Cooking Lately {June 2019}

I cannot believe that summer is here and June is almost over! As I mentioned in last month’s post, due to lack of time, instead of posting our weekly meal plans, I’m posting the dishes from the month that the family enjoyed the most. This will hopefully inspire you to try a new recipe! Here are some of the dishes that we enjoyed in June. Next month will likely have lighter, more veggie filled summer recipes! And if you have a great recipe that I should try, please share! I’m always looking for new dinner ideas.

Asian Turkey Meatballs – I mentioned these meatballs in a recent Five on Friday post. My husband made these for our “bite-size” themed supper club. They were easy to make and so tasty! Make a batch of these and serve with some rice and veggies and you have a complete meal.

Mexicali Hashbrown Taco Casserole – I’m always looking for new takes on tacos. This taco casserole sounded interesting and from start to finish only took about 45 minutes. My husband did the grocery shopping and when I wrote hash browns on the list, he purchased a bag of diced potatoes that were labeled hash browns. He didn’t realize that I needed the shredded hash browns. So this ended up being made with a thicker potato than was called for. Although it doesn’t look it in the pic, the potatoes were cooked. I was too lazy to give them a broil to brown them for the pic! #truth

One-Pan BBQ Ranch Chicken Gnocchi – I’ve been enjoying one pan pasta dishes recently. I’ve been hesitant because in the past the pasta hasn’t always cooked correctly. However, this dish came together nicely. I did dice the chicken prior to cooking it and I omitted the baby spinach. The kids really enjoyed this dish.

Paprika Shrimp and Farro – I try not to repeat recipes very much. But I’ve been going through some old meal planning calendars and remaking some of the recipes again. I believe I first made this dish back in 2017. When I was growing up there was no way that I’d eat this dish. I disliked all grains – rice, barley, etc. So, I have to give my kids credit for eating this. My husband actually made this and he precooked the farro the night before. Then it was super quick and easy to warm the farro and cook the shrimp.

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet – I mentioned I was on a one pot meal kick and this was one of those dishes. Total time for this meal is only 35 minutes and one that everyone enjoyed. I will make this again in the fall and winter when comfort food is needed.

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole – Breakfast for dinner is always a winner with the family. I’ve made countless breakfast casseroles because they are just so easy and I love having the leftovers for breakfast. I’ve made similar tater tot breakfast casseroles before and this one doesn’t especially stand out, but it was good. This is another dish that I could have broiled to crisp up the tater tots, but I didn’t.

What are you making for dinner this week?


Cooking Lately {May 2019}

Here is the monthly round up of some of the meals that we cooked in May. Although we cooked almost every week night, I’ve only posted the dinners that the family really enjoyed. There were a lot of tasty recipes this month and hopefully this gives you some new dinner ideas!

Beef and Broccoli – I’ve made beef and broccoli many times, but this was a new to us recipe. I roasted the broccoli in the oven and added it to the beef and sauce mixture at the end. This was a tad on the sweet side, but was tasty. I served it with rice.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole – This is a low-carb casserole with a tasty sauce. I have to admit that I did miss the carbs. I needed pasta, rice or even potatoes to go with this, which I didn’t make. I served this with some veggies.

Chicken Tikka Masala Flatbreads – These were so tasty! And really easy to make too. I actually cooked the ground chicken the night before, knowing the next night we would be in a rush to eat. Then it was almost all just assembling the flatbreads and warming them up in the oven. This will definitely be a recipe repeat.

Cornbread Taco Bake – We love all things taco, but I’m always looking for new takes on the dish. This was a tasty meal that was easy to put together. This is a great fall/cool weather comfort food meal.

Burst Tomato and Bacon Rigatoni – I think this was one of the rare times that a Rachael Ray recipe actually took only 30 minutes to make. This was the first time I bought red pesto but I really liked the flavor it added to this dish and will likely buy it again. I used kale instead of swiss chard. I also cooked the pasta separately. Even though the recipe is a one pot meal, I haven’t had luck with pasta coming out well in one pot recipes. This was really tasty and I think would taste even better with ripe, summer cherry tomatoes.

Caprese Turkey Burgers – After last month’s burger overload, these were the only burgers I made this month. The hardest part was defrosting the spinach and squeezing out all of the water! The tomatoes had to be squished down to stay on the burger. Overall, this was a tasty burger that we all enjoyed.

Instant Pot Chicken Paprikash – I haven’t made an Instant Pot meal in awhile. We’ve been using the Instant Pot weekly to hard boil eggs and we always make our mashed potatoes in it. We just hadn’t cooked a dinner in awhile. The only change to this recipe I’d try next time is to use boneless thighs, as I dislike eating chicken off the bone. But the sauce was good and we just had to cook egg noodles to serve the chicken and sauce over.

One-Pan French Onion Chicken Gnocchi Bake – Warning, this meal did take a little bit of time to make. Caramelizing the onions requires a half hour and then the dish has to bake for 20 minutes. The recipe calls for cooked, shredded chicken, which my husband prepped the night before we made this. This dish is not photogenic at all. Nor does it look like the pictures in the recipe. However, the flavors were delicious. This is one of those comfort food meals that I’ll likely make again in the fall or winter.

30 Minute Cajun Butter Steak and Peppers – This dish was quick and easy and spot on with the time as well. I omitted the cayenne pepper and the fresh herbs and avocado. The seasoning blend of the steak was tasty and flavorful. We had burritos the night before I made this and my daughter put all of her steak, peppers and rice into a tortilla.


5 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes Worth Making

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for additional information.)

My husband and I like to think that we are pretty minimalist with the number of tools and gadgets we keep in our kitchen.  We spent years without an Instant Pot and seemed to manage just fine with our slow cooker.  Back in December, after seeing so many Instant Pot recipes online, I decided that it was finally time we got one.  We received our Instant Pot as a Christmas  present and have been using it regularly every since. The Instant Pot is such a versatile cooking appliance.  After trying out many different recipes, here are five Instant Pot chicken recipes that we think are worth making.  Almost all are Asian-inspired recipes and served with rice.

Instant Pot 20 Minute Chicken Burrito Bowls – Mexican-inspired dishes are always a hit in our house.  I’m super happy when I can get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes and this is one of those recipes.  This has all the flavors of a chicken burrito in bowl form.   I omitted the diced chiles from this recipe but otherwise cooked as directed.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken –  Although butter chicken is not the same as chicken tikka masala, it is very similar.  When you’re in the mood for some homemade Indian food, you can have this chicken ready in approximately 35 minutes.

Instant Pot Chicken Pad Thai – My husband made this dinner for us.  This isn’t homemade pad thai, as it calls for jarred pad thai sauce. We used Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce.  I’m going to be honest, this dish tastes nothing like authentic pad thai.  However, if you want a pad-thai inspired dish, this will do it.  Especially if you want or need it made quickly.

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken is a quick and tasty dinner!

Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken –  This is another dish that has Asian-inspired flavors but doesn’t quite taste like traditional sesame chicken.  This was still enjoyed by the family and is quick and easy.  Can’t go wrong with that!

Instant Pot Sticky Korean Chicken – A quick and tasty chicken recipe!  I recommend cutting back on the gochugang or chili garlic sauce if cooking for kids.  This dish still had some heat, even when I cut back on the spicy sauce.  I recommend doubling the amount of chicken if you want to have some leftovers.

What is your favorite Instant Pot chicken recipe?  


Cooking Lately

If you’re a regular blog reader you may have noticed that I haven’t posted a weekly meal plan for the past two weeks.  Believe me, I’ve still been cooking up a storm during the week.  I just haven’t had time to post our meal plan here.  So today, I’m sharing some of the meals that I’ve cooked over the past two weeks.  Again, I hope this post helps you find something new to make for dinner.  Mix up your weekly dinners and try a new recipe!  You and your family might like it!  So on to what’s been cooking lately:

Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole from Broma Bakery – This was a family favorite and my daughter already asked me to make this again.  My only criticism of this recipe is that it should be called Taco Tater Tot Casserole.  After looking at some other “cheeseburger” tater tot casserole recipes, I noticed that the others had mustard, ketchup and pickles.  This recipe had none of that but does have taco seasoning.  I forgot to serve this with sour cream and it was still tasty.  This is a hearty, comfort dish that I’ll save to make again in the fall once the weather gets cool again.

Cowboy Spaghetti from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals – I’ve made this recipe before many years ago.  Although it sounds like a weird combination of ingredients, somehow it works.  I did not use beer in my recipe.  The family enjoyed this meal and this is another recipe that I’ll likely make again, come fall or winter.

Instant Pot Sticky Korean Chicken from Half Baked Harvest –  This was a quick and easy chicken dish.  Instead of the gochugang sauce the recipe called for, I used a tablespoon of chili garlic sauce.  Even that was probably a bit much, since the chicken turned out pretty spicy.  My chicken ended up pretty saucy, which I didn’t mind because I spooned it over the rice.  However, I used a pound of chicken and there was no leftovers and not even enough for seconds.  Next time, I’ll reduce the amount of chili garlic sauce and double the amount of chicken.  I served this with rice and veggies.  This will be made again!

Cajun Chicken Alfredo Shells from Closet Cooking – This was probably one of the more time consuming meals to make over the past two weeks.  The night before I was going to make these my husband pre-cooked the chicken for me in the Instant Pot.  While the shells cooked, I made the sauce and got the chicken and broccoli mixture together.  These were pretty tasty, but I think more work than it was worth.  Luckily, there were leftovers which my daughter and I took for lunch the next day.  I served these shells with a Caesar salad.

Wafflewiches from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals – If you are looking for a super quick and easy meal, these Wafflewiches are it!  It’s a different take on the Monte Cristo, using waffles instead of French Toast.  My kids rarely eat a cold cut sandwich, but both enjoyed these wafflewiches.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw from Pinch of Yum –  Shrimp are quick and easy to cook.  The sauce and slaw was easy to throw together and it packed a lot of flavor!  There was a bunch of slaw and sauce leftover, which we are using in fish tacos!

What have you been cooking lately?


What’s Cooking? – A Weekly Meal Plan {Week 5}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Here’s another edition of What’s Cooking?, a weekly meal plan providing you some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool for me, and ensures that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday – I made Spanish Beef Stew from Every Day with Rachael Ray.  This is one of those “Make This, Then Make This” type recipes.  Of course, I didn’t read the recipe through and when I went to make it at 5 PM, noticed that it has a 2 hour cook time.  There was no way we were eating after 7 PM, so the Instant Pot to the rescue.  I put everything in the Instant Pot and then cooked it on the stew setting for 35 minutes.  It took a little bit of time to prep and then have the Instant Pot get to heat.  But it was a lot less than 2 hours!  Unfortunately, we thought the stew lacked flavor and we weren’t big fans of it.  I served the stew over white rice, instead of with the yellow rice that the recipe suggested.

Tuesday – I made Beef & Pepper Jack Enchiladas from Every Day with Rachael Ray, as the second recipe of the “Make This, Then Make This.”  I used the leftover beef stew and turned them into enchiladas.  I put the leftover white rice into the tortilla along with some shredded cheese.  However, I didn’t use pepper jack.  I used taco mix cheese and cheddar jack.  The enchiladas weren’t bad and were different than the usualones we eat.  I served these with yellow rice and veggies.

Wednesday – My husband and I went to his company awards dinner, so no cooking for me.  We made the kids chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.

Thursday – My husband made Ricotta Naan with Fried Eggs and Sweet Potato Fries from Half Baked Harvest.  The sweet potato fries took some time to cook (about 40 minutes).  But otherwise, there was relatively little cooking, just making the ricotta mixture and frying the eggs.  This was a tasty vegetarian meal that was easy to put together.

Friday – We made our usual homemade cheese pizza.  Quick, easy and tasty!

What are you having for dinner this week?

What’s Cooking? #4 {A Weeky Meal Plan}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Here’s another edition of What’s Cooking?, a weekly meal plan providing you some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool, ensuring that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday – I made Easy Beef Picadillo from Savory Tooth.  This was easy to make and was really tasty!  I had never made, or even eaten, beef picadillo before, but this was good!  The kids really liked it as well, minus the green olives.  I served it with rice and veggies.

Tuesday – I made Leek-y Chicken and Couscous from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals.  I’ve made this dish before and we enjoyed it.  Since it’s quick, easy I decided to put it on rotation again….a couple of years later!

Wednesday – I made Philly Cheese Steak Burgers from Dinner Then Dessert.  I omitted the rib eye steak from the recipe.  I thought that with the beef patty was a bit much.  I discovered that you need a heartier roll than a regular hamburger roll.  Ours got a bit soggy and was difficult to hold the burger with the onions and peppers. After making this, I realized that I’ve made a burger like this before, just not this particular recipe.  In my opinion, the burger needs more seasoning than just salt and pepper.  Burgers tend to be a fairly quick and easy meal.  They’re even quicker when the burgers are pre-made the night before and just need to be cooked.  I served these burgers with fries.

 Thursday – I made 15-minute Sesame Ramen Noodles from How Sweet Eats.  This is one of the quickest meals I’ve made and it’s tasty!  I used four packages of ramen noodles for the four of us and there were no leftovers.  I could have probably used one or two more packages of ramen, since there were hardly any noodles left for seconds.  I served this with edamame.

Friday – We had a ton of fries left over from Wednesday’s burger night.  My husband decided to make Nacho Fries for dinner.  Unfortunately,  they weren’t that great.  It was a great idea, but I guess poorly executed.  He add shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped tomato and sour cream.

What are you having for dinner this week?

What’s Cooking? {A Weekly Meal Plan – Week 1}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for more details.)

Back in October I stopped posting a weekly meal plan on the blog.  However, since I started working full-time I’ve realized what a useful resource this can be.  Although I occasionally post recipes here on the blog, I don’t consider myself a food and recipe blogger.  So, I’ve decided to bring back a weekly meal plan, called “What’s Cooking?”  Expect a Monday through Friday meal plan where you find mostly new-to-me recipes that I’ve cooked along with photos and my family’s reviews.  I’m hoping that this weekly meal plan will help you find new recipes to add to your dinner rotation! If you are interested, you can read all about my meal planning process!

MONDAY– I made Apple-Cheddar Turkey Burgers from Everyday with Rachael Ray, December, 2011.  This is actually a recipe that I have made before.  I used regular-sized english-muffins and only a little over a pound of ground turkey.  I ended up with five smaller-sized burgers.  My son doesn’t like whole-berry cranberry sauce, so I bought a can of regular cranberry sauce.  I think the flavor of the burgers depends on the grill and poultry season you use.  I used this poultry seasoning and a dash of Old Bay and  I served the burgers with seasoned curly fries.

TUESDAY – I made Corned Beef and Hash with the leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day.  I didn’t use a recipe.  I sauteed an onion in some oil in our cast iron skillet.  Then I added some peeled, diced potatoes and cooked for about 20 minutes, flipping them a couple of times.  Once the potatoes were cooked and browned, I added the diced corned beef.  I heated through for a couple of minutes and then topped with some fried eggs.  This was a quick and easy dinner.  It used up leftovers and the kids loved it.

WEDNESDAY – I made Egg Roll in a Bowl from my own blog.  I make this once every couple of months but should make it more often.  It’s so quick and easy and it’s really tasty!  I serve it over rice, but you can eat it as-is for a low-carb meal.

THURSDAY – I made Sausage, Egg, Cheese and Croissant Bake from Diary of a Recipe Collector.  This recipe takes an hour to cook, so not a quick recipe.  However, it can be prepared the night before.  I actually made this on a snow day, when we were all home, so I prepped it in the morning.  It was nice not having any dinner prep later in the day and just had to stick this in the oven.  This wasn’t bad, as far as breakfast casseroles go.  My husband even mentioned this dish as a possible Christmas morning breakfast.

FRIDAY – My husband and I had dinner plans with our Supper Club and my daughter was eating with her troop at a Girl Scout event.  It was just my son who needed to eat dinner and he wanted grilled cheese and ramen.  Yes, we made him the store-bought, super-cheap ramen packets.  We always put in half the seasoning packet to cut down on sodium. They are just so quick and easy!  While I don’t have a picture of his dinner, here’s a picture of the duck fat seared octopus I had as a starter at our dinner out!


Egg Roll In a Bowl


Even though they are fried and very bad for me, egg rolls are a mandatory part of any Chinese take-out order.  I love the crunchy shell with the pork and cabbage filling.  In honor of Chinese New Year we had posted the Awesome Egg Rolls that we had made for our celebration dinner.  That was our first time making egg rolls.  As much as we enjoyed them, they were deep fried in oil….which is fine, as long as we don’t make them too often!  This dish is so much healthier since it’s not fried, but still has most of the flavors of the appetizer that I enjoy so much.  We served this over rice.  Both kids loved this dish and have been asking for it again!

Egg Roll in a Bowl
Inspired by this recipe from Mostly Homemade Mom

1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Thai style chili sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounce bag coleslaw mix
scallions, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground pork and brown 7-10 minutes until pork is no longer pink.  Drain any fat.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine soy sauce through Thai style chili sauce, whisking together to combine. Set aside.
3. Add minced garlic and coleslaw mix to the ground pork in skillet.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage wilts.
4. Add in the sauce, mixing to combine with all ingredients. Cook about 5 more minutes.  Sprinkle with scallions if desired and serve.


Weekly Meal Plan {Week 69}

2017 calendar
Happy Monday! I hope you are adjusting to the lost hour of sleep better than I am!  Today is being fueled by lots of coffee!   If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you.  Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and most importantly, the family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy!  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.  Here’s a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday – We ordered Moe’s takeout and brought it home to eat.  We like Moe’s but the service that night was horrible.

Sunday – We had pierogies, kielbasa and corn.  We did saute some onions but otherwise, it was just heating things up.  I grew up eating pierogies and kielbasa for dinner on a regular basis. We hadn’t had this for dinner in awhile and it was good!

Monday – I adapted a Cooking Light recipe for Chicken Stroganoff.  Only after starting to cook did I realize that this was a one pot recipe and I had already started cooking the noodles separately.  Somehow I adapted it enough to make it work.  I even think my way was quicker!  I always like a good stroganoff and enjoy variations on the traditional beef version.  This was tasty and we all enjoyed it.

Tuesday – I made Beef and Broccoli Ramen Stir Fry from Damn Delicious.  Instead of the refrigerated Yaki-Soba noodles the recipe called for, I used the dry ramen soup noodles.  I cooked up four packages of the noodles which was approximately the same amount of the refrigerated noodles the original recipe called for.  I also bought beef cut for stir-fry instead of the flank steak the recipe called for.  This recipe was super quick and easy.  It was flavorful and kid-approved!

Wednesday – My husband stopped at HMart, a Korean grocery store hear his office, and picked up some marinated pork belly.  I cooked this up and we had it with rice, roasted asparagus and dumplings.  This meal was more heating things up rather than actual cooking.  But it was tasty!

Thursday – I went out to dinner so my husband and the kids had leftovers, which we had plenty of!

Friday – I made Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole from Buns in My Oven.  It was snowy and cold on Friday so this was the perfect comfort food dish.  My husband was home and we cooked this together.   I couldn’t find a can of sloppy joe sauce, not realizing that Manwich is just sauce (I thought there was meat in the can!).  I ended up finding a sloppy joe sauce packet in the aisle with the gravy and meal sauce packets.  It worked out well.  I liked that it’s a one pan dish, which we made in our cast iron skillet.  It was quick, easy and tasty!

What is on your menu this week?


Weekly Meal Plan {Week 68}

2017 calendarIf you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you.  Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and most importantly, the family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy!  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.  Here’s a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday -My husband made a Mediterranean Quiche using up ingredients we had left over from the Mediterranean Quesadillas I had made earlier in the week.

Sunday – We went out for a late Indian buffet lunch which we considered “linner.” Instead of cooking an official dinner, the kids had bowls of cereal and yogurt and my husband and I had some cheese and crackers.

Monday – I made Rigatoni and Broccoli Rabe Bake from Half Baked Harvest.  Boy, this recipe was a labor of love. There was way too much work for a weekday meal and oh my goodness the number of dishes I had to wash after!  But, it was really good!  It’s recommended for a Sunday pasta dinner, so I was forewarned.  There was broccoli rabe roasting, sausage and veggie cooking, sauce making and then it all gets baked in the oven.  Let me repeat though, this was super tasty!  It also made a lot, so my husband and I had lunch for several days too.

Tuesday – I went to a kick-off event for Hudson Valley Restaurant week.  I had my husband heat up some Mrs. Paul’s fish fillets, Simply Potatoes mashed potatoes and some veggies.  My husband can cook and is in fact pretty amazing at it.  However, I gave him an easy night  after a busy day of work and having to do bedtime duty as well!

Wednesday – I made French Onion Chicken Sandwiches from Well Plated.  This recipe was easy to make but caramelizing the onions took a little bit of time.  I omitted the fresh spinach and used Swiss cheese.  These were tasty and kid-approved.  I served the sandwiches with fries.

Thursday – I made Slow Cooker Korean Pork Tacos from Recipe Runner.  Thursday’s are our super busy evenings with little time for me to cook dinner.  Slow cooker meals are great on these nights.  I prep the slow cooker earlier in the day and when we walk in the door at 6:15 from piano lessons dinner is ready.  These pork tacos were easy to put together.  Hoisin sauce and five spice powder can usually be found in grocery stores nowadays.  While flavorful, I wouldn’t necessary call these “Korean” pork tacos.  “Asian” flavors are obviously evident, based on the sauce ingredients.  However, nothing “Korean” was particularly evident.  This is coming from a Korean! 🙂  I served the tacos with rice.

Friday – I made our usual homemade pizza.  This week was just plain cheese.  Fast, quick and easy = my kind of Friday night dinner!