Weeknight Homemade Chicken Soup

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You don’t have to be sick to enjoy a good bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. I’ve been craving this soup for a while. I made a version of it last week for a friend and I just couldn’t help myself today. I had to make it.

Ingredients:

  • One Rotisserie Chicken, you can find this at your grocers deli counter. Cube your chicken pieces and set aside.
  • 8 cups / two boxes of salted chicken stock (Rachael Ray is safe)
  • 1 carrot, peeled + thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, halved + thinly sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced small (can also use 1 palm/tbsp powdered onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced ( can also use 1 palm full/tbsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary – dry works too (Penzey’s Spices are safe)
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2-3 handfuls of flat egg noodles

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch Oven, drizzle the two tbsp of evoo over medium high heat.
  2. Add carrots, celery and soften, about 8-10 minutes
  3. Add the garlic and onion and all the herbs, heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes
  4. Add all the chicken stock
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Simmer
  7. Stir stir stir
  8. Add cubed chicken + your choice of pasta
  9. Simmer for 15-20 minutes + make sure your pasta is cooked through
  10. Enjoy! Yield: 8

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If you don’t want the pasta to get mushy, I would cook the pasta separately. This way, if you know you’ll have leftovers, you can save it for later in the week and have pre-made, non-mushy pasta each time! Nothing worse than soggy noodles.

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Gigi’s Weeknight BBQ Ribs

Growing up, my parents worked a LOT. Dinner was always about fast, simple and easy. There were no frills. The spice cabinet contained salt, pepper, Lawry’s season salt and italian herb mix. 

Basic. 

In fact, many of our meals were hamburger helper, over cooked chicken stir-fry or sweet and sour meatballs.

My parents didn’t come from families that cooked a lot, so all of the things we had, they learned how to make themselves. They did a pretty good job for having little cooking experience.

I still LOVE my mom’s BBQ ribs. 

Ingredients

  • One rack of ribs
  • One bottle of favorite BBQ sauce, like sweet baby Ray’s
  • One extra large glass pyrex 
  • Foil
  • Lawry’s season salt
  • Spray pam

Directions

  1. Remove the membrane from the ribs, if you want.
  2. Heat your oven to 425°
  3. Line your oven safe dish with foil. Use pam spray to spray both sides of foil (incase you have a tear in the foil, it won’t stick to the pan)
  4. Place ribs into pan
  5. Sprinkle Lawry’s salt over lightly on both sides
  6. Squeeze entire bottle of BBQ sauce over ribs, coat evenly + cover with foil.
  7. Cook for 1 hour at 425°
  8. Remove after 1 hour and remove foil over top of ribs. Use brush to redistribute sauce. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  9. Turn on broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up.
  10. Serve.
  11. Yield: 5-6

Italian One Pot Pasta

If you don’t like to cook, don’t think you can cook, don’t want to cook, have a case of the Mondays (Tuesdays – Fridays for that matter) or just need something to feed your family or yourself, this is it. 

It’s super fast, and packed full of flavor. We made it on a Monday and it was amazing. Plus, if you have fresh herbs growing, it’s a great way to use up LOTS of basil. If you don’t grow basil, pick up one of those little plants in the produce department at your grocery store. It’s worth it!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 (12oz) smoked andouille sausage (any sausage will work, we just browned off some spicy Italian ground beef)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups basil, loosely packed
  • 4 cloves garlic (or 2 tbsp powdered)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven, combine all ingredients, plus 4 cups of water. 
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until spaghetti is cooked.
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan + stir to thicken.
  4. Enjoy! 
  5. Yield: 5-6

Cilantro Lime Chicken (Crock pot)

Cilantro Lime Chicken did not disappoint last week – and the good news is that it made a lot of food to eat several different ways. We had two dinners from it and lunch leftovers. This dish can be eaten plain, over jasmine rice, with tortillas chips, as a huge nacho plate with extra olives, cheese and fixins, as burritos, tacos, and quesadillas with red onion and sour cream.

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This recipe is flexible. It can be frozen for a few weeks if you’re planning on making this ahead of time. Our family loves easy slow cooker meals that are full of flavor. Clean up is simple and I didn’t have to think about “what’s for dinner” at all the entire day! And my whole house smelled good while it was slow cooking – like I was actually Momming?!

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5# of boneless, skinless, organic-free range chicken (that’s a tall order, hey?), cubed or cut into small pieces
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes + green chiles
  • 1 can of fire roasted corn (or plain corn is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup salsa – I like mild or medium store bought salsa so the kids enjoy it too
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I actually hate cilantro, but dont mind it in this dish.)
  • 1/2 red onion perfectly Diced Onion
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 4 cloves garlic or 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of two limes

Directions:

  1. If you’re freezing this, just put all the contents of this recipe into a freezer zip top bag and place in your freezer, up to two months.
  2. If you’re not freezing, place all the ingredients in to your slow cooker on low up to 8 hours. My slow cooker cooks things quickly, mine was done in 5 hours, but I also cubed the chicken.

We are BIG Wisconsin Football fans, I plan on using this for Packer parties, Badger Tailgates and long winter weekends with family. What goes better with Wisconsin Football than beer? Nothing. Nothing goes better together. Well, you could throw in some cheese and sausage.

One of my favorite drinks with Mexican food is a Michelada. * This is an alcoholic beverage*

Ingredients:

  • chili-salt blend for the rim of the glass
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 2 ounces fresh juice from 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle light Mexican beer, such as Modelo, Pacífico, Tecate, Victoria, or Corona, well chilled

After you prepare your glass, then mix all of these ingredients together.

This is one of my favorite summer time sippers since it reminds me of the time my hubs and I went to Mexico. I was out of vacation time at work and had to “cough-cough” call in sick for one of the days I was gone. The Michelada was my drink of choice on this trip, and I thoroughly remember swinging and sipping while staring at the ocean. So relaxing!

Enjoy the recipe – I hope you have a great week!

 

 

Quick Meals

Hey there – it’s been a Monday! Today was full of crazy, but I’ve found the silver lining. I was able to talk to not one, but two of my cousins today. It’s been a while since I’ve talked to them and it was nice to catch up, connect. It’s nice to know family always has your back. Even if it’s been a while since the last time you talked, it’s family, and family is #1.

This week I’m behind.

Of course.

My usual weekend planning didn’t happen since we were out of town so here’s what I’ve come up with for quick meals in the past 15 minutes while I ordered my groceries online. Hy-Vee allows me to do aisles online and pick up the next day for no fee! It’s amazing. I use this service a lot in winter when it’s super cold. But this week is just nuts busy, so I’m using it so that my kids and I are at home having more fun, rather than stomping thru a grocery store wandering aimlessly. Plus, I’m sick of the car cart already! Can school start yet?!

Monday – Today we had Benvenutos. I love this place because THEY DELIVER! and they are cautious about being nut-free for my daughter. Plus, they use all organic, non-hormone based chicken, and we eat a lot of chicken.

Tuesday – Fajitas. We had some chicken thawed and found a Lawry’s Fajita season packet in our spice cabinet + we had some tortillas left over.

Wednesday – One Pot Pasta. I’ll be blogging about this one. It’s a first-time recipe for me, and it uses gobs of fresh basil, which I have on my porch, and Italian sausage, onion and spaghetti. These are those pretty pictures you see on Pinterest where the pasta, and all the ingredients look so nice all in one Le Creuset!

Thursday – Cilantro Lime Chicken Nachos. This is a make ahead, slow-cooker meal. I’m so happy I found it on my favorite blog, Damn Delicious. I’ll post this recipe and pic too.

Friday – Doug’s Birthday! WOOT. I think we’re going out to dinner. Family fun night.

Saturday – Date night, pizza for the kiddies + Gigi.

Sunday – My little guys birthday – dinner will be Mushroom Ravioli (pre-made, store bought) with Classico Alfredo (totally nut-free) sauce and roasted broccoli.

Here is the food bloggers conference I was talking about a few weeks ago: fablogcon

Thinking about checking out the forum for new food allergy information and samples of non nut-based butters. Some great speakers on the panel this year for sure. We shall see!

Have a great week – and enjoy the sunshine!

Chipotle Chicken Bowls

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The end of the school year is quickly approaching and I feel like my organizational skills are in a downward spiral. Food menu planning is sporadic at best, our calendars are jammed full of activities, get-togethers, parties, volunteer activities, the list goes on. All fun stuff, just a lot all at once.

This week my body has been mad at me for having so much going on – and I could tell. I’ve had a dull headache for two days that turned into a full blown migraine late last night that kept me awake until 3am.  I haven’t been eating right, I’ve been working out too hard, too fast, and not re-fueling enough with the RIGHT FOOD.

There are no short cuts in life.

Today I took 6 hours to do nothing. Not a single thing. I couldn’t. If you’ve ever had a migraine you know how debilitating they are. Light sensitivity, nausea and throbbing neck and head kept me down for the count. Luckily, I have a very loving son with wonderful bedside manner helping me, and offering me little snacks and snuggles all day long. He is wonderful.

So this week, to get back on track, I made this amazing little meal that’s a total Chipotle knock-off. I found it from another blogger, Damn Delicious, and tweaked a bit to fit my family. Hope you love it too – we had 4 clean plates, and I’m pretty proud of that!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tbsp for sauce
  • 1 pound boneless/skinless organic chicken, cubed small
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25-ounces) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo or 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 4 scallions to garnish each plate
  • Black olives (kids love em)

Chipotle Cream Sauce (for the grown-ups, it has a kick!)

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions

  1. To make the chipotle cream sauce, blend together Greek yogurt, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper, drizzle of olive oil, and lime juice; set aside. (I used my nutribullet or smoothie blender to get a nice puree)
  2. In a non-stick sauce pan, make the rice according to the directions on the package. I like jasmine rice, so I needed to account for the 15 minutes it takes to simmer.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan with high sides. Add chicken cubes and chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder and paprika; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Cook until chicken has browned, about 5 minutes. If starting to stick, add a 1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock.
  5. Divide rice into plates and top with seasoned chicken, beans, corn and tomatoes. Drizzle with chipotle cream sauce, if desired.

Yield: 5

Comfort Food for a Full Moon

When you work in healthcare, you know that a full moon is like Friday the 13th. The crazy come out of the woodwork. So what better to have for dinner, after a super long day, than a comforting meal of homemade meatloaf, sauteed parmesan zucchini and creamy mashed potatoes?! Nothing. There is nothing better. This is the kind of heavy meal that fills in all the cracks and does not need dessert to follow. Everyone cleared their plates, Carter had 3rds, and there are zero left overs. I have meat and potatoes kinds of kids.

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Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  •  1 pound grass fed organic beef
  • 1 palm full of Penzeys powdered garlic
  • 1 palm full of Mrs.Dash Italian seasoning
  • 1 palm full of Penzeys powdered onion
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 shakes of worchestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 handful of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325.
  2. Pam spray your loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together, except beef.
  4. Once you have everything mixed up, add the beef and mix well with your hands.
  5. Once combined add it to the loaf pan and flatten out. Bake for 45 minutes, turn the oven up to 350 and cook for 15 more minutes, if you’d like a crunchy crust.
  6. Optional: Slice your loaf and lay in a 13 x 9 pan, drizzle ketchup over the slices and place under your boiler for 3 minutes. Who doesn’t love a crunchy crust on the edge of their meatloaf?

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Zucchini

Ingredients

  • three medium zucchini
  • evoo
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a large pan with high sides, add evoo and swirl to coat.
  2. Add the zucchini and sprinkle in remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir stir stir
  4. I like to keep the heat on medium-high
  5. keep stirring, about 10 minutes, zucchini should be soft
  6. Zucchini should start to stick to the pan, add the stock to deglaze the pan.
  7. Add more parmesan if desired

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Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Peel the two potatoes and quarter them
  3. Add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until fork tender
  4. Drain the water from the pot
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and mash with hand masher until light and fluffy.

Have a great Mother’s Day, MOMS!