Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies

I am now the owner of a slow cooker! I’m really excited to try out all of the delicious and easy slow cooker recipes everyone raves about. To start with, I found this chicken recipe from Damn Delicious that has lots of tasty ingredients and is somewhat healthy, too. I was nervous since I had never used a slow cooker before but it turned out great!

My fiance accidentally bought chicken drumsticks instead of thighs (like the recipe says), but it still turned out well. I decided to cook on low for 7-8 hours but there is a faster option, too. I think the broiling step adds a nice touch at the end, too.

I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 lb baby red potatoes, halved
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 16 oz baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, ketchup, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper.
  2. Put the chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots and soy sauce mixture into your slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours.
  4. Baste once every hour.
  5. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the green beans.
  6. Preheat oven to broil. Put chicken legs onto a baking sheet (skin side up) and broil until crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Serve chicken and vegetables with parsley on top.

Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

I’ll admit, my fiance and I have done a lot of eating out lately, which is not the healthiest choice. We wanted to get back to cooking at home and I’ve been getting lots of healthy inspiration from Skinnytaste. Particularly, we wanted to try this amazing lasagna roll recipe which allows you to still enjoy cheese and pasta without that many calories. It’s also pretty similar to another Skinnytaste recipe we loved, Stuffed Chicken Rollatini. I’m a big zucchini fan, so I love how lots of healthy recipes use it!

The lasagna was a big hit and it was also incredibly filling! The leftovers refrigerated well, so we were able to enjoy it for many days after. I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience but I highly recommend checking out the Skinnytaste blog for more recipes.

Ingredients

  • 8 lasagna noodles (I used Barilla)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated & squeezed dry
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp part skim riccotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups marinara sauce (I used Classico)
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook the lasagna noodles according to box instructions.
  3. Ladle 1 cup of marinara sauce into your baking dish and spread evenly.
  4. In a medium nonstick skillet, saute the garlic and olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute.
  5. Add zucchini and salt and pepper (to taste) and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft.
  6. In a medium bowl, combined the cooked zucchini, riccotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper.
  7. Dry the lasagna noodles and lay each one flat.
  8. Take 1/3 cup of the zucchini and cheese mixture and spread evenly over each noodle.
  9. Roll up each lasagna and place in the baking dish, seam side down.
  10. Ladle the remaining sauce over the lasagna rolls. Top each roll with 1 tbsp of mozzarella cheese.
  11. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.
  12. Top with fresh basil and serve.

Bolognese Sauce

I’m a big fan of pasta and when I’m craving a tomato based sauce, I usually make my simple meat sauce. On my most recent trip to Europe, I ate a few dishes that used bolognese sauce, which I mistakenly thought was very similar to my meat sauce. However, in addition to meat and tomatoes, bolognese sauce also contains carrots, celery and onions, as well as a few other things. These are all things that I like, so I wanted to give it a try.

I’ve mentioned Hilah before, who is a popular YouTube chef. She recently posted this video describing how to make pretty simple bolognese sauce:

I wanted to try her recipe because not only was it simple, but it also left out the usual cream ingredient in favor of putting more cheese on at the end. (It also recommended substituting the red wine with stock if you don’t like cooking with wine. For some reason, I’ve never really been into cooking with wine.) It does take about 2 hours to make, so you need a bit of time. (Not your quick weekday meal) However, it does make a huge amount of sauce that you can reheat very nicely. I used my food processor to chop up the onion, carrot and celery, which not only saved a lot of time but also made them the perfect consistency for the sauce.

I’m happy to say that it turned out really delicious! My boyfriend gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up. Since it takes a bit of effort, I’ll probably save it for weekend pasta meals and leave my meat sauce for the mid-week madness.

I’d recommend watching the YouTube video and her website has a recipe card you can print out. I’ve also pasted the recipe below for convenience, including some of the things I changed.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of your favorite pasta (I used linguine)
  • 1 oz bacon, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef (or half beef, half pork)
  • 1 cup red wine or beef stock
  • 4 cups tomato puree
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat until well cooked.
  2. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook about 10-15 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add meat and crumble. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned.
  5. Add wine or stock and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
  6. Add tomato puree, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
  7. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Make sure to stir occasionally (about every 15 minutes).
  8. Prepare pasta according to box. Drain and serve with sauce.

Beef Stew

Since my last recipe from Pioneer Woman was so successful, I decided to try out another one of her recipes: Sunday Night Stew. It’s essentially a beef stew served with mashed potatoes. (I even cooked it on a Sunday, too) It’s one of those dishes that takes a long time (about 3 hours) but it’s very delicious and filling. Plus, it reheated wonderfully to become Monday Night Stew. My boyfriend says it’s now one of his favorites.

This was actually my first time cooking with turnips and I was surprised by how hard they were to dice up. Fun story, the workers at my local supermarket didn’t even know what turnips were and when we eventually found them among the produce, they were mixed in with parsnips. Needless to say, they don’t have the best produce department …

I highly recommend taking a look at the actual blog post because there are a lot of great pictures and extra instructions. However, I’ve pasted the recipe here for convenience, minus the mashed potatoes part. (I used my own mashed potatoes recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 lb beef stew meat
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 4 cups low sodium beef stock or broth (I used broth)
  • A few dashes of worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Add salt and pepper to your stew meat.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot. Add butter and melt.
  3. Brown half of the stew meat in the pot, about 2 minutes. Remove it from the pot and set aside, leaving the oils behind. Then brown the other half of the meat. Also remove it and set it aside, still leaving the oils behind.
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato paste. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the beef stock/broth while stirring. Add the worcestershire sauce and sugar.
  7. Add beef, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  8. Add the turnips and carrots. Stir and let simmer covered for another 30 minutes. If too thick, add some more stock/broth.
  9. Stir in parsley. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Serve with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with more parsley when serving.

Beef and Bean Chili

Growing up, my mom never really made homemade chili and we usually just ate the canned kind. Now that I have this homemade recipe, I’ll never go back! I actually got this recipe from Hilah Johnson‘s book, Learn to Cook (which is a great reference for beginning cooks and has some good recipes, too), and it’s really delicious. It does take some time to make (up to 2 hours if you include the prep) so I usually save it for weekends, but it also makes a lot. (And reheats well!) You can make it as spicy as you want by adjusting how many jalapenos to add. I like to eat it with either bread, potatoes, tortilla chips or rice.

I copied the recipe here, with my modifications, for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 16oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 onion
  • 6 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2-5 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15oz can of kidney beans

Instructions

  1. Heat up a heavy bottomed pan with either cooking spray or a little bit of cooking oil.
  2. Add beef and break up into small chunks. Turn to medium-high heat and brown part way.
  3. Add everything else except the kidney beans and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Add kidney beans. Add more salt or chili powder if you want. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

This is a recipe passed down from my mother. It’s a great recipe that both kids and adults love, plus it’s not that hard to make. It goes great with mashed potatoes and your favorite green vegetable. Just give yourself about an hour to make it because it requires 35-45 minutes in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken breast (thin slice preferred)
  • Bread crumbs (I like Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
  • 1-2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Butter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut and pound chicken breasts so they are pretty thin. The thinner they are, they less they have to cook in the oven.
  3. Scramble 1-2 eggs in a bowl, enough to cover all your chicken.
  4. Put your chicken in the bowl with the eggs and cover the chicken thoroughly.
  5. Heat up about a centimeter of vegetable oil in a frying pan.
  6. Dip your egg covered chicken in a bowl of bread cumbs and coat it evenly. Place in the pan right away.
  7. Cook each side of the chicken breast for 1-3 minutes, until they are golden brown. The inside does not have to be cooked.
  8. You may not be able to cook all the chicken breasts at once. Between batches, refill the vegetable oil.
  9. Put each fried chicken cutlet in a deep casserole dish. It’s OK if the cutlets slightly overlap to fit.
  10. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the dish, enough to cover the bottom.
  11. If you want your cutlets to be even richer, add a thin pat of butter to the top of each one.
  12. Cover the casserole dish with foil and put in the oven for 35-45 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.

Steak Tacos and Black Bean Corn Salsa from Claire Thomas

Claire Thomas is a food blogger who also has her own cooking show called Food for Thought. Her blog, The Kitchy Kitchen, has a bunch of great recipes, tips and beautiful photos of food.

She also has my favorite “Taco Night” recipes, from an episode of her show. (Click here for all the recipes) I haven’t tried all of them, but I have tried the Carne Asada Tacos and the Black Bean Corn Salsa recipes and they are my go-to recipes for when I want tacos. I combine both the steak and the black bean corn salsa on a warm flour tortilla and top with cheese and some tomato salsa. It’s perfection!

Here are the two recipes I love the most. I adjusted the steak recipe for 2 people, so I halved all the ingredients.

Steak Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb flank or skirt steak
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalepeno, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (just grab a small handful)
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients (except steak) in a bowl. Put the steak in another bowl or dish, pour marinade over it and then seal with plastic wrap.
  2. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
  3. Pre-heat and prepare your grill as you normally would. (I use a small George Foreman grill)
  4. Season both sides of the stesk with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill each side for only a few minutes, until your desired doneness. I like the inside of my steak to be pink.
  6. Remove from grill and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Cut into slices before serving.

Black Bean Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  •  1-2 ears of corn or 1 8oz can of corn kernels
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of canned black beans, drained
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry kernels until they are browned.
  2. Combine all other ingredients with the corn in a bowl.