Category Archives: Dinnertime

easy cauliflower puree

Easy Cauliflower Puree

This recipe comes from a few years ago when my family wasn’t eating grains, dairy, sugar and many other delicious things. (This post explains why we were doing that.) Thankfully those days are behind us! But the best thing that happened from that experience was some new and different recipes that I never would have cooked before that time. My kids learned to eat some new things and it opened them up to some new foods I hadn’t really thought about or even attempted to cook.

Easy Cauliflower Puree is my favorite thing to make when I’m scrambling to put dinner on the table. Its about 20 minutes from start to finish. Also, it can be put on subbed by replacing the sweet potatoes on top of the Cottage Pie. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

I will say this: I don’t pretend this is potatoes. We call it cauliflower and they still eat it! Haha! It has a different flavor but it can be seasoned as such.

Sometimes I add other ingredients if we want to mix it up:

1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream and 1/2 cup shredded cheese

2 TBL butter and 1/2 cup milk

3 chopped slices of bacon and sautéed chopped onion and jalapeños.

Easy Cauliflower Puree

World’s best and easy cauliflower puree. I promise. Of all the recipes I make on a regular basis, I use this one the most.

You will need:

1 large pot to cook in

an immersion blender like this one (or traditional blender)

Ingredients:

cauliflower head (mine was about 9-10 inches across)
1 TBL olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper

Directions:

Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Diagonally chop the core out of each quarter and roughly chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Neatness doesn’t count here!

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Add the oil and cauliflower all in the pot on medium high heat. Stir until the cauliflower stars to brown in a few spots, 3-4 minutes.

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Add the garlic cloves and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook 15-18 minutes, stirring 1 -2 times. Add a splash of broth if it cooks away to quickly.

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When florets are soft and easily mashed with a spoon, turn off heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (Either in pot which is easier or spoon into traditional blender.)

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Taste for seasoning.

 

This is what my kids look like after dinner:

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Told ya 😉

Easy Cauliflower Puree
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Easy Cauliflower Puree is a versatile and easy side dish to complement any meal.
Ingredients
  • cauliflower head (about 9-10 inches diameter)
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1½ cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Diagonally chop the core out of each quarter and roughly chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Neatness doesn't count here!
  2. Add the oil and cauliflower all in the pot on medium high heat. Stir until the cauliflower stars to brown in a few spots, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic cloves and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook 15-18 minutes, stirring 1 -2 times. Add a splash of broth if it cooks away to quickly.
  4. When florets are soft and easily mashed with a spoon, turn off heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (Either in pot which is easier or spoon into traditional blender.) Taste for seasoning.
  5. Additional stir-in for extra flavor:1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream and ½ cup shredded cheese OR 2TBL butter and ½ cup milk OR 3chopped slices of cooked bacon and sautéed chopped onion and jalapeños.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Easy Cauliflower Puree! I would love to hear from you!

everything marinade

The Everything Marinade

Now that my kids are getting older, I find them playing together as peers more and more often. Especially since my 5 year old can read to my 3 year old, they really do seem like best buds together! Not that they don’t get into sibling spats and brawls but I often find them like this:

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And this is bedtime the other night. Of course.

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And before a run last week. Those rain boots usually make an appearance, even when the sun is brightly shining!

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Anyways, enough about the kids!

Over here at my house, we are always looking for a different (but easy!) way to flavor meat.  However, this is the recipe we use when we DON’T do something interesting and new. Its the old stand-by, the easy no-brainer and simple as anything! It gives the meat moisture and a delicious seasoned flavor. Now, I’ve only been using the homemade version for a short time. The other way was a bottle of something store bought but this tastes better, and there’s nothing mystery (or hard-to-pronounce) about it!

everything marinade

The Everything Marinade

This could be used for steaks, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, burgers, pork tenderloins or pork chops or whatever you like to cook! We usually throw it on the grill after marinading but it can be baked, sautéed or whatever kind of cooking method floats your boat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 c soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 c water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional) I don’t usually use this but it just adds that little something extra.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir or use a mason jar and shake vigorously. Pour half of recipe into zip top bag or container and add meat to marinade. Leave for minimum 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Store remainder of marinade tightly closed with lid for up to 1 week. Can be used in a freezer bag with meat for 1 month.

 

We like to have our marinaded steaks with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli. It always gets gobbled up every time!

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The Everything Marinade
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 recipes
 
This marinade is great for any and everything!
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 c soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 c water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir or use a mason jar and shake vigorously.
  2. Pour half of recipe into zip top bag or container and add meat to marinade. Leave for minimum 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  3. Store remainder of marinade tightly closed with lid for up to 1 week. Can be used in a freezer bag with meat for 1 month.

Please let me know what you thought of the Everything Marinade! I would love to hear from you!

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!

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!

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.

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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!

toppings-slow-cooker-black-bean-soup

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!

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.

backyard-flooded in easy pasta with sausage post backyard-flooded in easy pasta with sausage post

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!

sausage-for-easy-pasta

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Black Bean Chicken and Rice- Revisited

This Saturday, we had a busy day planned and so in an effort to alleviate the dinnertime rush, I made dinner in the morning. Hubby requested this dish earlier in the week so I love when I don’t have to plan what to eat, just go on my way to cooking!

I made a different kind of topping this time and I really like how it came out! I buzzed the tortilla chips in a food processor for 2 seconds and added 2 TBL of melted butter and a small handful of cilantro. I nixed the cooking spray this time around and thought the topping was much better! And the cilantro added a greenish tint to the chips. Everything else was the same, chicken, rice, jalapenos, etc. I baked it at 400 degrees for an hour covered and then took off the foil for 15 minutes. Everyone gobbled it up!

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBL butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 4-5 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (2 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 8 oz jack cheese, shredded (I used my food processor)
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Tortilla chips, crushed to crumbs
  • cooking spray

Black Bean Chicken and Rice Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Directions:

Melt butter in a large pot (with a lid) over medium high heat.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Add bell peppers, onion, jalapenos and salt. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Stir in garlic and cumin and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add in flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until slightly browned.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Whisk in broth and cream, stirring slowly to incorporate. Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Add the chicken breasts, cover and bring to a simmer.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is cooked completely or thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Remove chicken to cool and add rice to broth mixture. Stirring often, cover rice and cook until cooked, about 22 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Shred chicken when cooled enough to handle. Remove pan from heat and stir in following ingredients: shredded chicken, grated cheese, drained black beans, corn and lime juice.

Black Bean Chicken and RiceBlack Bean Chicken and Rice

Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 13 x 9 dish. Spread out the crushed tortilla chips on top of mixture. Spray with cooking spray all over top. Cover with foil. Place in 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until bubbling. Remove foil and bake until crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

This makes a huge amount of food and its really great leftover! If you have a small crowd, I would recommend freezing half or double it and freeze. Just thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours and bake as above.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Black Bean Chicken and Rice- Revisited
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
While this dish has a little prep time, the end result is totally worth it!
Ingredients
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 4-5 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (2 lbs)
  • 1½ cups white rice
  • 8 oz jack cheese, shredded (I used my food processor)
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Tortilla chips, crushed to crumbs
  • cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large pot (with a lid) over medium high heat.
  2. Add bell peppers, onion, jalapenos and salt. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cumin and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add in flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until slightly browned.
  4. Whisk in broth and cream, stirring slowly to incorporate.
  5. Add the chicken breasts, cover and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is cooked completely or thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken to cool and add rice to broth mixture. Stirring often, cover rice and cook until cooked, about 22 minutes.
  8. Shred chicken when cooled enough to handle. Remove pan from heat and stir in following ingredients: shredded chicken, grated cheese, drained black beans, corn and lime juice.
  9. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 13 x 9 dish. Spread out the crushed tortilla chips on top of mixture. Spray with cooking spray all over top. Cover with foil. Place in 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until bubbling. Remove foil and bake until crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes.
  10. This can be frozen and defrosted overnight in the fridge. Bake as above after defrosted.

 

Please let me know what you think about the Black Bean Chicken and Rice. I would love to hear any and all comments!

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Lots going on around here! Let’s see… we had a great Valentine’s day! I made strawberry pancakes for my kiddos with my own baking mix.

20140221-181813.jpg 20140221-181836.jpgI’m still trying to perfect the ratios but I will posts as soon as I like the results. They love pancakes and request them most mornings (well the one that talks does!). Both gobble them up every time. I put bananas, berries (either blue or straw) and then after they are made, top them with cashew butter. They are delicious!

In other news, winter is slowly making its way out of Florida and spring should be here soon! Yay! I made this Chicken and Sweet Potato thing still in the heart of the cold but I think it could be good year round. Maybe I just love sweet potatoes a little too much!

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic and onion powder, each
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken tenders (or cut up larger breast pieces)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-1 1/2 lb sweet potato, diced 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Directions:

Start by stirring together the seasoning mix in a small bowl: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Lay out the chicken pieces and sprinkle with seasonings on both sides. Put oil in large, preheated pot and brown chicken on either side, about 3-4 min each. Remove and set aside.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Add onion, mushrooms and sweet potatoes to pan and cook for 8 min, stirring frequently.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Add oil if it starts to stick too much. Add chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Bring to boil and cover. Replace chicken in pot and reduce heat.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Cook covered for 4-6 minutes until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Turn off heat and stir in chopped spinach.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

We put this on a bed of quinoa cooked in chicken stock. It was really just so yummy! You could also use brown rice or something similar but it was pretty good just on its own! Just for those of you that are interested, its also gluten free, dairy free and very simple to make. What more can you ask?!

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp garlic and onion powder, each
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken tenders (or cut up larger breast pieces)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-1½ lb sweet potato, diced ½ inch cubes
  • 1⅓ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup baby spinach, chopped
Instructions
  1. Start by stirring together the seasoning mix in a small bowl: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Lay out the chicken pieces and sprinkle with seasonings on both sides. Put oil in large, preheated pot and brown chicken on either side, about 3-4 min each. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add onion, mushrooms and sweet potatoes to pan and cook for 8 min, stirring frequently.
  4. Add oil if it starts to stick too much. Add chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bring to boil and cover. Replace chicken in pot and reduce heat.
  6. Cook covered for 4-6 minutes until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Turn off heat and stir in chopped spinach.
  7. Can be served over quinoa or brown rice if desired.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach! I would love to hear from you!