Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Almost Friday!!!!! So ready for the weekend! I looked at making a Throwback Thursday post today, but I just ran out of time. This time last year, I made some yummy French Onion Soup.  http://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/01/29/french-onion-soup/

We had just had Snowpocalypse here in Georgia, so this soup was perfect. Today in my area, the low was 39 and the high was 59, so I was happy for some sunshine and milder winter temps. Still too cold for me, though. The girls and I were all bundled up to meet the bus, and they were taking turns putting their hands around my hot coffee cup. We were shivering and trying to remember how hot we were last summer; We are always wishing for flip flops, tank tops, and swim suits!

Here is another great winter comfort food…Chicken and Dumplings*** I researched this recipe for almost a week. I wrote down tons of ideas and finally came up with this to try. It turned out pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. I had to do a few changes along the way, so hopefully if you give this a try, you will love it.

***crockpot meals are not the most photogenic…this one is no different. Taste wins out against pretty pictures pretty much always.

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

1 onion, diced

2-3 carrots, chopped

2 small garlic cloves, minced- or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 golden potatoes, cut into chunks (or 4-5  new potatoes cut in half)- no peeling necessary (if you have Idaho or baking potatoes, I would peel and cut into small chunks).

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I think thighs would be awesome in this, so use those if you want)

1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, poultry seasoning

2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons butter

about 2 containers no/low sodium chicken stock

1 can biscuit dough

Directions

Make your homemade “condensed cream of chicken soup”. You could skip this step and the half and half that comes later and just buy a can of cream of chicken soup. Have you read the ingredient list on one of those cans? On medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook 2-3 minutes to create your roux. When it looks like wet sand, add 2 cups of chicken stock. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large crock pot, layer onion, carrots, and potatoes. Put the chicken on the top. Add your seasonings. Pour  soup on top. You can do all of this the night before if you wish and add to your crockpot (cool the soup just a bit first before adding it to the chicken). If not, doing all of it in the am is still pretty easy. It took me less than 10 minutes to make the soup and add it.

Add enough chicken stock to cover. My crockpot is kinda small, so mine was almost to the top.

Heat on low for 6-8 hours. High 3-4 hours.

Now… my crockpot is small, so I suggest you transfer the cooked chicken and veggie soup to a stock pot/large pasta pot/etc. after the allotted time. Stir and shred your chicken with a fork. This should not be hard at all. Like butter =) Stir in your half and half. Add in cut up biscuit dough and cook for about an hour or until biscuits are not raw in the middle.

Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

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Veggie Fettuccine

So tonight the girls had dinner with the grandparents, while I went to yoga. When I was in shavasana (total relaxation pose), I was thinking of what I could make for dinner when I got home. I was totally relaxed and zen. My body was loose and stress free. Then my stomach growled and I knew feeding it pasta would be the only choice. This was yummy, and I will be taking the leftovers to lunch tomorrow.

Veggie Fettuccine- I cleaned out my fridge and cabinet for this one. Please use what you have and be inspired by this recipe!

3/4 box fettuccine

3 carrots, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 can black olives, sliced (the girls ate the rest)

1 can diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoons red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

olive oil- about 1/3 cup or so…use your judgement

1 teaspoon pepper

salt if needed—-olives are super salty, so don’t overdo it

Directions

Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a med heat pan. Add your carrots and onions. Cook about 5 minutes. Add your garlic and tomato paste. Stir and cook 2 minutes. Add your black olives, red pepper flakes,  Italian seasoning,  and a bit more olive oil if needed. Cook about 5 minutes or more.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in salted water just under done. Add to sauce and cook long enough to mix pasta in sauce and cook a few more minutes. Add a splash of that starchy cooking water. veggiepasta

Spicy Veggie Couscous

Hello again! So I was thinking about what I wanted to take for lunch tomorrow. Today I ate a  whole wheat wrap with spicy chicken, spinach, and hummus  from my school.  I added a bit of  Light Ranch (the only kind they have) to the mix. It was actually pretty tasty. I would get that again! The menu tomorrow is not very promising, although they do have a veggie burger. Unfortunately, by the time I get to the veggie burger, it is  pretty cold and stale. I don’t think many middle school kiddos choose it. Who can blame them…

So tonight I had some couscous left over at dinner. I also had half of both a yellow and orange sweet pepper, 1 jalapeno, 1 sweet onion, 1 small head of broccoli, and 2 cloves of garlic leftover from last weeks groceries. I chopped up all the veggies and cooked them in a bit of peanut oil for about 10 minutes. Then I added the couscous and a bit of soy sauce and pepper to add a bit of flavor. I stirred well, and cooked for another 5 minutes. Now I have a yummy lunch for tomorrow! =)

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Marinated Asian Tilapia with Soybeans and Couscous

Hope everyone is well tonight! After work, I headed to the grocery store. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to shop this weekend, so I decided to go by myself after work. The last two weeks I have shopped BY MYSELF on a Friday afternoon and a Monday afternoon. Both were pretty awesome. Yes, the store is a bit crazy with last minute dinner shoppers, but no one is doing a week’s worth of shopping in one trip. Plus, I have no kids or bored hubby weighing me down. I can get in and out  and do what I need to do in less than 30 minutes. Since I went to the store tonight, I went ahead and planned on making fish. It would be the freshest and would cook pretty quick. I had an idea in my meal plan to cook a breaded fried fish of some sort, but as I was putting groceries away, I had a new thought… Marinated Asian Tilapia.

Pretty simple to make…

Ingredients

3-4 pieces of Tilapia (I bought 2 and that was decidedly not enough as of tonight…3-4 next time)

marinade of a mixture of equal parts (about 2-3 tablespoons of each) of any of the following- soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar, minced ginger, and pepper

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)

Directions

Marinate Fish for 10-20 minutes

Shake off excess liquid and coat in flour.

Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. The thinner ends will be very tender and flaky.

I accidentally bought the Steam fresh bag of edamame instead of snap peas. Turns out the girls love them and are begging for them for a snack to take to school! No leftovers…hubby was the only one who didn’t eat them! I also served with a side of couscous. Only a bit of couscous left, so maybe something for lunch tomorrow… no pics of the soybeans and couscous. All inhaled before I could take a picture!

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Meal Planning 1/24/15

This Saturday has been amazing! Great day with my family and great night with friends… I just got back from dinner. I met some of my old friends for a girls’ night. Fun times with a bunch of lovely ladies that I used to teach with. Those were the “good old days” of my teaching career. My friends I grew up with fresh out of college. We went to bars together; we fell in love, got married, had babies; we went to grad school and more grad school; we all just bonded in a really special time in our lives. They were not all there, but each one holds a special place in my heart. I love you girls =)

Here is my meal plan for the rest of the week-

Sunday- Going to a birthday party for one of my BFF’s sons. Thinking of either using my “Kids eat for free” coupon at Chili’s or go home and eat bacon and waffles.

Monday- Pan fried fish, rice, and a veggie 023

Tuesday- Grandparents take the girls for dinner. I have yoga. Leftover pizza.
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Wednesday- Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings- So easy…can’t wait to share this with you!

Thursday- Baked Ziti from the freezer 013

Friday- Date Night- ??????

Hope you guys have a great week filled with fun, family, friends, and food!!!

Crockpot Turkey Chili

Happy hump day! Here is an easy, healthy recipe you can use for a busy weeknight meal. You can throw all the ingredients in one pot and let it cook on low all day. When you come home, you will have dinner waiting on you. How easy is that?

Crockpot Turkey Chili

Ingredients

3/4-1 pound ground turkey
1 can each of black beans, kidney beans, and cannelloni beans- drained and rinsed
1 small can green chilies
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can diced tomatoes
3/4 container or so of stock (turkey or chicken)
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.
Add turkey into your crock pot; stir in the rest of the ingredients until well blended.

Cook at HIGH 4 to 5 hours or at LOW 6 to 8 hours. Top with crackers, cheese, sour cream, etc

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Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

Happy Tuesday! The girls had dinner plans with Nana and Papa tonight (Five Guys). I had yoga and hubby went to hockey, so I was on my own for dinner. So tonight I planned on making some kind of “Mommy Meal.” This is basically a meal that I make for myself that generally no one else will most likely eat. I bought a ton of mushrooms and thought I might make a risotto. Then I contemplated a mushroom fettichini. Then last night I spied some mushroom ravioli in the freezer. I decided to go with that and am glad I did.

Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

1 container fresh premade mushroom ravioli
1 container fresh baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
1 container “gourmet” mushrooms (or a couple handfuls of the fancy mushrooms bought by the pound) Splurge on yourself!
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
olive oil, about 1/4 cup all together
white wine, approximately 1/4 cup
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large skillet. Heat on Med/High Heat.
Add onions. Cook 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook 4 more minutes. Add your seasoning and wine. Reduce down, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook ravioli in salted water, just under package cook time.
Add more olive oil to mushroom sauce. Add pasta to sauce with a touch of pasta water. Add cheese. Mix well.

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Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry with Chinese Noodles

Evening guys! This dinner was pretty yummy! I hope you give it a try!

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry with Chinese Noodles

Ingredients

2 tablespoons peanut oil
Combo of what you have on hand; sesame oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, or any other Asian flavor you like…
4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite sized cubes
1/2 yellow pepper, 1/2 orange pepper, thinly sliced (use a combo of red and green if you like, all sweet pepper colors are yummy)
1/2 stalk of broccoli florets
1 handful of snap peas
1 can Chinese mushrooms (or add sliced raw mushrooms earlier to the mix)
1 can water chestnuts
1 can bamboo shoots
1 can baby corn

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil- cook your chicken (with a bit of salt and pepper added, not too much, since your sauces will have a lot already) almost all the way through, about 8 minutes.
Add your raw veggies- peppers, broccoli, snap peas, (mushrooms) Cook 5 minutes.Start adding your combo of what you have on hand; sesame oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, or any other Asian flavor you like
Add your canned veggies- water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, baby corn, mushrooms, Cook 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil some salted water and par boil your Chinese noodles, about 6 minutes. Taste- add more flavors here if you think you need them.
Add your noodles to your chicken and veggie mix. Stir all together.

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Sweet Braised Pork Empanadas

Hey guys! Happy Sunday! On my meal plan this week I had empanadas. I had wanted to make the dough, but remembered that my trusty food processor had bit the dust. Luckily, I had some back up puff pastry in the freezer, so I rolled with it. This was pretty yummy; sweet and a bit spicy. I made half spicy and half non-spicy. The hubby had the spicy and the girls and I had non-spicy, but I added some hot sauce and jalapenos to my sour cream, so mine had a nice kick to it. I think next time I will do beef or chicken with a different seasoning. Hopefully by then I will have a new food processor and can make homemade dough.

Sweet Braised Empanadas – I got this recipe from http://www.dinneralovestory.com/coke-braised-carnitas/ and tweaked it a bit. Was meant for carnitas, but I thought it would still be amazing in an empanada. I was right. =)

3 pounds pork loin
2 tablespoons peanut oil (olive oil is fine if you don’t have peanut)
2 cans coke (or enough to go half-way up the pork)
1 tablespoon hot sauce or Sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 container of beef broth

Preheat oven to 325°F. Over medium-high heat, brown pork in peanut oil in a Dutch Oven on all sides. (Don’t skimp on this part. You want a nice brown crust.) Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and place the pot in the oven with lid slightly askew. Turn every 30 minutes or so, and remove after about three hours. Remove pork from liquid and shred on a cutting board using two forks. Place pork in a bowl or platter as you go. Toss with a little bit of the braising liquid — just a little, it’s very sweet.

Defrost some puff pastry. Cut in squares. Add a spoonful of pork and shredded Mexican cheese. I made half of them spicy- I added a couple of shakes of hot sauce and some diced jalapenos. For the non-spicy, I just added the pork and cheese. I brushed all with an egg wash and poked them with a fork.

Becca really loved the puff pastry, so I told her I would make her apple turnovers soon. Be on the lookout =)

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