Totally Delish Lunch or Dinner Idea

Jake and I love to eat. Even the first year of our marriage when we had, like, no money at all, we would splurge on date nights and go out to eat. I also love to cook and Jake can fire up a mean grill so we consider ourselves quite the foodies.

Our first month in Alexandria before Ainsley was born, we made it our mission to try as many restaurants as possible without duplicating any. We tend to get obsessed when we find a place we like so the not duplicating part was key. Plus, we knew when Ainsley came we wouldn’t get out as much so we needed to take advantage of our free time while we still had it.

One of the first restaurants we tried was a little bar/restaurant called Shooter McGee’s. It is the most unassuming place in a little strip mall but got great reviews so we figured, why not. I think I ordered a salad, I can’t remember, but Jake got this totally yummy chicken pita. We were still thinking about it days later.

Since we were on a budget, with neither of us working, we knew we couldn’t go back and get it right away. Plus, that would have broken our “no duplicate restaurants” rule. So we decided to recreate the meal at home. We did a pretty darn good job, if you ask me. We posted the following pic on Facebook and within minutes started getting text messages from friends asking what the deliciousness was and how to make it.

pita

So here is how you make our version of the Shooter McGee’s chicken pita:

Ingredients:

Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

Chicken

Romaine lettuce

Cherry or grape tomatoes

Pita Bread

Directions:

Marinate chicken in BBQ sauce for however long you’d like (we just do 30-60 minutes)

Either pan fry or grill chicken

Saute onions in olive oil (they would taste great caramelized too if you had time)

Grill pita in skillet with a little bit of olive oil

Top pita with chicken, onions, sliced tomatoes and romaine lettuce

Add BBQ sauce to taste

Super fast, super easy and super delish.

The Soup I Eat Every Week… An Easy Weeknight Meal

Before getting married, I prided myself on knowing all the best places to order takeout. If you needed ideas of where to get pretty much any kind of food, I was your girl. I would get home from work around 7:00 or 8:00pm each evening, and I would be starving. So, instead of spending time in the kitchen preparing a meal, I would stop somewhere on my way home and get takeout. Sushi, soup, salad, sandwiches, whatever. Not only would cooking probably have starved me to death, I really had no desire to do it anyway. That is, until I got married.

As soon as my husband and I got back from our honeymoon, it was like a light switch was turned on and suddenly I wanted to figure out how to make meals we could enjoy together. Plus we had like, no money, so it was either a home-cooked meal a la Chef Angela or yet another Famous Bowl from KFC.

Since having a baby, cooking just doesn’t happen as much as I would like anymore. Freezer recipes prepared on the weekend are now the norm. Or recipes that can be prepared quickly, in between diaper changing, preparing bottles, feeding and the other items in my new job description. Quick recipes often include my favorite cooking tool, the crock pot, or soups and such that require a simple dumping of ingredients and then allow you to walk away while the flavors marinate in deliciousness.

So, there’s this soup recipe… It’s easy to make and so good. I make it pretty much every week. Last night even. I have always loved soups – for as long as I can remember. My parents said when I was a toddler, my babysitter would feed me soup all the time and I have loved it ever since. The original recipe comes from Skinnytaste, one of my favorite sites but have adapted it each time I’ve made it, to basically incorporate whatever ingredients I have in the fridge and cupboard. I don’t even look at the original recipe anymore. It takes very little time to prepare and I can’t imagine how it could ever be messed up.

It’s called Chicken and Cavatelli Soup, but I just call it Chicken and Whatever Noodles I Have Soup.

The above pic is of the real version of the recipe. Dang, it’s good. Here is how you make my fake, yet still really good version:

  1. Melt some butter in a large pot.
  2. Add a clove of garlic (I usually buy those little glass containers of minced garlic and add anywhere between 1/2 teaspoon and a full teaspoon.)
  3. Add chopped onion, carrots and celery (I estimate – maybe one onion, two carrots and 2 stalks of celery? Play with it until it is to your liking. I try to make my soups pretty hearty because if I don’t my husband says they’re not filling enough.) Saute for a few minutes, until the veggies soften a bit.
  4. Add either one of those 32 oz cartons of chicken broth or a couple of cans of chicken broth.
  5. Turn heat down and let simmer. You are supposed to add a bay leaf which I do if I remember. When I forget, it still turns out good. Oh and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a separate pan, bring water to a boil and add noodles. I usually use orzo for this soup but I have also used macaroni noodles and small pasta shells. Again, whatever I have in the cupboard. I just make a handful or two and once soft, add to the soup.
  7. I also add a handful or two of chicken. My favorite way to make chicken is in the crockpot over the weekend by adding a few chicken breasts and a can of chicken broth. Cook on low 4-6 hours. You will know when the chicken is done because it will shred easily. Divide into zip lock freezer bags and store until you want to use them. For this recipe, I just grab a bag and add the chicken to the soup. Or, you could shred a rotisserie chicken. Truly, this soup is adaptable so just experiment with it.
  8. Taste test it and when you like the way it tastes, it’s done.

I will be making this soup for years to come. It is the perfect meal to bring someone who is sick or even a new mom (if you add bread and/or salad). I hope Ainsley likes it because she sure will be eating a lot of it one day.

Linking up with Eat, Drink & Be Mary, Where We Can Live Like Jack and Sally and Southern Komfort Blog.

Ah-Mazing Cooking Light Potato Soup

My fabulous sister-in-law gave me a subscription to Cooking Light for Christmas and it has become one of my favorite gifts! I made this soup last night and the hubs and I both agreed, it was DE-LISH! Potato soup without all the calories and fat?? Thick, creamy awesomeness… perfect for a cold winter night.

potato soup

 Each serving has 6.7 grams of fat compared to more than 25 in many non-light versions. This one uses cauliflower and 2% milk to create a creamy base, along with some fat-free fromage blanc (a healthier, French alternative to cream cheese or sour cream). This recipe is definitely going in the “keeper” file!

Creamy, Light Potato Soup

Enjoy!

An interesting new side dish to try… low-fat of course!

You may have noticed I have been experimenting a bit in the kitchen recently. When my husband is around I tend to stick with basics, things I know we’ll both like. Interestingly enough, he has been branching out quite a bit as well, as he is being wined and dined by his big DC law firm. While I, on the other hand, am trying out new recipes at home.

This is a recipe that looks a bit weird, I’ll admit, but also intriguing. Roasted cabbage. For other oddballs like myself, who enjoy recipes like Pureed Carrot Soup and Brussels Sprouts, this is right up our alley.

cabbage

Roasted (Wish They Were Grilled) Cabbage

by Green Lite Bites

**UPDATE**

June 14, 2012

I tried this recipe last night and liked it quite a bit! It is super easy to make and a very unique combination of flavors. If you are looking for something different, give it a try!

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