This is my easy, no-fuss, taco soup. Perfect for this fall weather! I was wanting to make something quick but hearty and warming to the soul and tummy. I had everything in my pantry but no meat! I suppose I could’ve doubled my beans and made it vegetarian. But luckily my game-cooking hubby happened to have some ground pheasant in the freezer! So I just substituted that for the ground beef or chicken I normally would’ve used. This recipe is very versatile and a good base to create your own flavors as well. You can add a can of Rotel instead of tomatoes, or use fresh tomatoes. You can use green bell pepper if you want to omit the jalapeño. You can basically pick and choose what you like and use this as a guide. Anyway you make it, it is bound to be a family favorite and a great go-to any night. Enjoy!
16 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
1 Cup whole corn kernels
1 Can roasted tomatoes, diced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
Taco Seasoning (recipe above)
2 Cups beef broth
Combine all the ingredients for the taco seasoning. Set aside.
In Dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot, heat the oil, then add the ground meat, breaking it up as you go until browned. Sprinkle some of the taco seasoning into the meat and stir.
Add the onions, peppers and tomatoes. Add remaining taco seasoning and stir until vegetables softened, about 5 min.
Add 3/4 of the black beans along with the beef broth. Bring to a boil then simmer about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the remaining beans 5 minutes before done to keep some texture. (Can add all the beans at once if you prefer softer beans). Season with more salt & pepper as needed.
Transfer to serving bowl then garnish with fixings of your choice: cheese, pickled jalapeños, sour cream, tortilla chips, lime juice, cilantro….virtually endless possibilities! (Add toppings like you would a taco!) Enjoy!
Can keep in fridge for 4 days or freeze in freezer container up to 6 months.
I was out of any ground meat in my fridge or freezer. My husband likes to cook a lot of wild game so he happened to have some ground pheasant in the freezer, which worked out perfectly and tasted very good! This recipe is fitting for any ground meat you have on hand.
I’ve been wanting to make homemade pot pie for months now, especially as the weather has been changing to cooler times. Plus, being stuck at home more lately just begs for comfort food time. I have seen several recipes for pot pies, even tried one from a Cooking Class we took through Zoom the day after Thanksgiving. Jeff as well has made a very tasty one using his wild Pheasant recipe which was very hearty and good. And while they all were delicious in their own right, when I found this curry recipe and tried it, I just KNEW this is the one for me.
This Curry Chicken Pot Pie speaks my soul language. Not only is it an easy recipe, but it is savory, warm, rich and has a delicate, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth crust that will keep you going back for more. This can also be used with leftover chicken that you’re not sure how to re-use. Just need 2 – 2 1/2 cups of the cooked chicken.
Another great plus, once cooled, you can wrap in plastic wrap and foil, pop in freezer and have a busy-night meal any night of the week, just minutes away in the microwave. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
1 Cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed (if frozen ok, will warm quickly)
1/4 Cup flour (plus more for pie crust)
1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth (low or no-sodium best)
1/2 Cup whole milk
1 Refrigerated pie crust
1 Egg, slightly beaten with 1 Tbsp water
**Will need 4 ramekins (I used 9-ounce ramekins and a small cast-iron skillet, but recipe is for 4 of those ramekins)
In large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp salted butter over medium heat. Add the chicken thigh cubes, sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper. Then, add other spices such as paprika, garlic salt, etc for even more flavor, if desired. Cook until browned and transfer to bowl; set aside.
In same skillet, add vegetable oil along with 6 Tbsp unsalted butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, curry powder, good pinch of salt and black pepper, stirring and cooking until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, stirring and cooking for 1 minute then add the carrots and peas. Add the flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock while whisking, then the milk, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the chicken and stir to combined. Transfer the curry chicken into the ramekins.
Lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll out the pie crust large enough to cut out 4 rounds to top the ramekins. Using the ramekins as a guide, cut a little larger than the ramekins then carefully transfer to top off the ramekins, pressing around the sides to seal the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut 3-4 slits on the top for venting. Brush the top with the egg wash and place ramekins on baking sheet.
Bake until crust is golden brown and inside is bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving (about 10-15 minutes). Divide up and add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter on top of crust just before serving.
You can always use rotisserie chicken if you’re not in the mood to cook the chicken yourself. Just pull apart the chicken (minus the skin) and chop to bite-size pieces.
If anyone knows me, knows how much I LOVE PASTA! Any pasta is good pasta in by book, so I am always looking for different ways to make all the different pastas out there. I’ve never used this noodle so it was new to me. I do prefer using Whole Wheat pastas whenever possible but that was not an option currently where I live. So if you have that available, use it to keep it even more healthy. I found this sauce is perfect with this noodle as it just nestles right into the textured pasta, keeping every bite tender and flavorful. Using chicken instead of beef does makes me feel more healthy eating it while still having that hearty feel to it. This Simple and Hearty Chicken Bolognese was inspired by Katie Lee on The Kitchen and it is a new Go-to pasta dish for me now! I saved a few servings and stuck them in the freezer (can freeze up to 6 months) to heat up on a busy night this upcoming winter. I cannot wait to eat it again! Enjoy!
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, plus some for serving
1 lb Ground chicken
1 large carrot (or 2 small), finely chopped
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp Red pepper flakes, optional
1 Bay leaf
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 Cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 Cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 Tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed to taste
1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Pound rigatoni
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, for serving
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cooking and breaking up with wooden spoon until a browned, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and onions, cook until tender, 7-10 min. Add in a the garlic and seasonings with bay leaf, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes to toast and brown a little on bottom of pot.
Stir in the white wine and cook for several minutes, until absorbed. Add the milk, stir constantly until cooked down and absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of water (to loosen up sauce). Stir to combine, cover and cook on medium-low for 45 min - 1 hr, stirring occasionally.
Before cooking time is up, cook noodles to “al dente” according to box directions (be sure to salt your water when it comes to a boil, about 3-4 tablespoons of kosher salt, before adding the pasta to the water). Transfer cooked pasta to sauce with slotted spoon and stir to combine. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water as needed if thinner sauce is desired. Garnish with parsley and serve with more red pepper flakes, if desired, and grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese on top. (I also like to drizzle a little olive oil over the top just to finish it off).
Our herb garden is in full bloom right now, so it is PESTO time! I absolutely LOVE Pesto on just about anything. It can be spread on toast, crostini, over fish, chicken or steak before cooking (to get a great crust) or after cooking, tossed with pasta or veggies, use it as a dip….there are just about endless ways to use it. Tonight we spread it over our Italian-Style Turkey Burger Sliders (pictures included) which gave it that extra punch of flavor we just love. Plus adding this flavor of Pesto to your food gives you a really great punch of flavor without having to use more salt, butter, mayo and other fatty condiments which we love but are not so good for our heart or waistline.
We did three batches today, but I’m sure more will be coming soon as our crop continues to flourish. First we made a basic Basil Pesto. From this, you can add many different flavors to make it your own. Secondly, we made a Basil-Lemon Pesto which had a great bite of brightness with the acidity that I cannot wait to try on fish. Thirdly, we made a Spicy Basil Pesto (featured photo) that we used tonight on our Italian Turkey Burger Sliders. I’m telling you, it took all the restraint I had not to eat the whole bowl just by itself. (variations of these pestos are at bottom in NOTES section).
With this recipe you can drizzle a layer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top then store it in an airtight container or small mason jar in the fridge for about a week until ready to use. If you want to freeze it for later, just be sure to omit the cheese until you have defrosted it to use it (the cheese will make it rancid when frozen with it). Hope you all enjoy this easy recipe!
I am a California girl, born and raised through most of my teenage years (therefore ALWAYS will be), so nothing says “home” like fish tacos to me. I crave them pretty often if I were to be honest about it. I absolutely LOVE them and cannot always get that same authentic taste here where I live now. Don’t get me wrong, there are great Mexican restaurants here that have their own versions, but there’s something about this recipe I finally found that just brings me back to the California beach waves and summertime. There’s something about it’s simplicity yet bold in flavors that make it so darn good. I’m sure there is a debate out there somewhere about how the fish should be cooked, breaded, etc. But personally, I like mine just seasoned well (no breading) then grilled or pan-seared and served up with all the fresh ingredients.
Not only are they easy to make (less than 30 min!) but also very healthy. Plus you can add whatever extras you want on top…cilantro, pickled red onion, fresh diced white onion, sliced radishes, avocado, slaw, spicy sauces…anything goes! (But to me, no matter what you add, a MUST is always a squeeze of fresh lime over each taco!). Yum!
Hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I have enjoyed them!
1 1/4 lb Mahi Mahi fillets (skinless) cut into 1 inch pieces (or any firm fish)
4 tsp Chili Powder (can use Mexican Chili Powder for more heat)
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Smoked Paprika (or regular is fine)
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp lime juice (juice of 1 small lime)
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
12 Corn Tortillas (store bought is just fine, recipe for homemade below)
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup sliced Green Onions
2 sliced jalapeños
Cilantro-lime cream sauce (recipe follows)
For the Marinade: mix together the chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion and garlic powders, salt, pepper, lime juice and olive oil. Toss with the diced fish in medium bowl to coat and let rest 15 min. Meanwhile, heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Place fish in skillet (discard marinade) and let cook until seared (2-3 min). Carefully turn each piece, searing other side another 2 min.
Using metal or wooden spatula quickly turn and toss in the pan until fish is seared on all sides a few more minutes (careful not to move around too much, just toss once or twice, enough to try and get all sides seared, but ok if some sides are not as dark), cooking a total of about 7-8 minutes.
Place fish in warm tortilla and top with favorite toppings.
Cilantro-Lime Cream Sauce: Mix together 1/2 c. Non-fat plain yogurt (or sour cream) with 1/4 c. Chopped cilantro, juice of 1 lime, pinch of salt, dash of cayenne pepper. Mix well and serve over tacos as desired.
Homemade Tortillas: Mix 2 cups masa harina flour (I used MASECA brand, pictured above) with 1 1/2 cups warm water by hand in large bowl for about 2 minutes, until you form a soft dough (adding a tsp of water at a time as needed, if dough is too dry and not coming together). Form 19 balls (about 1 ounce each) and cover with damp cloth to keep moist.
Place a dough ball between 2 sheets of parchment/wax paper and flatten into round shape by using heavy, cast-iron skillet to about 5 in diameter (or use tortilla press if you have one, of course). Continue same with each ball, until all pressed out. Heat griddle on med-high heat. Slowly peel top paper from tortilla, lay tortilla in one hand and peel other side off slowly. Carefully lay tortilla onto hot griddle and cook each side 30-45 seconds. Keep stack of tortillas warm in oven, wrapped in kitchen towel as you go; keep warm until ready to serve.
This was one of the many inspirations I had seen on Food Network, just about the time of “The Great Quarantine Days” (so I call them). I spent my weekends finding ways to come up with make-ahead meals that would be easy for not only myself for lunch, but also quick dinners for the family if the days became long and exhausting.
This recipe I made is absolutely delicious! And exactly what I needed on this long Monday. Totally quick. Totally easy. And Totally comforting. All I needed to do was bring it from freezer to fridge the night before, get home, heat it up and add freshly shaved Parmesan and fresh chopped Parsely. Of course, had to also broil some garlicky-Parmesan bread to sop up all that juicy yumminess. Or you can totally eat as is and it’s still perfectly scrumptious!! YES! This was one of my favorite make-ahead ever!
Easy for any busy mom or dad to do ahead (when you get a chance), then enjoy with just a few fresh items and a chilled glass of Rosé! Enjoy!
Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom stock pot over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, about 10 minutes, breaking into bite size pieces then remove to paper towel to dry. (Leave all the oil in pan!)
Add onions, peppers, oregano, rosemary, garlic to the hot oil and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth, beans and tomatoes, stir to combine. Return the sausage, bring to boil then reduce to simmer on low, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Stir in the kale, heavy cream and cider vinegar.
Taste and adjust salt, pepper and red pepper flakes as desired.
Serve immediately with some shaved Parmesan.
To freeze: Transfer to freezer safe containers, leaving some room at time for expansion. Allow to cool to room temperature, cover and label and enjoy over the next 6 months!
This Three Bean Salad is exactly what I need after a long day at work. No fuss. No cooking. But super tasty and super filling, and I feel so much better knowing I’m feeding myself some good, clean food! I try to keep some fresh ingredients on hand all the time, such as parsley, lemons, celery, but I didn’t have all the fresh ingredients I needed, so I just used dried herbs I still had in my pantry. (I had to dig around but I found them!) (Fresh herbs are definitely NOT essential during times like this, so skip the grocery store and make the best of what you have!)
The beans I used happen to be some that I always have in my pantry, but you can substitute with whatever beans you have. Same with the herbs, I happen to have Za’atar (because I love this spice blend) but any blends can be used, such as Jamaican spice, Southwestern spice, whatever your tastebuds desire.
Although this is a main dish to ME, it can definitely be a great side to any amazing protein you bake, grill or fry. Enjoy!
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans (white kidneys beans)
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 (15 oz) black beans
1 clove garlic
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp za’atar
Kosher salt (good pinch or two) and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 Tbsp dried mint (3 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
1 Tbsp dried tarragon (3 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
3 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
4 stalks celery, finely diced (including leaves)
1/2 red onion or 1 large shallot, finely diced
Drain and rinse all the beans, let dry as much as possible
In large bowl, grate the garlic then whisk in the honey, Dijon, vinagar, olive oil, zaatar, salt and pepper, lemon juice, dried herbs and 1 Tbsp of the fresh Parsley. Add the celery, onion and beans and toss well. Add the rest of the parsley and toss. Add more salt and pepper (or za’atar!Serve immediately or store in airtight container for 2-3 day.
*For the herbs, if you have fresh mint and tarragon, do the same as I described with parsley - chop 3 Tbsp each, add 1 Tbsp to base, then toss the rest in at the end after the beans have been added.
I think this is probably the easiest pizza sauce I have ever made. And one of the tastiest! Now, ideally, I’d love to have fresh basil and oregano to use, and yes, I have made the kind that takes some long cooking times, which was always very tasty! Unfortunately, staying “safer at home” in these unsure times really does mean that. So, I do. Everything I used I found right in my pantry and herb cabinet. I just used dried herbs and added some balsamic vinegar to balance out the flavors and give it a great depth of flavor. You can also add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for a little heat if you like. Best part is, there is NO COOKING involved! You can use it immediately for your pizza or pop it in the freezer for later use. Either way the taste is wonderful and perfect.
This recipe makes quite a bit sauce so I’ve found that I can freeze this into perfect serving portions and take out whenever needed. Just ladle it into a muffin tin and place in freezer for about 30 min (or until solid). Then place into large freezer bag for storing up to 3 months. (This is my own perfect portion for my pizzas, you make your serving size to your liking!) Use it for pizza, bread sticks (Recipe can be found on this site), or serve over meatball sandwiches, ravioli, or for whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!
1 tsp dried herbs, such as Italian Blend or Herbs de Provence
1 tsp dried or ground oregano
Place whole garlic cloves into a food processor (or blender) and chop to fine bits.
Add all the other ingredients and purée to desired consistency. Taste and add more salt, pepper or balsamic vinegar as needed. Use immediately or freeze for later.
To freeze, ladle into muffin tin. Place tin in freezer for about 30 minutes or until frozen
Use sharp knife to release each portion from tin. Place in freezer bag and label.
Any canned whole or crushed tomato will work, but I do have to say that I like using San Marzano tomatoes whenever possible. Their flavor is just another level up, but they can be hard to come by in my rural little town so I use regular ones as well, which is just fine!
I learned how to make this quick and easy pizza dough watching Bobby Flay some time ago. I love how easy and quick it is. PLUS, I just recently learned that I can freeze it! (For up to 3 months!) Yay! So with all that is going on right now…shortage of basic supplies, more home time with always-hungry kids and unpredictable work hours at the clinic, I decided to go ahead and make several batches to be ready any time we need a quick meal. One batch will make two (14-inch) pizza pies. You can, of course, quarter each half into individually sized pizzas. If you decide to freeze, just be sure to let it thaw in fridge over night, then let sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to shaping into your desired shape (round or rectangle).
Once shaped I like to brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with some California Garlic Salt. Bake the crust for about 5-7 min before adding toppings to make it a bit sturdier (in my opinion), it should be light and golden, not browned yet. Finish it in the oven until crust is golden brown and cheese is gooey, bubbly and toppings are cooked to your taste. For even more added flavor I melt butter with garlic powder and brush the edges at it comes out of the oven. Also, instead of flour on my baking sheet I use cornmeal, it give it much better texture. It’s delicious! The varieties of pizza are endless. I’ve included some pictures of pizzas I have made using this dough in the past. I’ll post about that at a later time. I hope this will at least give you a great start to make your own homemade pizzas with your loved ones now and later!
In a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt yeast on low until blended. While mixer is running, add the water and 2 Tbsp olive oil, mixing until dough form into a ball (if too sticky, add a little more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time). Dough should come together in uniform but just slightly tacky to the touch. Turn out onto floured surface and knead slightly until smooth, firm ball is formed.
Grease large bowl with the remaining olive oil, add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in warm area until it doubles in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto flour surface, divide into 2 equal pieces. If cooking now, cover each with a clean kitchen towel and let rest 10 min.
If you want to freeze, go ahead and brush the ball with a little olive oil and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in freezer for 15 min (called “flash freezing”). Then place dough into plastic bag in freezer until ready to use.
You can use All Purpose flour, by all means. I like Bread Flour because it has a higher gluten content, which yields a much crispier crust. The AP flour will be a more chewier crust. Either flour is just fine!