Monday, January 29, 2018

Sausage Lentil Soup...




How's the weather where y'all are?  It's been such a crazy winter here in Atlanta.  A snow before Christmas and then another snow two weeks ago.  NOT typical for our state at all!!!  

These cold days call for something warm and tasty to fill our families' bellies.  Eons ago, I shared a lentil soup recipe we really enjoy and it cooks up in the crock pot.  SIMPLE!!!  Today, I'm sharing yet another lentil soup recipe and this time it features hot Italian sausage- so SO good!!!


Sausage Lentil Soup

1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tsp salt
2 cups dry lentils
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp basil 
1 tsp oregano 
1 T parsley
1/4 tsp thyme

Using a dutch oven or stock pot, brown sausage.  Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat cover.  Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.  Serve each bowl with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  This makes 8 hearty servings. 





OH!!  And if you want something super tasty to serve with your soup, buy or make some french bread and serve it with this DEEEELICIOUS dipping sauce!!  Have you been to Carrabba's? They serve something very similar with their bread.  A change from garlic bread, but really really good!!!


Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/8 dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients except oil and lemon juice in a small food processor or coffee bean grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Chop until all ingredients are about the same size. Stir in oil and lemon juice. To serve, combine about 1 1/2 teaspoons spice blend to 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil on a small dish. Dip sliced bread in mixture. 


Y'all be sure and let me know if you try these out!!  Recipes on my blog are recipes that I REALLY make for my family. These are all meant to be made by YOU in YOUR kitchen for the people you love.  




Monday, January 22, 2018

Easy and Delicious Chicken Taco Salad...



There are probably a hundred ways to make taco salad.  This is just one version I serve my family and I think it's delicious! And it's a cinch, too, because I cook the chicken in the slow cooker.  Easy peasy!!!!



Chicken Taco Salad

-3 chicken breasts
-3 T taco seasoning mix (from store bought or homemade)
-romaine lettuce
-grated cheese of your choice
-tomatoes
-avocado
-cilantro
-pickled jalapeños
-sour cream
-salsa
-tortilla chips
-good squeeze of lime

Place 3 chicken breasts in the slow cooker that's been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle taco seasoning  mix on top of each chicken breast, add 1/4 cup water, and cook on low 7 hours or high 4 hours.  When done, remove from slow cooker and shred with a fork.  Then pile your plate with chopped lettuce, seasoned chicken, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, jalapeños (feel free to use fresh if you want, too!!!), sour cream, salsa, crushed tortilla chips, and squeeze the lime on top.  So SO good!!!  Whatever toppings each family member loves most will make each plate so tasty.


Tip: Make sure you have all ingredients chopped beforehand so that when it comes time to eat it's all just a matter of piling it all up on your plate.  YUM!!!






Monday, January 15, 2018

Beefy Enchiladas...





I'm sure I'm not the only one who LOVES Mexican food.  Am I right?  And I am also sure I am not the only one who can't afford to go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant every night, correct?  So why not give Mexican flavors a try at home?  

I have two enchilada recipes on my blog (Sour Cream Enchiladas and Chicken Enchiladas in Cream) and both are SO SO SOOOO good!!!  But WHERE'S THE BEEF?  (totally showing my age with that comment!!  Who else knows where that came from??) 

I've been making this Beefy Enchilada recipe since 2001!!!!  For the life of me, I cannot figure out WHY I haven't shared this before!  It's incredibly easy and, clearly, one we enjoy since I've been making it for so long.  

The recipe is from Quick Cooking with Karin Calloway and it looks like that cookbook can only be found used now.  :(  Karin is a chef and did weekly cooking tips and recipes at The Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, GA.  She also had a weekly spot on a local TV station sharing recipes.  Every recipe of hers I have ever tried have been so tasty!!!  

Hope y'all enjoy trying these enchiladas!  



Beefy Enchiladas
1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning (or make your own taco seasoning)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
8 fajita size flour tortillas
8 oz cream cheese (I prefer neufchatel- it's just creamier)
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (10 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

Brown ground beef and drain well.  Return to pan and add taco seasoning and green chiles and remove from heat.  

In the middle of a flour tortilla, spread 1 oz of cream cheese.  
Then carefully place 1/4 cup of the beef mixture down the center of the tortilla and roll up. Place in the prepared 9x13 pan.  Repeat with remaining tortillas. 

Pour tomatoes and enchilada sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  

Remove foil after 30 minutes and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Makes 4-6 servings.  








Monday, January 08, 2018

How to Menu Plan...

(image found here)


I did not fully appreciate all that my mom taught me while growing up.  Nor did I truly appreciate all the things she did that I simply watched her do and learned by her example.  One such example is menu planning. 


I remember watching her on Friday nights. She'd get some paper and pen and sit down in her favorite chair, turn on a TV show, and start writing down her grocery list to be shopped for the following day.  My sweet dad always went on Saturdays and got whatever my mom had written on her list for him to buy.  I will admit to truly wishing she'd write down 5 boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts or several boxes Lucky Charms cereal, but somehow neither ever appeared on her lists.  :)


She started by listing the days of the week like this...





... and beside each day she listed a dinner idea.  Now that did NOT mean that we would have what was listed on each day on THAT particular day. It just showed her what was available to cook that week.  For example, the above list shows Ham and Black Bean Soup for Monday.  We had it on Thursday because it ended up being easier on my schedule this particular week.  


After making the menu out, my mom would then list all that she needed to prepare each dish.  Then she'd add in stuff needed for breakfasts and lunches, as well.  Here in our home, we eat leftovers or simple sandwiches for lunch. Our breakfasts are eggs or oatmeal of some kind of homemade muffin or pancakes.


After the menu is made, she would go to her pantry (well, I think she USUALLY did this... Mom, if you're reading this, please correct me!!!) and if she found she already had an ingredient, she would scratch it off her list.  I do this and it works really well for me because who wants to end up with 8 cans of cream of chicken soup because you forgot to check and see if you already had it on hand?!?! (Yes, totally speaking from experience here!!!)



The end result looks something like this photo above.  Nothing fancy.  No beautiful handwriting needed.  Just a list of what is needed to feed your family for the upcoming week.  I personally shop every Saturday. Mr. U usually works on Saturdays, but if he is off on Saturday, I will make sure I get groceries on Friday so that we can have family time together.  :) 

(By the way, there are plenty of people who shop every two weeks or even once a month!!!)

After your list is complete, it's just a matter of heading to the store (or stores) to purchase what's needed.  I always head to Aldi first and then Publix to get whatever Aldi did not have that I needed.   This particular day, I also needed to stop at Sprouts for a few things (their coffee is THE BOMB!!!!!!).  Then I headed home, put away all the groceries, and sat back and relaxed knowing that our food was taken care of for the upcoming week.  

THANK YOU, Mom, for teaching me how to menu plan!!  I've met soooo many ladies who have no clue where to start and I am so sooo thankful for your example!!

If y'all have any questions, PLEASE feel free to ask!!  And if y'all have any ideas to share that work for you, please share that, too!!  

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