Running Buddies and Semi-Homemade Pasta Salad

Hey guys! So last night I had a craving for pasta salad. I had just left a very fulfilling and kinda weird Girls on The Run practice. It was our last practice before the big 5k this Saturday. A couple of girls and I led the pack. We had just circled the school almost 4 times (about 2 miles). We were on track to probably run another 2 laps before practice ended; another mile to almost complete a 5k. Then the fire alarm of the school sounded. We stopped and everyone was in a bit of a panic. What do we do? Everyone in the building had to evacuate. We were almost at the front, so I asked them to run the rest of the way with me. They were in and we ran our hearts out. It was awesome!

On the way home, I really wanted pasta. Then I thought about veggie pasta. But I was so hot, so maybe I wanted something cold? OHHHHH, pasta salad, just like in the summer!!! I thought of last July 4th when I made an awesome pasta salad that everyone loved and gobbled up…http://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/07/05/make-it-your-own-boxed-pasta-salad/ So I made this, except I added sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese. SO GOOD!!!!!!

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Leftover Loving- Veggie Alfredo Pasta

Good afternoon! I hope everyone had a great day. Last night I was trying to think of something to make for lunch with the leftovers in my fridge. I spied some leftover Alfredo noodles and a bunch of veggies.

So I prepped the veggies and sauteed them in a couple tablespoons of olive oil with plenty of salt and pepper.
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I started cooking 1 onion-chopped, 2 carrots- sliced, 3 stalks of celery-sliced, and 1/2 container of sliced mushrooms, about 15 minutes. Then I added some cooked shelled edamame and 2 handfuls of spinach to warm the peas and wilt the spinach, about 5 minutes. Last, I added in the pasta (already cooked with the Alfredo Sauce- or use jarred if you have it).

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
Pasta cooking water, as needed

Directions
In a saucepan or skillet, warm the butter and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan and stir until melted. Toss to combine, thinning with pasta water if needed.

If it needs more sauce, you can add more heavy cream, butter and Parm. Or even a little olive oil will do.

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Try The World- Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

So I recently signed up for Try the World http://www.trytheworld.com/ It is one of those boxes delivered straight to your door. It is pretty awesome. Every 2 months they send you a box of 5-6 small samples from a different country. If you LOVE something, you can buy the bigger version (or try to copy it and make your own). This month it was Marrakesh. Pretty awesome.

So the first thing I decided to make was a Moroccan Chicken. I used these 3 ingredients, plus chicken thighs and salt and pepper…049

I patted the Kefta Rub by Villa Jerada (mix of Cumin, Paprika, Pepper, Mint, Coriander, Cilantro, and Cinnamon) on the chicken thighs. Then I cooked the chicken in a cast iron skillet for 45 minutes. These were actually pretty thick, so I ended up cooking them for almost an hour. In the last 10 minutes, I took out the chicken and poured the Couscous sauce in the pan. I put the chicken back in and cooked it together for the last 10 minutes. I plated the chicken and sauce over the couscous. 035
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I served with a side of broccoli and crusty bread. Everyone LOVED the dinner! We all loved the rub…a little bit goes a long way, so I have lots left for a couple more recipes =)

Also got these gems…Palmiers Pure Beurre…Um, that just means a sweet treat made out of flour, butter, sugar, and salt. PERFECTION!!!

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Weekend Wrap Up, Taco Night, and Meal Planning

I can’t believe another weekend is coming to an end! Why does it always have to go by so fast???
Our weekend was pretty awesome. The girls went to their grandparents and had a blast! The hubby and I went to a cabin in the mountains with a few of our best friends. It was super relaxing and lots of fun.

We went to Helen, a cute little tourist town, with lots of shops and restaurants. We went to a little restaurant on the river and ate outside. The rain held up for the day and it was so beautiful. After that, my friend and I got a tattoo. I never really considered getting a tattoo, but after Lizzie passed away, I decided I wanted to get a small one in her memory. I decided I wanted it to say Lulu, my nickname for her. I got it on my wrist, so I could see it all the time and think of her. My friend decided to get one as well. These friends are so close, they are like uncles to the girls, so it was very meaningful to me that he did this. They are perfect.
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Later that afternoon and evening we played lots of board games and had a blast together. I made everyone tacos for dinner, and they turned out perfect. I made ground beef, shrimp, and salmon for a bit of variety. I basically just put my homemade taco seasoning on all 3 proteins.
http://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/07/23/homemade-taco-seasoning-mix/

I added it to the beef and cooked that first, since it takes the longest.
Then I added the rub to both sides of the salmon. I added the salmon, skin side down, to a cold pan with a bit of olive oil. This helps the salmon get a crispy skin. If you put it in a hot pan, the skin will most likely shrivel up and separate from the fish. I cooked the first side the longest, about 5 minutes, then flipped it and cooked it about 3 minutes on the second side. You still want it to be a little pink in the middle, so if it starts to turn white, it is overcooking.

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I added some shrimp to a bowl and massaged it with the taco seasoning. Then I added a little more olive oil in the pan with the salmon . I finished cooking the salmon and shrimp in the same pan. Less dishes!002

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Here is what is up for the rest of the week… Cleaning out the fridge and freezer and trying not to go to the store. We will see how long that lasts =) See ya later tonight for a new chicken dish!

Sunday- Moroccan Chicken and Couscous with a veggie
Monday- Veggie Fritatta
Tuesday- Fish Sticks, mac and cheese, veggie
Wednesday- Bean and Beef Burritos
Thursday- Miss Mandy over for dinner- Chinese?
Friday- Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Throwback Thursday- Steak and Potatoes

Today I got to eat lunch with the girls, so I brought them Zaxby’s. I asked Becca if she wanted to order pizza for dinner on our last night of the kitchen being closed. She said, “No, I want you to make your steak and potatoes.” Hmmmm…..apparently she is ready for a home cooked meal. Ok, then! I had a few days off, but I guess I am ready for a home cooked meal as well. The kitchen is back open for tonight!

http://funfoodiefamily.com/2015/02/15/steak-twice-baked-potatoes-and-pan-steamed-broccoli/

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The Kitchen is Closed

Hey guys! Super busy week! Sorry I haven’t checked in for a while, but I have decreed our kitchen to be closed! This week it is all about the microwave, toaster oven, fast heat-ups, and take-out. Here are some of the eats we have been enjoying this week so far…

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Also, picture a rotisserie chicken with leftover mac and cheese, lots of sliced cheese with our crackers, and a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. =) The girls are trying to talk me in to Zaxby’s for tomorrow; I may do Indian for me =) Be back next week with some new recipes. It is nice to take a break from the kitchen every once in a while!

What is your favorite take-out, fast food, or convenience meal?

Family Favorite- Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Meat Sauce

Hey guys! I made this tonight and it was soooo yummy! Instead of dried herbs, I used herbs from my garden!!!! Woohoo! Basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Happy spring! Summer is just around the corner!

http://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/09/30/spaghetti-with-mushroom-and-meat-sauce/

Garlic Toast- I added 2 heads minced garlic to a few tablespoons of soft butter. I spread it on and toasted until perfection!

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Chicken with Tomato and Veggie Orzo

Hey all! I hope everyone had a great weekend with family and friends celebrating the beginning of Spring, special holidays, and the fact that it is SPRING BREAK!!!! Woohoo! We had lots of fun gardening, playing at the park, and enjoying the amazing Spring weather.

We had a picnic at the park for lunch today. It was glorious to see the girls play and get to eat yummy ham sandwiches and pasta salad. Oh, and my mom makes the best deviled eggs. I think I made them once on the blog. I will have to check it out and make sure I add the recipe if it is not already here. Plus, we had Lay’s chips. Plain. The go to chip in our house. Yes, we love our Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos, etc… but there is nothing like a bag of salty crunchy Lay’s. Although those commercials with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head eating the chips is a bit disturbing…

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So with a late lunch and a lazy day, I decided to wing it in the kitchen. I had taken out some chicken thighs from the freezer. I know. Chicken. Again. But it is always a yummy go-to that everyone LOVES. My family loves them some dark meat. When any chicken is on sale, I load up. Luckily, last week, it was thighs. I also had a few random mushrooms, a few carrots and celery, and one onion in the fridge. I also found a large can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of green chilies.
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Chicken with Tomato and Veggie Orzo

Ingredients
3 -4 chicken Thighs
10 mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup cooked orzo- I used my leftovers from this…http://funfoodiefamily.com/2015/04/03/1-pot-veggie-orzo/
1/2 container of broth (I had veggie, but chicken would be perfect.)
1 turn of white wine- acidity is the key to any dish =) use lemon/lime juice, white/red wine vinegar, or red wine…

Directions

Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken liberally.
Brown both sides in a screaming hot cast iron pan or dutch oven- about 6 minutes per side.
Take the chicken out and add in your chopped veggies. Cook down for about 6 minutes. Add in your tomato paste and stir, about 3 minutes. The aroma of smokey tomato should hit your nose. YUM! Add in your wine. Cook for a couple more minutes and add in your canned tomatoes and chilies. Add your broth and your cooked orzo. Stir well and add in your chicken. Simmer until cooked through. Add crusty bread for dipping. DELISH!

Full disclosure- Everyone was STARVING, so I took the chicken out to serve. It was still under cooked, so I cooked it longer and then took it off the bone and added it back in the orzo. Turned out even better than I thought!!!!! Better to be under cooked and cook longer than over cooked and dry as a bone.

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Paired Perfectly with this…
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One Pot Veggie Orzo

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Veggie Orzo

Ingredients

3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 container of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 quart of veggie stock
1/2 cup orzo
2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat pan on med heat and add olive oil.
Add the veggies and cook down until soft, about 6 minutes.
Add seasoning, orzo, and broth. Bring the broth to a boil and add the orzo.
Cook until orzo according to package time.
Add cheese.
Stir well. Add more seasoning and cheese of needed.