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

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Two kids in bed by 7:30, Bad Mom’s on HBO, and getting a chance to blog about tonight’s easy dinner that the fam loved…I’d say I’m having a pretty good little Tuesday here in suburbia!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup is a great pantry meal to have on hand this fall + winter. It’s a soup, so there’s no real measuring and you can usually throw in whatever you have in your crisper drawer (half rotting) and it works.

I’m sharing the recipe from Food.com that I used as a template, then I’ll also add what I did and substitutions to make your weeknight cooking that much faster + easier. I’m all about semi-homemade meals, so I’m also including what you can just plain buy instead of make to pull this all together.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • or butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 TBSP onion powder as substitution
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP garlic powder as substitution
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, chopped
    • I used a red bell pepper… if you use jalapeno and you have kids/spice sensitivity, make sure you seed the pepper – not with your hands especially if you wear contacts, use a knife and a teaspoon.
  • 1medium green pepper
    • I didn’t have this tonight, left it out….no big deal
  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • Short cut, have a rotisserie chicken on hand and roughly shop it up and throw it in.
  • 2 cups frozen corn
    • I didn’t have frozen corn, I had canned corn with peppers, that works, or corn on the cob – or no corn at all. whatever works.
  • 1cup dry white wine or 12 cup water
    • Of course, KIM CRAWFORD – and BTW, you should be drinking some right now, and while you’re making this recipe.
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
    • or just two boxes of your favorite chicken stock, Rachael Ray is nut-free
    • better than bouillon also works, so just keep that in your fridge
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
    • or fresh if your garden is going nuts.
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
    • I didn’t have this, so I used tomato paste and mixed a little water with it….
  • Extra stuff I added:
    • 2 cans of black beans
    • chopped green chiles
    • guacamole – Sabra brand is nut-free
    • chips – Tostitos Brand is nut-free
    • cheddar cheese
    • limes

Directions

  1. Sauté onion, garlic, jalapeño and green pepper with olive oil in a large pot until soft.
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. After about 15 minutes, remove the chicken breasts and shred.
  4. (Two forks work well to pull the chicken apart!).
  5. Return shredded chicken to the pot and simmer an additional 45 minutes.
  6. Serve, topped with crushed tortilla chips if desired.
  7. Yield: 8-10

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Quick Tips

  1. You can freeze this meal for up to one month. Just add the chicken breasts and all fresh ingredients + spices to a gallon zip top bag. When you’re ready dump the contents into a crock pot or dutch oven.
  2. This is also a slow cooker meal if you’re really short on time. Pre-chop your ingredient the night before and store in zip top bag. Place the raw chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker and place all other ingredients around it. Cook on low for 6 hours, or until you get home.
  3. If you’re making this during the week, use a rotisserie chicken, set out all of your canned ingredients in advance, dump your spices into a small zip top bag the night before so they’re ready the next day. I hate our spice cabinet, there are soooooo many things in there right now so finding the silly cumin can take me 10 minutes! Gar!
  4. If you’re making this during the week and your chicken is half frozen, like mine usually is, don’t panic. Half frozen chicken is the BEST – if you like perfectly cut cubes of chicken in your soup. Just make sure your knife is very sharp and your chicken is slightly thawed (microwave defrost function works great) and cube it, add it to the soup as you normally would. Frozen chicken is not a deal breaker.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think the pendulum has swung too far in the food + meal prep direction. We don’t need expensive pre-packaged, pre-made meals. You just need a few simple basics to make a good meal. A great knife and few YouTube videos on mincing garlic and chopping onion go a LONG way when cooking. Fresh onion and garlic make almost ANY meal feel super homemade + flavorful. Keep it simple!

Cheers + thanks for stopping by. It’s been the most Mondayest Tuesday ever!

 

Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Weeknight Homemade Chicken Soup

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

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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.

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Holiday Favorites, Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

‘Twas the week before Spring Break!

…and we’ve totally got this! Most important news first: Did you catch last nights final episode of Big Little Lies?!  I don’t want to give it away, but it was AMAZING! This series was by far my most favorite TV series to date. The entire cast did a wonderful job – the chemistry was remarkable. The final scene was very touching – a bond between girl friends and the support they give, just really hit home. Loved it.

I’m a day late on posting this weeks menu since we were very busy having FUN this past weekend. We had a sitter for Saturday to attend my little man’s Fundraising Gala. What a fun event! The silent auction was really well organized and the entire feel of the event was very relaxed and fun. The bar was amazing and the views were spectacular.

Last night was another big night (two in a row! WOOT WOOT!) – we had some friends over for BBQ dinner that the hubs made in his new sous vide.  It turned out really well – and my good friend announced her engagement to her longtime boyfriend!!!!  So so so happy for them. Just when I thought the “wedding season” of my life was winding down, (which I was kind of sad about, actually) they came through with this announcement. LOVE IT! Couldn’t be happier for this lovely couple 🙂

This week is the week before spring break – and you know it will be busy. With the kids off of school for 10 days, there is a lot to get done before then and plan! If you don’t have a plan, then you plan to fail!

Menu for this week looks like this:

Monday – Pork sandwiches + leftover beans and coleslaw from last night

Tuesday – Modern Table Meal with fresh mushrooms and broccoli (found this at Target in the Mac n Cheese aisle). It’s also Non-GMO and Gluten Free! Score!20170403_131312

Wednesday – Campbell’s Sauce Starter for oven roasted chicken with roasted root vegetables (probably carrot sticks and sliced bell peppers)

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Thursday – Chickpea curry (blogged about this recipe last week, can’t wait to have it again!) with nut-free naan and jasmine rice. The Naan is from Target as well located in the fresh bakery section.

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Friday – Edamame, Whole Foods Fish Sticks, Tater Tots (three sheet pans, no clean up).

Saturday – Large pot of soup + salad. I love Kitchen Basics since I can find it everywhere and also get no or low sodium. The control freak that I am, I like to be the one in control of how much salt is going into my soup.

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Sunday – Chicken Enchiladas + Spanish rice, carrot cake cupcakes for Chloe’s Easter play date with friends. I’ll post more about the cupcakes later, the accessories are from Sur La Table. although most stores are already sold out of Easter things, I guess I’m just not one to buy Easter things at Valentines Day. Our “buy it early” retail culture in America is exhausting.

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That’s all for now! I’m off to get my chores done and make round #2 of school pick-up! Have a great week! Stay tuned for sneak peeks of Easter prep!

Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Weeknight Chicken Wraps

My Instagram has this weeks menu posted if you need some weeknight meal inspiration! Quick and easy stuff! The Chicken Wraps are a new favorite – we recently had them at a St.Patrick’s Day party and they were a (surprise to me!) huge hit with the kids, too.

I’m so grateful for these two mamma friends in my life – the three of us have been friends since our girls were born 6 years ago. They know our nut allergies so well, and always do such a wonderful job of talking about food and labels in advance of our get-togethers. Sometimes, it is almost like they are reading my mind about this stuff, then beep beep boop bop, I get a text message with menu items and ingredient labels. I absolutely love it, and it’s so nice for all the kids to be included at meal time and it’s never a “thing” – we just all have a great time and there are no worries. I’m so grateful for these get-togethers because they are not full of stress and anxiety around meal times, it’s easy, and lovely and good. Just a little shout out to my ladies on this one, THANK YOU, Jill and Christen, for being amazing, caring, loving and inclusive. It truly means the world.

The recipe is easy and very weeknight friendly. But first, have you seen this weeks episode of Big Little Lies?! My new favorite show. It’s SO good – I can’t get enough of this show! Ok, focus focus focus. Here it is….

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Chicken Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups broccoli slaw
  • ½ carrot, shredded
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • ½  teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 18 ounces meat from a rotisserie chicken
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas
  • Spinach

Directions

1. Mix broccoli slaw and carrots together in large bowl.
2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil, sugar and pepper in a separate medium bowl.
3. Pour this mixture over the broccoli slaw and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly.
4. Refrigerate until you are ready to make your flatbread fold.
5. Add ½ cup of the broccoli slaw mixture to center of the flatbread when ready.
6. Top with 3 ounces of rotisserie chicken and finish by adding baby spinach leaves.

You can also serve with your choice of salad dressing!

Yum yum! Yield is 6. Have a great week!