Chicken Thighs in Creamy Brown Mushroom Gravy

So this week I didn’t make a meal plan. After Lizzie passed, it was hard for a month or so to get back in a normal routine. Once I did, it seemed too easy. Weekly meal plan, go to the grocery store, make dinners, get distracted with life, go out, make more dinners, etc. So this week I thought about making a meal plan and decided to go against my instinct. I want to feel that rush of “What the heck are we having for dinner?” and “What can I make with the stuff I already have in my kitchen?” Then I looked in my fridge and pantry and realized I needed some stuff to randomly make dinner. So Friday after work I went to the store and got a few things. Awesome. You already saw the last 2 meals that I made.

Today I was home with this sick girl and had to take her to the doctor. Turns out she has the beginnings of a sinus infection and bronchitis. Don’t let the mask and pathetic face fool you. She was still full of sass and energy most of the day. The doctor  told her to stay away from running and activity.  I almost laughed in her face. Anyways, short of all her ailments, she is feeling fine and ready to go back to school tomorrow. I had a nice day off with her and took her to the store to get her meds and some groceries for the rest of the week. She had lots of opinions, so tonight she chose 3 things her and her sisters like. She loves chicken; Becca loves mushrooms; Lizzie really loved gravy. So I made Chicken in gravy with mushrooms.

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Chicken Thighs in Creamy Brown Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients

1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 large Chicken Thighs
1/2 stick butter
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup canned/boxed low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley,chopped

Directions

Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Add onions and mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes. Mix in about 1 tablespoon of the flour; cook 1 minute. Add broth and then vinegar. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Add half and half. Mix well. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until chicken is cooked through and gravy thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with parsley.

Serve with a side of veggie and grain (couscous, pasta, rice, etc) and some crusty bread, per usual.

I know Lizzie would have loved this =)

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Spaghetti with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Bacon, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan

Good evening, kids! I hope everyone had a marvelous Monday! I got home late tonight, so I needed to find something that I could throw together. I had some random things in my fridge and pantry, so I threw caution to the wind and created this masterpiece =) Pretty much anytime you can add pasta, bacon, and cheese, you should do it.

I had about half a pound of thin spaghetti, the last spoonful of a container of sun-dried tomatoes, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1/3 of a container of pine nuts, 1/2 a container of Parmesan, and 8 pieces of bacon. I also added 3 fillets of anchovies and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.

If you don’t have a jar of anchovies in your fridge, I highly suggest you get one. If you think you don’t like anchovies, you are wrong. If you like Caesar Salad, you like anchovies. I am not suggesting you eat the anchovies whole. That would be an amateur move. I am letting you know that if you add 3 anchovies to a bit of bacon fat, olive oil, or butter, they will melt and make the base to the most delicious sauce you have ever had. So amazing. Trust me, please. Just don’t put your nose directly in the jar, ok? But if you don’t have any in your pantry, are going vegetarian on this dish, or you are allergic for some reason, you can totally leave them out. It is you meal and your life, so you can do whatever you want.

So while I was boiling the water for my pasta (add lots of salt), I made the bacon. I started cooking the pasta. I took out the bacon (cool and chop) and added the anchovies. They melted like butter and I added the garlic and 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes (optional). I added 2 tablespoons tomato paste and stirred well. Then I added the sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil, but add another drizzle if needed) and pine nuts. I cooked those for 3 minutes, then added the pasta (read time on box and follow minus 2 minutes). I added the pasta in to the mix plus a coffee cup full of starchy cooking water. I let this cook for a couple more minutes before I added the Parmesan. I mixed well then added my chopped bacon on top. 004

Easy Baked Ziti

Hello all! Last night I made this very yummy and easy meal. I have made baked ziti a few times on the blog. On the weekends I usually make the sauce all afternoon and add it to my ground beef/sausage/veggie mixture and pasta. Well, Publix was having a BOGO on one of my favorite jarred sauces, so I decided to let the good people of Bertoli do all the work this time.

Easy Baked Ziti
Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 box tube shaped pasta, like ziti, rigatoni, or penne
2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce- I used Bertoli- marinara and 3 cheese
2 med. bags or 1 large bag of mozzarella or Italian Cheese Blend
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning (oregano, marjarum, thyme, etc)
2 teaspoons onion powder and garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Brown your meat and add all your seasonings. Drain grease out of meat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil- salt the water liberally
Cook pasta
Assemble in a large casserole pan layering sauce, pasta, meat, and cheese.
Cook for about 30 minutes or until cheese is melting and turning that yummy brown color.
Lots of leftovers!
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http://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/10/08/baked-ziti-and-garlic-butter-toast/

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Evening! I have made this probably more than 100 times. I know that sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but I promise you I am telling you the truth. As a vegan/vegetarian, this was an easy and filling meal. The girls tried it for the first time tonight. I had to stop Becca from licking her plate. Katie wasn’t a fan…

The flesh of this squash resembles spaghetti when cooked. It is just like magic. You can add sauce to it, add it with cheese, or simply eat it with salt and pepper. Heaven!

Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 50 minutes.

Remove the squash from the oven and let sit at room temperature until cool enough to handle. Scrape the flesh with a fork to make long strands, or just eat it strait from the skin.

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I ate half with butter and parm cheese.

I spied a leftover garlic butter sauce from pizza last night. I added that and some parm cheese to the other half. I am saving that for another meal this week =)
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Weekly Meal Plan 3/22/15

Greetings on this yucky lazy Sunday. This weekend has been filled with fun! It was Becca’s 8th Birthday Slumber Party. The girls had a fun time playing, screaming, and acting like crazy kids, which was so awesome to watch. We also ate lots of pizza, popcorn, chips, and of course CAKE!
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This morning everyone slept in until 8:30, probably because they didn’t go to sleep until who knows when???? I checked on them and they all pretended to be asleep. Ha! So they all woke up late, played more, and I made them breakfast. 7 girls (Six 8 year olds and One almost 6 year old) can put away massive amounts of food…1 pound of bacon, 18 eggs, and 1 1/2 packages of french toast sticks. I honestly think I could have also made a second package of bacon or a package of sausages.

So on to this week’s meal plan…

Sun- Roasted Spaghetti Squash- last week I was going to make a spaghetti squash pesto with shrimp, but that never happened. Since the girls had a big breakfast and a late lunch, I am not sure they are going to want much for dinner.

Mon- Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

Tuesday- Montery Chicken http://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/06/09/copy-cat-montery-chicken/
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Wed- Grandparents are having dinner with the girls. I will either get Jimmy John’s, Indian Takeout, or make something random from my pantry.

Thursday- Ms. Mandy is coming over and we are going out for Mexican =)

Friday- Not gonna lie…I have no idea…

Mason Jar Salad

I know you have seen this somewhere. Maybe in a magazine or on Pinterest? I have tried it and succeeded.
Just saw that the average American spends $2,000 on eating out at lunch every year. Say what????? Here is a way that I am helping your health and wallet…
Random fridge ingredients that can be used in a salad…dressing on the bottom, heartier ingredients on the bottom and delicate ingredients on the top. Still trying to figure this out. I am doing a different combo each time depending on the ingredients. No mixing until lunchtime! Shake right in the container!
2 containers- Balsamic and Greek Dressing combined…feta, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, apple slices, pine nuts, mushrooms.
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Mexican Pizza; Steak Tostadas

Evening guys! So I have this lovely recipe that will take you 15 minutes to prepare, less if you have premade ingredients…

Tonight was a late dinner night, so I had to think of something that was super fast. Steak Tostadas; BOOM! Called them Mexican pizzas, because the girls love pizza and Mexican food, so how could this go wrong?

Mexican Pizza; Steak Tostadas

1/2 Flank/Skirt steak, sliced (or chicken, pork, ground beef/chicken/turkey/sausage, tofu,shrimp, fish, or beans)
8 corn tortillas, fried in 1 cup vegetable or peanut oil until turning golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side- or store bought Tostadas
All the fixings you love- shredded cheese, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado or guacamole, sour cream, hot sauce…

Season your protein with salt and pepper. Cut in to bite sized strips and cook until preferred doneness…med.rare for us, so about 4 minutes (for steak and seafood only; chicken and pork the longest,about 10 minutes; tofu and beans until brown or cooked through)…

Assemble your tostadas…002

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Weekend Wrap Up and Weekly Meal Plan 3/15

Happy Sunday afternoon! This weekend has been tons of fun! It was Rebecca’s birthday on Saturday, so we had lots of celebrations this weekend. We went out to dinner Friday night to Ippilito’s with one set of grandparents. I had mussels in white wine sauce, one of my favorite dishes of all time.
Here are a few ways I have made them…http://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/07/21/seafood-steamed-in-garlic-butter-and-wine/
http://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/03/10/mussels-with-white-wine-and-lemon-aioli/
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Sat. morning we went to brunch at Egg Harbor with the other set of grandparents. I had Egg’s Benedict; I am in love with hollandaise sauce and runny eggs. Later that afternoon, we saw the new Cinderella movie. It was beautiful; go see it =) For dinner, went to habatchi with some of our best friends.

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The hubby and I ended the night with The Avengers. Such a fun movie! Today we took a trip to the mall for lunch and a shopping day. This afternoon we spent the entire time outside. It has been a beautiful 70 degrees here in Georgia.
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I also took a trip with the girls today to the grocery store. I always like to get them to help plan the meals by looking through magazines and cookbooks and finding recipes they want to try. They also have their favorites that they love. Here is our family meal plan for the week.

Sunday- Leftovers- Pizza and Pasta The girls have some pizza from Ippilito’s and I have some of this I am going to finish off.
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Monday- Steak Tostadas-This will take about 20 minutes or less.

Tuesday- Spaghetti and Meatballs

Wednesday- Shrimp with Pesto Spaghetti Squash- my parents are having a night with the girls and the hubby is out as well…this is a mommy dish for sure =)

Thursday- Skillet Chicken with Mozzarella Bake

Friday- Family Fun Night- Dinner Out…

Sat- Sleepover!!!! Pizza, movies and popcorn, Twister and other games, and Nail Painting!

Any fun recipes you are trying and want to share?

Have a great night!

Blog Catch Up… Pork, Pasta, Pasta…

Evening guys! I hope everyone is doing well on this fine Wednesday night! I had a great session with my girls from Girls on the Run tonight. We stretch, run, do yoga and strength training, and have lots of amazing conversations. Girl Power! So much fun =) I came home and made an easy chicken pasta dish…
I cooked 3 meals in last 2 days and only took pics of one of them. Oh well…

Last night I made a 5 minute dinner. I made pork chops…yeah, I know…been there done that… =) Well, these took 3 minutes. For real. The package said cook on each side for 4 minutes, but if I did that they would have tasted like shoe leather. I cooked them in a bit of oil for about 1 1/2 minutes per side on SUPER HIGH heat. Perfection! I served them with a side of couscous and a Steam-fresh bag of mixed veggies (both about 5 minutes).

Then I made some lunch for a couple of days… Creamy Orzo with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Peas. Just cook some Orzo (small rice like pasta). In the meantime, cook chopped bacon (1/2 pound). Take out of pan and add your onions and cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Add your cooked orzo and frozen peas. Add in about a cup Parmesan. Stir and cook together until peas are warmed through. Top with chopped bacon. So wish I had a picture!!!!

Tonight I made Cheesy Chicken Tagliatelle with Broccoli and Mushrooms. Heaven. Dice some chicken thighs or breasts in to bite-sized pieces. Brown in a pan with 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 container of sliced mushrooms, and 1 head broccoli florets (15 minutes or so depending on your preference for broccoli doneness). Salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, cook some tagliatelle in salted water (nests of long fettichini like pasta- or use whatever pasta your have in your cabinet). Add the pasta to your chicken and veggie mixture. Add a nice glug of olive oil and a mug of starchy pasta water. Add more seasoning if needed. My kids hate spicy, but I would love for you to add a good serving of red pepper flakes!

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More info about Girls on the Run (Grades 3-8) http://www.girlsontherun.org/