Friday, January 26, 2018

Chicken and Sausage Penne Jambalaya


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I'm not sure if I could come up with that many adjectives to describe how amazingly delicious this easy skillet dinner tastes.


- 6 oz. boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 links Italian sausage, cut into small pieces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 Tbs garlic, minced
- 1, 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 8 to 10 oz. penne pasta, uncooked
- 1 Tbs hot sauce, optional
- 2 green onions, chopped 
- fresh cilantro

TIP - I used chicken from a rotisserie chicken I had as well as fully cooked sausage. This cut the cooking time down to a minimum. I added it to the skillet after I sautéed the onions and garlic.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add chicken and sausage. When it starts to brown, add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, penne pasta, and hot sauce. Stir well. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat until penne pasta is al dente (not too soft). Garnish with green onions and cilantro. Serve and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here

"Freely adding and tasting ingredients in your dishes is
 how you grow your palate." - Anonymous 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana


Zuppa toscana is a broad-based term meaning "soup in the style of Tuscany".  This is a copycat recipe similar to the recipe used at the Olive Garden restaurant. Made with Italian sausage, potatoes, heavy cream, kale, and other savory ingredients, it's just one of those soup recipes that you'll hold onto so you can make again and again.


- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
- 1 cup diced sweet onion
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 5 medium/large russet potatoes, diced into about 1/4-inch thick pieces
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 4 to 6 cups chopped fresh kale, stems removed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, for garnish, optional

Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode. When it reads "hot", add olive oil. Add sausage and brown it for about 5 minutes, stirring and chopping up the sausage the whole time. Add the diced onion, garlic, and oregano. Combine and stir occasionally for about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom for any sausage pieces that might be stuck to it. Add the potatoes and the remaining 4 cups of chicken broth. Close the lid, cancel Sauté mode and set to Manual (High Pressure) for 5 minutes. After cooking cycle ends, allow a 10 minute Natural Pressure Release. After 10 minutes, manually release the steam (using a towel to cover vent). Once steam is released, open lid and add kale. Stir well. Cover and let cook through and soften for about 3 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and sprinkle in salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Vivere una vita bella. (Live a beautiful life.)" - Anonymous

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Brown-Butter Lobster Bisque


I found an amazing recipe for lobster bisque! However, the recipe called for about six more ingredients and two more steps for the cooking process. I knew I could make the recipe a lot simpler; so no matter what your cooking level is, anyone could make and enjoy this amazing, creamy, bisque! 


- 3 fresh lobster tails
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup parsnip, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. creole seasoning, optional (for a little kick)
- 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 32 oz. seafood stock
- 1 cup cooked rice or quinoa
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- cilantro and/or chives for a garnish

In a large dutch oven, boil enough water to cover lobster tails. Add salt, and once water comes to a boil, submerse lobster tails and let cook for around 6 minutes. Remove and place the lobster tails directly in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Once cooled, remove the lobster meat, chop into bite-sized pieces, and set aside. 

Spill water out of the dutch oven and add the butter. Cook butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it has melted and turned a rich golden-brown color. Add onions, garlic, parsnip, and celery. Turning heat to medium-high, cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender. Add creole, Old Bay, white wine, and bay leaf. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add seafood stock and rice. Stir until heated through. Remove bay leaf. In batches, transfer soup to a blender. Remove center piece from lid so steam can escape. Using a towel to cover the lid, blend soup mixture until smooth. Repeat until all soup is blended. Pour blended soup back into the dutch oven and add heavy cream. Cook until heated through. Ladle soup in shallow bowls and add lobster meat. Garnish with cilantro or chives and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here

"A Sunday well spent brings a week of content." - Anonymous 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken


No need for takeout when you have an Instant Pot. With an Instant Pot, your meal is done and ready to enjoy before delivery of any takeout food could reach your home. This honey sesame chicken is very flavorful, so easy to make, and tastes like it came from one of your favorite restaurants. 


- 4 large (about 2 lbs) boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil (or olive oil)
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 3 Tbs water
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped small
- Cooked rice and steamed broccoli, for serving, if desired
- Chopped scallions and sesame seeds for garnish

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Select Sauté to preheat the Instant Pot. Add oil, onions, garlic, and chicken to the pot. Sauté about 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Lock lid in place and select High Pressure with 3 minutes cook time.

When cook time ends, turn off the Instant Pot. Use a quick release to vent steam. After valve drops, carefully remove lid. Stir in sesame oil and honey. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to the Instant Pot and select Sauté/Simmer, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in scallions and serve over rice with steamed broccoli, if desired. Garnish with fresh scallions, if desired, and sesame seeds. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Your best teacher is your last mistake." - Anonymous

Creamy Caribbean Sweet Potato Soup


There's nothing like a hot bowl of soup on those cold winter days where you just can't seem to get warm. You'll want to dive in to this sumptuous creamy bowl of heaven and not come out until every last drop of soup is devoured! This sweet potato soup with a coconut cream lime drizzle makes you forget about the cold by keeping you warm and happy. Grab a spoon!


- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots
- 2 Tbs finely chopped lemongrass or lemongrass paste
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 5 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 12 cups chopped sweet potatoes (about 6 or 7 large potatoes)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional
- 1, 15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 Tbs lime juice (from 2 limes), divided
- toasted sliced almonds
- fresh cilantro

Heal oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened. Add broth, sweet potatoes, salt, turmeric, pepper, and red pepper. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook until potatoes are tender.

Skim 1/4 cup thickened coconut cream from top of coconut milk. Add two tablespoons of lime juice and whisk. Set aside. Whisk together remaining coconut milk with remaining one tablespoon lime juice. Stir into soup.

When potatoes are tender, place soup (in batches) into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape). Secure lid, and cover opening with a towel. Puree each batch until smooth. Pour into bowls and drizzle with reserved coconut mixture. Top with almonds and cilantro. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"During these cold winter months, we all need 
a little Vitamin Sea." - Me 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Cheese Tortellini Soup


If you're a stickler for keeping your New Year's Resolution of dieting and eating salads everyday, this recipe is not for you. This recipe are for those who love to indulge every once in awhile by eating something so good, so cheesy, so fulfilling, it feels like you're sinning. If you become addicted to this, don't blame me. A total hit by everyone who's has tasted the mouth-watering flavor of this soup. You will be tempted to have five bowls. Don't do it! Save some for the next day. :) 


- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage (mild)
- 1, 32 oz. container chicken broth
- 2, 14 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
- 2, 10.75 oz. cans of tomato soup
- 2, 8 oz. containers chive and onion cream cheese spread
- 1, 20 oz. package refrigerated cheese tortellini, uncooked

In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat. Transfer sausage to a crock pot. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and tomato soup. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in cream cheese spread and tortellini. Cook on high for about 30 minutes, until tortellini is cooked. Spoon into a bowl and devour! Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Sometimes you just have to indulge." - Anonymous

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Laura Lee's Shrimp and Grits


Whenever I search recipes, I find it's a combination of about four (for the same entree) that I like. I like to alter recipes so I can make them my own. After eliminating and adding ingredients, I came up with this recipe for shrimp and grits that had my husband declare it was definitely "restaurant quality". He wasn't even in trouble for anything so I knew his comments were genuine. ha! 

Smooth, cheesy, grits with seasoned fresh shrimp made this recipe definitely one worth repeating. Soon!


- 3 cups water
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 2 cups half and half
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbs butter
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

- 5 slices of bacon
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped small
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

In a large sauce pan, heat water and grits over medium-high heat until boiling. Add half and half and salt. Let simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. Cover and set aside.

In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to a plate and add onions and garlic to the skillet with the bacon grease. Saute for 2 minutes and add shrimp. Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning over shrimp and cook until the shrimp turns pink, about 3 minutes. Spoon grits into a serving bowl and add shrimp mixture on top. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Life is also about taking a break when you need it." - Anonymous

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Crock Pot Orange Chicken


With the purchase of my new babies, the Instant Pot and Immersion Circulator (for sous-vide cooking), my crock pot has been pushed aside. Seeing it sitting there in the corner, all lonely and heartbroken, I decided it was time to dust it off and fill it with some amazing ingredients so it can feel useful and special again. :) 

This succulent, and incredibly easy-to-make meal, was perfect for this cold winter day. You can never go wrong whenever you have a dish that's both sweet and savory! A mixture of oranges, onions, ginger and other tasty ingredients makes this dish a complete hit and a total win for Mr. Crockpot!


- 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- Juice and zest of 2 oranges
- 2 Tbs organic coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 Tbs organic honey
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 to 1/4 red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
- 4 Tbs arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

In a bowl, combine orange juice, orange zest, sugar, honey, vinegar, coconut aminos, onion, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes (if using), and pepper. Pour half of the sauce into the crock pot. Place chicken cubes in the crock pot and then pour the remaining half of the sauce over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours (or until chicken is cooked through). Transfer chicken to a bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk arrowroot and 4 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. Pour sauce from the crock pot into a small sauce pan and add arrowroot slurry. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Spoon mixture over any type of rice or pasta you desire, and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"May your days be bright and your coffee cup always be full." - Me