{Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup}

Wonder soup with amazing flavor. You can adjust this how you like, and make it more of a vegetarian style minestrone soup and it would still be great!

Ingredients: 

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-ounce each) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern or Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked shell pasta
9 ounces spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat (remove the sausage from the casings, if needed) until browned, 3-4 minutes, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. If your sausage is really lean, you may need to use a teaspoon or so of oil so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add the carrots, onion, and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the sausage is cooked through, 5-10 minutes. At this point, if there is excess grease, drain it before proceeding.

Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and pepper.

Bring the soup to a boil. Add the shell pasta, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the pasta isn’t sticking.

Stir in the spinach and simmer for another minute until the spinach is wilted. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

 

 

Recipe adapted slightly from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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{Cooking Frozen Chicken in the Instant Pot}

My Instant Pot has been a huge life saver for me. The biggest reason is because of this super fast frozen chicken method. It turns out fork tender every single time!

Ingredients: 

2 lbs frozen chicken

1/2 chicken broth (or water if you don’t have it on hand)

Salt and pepper

 

Directions:

Spray the Instant Pot insert with cooking oil.

Place the chicken in the pot, season generously with salt and pepper

Pour 1/2 cup chicken broth (or water) around the sides of the chicken in the pot.

Place the lid on the pot and set to the lock or seal position.

Turn the Instant Pot to the manual setting for 12 minutes. If the chicken is not frozen, 8 minutes will work.

Press the manual button to start the cooking process.

When the timer goes off and the chicken is cooked, the pressure may be released manually by carefully turning the valve on top of the Instant Pot to the venting position, or what I do is allow the pressure to naturally release for about 10-15 minutes before removing lid.

Remove chicken from the pot, shred or chop and use as needed.

 

Recipe Source: A Bountiful Kitchen

{Fresh Guacamole}

We are big Guac fans over here! This is better than any guacamole I have ever had, my husband and kids couldn’t stop eating it. We have been making this recipe for a couple years, and never will we go back to store bought or package mixes again.

Ingredients: 

3 Avocados, pitted and diced
2 Roma Tomatoes, seeds removed and diced small
2-3 Tbs Red Onion, diced small
2 Tbs Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 whole lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Sea Salt

In a large bowl, slightly mash the avocado pieces. Then add the juice of one whole lime and a teaspoon of sea salt, and toss. Next add the minced garlic, chopped roma tomatoes, red onion and cilantro. Toss gently, and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

{Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts}

This is my very first time trying Brussels Sprouts and I’m obsessed. These turned out to be so yummy, and I’ve been making them a lot because they are so simple. I’m excited to make these delicious veggies with different flavor combinations!

1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or use a baking mat.
Trim off the outer, dry leaves and cut the bottom off and slice the sprouts lengthwise.
In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to coat thoroughly.
Transfer the sprouts to a baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Place the sprouts back in the bowl, add remaining Tbs olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste to season with salt and pepper.

 

Recipe Source: Kevin is Cooking

{Brown Rice Pilaf} InstantPot

Brown rice has always been a struggle for me, it takes forever to make in a regular sauce pan, and then after all that cooking time, it still tasted crunchy.

I heard about the new pressure cooker method, and as soon as I got one of those magical pots, I tested brown rice first thing. It was AMAZING! Perfectly fluffy and delicious. This pilaf version is so good, because of the added flavor from the onions and garlic. I make a big batch often and serve it as the side to whatever we are having for dinner. So good.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups long grain  brown rice
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Add the butter to the insert of the InstantPot and select the saute function. When the butter melts, add the onion and salt. Cook, and stir often, until the onions is starting to turn translucent, 2-3 minutes.

Add the rice and garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring constantly.

Stir in the chicken broth.

Secure the lid. Select Manual and decrease the time to 23 minutes.

After the cook time is over, let the pressure naturally release. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

Adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

{PF Chang’s Green Beans}

I love fresh green beans, I buy a huge bag of the organic frozen ones at Costco, and make them all the time. There are so many different ways to make them, and so far this recipe has been my favorite. They are so yummy!

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut
2 green onions, chopped thin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 garlic gloves, minced
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp corn starch

In a small bowl mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, water, corn starch, salt, and pepper; set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, add oil; let heat over medium high heat for 30 seconds. Add garlic, green onions, and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. Stir fry quickly, for about 30 seconds. Add green beans and stir constantly until they are almost fully cooked, about 3 minutes.
Push green beans to the side, pour sauce into pan, stir to distribute sauce to bottom of pan. Cook for 30 seconds over medium high heat; allow to come to a boil, reduce heat to low, stir to coat green beans with sauce. Cook for 30 more seconds.

Recipe Source: Domestic Super Hero

{Homemade Granola}

This was my first time making homemade granola, I will never go back to store bought! This stuff is amazing as a snack, in yogurt, as cereal in the morning. Love it. I made mine into bars and also crushed some up after it came out of the oven. YUM

 
6 cups Rolled Oats (not Quick Oats)
 
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted, Plus More For Greasing
 
1/4 cup Vegetable Or Canola Oil
 
1 teaspoon Salt
 
1 cup Brown Sugar
 
1/2 cup Honey
 
1/4 cup Apple Juice
 
1/4 cup Molasses
 
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
 
1-1/2 cup Rice Krispies
 
1 cup Wheat Germ
 
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
 
1/4 cup Roughly Chopped Almonds
 
8 ounces, weight Milk Chocolate Or Chocolate Almond Bark, Melted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, toss the oats with the canola oil, melted butter and salt. Spread the mixture out on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan twice and making sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until all combined. Stir in the vanilla.
Toss together the toasted oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, pecans and almonds. Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour. Toss to combine; it will be sticky!
Press into 1 baking sheet (thoroughly greased with butter, or line pan with foil and grease foil) and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut pieces with a sharp knife and remove from the pan.
OPTIONAL
Dip the cooled granola bars straight into the melted chocolate so that the top is plain and the bottom is chocolate-covered. Set on parchment until set, sticking in the fridge to hasten this along if necessary.

Recipe Source: The Pioneer Women