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Recipe Time! Vegetable Soup

Vegetable soup has never been a favorite of mine. I liked when my mom would cook it, but I wouldn’t normally think about it as one of my go-to staple recipes for weeknight dinners. Also, Jason doesn’t love soup, so I usually stay away from … well, soup. But I saw this recipe for a healthy vegetable soup and thought why not? I was home by myself for a lot this past weekend so knew that I would like it, Audrey might try it and Jason could choke it down (which he did, and actually liked it!). I liked how the recipe offered different “versions,” such as a Mexican version with Rotel, an Italian version with beans or just regular. I served this with some Naan bread, but would also be delish with grilled cheese. Enjoy!

vegetable soup

Vegetable Soup
Adapted from: Danica’s Daily

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz. can Great Northern beans
  • 1/2 can of tomato paste
  • 32 oz. chicken stock (I added water to make a bigger pot)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 oz. macaroni pasta
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. In a large soup pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot and garlic, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes.

2.  Add the beans, tomato paste, broth, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables soften, about 8-10 minutes.

3.  Add the peppers, kale, pasta and continue cooking for 8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.


Recipe Time: Steel Cut Crockpot Oatmeal

I’ve been loving me some oatmeal lately.

The mornings have been so cold that it’s been nice to have a warm breakfast. Sometimes I make my own little oatmeal packets from this recipe here. Sometimes I buy the packaged kind and mix with strawberries and almonds. But then I discovered this wonderful recipe for crockpot, overnight oatmeal that is seriously da bomb. The house smells amazing. The oatmeal tastes amazing. And it’s super easy. It seriously tastes like apple pie. But is good for you! A win-win all around.

Warning: Make sure you spray the crockpot with cooking spray or you will get stuck oatmeal in your crockpot. Not that it happened to me, just sayin, you know, for a friend.


Slow-Cooker, Overnight Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal
From: The Yummy Life

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.

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Recipe Time! Skillet Chicken Chili

This recipe is one of my favorites lately! The night I cooked it, it was just the right time for some comfort food and it really hit the spot. Not to mention, it let me use my cast iron skillet, which I’ve been trying to use more often. I’m turning into one of those moms who looks for easy, quick weeknight dinners and I think this is a perfect option. It’s from Picky Palate and super yummy.



8 ounces wagon wheel pasta noodles (I used just regular macaroni shells)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet peppers (or bell peppers)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
10 ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes, mild
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup corn, fresh or canned
1/2 cup white beans, drained and rinsed (I used black beans)
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry Ranch seasoning from packet
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking. Heat oil in 9 inch deep cast iron skillet. Add onions and peppers, cook stirring until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken, tomatoes, broth, corn, beans, 1 cup wagon wheel pasta, chili powder, cumin, Ranch seasoning and cilantro. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.


Recipe Time! Watermelon Salad

I love watermelon. I like anything flavored watermelon, the colors of watermelon and the feelings watermelon can inspire (summer, swimming, the beach, etc.). I’m even growing a watermelon in my stomach, just kidding … it’s really a baby 🙂

So when I was tasked with helping to cook dinner one night of our family beach vacation, watermelon seemed like the perfect, light addition to the fajita-based menu. I heard about using watermelon in salads, but I usually strayed away from the idea because I normally don’t like fruit in my savory foods, but I figured I would at least try it.

And this recipe was a hit! I adapted it a bit from this recipe here: Balsamic Watermelon Salad, but you can Google or search on Pinterest and get 1000 different recipes. I’ve seen recipes with tomatoes, cucumbers, nuts, etc. But here’s what I did.

watermelon salad


1 seedless watermelon (adjust based on number of people)
1 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 package of crumbled Feta cheese
Salt/pepper to taste (you might need a lot of salt)
Balsamic vinegar (I just drizzled all over the top until it looked like enough)
Mint leaves (I didn’t use, but it sounds like a nice addition)

Chop the watermelon into bite size pieces. Put in large bowl with onion and feta, season with salt and pepper and drizzle (or douse) with balsamic vinegar. Gently mix. And that’s it! I put it in the fridge for about an hour before serving so the watermelon was nice and cold. Delish!

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Recipe Time! Chile Relleno Lasagna

Good morning and happy Monday! I’ve got a good recipe for you today that is a great, light vegetarian option (or you can add ground beef and make it a little meatier, which this recipe did).


A few weeks ago, I fell victim to finding a great recipe online, not bookmarking it, and then never being able to find it again. I had green and red peppers in the fridge, chile rellenos sounded great, but I didn’t want to fry anything, didn’t want it to be complicated, and didn’t want to stuff the peppers. So then I thought to search for Chile Relleno Casserole, but all of those recipes called for weird ingredients, or too much carby stuff that would ruin the veggie-tastic theme I was going for.

So I kind of made this up. But it turned out delicious! Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the real thing, but imagine a bell pepper lasagna.

Chile Relleno Lasagna

2 green and 2 red peppers (or all one color if you prefer)
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 bag frozen seasonings (or 1 onion chopped / 1 clove garlic chopped)
1 can black beans
Salsa (I used the tomato sauce recipe for the Stuffed Poblano Pepper* recipe that I love)
1 bag of your favorite shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or higher) and place whole peppers right on oven rack to grill/char. Watch them until the skin starts blackening and blistering (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from oven and place in large Ziploc bag to steam for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute beef and chopped onion/garlic until browned. Drain. Add taco seasoning, a little water and simmer until absorbed. *If you use the homemade tomato sauce, blend 1 can whole tomatoes, 1 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic until liquid. Add salt/pepper. Set both aside. Rinse 1 can of black beans and set aside.

Once peppers are cooled a bit, peel off skin, and slice into large sections (almost like lasagna noodles). We are creating layers, so cut them like large rectangles.

Take out baking dish and put a little sauce on bottom. Layer with strips of pepper. Top that layer with ground beef, black beans, sauce and cheese. Layer again with strips of pepper and repeat with ground beef, black beans, sauce and cheese. Top with last layer of pepper strips, last of sauce and top with more cheese.

Cover with foil and bake about 25-30 mins at 350 degrees or until everything is bubbling together. And enjoy!


Recipe Time! Gazpacho

Are you ever in the mood for a light lunch, something like a salad, but don’t have lettuce, don’t feel like making a salad, or just want something different? I have the solution for you!


gazpachoI don’t remember the first time I had this dish, but remember my Mom making it when I was in high school. It’s basically a liquid salad (I know it sounds gross, but trust me, it’s not). It’s a salty, tangy mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and really anything that would go in a salad. I usually make a big batch and eat on it during the entire week. One of my favorite meals I ate on my honeymoon was Gazpacho, it was at every restaurant and I probably ordered it every time!

This recipe is very basic, but check out Ina Garten’s and The Pioneer Woman’s recipes for a little bit more dressed up version.

P.S. This ia a perfect Summer/Spring picnic item 🙂


2 large tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 to 1 onion (depending on how big), cubed
1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
Couple glugs of olive oil
Couple splashes of red wine vinegar
1 tblsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and liquefy! Some people do each vegetable separately and then mix together with a spoon. And some like it more liquid, but I tend to keep it a little on the liquid-salsa consistency side. Chill in fridge for about 20 minutes and then serve.

Add any toppings you like: avocado, cheese, croutons, grilled shrimp, etc.