healthy chicken and bell peppers with goat cheese

Hi, everyone! Happy Thursday! Hope your week is thrumming along nicely. ūüôā

A little while ago,¬†I promised you this recipe that my mom made for dinner one night during our family reunion in Pittsburgh. Not only is it easy, healthy, and delicious, I love this recipe because it is full of flavor and easily customizable.¬†Don’t like goat cheese? Substitute feta or parmesan, or leave out the cheese altogether. Mom served it over orzo pasta; I like it best over quinoa. Whatever suits your fancy! This also makes great leftovers and heats up well. Hope you enjoy!

chicken and peppers

chicken & bell peppers with goat cheese

– 2 large chicken breasts, or a package of chicken tenders
– 1/2 cup flour
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 bell peppers; I like the combination of orange and yellow
– 1 small onion
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 1 small can tomato sauce
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– fresh basil, to taste
– goat cheese {or feta or parmesan, if you prefer}
– salt and pepper, to taste
– pasta or quinoa, for serving

1. Slice the bell peppers and onion into chunks and set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Pour the flour into a pie pan or shallow dish so it is an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. With your fingers, roll the pieces of chicken in the flour until they are evenly coated.

3. Pour the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, pour in the chicken and saute until cooked through. The flour will create a nice golden-brown crispiness. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

4. In the same olive oil, saute the bell peppers and onion for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic, and chicken. Cover and simmer on low.

6. Finely chop the basil. Just before serving, add the basil and goat cheese, to your taste.

7. Serve by itself, or over pasta, rice or quinoa.

Cheers! {We enjoyed this for Mother’s Day dinner, pictured below!}

mothers day

shrimp + sausage stew

Before I leave for my new adventure up north, I asked my mom to teach me how to make one of my favorite dishes of hers: shrimp + sausage stew! This soup is healthy, hearty, veggie-filled, and light enough that it works as well for dinner in the summer as it does in the winter. And turns out it’s not as tough to make as I would have guessed! Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

my mom’s shrimp + sausage stew
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 lb potatoes {my mom uses Yukon golds}
– 3 carrots
– 2 tsp minced garlic
– 1 medium onion
– 1 pkg {approx. 4-5 links} Italian-style chicken sausage
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– 2 tbsp flour
– 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
– 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1/2 cup chopped parsley

1. Scrub the potatoes. Peel the carrots. Thinly slice the potatoes, carrots and onions. {According to my mom, this is the most intensive step of the entire recipe!}

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and saute the minced garlic, potatoes, onions and carrots. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper to your own taste. {Side note: your kitchen will smell AMAZING!}

3. Cook potato mixture for 15-18 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp-tender. You might have to keep stirring fairly frequently to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan. {If needed, you can always add a little water or chicken broth to unstick.}

shrimp stew 1

4. In a separate pan, cook the sausage over medium heat, turning occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Once the sausage is fully cooked, remove from pan and allow to cool on a paper towel before slicing.

sausage

5. Sprinkle flour over potato-and-veggie mixture. Add chicken broth and sausage. Bring to a boil.

stew cooking

6. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 5-8 more minutes.

7. If needed, clean and de-vein the shrimp!

shrimp

8. Add shrimp, cover and simmer 3-4 more minutes, until the shrimp are pink. {Mom’s tip: be careful not to overcook the shrimp!}

stew finished

9. Top with chopped parsley and serve. Ta da!

Optional: In my house, we love to serve this stew with freshly baked corn muffins! Yum!

corn muffins

Hope your weekend is filled with rest, relaxation, sunshine, and of course delicious eats! ūüôā

What do you have on tap for this weekend?

—-

if you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:
potato, sausage & veggie bake
california white chicken chili & corn muffins
blended cauliflower and potato soup

easy sausage, veggie & potato bake

Happy Thursday! I thought I would share a simple recipe with you today that my mom showed me back when I was home for Christmas. {Hard to believe that was a month ago!} It’s perfect for a cold winter night when you want to make something healthy and hearty — and an extra bonus is that it comes together really quick!

sausage potato veggie bake

easy sausage, veggie & potato bake

– 1 package of your choice of sausage {i like turkey sausage or chicken sausage}
– 1 medium onion
– 1 red bell pepper
– 1 green bell pepper
– 3 cloves garlic, minced {i used 3 tsp of pre-minced garlic}
– 2-3 lbs of small red potatoes {depending on your amount of potato love}
– 1 cup chicken broth {i like the low-sodium kind}
– salt & pepper to taste

1. Quarter the potatoes. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until soft.

2. Brown the sausage in a skillet until cooked through.

sausage

3. While sausage and potatoes are cooking, roughly chop up the veggies. Combine in a big bowl with the garlic until well-tossed.

pepper and onion

4. Once potatoes are cooked through, drain the water.

potatoes

5. Once sausage is cooked through, transfer to a cutting board and slice into pieces.

6. In a glass baking dish, combine veggies, potatoes and sausage. Pour chicken broth over mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until veggies are tender.

8. Serve plain or over rice! I like serving this dish with corn muffins.

What are your plans for this upcoming weekend? Mike and I are going to have a quiet night in tomorrow — I’m looking forward to cuddling up on the couch with a movie! {Looking to save money on date night? I compiled a list of some of my favorite strategies here.}

Till soon!
-Dallas

MPM-Winter

**This post is a part of Menu-Plan Monday!

cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope your week is going great!

I’m excited to share this quick & healthy dinner recipe with you today: I adapted this recipe from LaaLoosh¬†and made it a little heartier by adding chicken. {Her post lists it as a side dish; Mike and I ate it as a main dinner dish.}

cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 cups fat free vegetable broth
  • a 4oz can green chiles
  • 2 tbsp lime juice {I used the juice of one lime}
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional:¬†1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped {I did not use a jalapeno because I am a wimp when it comes to spicy things, but I’m sure it would be tasty if you’re feeling daring!}

1. Spray a pot with non-fat cooking spray and set over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, chicken and garlic and sauté until tender and fragrant, about 7-8 minutes. {If mixture sticks to the pan, add in a bit of the broth to deglaze.}

2. Stir in chiles and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add in quinoa and remaining broth and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed {about 25 to 30 minutes.}

5. Add in remaining ingredients and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.

This smelled SO good cooking! Mike and I were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of our bowls before we began to eat. All I have for you is a picture of the meager leftovers in a Tupperware container, ready to go into the fridge for lunch the next day.

quinoa

You’ve just gotta trust me … it was delicious!!

This recipe is definitely a make-again for us! And with the mix of quinoa and chicken, it’s a healthy dish that will also keep you satisfied — perfect to get a healthy start on the new year.

What are some of your favorite healthy yet hearty recipes?

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
chicken & quinoa salad
honey-lime chicken enchiladas
crock-pot chicken w/black beans & corn

This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday!

MPM-Winter

marvelous monday: apple-banana oatmeal muffins

You know how much I love muffins, especially healthy, hearty and delicious muffins that will get your day off to a marvelous start! Here’s another recipe that I found and tweaked slightly to make it more nutritious. I will be enjoying for breakfast all week and I hope you like it, too!

apple-banana oatmeal muffins
{recipe adapted from this one at Rock Recipes}

– 1 & 1/2 cups oatmeal
Р1 cup  whole wheat flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2/3 cup milk {I used soy milk, but any kind will do!}
– 1/4 cup applesauce {I used no-sugar-added}
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 1 ripe banana, mashed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper wrappers.

2. Peel the banana and mash it until the biggest lumps are out.

3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, applesauce, milk and vanilla. Set aside.

4. In a different bowl, mix together oatmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing well.

6. Add in the banana. If batter is too thick, add more applesauce.

7. Spoon batter into muffin tins until they are about 3/4 of the way full.

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.

These muffins are SO good served warm! Inspired by Julie at the blog Peanut Butter Fingers, I topped mine with some dark chocolate peanut butter for a healthy breakfast that tasted decadent. It’s the perfect way to get an ordinary day off to a special start!

You can download a printable version of this recipe here: apple banana oatmeal muffins.

Have a marvelous day! ūüôā
-Dallas

easy honey-lime chicken enchiladas

Tired of turkey leftovers? I was in the mood for Mexican food tonight, and when I saw this recipe for a honey-lime marinade for chicken, I was inspired! I turned it into a crock-pot recipe, added some diced onion and bell pepper, tortillas and cheese and green tomatillo sauce, and made honey-lime chicken enchiladas. They turned out del-i-ci-ous, and SO easy!

I made a small batch since it’s just Mike & me, but you could easily double or even triple this recipe to feed a bigger family. These enchiladas heat up great as leftovers and even freeze well for later meals.

honey-lime chicken enchiladas

– 2 large chicken breasts
– 2 tsp minced garlic
– 1/3 cup honey
– 1/3 cup lime juice
– 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 1 small onion, diced
– 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
– 3 wheat tortillas
– 1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
– 1 small can green enchilada sauce

1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock-pot. Add chicken broth, honey, and lime juice, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

2. Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in a little olive oil over low heat for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add ingredients to crock pot mixture and cook for another 1-2 hours.

3. The chicken mixture is done when chicken is fully cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. If needed, take off the lid and turn heat to high for the final 15-20 minutes of cooking.

4. Turn off crock-pot and use a knife and fork to pull apart/shred the chicken.

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 glass baking pan by pouring about 1/3 of the can of enchilada sauce into the pan to coat the bottom.

6. Fill each tortilla with the shredded chicken mixture and a spoonful of enchilada sauce. Roll and lay into the pan. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce evenly over the tortillas and top with cheese.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is fully melted and edges of the tortillas are a little crispy.

I served mine with brown rice and broccoli for a filling, healthy and delicious meal!

What are some of your favorite post-Thanksgiving, non-turkey meals? {Actually, this recipe would probably work well with turkey, too, now that I think of it!} ūüôā

Hope you’re having a great week!
-Dallas

pumpkin week: savory {and easy!} pumpkin & kale stew

Whew, what a night! After a whirlwind election day, I was in the mood for something simple for dinner.  When I saw this recipe for savory pumpkin and kale stew on one of my favorite cooking blogs The Pajama Chef, I thought it would be the perfect dish to try as part of my pumpkin week series!

I must admit, I had never had pumpkin soup before and was a little skeptical, but after reading Sarah The Pajama Chef’s rave reviews, my curiosity won out and I decided to try out the dish myself!

This soup turned out absolutely delicious. It’s hearty thanks to the chicken and veggies, creamy thanks to the pumpkin and dash of cream, and very flavorful. It just tastes like autumn — warm and comforting. And it’s super healthy with the kale, carrots, and Vitamin-A-filled pumpkin!

{Here is my recipe, modified a little from the one I found on The Pajama Chef}

ingredients:

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 small onion, diced
– 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– freshly ground black pepper
– 4 cups chicken broth
– 1 & 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
– 2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
– 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
– 3-4 leaves kale, chopped {about 2-3 loosely packed cups}
– 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
– 2 tablespoons half and half

1. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic, and season with black pepper. Saute for about 5-6 minutes or until soft and translucent.

2. Next, add chicken broth, pumpkin, black beans, chicken, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir until combined, then cover and bring to a boil. {Sarah’s original recipe includes adding a can of stewed tomatoes as well, which I’m sure would be delicious. I took the tomatoes out of my recipe because Mike is allergic.}

3. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add kale and sage, and cook for another minute or two.

5. Stir in half and half and serve immediately.

This meal was a winner for me and I will definitely be making it again! And I’m already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. ūüėČ

What are some of your favorite stew and soup recipes? Have you ever made pumpkin or butternut squash soup?

Till tomorrow,
-Dallas

—————————

– Time: about 30 mins
– Cost: less than $10

crock-pot chicken & veggie stew

Confession: I used to be afraid of crock pots.

It sounds silly, I know. I guess crock pots just sounded too good to be true! Throw a bunch of food in a crock pot, turn it on, go to work all day, then come home and dinner is ready? Are you sure there isn’t a catch?

I was worried about leaving something on all day in the kitchen without anyone being home. Isn’t that dangerous?

“No,” my mother told me. No, said the blogs and resources I scoured online.

“Why don’t you try it?” Mike encouraged me. He could tell I was wanting to make the leap into crock-pot cooking ever since I glimpsed the beautiful 4-quart brand-new crock pot his mom had bought him that he’d never taken out of the box.

A new era has dawned in our tiny apartment kitchen. Today I took that baby out of the box, rinsed the pot and lid with soap and water, and plugged it in. For my first crock-pot attempt, I tried something simple: chicken & veggie stew.

This recipe could not be easier or quicker. It took me ten minutes to prepare as I rushed to get ready and out the door for school this morning. Here is the recipe I used; you could easily substitute other veggies based on your preferences or what happens to be in your pantry.

crock-pot chicken & veggie stew

– 3 or 4 chicken breasts
– 1 medium-sized sweet potato
– 2 carrots
– 2 celery stalks
– 1 can corn, drained
– 1 can peas, drained
– 1 can green beans, drained
– 1 can chicken broth
– 1 tbsp garlic or onion powder
– 1 tsp chili powder
– 1 tbsp parsley

1. Dice the potato. Peel and slice the carrots and slice the celery.

2. Dump veggies into the crock pot.

3. Add chicken breasts on top.

4. Pour chicken broth over everything.

5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

6. 30 minutes before serving, sprinkle chicken with garlic/onion powder, chili powder, and parsley.

All day long, I thought about dinner simmering at home in the crock pot. Whenever I worried about something catching fire and the apartment burning down, Mike reassured me it would all be okay. {If you haven’t guessed by now, I can be a bit of a worry-wort sometimes!}

When we returned home this evening and opened the front door, a delicious aroma greeted us. The stew turned out fantastic! Yummy, warm, healthy, hearty … and ready to eat as soon as we stepped inside. What a treat to have a homemade dinner waiting for us on the kitchen counter!

It’s official: I am a crock-pot convert. I can’t wait to try all sorts of new slow-cooker recipes and share them with you on this blog. Please chime in below if you have any recipes or links to share!

Here are some helpful slow-cooker tips that recently were shared on one of my favorite blogs, I’m an Organizing Junkie:

Do you use a slow cooker to prepare meals? What are some of your favorite crock-pot recipes? How do you save time when making dinner on a busy weeknight?

Have a wonderful day!
-Dallas

marvelous monday guest post: energy-packed peanut-butter breakfast cookies

Just like a calm, organized and productive morning can set a great tone for the rest of your day, a marvelous Monday helps set the tone for a marvelous week! Personally, the more “together” I feel on Monday, the more prepared I feel to tackle all the projects I want to get done over the week. And what better way to start your Monday off on a marvelous note than with a yummy, healthy and energizing breakfast? I’ve got a recipe for you today that I promise will do just that!

I am so excited to share a guest post with you today: a recipe from my wonderful cousin Julie! I tried making these over the weekend and I’m looking forward to eating them for breakfast all week. YUM! ‚̧

Here’s what Julie has to say about this delicious and healthy recipe:

“I’ve tried many variations on these cookies — by substituting different nuts and dried fruits, adding some shredded coconut, swapping a teaspoon of honey for some of the sugar, etc. — and they always come out delicious! These make a good hearty breakfast, but if you don’t like too much sweetness early in the morning, they are also great as an afternoon snack or a healthy dessert.”

peanut-butter breakfast cookies

{makes one dozen cookies}
– 1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk
-1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
-chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and oatmeal to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat egg into sugar. Add peanut butter, powdered milk, raisins, and chocolate chips/nuts/oatmeal.

3. Spoon onto greased cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes.

You can make the dough ahead of time, keep it refrigerated, and make up as many or as few as you want at one time. {Making the dough the night before and popping a few in the toaster oven in the morning makes for a quick and tasty breakfast!}

Hope you enjoy! And thanks again Julie for sharing this recipe with us today!

————
Time: 20 minutes {including bake time}

Cost: less than $5.00