Spicy Mexican Chicken Tacos

Servings: 10-12

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 20oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canned chipotles in adobe sauce, minced 
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • optional: serve on tortillas, topped with chopped tomatoes, feta, cilantro, sour cream, salt and pepper.

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine crushed tomatoes, chipotle peppers, garlic, honey, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and salt.
  2. Add chicken and spoon over sauce.
  3. Cover and cook on low about 6-8 hours, until chicken can be shredded easily.
  4. Shred the chicken and mix well. 
  5. Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro. Add additional seasonings to taste.
  6. Add optional toppings.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Creamy Italian Sausage, Gnocchi & Kale

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz. kale, chopped
  • 16 oz. potato gnocchi
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook and break apart sausage until cooked through (about 6 minutes). 
  2. Drain sausage and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Over medium heat, in the same pan, add onions and sauté about 4 minutes, or until translucent.
  4. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  5. Stir in chicken broth, milk, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. 
  6. Add in kale, cover skillet and let steam until wilted (about 2 minutes).
  7. Stir in gnocchi and season with pepper. Cover and cook until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add cream, parmesan and cooked sausage. Serve warm with additional parmesan.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Ingredients

Curry Sauce
  • cooking oil (canola)
  • 2 medium-sized onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsps ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, finely minced
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, diced
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 5 teaspoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • (optional) cayenne powder (see *notes)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, diluted in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • (optional) 1T butter
Chicken Katsu
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded and flattened to an even thickness
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten (dependent on chicken breast size)
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking oil, for shallow-frying (canola)
  • (optional) serve with white rice and/or garlic naan

Instructions

Curry Sauce
  1. In a medium sized pan, sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until the onions become soft.
  2. Stir in chili pepper and diced carrot. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Spoon in the curry powder and stir until onions, garlic, ginger, pepper, and carrots are well-coated with the powder.
  4. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, honey, and soy sauce. If you want to add more heat, add cayenne powder to your preference level (see *notes).
  5. Simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in cornstarch that’s been diluted in water, and continue stirring until sauce thickens or until it reaches desired consistency.
  7. Turn off heat, option to add butter here, whisk until butter has melted.
  8. You can leave it as is. But for a smooth consistency, just simply use an immersion blender or use a blender.
  9. Set aside until needed.
Chicken Katsu
  1. Place flour (that’s been seasoned with salt and pepper), egg, and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls and arrange them in a row.
  2. Preheat oil in a cast iron skillet between 300-350F (if using canola oil).
  3. Lightly season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  4. Coat one chicken breast at a time with flour, then drench it in your beaten egg, and lastly, coat well with breadcrumbs.
  5. Shallow-fry chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides and cooked all the way through, total of 8 minutes. Make sure internal temperature has reached 165F. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  6. Slice the chicken breast into strips, serve on a plate on or over rice, drizzle over the curry sauce, and garnish with green onions or parsley. Option to include garlic naan.

*Notes:

*In Japan, Chicken Katsu Curry can be ordered at different spice levels. Often you will be asked if you want a spice level of 1-5. Ask for a spice level 5, and you will get “the look” the you are crazy, no you don’t want a level 5, because you can’t handle it. If you want to add heat in this recipe to your preferred level, increase the level of spice with more chili’s or simply add cayenne powder one teaspoon at a time.

Thanks to the recipe which inspired me here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

While my husband served in the US military, we spent two years living in Okinawa, Japan. One of my husbands takeout favorites was a Japanese chicken curry dish called Chicken Katsu Curry. I have never been much of a fan of ordering out, so he would often pick this up for lunch. While I only tried the dish once, I remember the flavors well.

Cooking this curry recipe at home was a wonderful experience. The aromatics of the onion, ginger, and garlic are so inviting and once the curry powder is added to the mix, your house will be filled with yummy smells for at least the next twelve hours. The key is to blend up the curry smooth and to get a good crispy texture on the exterior of the chicken, while keeping the inside moist. Serve with a side of white rice and garlic naan to soak up all the curry goodness.

Asian Spiced Salmon w/ Baby Bok Choy & Shiitakes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1T rice vinegar
  • 1T honey
  • 1T pure sesame oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1T fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2t sambal oelek (hot chili sauce)
  • 4 (6oz) salmon fillets
  • 8 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps halved
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2T toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Mix together soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and sambal oelek in a large zip lock bag. Add salmon and turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, set racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Pull salmon from bag but make sure to save marinade for the vegetables. Place salmon in center of one prepared baking sheet.
  4. Add bok choy to the marinade, toss until coated and then arrange the bok choy around the salmon in a single layer (save marinade).
  5. Add mushrooms and cabbage to marinade and toss to coat. Spread vegetables on the second prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
  6. Place salmon on top rack and cabbage-mushroom mixture on bottom rack. Roast about 15 minutes until salmon is just opaque in center and vegetables are tender.
  7. Sprinkle salmon with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with vegetables and optional white rice.

Thanks to the original recipe found in Family Meals.

Sausage, Apple, & Cranberry Stuffed Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 med/large butternut squash
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 3 cups kale chopped
  • 1 medium apple, chopped (honeycrisp or pink lady)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° degrees F and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut open each butternut squash lengthwise so you have 4 long halves. Scoop out the seeds and strings, then drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Place halves face down on the baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until softened (check at 30 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook sausage into the skillet until almost done.
  5. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  6. Add in the fresh herbs and continue to cook for another minute.
  7. Stir in the kale, apples, and pecans, and cook for another minute or two until just softened.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the cranberries, and season the mixture to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
  9. Once the squash is done, allow it to cool until you are able to scoop out the squash, leaving about 3/4” border around the sides and bottom.
  10. Stir the scooped out squash into the sausage mixture.
  11. Generously fill the sausage mixture into the squash boats.
  12. Place filled squash boats onto the the baking sheet and broil on high until the top of the stuffing and squash are golden brown, 2-4 minutes or so.  
  13. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

French Onion Soup

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 lbs yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 lbs red onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • baguette, 8 diagonal slices (1/2-inch)
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Instructions

  1. Scatter butter on the bottom of a 6-7 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add oil, thyme, garlic and bay, then onions.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.
  5. When 15 minutes remain, prepare cheese toasts and broth.
  6. Position rack in upper third of oven. Prepare a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking oil. Lightly oil bread slices and top with cheese.
  7. Add beef broth and dry sherry to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  8. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the slow cooker and pour in the broth. Continue cooking on high for 10 minutes.
  9. Broil cheese toasts on high for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.

Thanks to the original recipe found in EatingWell Soups (pp. 182).

COOKING TIPS

To reduce tearing while cutting the onions, refrigerate whole onions for 30 minutes before slicing.

For a more cheesy soup. Ladle soup into oven safe bowls, top with preferred amount of cheese, and broil until cheese has slightly browned.

Sausage Stuffed Shells in Roasted Butternut Squash

Makes 3-4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • Additional parmesan, shredded
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat. When sausage is mostly browned, add spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat. 
  5. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor or large bowl. Puree with processor or immersion blender.
  6. Stir in milk and vegetable broth.
  7. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9×13 baking dish.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Add sausage and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.
  9. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling.
  10. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9×13 baking dish.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered.
  12. Option to serve with additional parmesan.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peeled butternut squash, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 strips of turkey or regular bacon
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 8oz pasta, any type
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup provolone, shredded
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions

Squash, Bacon, & Onions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare two oven safe cooking trays with foil. 
  3. Spray one pan with cooking spray and spread cubed butternut squash evenly over pan. Top with garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, place bacon onto the second prepared pan and set a second timer for 10 minutes. 
  6. After 10 minutes check the bacon. Continue cooking bacon in 5 minute increments until bacon is brown and crisp, but not burnt. 
  7. Allow bacon to cool on paper towels and then crumble.
  8. While bacon cools, spray a medium sized pan with cooking spray (or coat pan with bacon grease) and cook onions on medium low until translucent.
Pasta & Sauce
  1. When squash is browned and done baking, increase oven temperature to 450F.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente, drain.  
  3. Meanwhile combine flour and a pinch of salt in a dutch oven, over medium high heat. 
  4. Slowly add milk while constantly whisking. Continue stirring until sauce comes to a low boil, cooking an additional minute until slightly thickened. 
  5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in provolone cheese until melted. 
  6. Add cooked squash, bacon, and onions to pasta and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 10 minutes. 

Thanks to Cooking Light Comfort Food  for the original recipe! (p. 212)

Fall Chicken Dinner

Makes 5 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary, minced
  • 5 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into 3/4″ cubes (skin on)
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 medium fuji apples, cored and sliced into 3/4″ pieces
  • 2 shallot bulbs, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 4 slices hickory smoked bacon, chopped 1″ pieces
  • Garnish with 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and herbs into a gallon size resealable bag. 
  3. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper then seal bag and massage mixture over chicken while working to evenly distribute herbs. Set aside and let rest while chopping veggies.
  4. Place sweet potato, brussels sprouts, apples and shallot on a rimmed extra large baking sheet. 
  5. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil then toss to evenly coat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread into an even layer.
  6. Set chicken thighs over veggie/apple layer.
  7. Sprinkle bacon on top. 
  8. Roast in preheated oven until chicken and veggies are golden brown, about 30 – 35 minutes (chicken should reach 165 degree F). Option: Broil during last few minutes for a more golden brown crispy skin.
  9. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve warm.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

I became enlightened about one pan meals with this recipe. I had tried several one pan meals before, but none had compared to this one. This is literally fall on a plate.

Not only was it simple to cut everything up, but it’s all on one pan (which makes for easy clean up) and quick! Exactly what you need when the kids are heading back to school and new activities are starting to take up any time you may have had to prep for dinner.

The start of every fall, I kick things off with this meal. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Lasagne Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb hot sausage, ground
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz container chicken broth
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
  • 6 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the sausage, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Stir occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. 
  4. Add the noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring to break up the noodles for 10-12 minutes. Check to make sure noodles are cooked.
  5. Remove from the heat. Stir in mozzarella, basil, and Parmesan.

Serve With

Italian Salad and/or Garlic Bread

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

There are a lot of things I could say about this recipe, but mainly I would like to share that it is a hit with everyone. When I was watching my calories and still craving Italian food, this was one of my favorite dishes. I still make this recipe at least twice a month in the cooler months because it is quick and warms the soul.

During a period of time when my husband and I were transitioning out of the military, we stayed with my family. I made this meal for them and it became a family favorite. My father requested it often and my younger sister asked me to teach her how to make it.

Feel free to add your own spin to the recipe or make it as is and hopefully it will become a family staple.