I’ve been all about the meals that I can whip up a) without tons of work/ingredients and b) that are wintry and comforting. Ahhem: tomato basil tortellini soup: calzone with ready made filling of creamed spinach & meatballs: ham & cheese rolled rosetti: and the list goes on… I’m also pretty obsessed with the Al Fresco chicken meatballs so this dinner of my take on Swedish meatballs perfectly fit the bill. Also, of note, I’m not Swedish and I don’t know that I’ve ever had Swedish meatballs so I’m really just winging it after googling to figure out what they key flavors are.
~4 meatballs per person (I made 3 servings)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs cream cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp corn starch & 2 tsp water, incorporated together
1/4 cup water
2 tbs butter
Make your own meatballs, or put the frozen (fully cooked) meatballs into a large skillet with the broth and garlic over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add in mustard, creamed cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Whisk to combine. (It may look a bit chunky and not creamy yet, that’s OK!)
Make a cornstarch slurry or flour & butter roux and whisk in. Keep whisking as you bring the sauce to a low boil.
Cook for 5 minutes, then add salt, pepper, and butter after reducing heat to low.
Mix well to ensure the sauce is smooth.
Serve over egg noodles.
I added the water to this for you. Mine was quite salty so I’m reducing the broth and adding some water. Taste as you go and see what you think. I liked this as something different, something easy, and a great use for a ready-made ingredient.
Have I told you lately how I love these meatballs? They’re in my grocery store by the meat/sausages as refrigerated meatballs in smaller packs annnnd they’re in the freezer section for larger re-closeable bags of meatballs. These were caramelized onion meatballs, thus why I didn’t add more onion. You could easily use your own meatballs, beef meatballs, beef broth, etc. Go wild!
I made this chicken and wild rice dinner and loved how quick it was for something a bit different. I don’t make rice that often but maybe I should! It was saucy with tender chicken, and flavorful with some crunchy rice bits. This would be a good make-ahead one.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 oz wild rice
6 oz brown rice
3 tbs olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 cup flour
salt & pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 white wine (optional)
2 cups arugula
Cook rice according to packaging. (I used half wild rice half brown rice or use all of one type.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat-high heat.
Add in olive oil, shallots, garlic, and chicken tossed in flour. Flip the chicken after cooking about 3 minutes.
Add in the chicken broth & wine increasing the temperature to high. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the chicken.
Whisk well to incorporate the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Reduce heat to low and cover to thicken.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and layer in the rice, then the chicken, then top with arugula.
Add a bit more flour to thicken sauce if desired.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
Bake for 30 minutes.
I loved how tender the chicken was and the rice with a good but simple sauce. The arugula was for color and freshness but the peppery flavor was a really welcome addition. I served it with some roasted cauliflower since the oven was already going and it is a no-fuss side. I try to minimize sides if the main dish is more labor intensive.
I’d make this again and getting the rice prepped would speed it all up. It didn’t take that long but maybe minute rice would help too. I’m thinking chicken and wild rice soup should follow.
Let’s talk about this one-pot wonder. I hadn’t marinated the chicken and was afraid it wouldn’t have enough flavor. News flash: it was flavorful and juicy and the pre-made sundried tomato pesto kicked the sauce onto a whole other level.
I don’t blog pasta too often because it is more of a go-to for an unplanned meal for me but this was so good as were the leftovers! The chicken was the perfect reminder that even without any advance prep, dinner can be ready really easily.
Ingredients: (makes 5-6 servings)
6 chicken tenders
2 tbs Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup sundried tomato pesto
1 tbs chopped garlic
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 box pasta
salt & pepper
Season the chicken tenders.
In a large pan, cook the chicken over medium heat for ~10 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil. Flipping regularly to cook through.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and slice the chicken into small pieces.
Add the tomato sauce, sundried tomato pesto, garlic
Mix well, add in the water, cream, and the pasta.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir and add the chicken back in.
Cook another 3-5 minutes (or until the pasta is cooked to your liking).
I liked the tweak on regular tomato pasta for this. The sundried tomato pasta is a fun condiment to have on hand and is easier than chopping sundried tomato pieces. It was toned down a bit with the tomato sauce. It was so good and would be good without the chicken.
After apple picking, I knew some dinners should include apples…as well as snacks, breakfasts, and any other occasion this fall. Seriously, the orchard only did big bags so we have a LOT of apples. I hadn’t made a calzone in awhile so that was the winner.
Apples are easily served with brie or baked into some dessert. Well, no brie or soft cheeses for me for another 3 months, and I’m not a big baker.
1 onion, sliced
2 apples, sliced
2-3 chicken sausage links
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone if using one, to 400-degrees.
In a large skillet over medium low heat, gently cook the onion until lightly browned and cooked through.
Slice the sausage and add them to the pan to warm through.
Roll out or spread the dough out. Then drape it onto the pizza stone or pan, off-centered so the toppings will go on the bottom and the excess will fold over.
Layer on the cheese, sausage and onions, and the apple slices.
Keep layering the toppings, even if it seems like it is over filled.
Pull the rest of the dough over the top and pinch to close.
Cut a few slices in the top of the calzone to vent it.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden browned and cooked through.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
I loved this one. I’ll definitely make it again. The apples being raw added a soft crunch to go with the sweet onions and the mild chicken sausage. This is such a fantastic combination. I’d love these flavors as a sub or panini, or as a pizza, or an app of some sort.
Let’s start Monday off gently. This is not going to overwhelm your brain. We had houseguests early last week and I wanted to throw some dinners together on Sunday so we could leisurely visit and not put anyone to work. My thought for these Chicken Parmesan Cups were that it seemed like less work than serving Chicken Parmesan and anything in serving size portions is fun. I was going for a crowd pleaser and something I was pretty familiar with making.
Chicken Parmesan Cups
Yield: 12 muffin cups, ~5 people
Time: prep ~20 min, cook ~20 minutes
1 sheet of puff pastry
sprinkle of flour
5 chicken tenders
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and defrost puff pastry to room temperature.
Cook the chicken until fully cooked through.
When cool enough to handle, chop up the chicken and set aside.
Spray a muffin tin or 12 ramekins with nonstick spray.
Lightly flour a surface to roll out the puff pastry. Roll to about 1/8 inch thick and cut it into 12 squares, about 3×3 inches each.
Lay the puff pastry into the muffin tin.
Divide the chicken into each cup, spoon sauce over, and top with cheeses. (I had some extra puff pastry so I put another mini 1″ square on top)
Bake for 20 minutes, or until puff pastry puffs up and get golden brown.
I loved these. They made serving way easier. I tossed a salad together an poof, dinner was ready. These would be super simple to serve to a crowd since they almost could be eaten by hand.
chicken parmesan cups + baked eggplant = dynamic duo of parm
chicken parmesan cups – tomato sauce – cheese + pot pie fillings (corn, carrots, celery, gravy, etc) = chicken pot pie cups
chicken parmesan cups + ricotta = chicken “lasagna” cups
I had this idea for a Thanksgiving inspired burger but it didn’t seem right for Mr. J’s annual birthday burger, since that’s for June. Now that the air is cooler it seemed perfect! A turkey burger, sharp cheddar, cranberry spread, and one special ingredient boarders the line of grilling season and holiday flavors.
Ingredients: (for 2 burgers)
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup stuffing mix
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme or dried sage
cranberry sauce or raspberry jam
2 burger buns
Preheat a grill or grill pan.
Prepare stuffing according to the package.
Mix ground turkey, stuffing, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Form into patties and grill. Spray the grill with non-stick spray since turkey has a lower fat than ground beef, ground pork, etc.
Serve the burgers with cheddar, and cranberry spread.
I didn’t end up getting cranberry sauce because I had some lingonberry jam which has a tartness like cranberries. I mixed it with a touch of mayo for a spread. I also was thinking that chopping up some craisins into the burger would give that flavor too.
The stuffing really wasn’t too much. I thought it might make the the burger heavy but I think the amount was spot-on. Serve with some sweet potato fries for all the flavors you love later in the fall while it is still burger season!
These flavors would be good as turkey meatloaf before Thanksgiving without having to cook a whole turkey.
Or this Thanksgiving Sandwich is fun
or a panini with turkey, brie, and cranberry
A family favorite from our town “house of pizza” is the Chicken Ranchero. It is almost hard to order anything else from there. After 2.5 years of eating this favorite pizza, I decided to recreate it at home.
2 chicken breasts or chicken thighs
3 tbs ranch dressing mix
4 strips of bacon
3 tbs ranch dressing
6 oz shredded mozzarella
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone, if using one, to 400-degrees.
Pan fry the chicken until cooked through, then remove from the pan and shred. Return to the pan and reduce heat to low. Add ranch dressing mix and a drip of water.
Roll out the pizza dough until 1/4 inch thick. Spread it onto the pizza stone or baking sheet. Poke a few holes with a fork.
Bake for 5 minutes until lightly cooked.
While the dough is cooking, chop each bacon slice into 1/4 inch strips and pan fry until crisp, but until 75% cooked (it crisps more in the oven.
Top the pizza dough with ranch dressing, then cheese, then add the chicken.
Top with bacon, then another sprinkle of ranch mix is optional, lastly a last sprinkle of cheese.
Bake 10 minutes until crust is crisp and cheese melts.
This was a great one. Bacon on any pizza is a winner, but this has some great tried and true flavors that are beautifully uncomplicated. I’m glad I didn’t junk it all up trying to add too many things to it.
I used chicken thighs mostly because it was what I could find in the house, but I think it was a good choice because it didn’t get too dried out. Rotisserie chicken would also stay moist and would speed up the cooking time.
‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.
Chicken and waffles are such a fun dinner and I was thinking it could become a panini using the waffles for the bread. These are easily adaptable. I used white cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and some buffalo aoli.
2 frozen waffles, per sandwich
2 slices sharp white cheddar, per sandwich
2 chicken tenders, per sandwich
sliced red onions
2 tbs mayo + 1 tsp hot sauce + dash of garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Bake the chicken until cooked through.
Toast the waffles until defrosted and lightly toasted.
Slice the onions and add to cold water.
Whisk together the buffalo aoli, or add your fav spread like honey mustard, ranch, or a drizzle of maple syrup.
Keep the oven warm after the chicken is cooked.
Assemble the sandwiches with waffles, the spread, chicken, sliced cheddar, sliced tomato, and sliced onion.
Put them back into the oven, flipping once, until the cheese melts.
This was so fun. The nutty waffle was perfect with a little spice. Arugula would be good in here too. The onion bath keeps them from overpowering the sandwich, with just a subtle onion flavor.
I love roasted garlic but rarely have the patience for it to roast fully. Like so roasted that it is soft and spread-able. Like 40 minutes+ roasted. It was super garlicky, but not in an intense way. When the garlic fully roasts it gets beautifully mellow and sweet.
I sprinkled some fresh thyme over the top and served it on a bed of couscous with some roasted asparagus. It was simple, yet flavorful. I seriously should roast whole garlic gloves more often. I just might buy a bunch and see how the timing is to do it in the crockpot. I’ll be somebody has done that on Pinterest.
1 bulb garlic
2 tbs olive oil
4 chicken thighs (bone in or out)
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)
salt & pepper
Far in advance of wanting dinner, (40 minutes before starting to make dinner), preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375-degrees.
Cut off the skinny pointed top of the garlic bulb, exposing the inner cloves.
Lay it in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bring opposite corners of the foil to meet, closing the foil together around the top. (You want to be able to open it without flipping it over).
Bake for 25 minutes.
Peek inside the foil. Some of the outer cloves are getting darker tan/brown versus the center still pretty white).
Close it back up, and bake for another 20 minutes.
To see if it is done, poke a fork at the individual cloves. Each should be very soft.
Each clove will pop out and totally lose shape when squished. Keep the oven on.
Squish the garlic into a paste with the back of a spoon, or a fork.
Prep a large heavy skillet to medium heat with the vegetable oil.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken, then dredge into the flour, salt, and pepper. Shake off any excess.
Add the chicken to the pan, cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side. The chicken should get a little bit of a golden crust.
Remove the chicken and put in a baking dish.
In the pan the chicken was cooked in, spoon out excess oil, leaving any brown bits from the bottom. Over medium low heat, add the chicken broth scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Add in the garlic paste.
Add in the worcestershire sauce, salt pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal chicken temperature reaches 165-degrees. Some thighs vary in size considerably, and the timing can differ if they are bone in or boneless.
This was so good. I loooved the garlic flavor.I got my garlic going in the toaster oven just to see how the timing went. It was such an energy efficient way to give the garlic a heads up, long before I needed the oven going for anything else!
The thyme added a touch of freshness. I honestly had it around. I wouldn’t have purchased a whole bunch just for this. Yum. I’m ready to have this again. I almost abandoned the chicken once the garlic was roasted….if I’d only had a baguette and all this roasted garlic, I would have been set for life!
This salad is sooo easy and only took a few special touches to make it something special. This Asian-inspired salad is the perfect meal to make dinner seem different. If you cook and shred the chicken in advance, this would be a 10 minute meal! I also might skip the chicken on the salad and grill some sesame garlic wing to go with this.
3 chicken tenders, each cut in half
8 oz Broccoli slaw
2-3 tbs sesame soy vinaigrette (bottled or 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce whisked together)
1/4 peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup edemame, shelled and cooked
orange segments (or packaged Mandarin oranges with no sugar added)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup crispy wonton strips (found in the produce area, or make your own)
Bring a pot of water to a low boil. Then add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes. Check that it is cooked through, if not keep cooking.
Toss broccoli slaw with dressing in a large bowl.
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
In a small pot add the peanut butter on low, stirring occasionally until melted.
Stir in the soy sauce, and remove from the heat.
Toss the shredded chicken into the peanut sauce to coat well.
Top the salad with orange segments, edemame, cashews, crispy wonton strips, and chicken.
I loved this. I could eat this regularly. The chicken feels kind of heavy and thick from the peanut butter, but the sharpness of the broccoli slaw dressing balances it. The sweet oranges are bright with lots of crisp texture from the nuts and wonton strips. The broccoli slaw was a welcome change from other greens. I love it.
This is such a cheap one, especially since it uses very little chicken.
Cost breakdown of Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken:
(cost per quantity that was used)
broccoli slaw: $2.00
chicken tenders: $2.50
packaged oranges: $1.00
wonton strips: $1.00
total = $8.25 for 3 servings, or $2.75 per person
You might be able to grab the edemame from the salad bar, which would make it super cheap without any leftovers. The wonton strips aren’t totally necessary with the nuts so you could skip one or the other if you wanted to simplify a bit.
I’ll totally make this again.