Shrimp scampi is quick, easy, and so good! Talk about addictive food!

Quick Shrimp Scampi

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You know that moment when its 5 o’clock and you don’t know what to cook for dinner?

I hate those evenings. What in the world am I going to cook? 

That moment happened to me. I knew we had shrimp, which meant there were some tasty options to choose from, but I hadn’t picked a recipe and was blanking in the moment.

On a whim, I decide to look up shrimp scampi, because who doesn’t love pasta and garlic  with their shrimp?

Shrimp scampi is quick, easy, and so good! Talk about addictive food!

Turns out, shrimp scampi is really easy to make!! 

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Can dinner get easier than crockpot chicken tacos?

Crock pot chicken tacos

Today I’m sharing with you my favorite crock pot meal of all time!!

We eat Mexican food at least once a week. It’s our go-to food, its ingredients we already keep in the house, and you can mix it up enough to never get tired of it.

Best of all, this dish is absurdly easy. When I need an easy meal to throw together for friends over, or I know we have a busy week ahead, I pull out the slow cooker and make these crock pot chicken tacos.

Can dinner get easier than crockpot chicken tacos?

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These mozzarella-stuffed meatballs are a killer dinner option!

Mozzarella-stuffed meatballs

Happy Tuesday folks!! Today I’m sharing a killer meatball recipe that will please even the pickiest eaters.

Is it just me, or do people fall in one of two camps when it comes to spaghetti? Most of my friends are either “marinara and meatball” people or “bolognese” people. I grew up happily in the latter category and never missed meatballs, especially given my addiction to my mom’s spaghetti sauce. But one day, my husband came home on a tear for us to try to make meatballs. He’d seen the idea of stuffed meatballs on the internet and after doing some testing, this is what we created!

For some reason, I always thought of meatballs as being a lot of work. I’m not sure where I picked this us, but this recipe reminded me just how wrong that was! Even with the added step of “stuffing” the meatballs, the prepwork for this dish is only about 20 minutes.

These mozzarella-stuffed meatballs are a killer dinner option!

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Hearty, filling, and easy: baked bean casserole

Baked Bean Casserole

Sometimes you need uncomplicated food. A meal that’s tasty and not elaborate, that warms you up from the inside. That’s the strength of the baked bean casserole. Ground beef and baked beans with an almost barbecue sauce, dotted with bacon. While it’s not the most Pinterest perfect of dishes, it’s hearty and filling and irresistably good. This casserole is simple, good food.

Hearty, filling, and easy: baked bean casserole

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The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

Crockpot BBQ Sandwiches

If you’re from North Carolina, then there’s a few things you know about barbecue.

First of all, it’s a noun. It means pork, cooked low and slow. But there’s not just one kind. There’s a HUGE argument over western vs. eastern NC BBQ – also known as tomato based vs. vinegar based. I’d classify myself as an eastern BBQ fan: after all, it’s what I grew up on. But I also have a soft place in my heart for western. Because let’s be real, who can resist barbecue in any form?

summer-penne-8

Today I’m sharing the easiest way I’ve found to make homemade BBQ, western-NC style. The best part is that it cooks all day in a crockpot! Next to no work for one heck of a reward.

I like to make this when we have friends over for dinner, and I’ve been known to throw the leftovers on a salad to mix it up!

The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

Start with a 3-4 pound pork loin – I typically buy mine from Sam’s Club and cut in it half. Trim off the excess fat.

The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. I usually eyeball it, but I’d estimate I add about 1/2 – 3/4  tbsp of garlic salt.

The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

Pour three to four cans of root beer: the goal is to just cover the pork.

The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Go enjoy your day while dinner cooks!

The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

Remove the pork from the crockpot and shred! I usually work at it with two forks. Stir in most of a bottle of BBQ sauce – save the last bit for topping your sandwich.

The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

Crockpot BBQ Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 lbs pork loin
  • 3-4 cans root beer
  • 3/4 tbsp garlic salt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 full bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns (optional)

STEPS:

  1. Clean excess fat off the pork loin. Place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add garlic salt, salt and pepper on top. Pour the root beer over the entire thing; don’t worry about the bubbles.
  3. Cook for 8 hours on low.
  4. When finished, remove the pork from the liquid – either put into a very large serving bowl, or drain off the liquid from the crockpot itself. Take two forks and shred the pork into small pieces, then pour most of the BBQ sauce over the pork and mix well. The amount of sauce is up to you, depending on how messy you want your sandwich!
  5. Before serving, toast the hamburger buns – the slight crunchiness helps the bun hold in all that barbecue!

The easiest way to make homemade BBQ! Hint: it involves a crockpot, and it's delicious.

What’s your favorite crock pot recipe for fall?

all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

Crock pot breakfast egg casserole

For Taylor’s brunch-themed bridal shower, I claimed making an egg casserole. I otfen end up making desserts at these sorts of things, because I love any excuse to make something sweet. But I wanted to take advantage of the chance to cook for a crowd and expand my breakfast repertoire!

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

I wanted it to be gluten free and to have some veggies in there, just to sneak some extra flavors in. After spending entirely too much time on Pinterest, I ended up taking this recipe, changing it to fit my needs, and then cooking it overnight in the crockpot the night before to simplify the day’s preparation for the party! (Seriously, crock pots are possibly the best invention ever.)

Plus, bacon.

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

Dice your peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes.

Crockpot breakfast casserole 02

Cook the bacon chunks, then add the onion.

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

Add the peppers and garlic. After a few minutes, add the tomatoes. Cook until all the veggies are softened.

Crockpot breakfast casserole 05

Let the veggies cool a bit. Meanwhile, whisk egg and milk together.

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

Alternate layers of potatoes, salt & pepper, cheese, and veggies.

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

End with potatoes and cheese!

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

Once all the layers are done, pour the egg mixture over everything.

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

Cook the crockpot on low for 8 hours.

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

You end up with a messy, hearty, tasty breakfast that feeds as many people as you can host!

Crockpot breakfast casserole 12

One note: the quantities in this recipe are huge. We were feeding 30 people at this shower, and there were only two protiens, so I really didn’t want to run out. Also, I have a giant crockpot  which can handle this much. Make sure you can fit all this if you keep the quantities!

CROCKPOT BREAKFAST EGG CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 oz bacon (one package, typically), cut into chunks about 1 inch wide
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 2 bell peppers (yellow, red, or orange)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 16 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese *
  • 2 lbs shredded hash browns, frozen

*= Cheddar is a traditional choice. This time, I used Trader Joe’s quattro formaggio – think a parmesean and fontina combo.

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

STEPS:

  1. Clean and dice the onion, bell peppers, garlic and tomatoes.
  2. Heat a large skillet, then put the slices of bacon in. Cook bacon until crisp, then add the onion, peppers, and garlic. After 2 minutes, add tomatoes as well. Cook until all veggies are softened. Remove from heat.
  3. Beat eggs with a whisk or fork and add milk. When well combined, set aside.
  4. Grease your crock pot.
  5. Lay down a layer of hash browns – about 1/3 of the bag. Lightly sprinkle some of salt & pepper.
  6. Top with 1/3 of the cheese Add a layer of the bacon and veggie mix.
  7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 until you’ve used all the hash browns, cheese, and veggies.
  8. Pour the egg mixture over everything, making sure it all gets coated.
  9. Cook on low for 8 hours. This is a great one to set up overnight and have ready in the morning for breakfast!

Looking for a fantastic breakfast crockpot to feed a crowd? This egg hashbrown dish is your winner!

What’s your favorite breakfast food to feed a crowd?

all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose

 

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Hummus Crusted chicken

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

It’s Sunday! And freezing! What on earth is going on with this weather??

I was going to start this post with a bit of detailing all the 54839570 things going on in my life. Then I remembered that 95% of people have that many balls in the air, so let’s just skip that part. Let’s assume we’re all busy.

So the short version is: when life is too full for much thinking ahead on meals, hummus-crusted chicken is a winner. One dish, simple ingredients, and it can feed two people or ten.

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Easy beginning: quarter a zucchini and cut into chunks.

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Put the zucchini in a plastic bag along with olive oil, salt & pepper, and onion powder. Layer evenly in a greased baking dish.

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then place the chicken breasts on top of the zucchini.

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Spread with a thick layer of hummus. YUMMMMM.

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Squeeze lemon juice over the entire pan, then sprinkle generously with paprika. I always make sure my paprika gets over the veggies as well as the chicken!

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Bake for 25 minutes (or until chicken is done) at 450, and enjoy!

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Comes out rich and comforting and tasting much fancier than it actually is!

The whole process takes about 35 minutes, with 25 of it just cooking in the oven? Yes please. You can also sub out whatever veggies you want – whatever you have in your fridge!

I got this recipe from Ali at Gimme Some Oven, which is one of my favorite cooking blogs. Check it out!

HUMMUS CRUSTED CHICKEN

Serves two. Double or more to do 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 zucchini, squash or one of each (or another vegetable, like green beans)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

STEPS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease a 9×9 baking dish.
  2. Cut the squash into quarters and then chunks. Put in a plastic bag with olive oil, salt and pepper, and onion powder. Shake well to coat, then dump into the baking dish.
  3. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Lay on top of the squash, then cover with a thick coat of hummus. Squeeze lemon juice over everything, then add a layer of paprika over the hummus. Sprinkle some extra paprika over the squash.
  4. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

I bet you already have all the ingredients for hummus crusted chicken in your kitchen!

Reasons it matters to lay the chicken as flat as possible: the hummus will slide off, as seen here. Kitchen fails.

What are your favorite ways to cook chicken? Tell me what to try next!

all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Y’all, this recipe is straight out of my childhood. It’s simple, it’s filling, and it pleases everyone’s tastebuds! Doesn’t hurt that it comes together in about 30 minutes, over half of which is baking.

Confession: I’m less that proud to admit that 80% of the time I use instant mashed potatoes. I love homemade and the box stuff is nowhere near, I get it. But I also get that throwing together dinner in less than 30 minutes is a high priority at the end of the day, so instant potatoes it is.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

First, brown the beef. While that’s browning, start on the potatoes.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Once the beef is browned, drain the fat.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Add veggies, spices, and soup. Stir until everything is coated with the soup.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Meanwhile, finish off your potatoes. Not nearly as good as homemade, but wayyyyyy faster for a night that I don’t have the energy to do it all.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Transfer the meat into a 9×9 inch baking dish, then cover with potatoes.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Logan being a perfectionist made sure there was an equal amount every where. I usually just scoop them on in great big dollops until they’re all in the dish. Your call.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Bake for 20 minutes, and you’re done!

It’s hard to see, but Logan got cute and carved our initials into the potatoes. Keepin the romance alive. 😉

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

Hearty, filling, comfort food. And almost stupidly easy to make.

SHEPHERD’S PIE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup (just the can, don’t add water/milk)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp dehydrated onions
  • 6 mashed potatoes, fresh or box

STEPS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brown ground beef. While that’s cooking, prep the mashed potatoes. For better tasting instant ones, use whole milk or cream and garlic salt.
  2. Once the beef is done, remove grease. Throw in the vegetables, dehydrated onions and can of condensed soup. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Stir until everything is coated in the soup.
  3. Transfer the beef mixture into a 9×9 inch baking dish. Top with potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes until the tips of potatoes are just beginning to brown and the bottom layer is bubbling.

Shepherd's Pie in 30 minutes? Heck yes!

all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose

 

 

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Tuscan Sausage Soup

With my (not-so-new-anymore) job and Logan in law school, it’s a weekly battle to put together quick, tasty cheap meals that are at least vaguely healthy. Add to that the need to make sure it’s easy enough to reheat for lunches, and it’s a bit of a challenge. I’m definitely a fan of making a big batch of something, freezing half, and eating it repeatedly for the rest of the week.

Enter: Tuscan Sausage Soup. It’s got everything you want in a soup during the winter: it warms you up from the inside out, with a bit of a kick to keep things interesting. Plus there’s veggies and beans in addition to meat and noodles, so sneaking in some healthy, right? Best of all, this recipe makes enough to feed a small army. In all seriousness I don’t own a pot big enough to make this all in one batch. Instead, get partway through and then freeze half, which means another meal in the freezer for that extra hectic week you’ve got coming up!

Tuscan Sausage Soup

I used spicy sausage here and thought the flavor was perfect. But if spicy isn’t your jam, just use sweet Italian sausage and nix the cayenne.

The recipe works with almost any pasta too. This time I used macaroni (mostly because that was already in my pantry), but my favorites are mini shells or rotini! Those mini bow ties are fun too. The recipe I based it on used shells.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Start with ground Italian sausage. I prefer spicy, but you can do sweet if your crowd would rather!

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Brown it. While that’s happening, chop up your onion & carrots.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Once the meat is browned, add in onion, garlic and carrots. Saute until just tender. Add the basil (and the cayenne if you so desire!) here.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

If you want to freeze half, do it now. I spoon half the mixture into a bowl to let it cool a bit, so let’s just set that aside for the moment.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Add cannellini beans and diced tomatoes.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Already looking tasty and satisfying.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Add the broth and pasta. Bring to a boil, then simmer until pasta is cooked al dente (check the pasta box for this).

Tuscan Sausage Soup

While the pasta is cooking, grab a freezer bag. Combine the other can of diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, and the set aside sausage mixture. Now you can freeze it and have a quick dinner later this winter!

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Once the pasta is ready, add in the spinach and salt & pepper. Once the spinach has wilted, it’s ready to serve!

Tuscan Sausage Soup

This is the type of recipe that you can adjust the broth amount to suit your soup preference. If you want a  more stew-like consistency (like my husband), use less liquid and add it in only as you need it.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

I love when meals are colorful! The veggies are just cooked enough, so they didn’t lose their gorgeous color.

I prefer this dish with a little kick – spicy food in cold months give that extra boost of warmth!

Tuscan Sausage Soup

TUSCAN SAUSAGE SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs spicy Italian sausage
  • 6 carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 8 oz spinach

STEPS:

  1. Brown sausage on medium high heat. I do this in the biggest pot I own (one less dish to wash!)
  2. Add in garlic, onion, and carrots. Saute until carrots are tender and onion has turned translucent.
  3. Add basil and cayenne. Once stirred thoroughly, set aside half of the mixture to freeze.*
  4. Add 1.5 quarts chicken broth and 1/2 lb pasta. Boil, then bring down to simmer for around 7 minutes – whatever the pasta box suggests for al dente.
  5. Add the salt and pepper and half the spinach. Wilt the spinach, then serve! This is great with crusty bread or cornbread.

*= add to this one can of cannelini beans and one can of diced tomatoes before freezing. That way, when you pull it out, all you add is broth, pasta, and spinach!

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Enjoy!

all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

Coq au Vin

Every so often, Logan and I have a fancy date night in where we pick a country and cook a meal. We try to go all out – appetizer and dessert, drink something local, maybe watch a movie or listen to music from that place. It’s a way to do some travelling without the expense of a plane ticket!

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

So after the fun but full holiday season, we wanted a cozy date night in. We wanted to do something together but without crowd or lines or other human interaction. Enter: the fancy night in.

Our country of choice this time: France!

Once we pick the country, we choose our dishes. The main course was easy: I’d never had coq au vin, but it sounded delicious and quintessentially French. The best part is that it was easy! No complicated steps, no words I didn’t recognize.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

It tasted DIVINE. My favorite part of our meal, I think! The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked, and cooking with wine is always a win but the flavor combo of wine with mushrooms was delicious.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

Start by trimming up your chicken parts of excess fat. We took the skin off too, but that’s your call.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

A highlight of the meal: realizing just how much the French love to use bacon. It featured in multiple parts of our meal, which we are OF COURSE a fan of.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

Once the bacon has cooked up, add onions and chicken parts to the pan. Brown them, rotating occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Halfway through add the garlic cloves.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

Once the chicken browned, drain the fat. Add chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Turn the heat down and let it bubble for about 20 minutes.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

The chicken wasn’t submersed, so I rotated it halfway through to make sure everything cooked and soaked in that amazing flavor.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

Once the chicken is done take it out of the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook on high until the liquid reduces into a sauce-like consistency. Add butter and once it’s combined, put the chicken back in.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

Voila!  Less than an hour to a gourmet French dish.

Taken from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World, but with a couple tweaks of my own.

COQ AU VIN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 lb thick bacon, diced small
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 chicken (3-4 lbs) or 3 lbs chicken parts, trimmed*
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir
  • 2 bay leaves
  • thyme (fresh or dried)**
  • parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter

STEPS:

  1. In the biggest skillet you have, cook the diced bacon on medium high heat. Stir occasionally, and when the fat renders and everything is crispy you’re done, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add onions and chicken, top down. Brown the chicken well – rotate so all sides get browned, another 10-12 minutes. Halfway through, add the garlic cloves (peeled) and salt & pepper.
  3. Drain grease, then add chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Turn heat down a little so it’s bubbling. Cover and cook 20 minutes or until the chicken is done.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan, but keep warm. Remove bay leaves, herb sprigs, and garlic.
  5. Add mushrooms to the skillet and cook on high. Boil until the liquid has reduced by at least half and thickened to be more saucy. Lower the heat, add the butter, and put the chicken back in the pan. Coat the chicken with the sauce, then serve!

*We also cut the skin off, as you can see in the photos. The French may frown on this, but they turned out super flavorful anyway so I’m fine with that.

** A confession: we almost never use fresh herbs. Whenever we buy them, we use a couple sprigs for one recipe and then we either a) don’t eat anything that calls for them before they go bad, or b) forget they’re in there until they’ve gone bad. This time we happened to have fresh parsley, so I actually did that here, but we typically use dried. My rule of thumb is 1 tbsp fresh = 1 tsp dried. For “sprigs” I just sprinkle until it looks good.

Coq au vin is a fancy French dish that's surprisingly easy to put together!

Check back soon for other parts of our French feast!

The links above contain affiliate links, which means I get a few cents (at no extra cost to you) if you book or buy something via that link. This helps me keep costs down and posts up! All images copyright Teaspoon of Nose.