Chicken Pot Pie using leftovers…

It has been a bit since I have posted. Lots of repeat dinners and friends giving yummy food to our family. Recently we have gotten a KFC feast. Fried chicken and all the fixings? Can’t complain!!! Apparently everyone thinks we are a family of 12 instead of 5… no worries! Just gotta find something to do with the leftovers. Chicken Pot Pie to the rescue! Here is my crazy recipe…

Dice up and cook an onion, along with 2 diced carrots,celery,and 1 container of sliced mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of butter.
Stir the veggies around and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes, until they just start to soften.
Then throw in cooked KFC green beans, mashed potatoes, and 1/2 the gravy, and the chicken. I like to have a mix of white and dark meat shredded or cut into big chunks. I took the meat off the bone and took the skin off. If a little skin stays on, it will not hurt the mixture =) Sprinkle a little flour (2 tablespoons) all over the top. Then pour in 1/2 cup or so white wine…chicken broth if you are all out of broth… add 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper, turmeric… a bit of dried thyme and fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Add a splash of half-and-half or cream for a little creamy richness.
Finally, just let the mixture bubble up until it’s nice and thick; add in frozen peas and cook for 2 minutes. Then set it aside for a sec. (If it gets too thick, just splash in a little more wine or broth.)
Move mixture to a casserole/oven safe dish. Soak biscuits with remaining gravy then crumble on top. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes.
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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Hey guys! Happy Friday! Yesterday I ran to the store after work and picked up the ingredients for spaghetti and meatballs. Lizzie has been asking for this for a few days, so I figured I would honor her request. This was a pretty simple recipe. I usually just make them with just beef, but this time I spied some mild ground Italian sausage, so I thought I might change up my normal recipe and use 2 meats. Perfection! I hope you give it a try next time your family is craving meatballs. It is SO much better than those frozen ones. My family raved about them, and I got 5 sets of thumbs up for this meal!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the Meatballs-
1 pound ground sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (may need to add more in at the end if the mixture seems too wet)
about 2 teaspoons each of onion powder, garlic powder, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper
tablespoon or so of dried Italian Herbs or a good handful of fresh herbs
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Mix all of the above ingredients. Do not overmix. Make into small-medium sized balls. Brown each side in a bit of oil in a large dutch oven. Take out. You will continue to let them cook in the sauce…

Easy Sauce (this makes tons of sauce…freeze the leftovers or use for a future meal)
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
A few good squirts of tomato paste
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
A couple tablespoons of worcestershire
1 tablespoon of sugar
Any fresh or dried herbs you have- I added rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram
You could even add in some chopped parsley if you have it.

Start by adding your chopped onion to the pan you cooked your meat in. Cook that for a a few minutes. Then add your garlic and tomato paste. Mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Then add in your wine. Scrape off all those brown pieces on the bottom of your pan. Add in all your tomatoes, worcestershire, sugar, and herbs. Mix well. Add your meatballs back in. Cook until meatballs have cooked through and your sauce is hot, about 2o-30 more minutes depending on the size of your meatballs. Perfect over spaghetti!

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Cool Fall Fruits- Pomegranates and Persimmons (plus an easy Balsamic Dressing)

If you ever wondered how you cut and eat a pomegranate, here is a helpful guide for you.
I cut the fruit in half down the middle. Then over a large bowl, I break apart the fruit with my fingers and begin to separate the seeds from the pith. It is actually quite easy and very therapeutic. You will be amazed how many little seeds are in a single fruit. Even Lizzie pitched in. She had a great time!
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Fuyu-Persimmon-A-Fruit-From-the-Gods

What is a persimmon? Well, it is an edible fruit that resembles a tomato and has very sweet flesh. I kind of think it tastes like a cross between a peach, apple, and tomato. So yummy! I saw some at the store and picked up a couple. I researched recipes and decided that I wanted to add one of mine to a salad. It was so yummy! I mixed a chopped salad with kale, radicchio, celery, mushrooms, beets, chickpeas, red pepper, and persimmons. I topped it with homemade balsamic dressing (recipe below).

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Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3 cloves crushed,chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup Olive Oil

Directions
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper until salt is combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well blended. I made mine in a mason jar for easy mixing.

Strip Steak with Thyme and Butter

Hey, ya’ll! So Friday was my birthday. I have had a great birthday weekend full of great family, friends, and food! Here is one way I spoiled myself this weekend…I bought some strip steak that was on sale. I thought of this recipe when I remembered I had some thyme already in my fridge. SO GOOD!!!!!

Ingredients

2 New York Stip Steaks
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Directions

Try to let steaks stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over steaks. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add oil to pan and coat evenly.
Add steaks to pan; cook about 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low; add butter, thyme, and garlic to pan. Tilt pan a bit to you so butter collects; cook 1 1/2 minutes, basting steaks with butter constantly. Remove steaks from pan; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes.

There may be a bit more butter left in the pan. You can use that to baste the steak even more when you are ready to serve.

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Easy Waffles

Sleep in, eat these waffles, and relax on the couch watching TV equals a perfect Sunday morning!

I doubled this recipe and now have plenty of waffles in the freezer for this week’s breakfast =)

Easy Waffles

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

Heat up your waffle iron.
Whisk your eggs. Add the rest of your wet ingredients. Then gently combine and mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Do NOT over mix!!! Lumos are ok!
Spray your waffle iron with Pam or brush with oil.

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Pan Fried Tilapia

You have reached the Wednesday night stretch.  You have had a few easy nights for dinner. Maybe you used the crockpot. You found some pasta and sauce for a quick pasta dish. There is always the favorite taco or quesadilla. Now you need a fast idea. Almost to the weekend…almost to Chinese Takeout and pizza night. You need a quick run to the store for dinner. I propose fresh fish, salad/veggie, rice/couscous, white wine, and a nice loaf of bakery bread. 7 minute store run and you are golden. Under $30 for a dinner for five including a decent wine for mom. Score!

Pan Fried Tilapia

Ingredients
4-5 pieces tilapia (or any white fish… cod, mahi mahi, sole,etc.)
salt and pepper
i cup flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup breadcrumbs

Directions
Heat pan to med heat with vegetable or grapeseed oil (low smoking points)
FEB- Order to dunk your fish… salt and pepper each station
Coat each piece of fish in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs
Place in oil about 6 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side
Golden brown yumminess should be present on both sides…

Only a chunk of one piece was leftover. I fed it to Brutus after the kitchen was cleaned. He lays perfectly still under the table during dinner and goes and lays down in his unlocked crate after dinner, so he deserved a bit of magic.

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Chicken Battle: Creamy Tomato vs. Creamy Mushroom

Evening Friends! Hope you guys had an awesome weekend! We had lots of fun with family this weekend. We relaxed, watched football, and ate lots this amazing dinner. Today we took a trip to the aquarium, which was loads of fun for all!

Lizzie requested creamy mushroom chicken for dinner. I sent the hubby to the store for all the ingredients. He came back with a jumbo pack of chicken thighs, so I had this idea to make 2 chicken meals for us to try. I have made so many different versions of creamy chicken this or that, and it is always popular. Chicken is the most researched and liked recipe sections on the blog, so I thought I would try to create some new ideas for chicken night. I will be adding both of these to my chicken rotation.

Creamy Tomato Chicken
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Ingredients
4-6 chicken thighs (bone-in,skin on)- use whatever chicken is on sale
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery, chopped
handful of mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1/2 can tomato paste
3/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups liquid- red wine and chicken stock
fresh herbs- thyme and rosemary

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Add chicken pieces to hot oil in a single layer without crowding. Cook 8 to 10 minutes per side or until chicken is browned; remove with tongs.

Add in your veggies. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Add in your tomato paste. Stir for 2 minutes or so…the tomato aroma will hit your nose and you will know when it is time to add the liquid. I used 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 cup stock. Cook down about 5 minutes, then add your chicken back in with the herbs. Cook for 30 more minutes with the chicken in the sauce. Take out the chicken and add in the cream cheese and heavy cream. Stir and let them all melt together. If you want a thicker sauce (to dunk bread), add in more cream cheese. If you want a thinner sauce (to add to pasta) add in more cream. Add your chicken back in. Cook for just a few more minutes… Perfection.

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Creamy Mushroom Chicken

Ingredients
4-6 chicken thighs (bone-in,skin on)- use whatever chicken is on sale
1 onion, sliced
1 carton mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves of crushed and diced garlic
3/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups liquid- white wine and chicken stock
fresh herbs- thyme and rosemary

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Add chicken pieces to hot oil in a single layer without crowding. Cook 8 to 10 minutes per side or until chicken is browned; remove with tongs.

Add in your veggies. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the liquid. I used 2 cups Pinot Grigio and 1 cup stock. Cook down about 5 minutes, then add your chicken back in with the herbs. Cook for 30 more minutes with the chicken in the sauce. Take out the chicken and add in the cream cheese and heavy cream. Stir and let them all melt together. If you want a thicker sauce (to dunk bread), add in more cream cheese. If you want a thinner sauce (to add to pasta) add in more cream. Add your chicken back in. Cook for just a few more minutes… Again…Perfection.

Serve with your favorite bread, pasta, grain, veggie, etc…. We had bread, couscous, and green beans.

Butternut Squash Alfredo

So last night I made this amazing pasta with leftover fettichini alfredo. It was way to late to blog about it, but now that I have had some coffee in me, I think I am up for a quick blog post. I had a butternut squash on the counter that I barely remember buying, so I figured I should probably do something with it. I also had a few mushrooms that were on there last leg and half and onion that was begging for attention. Delicious vegetarian meal! Super easy!

Butternut Squash Alfredo

butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
mushrooms, sliced
onion, sliced
alfredo sauce
fettuccini

Directions

Add a few tablespoons of oil into a large pan. Cook down your veggies until soft, stirring every few minutes. About 15-20 minutes.
I used leftover pasta and sauce, but you can boil and cook your pasta while the veggies are cooking. You could make your sauce or buy one from the store =)
Add in your alfredo and noodles.

Told you it was easy!

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Shrimp Fettuccine Sorrentini

Good evening, foodie friends! Hope you had a great weekend and did something grand! The other day, my husband requested a pasta he had at a local Italian place. He had this dish that had chicken, cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, and cubed mozzarella cooked in olive oil. So tonight I made this except with shrimp, since we just ate chicken last night.

Sorrentini is the name for pasta made with tomatoes, garlic, basil, and mozzarella cooked in olive oil. It was a big hit for my husband and me. This would be a perfect date night meal! The only thing that would have made it better would be a couple pinches of red pepper flakes for a bit of spice to heat things up =)

The girls don’t like tomatoes. Well, except mashed up in my sauces or in ketchup. So they ate fettuccine alfredo with shrimp. Except Becca. She just ate the noodles and sauce, because she hates shrimp. I know this because I have seen her try it over and over and still spit it out each time. I don’t even bother anymore. You could totally make this with chicken or leave out the meat and make it vegetarian.

So here is how I made my Sorrentini…

Shrimp Fettuccine Sorrentini

Ingredients

10-15 shrimp, peeled and deveined (just pay the extra money to have someone else do it, especially the deveining part)
1 package of fettuccini (use any pasta you have)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 container of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch basil, finely chopped or julienned
1/2 cup-1 cup of really good olive oil
1 cup fresh mozzarella

Directions

Salt heavily and bring your water to a boil. Drop your pasta. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat a large pan to med and add a good glug of olive oil. Enough to coat the bottom plus a little extra.
Add in your garlic and tomatoes. If you wanted to add some heat, a pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes would be amazing! Cook for about 4 minutes. Add your shrimp. Cook until pink, about 4 minutes. Add in your basil.
Add in your al dente pasta. Mix well. Add in a bit of starchy cooking water. Mix well. Add in your cheese. Add more olive oil in if needed.
Plate. Top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. PERFECTION!!!!!

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Silver Dollar Pancakes

Happy Sunday morning, ya’ll! I have been promising Becca I would make her blueberry pancakes all week. I had to hold true to my promise when she came in to wake me up at 8:45 and asked if I was going to get up soon and make some blueberry pancakes. My kids have always been good about sleeping late and letting us sleep late on the weekends. Some weekdays they will even go downstairs and pour their own bowl of cereal. It is a beautiful thing when they are finally able to do that, so on occasion, usually one weekend day, I try to whip up a super yummy breakfast. Today it was pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs. This recipe is super easy and next time I am going to double the recipe and make some pancakes to freeze for breakfast during the week.

Silver Dollar Pancakes

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons veg.oil
fresh blueberries (optional- I used on half the pancakes and half I left plain)

Directions

In one bowl, beat your eggs and your milk for a few minutes until they are incorporated and the mixture begins to bubble and foam.

In a separate bowl, add all your dry ingredients- flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.Whisk together.

Stir your dry mixture in to your milk and eggs mixture. Lumpy batter is fine. Add in your oil and stir.

If you want all pancakes to have blueberries, you can fold them in the end gently. Or, if you have some people who want plain, or other add-ins (other fruits, chocolate chips, etc.), you can add them to each pancake individually after you pour in your batter.

I cooked mine in my cast iron skillet, but you could use a cast iron grill pan or griddle if you have one. I melted some butter on med heat. I cooked 3 pancakes at a time. When you start to see them bubble on top, they are ready to turn. Nice and golden on each side, light and fluffy, and a nice sweetness to them.

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