All posts by shannonamorgan

Taco Soup

Taco Soup with Cilantro Cream

Welcome to winter! Except that it’s still fall… in Florida…. We had to wear something other than flip flops which was so weird. Then, I had to put an actual coat on my children, and not just to school! Even home from school! It was just weird all around. It would be better if there were a picture of them wearing said coats, but alas, I do not. Oops. Hey, we can’t all be perfect, right!

Anyways, back to cold! Whenever it gets a little chilly, I automatically want something for dinner that will really keeps you warm! Growing up, my mom used to make this amazing, delicious taco soup and oh man, it was so good. Like, eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so good! I craved it like crazy when I was pregnant with Harper and made it immediately after my mom emailed me the recipe. And it was so worth it! Even with all the taco seasoning, ranch packet and block of Velveeta were worth it!

Tonight, however, I decided to give myself a challenge…. make the beloved Taco Soup, without those 3 above items! (Since I didn’t have them and didn’t want to get out in said cold with said children in said coats to buy them!)

So, here is the recipe of my taco soup. And I got pretty darn close! I even made up an extra topper to mimic the creamy velveeta!

Taco Soup
Taco Soup
cilantro
Cilantro
Cilantro cream
Cilantro Cream

Taco Soup with Cilantro Cream
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Taco soup gets a healthy update without the taco seasoning, ranch packet and velveeta of my beloved mother's version.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1½ T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, each
  • ½ tsp oregano, cilantro each
  • 8 oz salsa
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can hominy
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Brown the beef in a large pot over medium high heat with onion and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes to soften onion.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion powder, oregano and cilantro. Stir to combine. Add salsa and season with salt and pepper and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  3. While spices and beef are cooking, drain black beans, kidney beans and hominy. Rinse.
  4. Add to pot and stir to incorporate.
  5. Add chicken stock and 1 cup of water and diced tomatoes. Bring to boil on high.
  6. Turn heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  7. While soup is simmering, prepare cilantro cream. Hand chop or blend cilantro until leaves are very finely minced. Mix sour cream and half of lime juice in a small bowl. Stir together with cilantro and set aside.
  8. When soup is done, add juice from the other half of lime and stir.
  9. Serve warm with cheese and dollop of cilantro cream.

 

Taco Soup
Taco Soup

Thankfully this will be all gone by the time it gets back up to 75 degrees in a few days!

Please let me know what you thought about the Taco Soup! I would love to hear!

Brownie Pudding Cake

Last Friday was my son’s 2nd birthday. We had already celebrated with a party 2 weekends before so I didn’t have a lot of extra stuff planned. There was a Happy Birthday banner, a few balloons and some presents. Typical birthday items. So instead of buying more cupcakes, I chose to have him and my daughter help me make a cake. Now I have made the brownie pudding cake before for Harper’s birthday and not only is it ridiculously easy, it’s so yummy and a little more special than a typical cake.

The kids love to help me pour each ingredient in the bowl and mix it together. And I don’t have to worry about anything getting screwed up! It’s also egg and butter free so its nice if you don’t eat that or just forgot to pick it up at the store! It’s actually a throw back recipe from the 1930s and 40s when things like sugar, eggs and butter had to be restricted. But doesn’t lack any of the richness and chocolatey goodness you want in something called Brownie Pudding Cake!

Brownie Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

  • cup flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • TBL cocoa powder
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • TBL oil
  • tsp vanillla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • vanilla ice cream

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8in x 8in baking pan and set aside. In a bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients. Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and chocolate chips.

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Pour batter into baking pan. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. Add the hot water and stir. Slowly pour mixture over batter.

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Bake for 38-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for approx. an hour.

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Serve warm in bowls. Scoop cake and spoon pudding from bottom over the cake. Vanilla ice cream makes a great addition! (We forgot that at the store, but it didn’t even need it. The birthday boy didn’t mind!)

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Brownie Pudding Cake
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 servings
 
Half pudding, half brownie that magically transforms in the oven!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 TBL cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 TBL oil
  • 1 tsp vanillla
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ cup hot water
  • vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 baking pan and set aside. In a bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients. Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and chocolate chips.
  2. Pour batter into baking pan. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar and ¼ cup of cocoa powder. Add the hot water and stir. Slowly pour mixture over batter.
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for approximately an hour.
  4. Serve warm in bowls by spooning out cake and then pudding over cake. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Please let me know what you thought of the Brownie Pudding Cake! I would love to hear from you!

Fresh Zucchini and Tomato Sauce Ricotta

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

Fall is around the corner. Summer is over pretty much for most of the country. But when you live in Florida, it’s still hot as ever with no real end in sight! September is just as hot as June, and just as humid! As much as I wish it was fall weather, it for sure, is not. So I’m not really ready to turn to hot stews and tall boots and jeans and the like. I might keel over with heat stroke! At Target, I don’t know who is ordering those giant, piping-hot pumpkin spice lattes! Its not me, for sure!

So the other night, I was wanting something fresh, light and easy (since it was just myself and the kids). Plus I wanted to use those few extra tomatoes left over from my neighbor. (So sweet of her!)

I got the idea of the fresh zucchini & tomato sauce with ricotta recipe from a skillet lasagna recipe where the sauce is made in the pan similar to this. I loved the fresh taste of the tomato and the creamy ricotta on top. The sauce has a little more texture than a typical jarred sauce but its delicious and super easy! We had some extra cooked chicken so I chopped that up, threw it in the bowl and dinner was ready!

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Large or 2 medium zucchini, diced small
  • 2 T each basil, parsley, chopped (plus 1 T more for finishing)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped basil and/or parsley to finish

Directions:

Warm the oil in a medium pan on medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and herbs (not including the reserved ones for afterwards). Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium and cook until starting to break down, 6-7 minutes. Remove half of the sauce to a separate bowl. Using an immersion blender or just a masher, puree/mash the mixture a few times so it starts to become smooth. Add it back to the pan and stir in 1 T the parmesan.

Now, technically the sauce could be done but the ricotta topping just make its so much scrumptious! Mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 1 T of parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper. I put a big spoonful of the ricotta on top of this (or any tomato sauce!). Scatter the chopped basil and parsley to finish!

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta
Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

My little people finished their plates as well!

Fresh Zucchini and Tomato Sauce and Ricotta
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
This vegetarian, garden fresh sauce pairs with any pasta for a quick easy meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Large or 2 medium zucchini, diced small
  • 2 T each basil, parsley, chopped (plus 1 T more for finishing)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Warm the oil in a medium pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and herbs (not including the reserved ones for afterwards). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook until starting to break down, 6-7 minutes. Remove half of the sauce to a separate bowl.
  5. Using an immersion blender or just a masher, puree/mash the mixture a few times so it starts to become smooth. Add it back to the pan and stir in 1 T the parmesan. Spoon over cooked pasta.
  6. While cooking the sauce, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 1 T of parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon the ricotta on top of this (or any tomato sauce!). Scatter the chopped basil and parsley to finish!

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta! I would love to hear from you!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread- Revisited

Today was my daughter’s 4th birthday! It was such a fun day since I asked her what she wanted to do and then we tried to fit it all in! We went to IHOP in our pajamas, ate lunch at the pool (picnic lunch!) and then out to dinner at her favorite restaurant. Oh we also made a cake too. I was really loving all the ideas she came up with this year.  I couldn’t help but think how different this year was than all the birthdays past since this year she really had an opinion about it. Happy birthday my sweet baby girl!

banana-chocolate-chip-bread-birthdaybanana-chololate-chip-bread-beach

However, I made this recipe below a few days ago. (It’s all gone now; it doesn’t ever last long!) But I made it into a bread loaf instead. We went over to my cousin’s house and brought this as a dessert… it did not disappoint! I made a few changes to my original banana chocolate chip muffin recipe based on what I had and what I thought sounded good. Here are my changes in the revisited version:

Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt, honey flavored
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (usually 2 meduim size)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp vanilla

*Revisited! I used a honey-sweetened yogurt so I lessened the amount of sugar and just replaced it instead of the sour cream in the original recipe. Also, dark chocolate morsels instead of semi-sweet chips were used. (I had a friend so ingeniously suggest m&m’s as well! Gotta try that next!)

** Note about the bananas, I like the kind that are a day or two overripe. So lots of brown spots! Not like the perfect, pretty yellow ones in the background.

*** Another note! (Last one, I promise!) The butter softens so much faster (less than 20 minutes) when left out all cut up like that. I usually warm up the plate with water in the microwave and then cut it up on the plate and leave it out. So much easier than remember an hour before I want to bake with it!

best-banana-chocolate-chip-bread

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir yogurt and soda together in a small bowl and set aside. (I had my special helper do that, so helpful!)

banana-bread-special-helper

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is really soft and room temperature when doing this step. * See above note!

butter-sugar-banana-bread

Add egg, beating well.

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Beat in sour cream yogurt mixture.

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Stir in remaining ingredients. (Trust me, they are all in there, my helper just dumped them all in.) Don’t over mix it!

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Eat a few extras.

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Spoon into greased muffin pans loaf pan. (I used the butter wrapper with my pan, I love that thing!)

banana-bread-loaf-pan

Bake for 18-22 44-48 minutes. It will be down when golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes or so before removing from pan. Slice when just warm to the touch.

banana-bread-clean-toothpickbanana-bread-cutie

Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
An update from my delicious banana chocolate chip muffins! Trust me, they do not disappoint!
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt, honey flavored
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (usually 2 meduim size)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir yogurt and soda together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is soft and room temperature.
  3. Add egg, beating well.
  4. Beat in yogurt mixture.
  5. Stir in remaining ingredients. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 44-48 minutes. It will be done when golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.
  9. Slice and enjoy!

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread! I would love to hear from you! These little people enjoyed it alright!

banana-bread-little-people

Also, it cracks me up the difference between Harper in the original post, and the older Harper! Thankfully, she still loves to help me bake!

Honey Grilled Chicken

Honey Grilled Chicken

Hard to believe summer will be coming to a close here in a few weeks. We have been super busy trying to fit everything in! Rather than explaining, I will let my pictures to the talking:

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As you can see, we have been very busy! We are enjoying the next few weeks here in Texas until school starts. It’s so fun to be with grandparents and get to spend time with them… And have a little break here and there! I feel refreshed and relaxed with just an hour or two by myself. (Thanks Grammy!)

Anyways, I made this chicken the other night at my in-laws house and everyone, kids and grown ups alike just gobbled it up. It’s super easy and makes quite a bit. Plus you will want the leftovers because they are delicious on their own again or chopped up on a salad or tacos or something else. (It’s actually what I shred and add on top of my Black Bean Soup!)

Also, chicken breasts can be substituted but the thighs really are where it’s at! The sweet honey with the smokey tender flavorful chicken make this a favorite in our house! At Grammy’s request, here is this recipe 😉

Honey grilled chicken

Ingredients:

  • Spice rub:
  • 1 TBL Chili powder
  • 1 TBL Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (no pepper, it burns!)
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Coriander (optional)
  • Chicken
  • 12 chicken thighs (3 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar

Directions:
Combine all spices for the rub in a small bowl.
Pat dry chicken pieces and lay out evenly on parchment paper. Sprinkle half of spices on thighs and flip over with tongs or a fork.
Sprinkle remaining rub on the other side of chicken thighs until fully coated.
From here, you can either put on the grill or add to a zip top bag to await the heat!
(I like to have them sit in the bag for 30 or so minutes and massage the spices into the meat.)
Prepare the honey and vinegar by stirring together in a small bowl.
(Or if you are close to the end of your honey, just add the vinegar right in the jar and shake!)
Place chicken on the grill and get the honey close and ready. After 3-4 minutes, flip the chicken and start brushing on the honey mixture on the already grilled sides. Grill for another 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken thighs. After the chicken is done (registering about 160-165 degrees), brush the remaining honey on the other side, coating every nook and cranny.

grilling-honey-grilled-chicken

We served our honey grilled chicken with skewered veggies and roasted sweet potatoes. I love to do sweet potatoes with these since the sweetness in both really go together.

Honey Grilled Chicken
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
The spice rub and honey combined on this grilled chicken is so flavorful and yummy and it's a quick meal as well!
Ingredients
  • Spice rub:
  • 1 TBL Chili powder
  • 1 TBL Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (no pepper, it burns!)
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Coriander (optional)
  • Chicken:
  • 12 chicken thighs (3 lbs)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Combine all spices for the rub in a small bowl.
  2. Pat dry chicken pieces and lay out evenly on parchment paper. Sprinkle half of spices on thighs and flip over with tongs or a fork.
  3. Sprinkle remaining rub on the other side of chicken thighs until fully coated.
  4. Can be refrigerated up to 24 hours or put directly on the grill.
  5. Prepare the honey and vinegar by stirring together in a small bowl.
  6. Place chicken on the grill and keep the honey close and ready. After 3-4 minutes, flip the chicken and start brushing on the honey mixture on the already grilled sides. Grill for another 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken thighs. After the chicken is done (registering about 160-165 degrees), brush the remaining honey on the other side, coating every nook and cranny.

 

I hope you enjoy the Honey Grilled Chicken! I would love to hear about it!

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup (vegetarian!)

Our family doesn’t usually eat meat-free meals just because we always a meat/protein. If your family aren’t big meat-eaters or they are willing to try a vegetarian meal, slow cooker black bean soup is a good one! I will say we used chicken stock but it could be swapped for vegetable stock easily. Also, I used grilled chicken thighs as a topping so be forewarned when you see the pic!

Also, I am drawn to this recipe since it uses dried beans instead of canned. I love the idea of using dried beans but I can never seem to remember to soak them the night before. This is why I usually cook with canned beans. I guess you can call it laziness or just busy, you decide!

BBsoup

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 TBL cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (i didn’t use since my kids don’t like the heat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 lb dried black beans, rinsed (about 2- 2.25 cups)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh onion
  • Chicken (optional of course! Could be rotisserie or grilled, which I have a great recipe for grilled thighs BTW!)

slow-cooker-black-bean-soup-ingredients

Directions:

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Chop onion, celery, and carrot.

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Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and then minced (or garlic-pressed) cloves of garlic with cumin, pepper flakes and salt.

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Cook until everything has softened and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.

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Add the vegetables, water, broth, black beans, and bay leaves to the slow cooker.

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Stir to combine everything. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 6-7 hours.slow-cooker-black-bean-soup

After the time is done, remove bay leaves.

black-bean-soup-remove-bay-leaves2-cups-black-bean-soupLadle out 2 cups of soup and puree in a blender or with immersion blender until smooth. Stir back into rest of soup.

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Season with cilantro, and also salt and pepper if needed. Serve and top with toppings as desired. Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup (vegetarian!)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Dried black beans become a delicious hearty soup in this slow cooker recipe.
Ingredients
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1½ TBL cumin
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (i didn't use since my kids don't like the heat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 lb dried black beans, rinsed (about 2- 2.25 cups)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh onion
  • Chicken
Instructions
  1. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Chop onion, celery and carrot.
  2. Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and minced cloves of garlic with cumin, pepper flakes and salt.
  3. Cook until everything has softened and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetables, water, broth, black beans and bay leaves to the slow cooker.
  5. Stir to combine everything. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
  6. After time is done, remove bay leaves. Ladle out 2 cups of soup and puree in a blender or with immersion blender until smooth. Stir back into rest of soup.
  7. Season with cilantro, salt and pepper. Serve and top with toppings as desired.

 

My kids love this kind of stuff! Each one asks for more cheese or more sour cream, whatever they like!

eat-slow-cooker-black-bean-soup tasty-slow-cooker-black-bean-soup

It gets a little messy there for the little guy so he eats his dinner topless 😉

For those of you that have been wondering, ‘why haven’t I been receiving the post emails?’ Well, I haven’t been posting much, that’s why! Lots of changes have been happening in our household and we’ve been traveling and visiting family quite a bit. Thankfully, I feel like I’m finally getting my groove back! Thanks for the continued support!

Please let me know what you think about the Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup! I’d love to hear what you think!

325 Zero Hunger

My husband, Jason and I have volunteered to take on a project within our church. It is led by our pastor and a few other church and community members to end hunger in our zip code, 32507. Hence the name, 325 Zero Hunger.

As a mom of young children, I cannot imagine not being able to feed my child until they were full. Or having to go hungry myself in order for my child to eat. However, that is the reality in many homes in our area, and across the country.

I looked up a few facts from an article called “Hungry Games” written by Jessica Forbes just for my own information and for this post. In our first meeting, we discussed ways of going about this rather daunting task. We have started with children and using schools as a way to find those in need. This article has chosen school age children as well to narrow focus.

hungry-games

“Over 60 percent of Escambia County public school students, roughly 24,000 children, rely on the school system for at least two free or reduced price meals a day during the school year. (…) Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 of the 24,000 eligible students will receive meals during a part of the summer provided through the USDA programs. The remaining 22,000 are left to make other arrangements.”

I was in awe of that number, thinking how many families struggle to put meals on the table. In our meeting, we discussed defining “food insecurity” more specifically.

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Food insecurity: “The limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.”
Found on othersociologist.com

Even though, there are a few programs in place already to help feed the hungry in this area. However, other volunteers for 325 Zero Hunger would be the first to say they have seen many gaps that need to be filled. They know because of their long work experience in these other programs:

  • Backpack programs that give school kids food to take home over the weekends
  • School lunch programs that give reduced price or free meals to kids
  • Frozen food programs (like One Harvest) that can be purchased and passed out to those who need it
  • Food banks through churches or other organizations that distribute food throughout our city and counties
  • Homeless and other outreaching food distribution with a large scale focus

Also, there are several that the article touched on for school age kids to find food during the summer when school is out.

While we are not certain of all the specific ways that this organization will work to achieve its goal, I am looking forward to helping as much as we can.

Meanwhile, keep looking out for more posts as I also try to raise these crazy kiddos of ours. I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken in researching for this post. It made me glad I signed up to assist and also want to hug my children close and say a prayer of gratitude for everything God has given us.

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Easy Pasta with Sausage

Here in Pensacola, we have had a rough week the past 7 days. We had a lot of heavy rain and thunderstorms, the last of which on Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. I heard between 20 and 25 inches of rain in a 24 hour period! There were many city streets that had total washouts and many people, including some friends had water come into their houses. We were fortunate enough only to have water in our backyard. Our house is on a sloped lot so the porch (shown) is 5-6 feet off the ground.

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The water had gone back down past the fence by the time the day had ended. It was crazy! I just feel terrible for all those that are still dealing with water damage, insurance companies and heartache over losing so much. I can’t even imagine what they are going through.

Anyways, I will get on with the recipe.

Easy pasta with sausage is something I make when I need a quick dinner and it’s just me and kids eating. Not that my husband wouldn’t like it, but I like to keep it simple and easy on the nights I’m cooking for just us. Everything is throw it in a pan and serve from there.

I feel like I make a lot of these type of ‘versatile’ dishes like this, but it’s so easy and yummy, why not? So, use what you have in this basic formula and feel better about using fresh food that doesn’t get dumped out later because it went bad sitting in the fridge! (I hate that!)

What’s really great too, is it’s so easy to sneak some extra vegetables in that don’t always get eaten. I like to throw finely chopped up fresh spinach or diced, de-seeded fresh tomato as well. A finish of herbs are also nice as well. Whatever you have in the fridge will work!

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Easy Pasta with Sausage

Ingredients:

  • I used 3/4 of one of these, all natural pork sausage (the whole thing pictured). I know its not organic but its better than others, right?
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 carrot or handful of baby carrots, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (rotini in this case)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I usually grate some off the block/wedge)

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to directions. Make sure to keep the starchy cooking water aside.

Brown the sausage with the vegetables in a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

brown sausage and vegetables for easy pasta and sausage

Cook until everything is softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced.

add browth and simmer - easy pasta with sausage

Add cooked pasta and taste for any additional seasoning.

add cooked pasta to easy pasta with sausage

Add sprinkled cheese and stir to combine.

add sprinkled cheese to easy pasta and sausage

Doesn’t really get much easier than that!

Easy Pasta with Sausage
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 9-12 oz natural pork sausage
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 carrot or handful of baby carrots, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (rotini in this case)
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Make sure to keep the starchy cooking water aside.
  2. Brown the sausage with the vegetables in a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until everything is softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced.
  4. Add cooked pasta and taste for any additional seasoning.
  5. Add sprinkled cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Serve with more cheese on the table to top.

 

Please let me know if you are able to make Easy Pasta with Sausage and what you thought of it!

 

Pork Stir Fry

So happy Spring has arrived! We spent both days of this weekend outside in the sunshine! On Saturday, we had Harper’s soccer game and a birthday party at a playground. Then Sunday, we were cleaning up the porch and front yard after church.

harper-in-spring

I even got a tiny sunburn on the back of my neck since my hair no longer covers it now that my hair is all gone! I must have cut off 8-9 inches in the back!

momwithagoldenfork sunburn

Anyways, we also said a very sad goodbye to our dear, dear friends who moved to Jacksonville. Our children have grown up together and it’s just so sad now that they aren’t around the corner anymore. Life will be a lot less exciting without them but we both know we will get to visit each other since it just a quick 5 hour drive down I-10 from us! Haha!

momwithagoldenfork dear friend

This is blast from the past (Carmel 2009 BC: before children!)

So the matter at hand: Pork Stir Fry. As I am emptying out my back log of recipes, this one is a more recent one I have fixed. Its one I know many people have a similar type of dish already; but since I love to share my own recipes, maybe its a little different from others out there!

On another note, if you have everything prepped and ready for this meal, you can make Pork Stir Fry in a flash! I’d say less than 20 minutes! That’s better than take out for sure and it tastes just as good!

pork stir fry plate

Pork Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb pork chops, sliced in 1/4in strips (could be chicken or flank steak or peeled shrimp instead!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBL rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TBL cornstarch
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli (fresh or defrosted from frozen), in florets
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 3 TBL vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • Sliced green onion or Black sesame seeds or chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 TBL cornstarch
  • 1 TBL soy sauce
  • 1 TBL hoisin sauce
  • 1 TBL rice wine vinegar

Instructions:

Whisk together egg, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch. Add in the pork (or other protein) and set aside.

pork stir fry wet ingredients

Mix up the sauce and place in area next to stove along with the vegetable and pork.

pork stir fry vegetables

Heat 2 TBL of oil in large skillet or wok. Add pork and brown until no longer pink, 1 1/2- 2 minutes, (should still be underdone). Remove to a plate and set aside.

brown pork for stir fry

Make sure pan is HOT and add remaining 1 TBL of oil. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.

saute garlic pork stir fry

Add all the vegetables along with a pinch of salt and sugar. Stir fry until crisp-tender about 2 minutes.

pork stir fry vegetables in pan

Add the pork and pour in sauce and stir. Everything should start to thicken up by about 3 minutes.

pork stir fry saucepork stir fry thicken

Move to plate and sprinkle any garnishes on top. Serve on top of white (or brown!) rice and Voila!

pork stir fry golden fork

Pork Stir Fry
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb pork chops, sliced in ¼in strips (could be chicken or flank steak or peeled shrimp insteadl!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBL rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TBL cornstarch
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli, (fresh or defrosted from frozen) in florets
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 3 TBL vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • Sliced green onion or Black sesame seeds or chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1TBL cornstarch
  • 1 TBL soy sauce
  • 1 TBL hoisin sauce
  • 1 TBL rice wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Whisk together egg, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch. Add in the pork (or other protein) and set aside.
  2. Mix up the sauce and place in area next to stove along with the vegetable and pork.
  3. Heat 2 TBL of oil in large skillet or wok. Add pork and brown until no longer pink, 1½- 2 minutes. (should still be underdone) Remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Make sure pan is HOT and add remaining 1 TBL of oil. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  5. Add all the vegetables along with a pinch of salt and sugar. Stir fry until crisp-tender about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the pork and pour in sauce and stir. Everything should start to thicken up by about 3 minutes.
  7. Move to plate and sprinkle any garnishes on top. Serve on top of rice.

 

Please let me know what you think of the Pork Stir Fry! I would love to hear your comments!

 

Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry Smoothie

Welcome Spring! And thank goodness for warm weather! We have been playing outside nonstop since it stopped raining and it got above 50 degrees. Since we had Spring Break this week and we are on somewhat of a “stay-cation” this smoothie was my attempt at a break from our normal routine. We whirred them together in our blender and poured some into a popsicle mold! The rest we snacked on in the afternoon breeze, it was wonderful!

I sort of made this up in a pinch. I added a little of this and that but I wrote what I approximately did. Hopefully I eye-balled it correctly!

Just found this awesome article about chia seeds! Read up!

Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry smoothie

In case you can’t see that fancy new text (yep, I’m fancy now!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (I kept one aside to put on top)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup juice (I used a strawberry and watermelon but white grape would be good)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 TBL honey
  • 1 TBL chia seeds (optional)

IMG_1808

Directions:

Whir together in a blender for 1-2 min. Enjoy! And enjoy we did!

IMG_0236IMG_0231IMG_0240 IMG_0237

Here are some pics of my crazies after smoothies were consumed:

IMG_1820 IMG_1819 IMG_1817 IMG_1821

Strawberry Smoothie
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup frozen strawberries (I kept one aside to put on top)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup juice (I used a strawberry and watermelon but white grape would be good)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 TBL honey
  • 1 TBL chia seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Whir together in a blender for 1-2 min.
  2. Can add whole strawberries to garnish.

 

Please let me know if you tried it and/or liked the Strawberry smoothie! Please like momwithagoldenfork on Facebook or follow my blog through email!