Chipotle Shredded Beef Pockets (slow cooker) – ★★★★★

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Anyone who is new to cooking or is newly married or simply does not own a slow cooker needs to run to the store as fast as they can right now and buy one. My slow cooker makes about 75% of my favorite meals. You throw in all the ingredients and let it sit for a few hours. Also it’s pretty hysterical watching your partner pace infront of the cooker after smelling a delicious meal and trying to sneak a taste when they know they had better not lift the lid until it is ready. This recipe makes for tons of leftovers and it’s one of those “tastes-better-the-next-day-and-the-next-day” dishes. The chipotle gives it a kick while the brown sugar gives it some sweet. Your tastebuds will thank you. Also, you do not have to make mini pita sandwiches like I did. You can put it over rice or veggies too. Get creative, that the fun of being in the kitchen 🙂 Perry gave this one a full 5 stars and this is why:

“We try not to eat a lot of red meat because of my cholesterol so when we do I like this recipe because not only is it tasty but it lasts a few days for lunch. Kelsey gives this one just the right amount of spice and it only gets better each day you heat it up. We tried it in pita sandwiches this time which was good for me because otherwise I just keep spooning more hunks on my plate. This is my favorite beef recipe that Kelsey makes.”

Serves: 10 +

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 (28oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup of cider vinegar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (use the sauce from can of chipotle peppers)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (1.5-2 lbs)
  • OPTIONAL: brown rice, pasta, veggies, pita, (cheddar cheese is also optional however I think it will ruin the taste)

Directions:

1.) In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, peppers, brown sugar, bay leaves, adobo sauce, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered fro 4-6 minutes or until thickened.

2.) Place roast in slow cooker, add tomato mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until the meat is tender.

3.) Discard the bay leaves and remove the meat. Shred with 2 forks and skim fat from the juices.

4.) Return the meat to the slow cooker and serve with the optional ingredients listen above.

5.) Enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Recipe came from an index card I found when we moved. I believe it came from a Fix it and Forget it Cookbook but and not 100% sure.

Thai Noodle Bowl – ★★★★★

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If you follow my blog you know that I love all things Thai. Growing up in Pennsylvania I never had any exposure to this wonderful cuisine. It wasn’t until I moved to California that I was introduced to it and now I cannot get enough! There is so much flavor and interesting mixes of spices that I’ve been inspired to try my own recipe. Here is my first “on-a-whim- recipe” that was an absolute hit. Perry gave it 5 stars (notice a pattern here?) and here is why:

“Kelsey is always looking up recipes online so I was surprised when she told me that she made this recipe up herself. She pretty much picked all her favorite pieces of other recipes and put them into one. This dish has a lot of peanut flavors so if you do not like peanuts you may want to keep scrolling. If you do like peanuts as much as we do you will love this noodle bowl. The best part is the extra crunch from the chopped peanuts.” 

Serves: 6    Calories: 395 (depends on how much chopped peanuts and peanut butter you decide to use. Keep that in mind)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pkg whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (more if that suits your taste but remember how many calories that adds)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup of frozen shelled edamame beans
  • 1 bag of frozen stir fry veggies (Perry will not eat broccoli so I substitute with frozen mixed peppers)
  • 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 4 scallions, sliced

Directions:

1.) Boil water and cook spaghetti

2.) Heat skillet over med-high. Saute peanut butter, lime juice, garlic, and ginger for one minute.

3.) Add edamame beans and stir fry veggies. Cook for 10-12 minutes until veggies are tender. Don’t forget to stir frequently because smoked peanut butter is not a good taste for this dish 😉

4.) Spoon veggie mixture over pasta and top with chopped peanuts and scallions.

5.) Enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Recipe was a whim

Chicken Piccata – ★★★★★

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I grew up eating chicken all the time and love chicken. My husband on the other hand could live the rest of his life without ever eating chicken again. Because of this my chicken recipes  have to be worth five stars for Perry to even poke his fork at it. This one is totally worthy with the flavorful sauce and semi-crunchy-lightly-crusted chicken. Being totally honest I made the sauce a few nights after initially making this just to drizzle over asparagus. Perry gave this recipe five stars and this is why:

“I could drink the lemon wine sauce that Kelsey poured over this dish. The chicken we picked was thin which made it better for me because I don’t like chicken as much as Kels does and with it being so flat I was able to scoop up every last drop of the sauce. Also, I have already put in an order of these for next weeks menu.”

Serves: 4-6 (depending on how much chicken you buy. We got 4 breasts)   Calories: 160  

Ingredients:

– 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

– 4-6 thin chicken breasts

– 1/8 tsp salt

– 1/8 tsp pepper

– 2 tbsp olive oil

– 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and dried (more depending on your taste)

– 2 medium garlic cloves, minced ( I used 3 large cloves because I love garlic)

– 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth

– 1/2 cup of dry white wine

– 4 strips of lemon zest (fairly long I would say the whole length of the lemon if you can)

– 4 tsp fresh lemon juice

– 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cold

Directions: 

1.) Put flour on a large plate or in a shallow bowl.

2.) Rinse chicken and dry. Season with salt and pepper. Coat only one side of the chicken with flour in bowl/plate. Shake off the loose flour. (we are cutting back calories by only coating one side with flour.. If you want to coat both keep in mind the calories will not be accurate with what I have posted on this recipe.)

3.) Heat 1 tbsp of oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Lay the chicken flour side down and cook for approximately 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and continue to cook until no longer pink, approximately an extra 2 minutes. Repete with remaning chicken. When cooked move the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.

4.) Add garlic and capers to the same pan and return to medium heat. Cook until fragrant (20-30 seconds) Stir in a pinch of flour. Whisk in the broth, wine, lemon zest. Cook until thickened, approximately 10 mins

5.) Uncover the chicken and add to the sauce coating the breasts and heating it through for no more than a minute. Remove chicken again.

6.) Turn off the heat and take the strips of lemon zest out of the sauce. Stir in the lemon juice and butter.

7.) Drizzle (or as Perry says “pour”) the sauce over chicken breasts and enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Recipe belongs to my long line of ancestors with some edits to lower the fat/calorie content.

Walnut and Rosemary Baked Chicken – ★★★★★


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I know what you are all thinking, “KELSEY FRIED CHICKEN!? WHAT THE?!” Don’t fret my friends this recipe was actually found at a cooking light website and are worth only 292 calories per serving. I love chicken and I especially love crunchy chicken. I found this recipe and absolutely had to try it. Not only does it have a great flavor (I didn’t even have to dip the chicken in sauce) but it was super simple to make. Thats what I like simple and tasty. My son even had a few bites which says a lot because he is the king of picky eaters. I modified the original recipe a little but it certainly did not take away. Perry would have given 10 stars if he could but to keep it uniform I only let him give a full five 🙂 This is why he loved this recipe:

“I love dijon mustard so when I saw Kels dipping the chicken in dijon I knew it was going to be a good dinner. I didn’t think it would come out as crispy as it did because I never knew anything that wasn’t doused in oil could crisp up in the oven. Lesson learned. Kelsey didn’t even use mustard to dip which says a lot for her because she is a chronic dipper. I wish I could give it 10 stars.”

Serves: 4    Calories: 292

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of low-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 4 (6oz) chicken cutlets (We used 1 lb of chicken breast tenders)
  • 1/3 cup of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (No need to buy a huge bag as that can be expensive so just get a small single serving bag in the baking aisle of your grocery store)
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Extra rosemary leaves for garnish if desired.

Directions:

1.) Remove top rack of oven and coat with cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425

2.) Combine milk and mustard in a medium bowl. Add chicken to the milk mixture and turn it to coat.

3.) Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko to pan and cook for approx. 3 minutes or until golden, stir frequently as to not burn the breadcrumbs.

4.) Combine panko, nuts, parmesan, rosemary, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Remove the chicken from milk mixture and discard the milk mixture.

5.) Dunk chicken in panko mixture to coat well on both sides.

6.) Place chicken across oiled oven rack. Coat chicken with cooking spray. At the bottom of oven place a cookie sheet to collect any pieces of panko mixture that may fall off the chicken. (this makes for an easier cleanup of your oven. Bake at 425 for 13 minutes or until chicken is done.

7.) If desired, garnish with rosemary leaves and enjoy!

*Photo is original taken by me

*Original Recipe belongs to http://www.myrecipes.com

Antipasto Salad – ★★★★★

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Every night our dinners are served with salad. We just love salad so I decided one night to see how we would fare with salad as the main course. It had to be healthy but hearty enough to keep us full until breakfast the next morning (we don’t like to midnight snack). This recipe is everything I wanted in a main course salad. It is delicious, healthy, easy and cheap to make (if you know where to shop). On a side note: We have a huge farmers market at the local swap meet that spoils us with a great selection of home grown goodness. If you don’t know weither your county holds farmers markets or swap meets please do yourself and your wallet a favor and search it on google. We save so much money and fill our fridge with fresh fruits and veggies each weekend. For example the grocery store sells one bundle of asparagus for approx. $4-$5, as opposed to the farmers market where we buy three bundles of asparagus for $3. You simply cannot beat it! Take care of your local farmers and they will take care of you 🙂 

Perry gave this salad ★★★★★ and here is why:

Kelsey spoils me with great meals every night, but recently she has been wanting to eat smaller portions of meat and bigger portions of vegetables so our son might catch on and eat more fruits and veggies too. I told her I would give it a go without the intention of taking it too seriously. I’m a meat eater so having just a salad for dinner did not seem like enough for me. I was a good sport and even though I still needed extra helpings to satisfy my hunger this salad was pretty darn good. It is more than just a leafy bowl  but had all different kinds of beans and the best part was the prosciutto. This would be a better lunch than a dinner but I won’t knock off any stars for that.”

  Serves: approx. 4   Calories: 436

Original recipe belongs to Giada De Laurentiis 

Ingredients:

For vinegarette:

  • 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • groung black pepper to taste

For Salad:

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 head of butter lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and patted dry
  • 8 oz salami, cubed (we used 6 oz prosciutto)
  • 6 oz provolone, cubed or sliced (we only used 4 oz. cutting back on calories)
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Directions:

1.) Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and salt in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette with and pepper, to taste.

2.) Combine salad ingredients and drizzle with salad dressing. Do not use all the dressing because you will have a salty sopping mess. use just enough to coat the salad. Toss to coat

3.) Enjoy!

*Photo is original taken by me

*Original recipe belongs to Giada De Laurentiis

Greek Spinach Veggie Burgers – ★★★★★

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If you look at my previous posts you will find a recipe for  “veggie burgers.” I used to make them once a month and stock my freezer for the weeknights I did not feel like making a dinner from scratch. That is a great recipe but I recently found a new recipe for veggie patties that trump any other veggie burger I’ve had. These Greek spinach veggie burgers are  delicious, easy and healthy so I know I’ll be making it a few times a month. I would not suggest making them and freezing them so it is not a “stock up your fridge” recipe. We were able to get two dinners out of them though. Perry gave these a full 5 stars and this is why:

“During school Kelsey likes to make quick dinners because her time is very divided and precious. I feared that trying a new veggie burger recipe during finals week would add to her frustration but thankfully I was wrong. It only took her five minutes to whip up the patty mixture and another 8 minutes (maximum) to cook them. These burgers are delicious and as Kelsey says “guilt free.” There is a lot of flavor which is not something you would expect from a spinach patty. I would take this burger over my favorite greek falafel burger any day.” 

Serves: 4      Calories: 367

Original recipe found at: http://www.bhg.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried dillweed
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing mix (or your favorite stuffing mix)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 10-oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns or pita pockets. (Toasted if you like 😉 )
  • burger toppers (we used greek yogurt, feta, and red onion). Suggestions: red peppers, black olives, tzatziki sauce or dried cranberries. Get Creative!

Directions:

1.) Combine oil, garlic, oregano, dillweed, and black pepper. Stir in the stuffing mix coating thoroughly. Stir in eggs, spinach and 1/2 cup of feta cheese. Mix well.

2.) Form into four 1/2 inch thick patties. (don’t make the ends of the patties too thin because than you risk it coming apart when flipping.)

3.) Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium and add the patties. Cook for 3-4 mins on each side or until browned and heated through.

4.) Top with your favorite extras and enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

*Original recipe found at http://www.bhg.com