Weeknight Dinners

Basic Bean & Ham Soup

Last week we had a lovely ham at my Mom’s house in Milwaukee for Easter Sunday. We came home with lots of leftovers.  We decided to make a simple weeknight ham and bean soup. It was ready in 20 minutes. Very easy and most of the stuff you’ll probably already have in your fridge. If you don’t have ham, add extra beans. But the ham flavor actually really makes this soup. You don’t need to add any extra salt because the ham does it all.

20180406_180935.jpgHam & Bean Soup 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed, fully cooked ham
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • pepper
  • 2 cans of great northern white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. I used a 4 qt Food Network Ceramic pot over medium high heat and swirled the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes
  3. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes
  4. Add the celery and carrot, saute for about 5-8 minutes until tender
  5. add your vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer over low for 20 minutes. Add your beans and ham at this point as well.
  6. Serve with small spinach salad.
  7. Enjoy! Yield is 4.

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Weeknight Dinners

New York Times Risotto

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Wisconsin was almost 50* on Saturday creating some amazing outside play time with gorgeous shining sun! We took advantage and played in the yard to shake off the winter grumps. It was wonderful. When we came inside, we were pooped and watched a movie and meal planned for the upcoming week. I don’t recommend the My Little Pony movie.

As I was reading the New York Times today, I found a tasty risotto recipe. I love risotto and so do the kids. It’s like fancy mac n cheese. It takes a long time to make, but it’s a labor of love and you can literally see the creamy goodness set up while you’re stirring.

Risotto with Sausage and Parsley

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock
  • 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup packed and grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, crumble the meat out of the casing and render the fat out of it. If its sticking to the pan too much, ad some olive oil, one tbsp at a time.
  2. sprinkle salt and pepper over sausage and continue to cook over medium hi heat
  3. Cook meat for approximately 10 minutes, remove the sausage from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Reserve 1 tbsp rendered fat from the sausage and set aside
  5. Pour the stock into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer
  6. While you heat the stock, heat your dutch oven to medium low heat and add 1 tbsp butter, reserved sausage fat. When the butter starts to foam, add the onion and cook 5-7 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated add another tbsp of fat and stir until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Raise the heat under the rice to medium and add the wine to the dutch oven. Add ladle fulls of broth to the rice stirring constantly (I like to use a whisk for this). Make sure that the rice absorbs each ladle full of liquid before you add the next. This will take a while and a lot of stirring, approximately 20-30 minutes. You may not need all of the broth.
  8. Remove the dutch oven from the heat and add the cheese and sausage. stir. squeeze the lemon over the rice and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parsley and more Parmesan cheese.
  9. Yield 6-8
  10. Enjoy!!!

I can’t wait to try this recipe. The New York Times has never failed me. Well, some of their recipes are quite advanced. I try to stick with things in my wheel house 🙂 Risotto is one of them:)

Have a great week + stay healthy!

 

Holiday Favorites

Nut Free Thanksgiving Menu

Jumping into leaf piles!
Jumping into leaf piles! We love fall!

Tradition gives us hope and happiness, and while I know it won’t be the same this year without my husband’s Mom here (we miss her so much already), we are going to try to incorporate some of our usual traditions to help carry us through to a new beginning and happier 2018. Especially for the kids. They need this the most, to see how we persevere in light of adversity.

For thanksgiving this year, we’re going to use the staples most of us have had, sans the nuts, as per usual, except the one cooking in the kitchen! Here’s what we are thinking.

  1.  Do nothing. Do absolutely nothing, call Whole Foods and have the entire thing catered because 2017 has sucked out loud. Click: Whole Foods Holiday Meals
  2. Welp, if you’re the go-geter kind and Pinterest pressured (so me, see: Bad Mom’s + Bad Mom’s Christmas) into making the whole damn thing, these are some helpful links that we’ve used in the past.
    1. Do order your Turkey from Whole Foods – they have the BEST tasting turkeys, this is where my mom usually orders hers from. This year we’re smoking the turkey using this technique Smoked Turkey Recipe
    2. Green Bean Casserole
    3. Roasted Brussel Sprouts
    4. Cranberry Sauce
    5. 12 Minute Mashed Potatoes
    6. Allergy Free Stuffing
    7. Canned Chilled Cranberry (IS THE BEST)
    8. Mushroom Gravy (V/GF/PN/TN Free)
    9. Roasted Acorn Squash
    10. Stuffing (GF) Alternative
    11. Apple Pie
    12. Pumpkin Pie w/ King Arthur Nut Free Flour
    13. Rhodes Bake N Serv Dinner Rolls Nut Free
    14. Seghesio Wine
    15. Chocolate Milk (Nut Free / GF)
  3. Don’t forget the relish trays. If you’re in Wisconsin, you know there has to be cheese, crackers and sausage. And pickles and olives. And possibly a small veggie tray.
  4. Lastly, tablescaping is uber important. Pretty Natural Table

There you have it – our Thanksgiving meal in a nutshell. Don’t forget the Egg Nog, and to turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to get everyone in the holiday spirit.  As always, we will be double checking all of the labels on the above items, even though I’m 99.9% sure they are all OK since we use them frequently. My favorite part is the pie – and watching everyone around the table laughing and having a good time.  What’s yours? I hope wherever you are, you have a wonderful holiday week surrounded by the ones you love the most.

Happy start to the Holidays!

xoxo

Mom Things, Weeknight Dinners

Menu Board 10/30-11/3

How is it Sunday night already?

This weekend was so nice –  had some girl time with my Mom and we saw Guys and Dolls at the theater and it was amazing – if you have a chance to see this performance, I highly recommend it. The singing was incredible, as was the acting and dancing. It made for a really fun night out.

As a family today, we closed up our garden, and turned the soil over/played in mud, put outside toys away, raked leaves/rolled in them, got laundry going, packed nap mat bags, lunches for the week, showers, and lastly, menu planning + groceries. We’ve got a full week, so I’ve already ordered our groceries online from Metcalfes Sentry and they’ll be delivered tomorrow between 4 and 5 since most of tomorrow is full of meetings and drop offs. I’ve also placed my Target order for pick-up in two hours for the bulk items that I don’t want to get from the regular grocery store!  Maybe some of these recipes will save you some time this week – or not. I’ve got some quick stand-by items in here since this week is super busy.

Sunday Night: Pot Roast Pioneer Woman’s Recipe

Monday: Left over pot roast with roasted broccoli 

Tuesday: Mushroom Ravioli with white sauce + green onion

Wednesday: Burrito Bowls with brown rice

Thursday: Spaghetti and meatballs (freezer section meatballs + barilla pasta + prego sauce)

Friday: California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza

Saturday: Hamburger Helper mix for Gigi

Sunday: Panera

 

I’ve also ordered the following items for breakfast // lunch // snack time, too!

Breakfast:

  • Cold cereal – Red Berries and Frosted Flakes
  • Toast (Angelic Bakery) with sun butter
  • banana oatmeal – quaker is safe

Lunch:

  • Organic Girl mixed green salads with strawberries, parmesan, carrots, cucumbers, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Sun butter and Jelly sandwiches
  • Kraft macaroni and cheese
  • Dino nuggets from Target

Snacks:

  • Sunbutter and honeycrisp apples
  • boom chicka pop popcorn
  • hummus (Athenos) and raw veggie sticks
  • yogurt + banana
  • smoothies
  • toast with avocado
  • Strawberries + cream cheese + graham crackers

I hope you have a great week! Happy Halloween!!!!!!!

Weeknight Dinners

Slowcooker BBQ Pork Sammies

It’s Sunday Funday! This morning we had some fun family time mini golfing at Vitense Golfland. Truly, this place is made for kids who want to mini-golf but still have a ton of energy to “do-stuff-besides-golf.” It’s been ranked nationally, and is the number one place in Wisconsin to mini golf.

When I say it’s made for kids, I mean every other hole has a slide (for big kids, too), or an activity of some sort; rocking motorcycles, zip lines, light house climbing tower, giant Giraffe, climbing walls, bridges, you name it. Oh, and having your ball roll into the water, don’t worry, it’s meant to. Who doesn’t LOVE splashing in the water to fetch the ball?

My kids love to mini golf, but their attention span is about 1 putt, then on to something else. Vitense nails family mini golfing.

If it’s cold, don’t worry, the indoor mini golf is even more impressive than the outdoor. It’s a full on replica of Madison landmarks; UW Campus, State Street, Governors Mansion, State Capitol, lakes, Men’s basketball, the Dance County Airport, Wiener mobile (that you can sit in and drive), hot dog slide and a few kids games with tokens.

I bet you didn’t think I was going to fill your head with thoughts of mini golf, did ya?

On to the recipe for your “Meaty Monday” — this IS WISCONSIN, after all.

Crockpot BBQ Pork

Ingredients

  • 2 – 2.5 lbs. boneless pork loin
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 16 oz. bottle BBQ sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on medium for 6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  3. Shred and enjoy!

Nut-free buns for this would be anything made by Kings Hawaiian. After speaking with them last year, their stuff is made in a dedicated nut-free facility. And they’re pretty good tasting. Not the lowest calorie count for a bun, but it’s a bun.

Sides for tomorrow, I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do yet. I’ll probably do something easy like a Steamfresh bag of green beans or peas seasoned with Season Salt and a little butter and a quick coleslaw (pre-chopped bag) with dressing.

Hope you have a great week – I’ll post a pic of this meal once I make it tomorrow. The rest of the week’s meals can be found on my Instagram at:

nutfreemomblog

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your Sunday night.

***And yes, Milwaukee area friends, this attraction is worth the drive. You could spend a day here at Vitense between the indoor restaurants, big kid games, mini golf, arcade and heated driving range, you’ll be set for a minimum of 4 hours. Did I mention there’s also a movie theater down the road from this place? Nice little get-away, especially for cooler weather months.

Weeknight Dinners

Quick Green Chicken Chili

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One of the best parts of traveling is trying new food. And then taking that idea home with you and recreating it in your kitchen. I haven’t always been adventurous with creating delicious food. And I’m probably even more cautious now with a nut-allergic child. However, I still try to sample things I normally would not.

Like Green Chicken Chili.

I had a spicy version of this when we were in Chicago a few weeks ago. Technically, I consider myself a chili connoisseur. If a restaurant has chili, I try it. It’s a quest to find the BEST CHILI EVER!

After we got back from vacation, I was flipping through this months Cooking Light Magazine for meal inspiration that would work well for our family. The recipe below comes pretty darn close to what I had in Chicago. And after talking to the chef, it’s also 100% nut-free!

This recipe makes 6 servings. It’s good for dinner + easy lunches. It’s super fast because it uses tasty rotisserie chicken (I swear, my little guy could eat an entire rotisserie chicken all by himself!) Hy-Vee and Metcalfes are my favorite in Madison.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided (I like Rachael Ray, her salt level is perfection)
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans unsalted Great Northern beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 (4-oz.) cans mild chopped green chiles, drained (or if you have them in your garden, fresh is OK, too. Just seed them first)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup brown rice

Directions

  1. You’ll need to get out your dutch oven, or large kettle, and a small sauce pan for your rice.
  2. First, make your rice in your small sauce pan. I like jasmine rice or brown rice. They are made the same way – just follow your package instructions. 2.5 cups of water + 2 tbsp evoo and a pinch of salt over high heat. Add the rice, bring to a boil. Boil for about 3-4 minutes until the water line is just below the rice. Cover the pot and don’t touch it for 15 minutes.
  3. Next heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in cumin and chiles; cook 1 minute. Add beans and chicken stock, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and salt; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes. Stir in juice.
  5. Remove your rice from the heat and fluff – using an ice cream scooper, plop the rice into your bowls.
  6. Divide chili among 4 bowls; top with radishes, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

White Cheddar & Bacon Risotto

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It’s the night before the first day of school and our house is all a buzz. The kids have been busy getting their outfits ready, shoes out, backpacks packed (although pretty empty since we did the ship-directly-to-my-school-awesomeness this year). Exciting day in our household. Last minute haircuts, too! (Did you notice the Ninja Turtle jammies in the photo above? That was a last minute Amazon Prime purchase since poor buddy didn’t have any that fit :))

For dinner tonight, I wanted something cozy since the nights have been getting cooler. Something I gladly welcome. I love this time of year. Football, chai tea lattes, light jackets, snuggly sweatshirts, mums, pops of color from brightly changing leaves, new school, new conversation, new friends, and comforting food. Essentially, a new chapter.

As I was flipping though this months Cooking Light Magazine for meal inspiration, I found this recipe and immediately I had to make it.

Risotto.

If you’re stressed, make this recipe. If you’re not stressed, make this recipe.

Risotto requires lots of stirring, and the bonus, it’s made WITH wine, so you have to sample along the way, of course!?

We had clean plate club all around. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. It was DELISH. Probably my favorite recipe for all of 2017 so far….and that says a lot!

If you can, pick up this month’s Cooking Light Magazine, its worth it. Many excellent quick recipes.

White Cheddar and Bacon Risotto

  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bacon slices
  • 1 1/4 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (make sure you check your manufacturing facility, not all rice is safe)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine ( used old stand by Kim Crawford)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 ounces white cheddar cheese,shredded (3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Directions

  1. Bring stock and thyme sprigs to a simmer in a saucepan over medium; keep warm over low.
  2. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven (or large kettle or big frying pan with high sides) over medium for 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove from pan; crumble. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring to coat. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 1/2 cups stock; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Add 2 1/4 cups stock, 3/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion is absorbed before adding more. Reserve remaining 1/4 cup stock; discard thyme sprigs. Stir in salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in peas, chopped thyme, and cheese; cook 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in reserved 1/4 cup stock. Divide rice mixture among 4 bowls; top with green onions and bacon.