Grilled Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad

Dinner, Healthy, Lunch | August 19, 2015 | By

IMG_7533It has been pretty unbearably hot here in upstate New York the past few days. The humidity makes the air feel like a wet blanket so making dinner in the evenings just seems impossible some nights. 

This Grilled Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad is a completely make-ahead meal. Mix everything together, pop it in the fridge and chill it until you’re ready to eat. It’s filling, while being healthy and light. I originally started with this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, but made some changes. I highly recommend marinating the chicken a day ahead of time. Sometimes boneless, skinless chicken breast can be pretty bland, but soaking it overnight in lime and cilantro then throwing it on the grill made it really flavorful and tender. Also, don’t skimp on the dressing when mixing it with the quinoa. It’ll soak it up pretty quickly so before you put the completed salad in the fridge, you almost want to over-wet it. 

Read on for the recipe.

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Parmesan Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

Dinner, Pasta | March 18, 2015 | By

Parmesan Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli This recipe originally was considered “lowfat” but I think I’ve taken all the health right out of this. I think it’s best to say that this is a quick and easy, alfredo-type dish.

Instead, this is one of my go-to pantry, weeknight dinners. I love it, and its something that I get zero complaints from the kids. Hadley has her moments of picky eating so when I don’t feel like fighting that battle, then I go for this. These days, I always have an extra package of chicken breast and some broccoli on hand, but if you don’t you can easily swap in some frozen shrimp or peas for a green vegetable. 

And yes, you can even use the parmesan cheese in the green can. I know that would make some foodies’ stomachs turn, but for us moms on a budget, sometimes you gotta buy the cheap cheese! 

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Dinner | January 8, 2015 | By

Chicken Noodle SoupI’m really into not wasting things right now. We had roasted chicken on Saturday night so naturally I wanted to turn it into chicken soup the next day. It was the weekend, and I’m way more ambitious on Saturday and Sunday. I showed you yesterday how to make your own chicken stock from a roasted carcass. So now, let’s make some soup. 

IMG_5466I crave traditional chicken noodle soup on a cold winter day. It’s super cliché, but the weather here in upstate New York is just really frigid so hot soup is a must.

I based this recipe off of The Pioneer Woman’s Homemade Chicken and Noodles, but it has some changes. I followed her recipe outright a few months ago, and there wasn’t enough flavor. I really did love her changing it up with the egg noodles though. I really wanted to make this extra special so I found these Mrs. Miller’s Egg Noodles at Healthy Living Market. They were super thick and delicious, and were much heartier than your normal supermarket egg noodles. I also really liked that there were very few ingredients in them (flour, eggs, water).

Some notes on this recipe: I feel like I say this a ton, but add whatever you have on hand. If you have some extra veggies in the refrigerator, add what you feel like having. I would’ve loved a couple tablespoons of fresh dill in this, but I didn’t have any, and it was delicious just like this. Get creative and tailor it to how you want it!

Read on for the recipe.

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Chicken Stock 101

DIY | January 7, 2015 | By

chickenstockgraphicOne of the easiest things to make is homemade chicken stock. Once you make your own, it’ll be really hard to go back to the stuff in a can (or a box). 

I posted a picture on my Facebook page the other day, saying last night’s roasted chicken was today’s chicken soup. Even if you don’t want to make stock the day after you’ve roasted a chicken, just throw it in your freezer when you have some spare time. There was a time where I was hoarding carcasses in our freezer until I had some time to cook it all down. That’s kind of gross, I guess. 

So here are some of the basics of making your own chicken stock (also the same for making turkey stock, but beef is a whole other ball game):

  • Drop your carcass (which has had the majority of the meat picked off) into a large pot. I use my pasta pot because it has the nice colander insert which makes straining later on a cinch. 
  • Add your aromatics (for last weekend’s batch, I used onions, celery, peppercorns, a head of garlic, fresh parsley and some salt). You want to stay away from vegetables that will really break apart (so no potatoes, broccoli, etc.) and no strongly-flavored herbs (no basil or rosemary). I’ve also used dill before and that’s been great. 
  • Fill the pot to the top with water and leave a little room for it to boil. Bring it up to a roaring boil, and cover and dial it back to a good simmer (that’s about a 4 on my stove). Simmer for a couple of hours until the liquid is a rich, brown color. Pull out all the chicken bones, vegetables and herbs and set aside to cool.
  • Now you can do two things: put the whole pot in your fridge for the next day. After its cooled, the stock will have a light layer of fat on top. Skim that all off them divvy the broth into a bunch of freezer-friendly dishes. OR you can do what I did, which is just turn it immediately into chicken soup (which I’ll explain tomorrow!) 

Pretzel Chicken Bites

Dinner | December 12, 2014 | By

Pretzel Chicken Bites We fight the battle every night. I cook a dinner, dish it out for the four of us, then wait for the fight. Hadley, my four year-old, is a picky eater. She fights me on most meals, and we have to bargain to get her to try new things. 

These Pretzel Chicken Bites were a happy accident for me. She ate them with zero fuss. Yes, its a jazzed up chicken finger, but still, it’s improvement. We’re slowly walking our way towards getting her to try more. 

Notes on this recipe: I used pretzel chips, which made the tenders nice and crunchy. For a little extra kick, I’d definitely add a few dashes of hot sauce to the egg mixture. That will give this a little extra zip. Since I was feeding little ones, I just left it out this time. 

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Chicken Mozzarella Pasta

Dinner, Pasta | October 9, 2014 | By

IMG_5204Vacations are always fun times, but this one is a little bit more special. Trevor and I are celebrating seven years of marriage in the very same place we got married on North Topsail Beach, just outside Wilmington, N.C.

He’s such a great partner in life and an awesome father. I’m one lucky mama. So sappy, but so true. We’re not big on presents, but he got some beautiful lilies and blue hydrangeas (my favorite) and I got him some tasty craft brews from Fermental (a great beer store in Wilmington to hit up if you’re into that kind of thing).

Our anniversary was a fun day spent golfing for him and shopping for me. We met up later for an afternoon at the beach with the kids. Since we both had busy days, we wanted something easy, but delicious for dinner. This Chicken Mozzarella Pasta (originally from the Pioneer Woman) really hit the spot. It was a great play on Chicken Parmesan, but without all the breading and frying.photo-5

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My mom and I were scanning through recipes we both had pinned (how we pick our dinners on vacation) and figured out that we’d both pinned this pasta dish.

Some notes on this recipe: I used more chicken than the original recipe called for. I didn’t want to leave a partial package in the fridge. I also added some extra oregano because Trevor loves it (that’s what seven years of marriage does for you – you know he really likes oregano).

Read on for the recipe. 

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4 Freezer Meals to Make Weeknight Cooking Easier

Hey everyone! It’s been a really busy summer and things are about to get even crazier! Trevor works full-time as a geologist, which is really not a local business. While we’ve had him home for most of the summer, he has to travel quite a bit for his job. We’re gearing up for a two-week trip soon so I’ll be stocking our freezer with some delicious meals that I’ve made ahead of time so cooking dinner at night is a cinch.

I don’t know about you, but my kids are super crabby around dinner time; cooking dinner can kind of be a dramatic scene. A Food Saver (or any other kind of vacuum-seal machine) is kind of key for really mass-producing freezer meals. I use mine pretty regularly when we buy meat in bulk or cook up some of these freezer meals, and its worth the investment.

Turkey Meatballs simmering in a panSo here’s what I’ll be cooking to keep the tears (theirs and mine) to a minimum: 

  • These Turkey, Kale and Quinoa Meatballs look great (and are super healthy!). I’m going to cook them ahead of time (by baking a large batch in the oven) and freeze them into a couple dinner-sized portions. (photo and recipe is from The Lo Down
  • A lot of great meal ideas are on Pinterest, and these Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Breasts look amazing. Enough said. (I’ll prep the whole thing then freeze uncooked)
  • Broccoli, Cheddar and Egg Hash Browns (Serve with a side of bacon)
  • Chicken Pot Pie from Ina Garten – this one is a staple freezer meal for us. I make the chicken filling and freeze in the Food Saver bags. When its time for dinner, I made a quick biscuit and pour the hot filling over the top. (so not a full pot pie, but still the flavors)

Also, follow me on Pinterest to see what recipes I’m scoping out and what’s coming up on the blog!