Saturday, May 19, 2018

Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentil Tortilla Soup

I am having a great time getting back into some of my favorite blogging events. The Soups Saturday Swappers is a fun group that posts the 3rd Saturday of each month with a different theme of soups. The theme for this month is: Go Meatless! Normally, I am a person that likes a chicken stock based soup, but I was excited to try something new. 

I found this recipe for Vegetarian Lentil Tortilla Soup, and it looked too yummy to pass up! I made a few adjustments to my version, and it was so fantastic. I get so pleased when I try something new, it is delicious, and I can share it with you. This recipe uses an instantpot, but it can easily be made in a slow cooker or even stove top. I made a few changes to the original recipe and thought the end product was perfect. The original recipe uses tomato sauce, and I opted for diced tomatoes and petite diced tomatoes. I also used a mild salsa flavor packet  versus the salsa verde because it was what I had on hand. I also increased the seasoning amounts in the garlic powder and chili powder.  If you are looking to try a vegetarian soup that is so hearty you will not even realize it is meatless than this is the soup for you. Another plus is that is cooks very quick if you use the instantpot- i'm talking under 30 minutes from start to plated. I, personally, can't wait for lunch today so I can  have another bowl!

This morning I am hearing to Pure Barre because they are giving us the info on the summer challenge starting in June! I love challenges so I am excited to find out all the details. Tonight, the boys are getting new photos taken since my most recent are when the boys were 3 (almost 4) and 8 months. Time to update because these little monsters have grown. My photographer has a flower stand and the kids are going to look so adorable for the themed shoot. Well...if they behave...we will see. Thankfully, the photographer has three little boys of her own so she gets it. I am planning to let the boys pick dinner after so we will likely be eating pizza for the gazillionth time....or maybe I can convince them to go for sushi....hmmmm.... Kellen will go for it, but it is my big boy that is not always a fan.

Have a great Saturday everyone! Check out the blog hop below for more Go Meatless Soups!

Ingredients

1 small white onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
1 tsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 envelope mild salsa seasoning (I use Concord Foods)
1 Tbl tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can pinto  beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn (fresh, canned, or frozen)
3/4 cup dried red lentils
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings:
Crushed Tortilla Chips
Salsa
Sour Cream
Cheese
Diced Avocado
Chopped Cilantro


Instructions

Place onion and both peppers into the instant pot with the olive oil. Set to saute mode and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften. Add remaining ingredients, besides the salt and pepper, stir, and set the pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, allow the pot to natural release for 10 minutes and then manually release the pressure.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.  Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings. 


Friday, May 18, 2018

Chili Lime Chicken Fajitas

Happy Friday friends!

I am ready for the weekend. Well, I am just ready to have all of the packing and organizing completed....so I suppose it does not really make a different weekend or not! Onward we go .... less than two weeks till we pack up close! Time is flying. 

Today I have a delicious recipe for Chili Lime Chicken Fajitas. A funny fajita story- when I was pregnant with Kellen any type of meat cooking in a cast iron that created a seared smell made me run for the hill. It was so random and unexpected. It also kept me out of Mexican restaurants for months! It is so strange how those things happen, and then leave after while and life (well food life) returns to some form of normalcy.  This recipe came together one afternoon when I was really wanting fajitas, not wanting to go out, and realizing that the boy had never tried them before! The chicken has a quick citrus and chili marinate, and comes together quickly for an easy kid friendly dinner. Kellen brought the leftovers to school for lunch, and produced some food envy! I like to use my cast iron skillet for this recipe because it gets the dark sear that give fajitas their  flavor. If you don't have cast iron a different pan will work just fine. We go pretty simple with our fajita toppings: lime wedges, cheese, and a little sour cream, but you can add anything that you wish. 

Tonight we are relaxing at home, and I have a spaghetti dinner request from Mr. Kellen. The weather is lovely, and I am hoping we can spend most of the evening outside! We are also hoping to get to the furniture store to pick out our new mattresses in hopes they can be delivered to our new place shortly after we close! Fingers crossed! 


Ingredients

2 pounds of chicken breasts sliced thin
2 1/2 Tbl of oil of choice
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder 
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp back pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime
1 1/2 Tbl oil of choice
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 bell peppers (any color), sliced thin
Salt and Pepper, to taste (optional)
1/4 tsp galic powder
Juice of half a lime


Instructions

Place chicken, 2 1/2 Tbl oil, spices, and juice and zest of 1 lime in a sealable bag.  Marinate in the fridge for at least two hours

One and a half tablespoons of oil heat cast-iron over medium high add peppers and onions season with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. Squeeze juice of half a lime over veggies add to hot pan and cook until tender allowed veggies to slightly scorch

Remove veggies set aside add to the skillet chicken cook until it is no longer pink in the middle. Add the veggies to warm together and stir. Serve in tortillas with desire toppings and lime wedges

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#FanrasricalFoodFight: Mediterranean Cucumber Salad

Welcome to the Fantastical Food Fight! I finally got my crap together and made a post for the challenge- yay! This month the theme is: Salad. I loved the theme because you can go so many different directions! I was debating between sharing this recipe or a recipe for curry tuna salad, and this one was my favorite. I will share the curry tuna sometime soon because it was also delicious. 

This recipe was something I came up with to bring to a cook-out at my parents house. Our menu was brats and a nice refreshing serving of veggies is always a welcome side. This recipe is so easy to put together- just a little chopping. I opted to make a red wine oregano vinaigrette with a little olive brine, but this salad would be delicious plain or even with a little balsamic or other flavored vinegar.  I like to add a little brine to mine because I love the olive flavor, but you prefer it not as strong you can certainly omit it from the dressing. The adults loved this and it was also well received by the kiddos- always a plus. 

Today, I am finishing up a workshop for school and excited to enjoy a night free from running to sports practice. It is a little over 80 degrees today, and I have big plans to relax and grill with a margarita in hand. Happy hump day friends!

Check out the bloghop below to see what other salads are part of our Fantastical Food Fight! 


Ingredients

2 large cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and chopped
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup halved Kalmata olives
2 Tbl chopped red onion
1/2 cup  crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 Tbl dried oregano
1 tsp kalmata olive brine (from jar)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


Instructions

Place cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and onion in a large bowl that can be covered. Whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano brine, and pepper. Gently toss the veggies in the dressing, and chill for 30-60 minutes. Gently stir in the feta cheese and serve. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Perfect Deviled Eggs

This week I am going to share my favorite favorite non-transitional uses for my KitchenAid mixer. On Sunday I announced that I am part of a giveaway for a KitchenAid mixer, and I thought what is a better time to share a few tricks and tips. 


Mixers are traditionally thought of as a baking kitchen gadget, but I use mine more often to shred meat, whip deviled egg filling, and create airy and delicious mashed potatoes. Today, I am sharing my recipe and method to making my favorite deviled egg recipe. This recipe is so simple and so straight forward, but like many things perfected over time- practice makes perfect. I think these are the number one most requested appetizer my family requests when we get together- I just made a batch for Mother's Day! This recipe gives a little range on certain ingredients like the mayo, mustard, and salt. This is mainly due to egg size. I use large eggs, but not all yolks are created equal and sometimes you need a little more or a little less to get the light fluffy filling I prefer. I find that adding the mayo slowly is key, and salting at the end important. I always pipe my filling into my eggs. It looks better and creates a lot less mess, and I never like the idea of fingers in the egg filling to scrape in into the eggs. Since this recipe has a few moving parts, I embedded two videos below so you can see my method in action. Once you have your method down it is fun to try different mix-ins like dill, chives, or curry (my favorite). Also, I don't have instruction for the perfect hard boiled egg because the only consistent thing I have found is the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker and I love it. I have also heard of people using their Instapots with success, but I have not tried that method. 

In other news, today is a bit crazy.... I am working on some teaching project stuff in between spring semester and summer semester, we have a kindergarten meeting (sniff), and T-ball to end the evening.... I honestly can't believe that my guy is almost in kindergarten.... feels crazy.  We are also getting closer and closer to moving, and it feels like the month of May is going full-speed and we are running as fast as we can to keep up! 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! 


Ingredients

12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
5 1/2-6 1/2 Tbl Mayo
1- 1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
Paprika, if desired to sprinkle on top


Instructions

Halve the eggs lengthwise and place whites on to a serving plate or into whatever you plan to store them in. Place the yolks into the mixing bowl.

To start, add 2 1/2 Tbl of mayo, 1 tsp mustard, and pepper to yolks. Attach whisk attachment to mixer and start to whisk the yolks at medium speed. Gradually increase the speed and add mayo tablespoon by tablespoon. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Taste to see if more want t add additional mustard to you filling. Gradually increase speed to high and if you need to add more mayo add it slowly. The mixture will become fluffy and smooth, the color will lighten, and there will not be lumps. If the filling is thick and lumpy slowly add more mayo. Once desired consistency is achieved, season with salt. 

Using a spatula, put the yolk filling in a gallon bag and push it towards one corner. Cut the tip from the corner and pipe the filling into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. 

Check out the videos before for a visual of the process. 


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Giveaway Alert! Who wants to win a KitchenAid stand mixer?!

Who wants to win a KitchenAid stand mixer?


 I’ve joined forces with 20 food blogger friends to put together this giveaway. You’ll gain another entry every time you follow one of us on Instagram. Here are the details:
  • 1 winner will receive a KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt stand mixer in their choice of color. If the winner is from the continental U.S. they will receive the mixer directly. If the winner is from elsewhere, they will receive an Amazon gift card for the list price of the mixer.
  • The giveaway will end on May 26, 2018 at 11:59 PM. Any entries made after this point will be invalid. A winner will be drawn at random and emailed within 72 hours to claim the prize. If no response is received, a new winner will be drawn.
  • You must complete the mandatory Instagram follows as listed below in order to enter. You can complete additional Instagram follows as listed below to gain more entries. You may only enter with one Instagram account. If you enter using multiple account, all entries will be invalid.
  • Giveaway is open worldwide, except where prohibited. You must be 18+ (21+ in some locations) to win. Chances of winning depend on the number of entries we receive.
  • For a complete list of terms and conditions, please see the link below via the Rafflecopter giveaway widget.



The following bloggers have made this giveaway possible:
  The PinterTest KitchenShockingly DeliciousThe Baking FairySweet + SavorMakes, Bakes and DecorCindy's Recipes and WritingsBlogghettiThe Simple SupperChef Sarah ElizabethCheese Curd In ParadiseThis is How I CookThe Redhead BakerFix Me a Little LunchMoore or Less CookingSarah Cooks the BooksThe Spiffy CookieBusy Bee Kate • Missy's Views and Savings CluesSeasoned SprinklesLong Distance BakingJonesin’ For Taste2 Cookin MamasKaren’s Kitchen StoriesMyStyleSpot.net

This giveaway is not sponsored by KitchenAid, Amazon, Instagram, or Facebook. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

French Onion Chicken and Rice Casserole

Do you have meals that are not super healthy, but are go to dinners because they are quick, easy, and your kids will eat them without a fight? *raises both hands high*

This casserole is so hearty and delicious. It is full of flavor, cheesy, and the onions on top are delicious. The casserole reheats really well and is tasty the next day. The onions don't stay s crisp, but the flavors are savory and delicious. 

This is a recipe I made to use up some pantry items and my children loved it. I usually have it in our rotation of casseroles each month, and the kids always eat nicely. I added some green beans so there was something green in it, and I normally serve it with a green veggie and/or a side salad. However, I think everyone's favorite part is the crispy onions on top! I went through a period of time when I was anti quick ingredients, but since the boys are now 5 and 2 I have learned that when you can count on the kids eating a meal you need to roll with it. I am lucky because I have two veggie lovers, but they are also pretty typical kids and like comfort style food. We really try to mix it up at our house so we get a lot of fresh, but can mix in the prepackaged ingredients when we are in a pinch (and in all honestly work the best in casseroles). 

We are still working on getting the house organized for our move! It is nerve wracking, but so exciting! I have been making a few trips to look at carpet and flooring, and I think we made our selections for the new place! We are planning to reface the cabinets as well, but that will be happening once we are in, but it certainly is fun to shop until we need to make some decisions. I am debating granite and corian counter tops. Does anyone have opinions based on their experiences with their home. In my area, the prices are pretty comparable with corian being sightly cheaper.  I am thinking I will choose corian, but wanted to hear if anyone had good critiques or things to be aware of before the make a final decision in a few weeks. 


Ingredients

1 lb ground chicken
1 can french onion condensed soup
1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 (15 oz) can french cut green beans
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked rice
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 (6 oz) container crunchy onion toppers (like French's or comparable brand)


Instructions

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. 

Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish with PAM and set aside.  In a large rimmed skillet, cook the ground chicken till it is no longer pink.  While chicken cooks, stir together both soups, pepper, garlic powder, sour cream, and green beans in a mixing bowl and set aside. Add the rice to the skillet with the cooked ground chicken. Stir in the contents of the mixing bowl. Gently pour into a baking dish and spread evenly to make sure the rice is evenly distributed. 

Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove foil and sprinkle cheese evenly over the top. Top with crunchy onions and bake for an additional 15 minutes. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cubed Steak with Peppers and Olives (Instantpot or Slowcooker)

We are on week two of soccer and t-ball season in our house. I am sure that many of you with older kids have a routine for these busy nights, but we a rookies in children in sports! Kellen is young enough that his games are once a week for each sport, and there is not too much juggling. He wanted to try both and I figured let him try when it is lower commitment and he can pick which one he prefers next year.  Between finals week for my school, Ron's early work meetings, selling the house, buying a house, getting ready to move, and sports I need quick dinners. The kids love McDonald's of course, and we make the occasional trip on busy nights, but I like to have something at home because it is more economical and healthier. However, getting a meal in can present challenges to a busy night, but I have been working on finding easy slowcookers and instant pot recipes for easy clean-up on busy nights. 

The boys and I are big fans of olives. Ron likes them, but does get as excited as we do. I found this recipe for Cubed Steak with Peppers and Olives and needed it in my life and belly. This recipe can be made in a slowcooker or istantpot, but I made mine in my instantpot. My family loved this recipe. The flavors are nice with a nice salty flavor from the olives. If you are not 100% about the olives don't worry because it is not a strong flavor- just a nice bit of salt and brine. I served this over a bed of rice and we had green beans on the side. 

Today I am heading to a barre class and then off to school for some work.... a few more days till a short break, and then summer courses begin! However, those are online and I will enjoy the flexibility with the boys since they are home with me the majority of the summer. 

If you are a teacher in the Green Bay area and wanting to try Pure Barre they are having a teacher appricipation week special for a free week of classes!  Have a great Tuesday everyone!


Ingredients

8 pieces cubed steak (28 oz)
1  3/4 teaspoons garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup water or beef broth (I used beef broth)
1 small red bell pepper, sliced 1/4-inch thin strips
1/2 medium onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thin strips
1/2 cup green pitted olives plus 2 tablespoons of brine


Instructions

Season beef with garlic salt, and black pepper.

Place the meat into the pressure cooker, top with onions and peppers, pour tomato sauce, liquid of choice (water or broth), and olives along with some of the brine (liquid from the jar)  over everything.

Cover and cook high pressure 25 minutes.

Natural release for 10 minutes and then manual release if desired (or you can do natural release completely) and serve.