Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

‘Tis the season for comfort food. I’m not sure if it’s holiday stress or the weather getting colder but I now want all of my food to be warm and cheesy. Which totally does not agree with losing the baby weight. And knowing that I’m going to totally blow any good eating at holiday parties, I’ve been trying to be a little more careful with family dinners.

Luckily, I have some awesome blogger friends to lean on! This lightened-up comfort food dish from Prevention RD‘s cookbook totally hit the spot. This was warm and cheesy and perfect – without the guilt.

SkilletBBQChickenPasta

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta
(from Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking)
Serves 4-6

1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red onion, diced
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
12 oz. whole wheat penne
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/3 cup cheddar, shredded

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add the chicken and onions and cook until chicken is cooking through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, at the water, chicken broth, penne and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer 12-15 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed and pasta is tender. Stir in barbecue sauce and Greek yogurt. When well combined, stir in the cheeses and reserved chicken mixture. Cook until heated through. Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast

This meal was so easy! Are you sensing a theme around here? If it’s not quick and easy, I pretty much can’t handle it these days. Going forward, let’s just assume everything I post is quick and easy unless I say otherwise.

On top of being easy, this is freezer friendly. I prepped and popped it in the freezer – and then thawed the day before cooking. If you’re someone who likes to prep ahead, this is a fantastic option.

CranberryOnionPorkRoast

Slow Cooker Cranberry Onion Pork Roast
(adapted from New Leaf Wellness)
Serves 4

2 lbs. pork loin
15 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dried minced onion

Place pork in the slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Instant Pot Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken

Raise your hand if you bought an Instant Pot on Black Friday! I’m guessing there are quite a few of you because the requests for IP recipes have pretty much tripled in the last week.

I grabbed an Instant Pot a few months ago and I’ve been loving it for quick side dishes but I’ve been slow to use it for meals. That’s changing, though, as I’m forever forgetting to throw things in the slow cooker as planned. Mom brain is real, you guys.

This chicken was one of my first main dishes in the IP and man, was it a winner. The chicken was juicy and flavorful. We paired it with Hibachi Style Noodles and roasted broccoli for a great dinner.

BrownSugarGarlicChickenIP

Instant Pot Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken
(from Once a Month Meals)
Serves 4

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon lime soda
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. black pepper

Place chicken in the Instant Pot. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small ball and pour over the chicken. Cook on manual for 15 minutes, then release the pressure and serve.

Sausage, Pepper and Farro Skillet

Jake’s new favorite phrase? “I no like it!” It doesn’t matter if he ate it yesterday or he’s already halfway through the plate, once he throws out the “I no like it!” the meal is officially over.

All things considered, I really can’t complain about his eating habits. He really just seems like a normal toddler, but he’s definitively starting to voice his preferences more. And he has a strong preference for anything in the sausage family. This dinner was made with him in mind.

As expected, he happily gobbled the smoked sausage. The peppers and onions were largely avoided. The farro was his “I no like it!” trigger. All of the grown ups in the house really enjoyed this, though!

SausagePepperSkillet

Sausage, Pepper and Farro Skillet
(slightly adapted from Budget Bytes)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. olive oil
12 oz. smoked sausage
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. oregano
Pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked farro

Slice the onions and peppers. Coin slice the sausage.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Brown the sausage, then drain the excess fait.

Add the onions and peppers to the skillet. Cook until onions are translucent. Stir in the diced tomatoes, oregano, faro, and pepper to taste. Cook until heated through.

 

Garlic and Rosemary Sliders

improvchallenge

This month’s Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients were garlic and rosemary – and I immediately thought, burgers! I couldn’t find a recipe that I really liked, so I decided to create my own – and these were a fabulous success.

There’s double garlic and rosemary here – fresh in the aioli that tops the burgers and dried spices in the burgers themselves. The result is flavorful without being over-powering. And, I made them slider-sized because that makes them perfectly toddler sized – a big win in our house right now!

You can check out what the other participating bloggers made with garlic and rosemary here:

 

GarlicRosemaryBurgers

Garlic and Rosemary Sliders
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 8 sliders

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
8 slider rolls
Arugula, for serving

In a heavy pan over low heat, toss together the olive oil and the sliced sweet onion. Cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, then transfer the onions to a bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, herbs de Provence, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Divide into eight equal patties and cook in the pan from the onions until they reach the desired doneness.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic and rosemary. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Spread 2-3 tsp. of mayonnaise mixture on the bottom of each slider bun. Top with a burger patty, onions and arugula. Serve immediately.

Chicken Sausage and Marinated Summer Veggies

Current craving: all the veggies. I’ve eaten more salad and grilled vegetable sandwiches recently than I ever have in my life. I’m not sure if it’s a pregnancy thing or just the mid-summer bounty, but it’s been delicious.

While aimlessly flipping through Pinterest, this recipe caught my eye because of all of the veggies. I adapted it slightly to fit what we had in the garden/what looked best at the store, but you could really do this dish at any time of the year with whatever produce is in season.

I served it along with a loaf of warm, crusty bread – it was an awesome summer dinner.

ChickenSausageSummerVeg

Chicken Sausage and Marinated Summer Veggies
(slightly adapted from Beachbody)
Serves 4

2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, taste
2 zucchini, coin sliced
2 yellow squash, coin sliced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
4 cooked chicken sausages, coin sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss all the veggies with the balsamic mixture and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.

Preheat your broiler to high.

Stir the chicken sausage into the veggies and transfer to a sheet pan. Broil for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft, turning halfway.

Cheeseburger Burritos

I swear that every time I plan to grill out, it rains. Or at least it feels that way lately. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had so much rain!

It’s meant a few hiccups our meal plans. I was dreaming of burgers on the grill one night, but grilling in the pouring rain had zero appeal – so they became burger burritos instead. It wasn’t the juicy, grilled burger I was daydreaming about, but it was a good enough approximation for a rainy night – and Jake LOVED them.

BurgerWraps

Cheeseburger Burritos
(from Meals, Heels and Cocktails)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped dill pickle
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 cups shredded lettuce
6 large tortillas

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef and drain the grease. Stir in the mustard, ketchup relish and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and cheese.

Divide mixture between tortillas. Divide lettuce between tortillas. Roll up and serve.

Shake Shack-Style Sliders

A Shake Shack opened in our town last year and it’s been… dangerous. It’s probably the easiest and tastiest to-go burger around. And then add a milkshake? Yeah, bad news to have that in your backyard.

I was craving some last week when I remembered Sarah had blogged a copy-cat version a few years back. When I looked at the recipe, I was skeptical they’d be really that simple – but they are. These hit the nail on the head and totally cured my craving.

Now I’m trying to decide if it’s more dangerous to have a Shake Shack so close or to know I can make them at home so easily.

ShakeShackSliders

Shake Shack-Style Sliders
(slightly adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Makes 8 Sliders

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 slices kosher dill pickle, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 lbs. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
8 slider rolls, preferably potato
8  leaves lettuce, tops of leaves only
8 slices ripe Roma tomatoes
8 slices yellow American cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, chopped pickle, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.

Split rolls and butter cut-side lightly. Broil until lightly toasted. After toasting, top with 1/2 – 1 tsp. of sauce, a slice of lettuce and a slice of tomato. Set the prepped buns on parchment paper.

Divide the ground sirloin into eight equal parts and form into patties. Season with salt and pepper and place seasoned-side down in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Press down and season again. Cook for about three minutes, until the bottoms have a nice crust and then flip, top with cheese and cover until cheese melts.

Transfer the cooked burgers to the prepped buns and wrap in parchment for a minute to let the juices absorb. (This is what really makes the burgers – don’t skip it!) Unwrap and serve immediately.

Cheeseburger Pizza

When I was pregnant with Jake, all I wanted to eat was pizza. I tried to shake it up by making as many different pizza-flavored dishes as I could find, but I’m pretty sure Mark was sick of pizza after first trimester.

This pregnancy, burgers have been the big hit. I joked with Mark early in the pregnancy that maybe it was a girl this time since I was craving something different – but I didn’t really expect to be right!

This pizza was one of my I’m-trying-to-pass-this-off-as-not-burgers-again meals. It was a huge hit here – and one we’ll make again even after the burger cravings are gone!

CheeseburgerPizza

Cheeseburger Pizza
(adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything)
Serves 4-6

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. pizza dough
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. dill relish
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Dill pickle slices for topping

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef and onion. Drain the grease and stir in the Worcestershire.
Roll out the pizza dough and bake for 8 minutes. While baking, whisk together the ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and relish.
Once pre-baked, remove the crust from the oven, spread the sauce over evenly, top with the ground beef, cheese and pickle slices. Return to the oven for an additional 6-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and the crust is golden-brown.

Chipotle Ranch Turkey Panini

I wanted to sneak in one last Thanksgiving leftover post before the big festivities tomorrow. This is pretty much the perfect day-after sandwich – super quick to throw together in the midst of shopping trips but it doesn’t feel like leftovers.

The crunchy onions and cranberries are staples in lots of Thanksgiving dishes so I’m guessing you’ll have them (and turkey!) on hand. A few extra ingredients and you’re good to go.

I made a few of these during the last week and I’m genuinely looking forward to refreshing my turkey stash tomorrow so I can have another.

TurkeyPanini

Chipotle Ranch Turkey Panini
(a Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Makes 1 sandwich

3/4 cup chopped turkey
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. crunchy onions
1 Tbsp. real bacon bits
2 Tbsp. chipotle ranch dressing
2 slices provolone cheese
1 Ciabatta roll

In a small bowl, toss together the  turkey, cranberries, onions, bacon bits and dressing until evenly combined.

Slice the roll in half, top with turkey mixture and cheese. Press in a Panini press until warmed through and crunchy on the outside.