batch of this and freeze the extra for a quick dinner.  It’s the same sauce I use for ratatouille, meatball marinara and spaghetti squash bake as well.)  This is a family recipe, so don’t loose it!!!

  • 1 lb. Hamburger
  • 1 tbs. Dried Onions
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 2 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbs. Sugar
  • 2 Trappeys Jalapeños chopped
  • 2 tbs. Jalapeño Juice

Brown hamburger with dried onions. Then add basil, oregano and sugar. Salt and pepper to taste. Dump in cans of tomatoes, sauce and paste. Add jalapeños and juice. Simmer for about ½ – 1 hour. Cook noodles for 10 min and eat.

Tacos (I normally skip the tortilla and put it all over lettuce.)

Hamburgers (Just add a package of Lipton’s Beefy Onion Soup Mix and a splash of Worcestershire to the meat before making patties.)  No sugar apple sauce and sweet potato fries to the plate and call it done.

Breakfast Casserole (I add spinach, mushrooms and sausage to this as well.  I also intentionally make extra and my husband eats it for breakfast the rest of the week.)

Chicken on the grill with mashed sweet potatoes, cooked mushrooms and broccoli. (I also do the meat in my instant pot if the weather is crappy.)

Beef and barley soup. (It is SOOO good!  Shout out for the Eating for Life cook book!)

Pork Tenderloin with asparagus and sweet potatoes. (Love me some Alton Brown. <3 )


I plan to share more recipe/food ideas in the stories on my Instagram account in the future (all mixed in with pretty pictures of course) if you would like to follow along.  <3


I get my chicken from Zycon Foods

I order a lot of stuff from Azure Standard

I also order a lot of stuff from Amazon


So that’s pretty much it…

I hate cooking, dishes are even worse… college, couponing, headaches, medicating, buying in bulk, autoimmune disease…  and all along, the thing that “fixed” me wasn’t medicine (although I do take thyroid daily), it was food.

If this helps even one person, it was worth the time to write it. <3

Leave any questions in the comments. <3