Sunday, February 11, 2018

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1" cubes
1 cup diced carrots
2 celery ribs diced
1 and 1/2 cup wide egg noddles dry, not yet cooked
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 and 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or fresh poultry herb blend
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
  1. On Instant Pot, press "saute" button. After 1 minute, add olive oil to IP insert. Wait 1 minute, then add garlic. Saute, stirring often, for a few seconds. Add diced chicken and cook, stirring often, until almost done.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, making sure the noodles are just covered with liquid.
  3. Cover the IP with lid and set the pressure valve to "sealing" position. Press "manual" and set the timer to 6 minutes. Make sure your Instant Pot is set to high pressure. The pressure cooker will beep and start cooking.
  4. When the time is up, press "cancel/off" button. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  5. Carefully open the lid, away from your face. Stir the soup. Let cool and serve.
Notes: I was worried about the noodles getting overcooked, but they, along with the vegetables, were cooked quite well. I found the chicken to be a little dry, so maybe I sauteed it too long. I really like the concept of quickly and easily making a pot of chicken noodle soup. That being said, I think all members of our family are chicken noodle soup snobs. Nothing compares to my mom's homemade chicken noodle soup recipe, complete with homemade noodles and the addition of evaporated milk. I may try to adapt her recipe to work in an instant pot, and this recipe most likely will not be one I make often.

Source: Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Sheet Pan Lemon Parmesan Garlic Chicken & Veggies


For The Chicken:
1 large egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice of 1/2 a lemon)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper , to season
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
4 skinless , boneless chicken breasts (or thighs)
For The Veggies:
8-10 (1 pound | 500 g) baby potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup butter , melted
2 teaspoons minced garlic
salt to taste
1 pound | 500 g green beans , cut into thirds
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking tray / sheet with cooking oil spray, or a light coating of oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Dip chicken into egg mixture, cover and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour, if time allows. The chicken is more flavorful when marinated, but if you don't have time, to marinate, still make it!
  4. In another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the parmesan cheese.
  5. Dredge the egg coated chicken in the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture, lightly pressing to evenly coat.
  6. Place chicken onto the baking sheet / tray and lightly spray with cooking oil spray. Arrange the potatoes around the chicken in a single layer. Mix together the butter, 2 teaspoons garlic and salt to taste, and pour half of the butter mixture over the potatoes. Toss to evenly coat.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove baking tray from the oven and carefully flip each chicken breast. Move the potatoes to one side and place the green beans around the chicken on the other side of the baking sheet. Pour over the remaining garlic butter and return to the oven to broil (or grill) on medium-high heat for a further 10 minutes, or until chicken is golden and crisp, and potatoes are cooked through.
  9. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley (optional), and serve immediately.
Notes: This was really enjoyable. My kids love the roasted veggies and the chicken went over well. I enjoyed having everything cooked on one pan. I will make this again, and will probably look for more sheet pan dinners to make.

Source: Cafe Delites

Noodles and Zoodles with Pesto


1/2 lb. spaghetti
1 large zucchini, spiralized, cut with a julienne peeler or sliced with a peeler into long, thin strips
1/3 cup homemade or prepared pesto
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved, divided
Parmesan cheese, for garnishing


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti. During the last 2 minutes of the pasta's cooking time, add the zucchini. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain well, and return the pasta-zucchini mixture to the hot, dry pot.
  2. Add the pesto and half of the tomatoes. Toss to coat, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time if it seems dry. Top with remaining grape tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, and serve.
Notes: Quick, easy, and tasty.

Source: Kroger MyMagazine we received in the mail.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiliadas


Ingredients for the filling:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ingredients for the sour cream sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Serrano chiles, seeded and diced (I used jalapenos instead)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
8 fresh tomatillos, husked and cut in half or one (10-ounce) can tomatillos
Dash of cayenne
Ingredients for the enchiladas:
1 tablespoon canola oil
12 corn tortillas
1/2 medium-sized onion, diced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken breasts on each side with the salt and black pepper. Heat the oil a large cast-iron or ovenproof skillet set on medium heat. When it shimmers, add the chicken and cook on each side in the oil for 3 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. When the chicken is done, take the chicken out of the oven and let cool. Then shred with two forks. Keep the oven on, as you’ll be using it again.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a saucepot on medium-low, melt the butter. Throw in the diced Serrano chiles and cook until soft, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 more minute. Pour the chicken broth into the pot, and while whisking, cook until the chicken broth has thickened. Stir in the sour cream, cumin, cayenne, and cilantro. Remove from heat.
  4. If using fresh tomatillos, place them under the broiler on a foil-lined sheet and cook on each side until blackened, about 4 minutes per side. Place in a blender along with the sour cream sauce and puree into smooth. If using canned tomatillos, skip the broiler step and just place them in the blender with the sour cream sauce and proceed.
  5. To make the enchiladas, heat the canola oil in a skillet and cook the corn tortillas on each side a couple of minutes until soft. Wrap in a cloth to keep warm as you continue to cook all 12.
  6. To assemble the enchiladas, pour one cup of the sour cream sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Take each corn tortilla and place in the middle 1/3 cup of shredded chicken, 1 teaspoon of diced onions and 1 tablespoon of cheese.
  7. Roll the tortillas around the filling and place the rolled tortillas seam side down in the casserole dish. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese and bake for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling. Serve warm topped with chopped cilantro.
 Notes: Heaven on a plate! John and I had to control ourselves to not eat more. The amount of effort required to make this dish is well worth it, and I will make this again!

Source: My brother, Brian, shared this recipe with us.

Rice Taco Bake


2 cups instant white rice
2 cups water
1 pound lean ground beef
1 can Ranch Style beans
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
2 tsp dried minced onion flakes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 package taco seasoning
1 can (10.75-oz)cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, brown meat and drain off fat. Stir in beans, tomatoes, onion flakes, taco seasoning, soup and water. Simmer over medium-low heat until everything is well combined and heated through. Remove from heat.
  3. In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add instant rice. Cover and remove from heat. Let rice sit for 5 minutes, until all water is absorbed.
  4. Stir cooked rice and 1 cup of cheddar cheese into beef mixture. Pour into prepared 9x13-inch pan. Top with remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Top with your favorite taco toppings.
Notes: Most of the family enjoyed this easy meal.
Source: Recommended by John's sister, Jennifer, from here.

Copycat Cheesecake Factory Lettuce Wraps


Thai Chicken Satays
1 lb chicken breast (Bamboo skewers, 10-12 inches)
14 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon gingeroot, grated
34 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons water
4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
Bean Sprouts
1 12 cups bean sprouts
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, roasted
Thai Coconut Curry Noodles
12 ounces egg noodles, fresh best
1 tablespoon garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 pinch turmeric powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
Thai Marinated Cucumbers
13 cup rice vinegar
14 cup sugar
14 cup water
14 teaspoon salt
14 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cucumber, seeded


Chicken Satays:
  1. Cut chicken into 3/4 inch strips. Place in a shallow glass dish.
  2. Combine soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Add water and mix thoroughly. Pour over chicken. Toss to coat all of the chicken pieces. Cover and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Soak bamboo skewers 20 minutes in cold water to keep them from burning.
  4. Drain the chicken and reserve the marinade.
  5. Weave the chicken strips onto each skewers, alternation with green onion pieces. You may need to use several pieces to cover each skewer. Brush chicken and onions with reserved marinade.
  6. Grill the skewers on an uncovered grill over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through the grilling.
 Bean Sprouts:
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the bean sprouts along with the other ingredients. Cook over a medium-high heat until the bean sprouts are tender. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Thai Coconut Curry Noodles:
  1. Place the noodles in hot water, separating with a fork. Let the noodles soak until tender or according to the directions on the package. Drain and keep warm.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk on low heat and slowly stir in the curry paste. When it begins to simmer, add in the remaining ingredients. Continue to simmer for approximately 2 minutes. Stir in the noodles and serve.
Thai Marinated Cucumbers:
  1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a small pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until it boils and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Peel the cucumber and cut lengthwise into quarters and again crosswise into 1/8 inch slices. Place in a serving bowl and pour marinade over cucumbers, stirring to blend. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
Putting it All Together:
  1. Remove the hard stems from the bottom of each leaf of lettuce. Wash and dry the leaves and arrange in a group on a larger platter.
  2. Remove 2 red cabbage leaves, wash and dry and slice in half vertically.
  3. Arrange on the serving platter and fill with each one of the fillings (chicken, bean sprouts, thai coconut curry noodles and marinated cucumbers).
  4. Let your friends or family create their own lettuce wraps by choosing a filling or fillings and placing it on a leaf along with a choice of sauce. (We used this cilantro sauce, peanut sauce, and sweet and sour sauce.)
  5. Fold the leaf in half and enjoy!
Notes: These were good, but we were missing a couple elements. Apparently, bean sprouts aren't sold in our area due to salmonella. Also, I cut back on the seasoning for the noodles, which was a mistake. They weren't very flavorful. Also, for the noodles, I just used the dried Thai rice noodles and cooked them according to the package instructions. That being said, it was a fresh meal.

Source: My sister, Kimberly, who found the recipe here.  

Tomato Tortellini Soup


1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini (I used chicken and cheese tortellini for added protein)
2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) reduced-sodium condensed tomato soup, undiluted
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Additional shredded Parmesan cheese, optional


  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes and seasonings. Heat through, stirring frequently.
  3. Drain tortellini; carefully add to soup. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle each serving with additional cheese if desired. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts). 
Notes: This was tasty. Not something we will have often, but it is nice to have a super quick and easy soup option.

Source: Taste of Home

Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken

1 14- ounce can diced tomatoes
5-6 cloves garlic
1-2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (or use breast, bone-in, or whatever works for you. If frozen, add 1-2 minutes to total time) **I double the chicken to match the amount of sauce
To finish 4 ounces butter cut into cubes (use coconut oil if dairy free)
4 ounces heavy cream (use full-fat coconut milk if dairy free)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Place all ingredients into an Instant Pot in the order listed, EXCEPT for the butter, cream and 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, mixing the sauce well before you place the chicken on top of the sauce. If it's frozen, push it into the sauce a bit so it defrosts better
  2. Close the cooker and set for 10 mins on high, and let it release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. After that, release all remaining pressure. 
  3. Open up the pot and remove the chicken carefully and set aside
  4. Blend together all the ingredients, preferably using an immersion blender.
  5. Add the cut up butter, cream, cilantro, and garam masala and stir until well incorporated.
  6. It's best to let the sauce cool just a little before adding the butter and the cream. Adding it into the boiling sauce will make your sauce very thin. If that happens, just put it in the fridge for a little and let it thicken up. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  7. Take out half the sauce and freeze for later or store in the fridge for 2-3 days (or double the chicken to match the amount of sauce).
  8. Add the chicken back in and heat through. Break it up into smaller pieces if you need but don't shred it.
  9. Serve over rice or zucchini noodles
Using leftover sauce
  1. Use leftover cooked chicken and mix in with the gently heated sauce, let it simmer for a few for the flavors to meld together and there you go. Add some fresh cilantro on top.
  2. You could also use this for Paneer Makhani. Defrost a cup of peas and 1 cup of paneer and mix gently into the heated sauce and let it simmer for a few for the flavors to meld together and there you go.
Notes:  This was SO yummy!! The whole family enjoyed this dish. I toned down the cayenne pepper just a tad and it was not spicy at all. We will definitely be making this again. And like I mentioned above, I doubled the chicken instead of reserving half the sauce.

Source: Two Sleevers

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas


2 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. finely chopped onion (I like to saute them first so they aren't crunchy)
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (I usually use frozen corn, thawed
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 c. salsa
1/4 tsp. rec pepper flakes
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook until softened. Stir in black beans and corn, then add sugar, salsa, and pepper flakes; mix well. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  2. Melt a small amount of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet, sprinkle evenly with cheese, then top with some of the bean mixture. Place another tortilla on top, cook until golden, then flip and cook on the other side. Melt more butter as needed, and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Notes: This is a recipe we have had since the beginning of 2013 and have made it several times when we needed something quick, or to share with friends. We finally got around to taking a picture. It's definitely a keeper.

Source: Somewhere on

Braised Italian Chicken


1 1/2-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (6-8 thighs)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
fresh cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup shredded carrot
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
freshly shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. To prepare chicken, rinse all pieces in cold water and use a pair of kitchen shears (or clean scissors) to snip off any remaining fat.  Blot dry on paper towels.  Season one side of chicken with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and several cracks of black pepper.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat.  When hot, add olive oil and make sure it spreads across bottom of pot.  Place chicken salt side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.  While it’s cooking, sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt plus a few cracks black pepper on other side of chicken.  Flip chicken pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove chicken and place on a plate.
  4. Add onions and carrots to pot and cook for 2-3 minutes, add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Add can of diced tomato (with all the juices), tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.  Stir ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Add chicken and all accumulated juices from plate.  Cover chicken with sauce and cover pot with lid.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and remove lid.  Use 2 forks to gently shred shred chicken into large chunks.  Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and chopped basil.  Add additional kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over pasta, rice, quinoa, or steamed vegetables, or on french rolls or slider buns and garnish with fresh Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.
Notes: Tasty. This recipe was recommended by Brittany's sister, Kim. We tried it with quinoa, just for something different. Next time we would like to try it with pasta.

Source: Our Best Bites

St. Paddy's Day Patty


Pickled red cabbage
1 cup rice vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 T kosher salt
1 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 lb ground beef (at least 90% lean)
4 slices corned beef, diced
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns, toasted
Spicy mustard


Pickled red cabbage
  1. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and cabbage in a medium bowl. Refrigerate overnight.
  1. Combine ground beef, corned beef and cheese in a large bowl. Shape into 4 patties; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill burgers over medium heat until cooked to preferred doneness.
  3. Serve on toasted hamburger buns topped with spicy mustard, pickled red cabbage and arugula. 
Notes: These were very tasty! We originally found this recipe in a Kroger MyMagazine that was mailed to us. Upon looking for the magazine to post this recipe, we couldn't find it, and it appears that Kroger has also taken it off of their website. I did a search online and this recipe looks exactly like what I remember the Kroger recipe being. We will have to make it again and see if the flavors compare.

Source: Originally Kroger MyMagazine, but also found here.

Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas

3 cups corn from fresh ears or frozen, thawed
1/4 cup masa harina
1/2 cup mozzarella, (shredded) - OR - queso mano (shredded)
vegetable oil, for frying

  1. Grind the corn kernels to a smooth pulp, along with the salt and pepper. 
  2. Add in the masa harina. Note: You can use a food processor or a blender for this step. If you use a blender, you’ll need a tamper or long spoon to push the corn into the blade (not while the blender is running, of course!). 
  3. Once the mixture is smooth, preheat a griddle or large frying pan over medium heat. Add on some oil, then spoon the batter onto the pan. With the back of your spoon, press the batter into a rough circle. 
  4. Cook the cachapas for 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook for 3-5 more minutes, pressing the mixture flat if desired. 
  5. Sprinkle with mozarella and let melt. If necessary, keep warm in the oven until all cachapas are cooked. 
  6. Fold in half and enjoy!
Notes: These turned out a little bit different than expected. It is a traditional breakfast food in Venezuela, but we chose to eat it as a side dish. It is not sweet at all (like a cornbread might be). It was still a unique thing to try.

New England-Style Home-Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef
1/2 c. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
2 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp. paprike
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 (4- to 5-pound) beef brisket, flat cut, trimmed (leave a little fat attached for better texture and flavor)

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and halved crosswise, thick end halved lengthwise
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
1 small rutabaga (1 pound), peeled and halved crosswise; each half cut into 6 chunks
1 small head green cabbage (2 pounds), uncored, cut into 8 wedges


  1. For the corned beef: Combine salt, peppercorns, thyme, allspice, paprika, and bay leaves in bowl.
  2. Using metal skewer, poke about 30 holes in each side of brisket. Rub each side evenly with salt mixture. Place brisket in 2-gallon zipper-lock bag, forcing out as much air as possible. Place in 9x13-inch baking dish, cover with second, similar-size pan, and weight with 2 bricks or heavy cans of similar weight. Refrigerate for 5 to 7 days, turning once a day.
  3. Rinse brisket and pat it dry. Place brisket in Dutch oven and cover brisket with water by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat, skimming any scum that rises to surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until skewer inserted in thickest part of brisket slides in and out with ease, 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer meat to large platter, ladle 1 cup cooking liquid over meat, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven to keep warm.
  5. For the vegetables: Add carrots, potatoes, and rutabaga to Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, and simmer until vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
  6. Add cabbage, increase heat to high and return to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 13 to 18 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, remove meat from oven, transfer to carding board, and slice against grain into 1/4-inch slices. Return meat to platter. Transfer vegetables to meat platter, moisten with additional broth, and serve.
Notes: This requires a lot of planning ahead, but it is worth it if you are wanting tasty corned beef on St. Patrick's Day. We have never been fans of the seasoning that comes with the corned beef at the store, so we were excited to try this recipe when Brittany's sister, Kim, shared the recipe with us. The first time we made it, we didn't get a picture. Then next time, Brittany couldn't eat cabbage so she just steamed carrots and potatoes to go along with the brisket. This is something we will have each year, I think.

Source: The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2016

Sweet Shredded Pork Enchiladas with Chili Verde


Mexican-Style Sweet Shredded Pork
4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (10-ounce) cans enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar, divided
1/2 c. salsa
1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. apple juice

Chile Verde
1 1/2 lbs. tomatillos, husked and quartered or halved
2 green peppers, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and membranes removed, if desired
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
2-3 Tbsp. sugar

Monterey Jack cheese, shredded


  1. Trim the visible fat from the roast and sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder, and onion powder. Use your hands to massage the spices over all sides of the meat.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork roast for about 1 minute on all sides or until meat surface is golden brown.
  3. While the meat is searing, combine the enchilada sauce, 2/3 cup brown sugar, salsa, Worcestershire sauce, and apple juice in a slow-cooker. Add the pork, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours with lid on the entire time.
  4. Remove pork and shred, discarding any pieces of fat. Add the additional 1/3 cup brown sugar to slow cooker and turn heat to high. Add shredded meat. Simmer with lid off for 30 minutes.
  5. While meat is cooking, prepare chili verde sauce: Combine tomatillos, green peppers, jalapenos, and cilantro in a blender. Process until smooth; you may have to do it in batches and/or add some of the chicken broth to make the sauce easy to blend. Pour the tomatillo mixture into a saucepan and add the remaining Chili Verde ingredients. Simmer on stove top for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the consistency you want. Stir frequently to avoid scorching.
  6. To assemble enchiladas: Place shredded pork into tortillas and roll up. Place in 9x13 baking dish. Pour chili verde sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese, and bake at 350 degrees F. until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Notes: These were tasty. The recipe for the pork makes a lot, so I had to freeze the leftover to use another time. 

Source: Our Best Bites cookbook

Spring Stew


5 c. water
3 large carrots (2 c. diced)
3 large potatoes (2-3 c. diced)
1/4 c. chopped onion or 1/4- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
8 oz. frozen peas (1 1/2 c.)
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk or 2 c. instant dry milk
1/4 c. butter (optional)
1 c. cold water
4 Tbsp. cornstarch


  1. Place 5 cups water in a large pot and bring to boil.
  2. While water is coming to a boil, peel and dice carrots, potatoes, and onion.
  3. When water comes to a boil, add carrots, onion, and salt to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add peas when potatoes and carrots are soft.
  6. Add evaporated milk and butter.
  7. Mix 1 cup cold water with 4 Tbsp. cornstarch. Add to soup. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Ready to serve.
Notes: We added chopped ham to make this soup heartier.

Source: This is a recipe Brittany's mom made often when Brittany was growing up.

Chicken Fajita Pasta


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope (3 tablespoons) taco or fajita seasoning
2 cups diced onion (about 1 whole onion)
2 cups diced bell peppers (2-3 bell peppers)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (10-oz) can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
8 oz (about 3 cups) penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with half of taco seasoning. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. When the oil is very hot, carefully add the chicken in a single layer and cook without stirring until one side is seared and browned, about 1-2 minutes. Flip the chicken to the other side and cook until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with the heat still on high. When the oil is very hot again, add the onions, bell peppers, and remaining taco seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are slightly blackened. Turn heat to low, add minced garlic, and stir until fragrant and well combined, about 30 seconds. Remove the veggies to the plate with the chicken.
  3. In the same skillet, add the broth, cream, diced tomatoes, uncooked pasta, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes until pasta is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed. Add the chicken and veggies back into the skillet and stir to combine until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve with buttery garlic bread and enjoy!
Notes: Quick, easy, and tasty! Another recipe from 2016 that we need to try again.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells


24-25 jumbo pasta shells
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups (475 g) ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh chives

For sauce:
4 medium tomatoes, grated on the small holes of a box grater
3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt to taste


  1. To make the sauce: heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant. Then add the grated tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, thyme, crushed red pepper and salt. Simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste and set aside.
  2. To make the Filling: combine the ricotta, egg, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the mozzarella cheese and chives, mix well. Set aside.
  3. Cook the shells according to package instructions in salted water until al dente (don't overcook shells or they'll tear apart). Drain and set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 11x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup sauce over bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Fill each shell with ricotta mixture.
  6. Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.
  7. Spoon remaining sauce over the shells.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the shells are cooked through. Serve immediately.
Notes: We made this way back in we don't remember much about it! I guess that means it's time to make stuffed shells again.

Tomato Spinach Chicken Spaghetti


1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, drained of oil
2 tablespoons olive oil, drained from sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 pound chicken boneless, skinless (preferably, boneless skinless thighs), chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
8 oz fresh spinach
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 oz spaghetti or angel hair pasta
(OPTIONAL) 3 tablespoons high quality olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar

  1. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, drained from sun-dried tomatoes, to a large skillet, on medium-low heat. Add chopped chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and prefer to use them, but you can use chopped chicken breast, as well), red pepper flakes, and salt over all of the ingredients in the skillet, and cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil leaves, fresh spinach, and chopped garlic to the skillet with chicken, cook on medium heat about 3- 5 minutes until spinach wilts just a little, and tomatoes release some of their juices. Remove from heat. Taste, and add more salt to taste, if needed. Cover with lid and keep off heat.
  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, and add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the chicken and vegetables. Reheat on low heat, mix everything well, add more seasonings (salt and pepper), if desired. Remove from heat.
  4. At this point, when the pasta and vegetables are off heat, you can add more high quality olive oil, which is really tasty. Or you can add more olive oil from the jar from the sun-dried tomatoes. 
Notes: It has been long enough that I don't remember much about this recipe, but I am sure it was tasty!

Source: Julia's Album

Pressure Cooker Japanese Curry

For more detailed instructions, visit the source listed at the bottom.


3 onions
3 Yukon gold potatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger
lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
3 cups chicken stock/broth
1 package Japanese curry roux (1 package = 8.4 oz) (See Notes for homemade curry roux recipe)
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Furkujinzuke (red pickled daikon) (for garnish)

  1. Gather all the ingredients.
  2. Cut the onions into halves and cut the halves into 5 wedges.
  3. Peel the carrot and cut into bite sizes.
  4. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Soak in water to remove starch.
  5. Mince the garlic and grate ginger.
  6. Cut the meat into bite size pieces. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot and heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil.
  8. When the pot is hot, add the onion, minced garlic and ginger.
  9. Add the chicken to the pot and coat with oil.
  10. Add carrot and potato to the pot and mix well.
  11. Add 3 cups chicken broth and curry roux. Use spatula to push down some ingredients but keep the curry roux blocks on top. If you use homemade roux, add it after pressure cooking is done. Homemade roux is more runny and it goes to the bottom of pot easily and can burn while cooking.
  12. Cover and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot to stop sauté. Press the “meat/Stew” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Press “minus” button to change the cooking time to 15 minutes.
  13. If you’re using a stove-top pressure cooker, you won’t have the buttons to press. Just cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then reduce the heat to low but maintain high pressure for about 15 minutes.
  14. When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode. Slide the steam release handle to the "Venting" position to let out steam until the float valve drops down, OR let the pressure release naturally (takes about 15 mins).
  15. Unlock the lid and add 1 Tbsp ketchup and 1 Tbsp soy sauce (if you use homemade curry, add it before ketchup and soy sauce. Change to saute mode for additional 5 minutes until homemade curry roux blends well). Mix well and make sure all the curry roux has been dissolved. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with Fukujinzuke (red daikon pickles).

Notes: We made this while doing an "around the world" summer theme with the kids. John's brother and his family are currently living in Japan and shared this recipe with us. It was quite tasty, a great addition to our unit of study, and a fun way to help break in the new-ish electric pressure cooker.

We couldn't find curry roux at any of the stores we looked at, so we ended up making our own, using the linked recipe above. 

One Pot Chicken Alfredo


3 tablespoons olive oil
1¼ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup half and half (I used fat-free) or heavy cream
½ pound spaghetti or fettuccine noodles, uncooked
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated (fresh is best)
for garnish: parsley and/or bacon crumbles

  1. Warm olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of garlic powder, and add to warmed oil to brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add pasta, chicken broth and half-and-half. Bring the mixture to a boil; then cover pan and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. If the mixture is too thick, add more half-and-half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with parsley and bacon crumbles, if desired.
Notes: It's always nice to have one-pot meals on hand, though, aside from that aspect, there wasn't anything about this specific recipe that made it stand out from other Alfredo recipes. It was nice for a quick and easy meal. Brittany added cooked chicken instead of bacon to make it a bit more substantial.

One-Pan Chicken Fajita Rice


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 white onion, diced about 1/2 cup
1/2 red bell pepper, diced about 1/2 cup
1/2 green bell pepper, diced about 1/2 cup
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups rotisserie chicken
1 (4.5 ounce) can Old El Paso diced green chiles
Juice of one lime about 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Toppings: sour cream, guacamole, diced tomato, cilantro

  1. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook for a couple of minutes or until they start to get soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes.
  2. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the rice to the butter and toast for 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Add the chicken broth, sour cream, chicken, diced chiles, lime juice, seasonings (salt, cumin, chili powder). Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. You can add more broth as needed if the rice is not done yet. 
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with lid to melt the cheese. 
  5. Garnish with sour cream, guacamole, diced tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Notes: Tasty and easy. Another recipe we have had a couple of times. Don't forget the toppings!

Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps


1¼ lb. fat-free lean ground turkey
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
⅛ tsp. ground ginger
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce (green top)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp. roasted red chili paste
⅛ tsp. salt
12 Boston lettuce leaves

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for about 6 minutes or until turkey is browned. Stir to crumble.
  2. Combine turkey mixture, onions and chopped water chestnuts in a large bowl, stirring well, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together hoisin, soy sauce, rice vinegar and roasted red chili paste and drizzle over the turkey mixture. Toss to coat completely.
  4. Add about ¼ cup turkey mixture to each lettuce leaf, serve and enjoy!
Notes: Brittany has made these a couple times and really enjoys them. The second time she made them, she used Romaine lettuce, since it is less expensive, and it still tasted just fine. This is a nice light, yet satisfying meal.

Egg, Bacon & Avocado Quesadilla


3 rashers of streaky bacon , chopped
4 flour tortillas (Note 1)
4 eggs
1 large avocado , halved and sliced
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)
Salt and pepper
  1. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook until cooked to your liking. Remove bacon onto a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Drain excess fat from the skillet and wipe away/scrape off any black bits. Return to the stove over medium heat.
  3. Place a tortilla in the skillet. Place avocado slices around the rim of half the tortilla and thinner slices across the middle to form a "ring" to hold the egg - as per the photo below. Squish the pieces close together to seal them so egg does not leak.
  4. Crack an egg into the centre, sprinkle with bacon, cheese and season with salt and pepper. Fold the tortilla over and cook for 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. I usually cook 2 in the skillet.
  5. Flip, turning over the folded edge (i.e. slide the flip under the curved edge and flip over the folded edge). Cook the other side for 3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the skillet. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  6. Serve immediately, while hot!
Notes: Brittany liked this more than anyone else in the family. It was a challenge to keep the egg white contained in the tortilla, even when lining the edge with avocado. Okay for a quick and easy meal! Would be a good savory breakfast idea.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced (any color)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1-2 jalapenos, minced
20 ounces ground turkey breast
8 ounces mushrooms, minced (about 2 heaping cups)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 28 ounce can tomatoes (not drained)
2 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
32 ounces beef broth (one box/carton)
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (make sure you're not using pumpkin pie filling :))
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
optional: sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro or green onion, and fresh lime juice for serving.


1.Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapenos. Saute for about 5 minutes, until veggies are tender and fragrant.  Add to slow cooker.
2.In same skillet, heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Add turkey and mushrooms and stir to combine. Sprinkle in cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika. (Note: the meat will taste very seasoned when done. Keep in mind these seasonings are not to flavor just the meat, they will season the entire pot of chili, so they are intentionally strong!) Add turkey mixture to slow cooker.
3. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, broth, pumpkin, cinnamon, and cocoa powder to slow cooker and stir til combine. Place lid on pot and cook for 4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 on low, until sweet potatoes are tender.
4. When done, turn off heat and let chili sit with lid off for 10-15 minutes to thicken. Season with additional salt to taste before serving. If desired, serve with sour cream, sliced avocados, and a small squirt of fresh lime juice, and any other toppings desired.

Notes: We first made this in March 2017 and have made it a few time since. We will have this many more times, I am sure. The lime juice is a must and all the suggested toppings really make this chili pop!  Our kids gobbled it down quite quickly and loved it! Ever since they found out that there are sweet potatoes and mushrooms in the chili, they have been a bit more hesitant to eat it. But for that first time, ignorance was bliss! I have shared this recipe with multiple people and they have all loved it. Can be made vegetarian by omitting the turkey.

Source: Our Best Bites