Spicy Instant Pot Chicken

The instant pot is certainly the new craze these days. Dinner in under an hour, yes please! Some folks are intimidated by this new machine, but just remember that it’s much like it’s grandfather the crock pot – you can dump whatever you have in your kitchen and voila, dinner is served. This recipe has become a favorite and a staple in our house:

Begin with 3-4 trimmed chicken breasts. Then I grab all the peppers I have on hand plus an onion.

Chop or slice everything into big pieces.

Turn your instant pot on to the brown cycle. Season your chicken generously with your favorite seasoning. We love Weber’s Garlic Habanero. Once heated, add some EVOO to the bottom before browning your chicken on both sides.

Toss in your veggies first. I love adding corn cut from the cob but canned works fine.

Now add in your canned goods. We love hot Rotel, fire roasted diced green chiles, fire roasted diced tomatoes, tomatillo salsa, chipotle in adobo sauce, beans, etc….literally, you can’t go wrong here. Then add 8oz of cream cheese (we prefer the Greek yogurt variety).

Put the lid on and let it cook for 40 minutes. Then shred the chicken inside the pot. We love to serve this over quinoa, but it would be great over rice, potato, or pasta – your pick.

Avocado (and maybe some jalapeño slices and hot sauce) make the perfect topping. Enjoy!

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Louisiana Shrimp Dip

I love shrimp and I love dips, so immediately I wanted to try this one. I made it for the Super Bowl yesterday and it was exactly what I was hoping for. I used local shrimp – I think the better quality shrimp you can use, the better.

After cleaning and deveining the shrimp I cut them into about 1 inch size pieces. Warm a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Toss in a diced red pepper and cook for a couple of minutes. Now add in your shrimp, a handful of chopped, green onions, and about a teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning.

Cook until shrimp begins to turn pink. You don’t want to overcook them since they will have more cook time in your oven. Set aside.

Combine 8oz of cream cheese (I prefer the Greek yogurt variety), 1/3C mayo, juice of 1/2 of a lemon, and 1tsp Worcestershire sauce. I used a hand mixer for this step, but a wooden spoon would work also. Now stir in 1/2tsp red pepper flakes, 1tsp Creole or Cajun seasoning, 1/3C grated Parmesan cheese, and 1.5C shredded mozzarella. Once combined, fold in your shrimp mixture. Grease an 8×8 pan and spoon in your dip.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips or a baguette. Enjoy!

Adapted From: Spicy Southern Kitchen

Spinach Lasagna

Here is yet another version of Lasagna that I love. This is perfect for a rainy, meatless Monday, or a cozy Sunday dinner (like we had last night). In fact, when I started dating my husband 12 years ago, this was one of the few things that I knew how to make; and it’s still a favorite.

Begin with your marinara sauce. Homemade is always better (my recipe is on this blog), but jar is fine if you are in a pinch.

Now you will need the following: 1 box frozen chopped spinach (thawed), 16oz of ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup grated parmesan, 1tbl minced garlic, and 1 egg (slightly beaten).

Ring out your spinach well in a kitchen towel before combining everything into a medium mixing bowl.

Cook your Lasagna noodles according to the package instructions (al dente). I like to use multi-grain but that’s totally up to you. Lay out your assembly.

Layer marinara, then noodles, then mixture. Repeat a second time, finishing with a layer of noodles, more marinara, and top with mozzarella and shredded parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for 10 minutes and uncovered for another 15 or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with garlic or cheese bread and enjoy!

Classic Chicken Parmesan

We love comfort food in my house and this ranks right up there with all things warm and cheesy. It’s so simple, anyone can do it.

Begin with a couple of large chicken breasts and slice them horizontally. Make an assembly line of 1C of flour, 3 beaten eggs, and 2C Italian style Panko bread crumbs.

Salt and pepper your chicken and dredge them through the flour (pressing the flour in tightly), then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Lay them onto a plate and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Now I like to prepare my homemade marinara that is super easy and about a million times better than the store bought variety. That recipe is also on this blog. If you are short on time, the jar variety is just fine.

Warm a few tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat in a sauce pan and add in the chicken. Cook 4-6 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken into a prepared baking dish. Slice fresh mozzarella onto each piece.

Set oven to broil and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Prepare the pasta of your choice – I like angel hair with this dish but anything is fine. Lay a spoonful of marinara on top and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Now place a piece of chicken on top with more marinara, cheese, and parsley. Serve with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. Enjoy!

Shrimp Enchiladas with Poblano Cream Sauce

Yes, clearly I am drawn to the same types of recipes. Modern, Mexican inspired meals are just the favorite in my house. We still have some stockpiled local shrimp (I mean, we did buy 60lbs in October🤪), so I wanted to try something new with those. Something totally fresh from all of the holiday “stuffing” that’s been happening since November.😁 Begin by melting 2tbl butter over medium heat. Now whisk in 2tbl flour and stir quickly for a couple of minutes. Slowly combine 1.5C chicken bone broth. Add in 3/4C plain Greek yogurt. Stir in 1 diced poblano (separate out 2tbl of the pepper that will be used in step 2) and 1/2tsp garlic powder. Allow mixture to thicken and then salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1C shredded Monterey Jack cheese, once melted remove from heat. Add in 2tbl chopped, fresh cilantro and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss 1.5lbs of peeled and deveined shrimp in EVOO, S&P, and roast on a lined baking sheet for 6-8 minutes (depending on the size of your shrimp). Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Warm 2tbl EVOO over medium heat and add 1/2C chopped onion. Once translucent, add in 1tbl minced garlic and the 2tbl of diced poblano that you set aside. Sauté for a minute or so and then add 1.5C matchstick carrots and 3C baby spinach plus a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Once spinach wilts, remove from heat and add in your shrimp.

Using freshly cooked flour tortillas, wrap about 1/3C of your mixture topped with Monterey Jack cheese. Lay seam side down in a prepared baking dish. Cover enchiladas with about half of your sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Remove and cover with remaining sauce plus another tablespoon of chopped, fresh cilantro. Serve with avocado, hot sauce, fresh jalapeños, etc. Enjoy! Adapted From: Gimme Some Oven

Snowballs☃️

You know what makes shortbread taste even more delicious than it already does? Pecans and powdered sugar – LOTS of powdered sugar. I had never made these before but they have always been one of my favorite Christmas cookies. So easy and festive.

Using a Kitchenaid mixer: Begin by creaming together 2 sticks of softened butter and 1/2C powdered sugar. Once combined, add in 2tsp vanilla extract. Slowly add 1/4tsp salt, 2 cups of flour, and finally 1C chopped pecans.

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. This makes about 30 cookies.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Roll them immediately in powdered sugar while they are still hot, and then a second time after they cool. Enjoy!

Inspired By: Delish.com

Holiday Crack

I decided to try something besides my infamous white chocolate chip cookies this year. Cooking comes much more naturally to me than baking, so I tend to keep things simple. I knew combining butter, brown sugar, and chocolate was basically fool proof, and I was right. My boys delivered all but a tiny bit to our neighbors yesterday to keep my indulgence at bay. Next time you need to whip something up for a holiday party that’s quick, super easy, and most likely you already have all of the ingredients, try this.

Begin by generously coating a foiled-lined baking sheet with nonstick spray. Now layer the entire pan with saltine crackers.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and a cup of brown sugar over medium heat. Once melted, bring the pot to a boil and stir quickly for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the crackers and even out with the back of a wooden spoon.

Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Remove and top with chocolate chips.

Pop back in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove and spread chocolate evenly over the crackers.

This is where you can let your Littles help by decorating with M&Ms, sprinkles, colored sugar, etc.

Run a sharp knife along the sides of the crackers and then refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened. Enjoy!

Spicy Beef Sliders

Between football season and holiday parties, there are so many occasions for good sliders. I’ve been making these particular ones for a few years and they never disappoint. You can even make them a day ahead of time and pop them in the oven right before serving.

Begin by generously spraying nonstick spray into a baking dish. Cut a dozen dinner rolls in half and lay the bottom half in your pan. I’ve used both plain and Kings Hawaiian rolls and both turn out perfectly.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat until it’s almost smoking. Add a pound of ground sirloin – don’t break it up, just let it sizzle for 2 minutes on each side until it begins to char. This adds amazing texture and flavor to the meat.

Now add a chopped onion plus 1tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp mustard powder, and 1/2tsp paprika. Break up meat and cook it through. Add a 1tsp minced garlic and cook for another minute before removing from heat. Drain off any excess grease and then stir in 1 drained can of Rotel.

Once combined, spoon your meat mixture over the bottom half of your rolls. Layer with 12 slices of sharp cheddar cheese and cover with the top halves of the rolls.

To make your glaze melt 1 stock of butter in a small sauce pan. Add in 2tbl brown sugar, 1tbl Worcestershire, 1tbl Dijon, and 1tbl sesame seeds. Pour over your rolls.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until tops begin to brown. Enjoy!!

Adapted From – Kevin & Amanda

Loaded Potato Casserole

I didn’t grow up with mashed potatoes being part of the Thanksgiving spread, we always had the sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping. However, my husband feels mashed potatoes are a necessity for the holidays. They are so simple, so why not jazz them up a bit?

Begin by partially skinning and cubing 4lbs of red potatoes and slice 3 large garlic cloves into thirds.

Place into a large pot of boiling water and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes soften. Mash to your desired consistency. 

Now add the following: 1/4C butter, 1C sour cream, 1/2C heavy cream, 4oz cream cheese, 2 chopped green onions, 2C shredded cheddar, and 10 slices chopped, crispy bacon. I used my hand mixer to combine everything but stirring would be fine also. 

Top with 1/2C cheddar, 2 chopped green onions, and 2 more pieces of chopped, crispy bacon. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Inspired By – Spend With Pennies

Meatball, Spinach, & Tortellini Soup

I love soup in the cooler months. We don’t have many of those here, so I like to make the most of “soup season” while we can. This is one of my favorites and talk about quick and easy! It’s very hearty so even big appetites will fill up, especially if you add a mixed green salad and a crusty bread. Voila, dinner is served!

Begin by warming a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat in a large, deep pot or Dutch oven. Sauté a medium onion until soft (about 5 minutes) and then add in a teaspoon of minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. 

Now add in 2 cups beef bone broth, 28oz can undrained diced tomatoes, 8oz can of tomato sauce, 1/2tsp salt, and 1/2tsp of oregano. 

Add in 20-25 frozen, Italian style mini meatballs and let simmer for 15 minutes. 

Now add in 3-4 cups of pre-cooked, refrigerated tortellini. They only need to cook for a couple of minutes to become al dente. 

Stir in 2 big handfuls of baby spinach. Once the spinach wilts, remove from heat. 

This last step is optional but ’tis the season for a little indulgence so go ahead! Add 1/3C heavy cream (everything is better with heavy cream!). This freezes beautifully, so make a big batch and enjoy more than once!😋

Inspired By – Spicy Southern Kitchen