(20 min) Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Sou

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Brrrrr……. I don’t know about you but here in Northwest Arkansas it has been absolutely frigid. School has started back and I needed a recipe to keep me warm and something that was easy to take to campus. I am not an expert at meal prepping because I really fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to what I am craving for dinner or lunch. I wanted something EASY and yummy, let me tell you… this soup recipe ROCKS.  I put this together in a matter of minutes and have been eating on it for three days and still have a ton of leftovers. Bare with me this semester because it’s going to be a long ride! My goal is to post more and I haven’t quite figured out how to do that just yet with my schedule. It’s definitely going to take me meal planning (die)…. but it’s worth I️t 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 8 Cups Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
  • 6 oz of Tomato Paste
  • 10 oz Cheese Tortellini (I used marketside brand)
  • 16 oz Bag of frozen veggies (this is for pure convenience people) use fresh if you want to chop for days.. haha
  • Spices: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Parsley, Oregano, Salt, and Pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Heavy Cream

Directions:

  • Bring Vegetable stock to a boil over medium/high heat

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  • Add in tomato paste and mix well- Bring to a low boil

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  • Add in your frozen vegetables and keep simmering (5-6 min)

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  • Add spices and stir

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  • Then add 10 oz of  uncooked cheese tortellini (cook for about 2-4 minutes)

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  • Add in cream and then continue to cook for about 3 more minutes.

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  • Add more cream if you’d like– I probably added about 1/2 and dash of cream.
  • Salt and pepper to taste!

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Louisiana inspired Chicken and Rice

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After the holidays when your fridge is empty and you have eaten literally everything you could ever want over Christmas and to ring in the new year…. you need a detox. At least that is how I am feeling. I am tired of eating out (Cane’s and slims I’m talking about you) and need just a healthy yet hearty dinner. Well, one recipe that comes to mind is one of my weeknight favorites.  Every time I make it I wonder why I don’t make it more. I remember the last time I had this I mentioned to a friend “remind me that I love this and should make it the next time I can’t decide what to have for dinner.” This recipe calls for chili sauce and sometimes I have a hard time finding it. Especially when I go to little Walmart as opposed to big Walmart. My CPG friends are shaking their heads as they read this because that’s how I have always distinguished between the neighborhood Walmart and the supercenter (I know I am not the only one.)  If your grocer doesn’t have chili sauce use 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.  I serve this over brown rice with a side roasted asparagus. You can serve it over any rice you want!

Sidenote: I added Tony C’s seasoning to the tomato sauce to give it some zest –you can add Tony C’s to the chili sauce if you want but if using tomato sauce instead then definitely add it!

(I feel like I should be in Louisiana eating this dish btw)

Ingredients:

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided use
1 cup dry brown rice or any rice of your choosing
2 cups water
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 lb. raw chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (14.5-oz.) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
½ cup  chili sauce (Heinz) OR Tomato Sauce (I prefer chili sauce over tomato)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dried basil)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley)
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper

Preparation:
1. Cook rice according to the bag or box!
2. While rice is cooking, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in another medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add chicken and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
5.  Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes, chili or tomato sauce, basil, parsley, and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; gently boil, covered, for 10 minutes. — If you used tomato sauce and not chili then add Tony C’s.
6. Divide rice between four serving plates; top evenly with chicken mixture.

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Recipe adapted from Beachbody.com

Creamy Tomato Pressure Cooked Spaghetti (one pot)

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I decided to ring in the new year with some PASTAAAAAA. What is better than spaghetti and wine??? Spaghetti that is cooked in 9 minutes with one pot is better than just plain old spaghetti. I have my normal spaghetti recipe down to an art. I cook the meat, brown the onion, pour the wine and make the sauce. I wanted to spice things up a bit and combine everything into one pot which means only one pot that I have to clean. Are you down? Sounds too good to be true huh? Well… it isn’t. If you do not own a pressure cooker, I highly recommend getting one. They are incredible. I have an instant pot that I got a few years ago and it never ceases to amaze me. I sometimes go weeks without cooking in it and then I make one dish and I think to myself “why did I ever stop using this magical machine?”

One thing I did in this recipe that you do not have to do is to cook the noodles in 1 cup of red wine and 1 cup of water. Typically you would just cook them in 2 cups of water (or enough water to cover everything in the pot.) I like red wine in my sauce so that is why I chose to use it to cook the noodles. It does make things tangier and you will need to add salt and sugar.

Also, I love a creamy tomato sauce.  You do not have to make it creamy it’s just a personal preference of mine. Omit the heavy cream if you just want regular tomato sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Ounces of Pasta- UNCOOKED
  • 2 Cups of liquid (I did 1 cup red wine, 1 cup water)
  • 1 Jar of high-quality pasta sauce or 23-25 oz of your fave sauce
  • 1 lb of meat (I used extra lean ground beef so there was nothing to drain)
  • 1/2 Large yellow onion
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Press the Saute button on the instant pot. Pour some olive oil in and begin to brown the meat. Add the onion and garlic while continuing to break up the meat until it is fully cooked (Pink —> brown) IMG_1867.jpg
  2. Add in a jar of pasta sauce and Italian seasoning
  3. Add in the spaghetti noodles (uncooked and broken in half)
  4. Add the two cups of liquid and if you need a little more to cover what you’re cooking– add more!
  5. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and select cancel/off
  6. Make sure the pressure cooker is switched on top to NOT VENTING
  7. Press manual high pressure-  9 min
  8. Once it is finished perform a quick release (switching the vent switch to vent)
  9. Take the lid off and stir
  10. Add in the heavy cream a TBS at a time until you reach desired creaminess 🙂
  11. Add in a 1/2 TBS of sugar (if not cooking in wine you might not want to add that much. Add in 1/2 tsp)– taste and add more if needed
  12. salt to taste

Top with parmesan 🙂

Instant Pot Hibachi Fried Rice with Sesame Chicken and Yum Yum Sauce

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Not my best picture…. but it sure tasted good 🙂

My initial goal was to save my Chinese dinner for New Year’s eve but as you can see..that didn’t happen. Talking about what I was planning to make just made me crave it even more. I have made this sesame chicken AKA: Chinese Chicken 100+ times. It is my GO TO Chinese recipe and a favorite of anyone who has had dinner at my house. This even convinces the Chinese dishes made at home skeptics (Tia) and will make anyone believe that a meal cooked by you can and will be better than take-out Chinese food. However, I would like to get my hands on some take-out boxes to get the full effect and I am a sucker for a good fortune cookie even though I don’t actually eat the cookie.  This was my first time making the Instant Pot (pressure cooked) Hibachi fried rice. I was impressed. 1. I was shocked at how quickly the rice cooked and 2. it actually tasted like fried rice! I am posting this in time for you to gather the ingredients (I know what you’re thinking.. rice vinegar? sesame seed oil? when in the world will I ever use this) believe me it lasts a long time and you will be making this dish again. Both recipes call for the sesame seed oil so that’s a win in my book. I get really excited when I have ingredients on hand. It takes a while to build a stocked kitchen. With every purchase of a new spice, oil or vinegar you think why am I spending money on this?? As you continue to make new recipes you will see that a lot of those crazy purchases appear more than you expected and lucky you… you have them on hand 🙂

About the Yum Yum Sauce... to be honest, it took a minute to get the recipe the way I liked it. Some of you might like mayonnaise, this girl doesn’t unless it’s a dip or recipe where I can’t taste it. It breaks my Honey’s heart when I say.. please don’t put a lot of mayonnaise in it. Am I a true Southerner????? My identity is in question here people.

Heres what I know and then I’ll quit talking your ear off… Some people might prefer the Yum Yum tomato based sauce and others might prefer the mustard based sauce. I think I should have made the mustard sauce. I was looking for more tang when my rice was ready to serve. I kept adding soy sauce and then decided that I didn’t want to be blimp today and I think the mustard sauce would have taken care of it. I will post both and you pick which one sounds better for your taste buds 🙂

One more thing!– I used an instant pot and a cast iron skillet. These are both staples in my kitchen. A pressure cooker is a crockpot on steroids. You can make my Mississippi Roast in one hour!!!!!!! You cannot beat it, people. Click on those links to get one in your kitchen. (A preseasoned cast iron for 22 bucks???? YES PLEASE)

ENJOY– ♥AA

Chinese/ Sesame Chicken — This recipe is already on the blog but I will post the halved version below. This is great for 2-3 people. If you eat like I do… it’s good for two haha! If you want the FULL version that serves 4-6 here is the link to the other page on my blog

Chinese/ Sesame Chicken  – Halved recipe serves 2-3 people (FULL RECIPE ABOVE) 

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Ingredients:

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  • 1lb of boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
  • 1/8 cup of whole wheat flour (or regular flour)
  • 1/2 Tsp of black pepper

Sauce

  • 1/2 Tbs Sesame Oil
  • 2TBS + 2 Tsp of soy sauce (I use low sodium)
  • 1/2 TBS of Brown Sugar
  • 2 Minced Garlic Cloves (I use pre-minced in a jar)
  • 1/8 Cup of Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup of Chicken Stock (or broth)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour and pepper. Toss chicken pieces in mixture until they are all evenly coated with flour.
  • Preheat a medium sized non-stick, oven-safe skillet and spray cooking spray or heat with oil in the skillet. Place chicken in pan, and cook until the chicken has browned on each side. DO NOT COOK ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
  • While the meat is cooking in a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, and garlic.

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  • Pour mixture into the seared chicken, and toss around a bit to mix. Place entire skillet into the oven, and cook for about 20 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes.

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  • **Note: If there is extra liquid when you remove the skillet from the oven turn on your stove to high and boil it off constantly stirring the chicken. It will create and thick and yummy sauce 🙂

Instant Pot Fried Rice 

Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups of Jasmine rice, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 cups of water (for cooking the rice)
  • 2 tbsp of sesame oil (for cooking the onions)
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce- I added more (it just depends on what you like)
  • 1 tbsp of salted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • Half of 1 large white onion, chopped
  • One 10-12 oz. bag of frozen peas, carrots, corn and green beans (mixed veggies)
  • Yum Yum or Mustard Sauce

Directions:

  1. Using a strainer, rinse the Jasmine rice thoroughly for about 90 seconds until the water draining from it is no longer cloudy, but clear (NOTE: Do NOT skip this step.  If you do, your rice will likely cook very mushy and too sticky)
  2. Add the rinsed and drained rice to the Instant pot and then add the 2 cups of water and give it a stir
  3. Secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” we want HIGH Pressure for 3 minutes.  When it finishes cooking allow a natural release (Natural release means letting the pressure come down on its own without you flipping the release switch at the top (venting black thing haha)  for 10 minutes (Keep track of the time by seeing how long its on the keep warm setting– it tells you automatically) followed by a quick release (flip that switch)
  4.   Fluff your rice with a fork when done, transfer to a serving bowl and set aside. Doesn’t the rice look amazing?? and in 3 minutes?? yessssss.
  5. Back to the Instant Pot (don’t worry about cleaning it), Hit “Keep Warm/Cancel,” add  in the sesame oil and hit the “Sauté” button and “Adjust” so it’s on the “Normal” or “Medium” setting (mine usually always stays on the normal setting)Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 10.30.10 AM
  6. Once the oil begins to sizzle, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden utensil and add in the chopped onion.
  7. Let it cook for about a minute and then add the peas, carrots and corn. Add the butter and cook together for about another 2 minutes (veggies in butter? YUM)
  8. Slide the veggies to one side of the pot and add the eggs to the other side and constantly stir as they begin to cook and scramble.  SIDENOTE: It’s important to constantly stir the egg so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot).  Once the egg begins to cook, mix it in with the veggies for a few moments until done
  9. Hit “Keep Warm/Cancel,” add the rice back in and add the soy sauce (I added a lot more than two TBS. I kept adding until it tasted like how I wanted it to!

Yum Yum Sauce (the tomato based sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1/4 Cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 TBS of Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • 2-3 tsp of sugar (depends on your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients together! Taste and add more cream if too strong of a mayo taste or too salty (add sugar)

Mustard Yum Yum Sauce

  • 2 TBS of dry mustard
  • 12teaspoons sugar
  • 5 TBS of milk
  • 2 TBS of heavy cream
  • 2 TBS of  hot water
  • 1cup soy sauce
  • garlic clove, minced or 1/2 TBS of garlic powder if you do not own a blender 

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend OR if using garlic power whisk together in a bowl.

I did not make this mustard sauce recipe but searched for the best one online and will try it next time 🙂

Roasted Pork Loin with Parmesan Garlic Cream Sauce

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2018 is that you? I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. I feel like it was seriously just the fourth of July. Regardless, the weather has changed and Christmas has come and gone, our bellies are full and our hearts are happy from spending time with family and friends this holiday season. Brent and I just celebrated our trip around the sun and I wanted to make a special dinner. Yes, I cook but to be honest I have not been spending as much time as I should in the kitchen. I say that because this happens to all of us. We get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to make time for things that bring us joy. Whether that be art, photography, gardening, reading, exercising, cooking, crafting, building or whatever your passion might be. Mine, as you know, is cooking. In 2018 my goal is to post more and grow this blog. I hope you will join me in that and feel free to make requests for meals you would like to see more of!

On to the pork…… This recipe is AMAZING. I absolutely LOVED it. Not only is this dish EASY PEASY.. it looks hard and like you slaved away in the kitchen for hours. Well, guess what, the joke is on them. You didn’t slave away you prepped and whipped it out like a boss. MAKE THIS RECIPE. Yeah, I know I say that every post but on this one, I mean seriously make it. This recipe came from a cookbook I got for Christmas and it is divine.

Enjoy,

One 1.25 Pork Tenderloin

Marinade:

  • 1 Cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tbs plus 2 Tsp of Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • 1 Tbs of a minced shallot
  • 1 Tbs of minced garlic

Cream Sauce

  • 6 Tbs of Hellman’s Mayo
  • 6 Tbs of Sour Cream
  • 1/2 Tbs of Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbs of finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chives for garnish

Directions: Marinade 

Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together using a whisk. Before placing the tenderloin in the bag, remove all of the skin (white parts) with a sharp knife. Place in a zip-top bag with the pork loin. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.

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While the pork is marinating go ahead and whip up the cream sauce!

 

Directions: Cream Sauce 

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Cream Sauce (AKA: the best dipping sauce for anything)

Mix together all of the mayo, sour cream, minced garlic (see the trick below for peeling the cloves), Dijon, parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork or whisk and refrigerate.

Directions: Cooking the pork loin 

Heat the castiron skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the skillet is heating remove the tenderloins from the plastic bag and pat dry with a paper towel. This is the key to a great crust. A wet tenderloin will not make a good crust. Once the cast iron is heated place the tenderloin in the skillet. (DO NOT MOVE IT– Really though… do not touch it) wait about one minute before flipping (if it is hard to lift, it is not ready to flip because the crust has not been made.) Flip on all four sides till it is seared on the outside.

Place the seared pork loin in a baking dish into a preheated oven to 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the pork reaches an internal temp of 150-155 degrees. Once the pork loin reaches the internal temp, take it out and place it in foil and wrap it up for 10 min. This allows the pork to rest and makes it even more DELICIOUS.

Pork is supposed to be a little pink. This is hard for me because I typically overcook pork. Invest in a meat thermometer it really does make a difference. I can honestly say this is the first time I cooked pork the right way and it was AWESOME.

To plate this pork.. slice it into medallions and drizzle some cream sauce over the pork and top with chives.

Whip this up for a dinner party or a weeknight meal and impress any crowd or just yourself with you superb cooking skills.

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*This recipe is from the Love, welcome serve cookbook by Amy Nelson Hannah! 

 

 

Chicken Roll-Ups

Chicken Roll-Ups might just be the best thing to happen to your kitchen. You honestly can’t go wrong with chicken, cream cheese and crescent rolls. I found a few different recipes online and combined them to create this DELICIOUS meal. It takes no time to throw together especially if you use a rotisserie chicken. This is an easy and affordable way to feed a crowd. When all of my family comes to town we are always looking for easy ways to feed a lot of people. You know that time frame between lunch and dinner when everyone keeps saying “I’m hungry, when is dinner ready, can we try the stuffing?, Ooh what’s this (as a finger pokes into that fresh baked pie you just slaved over.” Chicken Roll-Ups is a surefire way to keep your people fed and your pies beautiful this Thanksgiving 🙂

XO- Anne-Ashley

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Ingredients:

  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • 8oz of cream cheese (I used greek)
  • 1 pack of dry Italian dressing mix
  • 2 cans of crescent rolls
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • Lawry’s season salt and regular salt

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Add cream cheese, both cans of soup and the dressing packet to a sauce pan and turn the heat to medium/low.
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  • While your sauce is heating up go ahead and shred your chicken from your rotisserie and set aside.
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  • Once the sauce is heated go ahead and taste the sauce and see if you want more salt. I added Lawry’s season salt and some regular sea salt to taste.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken and mix well.
  • Separate the crescent roll dough and place on a greased cookie sheet. I accidentally bought the dough that didn’t have the precut lines. I recommend getting the precut lines.
  • Scoop a spoonful of the chicken mixture and place in the center  and roll the dough up forming a normal crescent roll. *If you bought the regular dough with no slits place mixture in the center and bring all corners towards the center to form a little pouch.
  • Bake in the oven for 15- 25 minutes. The time varies given how much mixture you put in each roll. Mine took 25-30 minutes to bake.
  • If you see the tops getting too crispy place a sheet of foil on top to let rolls keep baking but not burn.
  • Serve warm!

The easiest Mexican rice AKA: Crack Rice (4 ingredients)

Crack rice… I know what you’re thinking. How can rice be really that good? I’ve had Mexican rice at restaurants and I mean it’s okay? Well…. this rice is better than any Mexican restaurant.  It’s addicting. I don’t even have to have this rice with Mexican food. I crave it.. that’s how delicious it is. This recipe originated from my older sister and it had a few more steps and ingredients. I would always beg her to make this.  One night I was making stuffed peppers and wanted to spice of my plain rice but didn’t have all of the original ingredients. I made do.. and I’ll never go back. You get the same recipe with half the steps and ingredients. I’m down…..

With only four ingredients… you can’t go wrong. It’s cheap, easy and INCREDIBLE. 

Ingredients: 

  • Brown rice (I use the 10 minute boil on the stove) 
  • Chicken or vegetable broth (optional) – used for cooking the rice instead of water 
  • Cilantro paste (or fresh cilantro)
  • Jar of salsa (I prefer my brothers salsa medium found at Walmart) ** 1/4 cup of salsa per cup of rice cooked** so three cups would be 3/4 jar etc. 
  • Lime juice 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:

  • Cook the rice as directed on the box. I like to use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water. 
  • Once cooked drain off any excess liquid.
  • Add the correct amount of salsa per how many cups you make of rice (1/4 cup salsa per 1 cup of cooked rice) and mix well. Do not be afraid to add as much salsa as you like! 
  • Next add in 1/2 tbs per 2 cups of cooked rice of  cilnantro paste (it’s really up to you how much cilantro you like) 
  • Add the juice from one lime or if only making a small serving of rice use half a lime) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

You are ready to serve!!! Yes it’s really that simple 🙂 

XO -AA