Weeknight Dinners

Creamy Chicken-Tomato Skillet

Costco had a ton of those cute little cherry tomatoes on sale today – so we have to use them up. This recipe is from the May 2018 Cooking Light Magazine and is 20 minutes to make + super comforting. If you’re looking to spice up your weeknight meal plan, this is it!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1# skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (about 30 grinds on your pepper mill)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced white onion
  • 1 grated garlic clove
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 package brown rice
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium hi heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper. Add chicken to hot skillet. cook until chicken browns about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes (chop tomatoes if you have small kids), onion, garlic and rosemary. Cook + stir occasionally, about 3 minutes.
  2. Whisk together chicken stock and flour in a bowl. add to chicken mixture in pan. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bring the pan to a boil. Cook + stir often until sauce is thick = 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Heat your rice up according to the package (if you’re not using instant rice, brown rice takes about 45 min. so plan this ahead then).
  5. Place hot rice in a bowl. Add spinach, lemon zest, sprinkle of salt and pepper, toss to coat.
  6. Divide the rice mix over 4 plates. Top evenly with chicken mixture.

Enjoy!

Yield is 4. This is on our menu for the week. Everything else will be “winging it” since May is probably our craziest month yet!

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We made time to enjoy this weather! Our recent auction win provided us with some bubbles! What a fun time 🙂 Kids loved it.

Have a great weekend!

xo

Weeknight Dinners

Weeknight Lasagna

After eating the same boring flavor profile, aka, Thanksgiving leftovers, we are switching it up to Italian. Lasagna to be exact. I’ve got two kids in front of me right now fighting over a box, yes, a box. Why am I driving myself nuts over Christmas toys when apparently a box is the cats meow?! I’ll just skip right to the recipe since I need to referee…..

Campbell’s 30 Minute Weeknight Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese – Kraft is safe
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound organic, lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (45 ounces) Prego® Traditional Italian Sauce or two jars (24 ounces each) Prego® Three Cheese Italian Sauce
  • 12 cooked lasagna noodles, drained – Barilla is safe
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 3 cups)

Directions:

  1. Stir the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and eggs in a medium bowl and set it aside.  Season the beef as desired.  In a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the beef until it’s well browned, stirring often to break up the meat. Pour off any fat. Stir the sauce in the saucepan.
  2. Spoon 2 cups beef mixture into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Top with 4 lasagna noodles, half the ricotta cheese mixture and half the mozzarella. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining 4 lasagna noodles, remaining beef mixture and the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake at 400°F. for 30 minutes or until the lasagna is hot. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

We’re serving with a side salad and garlic bread.  FOr other quick weeknight dinners, don’t forget you can search my blog, just type in what you’re looking for on the right search column.

Have a great week!

Weeknight Dinners

Menu Board Inspiration 11/13 – 11/17

We had a fantastic nut free breakfast at the Knick this morning. They make their own pancake mix in-house, so we know it’s nut-free. They are great about handling allergies. We’ve been dining there with family for the past 7 years, and luckily, haven’t had a single issue. From quick date nights, to baptisms, mother’s day, father’s day, post-fireworks cocktails and more, this restaurant holds some of our greatest family memories. We’re grateful to have such a great place so close.

This week is crazy – I’m sensing a theme here – so the menu is quite boring, but hey, I’m not a restaurant. Here’s what we’ve got, nut-free and fast.

Monday – Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday using Ortega (nut-free) Taco kit with Conscious Carnivore, organic + locally sourced taco meat.

Wednesday – Dino Nuggets from Target, mashed potatoes (aka volcanoes + gravy) with trees (broccoli). Go ahead and buy that big bag of potatoes since you’ll use them next week for Thanksgiving!

Thursday – Spaghetti (Barilla) and meatballs to use up the extra sauce (Prego) we have here from last weeks meal.

Friday – Jack’s pizza night (clearing out the fridge and freezer as we gear up for Thanksgiving). We have a whole nut-free + GF + vegetarian menu we are planning! I’ll post this weekend after we take a visit to the Pabst Theater!

Have a great week – I’ve got wall-to-wall meetings this week and final preparations for this coming weekend, so groceries were just ordered online. If you haven’t used Metcalfe’s online grocery ordering, you’re missing out. It’s so easy my 6 year old just did it!

Treats for Mom + Dad this week include a few new friends from Dry Creek Valley:

And for the kiddos, they are still munching away on the snacks from #fablogcon

Weeknight Dinners

Roasted Root Vegetables + Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage

Are you in your back to school routines yet? Going crazy? Drinking too much coffee? I’ve got a time saver recipe for your weeknight eats that will have everyone clearing their plates….if they are OK with roasted vegetables. Which, if you haven’t roasted your veggies before, you SHOULD. They taste SO MUCH BETTER. This recipe is Kid approved!

20170906_170337.jpgIf you have random almost expired vegetables in your fridge, this is a good way to use them all up and make a fairly healthy meal at the same time. I love roasted root vegetable night. Usually I choose 3-4 different vegetables, one whole onion, and a sausage of some sort. The recipe below is one that I just made up tonight and we had clean plates all around. It’s very easy and fast, perfect for weeknight cooking.

Roasted Root Vegetables + Sweet Turkey Italian Sausage

  • 1/2 cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • 1 bag mini carrots
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and cut approx. same size as your carrots
    • parsnips are friends of the carrot – if you haven’t had them, you’re in for a real treat. They literally roast up to taste like sweet candy. Literal candy. Not lying. they are gobbled up every. single. time. Do it. Buy them + roast them.
  • 1 package / pound of sweet turkey Italian sausage, sliced into mini rounds
    • I chose Applegate turkey/chicken sausage in the cold case section, and they tasted amazing + they are NUT-FREE! You can find them at Whole Foods, and most other grocers organic/healthy eating sections.
    • Brats also work for this if you have them on hand, so do hot-dogs. Really, any type of sausage works. And it can be fresh/raw. It roasts for so long, it doesn’t matter.
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • salt + pepper
  • non-stick spray

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425*
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray
  3. Arrange your vegetables how you like them on the trays
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, check on your stuff, flip around and roast for approx 15-30 more minutes, depending on how crispy you like it.
  5. Tonight I left mine in for a full hour since I like it a tad crunchy.

I had a giant pot of spaghetti noddles left over from the other night, too. So we had that as a side. I warmed up the following:

  • Plain noodles
  • 1/4 cup of Kim Crawford
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil,
  • Salt, pepper,
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • a few grates of Parmesan.

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Rice also works as a side. Other things that you could roast include:

  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Brussel Sprouts (slice in half)
  • White onion
  • Mini potatoes
  • Red potatoes
  • Turnip
  • Kohlrabi

The key with roasting is you want to make sure the stuff is approximately the same size and density. For example, tonight I had bigger stuff on one tray and smaller stuff on another because I knew the cooking times would vary slightly on each of those. Just like cooking Dino Nuggets and Tater Tots, the Dino Nuggets always finish first, so different baking sheet.

The bummer part of roasting is that everything generally looks the same color. If you don’t care about plate presentation, this is not a big deal. I felt “off” with having a lot of brown/white stuff on my plate, so I added a green salad and red tomatoes. Made me feel a little better. Crazy lady, I know.

Have a great week – I’ve got a busy little Thursday and Friday at the kid’s schools and hopefully a fun weekend with a move and mini-golf! New recipes next week and I’ll post menu board inspo to Instagram, nutfreemomblog.

Cheers!

Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Red Pepper Couscous

Have you ever had your credit card number compromised? I’m too familiar with this process. By now, I’m mostly annoyed.

Last year our credit card number was stolen 4 times. This year, our bank has changed our number once already (last month) out of “an abundance of caution.”

I’m super annoyed.

Naturally, I make lists. However, I haven’t made a list, YET, for all of the vendors linked to automatic bill pay with this specific card.

Now I am.

The time it takes to re-enter all of my billing information for all of these companies blows my mind. Some websites are easier than others. But some are difficult to navigate and even after I make the changes online, I still get a nasty-gram in the mail stating my bill is overdue and my credit card is invalid. Ahhhem, DirecTV, I’m pointing my finger at you, and arching my right eye-brow. That’s a warning.

This website takes data and puts it in the garbage. Nowhere to be found. Everytime I enter it. Seriously? This is my 5th time in two years, I’m considered expert. Maybe you should talk with the amazing people at Nordstrom and find out how their website works perfectly every. single. time.

For a Monday though, I’ve been productive. Even picked up a few new items from Evereve and got some serious chores done around here. Also started my annual solicitation for items for this year’s Rhapsody in Bloom Gala at Olbrich Gardens. A great summer event. And tickets are on sale NOW, you should come. Seriously, It’s fun and gorgeous and this year’s theme is New York New York.

But back to Evereve, I like the store because I don’t feel like I need to say out loud, “Is this appropriate for my age?” because 9/10 times it is A-OK for a mid-30 or 40 something. Or maybe not. These graphic shirts…I’m not so sure about? Too edgy? I don’t know. When in doubt, ask the Nanny from the University.

My contacts are sticking to my eye like glue, so I’m going to make this part quick.

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The kids picked out the entire menu board this week. If you follow me on Insta you’ll see their fun-loving little May the 4th (STAR WARS DAY) items planned out – super fun and easy stuff. Tonight they wanted Angus Beef Organic Hot Dogs. Not sure how that is even a name, or physically possible, but whatever.

For the side, we made this new recipe tonight from Cooking Light Magazine (circa 2014). Yep, I save food magazines in my closet like old recipe books because I don’t have old recipe books.

Red Pepper Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (or one bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (or 1/2 red onion)
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 + 1/4 cups water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, and chopped

Directions

  1. Saute bell pepper and onion in oil for 3 minutes.
  2. Add couscous
  3. Add water, salt and black pepper
  4. Bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover for 8-10 minutes
  6. Stir in lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno
  7. Enjoy, Yield 5-6

Kids Loved it. Lots of flavor, lime juice made it. The avocado shown in the photo above was just sliced and served on the side.

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For substitute, try these combos + add after preparing the couscous according to package.

  1. Parsley, 1/2 cup pecorino-romano cheese, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, salt and pepper
  2. 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup cucumber, 1/2 cup red onion, 1 tsp lemon juice, salt, pepper and crumbled feta cheese
  3. 3 tbsp fresh basil, 2 tbsp fresh orange juice, 1 medium nectarine

 

Recipe and photo credit: June 2014 issue of Cooking Light Magazine