Wednesday, October 22, 2014

One Pot Chicken Apple Sausage Pasta

One pot pasta dishes have been a recent favorite around here. I don't have as much time to cook with a toddler getting into everything and an infant who likes to be held a lot during dinner time. This particular dinner doesn't have much prep time, cooked in less than a half hour and was enjoyed by the entire family (including the toddler and my parents.) There wasn't any left over but if there was I'm sure it would have been just as good the next day for lunch. Enjoy! 

ONE PAN CHICKEN APPLE SAUSAGE PASTA



Ingredients: 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package chicken apple sausage, sliced (about 1lb)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 apple, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes 
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 ounces penne pasta 
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
sliced green onions for garnish 
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
1. In a large skilled cook the sausage on medium high heat, until brown. 
2. Add in garlic and apples, cook for another minute.  
3. Once apples and garlic are cooked, add in chicken broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Once it's at a boil, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked. 
4. Once pasta is cooked, add the cheese. Stir to combine. 
5. Once cheese is melted remove from heat and add the green onions. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Toffee and Pumpkin Spice Chip Cookies

The week before baby #2 was born, I spent most of my time during the day in the kitchen. It was the first week of fall and I wanted to make everything and anything pumpkin. I scoured Pinterest for hours and made a master list of everything I wanted to bake over the next few months. I also started experimenting with some new recipes using some of the new pumpkin ingredients I've found at the store. One of the new ingredients I've added this year is the Toll House pumpkin spice morsels, which I found at Target. For this recipe, I wanted pumpkin flavor without using canned pumpkin. I love canned pumpkin but using it in cookies tends to make them soft. I decided to pair the new pumpkin morsels (chips) with toffee bits after seeing a I love toffee and pumpkin together, but I didn't want to make a traditional pumpkin cookie because they can be too soft sometimes. These are soft on the inside with a perfect crunch on the outside. They have the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice.  Enjoy this tasty fall treat!


Ingredients
1 cup butter softened
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 ¼ cup flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 1/2 cups of toffee bits (found in baking section)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin spice baking chips 


Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375. 
2. Mix together butter and sugar, beat until creamy. Add egg and continue to mix. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. 
4. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Continue to mix until well blended. 
5. Stir in toffee bits and pumpkin spice chips.
6. Drop dough by tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake about 9-11 minutes, until edges are set. I used a medium sized cookie scoop, which made just over 3 dozen cookies. 
7. Let cookies cool for 1 minute on baking sheets before removing to a cooling rack.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Double Chip Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies

Fall is officially here and I couldn't be more excited. To celebrate, I spent some time this weekend baking away. Almost everything I made involved pumpkin. All but one recipe turned out to be a keeper. 

Today, I'm sharing my new cookie recipe with you. I love pumpkin cookies but don't love that sometimes they are too soft and mushy. These cookies were exactly what I was looking for. They had a little crunch on the outside and were soft and chewy on the inside. They have the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice without being too overpowering. I ended up freezing half of them just to keep myself from eating them all. Definitely a recipe that will be used for many years to come. Happy Fall! 

Also, I bought the Hershey's Toll House pumpkin pie chips at Target. I haven't seen them anywhere else this year. 



Ingredients: 
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups quick cooking oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup pumpkin spice chips (baking morsels)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips 

Directions: 
1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
2. Mix the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon together in a bowl. 
3. In a separate mixing bowl combine the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract and mix well. 
4. Gradually add the flour mixture and continue to mix until dough is formed. 
5. With a spoon, mix in the pumpkin and chocolate chips. 
6. Line a large cookie pan with a baking mat or parchment paper. 
7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on the pan, I used a medium cookie scoop and fit 12 cookies on each pan. Bake for 13-14 minutes. 
8. Allow to cool for one minute on baking sheet then move to a wire rack to cool completely.  
*Makes about 4 dozen cookies*

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Turkey Chili with Cornbread Waffles

Yesterday, the weather dropped a bit here in Florida. The high was just over 80 degrees. I'm sure that is still hot for many of you, but I'll take any taste of fall I can get. As soon as I looked at the forecast for the day, I knew it would be a perfect day for the first crockpot chili of the season. 

Turkey chili is a staple in our house during the fall and winter months. I make it every other week, using pretty much the same recipe. Last night, I decided to use the waffle iron to make cornbread waffles to go with our chili after seeing it on Pinterest. 

I have to say that this is the best way to serve cornbread with chili. There was cornbread in every bite of chili I had and it was absolute perfection. Mom, dad and hubs agreed and said this needs to be our Sunday night football dinner from now on.  Success! 

Turkey Chili 

Ingredients: 
1 pound ground turkey
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes 
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 (16 oz) cans pinto beans
1 cup chicken broth
1 packet of chili seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions to garnish 

Directions: 
1. Season your ground turkey with a little salt and pepper.  Brown it over medium heat until its cooked through and no longer pink.  
2. Remove from heat.
3. In the crockpot, add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili mix and chicken broth. Stir to combine. 
4. Add ground turkey to the tomato mixture in the crockpot. Stir to combine. 
5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  
6. When it's time to serve, spoon your chili over waffles (see below for directions) and garnish with your choice of toppings. 


Cornbread Waffles 

I used 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix and followed the directions on the box to prepare them. The only thing I added was 2 tsp of chili powder to the mix to give the waffles an extra kick. 

Make sure your waffle iron is hot and ready. Pour the cornbread batter onto the waffle iron and close to cook. I used a large cookie scoop for the batter and made 5 medium waffles for this meal. Our waffles took about 4-5 minutes to cook through. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Big Sister Survival Kit

I've been working hard getting things ready for little man's arrival, which is less than two weeks away. For the most part my bags are packed, clothes are washed and we have what he will sleep in. That is all I need, right? 

Anyhow, one of the big things on my to do list before he gets here was making a survival kit for big sister Avery. I have it packed for the hospital so it's there when she visits Luke for the first time. I wanted to include items in it that would keep her busy and entertained while she was there once the newness of her little brother wore off. 

Here is what I included in the survival kit:

(top left to bottom right)

{One}
This adorable and personalized notebook is from Tiny Prints. I'm absolutely in love with how it came out and the quality of the notebook. Avery loves to color and write in all of my notebooks so I figured she would love one of her own. I personalized it with pictures of our family on the front, it makes me smile every time I look at it. 

{Two}
Princess Wand
This was a Target Dollar Spot find. She is obsessed with all things princess right now, I have a feeling this magical wand will be a big hit. 

{Three}
Frozen Play Pack
Another Target Dollar Spot find. Again, she is princess (and Frozen) obsessed right now. 

{Four}
Arts and Crafts. 
Again….Target Dollar Spot for the win! She loves to color so I thought this would be a fun little craft for her to do.  

{Five}
Minnie Mouse Play Camera 
I'm sure we will all be picture crazy when Avery meets Luke for the first time. I thought it would be fun for her to have her own little camera to pretend to take pictures with as well. If she was a bit older, I would totally give her a disposable camera. 

{Six}
Avery absolutely loves these. They are great to take on the road and out to dinner. All they require is a little water and are reusable. They don't make a mess and keep her entertained for a while. This is a new notebook and she loves animals, I think she'll be obsessed. 

{Seven}
Fruit Snacks
One of her favorites that she doesn't have on a regular basis. 
Tried to put "new" things in it that she won't put to the side in three seconds. 

{Eight}
Animal Crackers
when in doubt feed the toddler!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


One of my most popular posts on this blog is the survival kit I made for hubs before Avery was born.
I didn't want to forget about him this time around either. I decided to put together a little basket of his favorite sweets and treats for the hospital. In this survival kit I included gummy bears, trail mix, Twizzlers, gum, chap stick, protein bars, mints, Kit Kat and Starbursts candy. 



  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Easy Apple Crisp & Grandparents Day Celebration

September 7th was Grandparents Day. Honestly, I didn't know there was such thing until I had a child. Now, it's a day I make sure I am well prepared for. Avery has 6 very special grandparents in her life. I love that there is a day set aside to celebrate them. 

Since two sets of Avery's grandparents live in different states, I used Treat to make them a sweet card. I love how I can add pictures to the cards using Treat and also schedule the delivery so it arrived right before Grandparents Day. 

On Grandparent's Day we had a nice dinner with my parents and grandmother. Avery was very excited to hand her nana and papa their card, also thanks to Treat.




Hubs and I decided to cook a nice dinner for the family so my parents could have a night off. We grilled steaks with shrimp, devoured skillet red potatoes along with steamed broccoli. 

I was in charge of the dessert. A task I usually volunteer for and thoroughly enjoy. I decided to try my hand at apple crisp for the first time. I had all things fall on my mind and this seemed like the perfect sweet treat to kick off September and the start of fall (in my book.) 

I have to say, I can't believe I have never made this dessert before. It was so simple to prepare and was finished cooking right when we were through with dinner. It served the 5 of us perfectly with one serving left over. As tempting as it was so say "the baby wanted more" I held strong and resisted. Everyone gave the dessert their approval and requested it again. It was a wonderful Grandparents Day dinner! 


Easy Apple Crisp
Courtesy of Betty Crocker 


Ingredients: 

4
medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4
cup packed brown sugar
1/2
cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1/2
cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3
cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4
teaspoon ground nutmeg
Serve with vanilla ice cream

Directions: 

  • 1Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.
  • 2Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except ice cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
  • 3Bake about 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken

I have to admit I haven't been the best with meal planning lately. We're living with my parents while our house is being finished and I'm also 9 months pregnant. After chasing around my two year old all day, I don't really have the energy or desire to spend a lot of time on dinner. 

The other night my mom had taken chicken out for dinner. Everyone was on their way home from work and I wanted to have dinner ready when they got home. It was a rare day of extra energy and I took full advantage of it! Anyhow, I immediately turned to my Pinterest Recipe board and started searching for something quick that I could make with ingredients we already had. Did I mention grocery trips with a two year old who doesn't like to stay in the cart no matter how many cookies you bribe her with are no fun? 

My search ended with this recipe. I had all of the ingredients and not a lot of time to get dinner on the table. This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. The recipe took less than 10 minutes to prep and about 35 total to bake. The entire family was impressed with this chicken. My mom kept asking how I made it. We served it with baked red potatoes and broccoli. Enjoy! 


Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken
Adapted from All Recipes 

Ingredients: 

4 skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup bacon bits (more if desired)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
lemon pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish, and drizzle evenly with honey and mustard. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.
3.
Bake chicken 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Top each breast with bacon bits and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Continue baking 10 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear, bacon is crisp, and cheese is bubbly.

*The original recipe said to use chicken breast halves. I used regular breasts and they turned out great. They were cooked through in the amount of time listed above and were unbelievably juicy*

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{Crock Pot} Honey Parmesan Pork Loin

It's that time of the year. Not only is it football season and almost the start of fall, but it's crock pot season. Although I do use my crock pot all year long, I use it multiple times a week in the fall and winter months. 

Pork loins are one of my favorites to cook in the crock pot. I've had great success with most of the pork recipe's we've tried in the crock pot, they are always so tender, juicy and fabulous leftover. I made this recipe while at my parents this past week. They always have fresh grated parmesan cheese in their fridge and I was determined to use it in one of the meals I planned. I used a few different recipes for this dish and was happy with how it turned out. My favorite part of this recipe was the combination of honey with the parmesan cheese, it was full of flavor but not overpowering. The family (including my two year old!) gave this recipe an A+ and asked for it to be added to the rotation.   That I can make happen! 


Ingredients: 
1 boneless pork loin (mine was just over 1lb)
2/3 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup honey
1Tbs coconut oil (olive oil could be used as well) 
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs italian seasoning 
1 Tbs minced garlic 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

Directions: 
1. Spray the crock pot with non stick cooking spray. We used Pam coconut oil spray. 
2. Add the pork to the crock pot and season it with the salt and pepper. 
3. Whisk the remaining ingredients (honey, cheese, oil, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce & garlic) together in a separate bowl. 
4. Once mixed together, pour it over the pork. 
5. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low. Make sure the temperature is 160 before you take it out. 
6. Pour some of the extra juices over it to serve. 

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{One Pot} Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skillet

I made this last night for the third time. It's a big hit with my family, a quick and easy weeknight meal. Perfect for back to school dinner planning. The entire meal takes 20 minutes, start to finish. Plus there are only five ingredients. It doesn't get much easier than that! The one thing I will probably do next time is lighten it a bit. I will use italian turkey sausage and whole wheat tortellini. I cut the cheeses in half, just sprinkling it lightly over the dish. 


Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skillet
Courtesy of  Yellow Bliss Road (with slight changes)

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Italian Sausage
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 240-24 oz package of fresh cheese Tortellini
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce (1-24 oz jar)
  •  
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in an oven safe skillet. Crumble in sausage and cook through, until no longer pink.
  2. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tortellini.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until tortellini is tender. 
  4. Remove from heat. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over tortellini.
  5. Place the lid back on and let the cheese melt for about 5 minutes. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

{eMeals} Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken & Tarragon Potato Salad


When I first signed up for eMeals clean eating recipes, I didn't think I would actually find any I would want to make. I thought that a lot of my favorites would go out the window and I'd be stuck making things that may be "clean" but not tasty. I was completely wrong and this recipe is one that proves it. Last weekend I wanted a summer meal for our Saturday dinner. Cold potato salad and crispy chicken sounded like the perfect summer meal. One that would be perfect for a BBQ or even a picnic. 

The chicken was so quick and easy to make. Besides boiling the potatoes, so was the potato salad. I honestly can't remember the last time I made potato salad. I forgot how easy it was and how much better it is then what you buy at the store. I added some small pieces of turkey bacon that was leftover from breakfast that morning, which hubs enjoyed.  Definitely a meal we'll make again and a potato salad I'll bring to our next BBQ.  Enjoy!


Crispy Oven- Baked Chicken 
Ingredients: 
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (8-oz) container reduced-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons reduced-fat 2% milk (we used almond milk)
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F; sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Whisk together sour cream, milk, green onions and paprika in a shallow dish; place panko in a separate shallow dish. Dredge chicken in sour cream mixture then in panko, pressing gently to adhere. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; cook chicken, in batches, 2 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer chicken to a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until done. 


Tarragon Potato Salad 

Ingredients:
3 lb new potatoes
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1⁄4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Directions: 
Bring potatoes and salted water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; let cool, and cut into quarters. Whisk together vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper; gradually whisk in oil. Pour dressing over potatoes; add tarragon, and toss until well coated. 



** eMeals is a subscription service that sends weekly meal plans to your inbox based on information you provide. We've been very happy with the recipes so far! 

Sign up in just 4 simple steps:
1. Pick your meal plan (I have the clean eating plan)
2. Recipes for the WEEK along with sides will be emailed to you.  
3. They even give you a grocery list to take shopping.  

4. Enjoy an easy dinner that your husband will think took hours to make! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

{eMeals Recipe} Basil- Avocado BLT

There are many nights where I don't feel like cooking. Mostly on the weekends. Lately, we've been trying to watch our eating out spending, which means a lot more weekend meals at home. A few weeks ago, we decided to plan all of our weekend meals and not eat out once. Including Friday night. This was big for us. When I planned our weekend menu, I looked for recipes where I could reuse the ingredients. Since our Saturday morning meal was homemade breakfast sandwiches using bacon, I choose this dinner recipe for Sunday night. 

I'm not a huge fan of the original BLT. I need more in my sandwich. But, this. This is a sandwich I am a fan of. Plus it's a clean eating recipe! Cooking the bacon was the only thing that took time. The rest was simple to throw together. I think what did it for me was the basil-avocado combination with the bacon. So much flavor in every bite.  Serve with sweet potato fries and you're all set! We've made this meal twice since, it's one of our favorite at home lunches.


Ingredients:
12 slices natural, uncured bacon
12 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
6 tablespoons reduced-fat olive oil mayonnaise
2 ripe avocados, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
11⁄2 cups baby arugula
1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves 

Directions: 
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels. Spread toasted bread slices with mayonnaise; top 6 slices with bacon, avocado, tomato, arugula and basil leaves; top with remaining bread slices, mayonnaise-side down. 



** eMeals is a subscription service that sends weekly meal plans to your inbox based on information you provide. We've been very happy with the recipes so far! 

Sign up in just 4 simple steps:
1. Pick your meal plan (I have the clean eating plan)
2. Recipes for the WEEK along with sides will be emailed to you.  
3. They even give you a grocery list to take shopping.  
4. Enjoy an easy dinner that your husband will think took hours to make! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Toddler Approved} Strawberry Pineapple Popsicles

One of the items on our Summer Bucket List was to make popsicles. 
The weather here in TX was well into the high 90's in May. 
The mini and myself were craving something cool to enjoy in the afternoon heat. 
For me, there's nothing better than homemade popsicles. 
Especially out on the deck while watching the mini splash around in her water table. 



Ingredients: 
10-12 large fresh strawberries (cleaned and cut)
1 cup of fresh pineapple 
1/4 cup of OJ

Directions: 

Put the strawberries, pineapple and OJ into a blender. I used my nutribullet. 

I blended it until it was completely smooth. Once that was done, I poured it into popsicle molds I found at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight. Enjoy! 




Thursday, July 17, 2014

{Clean Eating} Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Today, I'm sharing one of our favorite new dinners. This meal takes about 25 minutes to make. It's one of the meals I will throw together when I am running late getting dinner started or am looking for a quick and healthy meal. It also makes a perfect lunch. Hubs adds chicken to his, I personally think this is filling just the way it is. Enjoy! 


Ingredients: 
1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa 
1 can of black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes (or a cup of fresh quartered)
1 can of corn or a cup of frozen
1 avocado, diced 
1 lime 

Directions: 
Cook quinoa according to the package directions
Once it's finished add it to a large skillet (turned to low heat)
Drain the black beans and corn 
Add them to the skillet, along with the tomatoes (undrained)
Mix ingredients and leave on the stove until everything is heated through. 
Once it's heated, add the juice of a freshly squeezed lime and the diced avocado
You can also add cilantro if your would like 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Avodado Tomato and Feta Dip

Guacamole is a weekly staple in our house. Hubs, the little one and myself all love it. Since hubs lived in New Mexico growing up, he has special ingredients that he uses to make his guac. I've tried to replicate his recipe many times, but I don't come close. It's famous among our friends and always a favorite at a party.

Since I did the menu planning and most all of the cooking for the 4th of July, I wanted to surprise him with a new guac recipe. Not to replace his, but something different. I found this recipe on Pinterest. As someone who loves feta cheese, I knew I would love it. I was a tad worried about what everyone else would think. 

Results: A welcomed change to the normal guac appetizer. Unbelievably fresh and full of flavor. Perfect for summer BBQ's! 




Avocado, Tomato and Feta Dip
Adapted from A Sunshiny Day

Ingredients

  • 2 hass avocados diced and slightly mashed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Directions

1.Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
2.Serve with tortilla chips.

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