dinner

Potato Soup

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Potato Soup with Bacon

On miserably cold, snowy days, I make soup. We have a lot of days like this in Central New York, so I make a lot of soup! This is my classic potato soup recipe. We like to add bacon bits or ham. You can also add onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery or even broccoli if you’d like. It’s a classic hot and creamy soup to warm you up on a cold day. 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup water
1 cup half & half
4 cups 2% milk
5-6 medium potatoes, cut into small pieces
1 tsp each: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion salt
2-3 tbsp of Real Bacon bits
Potato Soup IngredientsMelt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour and stir with butter until well mixed. Dissolve bouillon cubes in about 1/2 cup of hot water and add to flour and butter mixture and stir. Add the half & half and milk into the pot and mix well. Add potatoes. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion salt. Stir well. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Add bacon bits to soup. 

Potato Soup

Turn to low heat for about an hour. Stir frequently. You may want to mash up some of the potatoes as they soften to help thicken the soup. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, serve with fresh rolls and enjoy!

Turn to low heat for about an hour. Stir frequently. You may want to mash some of the potatoes in the pot to help thicken the soup. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, serve with fresh crescent rolls and enjoy!

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Cream of Broccoli Soup

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Cream of Broccoli Soup

Is there anything better on a cold winter’s night than soup? Well, maybe a trip south where it’s warm would be better, but that’s unfortunately not in the cards for me. So I make soup. One of my all-time favorites is homemade cream of broccoli. I created this recipe by using my creamy potato soup recipe, and just substituting the potatoes for broccoli. It’s the creamy base that makes this soup. (I haven’t posted my potato soup recipe yet, but I will soon!)

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 chicken bouillon cube mixed with 1/4 cup of water
1 cup half and half
4 cups 2% milk
2 Broccoli crowns, cut into small pieces
4-5 mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 small onion, diced (optional)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Instructions:
Melt the butter in a fairly large pot. Add the flour. Using a wire whisk, mix together well. Add the bouillon cube/water mixture slowly and whisk together. Slowly add the half and half. I like to make sure there are no lumps and that it’s very creamy, so I whisk constantly. Heat just to boiling. Then slowly add the milk. Mix well, add the broccoli, mushrooms and onions (or whatever else you’d like to add!) Heat until just boiling, then turn heat to low, so it is just simmering. Stir often with a wooden spoon until the broccoli is soft, but not too soft, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately, with rolls or crackers. Top with shredded cheese if you’d like. Enjoy!

Italian Chicken Pasta Skillet

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Italian Chicken-Pasta Skillet

This recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight. I think it took a total of 20 minutes to prepare this meal. I cooked the chicken while the pasta boiled, combined everything into the skillet with the chicken, let it heat through for a few minutes and boom! Dinner was done.

Italian Chicken-Pasta Skillet

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5-6 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 cups ziti, cooked, drained
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Green onions for garnish

Italian Chicken-Pasta Skillet

Instructions:
Cook chicken in large skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat 5 min. Add onions and mushrooms; cook for 5 min. or until chicken is done. Drain any excess olive oil. Add sauce, stir well. Then add the pasta. Cook for a few minutes until heated through. Stir occasionally. Stir in the mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm, top with a little more shredded mozzarella and some green onions for color.

Feel free to add any other fresh vegetables or other combinations to make it your own. I would have added green peppers if it were just me, but sadly, I have a green vegetable hater in the house.

* This recipe was inspired by Kraft Foods

Crock Pot Chili

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chili2

Chili is a mainstay in our house, whether it’s a special occasion or just a cold winter night. Today is the Super Bowl, Chili is a perfect dinner for such an event. It cooks all day in the crock pot and it’s ready when you are. It goes great with tortilla chips and wings and everything else that goes along with celebrating the Big Game.

My chili is of course, very simple, with very few ingredients. My husband is a picky eater and hater of most vegetables, so I have created an excellent chili compromise. If I were to make this for myself or for others who enjoyed vegetables, I would add green peppers, onions and lots of tomatoes. However, this version has none of that. But it’s still quite delicious!

chili

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey – our favorite)
1 can red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can chili beans
2 cans tomato sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
Hot sauce to taste (We like a lot!)

Instructions:
Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray. Pre-cook the ground beef. While the meat is cooking, open the cans of beans and tomato sauce. Drain the kidney beans and black beans, pour into the crock pot. Do not drain the chili beans. Use that liquid in the chili, so just pour the whole can of chili goodness into the crock pot. Add the tomato sauce and chili powder. Sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired. Stir well. When the beef is done, add that to the mixture. Stir until well mixed. Cook on medium heat for 4-6 hours.

Scoop into bowls and top with sour cream, cheese and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I was searching for recipes to make for the Super Bowl and came across this amazing twist on Buffalo Wings. It’s a little healthier than the typical ‘chicken wing’ and it’s got that same crispy, wonderful flavor.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce
2 cups plain Panko bread crumbs
4-6 large leaves of Boston lettuce
1 cup cooked white rice
Sliced black olives
Bleu cheese dressing
Scallions for garnish

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Marinate the chicken in a container with the 1/2 cup Buffalo sauce, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour the Panko breadcrumbs into a shallow dish.
  5. Coat the chicken pieces evenly with the Panko and place them in the baking pan.
  6. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes.
  7. To assemble the wraps, fill each leaf of lettuce with the rice, chicken and top with black olives. Drizzle the Bleu Cheese dressing over the chicken. And then add the scallions.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce WrapsThese lettuce wraps are fantastic for either lunch or dinner. Feel free to experiment with toppings. I saw one recipe that included avocados and another that added celery. So try some other options as well as the ones above and enjoy these fabulous lettuce wraps. I will be adding this to my regular rotation of meals, they were that good!

One Pot Dinner

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One Pot Dinner

I love a dinner you can cook in one pot. Less clean up is a very good thing! This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart and my need to use up the mushrooms, broccoli and chicken I had in the fridge. I never thought of cooking a meal like this, and it might very well be life changing for me!

One Pot DinnerThe idea of this recipe is to throw everything into the same pot and cook it all at once. I had to use up some chicken that was already cooked, otherwise, I would have thrown in the raw chicken as well. But since it was pre-cooked, I didn’t want to dry it out. So I added it at the end, just to heat it up.

One Pot Dinner

Here is the recipe for this fabulous dinner.

Ingredients:
8 ounces of pasta
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup cubed chicken
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Place the pasta in your pot, along with the chicken, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms. Pour the chicken broth over the top and add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and cook. Stir the pasta frequently with a wooden spoon to break it up and prevent it from sticking to the pan. Cook the pasta for about 9-10 minutes. Most of the liquid will have evaporated. Add the half and half and heat until warm. Remove the pan from the stove and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese before serving. Enjoy!

One Pot Dinner

Roasted Red Potatoes

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Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes are a perfect side dish for pretty much any meal. I love them because they not only taste good, but they’re healthy and easy to make. Plus the clean-up is simple. Who doesn’t love a quick clean-up after cooking?

Roasted Red Potatoes

All you need for this perfect side dish are red potatoes, olive oil and some salt & pepper. You can use small red potatoes, cut in half, or use larger ones cut into bite-sized pieces. After you cut up the potatoes, spread them out in a 9×12 pan lined in parchment paper. (That’s where the easy clean-up comes in!) Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl and use a basting brush to lightly spread the olive oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the pan into a preheated oven (set to 400º), and bake for 30-35 minutes. Rotate pan once during baking to ensure even cooking.

French Bread Pizza

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French Bread Pizza

Are you looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal for the whole family? Well, here you go! Everybody loves pizza, right? I mean, really. Does anyone NOT like pizza? Well, this is not only simple and inexpensive, but everyone can create their own pizza to their own taste.

French Bread Pizza

Normally, I like a “less boring” pizza than cheese and pepperoni. One of my favorites is a garlic pizza with broccoli. I’m also a fan of black olives and sausage. All of these options would be fantastic on a french bread pizza. But tonight, we all had pepperoni. But that’s ok, it was delicious! I bought some fun “mini” pepperoni and loaded them on the pizza. (Which was a good thing, because they shrunk considerably during baking!) 

French Bread Pizza

All you need for this is some french bread (I got ours at Walmart for $1!), some shredded mozzarella cheese ($2.50 for the package), a small jar of pizza sauce ($1.50), and whatever other toppings you would like. I set the oven to 400 F and baked the pizza for about 15 minutes. (Maybe a few minutes more if you like it crispier, just keep an eye on it.) And that was it. A simple and fun weekday dinner for the entire family, for around $7.

Sh!t on a Shingle

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Sh!t on a Shingle

I blame my husband for this post. And his mother. (Although I love them both dearly!) This is a recipe that my husband loved growing up and on occasion requests that we have it for dinner. In a weak moment this weekend, and a need to use up the leftover ham, I agreed. It’s a fairly simple recipe, and gets its origin from the military. The military used chipped beef, because it was readily available. Often it was called “Chipped Beef on Toast,” and through time got its colorful name “Sh!t on a Shingle.” (Or S.O.S., or “Save Our Stomachs”, etc.)

Sh!t on a Shingle

We stayed close to the original recipe, although we substituted ham for the chipped beef and added chopped up hard boiled eggs. (Again, not my idea, I was just doing as was requested!) We also used buttermilk biscuits instead of toast. Just to add some nice buttery flavor. Here is our variation of the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped ham
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup 2% Milk
Ground Pepper
Buttermilk biscuits

shingle1

Instructions:
Cook the biscuits as directed on package. While the biscuits bake, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, along with a few dashes of ground pepper. Don’t let the butter brown. As soon as it is melted, add the flour, and whisk it in. Let cook for a minute, then whisk in half of the milk. As soon as it has been absorbed, whisk in the remainder of the milk. Stir in the ham and eggs, then set the heat to low. Once the biscuits are finished, slice in half and place them on a plate. Spoon the ham/egg mixture over the top of the biscuits. Sprinkle with black pepper. Enjoy! Really, it isn’t that bad, but beware, it is very filling!

Bourbon Chicken

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Bourbon Chicken

One of my husbands favorite “Chinese” food dishes at the fast-food Chinese place at the mall is Bourbon Chicken. When I came across a recipe for it on Pinterest one day, I wanted to try it. I never thought to make it myself. And did you know, Bourbon chicken isn’t really of Chinese origin, it’s named for Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It’s most commonly found at Cajun-themed Chinese restaurants. Who knew?!

Bourbon Chicken

INGREDIENTS
Marinade
1/2 cup Bourbon
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp white wine
1 tsp sesame oil
Chicken
4 chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbsp olive oil

Bourbon Chicken

INSTRUCTIONS
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large container or bowl. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until the meat is done. Drain excess oil and water. Add half the marinade to the chicken and continue cooking until the marinade thickens. (I added a little extra brown sugar to help thicken the sauce.) Serve over rice.

Bourbon Chicken

The restaurant at the mall uses dark meat chicken, and I imagine that would be excellent with this recipe as well. We prefer white meat in our house, so I used that. But honestly, you could use either. I added some green onions on top, they added a nice flavor.

* The inspiration for this recipe came from the Jo Cooks website. Please check out their site for more recipes!