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

Zoodles & Marinara Sauce

Healthy pasta is my kind of pasta. Zoodles. Zucchini Noodles. Have you heard about these vegetarian noodles made from green herbs and vegetables?

Well Ronzoni noodles are not exactly fresh Zoodles because that would require me to use an attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer that I do not have (or have time to do tonight); however, these noodles are very similar and have zucchini in them.

Actually, it’s a great combo of spinach, zucchini, broccoli, parsley and kale. This product is 100% nut free. And not made in a facility with other nuts.

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At first, we were not sure about green pasta. I mean, green is my favorite color, but for pasta?! Certainly this pasta looks and sounds healthy AND for sure then they would taste bad. Right?!

Wrong. The good news is that this pasta tastes 100% like regular pasta, only you’re getting some sweet nutrients along with it.  Three servings of vegetables to be exact. That’s A LOT!

And, if your kiddos are picky eaters when it comes to fruits and vegetables, this is a great way to substitute some key nutrients while still eating something familiar, pasta!

We paired this with classic Campbell’s Prego Marinara sauce and some Parmesan with watermelon balls and strawberries on the side. It was a quick night tonight since we had double pick up from school, scholastic book order sorting and dance rehearsal.

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Not a pretty picture, but we did have clean bowl club all around! Kids loved it for sure. We’ll be buying this brand again.

If you check out the Ronzoni website, they have a TON of great recipes for how to use these noodles with cold salads, too. Perfect for summer time picnics and parties 🙂

 

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