Weeknight Dinners

Chicken Breast & Pancetta Cream & Peas


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.


Chicken Breast & Pancetta Cream & Peas



  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.


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.


  • 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


  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.

Weeknight Dinners

Quick Green Chicken Chili


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.


  • 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


  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

Weeknight Homemade Chicken Soup


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.


  • 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


  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


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.