dinner

Chicken with mushrooms

A few weeks ago this meal was cooked while the hubs was away on an unexpected trip for work and all of a sudden I ended up with a bunch of food in the fridge that didn’t make sense for any of our typical meals… this meal was my solution. I thought this was delicious (so did the pups).  The kids still are not convinced that mushrooms are tasty.  We served it over a wild rice mixture and had zucchini sticks on the side.

  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 12 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste

In a large pan (that has a cover) melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium high heat.  Add minced garlic and diced onion.  Cook 1-2 minutes until the onion just turns clear and then add sliced mushrooms and dump the sherry on top.  Stir frequently, when thoroughly browned remove to a separate bowl with all of the juices.  Place 2 tbsp of olive oil into the (now empty) pan.  Heat olive oil thoroughly over medium high heat and then place all 3 chicken breasts into the pan and cover.  Cook chicken breasts for 10 minutes on each side, then add mushrooms and juices back into the pan, cover and cook for an additional 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breast. Personally, I prefer to rub my spices into my meat prior to adding the meat to the pan… you can either do that or just add salt, pepper, and garlic to the pan prior to covering it for the final 10-20 minutes of cooking, which ever way makes you happier!

 

 

 

 

This meal received 3 parental thumbs up, 2 (of 4) toddler thumbs up and all 12 puppy paws up (because meat = yum!)

 

 

 

 

Chicken in Wine Sauce

This recipe is a family favorite obtaining a stunning 4 toddler thumbs up, 12 puppy paws up, and hubs approval!

It goes through our meal rotation pretty frequently (about twice a month) all year long. As an added bonus it is super easy! It can be made on the stove top in under an hour or tossed into a crock pot for all day cooking. I will post instructions for both 🙂

The ingredients are:

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix

1 16 ounce package of baby carrots

2 8 oz packages of whole mushrooms

1/3 cup of red wine, I prefer Cabernet.

1 cup of frozen peas

For crockpot directions:
1. Add all ingredients to the crockpot in the order listed, except the peas.
2. Turn it on low for 8 hours.
3. Let the magic work.
4. After 8 hours (or so) has past dump in the peas. Cook for an additional 15 minutes (or so) until the frozen peas have thawed
5. stir and serve.

For stovetop directions:
1. Pour yourself a glass of wine, toss on your apron, try to relax while performing a song and dance routine to entertain your toddler (I prefer singing UB40’s Red Red Wine)
2. Rinse chicken thighs, toss into a 5 quart pot cook for ten minutes on each side while sipping your wine.
3. Place all the remaining ingredients into the pot except the peas, turn down to a simmer, cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
4. Dump the frozen peas on top, cook for an additional 10 minutes while setting the table and pouring the rest of the bottle of wine into oversized glasses for you and the hubs.
5. Enjoy!

Usually I serve this over my Parmesan Mash Potatoes… Sometimes when I am lazy I just serve it with grocery store bread. It is awesome both ways.
 

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Pork Sirloin Steak with Quinoa and Brown Rice

Tonight’s meal was a bit of an adventure for the little toddler mouths in our household. It was Liam and The Bean’s first experience with pork and quinoa. I was wandering through the grocery store earlier in the week with the toddlers in the front car section of the cart happily playing with the steering wheels and horns while making “vroom” noises when I stumbled upon a package of pork sirloin steak. I thought to myself, this could be interesting and tossed it into the cart. It was something new to try my hand at cooking… An adventure in the kitchen.
After I brought my prize home I spent the toddler nap-time perusing recipes online. There really were not a lot to choose from. The one I decided to go with was from Allrecipes.com… I made a few modifications though as I was missing a few ingredients.  Instead of using green onions I used a sweet onion, and instead of garlic cloves I used 1 tsp of garlic powder.  The result was this:

 

 

This turned out absolutely delicious.  I served it the pork with an organic  brown rice and quinoa packet from the natural food section of my local grocery store and steamed broccoli.  The sauce that this creates is absolutely delicious (for obvious reasons…  butter!) so I spooned a teaspoon or so over the servings of rice.   My husband and the toddlers all loved it (I totally judge how much of a hit the meal is with the amount of “mores” I receive from the toddlers).  It was so good that Liam and the hubs even enjoyed it as leftovers.  It’s safe to say that this meal is going to make it into the month repertoire.

 

 

Pasta Night, toddler style

Pasta night with a toddler (or two) in the house means many things in our house :

1. Fun shaped easy to pick up noodles.
2. More sauce for me!
3. Painting smoks turned into bibs.
4. More sauce for me!
5. A giant delicious mess.

Obviously pasta night is a house (momma) favorite 🙂

Here is our (current) favorite fast (jacked up jarred sauce) pasta night recipe… We do have a non-jarred sauce favorite too, but that is a (longer) story for a different day.

1lb. Ground Beef, browned
2 summer squash sliced into toddler appropriate thickness steamed
1 jar of Newman’s Organic Tomato and Basil sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes in juice (do not drain)
2 tbsp of tomato paste

All of the ingredients are simmered together for 20 minutes. The pasta shape that we used this week (which was a hit with both toddlers) was rotini. We boiled it up per the directions on the package (10 minutes) sans salt or oil, and then dumped it int the sauce.

This is one of the easiest meals ever, and on my short list of favorites, even with the pimped out jarred sauce.

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The best part of all? Liam doesn’t love a super saucy noodle, which means more sauce for Momma! He does, however, love the sliced up summer squash, and actually will eat a little beef too which makes me happy as he usually passes on meats (too chewy).

Toddler Tacos

Since Liam and The Bean have entered the finger foods stage I have been working hard to find ways to make mealtime into more of a family experience. In other words; Momma isn’t making two separate meals. The toddlers eat what the parents eat, though sometimes with some slight variations.

This first meal we toddlerized (oh yeah, totally made that word up) is tacos. Taco night is probably my favorite night, and it absolutely cycles through our meal planning on a biweekly basis. I have an extreme obsession with fondness for moderately spicy Mexican food. Obviously with toddlers involved we had to tone down the spice action, so this is how I solved that problem and still created a tasty meal for everyone involved.

This meal received 4 of 4 toddler thumbs up, 6 of 12 puppy paws up, and 3 of 4 parent thumbs up (the hubs isn’t as big of a Mexican food fan as I am)

Chicken Taco Meat:
1 cup of shredded chicken
1/4 cup of McCormick Taco Seasoning
1/3 cup of water
1 – 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Dump it all in a pan and simmer for at least 15 minutes (until it is reduced to the amount of liquid you prefer).

I personally tend to keep things like shredded chicken on hand because it is so easy to make and so useful in many different recipes, especially toddler friendly ones. Liam will not eat cut up chicken (too much effort to chew, he prefers a more instant gratification) but he loves shredded as long as it is flavorful.

I quartered all my veggies (tomatoes and peppers) so they were toddler sized… I figured that also meant we could for more vegetables in each taco shell, which makes me feel like the meal is healthier 😉

I swapped our usual Mexican cheese blend out for a plain shredded cheddar (spiciness sacrifices). My husband (an acid reflux sufferer) and the toddlers both appreciated this. My token nod to adding some life to my meal was to purchase a spicy salsa for myself. This allowed me to not really feel like I was sacrificing my meal for theirs (with the added bonus of only cooking one meal). I also gave the kids a single tortilla chip rather than an overwhelming large (for them) and splintery taco shell. The last substitute I made for the kid’s meal was yogurt (one split between the two of then) instead of sour cream.

The results:

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They loved the meal and the yogurt “dessert”, and I had my first toddler/parent combo meal win. Now let’s hope for many more!

Need an easy recipe for shredded chicken? Love your crockpot as much as I adore mine? Try this!

Place 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 boneless skinless thighs) in a 5 quart crockpot. Dump a 32oz box of low sodium chicken broth into the pot. Add spices as you see fit, I typically toss in 1/2 tsp of sage and call it a day. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Cool in fridge overnight, then remove chicken from the pot and shred with two forks.