Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Valentine’s Dinner Date At Home: Peanut-Ginger Chicken Noodles

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I can’t remember the last time my husband and I went out for Valentine’s Day. My favorite thing to do for Valentine’s Day is to plan an elegant feast for us at home and wow my husband with my cooking. Valentine’s Day dinner dates at home are something that I look forward to every year and I can’t wait to showcase some ideas for you.

We stopped dining out for fancy meals after my husband lost his job and we found ourselves lacking the income to indulge in such a luxury. After the birth of our children, we knew that paying for a sitter and a dinner out were both far out of our budget reach.

As I became more acquainted with the kitchen though, we soon realized that dinners out just lacked that pizzazz that we could easily get from home. The food was a bit better, (if the house was relatively tidy) the atmosphere was better, and we could spend a whole heck of a lot less and get a whole heck of a lot more.

It is funny, now even when we have help to watch our kids, we still gravitate towards eating at home. I remember having a gift card for a fancy restaurant in town and we ended up spending $75 on dinner.

I looked across the table at my husband and he said,

“It was good, but…I like your tilapia better.”

Yeah, the tilapia that I buy for $4.99 a bag and prepare at home tasted better than the $25 of one fillet of tilapia plated in front of my hubby… sickening, isn’t it?

Dining at home doesn’t have to feel like a chore. First begin with the scenery. Can you relocate to a different location in your home? An elegant picnic on the floor? A folding table elegantly set with your finest table linens?  What about that dining table that only gets used for special occasion? How about dusting off that wedding china that seldom gets used? When you use and eat in spots in your home that are seldom visited, it can feel a lot like dining out. 

Don’t make it the same old dinner that you usually do, but make it a delicious experience that you can treasure. I think having great ingredients and new recipes to indulge in makes cooking feel like fun instead of the same old dinner routine that I have to perform.

Walmart challenged me this month to spend $35 and showcase some ideas that you could incorporate in your own feast. I wanted to show a mix of homemade and store-bought ideas that any couple could try. This is a feast prepared with your budget and time constraints in mind.

My store-bought choices included fresh strawberries, an angel food cake, a bag of frozen edamame sprinkled with kosher salt, chicken & vegetable dumplings from the P.F. Chang’s frozen food line, and bottles of fine wine priced at $10.

Even these homemade Peanut-Ginger Chicken Noodles were an easy creation thanks to those rotisserie chickens in the Deli department. The best part is that you can find those for under $5 in the coolers in the deli. I love that these are already chilled so that I can make fast work shredding my chicken for my favorite dishes.

I am sharing our delicious menu that was absolute perfection for us that I hope will inspire a deliciously wonderful date night with your significant other. I was able to purchase all of this food plus two bottles of wine priced at $10 each for a mere $35. If you skip the wine, this meal can be created with about $15 in food supplies. If you dine out, that is about the cost of two glasses of wine or one dinner (with no appetizers or drinks). Did I mention my meal offers leftovers for an entire week? You don’t even have to to tip the waitress (unless you want to give her a smooch).

I think the savings speaks for itself! 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peanut-Ginger Chicken Noodles
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
These Peanut-Ginger Noodles can be found in the new Picky Palate Cookbook by Jenny Flake. The best part about these is that they can be served warm or cold, making them the perfect choice for a nervous chef who might be worried about timing everything perfectly in the kitchen. Full of peanut and ginger flavor with a crunch from red bell peppers and sesame seeds, these are a treat you can enjoy all week long.
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger (I bought the kind prepared in the tubes in the herbal section)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup hot pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Be sure to reserve one cup of pasta water for your sauce before draining.
  2. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and vinegar to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Slowly add the hot water and blend until smooth.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes.
  5. Add the chicken, cilantro, salt, pepper, cooked spaghetti and peanut sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or chilled, topped with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

Source: Picky Palate Cookbook

Pin It

Dairy-Free Crustless Quiche

Monday, January 7th, 2013

One of the hardest things I did this year was to start eating a dairy-free diet. This dairy-free crustless quiche recipe got me through many cheesy-filled get holiday togethers and was created just for myself for Christmas morning this year. You won’t believe how decadent this dairy-free crustless quiche tastes and, I highly doubt, you will even miss the milk or cheese.

Dairy-free doesn’t mean egg-free for me, but it did mean giving up the cheese and milk in my life. I made an easy transition into drinking almond milk (remember those infamous milk allergy mugs), but other transitions were a little more challenging. Our weekly pizza night now has a special alternative-cheese section for me, tacos and enchiladas also have an alternative-cheese section, creamy & decadent main dishes have been abandoned for now,  and I have had to learn some new ways of snacking. Although it has been challenging, the rewards have been so worth it for my stomach.

Although a round of allergy testing proved, I am not allergic to milk, my body’s response to it is to attack itself for three days straight if I have any dairy. As I get older, I want to deal with that less and less. Who has time to be sick for three days?  Luckily for me, there are many great dairy-free options at the supermarket and natural food stores to keep me full and happy.

What I love about this quiche is that it offers the perfect balance of layers of delicious veggies with an egg mixture mixed with a little spice and the mild flavor of rice milk.

Although many times you need to go to natural food stores to stock up on dairy-free alternatives, this dish can be created with supplies bought at your local Walmart stores. The rice milk is available with a couple of other milk alternative options over by the coffee/tea section of our store. I am becoming a fan of rice milk for cooking and I think you will too!

Don’t feel limited to the vegetable options I am sharing though, the beauty of a quiche is that it can be created from whatever you might need to use up in your vegetable drawer of your refrigerator!

Dairy-Free Crustless Quiche
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A dairy-free crustless quiche that is healthy, packed with veggies, and loaded with flavor.
  • Dairy-Free Crustless Quiche
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped if desired
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms
  • 1 pint cherry mushrooms, sliced in half
  • 6 eggs
  • ¾ cup plain rice milk
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. sweet paprika
  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and heat for one minute.
  3. Toss in chopped bell peppers and mushrooms and cook for five minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat.
  5. In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder, rice or almond milk, salt, paprika, and black pepper.
  6. Stir in the sauteed vegetables and fresh spinach, and stir until well combined.
  7. Pour mixture into a greased pie pan.
  8. Place the sliced cherry tomatoes on top, cut side down.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to set up for at least five minutes.
  11. Cut and then serve immediately.

What healthy eating plans do you have for the New Year? Any advice for someone who is trying to go dairy-free with their diet? I would love to hear your ideas!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts  My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.

Pin It

White Chicken Chili

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

There is nothing more satisfying on a chilly day than a big bowl of chili. I happen to love chili and my favorite type of chili just happens to be the white chicken variety. This white chicken chili is so easy to pull together and happens to be a fast recipe thanks to the convenience of a rotisserie chicken, canned beans, and a box of chicken broth.

The magic with this recipe is in the mix of spices to achieve your own balance of spiciness and smokiness. Garlic and chopped chilies add flavor and help round out the spice and flavor in this easy chili.

It is certainly not the prettiest bowl to photograph, but it doesn’t take away from the delicious flavors you will experience once you take a bite of this. Chili haters in your house? This just might convert them over to the chili-lover crowd. My husband hates chili, but gobbled this satisfying chili up, much to his (and my) surprise.

To create a thicker chili, I used my immersion blender and blended one can of beans into the broth. As I have commented before, my immersion blender gets a daily workout in my house, whipping up my favorite lattes and blending soups. For less than $20, it has served me well over the years and earned its keep in my kitchen.

The trick with my quick soups and chili is the rotisserie chicken. It costs relatively the same as an uncooked bird and saves loads of time. If you like this recipe using the rotisserie chicken, be sure to check out my Quick Weeknight Chicken Noodle and my Greek Lemon Chicken Soup for a couple more ideas on how to put those chickens to work in your kitchen!

5.0 from 2 reviews
White Chicken Chili
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
An easy white chicken chili is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly day! This recipe is sure to convert any chili-hater into a chili-lover!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (I do omit this and add 1 teaspoon onion powder instead)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile
  • peppers
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper (or adjust to your own personal taste)
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth (depending on how thick you like your chili)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans Great Northern white beans, drained
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (for topping, optional)
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender.
  2. Mix in the garlic, green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne.
  3. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender (a few minutes).
  4. Chop or shred the meat from your rotisserie chicken for your soup.
  5. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken, and two cans of white beans.
  6. Reserve the third can of beans as a thickener to your chilly. Mash these beans or blend with an immersion blender. Add this can of beans to your chlii broth. Stir well.
  7. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the mixture from heat.
  9. Ladle into individual bowls and top with cheese, sour cream, or crushed tortilla chips.

Have a favorite chili recipe? Feel free to share it here or link back to your own favorite bowl of delicious chili!

Pin It

Giveaway Closed: Ninja Cooking System : Review & Giveaway (With an All-in-1 Chicken Piccatta with Quinoa Recipe)

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Sorry! This giveaway is now closed! We would like to congratulate Amybee (Comment #10) on winning this cooker! We are so happy for your family, Amy! Thank you all for your entries- I wish I had one to give away to each of you!

I am so excited to share with you today’s review and giveaway of the Ninja Cooking System. If there is one thing I love, it is a smart kitchen gadget that can save you time & money in the kitchen. This review of the Ninja Cooking System is going to blow your mind with it’s awesomeness and the best part is that I get to give a Ninja Cooking System away to one of our readers.

I love my slow cooker, but there have always been some things about it that have created more work and dishes for me because of the traditional three temperature cooking knob. The Ninja Cooking System seems to solve many of my issues that I have had with the slow cooker due to its 3-in-1 cooking system that will leave you wondering, “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

Here are just four things that really set the Ninja Cooking System apart from your traditional slow cooker. 

The Stovetop Setting

Let me set the scenario for you that I would have to do with my slow cooker. First, I would go to my stove and brown my meat and make a huge mess around my stove with splatters and then I would try to pour my meat into my slow cooker once it was brown, creating dishes and a drippy mess along the way.

With the Ninja Cooker, you simply switch your dial to Stovetop and place your oil or butter right into the bottom of the pan to sear or brown your meats to the desired consistency. The depth of the cooker helps to keep splatters away and you don’t have to dirty a pan in the process.

The One Pot Ease

Pictured here  the meal that we enjoyed the first night we used the Ninja Cooking System. In this single pot is six cooked chicken breasts, one pound of asparagus, and four servings of quinoa… all in one pot!

The pot comes with a small rack and roasting pan that you can use to create layers in your dishes or can be used to bake items. The pot is definitely not roomy, but it can get the job done for a family of four or can provide a great roasting rack for a smaller whole chicken or turkey.

The Oven Setting

No need to heat up the kitchen in the summer months, you can set the oven setting on the Ninja Cooker to the desired oven temperature and roast or bake right in the cooker, simply by switching the dial. Even items like desserts can be baked right in the cooker, allowing you to free up your oven especially during the busy holiday season.

Can’t you just imagine how awesome this would be in scenarios like camping or in a hotel room when you want to save money and still eat well? I can’t wait to transport this with us!

It’s Cleans Up Like a Dream (I’m Not Kidding)

It is no exaggeration when I say that I put the insert of the Ninja Cooking System in my oven and the food fell away when I sprayed it with water. I cleaned it in five minutes flat and that was with a big batch of quinoa in the bottom. What would normally require a good soaking or a lot of elbow grease, was tidy in just a couple of swishes with dishcoth.

It does a lot more than that though, but those were the highlights for me! I am sharing a recipe from the booklet that I created in our kitchen and I want to give you the opportunity to win one of these for your family! Read the contest guidelines after the recipe and good luck to each of you! 

4.5 from 21 reviews
Chicken Piccata with Quinoa (in the Ninja Cooking System)
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Here is one example of an easy one pot dish you can create in your Ninja Cooking System!
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1¼ pounds boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup brined capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup uncoooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1½ pounds fresh asparagus, cut into ½ inch pieces
  1. Stir flour, salt , and black pepper on plate. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
  2. Add oil and butter to pot. Set to STOVETOP HIGH and heat until butter is melted. Add chicken to pot. Cook uncovered ten minutes or until chicken is lightly browned on both sides. Remove chicken from pot.
  3. Add broth, wine, lemon juice, and capers to pot. Stir in quinoa and heat to a boil. Place roasting rack into pot and place chicken on rack. Place rack into pot and place asparagus on chicken. Set OVEN to 300 degrees for fifteen minutes. Cover until chicken is cooked through, asparagus is tender, and quinoa breaks apart.
  4. Remove asparagus and chicken from pot. Stir quinoa mixture. Turn off pot. Let quinoa mixture stand.

To enter to win a Ninja Cooking System of your own (retail value $159):

First Entry: Leave a comment and let us know what you love about the new Ninja Cooking System!

Additional Entry: Let us know you are a fan of MomAdvice and join the MomAdvice Facebook Community.

Additional Entry: Follow me on Twitter and get an early scoop on what I am up to and future giveaway opportunities with MomAdvice.

One winner, chosen at random, will receive a Ninja Cooking System (retail value of $159). Please submit your entries by Tuesday (10/23) at 8PM EST. Our winner will be drawn at random. Good luck, everyone!

Pin It

Butternut Squash Soup With Toasted Pecans

Monday, October 8th, 2012

I love when I find a new ingredient to adore in the kitchen. I have started a mad love affair with butternut squash and I can’t wait to share with you a delicious dairy-free butternut squash soup that tastes creamy and sinful while actually be healthy for you. It is a butternut squash soup that will convert any squash hater into a lover of this fabulous and frugal ingredient.

It can be very easy to make a flavorless butternut squash soup. Without the right balance of spices and ingredients, it can taste a bit like indulging in a jar of baby food. What sets this soup apart from other recipes is the heat from a little curry, the warmth of nutmeg, a creamy addition of one potato, the depth of flavor from a leek, the lightness of the chicken broth, and the unexpected crunchy topping of toasted pecans on top. This unexpected list of ingredients truly yield a complex soup that offers layers of flavors that will have your guests wondering just what exactly is in the soup that can create such depth.

One investment that I have made into my kitchen is an inexpensive handheld immersion blender. Transferring soup to my blender usually ends in catastrophe and the immersion blender has paid for its space in my kitchen over and over again while preparing my favorite fall drinks and soups in my kitchen. I can’t recommend this little gadget enough- it is a game changer for soup preparation!

What makes this soup less labor intensive than other butternut squash soup recipes is the simple preparation of preparing the butternut squash with the skin on (be sure to check out my tutorial) and roasting the potato alongside the squash for your soup. Minimal blending and cooking will have to be done once these have been roasted and it makes the soup come together more quickly for an easy weeknight meal.

I have never become more quickly addicted to soup than I have to this one. I guarantee that this is the perfect soup to add to your soup rotations in the Fall and provides just the right warmth in your belly on these chilly Fall nights.

Butternut Squash Soup With Toasted Pecans
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
An easy weeknight butternut squash soup that has the perfect balance of spice and creaminess without the extra calories!
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 potato, cooked and cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 small pinch of curry powder
  • ⅓ cup toasted pecans, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the skin of the squash and the potato with a fork a few times. Place them on a cookie sheet and roast them for one hour. Pull them from the oven and set them aside to cool.
  2. Halve the leek lengthwise, rinse thoroughly and chop the white and light green parts only. Discard the tough dark green parts. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and sauté until they start to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add chopped garlic to the pot and sauté for one more minute.
  4. Grab your potato and squash from the cookie sheet.
  5. Peel the skin from the potato and dice. Set aside. Next, cut your squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Using a spoon, gently spoon out your squash for your soup. The squash should easily pull away from the skin.
  6. Add your squash, potato, broth, and seasonings to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. Let soup cool slightly. In a food processor or with a handheld immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth or to your own desired texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Toast pecans at 350 degrees on a baking sheet for five minutes. Watch carefully to not burn them.
  8. Scoop soup into soup bowls and top with a sprinkling of toasted pecans.



Pin It

How to Cook a Butternut Squash With the Skin On

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Preparing a butternut squash for a soup can be time consuming and back breaking work, especially if there is a lot of dicing and chopping involved. Today I want to show an easy way to cook butternut squash with the skin on for your soups that requires minimal effort, a single slice, and yields delicious and soft squash that can be instantly pureed for your soups. Cooking a butternut squash with the skin on can be done either in the oven or in the microwave with ease. Today’s tutorial showcases my easy way of preparation.

If you have not cooked with a butternut squash before, you are in for a real treat. Butternut squash is a winter squash and is also known as a butternut pumpkin in other regions of the world.  It has  the same  sweet and nutty taste that is similar to my favorite Fall ingredient and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

The best part about butternut squashes, in my opinion, is that they are relatively inexpensive and can keep for months in a cool dark place, making it a great frugal ingredient to rely upon when times are more lean or the pantry is bare. Stock up on this ingredient when it goes on sale and roast it for easy side dishes, create delicious soups with it, or add it into your favorite Fall casseroles.  The possibilities with this ingredient are truly endless!

5.0 from 1 reviews
How to Cook a Butternut Squash With the Skin On
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This is the easiest way to prepare a squash with minimal work
  • Butternut Squash- Cook as many as you like at the same time and freeze the vegetable for cooking all season long.
  1. Preheat your oven at 400 degrees.
  2. Prick your butternut squash with a fork.
  3. Cook your squash for one hour. Allow it to cool.
  4. Slice the squash in half lengthwise.
  5. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
  6. Scoop the flesh out of the squash. It should be soft and pull away easily away from the skin.
  7. Alternate Microwave Instructions: Wash the squash in cool running water and pat dry. Use a knife to pierce several holes in the squash. Place the butternut squash in a large microwavable shallow dish, and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove the dish from the microwave. Use a large knife to cut the squash in half. Spoon out the seeds and discard. Place the squash, cut side down, back in the dish and microwave for 5 more minutes. The squash's flesh should feel tender. Leave it in the microwave to stand for another 5 minutes. Use the squash in your favorite recipes.

Be sure to visit my Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pecans recipe for a delicious Fall soup addition that the whole family will love!


What are your favorite ways to prepare butternut squash? Do you have a recipe to share with this ingredient? Feel free to link it up below!

Pin It

Spaghetti Cupcakes

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Tired of the same old weeknight food routines?  I have the perfect kid-friendly and fun recipe that your kids will absolutely love and so will you. Today I am sharing a recipe for Spaghetti Cupcakes that will put those taco and potato bars to shame. This dinner idea is one the whole family will love and can be ready in about fifteen minutes.

Gather up all of your favorite spaghetti toppings to top each of your noodle cupcakes. For my cupcake toppers I have shredded carrots, baby peas, ricotta cheese, turkey meatballs, and Ragu Old World Style tomato sauce.

Cook your pasta as directed on the package and drain the pasta in a colander. Do not rinse your pasta because it will help the pasta hold its shape better in the cupcake liner.

Twist your pasta noodles around a fork until you have a good forkful of noodles. Gently place the noodles in a foil-lined cupcake liner. I would say that three to four of these spaghetti cupcakes would feed one person once it has been topped with its toppings.

Top each spaghetti cupcake with Ragu sauce. Once it has been topped on these cupcakes, it will ooze into the crevices of the noodles with ease. Repeat this step on each of your cupcakes.

Top each cupcake with your favorite toppings and finish each cupcake with a turkey meatball. This is a fun food activity to let your kids do and is also a creative way to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

I can’t take the credit for the fun food that was featured today. These Spaghetti Cupcakes are featured on a great site that offers inspirational ideas for meals to share with your family.

You can visit the Meal Inspirations site to find loads of great ideas for meals, demos on how to create the recipes, and even print out coupons for your favorite products. For example, this week you can grab a coupon for $1 off of Hellman’s mayonnaise!

I hope you love these fun Spaghetti Cupcakes and I hope you can take a moment to head over to the Meal Inspirations site to get even more great ideas to enjoy around the dinner table with your family!

If you love this idea, I am betting you will love my Mac & Cheese Bites too! Happy cooking, friends!

Spaghetti Cupcakes
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Spaghetti cupcakes are a fun way to get your kids to eat their veggies and to be master of their own creations. I guarantee your kids will love this one!
  • Ragu® Old World Style® Spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • Ragu® Pasta Sauce, heated
  • Whole kernel corn, drained
  • Green peas
  • Shredded carrots
  • Part-skim ricotta cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Frozen fully-cooked low fat cocktail-size meatballs, heated
  • Foil cupcake liners
  1. Arrange sturdy foiled cupcake liners on serving plates.
  2. Fill each with fork-twirled hot spaghetti and top with heated Ragú® Pasta Sauce. For best results, do not rinse the pasta after draining.
  3. Decorate with your kid’s favorites like corn, peas, shredded carrots, part-skim ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, or hot cooked mini meatballs.

 This is a sponsored post as a part of my role in the Walmart Moms program. I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.



Pin It

Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Monday, September 24th, 2012

When I was a child, one of my absolute favorite foods was stuffed green peppers. Stuffed green pepper soup is the next best thing to stuffed green peppers and offers all the flavors you love in a stuffed pepper, but in a rich tomato broth. Once you make a batch of this stuffed green pepper soup in your slow cooker, you will want to make it and eat it over and over again.

I wanted to create this soup for my slow cooker and fill it with my favorite stuffed green pepper ingredients- diced tomatoes, garlic, lean ground beef, and a hearty addition of brown rice. I prefer a combination of broths in this (beef and chicken broth) because it helps lighten this hearty soup.  I also wanted this soup to cook itself since we have busy days with extracurricular activities in the evenings. This soup is a one pot wonder and can be served with a loaf of crusty bread for a busy weeknight. The leftovers offer a filling and satisfying lunch as well!

I hope you will love this soup as much as I do! It will be a recipe repeat for me and is a great soup to be doubled and shared with friends!

4.5 from 4 reviews
Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Everything you love about a stuffed pepper in an easy slow cooker soup!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or sirloin
  • 3 green peppers, diced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3- 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 cup brown rice (NOT INSTANT)- HIGHLY recommend Uncle Ben's Brown Rice for this recipe.
  • 3 teaspoons basil
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. In a skillet, add your olive oil and saute your garlic for one minute.
  2. Add your ground beef to the skillet and season well with pepper and salt.
  3. Once cooked, drain your ground beef & garlic mixture, and add this to your slow cooker.
  4. Next add your diced green peppers, beef broth, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasoning, and brown rice. Give it all a stir.
  5. Set your slow cooker to LOW for 4-6 hours.
  6. Serve with crusty bread.
  7. Side note- if your slow cooker sets itself to WARM after it is done cooking, you only need to cook this for four hours. If your slow cooker does not set itself to WARM, it will need to cook for six hours.

Love your slow cooker as much as I do? Be sure to check out my 30 Days with Your Slow Cooker article for thirty ideas for weeknight meals all month long!

Pin It

Fall Into Fall FOODS With MomAdvice

Monday, September 17th, 2012

The Best of Fall Recipes from

As I begin creating new recipes for the site, I wanted to showcase a few of my favorite dishes that have been on our site in years past for the fall. Fall just so happens to be my favorite season and coincidentally, Fall foods and drinks happen to be my favorite type of sips & dishes.

Here is a list of a few of my favorite Fall foods that I can’t wait to eat this year!

Weeknight Roast Turkey Sandwiches

Few things say fall is here to me like the delicious flavor of roast turkey. While many think of roasting a turkey as only a routine done on Thanksgiving, I think of roasting a turkey as an easy weeknight dish that can be turned into delicious packed sandwiches for my kid’s lunchboxes and a lifesaver for busy weeknights when I don’t feel like cooking. You will love this easy (and frugal) technique for a great weeknight turkey sandwich!

Hearty Beef Stew

Nothing says the Fall like a great beef stew. This stew is so rich and decadent,  because of the use of bacon in this stew. The bacon fat is what all of the vegetables get coated in for cooking and then the cooked bacon is set aside for crumbling on top of the stew once it comes out of the oven.  I filled the broth with red wine and beef broth, to create a rich and flavorful broth that will have your whole family begging for more!

Soup, Soup, & More Soup

For a family that never liked soup, we have become the family with a soup night in our weekly rotation. Visit the link above to access my absolute favorite soups- an easy weeknight chicken noodle, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, our Pesto Chicken Tortellini, and so much more! If that isn’t enough soup for you this year, you must try my homemade tomato soup. It will change any negative feelings you might have about tomato soup- I promise!

Apple Pie Muffins

My family does not like apple pie (weird, I know!), but they do really love my apple pie muffins that incorporate those delicious flavors of the apple pie with a simple crumb topping. If you happen to have an abundance of apples on hand, I highly recommend giving these apple muffins a try

The batter is sweet, but not too sweet, and the apples have a warmness to them thanks to the cooked apple and the cinnamon that is worked into the crumb topping and within the muffin itself.  Serve these up with a big glass of milk and you have the makings of a perfect snack!

Apple Pork Chops

These pork chops are a satisfyingly sweet and savory dish that pairs ingredients that I typically have around our house. The brown sugar and cinnamon sauce adds a delicious glaze to this perfectly cooked pork.  Baking the pork helps it to achieve the perfect temperature and I believe you will be stunned at what a tender and juicy pork chop this recipe yields!

Baked Apple Pie Donuts

I love baking donuts and these Baked Apple Pie Donuts are the perfect treat to make for your family! The dominate flavor in this one is definitely the apple followed by the earthy and nutty flavor of ground nutmeg that helps round out the flavor profile of these donuts.  Once these delicate donuts are done baking, they are brushed lightly with butter and then dipped into a cinnamon and sugar coating that helps bring all of those delicious fall flavors together and that little bit of gritty, yummy crunch that just so happens to be my favorite thing about donuts.

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip

One of my favorite combinations for fall eating is cheddar and apples. If you haven’t tried this before, it is the perfect balance of sweet and savory and they all come together in this easy & delicious dip.  Diced on top  is a mixture of red and green apples that have been tossed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and coarsely chopped walnuts. The layer underneath offers a surprise of cheddar cheese mixed with cream cheese and sour cream, cooked until hot and bubbly. Serve with your favorite cinnamon chip or cracker.


The Best of Fall Recipes from

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Syrup Frosting

I wanted to figure out a way to use the leftover cans of pumpkin we had from our Thanksgiving feasting last year, and I decided to create my very own Baked Pumpkin Donuts with a Maple Syrup Frosting that would be the perfect use for the pumpkin leftover. What started as a way to use up leftover pumpkin is now worked into our fall activities and this year my kids will be enjoying these with big mugs of  homemade hot cocoa on our little front step outside when we do our raking this year.

These are flavorful and almost like a glass of wine, you can taste all the different flavors as you eat them. You can taste the hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, the rich pumpkin flavor, and then that maple syrup sweetness from the light glaze drizzle. The texture is different than a fried donut and more like a muffin or a good piece of cake. They are not overly sweet though and the pumpkin really seems to add a savory quality to these.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

I can’t tell you how many of my friends have made my pumpkin pasta a part of their fall routines. It is one of those dishes that surprises me about just how much it is loved!

Have you ever tried pumpkin pasta?  Over the years this dish has become the most favorite dish for fall and one bite of this will tell you why! The kids think it looks like macaroni and cheese so it does not take much coaxing to get them to try a bite. My husband loves the turkey sausage and the meaty flavor of this dish. Me? I just love the creamy pumpkin taste in my mouth!

If you are worried about how your family will react to pumpkin pasta, scale the pumpkin back. You can do between 2/3-2 cups of pasta, depending on your personal taste. Start with a little and ease your family into the two cup ratio.

The pumpkin recipes go on for days and days on our site! Be sure to visit my article on 11 Recipes to Try this Fall with Pumpkin!

What is your favorite Fall recipe you have tried from our site? Have any of these recipes become a yearly tradition for your families? I would love to hear from you!


Pin It

12 Great Tailgating Recipes

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

12 Great Tailgating RecipesHip-Hip-Hooray! Tailgating season is finally here and today I wanted to showcase to you twelve great dishes you can take with you to your next tailgating event. After all, what tailgating event would be complete without a great dish to share with friends?

It may surprise you that I don’t care a thing about football…Oh, who are we kidding? I am sure you already knew this about me. I will admit that I may not love the game, but I am all about the yummy food, drinks, and festivities with friends that surround the games.

Here are my top twelve choices for taking to your next tailgate:

1. Roasted Corn Salsa-  Fresh chopped tomatoes, roasted corn, and parsley are tossed with just a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to create this unique and easy appetizer. What makes this appetizer unique is the process of broiling your corn under the broiler to add a smokey flavor that will have your friends begging for the recipe!

2.  Cheddar Apple Pie Dip-  One of my favorite combinations for fall eating is cheddar and apples. If you haven’t tried this before, it is the perfect balance of sweet and savory and they all come together in this easy dip to tailgate with.  Diced on top  is a mixture of red and green apples that have been tossed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and coarsely chopped walnuts. The layer underneath offers a surprise of cheddar cheese mixed with cream cheese and sour cream, cooked until hot and bubbly. Serve with your favorite cinnamon chip or cracker.

3. Lentil Soup- Looking for a wallet-friendly soup to feed a big crowd? Lentil soup is the perfect answer to feasting on a budget.  If you haven’t cooked with lentils before, you should really give them a try! Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require any pre-soaking overnight prior to being cooked. Instead, most cooks recommend that you first pick over these legumes, and remove any that look broken or damaged. A quick rinse after you have picked out the damaged lentils, and you are ready to go. The ease and minimal prep time for cooking these is why lentils are a wonderful and easy addition to any soup and the perfect soup to tailgate with!

4. Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup-  This tortellini soup brings together all of the flavors that my family loves, but is a versatile recipe that could be created with what is at your supermarket that day. For our vegetarian readers, the chicken tortellini and chicken broth can easily be switched to a cheese-filled tortellini with vegetable broth instead. I used basil pesto in this, but you could also try a sun-dried tomato pesto or omit the pesto altogether if it is not a favorite of your family. Versatility is the beauty of a good soup recipe  and this recipe is quite versatile! Not only is this sup a crowd pleaser, but it also is an easy soup to double or triple for your tailgating needs.

5. Homemade Tomato Soup- This tomato soup is all of our favorite flavors in the perfect merriment for our family.  Chicken stock, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and a little heavy cream are all mixed together. To cut the acidity, a pinch of sugar and a healthy dose of pesto round out the flavors. Be warned, a single batch makes enough to serve a small army. I love to serve this soup with a variety of fun crackers, croutons, or shredded cheeses for topping.

6. Cookie Dough Dip- This dip was nicknamed “Crack Dip” after the bowl was scraped clean when I brought it for Thanksgiving one year. I love to bring a sweet dessert dip that can be an unexpected surprise among the savory dips that are usually offered for tailgating spreads.

7. Bacon & Ranch Cheese Ball- This cheese ball is so embarrassingly easy, but is always a showstopper when I bring it to any get together. I try to always keep these ingredients on hand in my fridge or pantry for the unexpected get together for the games!

8. Double Tomato Bruschetta- This bruschetta is a double tomato bruschetta which combines the super sweet and chewy flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes with the delicious juiciness of the Roma tomatoes. The flavors together are phenomenal and are mixed with just a little balsamic vinegar,olive oil, garlic, and a little fresh garlic.  You can prepare this one a few hours in advance, allowing the flavors to marinate together and break down the tomatoes a bit, or you can prepare it and eat it within ten minutes of preparation. I promise it won’t last long wherever you take this one!

9. Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Soup- Looking for a soup that will stick to your ribs through the whole day? I happen to have just the soup for you! The spices in this soup are perfect , the roasted red pepper adds a beautiful color and flavor to the soup, the sour cream adds that perfect balance of creaminess, and the beans add that filling soup combination to help keep you full throughout the day, while the chicken broth makes this soup light enough that even black bean soup haters could learn to love it… well, most black bean soup haters. This is a great soup to double or triple depending on the crowd that is gathering!

10. Baked Apple Pie Donuts- I love baking donuts and these Baked Apple Pie Donuts are the perfect treat to take to your next tailgate! The dominate flavor in this one is definitely the apple followed by the earthy and nutty flavor of ground nutmeg that helps round out the flavor profile of these donuts.  Once these delicate donuts are done baking, they are brushed lightly with butter and then dipped into a cinnamon and sugar coating that helps bring all of those delicious fall flavors together and that little bit of gritty, yummy crunch that just so happens to be my favorite thing about donuts. I guarantee that not a single one will be left within minutes of their arrival!

11. Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins are my family’s favorite side dish if it is fall or the dead of summer. I try to make sure to stockpile pumpkin for just this reason and you might be doing the same after making a batch of these for tailgating season. These are best served at room temperature which is just the right temperature for your next tailgate!

12. Sub Sandwiches- Walmart gave us a chance to throw a game party with their subs to showcase what an affordable tailgating party option these are. For $28, you can get a six foot sub with your favorite meats and cheeses and all of the toppings.

As you can see from the way that these subs got plated, I took the opportunity to throw a GAME party quite literally and hosted a board game night with my best girlfriends.

Here is a little sneak peek at my table and the spread that I did with my tailgating recipes for a fun board game night with friends. Be sure to check back next week for ideas on how to decorate, board game ideas, and other fun crafty projects you can incorporate within your own game party. This might be a fun one to throw for the wives while the husbands are enjoying the game!

Be sure to check out my tutorial this week for those cute DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames! Those would make a fun addition to any game day party table that you might be creating!

Happy tailgating, friends!


I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.



Pin It