Monday, November 24, 2014

Tortellini Crock Pot Soup

This one is hearty, quick and easy! All of my favorite things in one! My 6 year old even had seconds! It makes 6 servings or so. You could attempt this with fat free cream cheese but I can't guarantee that the cream cheese will melt. If you're going to be using cream cheese, may as well use the good stuff anyways!

4 cups or 1 carton of chicken broth (or vegetable broth of you're mot a meat eater)
1 bag of frozen cheese tortellini
2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 of a 10 oz bag of fresh spinach,  chopped
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, cubed
Seasonings to taste (garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper)

In crock pot combine undrained tomatoes,  spinach, cream cheese, broth and seasonings. Cook on low 5 hours,  add the tortellini with 2 hours left on the timer. You can out the tortellini in when you start but it comes out very, very soft. The cream cheese will still look rather chunky at the end, just mix very well until melts into the soup and then serve!

This can also easily be done in a pot on the stove! Add all ingredients to your pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and stir frequently until cream cheese is melted (20-30 minutes). That's it!

This would be delicious if you added some cooked Italian sausage too!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fluffy, Flavorful Quinoa

I've been eating quinoa for awhile. I thought it was good,  until I stumbled upon this recipe and then I thought it was delicious. This recipe for quinoa can be served by itself,  or used in a quinoa salad. Let me give you a few quick facts about quinoa.

1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. It's also not a grain!  It's actually part of the spinach family.

3. Quinoa contains Iron.

4. Quinoa contains lysine.

5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium.

6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2).

7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese.

8. Quinoa dates back 3,000-4,000 years!!!

Alright,  I pretty much copied and pasted that from Forbes. Either way, it's informative.

I cook my quinoa 1 part quinoa,  2 parts water although I've seen it cooked with different ratios. I find quinoa least expensive when purchased in the bulk food department. One super important thing to remember about quinoa,  it needs to be thoroughly rinsed before cooking as it is naturally coated in a bitter substance. To accomplish this rinsing,  put your measured quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly (4-5 minutes) under cold water.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth (or two cups water and chicken bouillon)
2-3 TBSP finely diced onion (or 1 TBSP dried minced onion)
2 garlic cloves, put through a garlic press
2 tsp olive oil

Heat oil in saucepan. Saute it about 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds (if you're using dried onion just saute the garlic and hold on to the onion).

Add quinoa to pan and saute it for about 5 minutes.  The point to this is to toast the quinoa and dry it really well. This is the key to fluffy quinoa.

Now, add your broth (onion too if you're using dried onion). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a little higher than low, cover and simmer for 27 minutes. When it is done, fluff with fork and serve!


One-Pan Chicken Burrito Bowls

This is scrumptious! It's warm, filling and easy. It certainly hits the spot!  Best of all... it is all cooked in one pan!!!! Yay!


1-2 chicken breasts, uncooked and diced up
1/2 onion
1 1/2 cups of rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese

For garnish:
Diced tomato
Sour cream
Green onions
Guacamole (I just mash two avocados with a little lime juice and garlic powder and salt)

Alright, heat a little oil in a large skillet with lid. Add chicken and onion. Cook until chicken is nearly done and push to side of pan. Add rice and toast it in the pan for a few minutes. 

Add broth and seasonings (I also like to add a tablespoon of taco seasoning, this really adds flavor). Stir well and add canned tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

Once the rice is completely cooked and water absorbed,  give it a good stir and then top with cheese.  Replace the lid and let sit until cheese melts. Top with sour cream, guacamole,  tomato and onion!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Creamy Mushroom Rice

I am so proud of myself, seriously.  I came up with recipe and it was delicious! Generally I take other recipes from online and tweak them. Not this one! It is a generous amount, we had some left overs.

1 1/2 cups white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom
2 (4oz) cans sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Mix chicken broth and soup. Heat oil in a medium frying pan that has lid,  saute onion until translucent (3-5 minutes) add garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so til golden brown. Add rice and saute another 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and broth mixture,  sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. When rice is done, mix parm in until melted.

This really is delicious. It would be great to serve for guests with your favorite chicken or pork dish. I served mine with a rotisserie chicken and Lima beans, yum!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Chicken Parm Bake

This one is a short cut for chicken parm! To be honest,  I think I like it better than the original.  It has so much more flavor!

Chicken breasts (I use 3 or 4 but you can use however many you need to feed your family and adjust the other ingredients as you go)

2 cups (approximately) of spaghetti or marina sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 package of caesar croutons

2 TBSP olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

Put your oil in the bottom of a baking dish that is large enough to hold your chicken tightly.  Mince garlic or put through garlic press. Spread that in the garlic.  Place chicken breasts on top.  Cover with sauce. Spread croutons on top and top with cheese.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 375. Uncover and check chicken. If not cooked,  continue cooking uncovered until done.  Total cook time will be 30-60 minutes (mine usually takes 45),  depends on your oven and thickness of chicken.


Texas Tijuana Taco Penne

This one is downright delicious! It's easy, quick, filling and presents well... It's excellent for serving for guests. You can garnish it how you see fit. This is a copycat recipe from pasta ya gotcha! We used to serve it at the pizza place in worked at when I was 18. I'm so happy to be able to recreate it at home! 

1 lb. Ground chicken or turkey
1 jar alfredo sauce
3 TBSP taco seasoning (or one packet)
1 lb penne pasta
Shredded cheddar
Sliced black olives
Diced tomato
Sour cream
Hot sauce

Cook pasta according to package.  Brown meat, drain and return to pan.  Add alfredo sauce and taco seasoning.  Mix well and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Serve over hot pasta and top with cheese, olives, green onion, tomato and sour cream.

See, it's that easy! Let me know how it turns out for you :-)