Simmered Tuscan Chicken

Lots of vegetables make this simple chicken dish a one pot meal and comfort food all at the same time.

This is one of those easy dishes that is chock-full of veggies and the whole family eats.  In fact, my youngest (8) gets 2-3 servings every time I make it and it is the only dish in which she eats green beans.  She doesn’t even blink twice, just scarfs them down.  The veggie hating husband picks out his green beans, but there are still potatoes, tomatoes and lots of bell peppers for nutrition in there.

Simmered Tuscan Chicken - DailyRation.net

I am going to apologize now for the less-than-great-quality photos.  I somehow accidentally deleted my pics for these.  I swear that delete button is right next to the rename button and it makes things disappear so easily.  🙁  I ended up having to pull these from my Instagram feed, which I don’t know how to do other than to take a screen shot.  Screen shots aren’t the highest quality images out there. 

This does take an hour to make, but a lot of that is simmer time.  There’s plenty of time to clear off the table and throw a side or two together while this is going.  Maybe switch the laundry and water the garden too.

First thing, cut your chicken breasts up and start them sauteing in olive oil in a large skillet with a lid or a wide shallow pan.  While that’s going, start chopping those vegetables.  Look at all those colors!

veggies for simmered tuscan chickenOnce the chicken is lightly browned, you add some garlic and then add the red potatoes (I love not peeling potatoes!) and the bell peppers.  Work on something else for about 5 minutes while these are softening a bit.  Then add in canned Mexican style tomatoes and the cut up green beans.   I used haricot verts here.  They’re so tender.  Then reduce heat to medium and cover.  Let it go for about half an hour.  When the chicken is all the way done and the potatoes are tender you are ready to serve. 

You can dish this up in a bowl with the liquid- almost like a stew, or scoop it with a slotted spoon like I did here to plate with sides. 

simmered tuscan chicken

It just occurred to me that this could be a one pot meal.  It has carbs, veggies and meat.  Nothing else needed!

Simmered Tuscan Chicken
Serves 4
Chicken and lots of veggies make this a very healthy comfort food dish.
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  3. 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. 5 large red potatoes, cube
  5. 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  6. 1 28 oz can Mexican style stewed tomatoes (or two 14 oz cans)
  7. 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  8. 1 Tablespoon butter
  9. 1 teaspoon dried basil
  10. 12 oz haricot vert or green beans, cut into 1"-2" pieces
  11. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, saute the cubed chicken in olive oil until lightly browned. Add garlic and saute one more minute.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the other vegetables. Add in potatoes and bell peppers when the chicken and garlic are ready. Stir and cook about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add in canned tomatoes, herbs, butter and green beans. Stir to combine and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. When the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender it is ready to enjoy.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
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Easter Pins I’ve Made

What’s on my Easter Pinterest board? Not your standard ham! Cocktails, desserts, bunny rolls and more!

I’ve been roaming Pinterest to see what I’ve pinned for Easter ideas.  There’s always too much to choose from! I ended up having to create an entirely new Pinterest board dedicated to Easter.

Here are the favorites I’ve narrowed it down to so far.  I’m staying away from the main dish as everyone seems to have their traditional ‘must make’ main dish.  Side dishes tend to be a bit more changeable.

And by the way, you can find the link for these and more Easter items (cocktails, decorations, etc…) on my Easter Food Pinterest Board.  You can also click on the hyperlinks in the post.

Pinterest Easter Food Board

This Chilled Spring Pea Soup from Just A Little Bit of Bacon could be a first course for a fancy brunch or served on its own. 

chilled spring pea soupAnd these cute fruit shapes from Living Locurto would be great for kids!

Easter Shaped FruitSpeaking of cute bunny shaped food, these bunny shaped rolls from Plated Cravings look way easier to make than I would have thought.

Easy Easter Bunny RollsI must be on a bunny kick, because what do bunnies eat?  Carrots!  And these honey garlic roasted carrots from Carlsbad Cravings look sooooooo good.

honey garlic roasted carrotsHow about dessert?  These pistachio cookies are a change from the normal, but the pastel green totally fits Easter.

pistachio cookiesAnd these carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting from Two Sisters Crafting look to die for!

carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frostingJust a disclaimer – I have not tried any of these yet, just thought I’d share what’s jumping off the screen at me lately. 

Menu Plan Monday – The First Week of April

This is Spring Break for my kids, so the breakfasts are a little more extravagant than normal.  I’ve also had to back off how many times I assign leftovers to lunches.  My kids and hubby prefer leftovers to sammies, but they’re eating more.  I need to start making larger recipes and doubling recipes.  My son officially (as of today) has bigger feet than I do.  He eats a lot. 

Here’s the quick and dirty menu for the week:

menu plan april

What’s on your menu for the week? 

Menu Plan Monday – The End of March 2017

A quick and simple menu plan for this crazy busy week!

I could swear March just started!

I haven’t been great about sharing my menu plans.  I’m trying to get better at it.  This is a busy week so you’re going to see some shockingly unhealthy convenience dinners.  (Gasp now and get it over with).

Menu Plan end of March

And that’s the short and simple version of our food this week. 

I’d love to know what type of menu features you’d like to see!  Leave a comment if you like plans that included different types of meals or information (ex, Whole30, how I plan, etc…).

Creamy Avocado Ranch Dip

This is not only yummy with chips or veggies, but makes a great sandwich spread as well! 

This is one of those dump it, blend it, chill it dips that are a cinch to make.  And it can be made a day ahead so it’s great for party planning too!

Creamy Ranch Avocado Dip
Serves 4
Fresh lime and herbs make this avocado dip a step above your normal guacamole! In addition to a great dip, this makes a fabulous sandwich spread in place of your normal condiments.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe avocados
  2. 1 cup sour cream (can substitute Greek yogurt if you like)
  3. ¾ cup mayonnaise
  4. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1/3 of a bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons lime juice
  7. 1 Tablespoon dry ranch seasoning mix
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the avocado in half, take out the pit, and scoop the avocado meat out of the shell.
  2. Place the avocado and all other ingredients into a food processor.
  3. Blend until combined well. It should be smooth and creamy.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use, one hour or up to 2 days.
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Cheesy Chicken Flatbread with Mushrooms and Bacon

This quick and simple meal or snack is ready in less than half an hour. Cheesy chicken flatbread with bacon and mushrooms uses frozen Naan to make a quick meal.

This is one of those things you can throw together really quickly if you have leftover chicken to use up.  Frozen Naan bread and a few staple ingredients paired with just a few minutes in the oven make a great, versatile, meal or snack.

 

All you need is:

Frozen Naan bread

leftover chopped chicken

cheddar and Gouda cheeses

sliced mushrooms

cooked crumbled bacon

 

The Simple Assembly:

You can use whatever amounts of these you like.  If you love mushrooms, layer them on thick.  If you don’t like bacon (what?!) just leave it out.  Don’t have leftover chicken?  These would be great with the just the cheeses, mushrooms and bacon. 

Just put the Naan on a baking sheet and set the oven to whatever temperature the package directs you to. 

Throw the Naan in and bake according to package directions.  Then layer the ingredients on top, finishing with the cheeses.  Put it back in the oven until the cheese melts. 

It’s ready to eat that quickly.  Seriously, less than 20 minutes.

 

Sweet Beet Sparkler

So I made this new juice yesterday and asked my kids if they wanted to try it.  My youngest daughter (8) said, “Oh!  You made us a Valentine juice!”  It took me a minute to figure out why she thought that.  I haven’t been getting enough sleep so my mind is slow.

“Right!”  I said after a beat.  “I’m that fun mom that makes Valentine drinks!”  I’ll just let her think that. 😉  Truth is, it was just coincidence that this drink idea popped in my head on the way to the grocery store.  It happens to be red and it’s the day before Valentine’s Day.

beet juice

I’m not going to the effort to make a recipe card for this one.  It’s so easy.  It does require a juicer though.  Although I do have one friend with no juicer who drinks green juices every morning.  She just puts all her ingredients in a blender with water then strains them and squeezes the pulp through a mesh bag.   However you want to do it.

You should also know that I purchase my produce mostly in organic form.  So I scrub it well but don’t peel it.  (Except for the orange, I peel that) If you use non-organic veggies and fruits for this you will want to peel those beets and carrots. 

for the juicer

Here’s what you need:

1 medium beet, quartered (unless your juicer can take them whole)

1 large carrot cut in half

2 oranges, peeled

2 sweet apples, quartered

1 bottle unflavored sparkling water

 

That’s it!  Just juice it all.  Then fill a glass with ice.  Pour juice in one half to two thirds of the way up the glass (depending on how strong you want it) and top it the rest of the way with sparkling water.  Stir and enjoy.  And if your kids think it’s a special Valentine juice, you can add in a cute Valentine swizzle stick. 

Kale and Sausage Soup

This is one of those soups that I will make just for myself – not because no one else likes it – but because I don’t want to share.   I’ll get a whole pot going, then not tell anyone.  I’ll have it for lunch every day until I run out of it.  It’s hearty enough for my winter appetite and chock full of kale (and some other veggies) for a nutritional boost.

An added benefit is that it is fairly low maintenance.  In less than 30 minutes this can be on your table.  And there’s time in there to toast up some crunchy bread to go with it.

Kale and Sausage Soup
Serves 4
A hearty winter soup chock full of nutrition. Kale and sausage make this soup filling as well as warm.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  3. 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  4. 1 heaping Tablespoon minced garlic
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  7. 1 carrot, scrubbed and diced
  8. 1 large onion, diced
  9. 1 russet or gold baking potato, peeled and diced
  10. 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  11. 1 bunch kale, washed, stemmed and rough chopped
  12. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  14. 6 cups chicken broth - low sodium or homemade
  15. salt and pepper to taste
  16. shredded Parmesan for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot. When the oil is hot, crumble in the sausage and continue to break it apart with a wooden spoon while it cooks.
  2. When sausage is brown, add garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, carrot, onion, and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onions are soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in the tomato paste and cook another minute. Add kale, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add about half a cup of the broth and deglaze the pan. Then add in the rest of the stock.
  3. Bring it to a simmer and it bubble lightly for about 10 minutes.
  4. ladle into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Goes well with crusty bread.
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Creamy Carrot Thyme Soup

 

I don’t even know where to start with this soup.  Seriously.  It’s creamy sweetness in a healthy warm package.  It’s winter well-being and luxury rolled into one pleasant bowl.  It’s a balance between natural sweetness from carrots and almost caramelized onions, and savory with herbs and garlic.  It’s topped off with a velvety ranch whipped cream to add yet another layer of yumminess.  It’s adapted from a recipe on delish.com that I found on Pinterest.  I’ve made it 3 times to figure out the perfect blend of everything.

It starts with fresh from the garden carrots.  Just kidding.  While those would be fabulous, these are fresh from Trader Joes. 😉  Peel and chop, unless they’re organic (like these) and you can just scrub and chop.

carrots

Then dice a large onion and saute that in butter.

When the onions are beginning to caramelize, add the carrots in and let it go a bit more.add in carrots

 

After about 5 minutes the carrots will start to soften.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add some chicken broth or vegetable broth, a bay leaf and dried thyme and let it simmer until the carrots are mash-able.  It took me almost 30 minutes. 

add in broth

Let it cool just enough to blend in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree it. 

While it’s cooling you can make your whipped cream and store it in the fridge.  Just add your homemade ranch dressing to some whipping cream and whip until soft peak stage.

ranch mixI think I posted where I get my recipe for ranch in yesterday’s post.

Return the soup to the pan and gently reheat.  Then ladle into bowls and swirl in a dollop of the ranch whipped cream.

Creamy Carrot Thyme Soup
Serves 2
A warm and creamy carrot soup with a balance of naturally sweet and savory.
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Prep Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 large onion, diced
  3. 1 Tablespoon salt (you might need more depending on your broth)
  4. fresh ground pepper
  5. 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  6. 1 lb. carrots, scrubbed and diced
  7. 1 bay leaf
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  9. 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  10. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  11. 1 Tablespoons homemade ranch dressing mix
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in soup pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion. Stir and cook until onion is soft. Lightly salt and pepper.
  3. Add carrots to the onion and cook until the carrots are starting to soften and onions are caramelized. Put in garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  4. Gently pour in broth and bring to a simmer. Add thyme and bay leaf and cook until the carrots are mashable, anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on your stove and heat level.
  5. Meanwhile, put whipping cream in bowl with ranch dressing and whip until it reaches soft peak stage.
  6. When carrots are soft, taste and adjust salt and pepper. I have to add quite a bit of salt because I use homemade, non salted, chicken broth. Remove bay leaf.
  7. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture to your desired consistency, or let it cool slightly and use a blender. You might have to work in batches for the blender.
  8. Ladle into bowl and place a dollop of whipped cream on top. Swirl slightly into the soup.
Adapted from Delish.com
Adapted from Delish.com
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Slow Cooker Taco Soup -Day 5 of 30 Days of Soups, Stews, and Chilis

This is one of those soups that whole family enjoys because it can be customized by toppings.  It’s also a crock pot soup so it makes for an easy dinner.  I even prep my toppings in the morning while the meat is browning and put them in the fridge.  That way, at dinner time, everyone is eating in less than 10 minutes!

crock pot taco soupIt starts with browning some ground beef, then adding onions.  Beyond that you dump in a bunch of canned goods from the pantry and you’re set!

A note – I use my own ranch seasoning in this recipe.  I like the recipe for the dry mix from The Crafty Blog Stalker.  I make my actual ranch dressing from this mix slightly different than her version.  The dry mix, though, is something I’ve now used a couple of years.

 

Crock Pot Taco Soup
Serves 8
Crock pot taco soup is easily adaptable to varied tastes and is a cinch to make!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 can black beans
  4. 1 can kidney beans
  5. 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  6. 1 8 oz. diced green chiles
  7. 1 package taco seasoning mix (or your own mix)
  8. 2 Tablespoons dry ranch mix
  9. Toppings you like: shredded lettuce, corn chips, sour cream, grated cheddar, sliced olives, chopped green onions, hot sauce, etc...
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet. When almost brown, add diced onions and continue to saute until the onion is tender.
  2. Place the beef and onion mixture into a crock pot and add in the other ingredients, except the toppings.
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve with topping bar.
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