Tag Archives: entree

The Best Grilled Cheese. . . EVER

I have learned that my daughter will eat just about anything if it’s encased in melted cheese (I didn’t say I was proud of this—it’s just a fact). And when she’s squeezing her lips shut and refusing to eat anything I put in front of her except for strawberries. . . well, desperate times call for desperate measures. This grilled chicken, guacamole, and roasted red pepper grilled cheese sandwich is not only delicious, but it packs a punch with lots of calcium, protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. All in a happy little melty package!

Busy Mama Shortcuts: You can use jarred  roasted red peppers to save a bit of time. Target also has a roasted red pepper monterey jack cheese, which is delicious and takes a step out of the prep work. I also used Tyson’s Grilled & Ready Frozen Chicken Strips diced up—this not only saves time but, by dicing up the chicken, you can stretch it a bit farther.

To make an easy, quick guacamole, mash an avocado in a bowl with the back of a fork. Add about a tsp of olive oil, a tsp of minced garlic, a couple tsps of lemon or lime juice (whatever you have on hand works) and as much cilantro as you like. If you don’t normally keep fresh cilantro on hand, try keeping a cilantro paste in your frig. Gourmet Garden makes a great one, and it lasts a lot longer than fresh cilantro. Sure, the flavor isn’t quite as fresh, but for a little guac, it’s perfect.


Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

These chicken enchiladas were so quick and easy, not to mention delicious! To make these super fast, you can use a precooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or even canned chicken. Using canned chicken makes this an easy meal to keep on hand in the pantry. My husband and daughter both loved these, and the leftovers reheated really well for lunch the next day!


1 lb cooked, shredded chicken

1 cup chopped onion

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp minced garlic

1.5 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp taco seasoning (low sodium if you can find it)

1 (8 oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

5 large tortillas (fresh is best, older tortillas tend to dry out and crack)

1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese


Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute; sprinkle with flour and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat. Spread a couple of tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Pour half of the remaining sauce over the shredded chicken in a bowl and mix well. Soften the tortillas in the microwave, wrapped in a damp towel, for 20-30 seconds. Add a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture to each tortilla and roll up, tucking in the ends. Place each enchilada seam side down in the casserole dish and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

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Freezer to Crock-Pot Chicken Curry

I came across this recipe from Mama and Baby Love on Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. I spent about an hour on Saturday chopping veggies, deboning chicken, and mixing up all of the ingredients for the Chicken Curry and the Healthy Mama Barbecue Chicken recipes.

This morning, before I left for work, I pulled the Chicken Curry out of the freezer and threw it in the Crock-Pot on low. When I walked in the door this evening, the smell was absolutely mouthwatering. I made some quick whole grain cous cous to go with it, and dinner was ready—and it was freaking delicious!!

A couple of notes: I used chicken thighs (as the recipe called for), but because the recipe also called for me to cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces, I spent 25 minutes trimming and deboning about 6 chicken thighs. Next time, I might use boneless breasts instead to speed things up. The recipe makes 2 gallon-sized freezer bags’ worth, which equates to a very full 7 qt Crock-Pot. It was enough food for at least two meals for two adults and a toddler, so you might want to plan accordingly.

Chicken Curry
Source: Mama and Baby Love 

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons curry powder
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 pounds chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups chopped peeled sweet potatoes
2.5 cups baby carrots
2 cup coarsely chopped mango
1 cup chopped onion
1 zucchini chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chicken bouillon
.5 cup raisins (for garnish)
.5 cup peanuts or cashews (for garnish)

Dump everything into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.

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Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

The title of this post doesn’t even begin to tell the whole delicious story of this pizza, but “Caramelized onion, goat cheese, roasted garlic, spinach and portabella mushroom pizza” seemed a bit long for a post title. I made this for dinner the other night, and it was a huge hit with my husband and (shocker) my 1-year-old! She even scarfed down the leftovers the next day (and we’re in a “not eating anything more than once” phase!).

Making homemade pizza can be really time-consuming—but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, I’d love to have the time to make my own pizza dough, let it rise, make my own sauce, yada yada yada, but let’s be honest, that’s just not going to happen on a hectic Tuesday night. So here’s my take on a realistic homemade pizza, with a few shortcuts for busy moms.

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, et al Pizza

Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crust
1-2 cups marinara sauce, depending on your preference
1 head of garlic
1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup sliced onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles (or however much you want, really)

Preheat oven to 400°. Remove the white papery skin from the head of garlic and wrap the entire thing in aluminum foil. Roast on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes. (To save time during the week, you can do this step over the weekend and store it in the refrigerator). While the garlic is roasting, sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the sugar, turn the heat down to low and cook for another 15 minutes or so.

When the garlic is done, let it cool for a few minutes before peeling the cloves—you will need 4-5 cloves, depending on how much you like garlic. Put the cloves into a bowl and mash them with the back of a fork. Add the marinara sauce and mix well. Unroll the pizza crust and press out onto a jelly roll pan (i.e. cookie sheet with sides) sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Top with marinara, half of the mozzarella cheese, spinach, mushrooms, onions and goat cheese. Add the remaining mozzarella cheese to the top and bake for 14-17 minutes.


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Faux Pho Ga

Somehow I managed to live 30 years without ever having Pho. It’s not that I  had an aversion to it—I had just never tried it. That is, until last week when I met my friend Jessie for lunch. Now I’m hooked. I’ve been craving it for the past couple of days, so I decided to see if it was something I could make at home or if I needed to put the local Vietnamese restaurant on speed dial. After researching several recipes, I found that it takes anywhere from 3-5 hours to make authentic Pho at home. Well, it was 5:45 p.m. and I was hungry—three hours wasn’t going to cut it. So I tried this quick, albeit not authentic, version and was really pleasantly surprised! I’ll definitely be making this again!

Pho Ga (Chicken)

10 cups chicken broth

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 tsp sugar

4 slices fresh ginger

2 tbsp fish sauce

3 cloves garlic

10 whole cloves

1 cooked rotisserie chicken, pulled and shredded

1 cup sliced carrots

1 lime

1 bunch cilantro

4 green onions, chopped

1 bunch fresh basil

8 oz bean sprouts

Sriracha Sauce (optional)

1 package rice noodles


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, remove from heat and add the noodles. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Drain the noodles and set aside.

Add the chicken broth, onion, carrots, chicken, fish sauce and sugar to the pot and bring to a simmer. Using a cheesecloth or tea infuser, add the ginger, garlic and cloves to the pot. Simmer over medium low heat for 45-50 minutes. Remove the spices and discard.

Place a spoonful of noodles into a bowl, ladle the broth, chicken and vegetables over the top and garnish with sprouts, green onions, herbs, a lime wedge and Sriracha sauce if desired.

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Taco Pie. . . Yuuuuummmmm

My old roommate, Katie, introduced me to taco pie about 5 years ago, and it quickly became one of my favorite comfort meals. It’s super easy to make, pretty quick, and is exactly what you need after a crap day at work when you crave delicious calories to wash down with your bottle of wine. It’s not the most photogenic meal—but what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in yumminess!

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey

1/4 cup diced onion

1 packet taco seasoning

1 box refrigerated pie crusts (at room temperature)

1 can corn, drained

1/2 cup salsa

1 cup shredded cheese

sour cream

Preheat your oven to 400°. Brown the meat along with the diced onion, and add the taco seasoning according to the directions on the package. Unroll one of the pie crusts in an ungreased, shallow pie plate. Add a layer of taco meat, and then spread half of the corn, half of the salsa and half of the cheese on top. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients, and then top with the other pie crust. Be sure to pinch and fold the edges and pierce the top crust with a fork several times. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. Top each slice with a dollop of sour cream and DIG IN!

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Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

I made this dish for dinner tonight, and it was a huge hit! Not only was it delicious, but I managed to complete it- start to finish- in exactly 19 minutes! That makes it pretty much the perfect meal for nights when I’m rushing home from work and have about an hour for playtime, dinner, bath time and bed. Don’t get me wrong- it’s super rich and not the healthiest thing I’ve ever made, but it’s seriously good and perfect for chilly autumn nights.

1 bag of frozen cheese ravioli

2 tbsp vegetable stock

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp ground sage




Prepare ravioli according to the directions on the bag. Meanwhile, sauté butter, onions and vegetable stock over medium heat until the butter is melted and the onions are soft. Add the pumpkin and stir until smooth. Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the heavy cream, cheese and sage. Salt and pepper to taste, then top the ravioli with the sauce.

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Crescent Rolls, 8 Ways

Refrigerated crescent rolls are possibilities in a can! There is seriously so much you can do with them, from breakfast to main entree to dessert and more. Here, I have gathered 8 of my favorite recipes that use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls or Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations (basically a sheet of crescent rolls without the perforations). They are super quick and easy. . . not to mention delicious!

Photo via Pillsbury.com

Bake a sheet of crescent rolls (the Recipe Creations works best for this one) according to the directions and cool completely. Mix  8 oz of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill, 1 tsp minced garlic and 2 tbsp chopped scallions. Spread the mixture on the cooled crescents, top with your favorite raw veggies, and slice into small squares.

Photo via Pillsbury.com

Taco Pie

Brown 1 lb of ground beef and add taco seasoning according to directions on the packet. Press a sheet of crescent rolls into a pie plate (you may need to separate the triangles for it to fit nicely). Alternate layers of the fully cooked ground beef, shredded cheese, corn, and salsa until you have reached the top. Top with more cheese and bake until the crust is brown (about 20 minutes).

Photo via PlainChicken.com

Chicken Roll-Up Casserole

Fill crescent rolls with a heaping spoonful of a mixture of cream cheese, chicken, butter, onion, cheese and garlic. Smother with a cream sauce of milk, cheese and cream of chicken soup, top with more cheddar cheese and bake for 30 minutes. So good!! You can see the full, detailed recipe here.

Photo via PlainChicken.com

Buffalo Chicken Crescents

Place a slice of provolone cheese on a crescent roll along with a fully cooked fried chicken finger dipped in buffalo wing sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot). Roll the crescents and bake for about 20 minutes. You could also do this with fully cooked shredded chicken tossed in the sauce instead of the fried chicken and bleu cheese crumbles instead of the provolone.

Photo via aisletoaloha.blogspot.com

Jalapeno Poppers

On each crescent triangle, place a dollop of cream cheese, a tsp or so of diced jalapenos and a few small pieces of fully cooked bacon. Pull the corners of the crescent up and twist to create a little purse (this will hold the cream cheese in as it cooks). Bake for about 15 minutes on 350 and start poppin’ (carefully though, that cream cheese will be HOT!).

Photo via oneshetwoshe.com

Apple Dumplings

Place a slice of peeled apple into each crescent triangle and roll up. Put all of the rolls into a casserole dish. Melt 2 sticks of butter, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and a tsp of vanilla, and pour the mixture over the rolled up apples. Pour a can of Mountain Dew (strange, I know, but it’s delicious!) all around and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for about half an hour.

Photo via bacontimewiththehungryhypo.blogspot.com

Breakfast Wreath

Place 1 can of separated crescent rolls in a sun pattern- wide sides in, points out- on parchment paper. Place a strip of cooked bacon on each triangle, and sprinkle shredded cheese in a circle, covering the bottom (wide) half of the triangles. Follow the same pattern with 5 large scrambled eggs, and fold the points of the triangles over toward the center, creating a wreath shape. Top with more cheese and bake at 350 for about 18 minutes. For more details on this recipe, check out Bacon Time With The Hungry Hypo‘s blog.

Photo via eatatallies.com

Marshmallow Crescents

Place crescent triangles on parchment paper. Dip 8 large marshmallows in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Wrap each marshmallow in a crescent roll, making sure all the edges are pinched together. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Quick Bites: Fish Tacos

Fish tacos are a quick and easy go-to  meal in our house. We can make the entire meal in about 15 minutes, which makes it great for busy weeknights. Plus, we almost always keep tortillas and fish sticks on hand. Yes, I said fish sticks. I know they get a bad rep, but you only use a few fish sticks per taco, so it’s really not bad. Plus, they really do make for a decent taco- at least give them a try!

18 fish sticks

6 small tortillas

1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained

1 avocado, sliced

2 tbsp sour cream

2 tbsp salsa (we use salsa verde and it works great)

Cilantro Slaw (recipe below)

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin

2 cups shredded coleslaw mix

Cook the fish sticks according to the directions. While they cook, drain the oranges, slice the avocado and make the slaw. For the cilantro slaw, whisk together the lime juice, honey, vegetable oil and cumin. Pour the mixture over the coleslaw mix and top with the cilantro. Toss to mix the slaw well and set aside. Mix together the sour cream and the salsa, and heat up the tortillas in the microwave in a damp paper towel for 20 seconds. Once your fish sticks are done, spread a spoonful of the sour cream/salsa mixture onto each tortilla and then top with 3 fish sticks, a couple slices of avocado, 4 or 5 orange slices and a spoonful of cilantro slaw.

Not a fan of this style of taco? You can just top your fish sticks with the usual suspects instead- sour cream, salsa, shredded lettuce, cheese, etc.

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Mussels Fra Diavola

Mussels may be intimidating if you’ve never made them before, but they are seriously the easiest, most gourmet-looking thing you can make! You basically just cook them until they open- easy peasy. There are tons of ways to prepare them (white wine sauce, yellow curry, mediterranean, etc.), but here’s a basic tomato sauce recipe that is just delish!

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup red wine

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

2 lbs mussels, cleaned and debearded

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, oregano and basil. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Raise the heat to medium, add the mussels, and cover for 3-6 minutes or until the mussels open. Once they open, they are done. Remove from heat and pour the mussels and sauce in a large bowl. Be sure to discard any mussels that do not open. Serve with toasted baguette slices and/or linguine.