{Easy, One Skillet} Southwest Quinoa Chili

One Skillet Southwest Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potato #meatlessmonday

A delicious and well-seasoned southwest quinoa chili made easy in one skillet. This meatless dish will have your whole family (meat lovers included!) begging for more!

One Skillet Southwest Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potato #meatlessmondayOkay disclaimer time. I had NO clue what to name this recipe! Sometimes naming recipes can be hard, or, at least for me it can be. I’m just throwing together ingredients and tasting it as I go and all of the sudden I have something amazing (or not, but that’s a discussion for another day). But then comes the part where I have to (in so many words) try to describe the amazing taste or say what it is I’ve created.

This dish was one I totally struggled with naming. One skillet and easy – well those words came easily because it perfectly describes the dish. This is done all in one skillet and is VERY easy! So easy in fact that it’s been lunch or dinner way too many times since I developed it. I’m talking like 4-5 times. Luckily no complaints yet; I guess it’s just that good :) That and I have a baby that can’t complain yet and one hecka great husband.

The rest of the name however, I didn’t know. It definitely has some chili flavors and chili beans, but I don’t know how much of a real “chili” this is. So I’m very sorry if you are expecting a traditional chili with this recipe, but it’s not so traditional. And then southwest – well there is some cilantro, fresh lime juice, and I added loads of sour cream (MUST DO!) so it definitely has a bit of a southwest kick to it.

After struggling with the name for some time, I just decided to go with what my husband named it after he had taken a few bites. He told me to call it a southwestern quinoa chili. So, if you don’t like the name, all blame goes to him ;)… 

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Slow Cooker Mexican Tortilla Chicken and Quinoa Soup

Slow Cooker Mexican Tortilla Chicken and quinoa soup

A delicious slow cooker Mexican tortilla chicken soup with delicious add-ins such as fresh lime, avocado, tortilla chips, and sour cream. 

Slow Cooker Mexican Tortilla Chicken and Quinoa Soup via chelseasmessyapron.com #soup #chickentortilla #quinoa

A few weeks ago I was able to go watch my little niece at her pre-school recital. All the adorable little kids sang some cute little songs with creative hand motions that went along with the songs. Afterwards there was a short story and then the preschool teachers read the kids’ cards they had written for Thanksgiving.

The cards were fill in the blanks: I’m thankful for my friends because BLANK. I’m thankful for my family because BLANK. I’m thankful for BLANK because BLANK.

Let me just tell you, these letters cracked me up. They were some of the funniest things I’d heard in a long time, and my niece’s responses were some of my favorite.

She was thankful for her friends because they smile at her, thankful for her family because they sleep, and thankful for lettuce and yogurt because they make her big and strong. Oh my gosh… talk about hilarious. I just can’t wait ‘til little Grey is old enough to say crazy funny things like that!

Anyways not that this story really has anything to do with this soup, but in a lame attempt to try and tie it in — my last response to those same questions would be I’m grateful for my slow cooker because it is my favorite kitchen appliance ever. Seriously, I think it is used just about daily at my house. If not daily, definitely every other day!… 

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{Slow Cooker} Quinoa, White Bean, and Kale Soup

Kale Soup1

A simple crockpot soup with quinoa, white beans, diced tomatoes, and freshly chopped kale. This soup has delicious Italian flavoring and is super easy to make.

Easiest slow cooker quinoa, kale, and white bean soup #crockpot #kale #quinoa #cleaneating

I’m pretty obsessed with soup. My big goal this year has been to get the husband on board with soups since in years past, he’s never been the biggest fan. After eating a bowl of this soup, he commented that he likes my soups because they “have stuff in them.” Apparently he just doesn’t like the super-brothy-with-not-much-added-to-them kind of soups. Wow, that was a mouthful.

He was a little skeptical at first, since this seemed to be a brothy soup, but he absolutely loved it! And although this recipe touts a full 4 cups of broth, do you want to hear my secret of making it not so brothy? Blending beans in the broth! That’s right, I blend an entire can of beans with some of the broth and stir that in the soup. It gives it a thick and hearty cream-like texture, but without all the cream ingredients. Plus it’s super easy to do!

Oh… and since I’m bragging about how easy this soup is to make, one more fun fact — the only thing you’ll need to chop is the kale!!… 

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Best EVER healthy chocolate chip cookies

Flourless and Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The best ever flourless + healthier chocolate chip cookies. These cookies have no butter, white flour, or refined white sugar. They are bursting with flavor and sure to be your new favorite healthy “indulgence.”

Healthy + Flourless BEST ever chocolate chip cookies! via chelseasmessyapron.com #cleaneating #cookie #dessertI hope you all know I don’t just throw around the words “best ever.” In fact, I don’t think those two words have ever made it into a recipe title thus far. That’s how deserving these cookies are. Because for how many healthy swaps they have, they really are the best!

That and they have literally been weeks in the making. I can’t even tell you how many long I have worked on this recipe. I wanted them to be the healthiest possible cookie, but not to taste like…cardboard. That’s been pretty hard. I’ve made some cookies that stack up pretty well nutritionally…I just didn’t want to eat them afterwords. So, yeah…those recipes weren’t worth sharing.

And then I made some delicious cookies, but they weren’t all that healthy by the time they were finished, so nix that one too. But this one, it’s a winner.

One of the ways I’ve “judged” how good the batches of test cookies are is by how many are left by the end of the day. That or seeing if the husband takes more than one bite without running to the sink to spit out that first bite. That test is always effective. Well good news with this recipe — all were gone by the end of the day and the husband ate the majority of them.

Healthy + Flourless BEST ever chocolate chip cookies! via chelseasmessyapron.com #cleaneating #cookie #dessert


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Sweet Potato Enchiladas

sweet potato1

A delicious meatless dish – sweet potato enchiladas chock full of delicious and good-for-you vegetables, brown rice, and tomato salsa. This meal is a quick dinner and family friendly!

Easy + Healthy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas #dinner #sweetpotato #enchilada

And the only thing to follow eating about 10 batches of hot fudge cookies is a healthy + meatless meal. This one is definitely the meal to fit the bill. Look at me rhyme :)

But seriously, this recipe is one of those “healthy” meals that is secretly healthy. Like you wouldn’t guess it was healthy because it tastes so flavorful and rich! Although, depending on the amount of cheese you are piling in these and on top of these, it becomes a little less healthy. The great thing is you can totally scale down (or up) the amount of cheese! I’ve even had these with no cheese and still LOVED them. I know, I bet you never guessed I would say that.

Obviously I usually pile on these cheese when I make these.

Easy + Healthy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas #dinner #sweetpotato #enchiladas… 

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{Slow Cooker} Mexican Quinoa

A ONE dish, Crockpot Mexican Quinoa #dinner #crockpot #quinoa #cleaneating

This crockpot Mexican quinoa is bursting with deliciously fresh and healthy ingredients. This dish is all cooked in the slow cooker (even the quinoa and butternut squash) and has lots of “hidden veggies.”

A ONE dish, Crockpot Mexican Quinoa #dinner #crockpot #quinoa #cleaneating

How do you all feel about butternut squash? Personally, its my favorite squash ever.

When I started dating my husband, just guess who said he hated butternut squash? Yeah it would be him. This news was almost a deal breaker. Luckily he flashed his cute smile and all was fine in the world for then. So we dated longer and I avoided cooking with squash. Then we got married and I further avoided cooking with squash.

And then we were married for 2 years and I went and bought all the squash in the store. The exact number was 9 butternut squashes because they were 59 cents apiece and I tend to go overboard when I find produce on sale. This purchase wasn’t because I was trying to be an awful wife (pinky swear I try to always please him for dinner!) but I had a sudden maddening determination to get him to like it. I just couldn’t go another Fall without the squash. So I searched the best recipes and ended up deciding to just coat the squash cubes in olive oil + salt + pepper + some other spices and roast them in the oven.

You may be able to guess that the story has a very happy ending. Not only did he LOVE the squash, but I’m pretty sure the husband is more obsessed with it than I am. In fact, when they go on sale now, he asks me to stock up. And nowadays, when he asks me to make butternut squash, well, he just gets even cuter to me.

So the moral of the story? It’s all how you prepare the squash. Or, you get really lucky. Or you really will hate it no matter what and just wasted your time reading a very boring story. Basically I’m not sure the moral of the story. What I am sure of – this is one of the best ways I’ve ever eaten butternut squash!… 

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{One Pot} Chicken, Rice, & Veggie Fajita Bowls

Fajita bowls1

This one pot dish tastes just like fajitas without the tortilla! (But you can definitely use them if you want!) This meal takes less than 30 minutes, is all made in one pot, and is full of flavor while keeping the ingredients to a minimum.

One Pot Chicken & Rice Fajita Bowls I via chelseasmessyapron.com I #fajita #onepot #under30minutes #easy

Two one-pot meals two posts in a row?! You can probably guess that someone is getting molars right now. Hint: I’ve already got mine. Yeah, the little guy hasn’t been feeling the greatest in these parts and we can feel one poking through in the back. (Poor little guy!)

And since he doesn’t take teething too well… there’s been a lot of tears, a few tantrums (okay maybe more than a few), some mega-clinginess, and lots of snuggles/back-scratches (<–he loves those). Which means, when I go into the kitchen to make food, he’s not loving that. Chopping vegetables with a baby on my hip? I’m pretty sure I look really awesome in the attempt. (Read: not so awesome.)

So these one pot meals are seriously a lifesaver. Which, P.S., I see a lot more coming in the future of CMA since, well, he’s got a lot more teeth that need to come in. The great news is, this meal definitely made him feel much better; he absolutely loved it. Which, I have to admit, with all the veggies, I was skeptical how much he would like it. But, seeing as he ate pretty much the same portion that I did, this recipe is a keeper!… 

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{One Pot} Creamy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Divan

Broccoli Chicken Rice 1

This delicious and lightened up creamy chicken, broccoli, and rice divan can all be made in one pot and in under 30 minutes. It’s filled with flavor and keeps the ingredients to a minimum!

Easy, 30 minute, ONE POT Chicken divine with broccoli! #dinner #chicken #onepot #easy

I have been completely overwhelmed with the awesome responses on the reader survey. Seriously, you guys are the best <3! Thank you!! Oh, and then there’s my mom who specifically requested that my blog include pictures of her grandson in every post ha! Yes, I know that is you mom! :) (And if you haven’t taken it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

I’ll let you all know the results when it’s all finished up. But for now, I’ve got some more yummy one-pot goodness. Plus I healthified it a bit – a lightened up creamy chicken, broccoli, and rice divan in one pot and thirty minutes. Oh yeah!


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{Healthy + Flourless} Glazed Apple Pie Cookies + 2014 Reader Survey

apple pie2

These delicious cookies are gluten-free, packed with protein and good-for-you-ingredients. No white flour, no butter, and no oil in these glazed “apple pie” cookies. 

No white flour, no butter, and no oil in these glazed "apple pie" cookies. #healthy #cleaneating #cookies #apple #pie

Today’s a special day! It’s Chelsea’s Messy Apron’s first birthday! …So, you would probably expect some grand cake or something right? Wrong. I made cookies. Oh and they are healthy too! Which, admittedly, seems a little bit of a weird and boring birthday celebration treat for this blog’s birthday, but if you tried these, you would know. They are far better than any cupcakes! (In a healthy, wholesome type of way of course.)

Okay, so let’s talk about these cookies. Do they look healthy to you? Yeah, me either. Surprise! They are SUPER healthy! Well, maybe not the glaze so much, but it’s completely an optional kind of thing. Like, a birthday addition for sure!

I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for a whole year! It has just flown by and been such an amazing year. I’m super, super grateful for you people that have read this little blog, tried the recipes, and left such nice comments. Seriously, you all are the BEST! <3 And it means the world to me! When I published my first post a year ago, I was so nervous. I knew I was super passionate about food and the prospect of blogging, but I was so worried no one would read my blog (or even like it). Or ever try my recipes. Just ask my husband, I’m pretty sure he had to give me about ten pep talks! Okay, maybe more than ten…. 

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Cilantro-Lime Ranch Burrito Bowls


Vegetarian cilantro-lime ranch burrito bowls made with fresh and good for you ingredients! These burrito bowls can be ready in less than 30 minutes and a meal the whole family will love; leave out the lettuce for little kids!

Super quick and easy cilantro-lime ranch burrito bowls!

I know this looks like a salad, but it’s not really. In fact, it’s based off the Cantina Bowls from Taco Bell…have you tried those? I’m not the biggest Taco Bell fan, but the hubs really likes the place so we’ve been there a few times. My husband discovered the gem we will call Cantina Bowls and I instantly fell in love with them! Who knew? Go Taco Bell!

Basically they are burrito bowls with rice, chicken, beans, a dollup of guac, a pico de gallo, dollup of sour cream, some lettuce mixed in, and a delicious creamy dressing. These are essentially a vegetarian version of the dish and more of a filling meal than a salad. You can even leave out the lettuce and these will still work out great.

Little Grey hasn’t quite figured out how to eat lettuce, but he still devoured one of these burrito bowls. That kid is obsessed with rice!!… 

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Potato, and Kale Soup


A delicious roasted butternut squash, red potato, carrot, shredded chicken, onion and kale broth-based soup. This soup is filled with tons of flavor and very healthy!

A healthy Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Potato, and Kale Soup #cleaneating #soup #butternutsquash

Usually with soups, I like doing them in the slow cooker. My crockpot tends to be my best friend this time of the year. Dump ingredients in, wait a bit, and a delicious dinner later – sign me up!

Buuuut, there are also times when the crockpot can be a little inconvenient or just not work in the schedule. I don’t have one of those handy-dandy set the crockpot to start and turn off at certain times. Are they as cool as they seem? And follow up question, should they make it on my Christmas wish list? Oh yes. I’m already thinking about Christmas. Mostly Christmas food though is what’s on my mind. I spent about a good portion of my day earlier this week brainstorming and writing down Christmas food ideas. And let’s just say, I’m pretty excited. It’s gonna be good :)

Okay, okay. Sorry. No more Christmas talk until at least after Halloween. Fine, Thanksgiving. I can wait til then… At least, I think I can…. 

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{Healthy + Flourless} Almond Apple Muffins


No white flour, no butter, and no oil in these almond butter, apple, and pecan muffins. These muffins are bursting with flavor, healthy, and gluten-free!

No white flour, no butter, and no oil in these almond butter, apple, and pecan muffins. These muffins are bursting with flavor, healthy, and gluten-free!

How do you feel about nuts in your baked goods? For me, when there are nuts in brownies a very good thing was ruined! I don’t like nuts in cakes or even cookies really. Okay sometimes in cookies they are okay, but on a very rare occasion. And in breads or muffins I’m not usually a fan either.

But these muffins, they have some nuts in them and oh man are they good. The nuts are scarce and far between (only three tablespoons for the whole recipe), but they make these muffins! And there are actual apple bits in these ones and when they are baked it’s just an unreal taste + texture combining soft baked apples with crunchy pecans.

And the good news is, there aren’t just pecans, there are also almonds in these muffins – in the form of almond butter. If you haven’t ever used almond butter, this recipe is a great place to start with almond butter! You can usually find it right next to peanut butter and jams in the grocery store. And if you aren’t a fan of peanut butter, I bet you’ll love almond butter. It’s definitely a very subtle taste in these muffins and complements the cinnamon, apples, applesauce, and pecans perfectly.


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