Easy Dinner – Spaghetti

Some nights you’re just too tired or too busy to cook something from scratch. That’s when you’re glad that you’ve planned ahead!

This morning, I took some meat sauce out of the freezer. This is the same sauce I used when I made lasagna. You can find the meat sauce recipe on this post. It was thawed out by the time I got home!

I just warmed it up in a skillet, over low, while cooking my noodles.

Then I mixed it all together when the noodles were done! Topped with some Parmesan cheese and dinner on the table in no time!

Creamy Chicken and Cannellini Bean Soup (Instant Pot)

This is a super quick recipe for a busy weeknight. And, that is just what I needed after arriving home late from work!

The first step is to cook your chicken. I cook mine in the instant pot and shred it in the same pot. I detailed how to do this, in this post.

As the chicken was cooking, I prepped the poblano pepper, shallot and cilantro and set it aside.

Once the chicken is done, and you’ve safely released the pressure, you just need to dump the remaining ingredients into the instant pot. Replace the lid and set the instant pot to the soup/stew setting, low pressure and 5 minutes.

Shallot, poblano and green chilis
Fresh cilantro

After your 5 minutes are up, do quick release and remove lid. The final step was to add in the cream (you can totally skip this part if you don’t want a creamy soup).

Easy peasy – a quick and delicious weekday meal!

Creamy Chicken and Cannellini Soup

2 chicken breasts, shredded
8 cups of chicken stock (including stock used to cook the chicken)
3 cans cannellini beans
1 – 7 oz can green chilis, medium
1 poblano pepper, diced small
1 shallot, diced small
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream or half and half

  • Cook and shred chicken in the Instant Pot (use 1 cup of chicken broth to cook the chicken)
  • Chop poblano pepper, shallot and cilantro
  • Once chicken is cooked an shredded, add in the remaining ingredients, all except the cream, and put lid back on instant pot
  • Set instant pot to soup/stew setting, low pressure and 5 minutes
  • Once the timer goes off, release pressure and add in cream and stir through
  • You can add jalapenos, more lime juice, cheese or chips, if you like

Smashed Red Potatoes

This is one that I made some time back, but never shared. I actually made it as part of my daughter’s birthday meal. And, it is ridiculously easy to make – and so delicious.

I started with red potatoes – you’ll want enough for each person to have 2-3 potatoes. After washing the potatoes, I parboiled them to the point that they were soft enough to ‘smash’. I used the bottom of a glass to smash each potato (learn from my mistake – don’t use a potato masher, you’ll lose half of your potato, stuck to the potato masher) on a sheet pan.

After smashing the potatoes, I drizzled olive oil over top and then sprinkled with a little grated parmesan cheese. I topped with a little salt and fresh basil (feel free to use dried basil or Italian seasoning).

I finished the cooking in the oven, at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. You can even broil them for a minute or two to get them a little browned, if needed.

These potatoes make an easy and delicious side dish!

Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

I think we all know that I love a creamy, decadent comfort food. Stroganoff certainly fits that bill. It is pretty easy to cook and it makes a lot – so lots of leftovers (another thing I love). I suppose you could use whatever pasta you like, but I chose egg noodles.

I started by finely dicing 1 shallot. If you don’t have a shallot, you could substitute an onion – maybe 1/2 of a small onion.

Then I sauteed the shallot and garlic for about 5 minutes.

After sauteing the shallot and garlic, I added in the mushrooms and cook them until they were starting to get soft (these mushroom slices were pretty big, so it was about 10 minutes).

The next thing was to add in the beef. I just cooked the beef until it was browned on all sides and added in my seasonings.

Then I added in the liquids, starting with the beef stock (you could use chicken stock or vegetable stock, but the beef stock will give you a richer flavor). I love the stocks from Trader Joe’s.

After the beef stock, I added the heavy cream and worcestershire sauce and brought everything up to a boil. I allowed the mixture to cook for approximately 20-30 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken.

At the end, add in the sour cream and mix through well.

Toss in the egg noodles and mix through.

Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

1 lb egg noodles
1 lb cubed beef
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 shallot, diced finely
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups beef stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup worchestershire sauce
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp umami seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

  • Boil egg noodles to al dente, set aside
  • In large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat
  • Add in shallots and garlic, cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add in mushrooms and olive oil, cook for another 5-10 minutes (until mushrooms start to get tender)
  • Add beef to pan and brown
  • Season with umami and salt and mix through
  • Add in beef stock, heavy cream and worchestershire sauce and bring up to a boil
  • Reduce heat and allow sauce to reduce, about 20-30 minutes – with about 10 minutes left, add in the sour cream
  • Toss in egg noodles and stir through

Easy Baked Hand Pies

Refrigerated pie dough is so useful – chicken pot pies (my family loves them – you can check out my recipe here), regular pies and even small hand pies. It seems like I always have some in my refrigerator.

This is the pie crust that I used. Honestly, I really prefer the Great Value (Wal-Mart brand) pie crust, but this one was expiring before the Great Value one I had – so I used this one. You need to let it sit out a while, so that it is easier to work with.

Once the dough was a little less cold, I was able to unroll it and it was ready to use. I just used a cup to cut circles of dough (they were about 3 inch rounds). Using a pastry roller, I rolled them out a little bit.

I decided to make a fruit pie (using the Peach Jam that I’ve used before – you can see where I used it to make a Peach and Apple Tart, here). In addition to that, I decided to do a peanut butter and chocolate one (one of my daughters doesn’t care for fruit pies).

For the peach, I used maybe 1 tsp of the jam. And, for the peanut butter and chocolate – I just used a little (maybe 1 tsp, as well) creamy peanut butter and a few chocolate chips.

I just folded over the dough and crimped them edges with a fork. I sprayed a little bit of avocado oil over the top of each pie.

I baked them in a 450 degree oven, for about 15 minutes. For the second batch, I reduced it to 10 minutes as I think that 15 minutes was a little too long and they pie crust got a little too crisp for my tastes.

After they came out of the oven, I just sifted some powdered sugar over them. An easy little dessert or snack!

Spicy Asian Noodles with Mushrooms (for one)

As happens sometimes, I was alone and needing to cook just for myself. I decided that I wanted a vegetarian dish, and Asian seemed nice. That’s something that my family doesn’t tend to enjoy as much as I do. They like Asian food – but, I really like Asian food.

The key to this dish is the sauce. I like spicy – and this is definitely a bit spicy – so feel free to adjust to your tastes.

The sauce consists of soy sauce, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, green onion and for spice some red pepper flakes and sriracha. The pepper flakes and sriracha didn’t make it into this first picture, but they made it into the sauce at the end.

I started by cooking the noodles. While the noodles were cooking I heated my wok. You want a hot wok and I find it works best when I preheat it. My wok is a cast iron wok, but any wok (or even a pan that can handle a high temperature) will do.

To start the stir fun, I added the oil into the wok. I used grapeseed oil because it can handle high heat. Peanut oil would work well too. Once the oil was hot, I added in the garlic and cooked it for a minute.

After the garlic was cooked (this doesn’t take long – and you want to work fast, as with most stir fry recipes), I added in the mushrooms and cooked them for about 5 minutes. The wok is very hot – so keep stirring so that things don’t stick and don’t burn.

After the mushrooms were finished, I tossed in the noodles and the sauce. It only takes a minute or two to stir fry everything.

I topped the noodles with some sesame seeds and few more green onions. A perfect, very fast, and delicious vegetarian meal for one!

Spicy Asian Noodles with Mushrooms for One

Linguine (or similar) pasta – 1/4 of a box, give or take
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grapeseed oil (you want an oil that can handle a high heat)

Sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp green onions
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sriracha

Garnishments
Sesame seeds
Green Onions

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

This was after putting it in the oven, under the broiler for a few minutes.

Ever since I got my instant pot, I’ve wondered if I could cook a whole chicken – yes, yes, I can!

It isn’t a recipe, really, you can season your chicken however you want to – but, I used a couple bay leaves, butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder on mine. My chicken was 6 pounds, give or take. I added 1.5 cups of water in the bottom of the instant pot insert, then placed the trivet in – finally adding the chicken and the seasonings.

I set the pot to ‘poultry’, high pressure and 1 hour. When it was done, I allowed it to do natural release.

The chicken was just pulling away from the bone!

I also ended up with a little over 5 cups of broth from the cooking process. This came in handy for me, since I was making chicken and dumplins from this!

To crisp up the skin, I put it in my oven, on broil for just a few minutes. I was actually just going to pull the chicken off and make dumplins, so that was totally unnecessary, but certainly a step worth taking to make your chicken ‘prettier’. You should probably also tie up the legs, as it gets VERY tender in the instant pot.

I can honestly say, I’ve never had a store bought rotisserie chicken that tasted any better. Looked better, yeah, my chicken isn’t winning any beauty contests – but I think it would hold it’s own in a taste contest!