• Lemon Chicken Orzo

    This dish is the complete package of comfort food. The recipe below is doubled to be served as a main dish. If you want this as a side, halve the recipe below.

    Adapted from Salt & Lavender

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 1 medium onion chopped
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 2 c. uncooked orzo pasta
    • 4 c. chicken broth
    • 4 TBSP lemon juice
    • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
    • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 6-10 oz. fresh baby spinach
    • Salt & pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Add the oil, butter, and onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes.
    2. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and orzo. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often (this infuses the orzo with more flavor and toasts it a little).
    3. Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will probably need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should gently bubble vs. furiously boil, and you don’t want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
    4. Stir in the chicken.
    5. Take the pot off the heat, stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover the pot for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking. Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.

    Lemon Chicken Orzo:

  • Lemon Linguine – Instant Pot

    Ingredients:

    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 4 TBSP butter, divided
    • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 TBSP salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 4 c. water
    • 1 lb. linguine
    • 10 oz. (or 1 1/4 c.) plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (or more)
    • Milk, if desired to thin

    Directions:

    1. Turn Instant Pot to sauté. Once the Instant Pot says HOT, add the olive oil and 2 TBSP of butter. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Hit cancel.
    2. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and water to the Instant Pot. Break the linguine in half and alternate the direction you place the linguine in the Instant Pot as you add more.
    3. Close the lid, and select manual for 3 minutes. When it beeps after the 3 minutes, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
    4. After 5 minutes, remove the lid. Stir the noodles around, and then add the remaining 2 TBSP of butter and Greek yogurt and stir to make the sauce creamy. Linguine will continue to absorb the liquid. Add the parmesan, and add any milk to thin, if desired.

    Lemon Linguine – Instant Pot:

  • Chicken and Noodles

    Ingredients:

    • 2 lb. chicken breast
    • 2 14 oz. cans of cream of chicken or celery soup (or 1 of each)
    • 32 oz. chicken broth (plus more if you want more of a soup)
    • Better than bullion, to taste (if using low or now sodium broth use about 1 TBSP)
    • 1 tsp. Thyme leaves
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped
    • 3 carrots, chopped
    • 2 TBSP butter, sliced (optional)
    • 1 24 oz. package of frozen Reames egg noodles
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Place chicken in the crockpot and season with salt and pepper.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine the cream soups, broth, bullion, and thyme leaves; then pour the soup mixture over the chicken.
    3. Add the celery and carrots, and then add the sliced butter.
    4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. After 6 hours, remove chicken and shred/chop and add back to the crockpot. Add the frozen egg noodles, cover and cook for an additional 2 hours. You may stir a few times during the 2 hours, and add more broth at this time if you want more of a soup.
    5. Taste and adjust seasoning.

    Chicken and Noodles:

  • Thai Peanut Chicken Ramen/Drunken Noodles

    If you want this more like ramen, then use the 4 c. broth and up to 4 squares of ramen. If you want this more like a drunken noodle dish, use 4 c. broth and 6 squares of ramen.

    Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 c. chicken broth
    • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
    • 1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
    • 2 TBSP fish sauce
    • 2 TBSP honey
    • 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
    • 1/4 c. Thai red curry paste
    • 3/4 lb. chicken breasts
    • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 4-6 squares ramen noodles
    • juice of 1 lime
    • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
    • 2 red bell peppers, julienned
    • 1/3 c. fresh basil or cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for serving

    Directions:

    1. In the bowl of the instant pot, combine the chicken broth, coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, peanut butter, and curry paste. Add the chicken, ginger, and garlic. Cover and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
    2. Once done cooking, use the natural or quick release and release the steam.
    3. Set the Instant pot to sauté. Shred the chicken, it should fall apart. Stir in the noodles, lime juice, spinach, red peppers, and basil and/or cilantro. Let sit 5 minutes or until the noodles are soft.

    Thai Peanut Chicken Ramen/Drunken Noodles:

  • Instant Pot Chipotle Tortilla Soup

    Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
    • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
    • 1 TBSP smoked paprika
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1-2 lb. boneless skinless, chicken breast
    • 2 (14 oz.) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
    • 4 c. chicken broth
    • juice of 2 limes
    • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for serving
    • Serve with: sliced avocado, lime wedges, cheese, chopped chipotles in adobo, sour cream, and tortilla chips

    Directions:

    1. Set the instant pot to saute. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, poblano peppers, paprika, cumin, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook 5-10 minutes, until very fragrant. Turn the instant pot off. Add the chicken, then stir in the tomatoes and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
    2. Once done cooking, use the quick release and release the steam. Shred the chicken using two forks. Stir in the lime juice, and cilantro.
    3. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top, as desired, with sliced avocado, lime wedges, cheese, chopped chipotles in adobo, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

    Instant Pot Chipotle Tortilla Soup:

  • 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.

    taco-salad-with-creamy-jalapeno.jpg

    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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