hearty pork stew with carrots and mushrooms

it’s soup season! perfect stew for chilly fall nights

i’m just really really excited that it’s finally getting cool enough to be acceptable to make meals like this all the time. even though i still make them in the summer, it’s so much more satisfying to sit down with a hearty bowl of stew when it’s cold outside 🙂 i used leftover pork that i made in the instant pot, but you could use raw pork and you’d just need to adjust cooking time to make sure it gets tender. this stew would also be delicious with beef, and i’d recommend a chuck roast if you’re going to go that route.

we served it over roasted garlic mashed potatoes, but you could also serve with a crusty loaf of bread, and put potatoes in the stew. it’s so versatile, and also a great freezer meal.

ingredients

1.5 lbs cooked or uncooked pork shoulder*
1 onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
5 large carrots
8-10 oz baby bella mushrooms
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp olive oil or butter
1.5 cups red wine
5 cups beef broth or stock (i love better than bouillon)
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

instructions

cut the pork into bite sized pieces and heat a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven to medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter and start browning the pork in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, carrots and mushrooms, as well as the garlic if you are using whole garlic cloves. i typically use the pre-minced garlic so that saves a step.

as the pork gets brown, transfer it to a plate. i used precooked pork that i had made in the instant pot the day before, and i still browned it in the pan just to get it a little more brown and start heating it through. turn the heat down to medium once the pork is done, and add the third tablespoon of olive oil or butter and start cooking the onions and carrots. cook until the onions become translucent, about 3-5 minutes. then add the garlic, mushrooms, thyme, and rosemary, and a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper. cook the mushrooms down until all the liquid is released and evaporated. this took me about 8 minutes. add the pork back into the pan, mix everything thoroughly and then add the three tablespoons of flour. cook this for 2 more minutes, mixing the whole time so the flour doesn’t burn. add the red wine and boil for a minute. add the beef broth and worcestershire and bring the stew to a boil. turn it down to a simmer, and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes if using precooked pork. if you are using raw pork you will probably need to adjust your cooking time to make sure the pork gets tender, probably about an hour to an hour and a half. taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

we served the stew over roasted garlic mashed potatoes, but you could easily enjoy this with a nice crusty loaf of bread, add potatoes into the stew, etc. it’s really easy and versatile. hope you enjoy!

*for my instant pot pork shoulder, i used a large boneless pork shoulder, cut it into four pieces and removed the larger pieces of fat. then i seasoned with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, browned it over high in a large dutch oven and pressure cooked on manual with chicken broth, onions, thyme, rosemary, and garlic for 45 minutes until it was falling apart tender. i turned the cooking liquid into gravy and we had this the night before i made the stew.

chicken and wild rice soup – it’s always soup szn in my heart

chicken and wild rice soup with mushrooms and spinach

Chicken and wild rice soup with mushrooms and spinach.

this chicken and rice soup has quickly become one of my family’s favorites, and it’s one of my go-to freezer meals. this recipe makes a huge pot of soup and you could easily eat it for dinner, have leftovers, and still have some to stash away in the freezer. i originally made this as a vegetarian soup with just mushrooms, and of course my husband had to make a “where’s the meat?” comment, so i added chicken. equally delicious either way. i always enjoy a good vegetarian meal, but he usually expects meat for dinner. my kids also could take or leave meat, and both love mushrooms so this works both ways for us. you can also use any chicken meat you have leftover or sitting around in the freezer. let me know if you try this recipe, and what you prefer; chicken and wild rice or mushroom and wild rice?

ingredients

2 cups of precooked chicken*
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of minced garlic
3-4 medium carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
8 oz baby bella or white button mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup wild rice
1/2 cup jasmine rice
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
8-10 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach – chopped or torn into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

instructions

normally i pre-chop all my vegetables/herbs before starting a recipe like this so i’m prepared when i need to add something in. so first, cut or shred up your chicken and set aside. chop carrots, onions, and celery and set aside. slice mushrooms and set aside. if you are mincing your own garlic, do that now as well and put it with the mushrooms, these will be added together.

heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the two tablespoons of olive oil. saute the onions, carrots, and celery with a large pinch of salt and pepper until the onions start to become translucent, then add the mushrooms and garlic. continue cooking this mixture until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and it starts to evaporate. at this time add the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf, and add the chicken back in. once everything is heated through, about 2 minutes, sprinkle the two tablespoons of flour, and continue cooking the mixture for 2 more minutes. pour over the wine, chicken broth, and add the rice. make sure everything is combined and bring this to a boil. reduce the heat to low and simmer it partially covered for 45 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked. check and stir the soup to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom, or you need to add more liquid. i usually start with 8 cups of broth, and if it seems like the rice has absorbed all the liquid or it’s sticking to the bottom, i add the additional 2 cups. once the rice is completely cooked through, you can then add in the spinach and simmer for about 5 more minutes until it’s heated through.

serve with croutons, or a nice crusty sourdough loaf like we do 🙂 hope you enjoy this soup as much as our family does!

*note about chicken – you could also use two fresh chicken breasts. if using this method, cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, and brown them in the dutch oven over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in two batches, then set aside on a plate before starting to saute the vegetables. add them back in when you add in the herbs. i have made this recipe with chicken breasts using this method as well as chicken thighs that i had already precooked in the instant pot. a rotisserie chicken would also work really well.

5 easy meals for toddlers and busy moms

my favorite 5 easy meals to feed my kids when i’m feeling lazy

everyone knows feeding toddlers can be tedious. compound that with my husband being deployed last year, multiple trainings away from home, dealing with covid, and living 2500 miles away from any family. and despite loving to cook (i definitely don’t shy away from a complicated meal), i still feed my kids super simple easy meals when i just feel burnt out from being in the kitchen, or even when i know they won’t like what i’m eating for dinner. here are the five easy meals i find myself going back to over and over.

1. dino nuggets for the win!

easy meals for toddlers

i mean… who doesn’t love a good dino nug? i literally microwave them and usually serve with steamed fresh broccoli and some kind of fruit. always a hit, and so so easy especially for lunch. also, i haven’t been able to find these in california but my friend turned me onto these perdue plus chicken and vegetable dino nuggets… they are so delicious and it makes me feel better knowing they are getting a serving of veggies as well.

2. 3-ingredient naan pizza

this is one of our new favorites. all the ingredients come from aldi and it is so so easy. just take a piece of their naan bread, spread on some marinara, cover in shredded mozzarella, and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. comes out perfect every time, and i love it just as much as them. another version is to use premade bbq sauce instead of marinara, top with shredded chicken, mozzarella and finish with pickled red onions. easy bbq chicken pizza!

3. pb&j… a classic

simple and self-explanatory. my one year old actually prefers grilled cheese, but my 2.5 year old is team pb&j all day. we’ve been using the organic unsweetened peanut butter from aldi, and my kids don’t even notice the difference between that and the kind that has added oils and sugar.

4. chicken sausage

this is mostly for my 2.5 year old… the one year old won’t eat meat at all unless it’s a chicken nugget. these chicken sausages come from aldi and they have three flavors. our favorite is the apple sausage, but we also love the spinach feta, and my husband likes the italian. they’re precooked, so super easy to heat up for a quick lunch ror dinner. i will also be posting a skillet dinner i made with the spinach feta flavor that was delicious! i also love that they don’t have nitrates or any weird ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

5. cheese and crackers!

usually we’d think of cheese and crackers as a snack, but there isn’t any reason why we can’t have it as a meal. if my one year old won’t eat anything else, i know she will always eat sliced cheese. cheese has plenty of protein, and there is virtually no prep. my 2.5 year old likes the sharp cheddar from aldi, but sometimes i will even just give them presliced sandwich slices and they love that too. serve it with some steamed veggies or avocado and a fruit and you have a whole meal with hardly any cleanup.

let me know the easy meals you love to feed your little ones!

feeling spring – shepherd’s pie

shepherd’s pie with cheesy mashed potato topping, served with irish soda bread

picture of shepherd's pie
bowl of shepherd's pie
picture of irish soda bread

i literally forgot about st. patrick’s day this year until my sister reminded me, but happened to test this recipe last week for shepherd’s pie, so i was unexpectedly prepared for this! i did do late night baking last night so i would at least have the soda bread ready for the kids breakfast in the morning. i used this recipe for my soda bread from sally’s baking addiction and it was delicious and easy. the only thing i was missing was buttermilk, so i used her substitution of vinegar with 2% milk, and that worked just fine.

i used to loveeeee st. patricks day because that meant i got my favorite meal… corned beef and cabbage, haha! i would even ask my mom to make it on my birthday so i would get it twice in march. but with two little ones, i really can’t be bothered to boil corned beef for hours, and i already had all the ingredients for this shepherd’s pie in my fridge/freezer. the best thing about this recipe as opposed to corned beef and cabbage is it’s a great freezer meal! shepherd’s pie can be frozen before or after baking, and tastes just as good out of the freezer as it did on day one. plus, both my kids love it. if you give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments. happy st. paddy’s day everyone!

ingredients

meat filling
1 lb ground beef (i use the organic grass fed ground beef from aldi)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
about 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (i used 1/2 a large onion)
2 cloves minced garlic
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon worcestershire
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables

potato topping
1 1/2-2 lbs potatoes – i used 6 small russet potatoes, or you could use 2-3 large potatoes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/3-1/2 cup 2% or whole milk – i start with a third of a cup and add more if needed. you want this to be stiffer than traditional mashed potatoes
salt to taste – i start with a small amount, because we’re also adding cheese and cheese is salty!
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 – 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

instructions

peel the potatoes, but them into bite sized chunks, and put them in a large pot covered with cold water. turn burner on high and bring them to a boil, then cook them for about 8-10 minutes until fork tender. set a timer if you need to so you don’t forget about them while you’re cooking the filling! preheat oven to 400 degrees. meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven, melt the tablespoon of butter or olive oil over medium high heat and start browning the ground beef. once it’s all the way browned, check how much grease came off the meat. you may need to drain some if it looks too greasy! lower the heat to medium, then add your chopped half an onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic. cook until the onion becomes translucent, and add in the 1 1/2 cups of frozen mixed veggies. cook this until the veggies lose their chill, 2-3 minutes, and then add the thyme, bay leaf, worcestershire, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and 2 tablespoons of flour. continue cooking this mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously so the flour doesn’t burn to the bottom. then pour in the beef stock/broth and wine. bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for about 6-7 minutes. remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

drain your potatoes once they’re done and return to the pot with the burner still on low. start mashing the potatoes with the burner on to get all the liquid out of the potatoes. add the butter, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and grated cheddar. mash until combined and turn the burner off. i also sometimes add a little seasoned salt to taste if it feels like they’re missing something.

assemble the shepherd’s pie in a 9 inch pie plate by layering the meat mixture on the bottom and potatoes on top. bake at 400 degrees, uncovered for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. be careful when baking, if your dish is very full to put a sheet pan under the pie plate, because i’ve had filling run out all over my oven before! enjoy with soda bread and a guinness or glass of red wine 🙂 happy st. paddy’s day! ps. check out my very first cook with me video on youtube to see the exact method i used for this recipe!



restaurant-style at home – bbq beef flatbread

bbq beef flatbread with pickled onions and guacamole

Picture of bbq beef flatbread with pickled onions and guacamole

i’ve been dreaming about something similar to this ever since i got a pulled pork pizza with guacamole at a restaurant we visited in tampa when i was pregnant with emmett. it was so good that i finished all the leftovers when we got home that night… this bbq beef flatbread recipe is easy in that you just throw the beef in the instant pot and let it do its work. there are a few steps, and you can always skip the pickled onions and DEFINITELY use store bought guacamole if that’s your thing. i would recommend not skipping the onions though because to me, they make it 🙂 you can check out my reels on instagram for my method! i always use this recipe for quick pickled red onions from cookie + kate, and i love them. you can use them on burgers, tacos, flatbreads, quesadillas, etc. and they always add that little extra something. the barbecue sauce recipe is a modified version of this one from south your mouth, and this is the recipe and method i use every time i make barbecue chicken. always a hit with the family. and no need to fire up the grill. you will see i have modified a few of the ingredients to get a more barbecue flavor and leave out the spice since i have littles eating it. josie refuses to eat meat, but emmett loved this beef and equally likes the barbecue chicken. hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

ingredients

2-3 lb chuck roast, cut into 4 equal pieces
half a beer – any kind, i used sapporo because that’s what i had in the fridge
your favorite homemade or storebought guacamole recipe
storebought flatbread or naan
storebought bbq sauce
shredded cheese, any kind
bbq sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon worcestershire
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
pickled onions
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

instructions

mix up the barbecue sauce by whisking together the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, worcestershire, and mustard. cut the chuck roast into four equal pieces, then heat a non stick pan to high heat, and sear the meat on all sides until brown and crusty, about 3-4 minutes per side. you could also do this on the sauté setting on your instant pot, but i find it doesn’t work as well or as fast as just doing it on the stovetop. place the meat into the instant pot along with the barbecue sauce and half the beer, just to add more cooking liquid. set on manual setting for 50 minutes. meanwhile, slice up your red onions and place them in a glass bowl or large jar. heat the water, vinegars, honey, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small pot over medium heat until everything is dissolved and the liquid is simmering. pour over the red onions and let it cool at room temp for at least 30 minutes. also if you are making your own guacamole, do this now! preheat your oven to 425. when the meat is finished, let the pressure release naturally for at least ten minutes, then you can manually release it. using two forks, shred the meat, and remove the larger chunks of fat. i usually don’t remove it beforehand because i’m lazy… put together your flatbread by spreading some of the storebought bbq sauce on your flatbread, arrange the beef and top with shredded cheese. place right on the oven rack until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the flatbread is a little crusty, about 7-10 minutes. keep your eye on it! then, remove it onto a pan using a fork and top with the pickled onions and guacamole. cut into pieces and enjoy as an app, game day snack, or meal!

weeknight skillet dinner

chicken broccoli skillet with rice-a-roni

this semi-homemade skillet is so so easy and quick for a weeknight dinner, and it’s definitely a new family favorite. chicken and broccoli are perfect add ins for the wild rice rice-a-roni mix, and it’s ramped up with white wine, garlic, heavy cream, and cheese. chicken thighs would also be really good in this, and i think would retain a little more of their moisture. instead of the white wine, you could use a white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar (about 2 tablespoons), which i’ve also tried in the past and it turns out delicious. feel free to use any shredded cheese you prefer, but i tried the grated gruyere and swiss from aldi and it’s amazing! this meal is also totally toddler and baby approved, but my kids both love broccoli, it’s definitely their favorite vegetable. you could also add some mushrooms which emmett also loves but hubby isn’t a huge fan so i left them out here. hope your fam enjoys this one pan skillet meal as much as mine does!

ingredients

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large head of fresh broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (or 2 smaller ones)
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2-3/4 cup of shredded cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it)
1/3 cup white wine (or a couple tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar)
1/3 cup of heavy cream (or half and half)
1 2/3 cups of chicken broth
1 box rice-a-roni wild rice mix
1 tablespoon of butter
salt & pepper
smoked paprika
onion powder
2 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 tablespoon olive oil, separated

instructions

preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and then start by cutting the chicken breast into bit sized pieces. if you’re using thighs i think you could also just leave them whole and arrange the broccoli and rice around them. cut up the broccoli into bite sized pieces and set aside in a bowl. if you are mincing your own garlic i would also prep this and set aside in a small bowl. but if you’re lazy like me and use pre-minced garlic… you don’t have to worry about this. heat an oven safe skillet to medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and half the chicken pieces. sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, onion powder, and the smoked paprika. just a pinch of each. brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate and do the same with the next batch. i do it in batches so it doesn’t crowd the pan and to make sure it browns instead of steaming. lower the heat to medium and add the last tablespoon of olive oil and broccoli into the pan for about 3-4 minutes just to get a little color on it, then add the garlic and cook for about another minute. transfer this all onto the plate with the chicken. with the pan on medium-low heat, add in the wine to deglaze and scrape all the brown bits up using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. then stir in the heavy cream until everything is combined, and then the cheese. add the chicken and broccoli back into the cheese mixture and coat everything. you can turn off the heat or leave it on very low while preparing the rice. prepare the ricearoni by adding the rice, the seasoning packet, the tablespoon of butter, and 1 2/3 cup chicken broth to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. once it has come to a boil, pour the entire thing over the broccoli and chicken mixture in the oven safe pan. use your wooden spoon or spatula to evenly distribute the rice around the pan, and then pop into the oven for 30 minutes. the rice should come out perfectly cooked, but if there were any pieces of rice on top of the chicken and broccoli, and not in the cooking liquid they may be crunchy. if you don’t like crunchy rice, just make sure it is all pushed down in the crevices in the cooking liquid. then enjoy your one pot meal! this would also be good served with a nice, crusty piece of bread 🙂


easy peasy chicken dinner – spanish chicken skillet

easy two-pan spanish chicken with rice and peas

i wasn’t sure if this would turn out how i imagined it in my head, but basically i threw this semi-homemade “spanish” chicken together from random things i found in the freezer and pantry since we traveled to buffalo for christmas and didn’t want to buy a bunch of crap for meals at the store. soooo it was delicious. and i used rice-a-roni. yes. rice-a-roni. that i dug out of the very back of our pantry, standing on a chair to reach it. so easy and so quick to pull together for a weeknight dinner, especially if you have kids running around. love a meal you can just throw into a skillet, pop in the oven, and it’s ready. so much less cleanup for mom 🙂

ingredients

6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 box rice-a-roni spanish rice
14 oz whole peeled tomatoes – the boxed rice calls for diced tomatoes, but i love the cento whole peeled italian style tomatoes so i used these instead
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
salt
pepper
paprika or smoked paprika
ground coriander
ground cumin
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (you could also use balsamic or white wine vinegar)

instructions

preheat your oven to 400 degrees. season both sides of the chicken thighs with a sprinkle of the salt, pepper, paprika, ground cumin, and ground coriander. heat a high sided skillet or dutch oven (must be oven safe!) to medium-high heat, add the olive oil, and sear both sides of the chicken until browned, about 3-5 minutes each side. meanwhile, prepare the rice-a-roni in a separate medium sized pot according to the directions on the package. first, take about half the can of whole peeled tomatoes (mine came in a 28oz can), plus the sauce and cut them up, or break them up with your hands. then melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in your pot over medium heat, and cook the rice mixture until toasted. add the water, spice package, tomatoes, peas, and the teaspoon of sugar and bring this to a boil. once the chicken is done browning, turn down the heat to low, discard about 2-3 tablespoons of the grease, and add the vinegar to the pan. once the rice mixture is boiling, pour it over the chicken, and spread out the rice and peas around the chicken so they’re not all clumped together in the middle. put the whole skillet in the preheated oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. enjoy!

christmas quiche

caramelized onion and mushroom quiche

quiche is one of my favorite foods for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. it’s the perfect food in my opinion; eggs for protein, usually a veggie or two, the creamy cheese and flaky crust just compliment each other so well. my family does not agree. emmett (2 year old) won’t touch an egg, and ryan (husband) says “he’s not a quiche guy.” they had frozen pizza for dinner. whatever, more for me. traditionally my mom makes quiche and creamed chipped beef for breakfast on christmas morning. we’ll leave the chipped beef for another time, but coming up on christmas i had to get my quiche fix since we won’t be spending it in maryland. this is my mom’s recipe with my fillings. hope you enjoy, let me know in the comments! 🙂

ingredients
crust

1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick of cold unsalted butter
4 oz cold cream cheese

filling

1 medium sized sweet onion
8 oz white button or baby bella mushrooms
5 large eggs
2 tbsp butter (separated)
2 tbsp olive oil (separated)
1/2 cup milk – 2 percent or whole
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4-6 oz grated cheese of choice – i used a shredded blend i already had but this would be amazing with fontina or gruyere as well
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 pinch of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard

instructions

the crust is the easiest part and can be made ahead of time and even frozen if needed. cut up one stick of cold, unsalted butter into small pieces and add to a medium sized bowl along with the flour and cold cream cheese. the cream cheese should also be cut into pieces. work the mixture together with your hands until everything is completely combined and comes together into a ball of dough. form it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold. i ended up sticking mine in the freezer for a few minutes because i didn’t make it far enough in advance, and that’s fine too.

the oven will need to be preheated to 375 degrees, but you can do this at any point since the onions and mushrooms will take a little while, and can be made in advance. i did my onions in the morning, and then had to do naptime with kiddos before finishing the rest :). the first step of the filling is caramelizing the onions, which can take around 20-25 minutes. peel and thinly slice the onion, then heat a skillet or dutch oven to low heat, and add one tablespoon of the butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. cook the onions over low heat, stirring frequently for about 20-25 minutes until they are a deep golden brown and almost falling apart. as the onions are cooking you can go ahead and slice up the mushrooms. set the onions aside and add the second tablespoon of butter and olive oil to the pan and sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they have released most of their liquid, about 7-8 minutes. add the thyme to the mushrooms and cook for about 2 more minutes.

whisk together the eggs, milk, mayonnaise, pinch of salt, pepper, and ground mustard. then fold in the onions, mushrooms and cheese.

lightly flour a clean surface and roll out the pie crust, then place it into a pie plate or oven safe pan. do whatever your heart desires with the edges of the crust. i’m obviously not talented with pie crusts as you can tell by my rustic style… this crust is really forgiving and if it rips you can just mush it back together. then pour the quiche mixture into the crust, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. remove the foil and bake for 15-20 more minutes, until it is just set. let the quiche cool for at least10 minutes, then slice and serve!

easy weeknight pasta dish pt. 2

mushroom artichoke pasta

my mom whips up this super easy and quick pasta all the time and i’m completely obsessed with it. i’m also obsessed with artichokes so maybe that’s why. probably not toddler approved by most kids standards but for some reason my child loves mushrooms, artichokes, and broccoli (weirdest foods for a toddler to like). hope you enjoy!

ingredients

1/2 lb linguini or linguini fini
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small to medium onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
8 oz baby bella or white mushrooms
6 oz chopped artichoke hearts – mine were from ALDI, i love this store!
6-8 italian style whole peeled tomatoes – my favorite are Cento
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons white sugar
optional: fresh basil for garnish

instructions

put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. finely chop the onions, mince the garlic (or don’t, if you’re lazy like me and like to use pre-minced garlic from a jar), and chop the mushrooms into bite sized pieces. chop up the artichokes and set them aside. heat a large high sided skillet or dutch oven to medium heat, add the butter and olive oil, and then saute the onions until they start to become translucent. add the mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and the italian seasoning, and keep cooking the mixture until the mushrooms start to release some of their liquid. add the artichokes and white wine and simmer until it reduces by about half. the water should be boiling by now, so cook the pasta according to package directions. then take the tomatoes and SQUISH THEM into the pot. you could totally chop them up but squishing them is just so much more fun. add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar to taste. i tend to like my pasta sauce a little sweeter. simmer the sauce until the pasta finishes cooking, then drain the pasta and add it directly into the sauce. finish by tossing everything together and garnish with fresh basil if desired.

hope you love this and let me know what you think if you try it! 🙂

pure comfort

chicken and dumplings – toddler approved!

this is what comes to mind when i think of comfort food. chicken and dumplings just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and best eaten in cold weather… despite living in southern california, it does get down to the 40s at night in the winter! we’ve all had a tough year, with the added stress of covid on someone who already struggles with anxiety, plus my husband being deployed, traveling across the country with a toddler and a baby, and california being on fire… i was really looking forward to the warmth and comfort of the holidays. emmett and josie both love this dish, and it’s one i’ll be making a lot this winter. hope you enjoy it as much as we do 🙂

ingredients

2 large chicken breasts
6 cups broth or stock – i used homemade turkey stock from thanksgiving, but as the queen would say, store bought is fine 😉
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 an onion
1 clove minced garlic
4-5 carrots – my kids both love carrots so i always add extra
2 stalks celery
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

dumplings
i used this recipe from allrecipes.com, and it was amazing. i’m firmly on team drop dumplings although my mom would strongly disagree. the only thing i did differently was melt the butter (recipe calls for margarine, but i don’t keep margarine around so butter it is) instead of cutting it in because i didn’t pay attention to the instructions. i also doubled it. you’ll need:
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk

instructions

this recipe is so easy. start by cooking the chicken however your heart desires, then shred it. i was being super lazy and actually threw them in the instant pot completely frozen with some chicken broth on manual for 15 minutes. dice up the onions, carrots and celery, and sauté them with the butter and olive oil on medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven until the onions start to become translucent. then add in the garlic, thyme, sage, parsley, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and continue cooking for about 2 more minutes. add your shredded chicken, white wine, stock or broth, and can of cream of mushroom. bring this to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. at this time also taste for salt and pepper, and season as needed. meanwhile, make up your dumplings. whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. add in the melted butter and milk, and mix until just combined. drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the simmering soup (make them as big as you like!). simmer over low heat, partially covered for 30 minutes.