I love cooking, but working full time and having a toddler complicates that. That’s why I have figured out the solution to me actually cooking (and not giving in to grabbing takeout yet again) is doing the prep work ahead. See my tips on that here.
Along those lines, the other day I wanted to bust out a yummy meal with the food we had on hand, and I had just bought these Italian-style meatballs on a whim to see if they were any good, so I decided to experiment with them.
My husband called me that he was on his way home so I decided I would see what I could do before he got home. Well turned out I finished up the whole thing in that amount of time so dinner was ready when he got home. It’s like the unicorns and magical butterflies were on my side! Not only that, he raved about how good this dish was (and I quote “honey, this could be in a restaurant”), which coming from a man that grew up on gourmet food as the norm, is saying something! I’m definitely going to keep this one on the “make again” list.
1 bag fettuccini noodles
1 bag Italian style frozen meatballs
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 cup frozen (or fresh) peppers, diced
1 small can mushrooms
1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
4 ounces of cream cheese
2 cloves garlic
2 heaping handfuls spinach
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in fettuccini. In another pot, turn to medium heat and add in frozen meatballs, mushrooms and peppers. Continue stirring until meatballs start thaw. Pour in sauce, garlic, and seasoning then continue stirring until fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Strain cooked pasta. In the sauce pan, add the cream cheese to sauce and melt in until completely combined. Turn down heat to low and stir in spinach until lightly wilted. Serve over pasta.Read More
My husband told me about how Costco has these premade crepes, so I decided to try to mimick one of my favorites from Mimi’s Cafe the roasted chicken crepes. I swapped cream cheese for Brie and played a bit with the flavor, but it ended up tasting pretty delish. So enjoy!
2 chicken breasts, chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons herbes de provence
1 cup mushrooms
2 cups spinach
1 package of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
8 premade crepes
Sauté onions on medium for 1 minute, then add chicken breast and herbs and cook until chicken is fully cooked. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté on low. Stir in cream cheese in chunks, followed by broth and mix until creamy. Turn up on high and let it thicken. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Spoon mixture into crepes, wrap and drizzle with sauce.Read More
Having a seven month old means the easier and healthier the recipe, the better. As evidence I’m writing this post on my phone while my son is nursing. Yay for multi-tasking! This morning I did a little scavenging in my cupboard and came up with this. I added a bunch of veggies, but you could totally change up what goes in here and load it up even more. It was a hit in my house!
1 32 ounce jar of marinara sauce
1 chicken breast
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can artichokes
1 can diced mushrooms
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
2 cups frozen broccoli
Add all ingredients except broccoli and pasta to the slow cooker with 1 cup water. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 8. When ready, cook pasta, then add broccoli to the pasta water when it’s done and strain. Shred chicken, pour on sauce, and garnish with cheese, if desired.
What’s not to love about an easy recipe that’s healthy, delicious, and takes about 5 minutes of your time? Um, nothing. Especially when you have a three-month-old who desperately needs your attention! Plus now that it’s getting beautifully sunny and HOT outside, I don’t want to heat up the house with my cooking. Enter this chicken and veggie taco recipe, and problem solved! My favorite part is I can just toss it all in (I don’t even have to touch or chop the raw chicken!) and I can get on with my day.
2 chicken breasts
1 bell pepper
1 yellow squash or zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt (then add to taste once cooked)
Optional garnish: shredded cabbage, avocado and cheese
Dice onion, pepper, and squash. Put chicken, salsa, water and spices into the slow cooker. Add vegetables on top. Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8 hours on low. About 30 minutes before serving shred the chicken using two forks so the juices soak in. Serve on tortillas (or save leftovers to put on salad).Read More
Fall is associated with many comforts for me — the crisp fall air, anything pumpkin, and my dad’s beef stew. It has long been one of my favorite dinners and something my dad and I used to make together on Sunday afternoons growing up. So when I got older and realized it wasn’t always practical to spend several hours waiting for dinner to be ready, it became more of a rarity (and still something I request every year on my birthday for that reason). But as fall came on this year, I decided I really should try changing it up and make this recipe as a slow cooker beef stew. And sure enough, I got it to work with a few tweaks. Now here I am on a Tuesday evening after work enjoying a bowl of of my favorite stew. Can’t beat that right?
1-1 1/2 lbs. beef, cut into chunks
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 red potatoes, cut into chunks
4-5 carrots, peeled and chunked
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. marjoram
2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. crushed bay leaves
Add beef into slow cooker, and sprinkle on salt, spices, and flour. Add in vegetables and broth. Cook for 9-10 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.Read More
I know, I know — you think I have my seasons all mixed up. It’s March and I’m cooking a turkey? Well, my husband got this 12-pounder for free back during the holidays and since we didn’t entertain at our house, it just went into the freezer. So this week we decided to pull it out and give it a go. This is my first turkey I’ve cooked all by myself, so let’s just say there was a learning curve and plenty of Google searches about how to cook a turkey, tips, tricks and recipe ideas, and later on, how to know your turkey is cooked.
So I’m not a turkey expert, but I certainly learned a lot through this and it turned out delicious! So here are my tips for cooking a turkey.
1) Cook it breast side down.
I found this turkey recipe that suggested it and used it as the base for my recipe. The breast isn’t as exposed to the heat, so it doesn’t dry out so much, plus gravity brings the juices to the bottom. I’m a dark meat girl, but the white meat was so juicy this way, I almost like it better than the dark.
2) Cook the stuffing separate for faster cooking.
Or not at all. You still want to stuff it with vegetables and spices, but adding stuffing means it has to cook longer and, therefore, it can sometimes dry out more. I put onion, carrots, celery, garlic and fresh parsley in mine. To some of you, this may sound like a sin, but since I don’t love stuffing that much anyway, so I was okay with skipping.
3) Stuff goodness between the skin and the body.
Slide your hand between the skin and the body of the turkey, gently pulling them apart until your hand fits in. Then add spices. I put chopped garlic and parsley in mine. It was a good decision.
4) A cookie rack on a baking sheet is a good replacement for a roasting pan.
This being my first time making a turkey, I didn’t have a roasting pan. Somehow I must have missed that “must-have” on my wedding registry back when I got married. Anyway, the bird simply needs to be away from the direct heat of the pan, so I put a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet instead. If you use a cookie sheet, just make sure it is deep enough to catch the juices (I used a disposable pan on top of a sturdy regular one because I’m that lazy). Works like a charm!
5) You’ll know your turkey is done when the leg pulls away from the body easily.
If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees and the juices should run clear. My thermometer was reading to the right temperature, but the breast still looked a little pink (since it was cooked down), and this being my first time, I was paranoid I would kill my family. Okay, maybe just get some nasty food poisoning, but that’s no good either. I looked up all sorts of facts about cooking poultry and why it might be pink. Anyway, I found if you pull the legs away from the body and they open easily, it should be done. (that’s what she said…sorry, couldn’t resist).
Anyway, those are my turkey making tips. Now to make turkey noodle soup using the carcass!