Dinners

Recipe—Crock-Pot Italian Pot Roast and Parmesan Risotto

Italian Pot Roast and Parmesan Risotto

The first time I actually made this recipe was Christmas Eve. Some of you might be thinking, who makes a crock-pot meal on Christmas Eve? The answer is, this lady! Why is it that people feel the need to spend half the day in the kitchen and half their paychecks on holiday dinners? You can have an amazing meal with minimal time in the kitchen and by spending less than $25. Thennnnnnn you can use that money you saved on groceries and buy some nice red wine that will compliment this dinner perfectly.

That Christmas Eve I just wanted to be able to fully relax and enjoy the day with my family. I didn’t want to be in the kitchen for most of the day slaving over the oven. And guess what, this dinner was just as good as many of the dinners I spent the entire day making. And best of all, my family loved it!

The meat had so much flavor and was so juicy! The sauce is a very mild tomato-based sauce that goes so fabulously with the parmesan risotto. This is probably in the top 5 recipes I have ever made. It is so filling and hearty. A perfect comfort meal for the cooler weather. I love that this recipe is “fancy” enough for a special occasion or a holiday but is quick and easy enough that you can pull it off on a Thursday night after a long day of work. Literally an all occasion dinner.

POT ROAST INGREDIENTS
3 lb beef chuck roast
1 tbsp dried minced onion
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 (.6 oz) package au jus mix
1 (.7 oz) package dried Italian salad dressing mix
2 tsp black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c tomato juice (like V8)

RISOTTO INGREDIENTS
3 tsp olive oil
1 lb arborio rice
6 c chicken broth, room temperature
1 c parmesan cheese
1 tsp onion powder
ground pepper

GARNISH INGREDIENTS
1/2 c parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Spray your crock-pot with cooking spray.
  • Place the pot roast in the crock-pot.
  • In a bowl, whisk together all the remaining pot roast ingredients.
  • Pour the tomato mixture over the top of the roast.
  • Cook on low heat for 8–10 hours, or high heat for 5–6 hours.
  • When the roast is done cooking, transfer it to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Using two forks, shred the roast and place back into the crock-pot.
  • Cover the crock-pot and keep on low.
  • While the meat is soaking in all that yummy sauce, begin to prepare the risotto by putting the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Add the rice and stir to evenly coat the rice with the oil.
  • Cook for about 2–3 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of the broth and simmer, stirring constantly, until the broth has completely reduced and the pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes.
  • Repeat the above step incrementally using 1 cup of broth at a time. The gradual addition of broth is key to getting the rice to develop a nice and creamy sauce.
  • Once all the broth is cooked down, stir in the cheese and onion powder and season with pepper.
  • Scoop a large spoonful of risotto into a serving dish and top with the shredded meat, additional parmesan cheese, and some parsley.

 

Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken.

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Dinners

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Right now, I am drowning in youth sports. My son is currently playing soccer and baseball which takes up about 5–6 days a week and sometimes we have both on the same day. I lost my sanity a few weeks ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it! It just means that I need to be diligent in my menu planning and have some recipes that allow me to have dinner on the table quickly. We certainly have nights where dinner consists of sandwiches, Kraft Mac N Cheese, or takeout, but I try and cook a real dinner at least 4–5 nights a week. That means whatever I am making needs to be quick!

This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and costs about $15, assuming you have the basic stuff on hand. It is so simple, fast, and tasty! My family loves this recipe!  The chicken comes out so juicy and flavorful after simmering in the creamy lemon sauce. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

INGREDIENTS
4–5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/4 c flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb penne
1 c chicken broth
3 lemons, 2 for juicing and 1 sliced
3/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c capers
parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
    Place the flour in a large Ziploc bag and add chicken breasts.
    Toss the chicken breast in the Ziploc bag until they are all evenly coated in the flour.
  • In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the skillet.
  • Cook the chicken for 6–7 minutes per side or until cooked all the way through.
    While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  • Add the broth, juice from two lemons, sliced lemon, heavy cream, and capers to the skillet with the chicken.
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
    Bring the sauce to boil and reduce heat to medium-low heat.
  • Continue cooking the sauce until it has thickened up, about 3–4 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate or cutting board.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce, tossing to coat all the noodles.
  • Serve the pasta on plates and top with a chicken breast.
  • Sprinkle the dish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
Dinners

Recipe—Beef and Broccoli Ramen

I don’t know why I am so late to the game but I recently discovered a love of ramen. Not just the generic pack of dry noodles, but meat and veggie packed delicious ramen. It’s like Top Ramen on flavor packed steroids. I have a couple different recipes that I have been trying out but this one is the most recent one I have come to enjoy. It takes a bit of time to prep in the morning, but then it comes together in about 15 minutes when you get around to cooking it all up. Perfect for all those with busy lives who want a fast and tasty quality meal. By the way, you won’t believe how amazing the marinade smells. I think my mouth was watering the entire time I was making this recipe. Heck, my mouth is watering just writing about it.

Note: I made this recipe using new york steaks and it yielded a very tender meat. You can certainly use a one-pound flank steak for a more budget friendly recipe. If you are short on time in the morning (I mean who isn’t), you can prepare the marinade and slice the meat the night before keeping them separate and then add them to the ziploc bag in the morning. Just don’t marinade the meat overnight.

MARINADE INGREDIENTS
1/4 c vegetable oil
3 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 c honey
1/2 c soy sauce
1 tbsp parsley (dried or fresh with both work
2 new york steaks, fat trimmed

OTHER INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 c beef broth
1/4 c worcestershire sauce
3 c broccoli florets, chopped
3 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 c green onions, chopped

MARINADE STEPS

  • Mix together all the marinade ingredients (except the meat) in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Cut the meat against the grain in 1/4-inch-thick strips.
  • Place the meat in a ziploc bag and poor the marinade into the bag.
    Seal up the bag and place in the fridge to marinade for at least 2–8 hours (no more than 12 hours).

COOKING STEPS

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the ramen for 2 minutes.
  • Strain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water.
  • Cut off a bottom corner of the bag over the sink and allow all the marinade to drain out.
  • Transfer the meat to a small bowl and toss with the cornstarch.
  • In a large skillet heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Add in the meat and sear on both sides until the meat is cooked but still tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the steak to a plate.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, beef broth, and worcestershire sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir and cook uncovered until it thickens, about 5–7 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli to the skillet and cover with a lid cooking it for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and add in the meat and pasta.
  • Toss everything to coat and heat for an additional 1–2 minutes.
  • Transfer to bowls or plates and season with crushed red peppers and green onions.

 

Recipe adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

Appetizers

Recipe—Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Every couple of months I get together with a fabulous group of ladies for a book club meeting. I don’t know why we really call it a book club meeting because about 20% of the time is spent discussing the book we read and the other 80% is spent drinking fabulous wines, eating delicious foods, and catching up with some good old fashioned girl talk. Maybe wine and food club meeting would be more appropriate? Either way, we always end with an awesome variety of the most wonderful treats. Our last meeting was on a Friday night right around dinnertime so I wanted to bring something filling and yet low carb (I try and cut out carbs from the food when I know I will be consuming plenty in the wine.) These were absolutely wonderful! They were light yet completely filling. The meatballs were packed full of wonderful Mexican flavors and they really complemented the turkey nicely. The refreshing creamy cilantro lime sauce is actually from a recipe I shared a couple months back for shrimp taco cups. I LOVED that sauce and wanted to make it again. I could put that sauce on everything. So tasty!

CREAMY CILANTRO LIME SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp milk
2 oz. canned diced green chilies
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

MEATBALL INGREDIENTS
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c panko or breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

SAUCE STEPS

  • To make the sauce combine all sauce ingredients except the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Add in cilantro and pulse until combined.
  • Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.

MEATBALL STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients.
  • Using your hands mix well.
  • Using a large spoon, scoop a spoonful of the meat mixture and shape into 1”–1 1/4” round meatballs.
  • Place the formed meatballs into a greased baking dish making sure they don’t touch.
  • Bake for 16–20 minutes.
  • Serve hot with the cool cilantro lime dipping sauce.
  • Enjoy!
Appetizers, Sauces

Recipe—Shrimp Taco Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

 

The other night we were going to a friend’s house for a Mexican feast and I was put on appetizer duty. I wanted something besides plain ol’ bean dip that I could make ahead of time and assemble there, something light, refreshing, and elegant with a Mexican flare. These bite size shrimp taco cups were perfect! I must admit the sauce totally makes this dish. It is sooooo good! I think I will be making it in the future as a salad dressing. It would be great with a spicy chicken breast over a bed of greens. It just has so many flavors and each ingredient really shines through. Enjoy!

Note: Since these had to travel I was able to cook the won ton cups and shrimp at home and assemble them at my friend’s house. These are perfect if you are hosting a social gathering since all the prep can be done ahead of time and just quickly assembled once your guests arrive, which means more time for socializing! Perfect for the upcoming holidays.

CREAMY CILANTRO LIME SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp milk
2 oz. canned diced green chilies
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

SHRIMP CUP INGREDIENTS
24 small won ton wrappers
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 lime
1 c shredded cabbage

STEPS

  • To make the sauce combine all sauce ingredients except the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Add in cilantro and pulse until combined.
  • Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Lightly brush wonton wrappers with olive oil and arrange in a mini muffin pan making sure to press down flat in the bottoms.
  • Bake for 5–7 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  • Toss the shrimp with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt, and chili powder.
  • Roast shrimp on a baking sheet in the oven for 6–8 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove shrimp from oven and squeeze the juice from the lime over the shrimp.
  • To assemble fill each wonton cup with a bit of shredded cabbage, add a spoonful of the sauce, and top with one shrimp.
Sauces

Recipe—Basil Pesto

I use pesto on a fairly regular basis but I have yet to ever make it on my own. I usually just buy the little tubs in the fresh pasta section at the grocery store because let’s face it, it is so much easier than making your own! Making it from scratch has certainly been on my “to do” list and since my basil plant just reached about 3 feet tall I decided to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did! No store bought pesto can ever compare and it really ended up being much easier than I ever anticipated. This pesto was so good my son and I were licking the rubber spatula! I kid you not. It was quite the site. This pesto is great with your favorite pasta, as a pizza sauce, or even as a sandwich spread. Give it a try, you will find it is completely worth it!

Note: While the pesto is best fresh you can also store it in the fridge or freezer. If you decide to do this put the pesto in an airtight container and pour a 1/2” of olive oil on the top to preserve it. It helps keep it from becoming discolored.

INGREDIENTS
6 c fresh basil leaves
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c pine nuts
1 c olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 c fresh parmesan, shredded (use the good stuff!)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

STEPS

  • Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender.
  • Blend until a nice thick paste is formed. You may need to stop and stir periodically. Add more olive oil if needed.
  • Add in the parmesan, salt, and pepper and blend until nice and smooth.
Dinners, Sauces

Recipe—Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Horseradish Cream Sauce

When it comes to Christmas dinner this girl loves her beef. Every year we either cook prime rib or beef tenderloin. This recipe calls for beef tenderloin but feel free to try the seasoning and sauce recipe with prime rib. Both turn out fantastic! I prepare this recipe every year and it has never disappointed. The roasted garlic horseradish sauce is spectacular! For lunch the next day spread some of the sauce on a roll with leftover meat and there will be fireworks in your mouth. Oh how I can’t wait for Christmas dinner and the leftovers that come with!

Note: I recommend making the sauce the night before so that it has time to chill and thicken. This large of a tenderloin will serve 12–16 people. Plan on 1/3–1/2 lb per person. Feel free to half the rub recipe and use a 3 lb tenderloin but be sure to adjust the cooking times. The temperature is really what you need to pay attention to.

ROASTED GARLIC HORSERADISH CREAM SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 large head of garlic, left intact
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 c heavy cream
1/4 c drained bottled horseradish
1/8 tsp white pepper

STEPS

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cut off and discard top fourth of garlic head and place on a large sheet of foil.
  • Drizzle exposed garlic with oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Wrap the seasoned garlic head tightly in foil.
  • Roast garlic until tender, about 1 hour, then open foil and allow to cool.
  • While garlic is cooling, simmer the cream in a heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3/4 c, about 20–25 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves into a small bowl, discarding skins, and mash together with horseradish, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • Stir the garlic mixture into the cream.
  • Chill until ready to use.

BEEF TENDERLOIN INGREDIENTS
1 (6 lb) beef tenderloin roast, tied
1 c cracked black pepper
4 tsp granulated beef bouillon
4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp olive oil

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 475°.
  • Pat tenderloin dry.
  • Stir together pepper, bouillon, salt, cornstarch, oregano, garlic powder, and paprika in a small bowl.
  • Rub oil over tenderloin, and then cover with seasoning mixture, rubbing it into meat.
  • Put tenderloin on a rack in the roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 425° and cook until thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 130° for medium rare, probably 50–60 minutes.
  • Let beef stand on rack in pan for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Cut beef into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve with the roasted garlic horseradish cream sauce.