Weeknight Dinners

Organic Black Bean Spaghetti with Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve had some serious writers block lately, but I felt the need to share this meal with you since it was super flavorful and easy. It’s perfect for weeknight cooking and a healthy alternative to some of the carb filled pasta we normally eat.

Black bean pasta is relatively new and trendy. This brand cooks up like a typical pasta would in boiling water for about 6 minutes. Be careful how you boil/simmer. It’s actually more of a simmer now that I think about it. The pasta boils and gets very frothy, easy to spill out of your pan (which happened to me twice while I was making this).

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 package crimini mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 small container cherry / small tomatoes, rinsed and quartered
  • 3-4 basil leaves, torn
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled (I really like this brand – it’s found almost everywhere, too)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a small non-stick skillet, melt the tbsp of butter over medium hi heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic powder and let them cook for about 5-6 minutes until they are soft and smell good.
  2. In a large pot, boil your pasta water. Add pasta and cook for about 6 minutes.
  3. Drain and add the pasta back to your hot pot and add the olive oil to prevent sticking + add flavor.
  4. Add salt and pepper to pasta.
  5. Stir the mushrooms in the pan and turn the heat off if they are done.
  6. Serve the pasta in individual bowls and top with
    1. tomatoes
    2. basil
    3. cotija cheese
    4. mushrooms
    5. lime
    6. chives
  7. Yield is 6

This dish is VERY filling. I served a “normal” pasta size serving to each of us, and none of us finished. Black bean pasta is more filling than just regular pasta, so start small. The mushrooms were great – they added a “meatiness” that the dish needed. And the cotija cheese MADE this dish flavorful.

If you don’t have time for anything else, pop open a can of salsa and dump is over the pasta, sprinkle the cotija cheese and BOOM you have dinner.

Kids approved. Loved it. When eating it tho, it’s a bit of a mind game. You’re literally eating flavors that taste like Mexican burrito bowl, but you see pasta and think YUM SPAGHETTI AND CARBS = COMFORT + FAT PANTS.

This was perfect for a case of the Mondays!

Enjoy your week!

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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

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.

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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

Chicken Breast & Pancetta Cream & Peas

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On Sunday mornings, after reading a bit of the New York Times, I start to think about the week ahead, how busy it might be, and what we will have for dinner. Lately we’ve been so busy that I haven’t had much time to think about food, nor do I want to.

I don’t day-dream about food, I just like eating it.

Coming up with recipes is challenging sometimes, I get in ruts, and making sure we’re eating a diverse menu is important. Eating the same old stuff is boring, and we like to try new things all the time.

For meal inspiration this week, I found some old Cooking Light Magazines in my pantry and pulled all of the March issues I could find. March 2014 had some pretty yummy stuff, including this recipe, Chicken Breast + Pancetta [PAN-CHETTA] Cream with Peas.

Everything is nut-free, you don’t have to worry about name brands with this dish. I’ll include links in case you’re curious as to what we used.

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Chicken Breast & Pancetta Cream & Peas

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. It does not have to be non-stick.
  2. Add oil, swirl to coat your pan.
  3. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes or until fragrant. DO NOT BURN. If you do, start over.
  4. Remove garlic with slotted spoon and set aside.
  5. Increase the heat to med-hi and add the bacon / pancetta.
  6. saute for 4 minutes or until crisp.
  7. Remove and set aside.
  8. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on each side and saute for 4 minutes on each side.
    1. I sauteed longer to get a little more flavor and crunchy bits on the bottom of my pan.
  9. Remove chicken and set aside.
  10. Add wine to pan and bring to a boil, scraping the bits off the bottom of pan (de-glazing). Cook until almost all liquid is evaporated
    1. Also, make sure you’re drinking some Kim, too :).
  11. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook the chicken for about 6 minutes or until chicken is all the way done.
  12. Remove the chicken from the pan (is the chicken playing the hokey-pokey? This recipe sure does take stuff in and out of the pan a lot!)
  13. Add the mascarpone cheese stirring with a whisk until smooth
    1. Mascarpone is lower in fat than making a traditional cream sauce, like butter, but still gives it the rich, creamy texture we all love.
  14. Combine water and flour, stirring with a whisk.
  15. Add flour + water mix to the hot pan, bring to a boil and cook two minutes, stir in pancetta / bacon, garlic and peas.
  16. Cook this all for about 1 minutes and serve over the chicken.

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If your kids are in the kitchen, have them make some appetizer art, you’ll probably have a TON of peas left since you’ll only be using about 1 cup for the recipe, so let the kids have the rest. And tell them you “peed” on their plate. ROFL.

If you want to cut this recipe time in half, do this…..

  1. Buy a rotisserie chicken.
  2. Make the sauce as directed above, omitting the meat instructions.
  3. Serve this over your rotisserie chicken or mix in your shredded rotisserie chicken into the pan and warm through. It would look more like a casserole then.

We also made some pasta to serve this over, it just needed a little something on the side.

Yield on this is 4. No leftovers. Everyone loved it. Flavor was good!

Weeknight Dinners

Broccoli Slaw Shrimp Stir Fry

Promises, promises. I said yesterday I would post this recipe, so here it is. We didn’t make it due to the flu, but I’m posting anyway.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger (microplane)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 pounds, peeled, deveined wild shrimp, sprinkled with ground ginger, onion powder, sea salt and pepper
  • 1 (12 oz) package of broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 4 green onions, end removed, rough chop
  • 2-3 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • if you do not have nut allergies, 1/3 cup unsalted cashews would be amazing with this, but alas, not for us.

Ingredients – Sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flake
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large sautee pan, stir fry the shrimp + grated ginger in coconut oil for 1 minute.
  2. Add the sauce ingredients
  3. Stir well and simmer for a few minutes (no more than 4 if you’re using med-hi heat).
  4. Shrimp should be pink and tails just curled in, DO NOT OVER COOK YOUR SHRIMP. Once they appear curled up and pink, turn off the heat.
  5. Add broccoli slaw, cabbage and green onion
  6. Simmer for 2 minutes until crisp tender, it should still be crunchy
  7. Top with sesame seeds + serve

This can be served over jasmine rice, couscous or quinoa. Once we make it, I’ll post a pic here! If you make it before be, please leave a comment/pic.

This recipe is from the Cara Clark Nutrition 10 day reset. Cara sets attainable, realistic goals using real food, easy cooking methods and in-home exercise to get healthy results. It takes time and a little work, but so worth it. The first two days were very hard, not eating the junk we usually do, but by day 3, we weren’t even craving the old snacks, new and healthy flavorful snacks taste so much better!!!

Back to soup….check out weeknight chicken soup if your little loves are under the weather. We are a Campbell’s Soup household, so we stocked up on some classic red and white cans of chicken soup. Campbell’s also has some amazing chicken noodle shapes, like Star Wars or Disney characters. The flavor is pretty bland, so great for sick kiddos. If you want to spice it up, add a teaspoon of the following:

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • oregano
  • thyme

Have a great weekend! Be well.