• Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

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    This dish is a one skillet dish…yes even the pasta!  It is extremely flavorful, and we loved the bold lemony garlicky sauce.  Everyone had seconds, even Ellie, who doesn’t eat much pasta.  It’s so good, that it tasted restaurant quality…yes, it’s that good!

    Ethan proclaimed: “This is a keeper”.  There you have it.

    We will most definitely be having this dish again and again.

    Since we love garlic, lemon, and Italian seasoning, I added way more than the original recipe.  If you’re not into those bold flavors as much, reduce those amounts to your liking.

    Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, cubed
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 TBSP oil
    • 2 heaping TBSP of minced garlic (I use pre-minced garlic in a jar
    • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
    • 2 1/2 c. water
    • 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
    • Zest of three lemons
    • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 lemons, use the same ones you just zested)
    • 12 ounces penne pasta (I use Barilla or Ronzoni Smart Taste)
    • 2-3 c. chopped fresh broccoli florets
    • 3/4 c. milk
    • 1 heaping TBSP cornstarch
    • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Directions:

    1. Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Add the chicken and saute, stirring frequently, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate, keeping as much oil/liquid in the skillet as possible.
    2. Keep the skillet on medium heat and add another teaspoon of oil if needed (I usually don’t but you’ll want to keep an especially close eye on the garlic). Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Add the water, broth, lemon juice and pasta. Stir to combine.
    3. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally just to keep the pasta from sticking, for 10-12 minutes until the pasta is tender – it will cook for a few more minutes in the next step. (Depending on the type of pasta you use, your cooking time may differ, so keep an eye on the pasta so you don’t overcook it).  There will be a bit of liquid left in the skillet; that’s ok.
    4. Add the broccoli and lemon zest. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender. While the broccoli is cooking, whisk together the milk and cornstarch.
    5. Uncover the skillet and stir in the milk mixture along with the Parmesan cheese and reserved chicken. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 1-2 minutes.
    6. Season with additional salt and pepper (this is really important – don’t skip this step!) and serve.

    Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli:
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  • Easy Chicken and Dumplings

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    This is a tasty, hearty, and super easy version of the slow cooked classic: chicken and dumplings.  Be sure to use low sodium broth, and if you don’t I would suggest using half broth half water, otherwise it will be too salty (trust me–there is plenty of salt in the rotisserie chicken, cream of chicken soup, and dumplings).

    This dish makes for a great weeknight meal, as it only took about 30 minutes to prepare, and that’s from start to finish!

    Recipe is adapted from the January 2010 issue of Southern Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 c. LOW SODIUM chicken broth
    • 3 c. shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken)
    • 1 10.75 oz. can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
    • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
    • 1 10.2 oz. can refrigerated jumbo buttermilk biscuits
    • 1 c. carrots, diced
    • 1 c. celery, diced
    • pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high and return to a low boil.
    2. Place biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat each biscuit to 1/8 inch thickness; cut into 1/2 inch wide strips.
    3. Drop strips, 1 at a time, into boiling broth mixture.  Add carrots and celery. Cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking.
    4. Season with pepper.

    Easy Chicken and Dumplings:

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  • Black Beans and Rice

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    Black beans and rice are a great winter food.  They are warming and very filling.  They are also very healthy.  The key to this dish is to soak the black beans in water over night.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. dried black beans
    • water
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 7 garlic cloves, smashed
    • 1-2 jalapenos, diced (can omit)
    • 2 TBSP dried oregano
    • 6-7 c. chicken or veggie broth
    • Hot cooked Rice
    • Pico de gallo to top the dish (simply mix some tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, salt and lime juice together)

    Directions:

    1. Place black beans in a pot and cover them with water and soak overnight.
    2. Place soaked beans, onion, garlic, jalapenos, oregano, and broth in a slow cooker, and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or until beans are soft and tender.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    3. Serve over hot rice and top with pico de gallo.

    Black Beans and Rice:

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  • Cook Off Chili

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    This chili is solid.  I found the recipe and the always tasty fashionably foodie.  You can cook on the stove-top or in the crock.  It was also really good the next day on a taco salad with creamy jalapeno dressing.

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    Ingredients:

    • 4 cans kidney beans, undrained (I used 2 cans)
      or 1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender, with cooking liquid
    • 1 lb. ground beef (I used turkey)
    • 1/2 large onion, chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper or jalapeno, chopped
    • 2 TBSP chili powder
    • 2 TBSP brown sugar
    • 2 quarts tomatoes with juice (or two big 28 oz cans)
    • 1 big (15 oz) can tomato sauce
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1 tsp. basil
    • 1/8 tsp. allspice (the secret ingredient!)
    • 1 bay leaf (I used more because mine weren’t that fresh)
    • Grated cheese

    Directions:

    1. In a large stockpot, cook ground beef/turkey, onion, and green pepper and/or jalapeno till meat is brown. Drain fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, basil, salt, sugar, pepper, allspice and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover, simmer at least 45 minutes, until reduced and thickened, or cook in Crock Pot on LOW for 3-5 hours (for the crock pot, omit juice from one jar of tomatoes.) taste before serving, add a sprinkle of salt or sugar as needed.
    2. Top with cheese.

    Cook Off Chili:

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  • Beef BBQ Sandwiches with Slaw

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    Here’s another excellent BBQ beef sandwich cooked in the crockpot.  The recipe is from Taste of Home.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 3 lb. boneless chuck roast
    • 1 c. BBQ sauce
    • 1/2 c. apricot preserves
    • 1/3 c. chopped green or red pepper
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
    • 2 tsp. brown sugar
    • Cole slaw
    • Buns

    Directions:

    1. Spray your crockpot with cooking spray.  Cut the roast into quarters, and add the meat to the crock.
    2. In a bowl, combine the bbq sauce, preserves, green pepper, onion, mustard, and brown sugar; then pour mixture over roast.
    3. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours, or until meat is tender.
    4. Remove meat from crock and thinly slice.  Serve on buns with slaw.

    Beef BBQ Sandwiches with Slaw:

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  • Korean Short Ribs

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    I found this most delicious recipe at Blisstree.com.  Heather’s photo is soooo much better than mine, but since I loved the dish so much, I didn’t want to wait until I made it again to try taking a better photo.

    Not only is this a crock pot dish, but it is company worthy…yes you heard me right…I would certainly serve this dish to company!

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. soy sauce
    • 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar (you can scale it down to 1/3 c)
    • 2 TBSP sesame oil
    • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
    • 2 TBSP minced fresh ginger (I probably used closer to 1/4 c.–love ginger)
    • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
    • 2 lbs boneless beef short ribs or boneless country ribs
    • 3 TBSP cornstarch
    • 3 TBSP cold water
    • Sesame seeds
    • Green onion, chopped (we didn’t have any)
    • Rice

    Directions:

    1. Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic and red pepper in a small bowl.  Place ribs in crock pot and then add the sauce.
    2. Cook on low for 5 hours or until meat is tender (if you use ribs on the bone, then cook longer).  Remove meat and place on platter.
    3. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Turn crock to high and add cornstarch mixture.  Bring to boil to allow sauce to thicken.
    4. Plate: rice, ribs, sauce, green onions, and sesame seeds

    Korean Short Ribs:

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  • Another Chicken and Dumplings

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    This chicken and dumpling recipe is really tasty.  I found a recipe at the Dish on Delish that sounded good, but then adapted it to our tastes, and the end result was really yummy.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 TBSP butter
    • 1 medium onion, large dice
    • 4 medium carrots, large dice
    • 2 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
    • 1 c. (spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour, divided
    • 8-9 c. chicken broth
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, for seasoning, if desired
    • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 tsp. dried dill weed
    • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 c. plus 2 TBSP milk
    • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, cooked

    Directions:

    1. In a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, thyme, and poultry seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 c. flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly; season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken in pot; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, make dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 3/4 cup flour, dill, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. With a fork, gradually stir in 1/2 cup milk to form a moist and soft batter. It should be just a little thicker than pancake batter and should easily drop from the tip of a spoon. (Add additional 2 TBSP milk if too thick.) Set aside.
    3. Drop batter in simmering liquid in 10 heaping tablespoonfuls, keeping them spaced apart (dumplings will swell as they cook). Cover, and simmer until chicken is tender and dumplings are firm, 20 minutes.  Stir cooked peas into pot. Serve.

    Chicken and Dumplings:

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  • Chicken Enchilada Soup

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    This soup is so hearty and so yummy, and both kiddos liked it a lot…major accomplishment!  It’s an extremely tasty crock pot meal and it’s so easy…definitely company worthy!

    You can leave the chicken out and stir in some leftover chicken just before serving and then continue cooking to heat chicken through.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
    • 1 1/2 c. frozen corn
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce
    • 1 can low sodium cream of chicken soup
    • 2 cups milk (I used 2% because that’s what I had)
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 lb. chicken, cut into bite size pieces
    • Tortilla chips
    • Lime, quartered
    • Shredded cheese
    • Chipotle sour cream (sour cream mixed with chopped chipotles)
    • Avocado, diced

    Directions:

    1. Combine black beans through salt in your slow cooker.  Mix to combine; then add the chicken.
    2. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
    3. Place some tortilla chips into a bowl and ladle soup on top of the chips, squeeze a lime quarter into each bowl of soup, top with cheese, sour cream and avocado.

    Chicken Enchilada Soup:

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  • Coconut Beef Curry

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    Not a great picture, but are there really any good pictures of Indian curry dishes?  Despite the picture, this is an excellent Indian inspired crock pot beef curry.  I don’t say this often, especially with regards to a crock pot meal, but this dish is company worthy…especially if the company loves a deliciously spicy (or not if you choose not to add the spice) curry.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 can of light coconut milk
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 inch pieces of ginger, grated
    • 2 tsp. brown sugar
    • 2 tsp. curry powder
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. ground coriander
    • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (or less if desired)
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 potatoes, 1 inch cubes
    • 1 lb. very lean stew meat
    • 1 c. peas
    • Hot rice, peanuts, and cilantro

    Directions:

    1. Combine coconut milk through salt in the crock pot; then add onion, potatoes, and stew meat and toss to coat.
    2. Cook on Low for 4 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
    3. Add cooked peas.
    4. Serve over rice and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

    Coconut Beef Curry:

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  • Favorite Tortilla Soup

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    Sorry it’s not the prettiest picture of this most delicious soup.  We love this tortilla soup, and have been making it for years.  You choose your toppings and make it your own, and yes the toppings are important!  Adapted from Emeril’s Favorite Tortilla Soup.
    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 c. chopped onions
    • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
    • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
    • 1 TBSP tomato paste
    • 6 c. chicken stock
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • Toppings: 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves; 1 lime quartered; Tortilla chips; 1 avocado, slice; shredded cheese; chipotle crema, see below

    Chipotle Crema:

    • 1/2 c. sour cream
    • 1 tsp. (or more or less to your liking) of chipotle in adobo sauce

    Directions:

    1. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin, and coriander for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and stir well.
    2. Combine sour cream and chipotles in a bowl; set aside.
    3. Ladle soup in bowls, top with tortilla chips, cilantro, lime juice, avocado, shredded cheese, and/or chipotle crema.

    Tortilla Soup:

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