Monday, May 20, 2024

Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies


Trying to get kids to eat vegetables is always a hard chore so I've been trying to jazz them up a bit. My kids really like sweet potato so I bulked this up with those and some chicken sausage.  I sweetened the deal with some balsamic vinegar :) The kids ate it and Alex and I were able to be healthier without having to make two meals. The recipe below is one pan worth. For our family I doubled it and made two pans and it was the perfect amount with just enough left for two kids to take it for lunch the next day. 

Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies (serves 4)


1 lg. sweet potato (diced)

1 zucchini (cut in half length wise, scoop out seeds, and slice)

1 sweet onion (chopped)

1 bell pepper (red or yellow)

6 chicken sausage links (We love the Aidell's apple flavor or their Mango Habanero for a kick)

2 T. olive oil

2 T. good quality balsamic vinegar (I used a white apricot)

2 T. Alchemy spice company Medditeranean blend (rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, coriander, mexican oregano, sea salt, an fennel seed)

salt and pepper to taste


Prepare veggies as indicated and place in a large bowl. Slice sausages and add to veggies. Toss veggies and sausage with olive oil, vinegar, and spices until evenly coated and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. 

Roast for 30 min. @400 degrees. Toss gently and spread back out on pan. Continue cooking for 10 min. or until veggies are tender. 

French Dips with Carmelized Onions (Slowcooker)

I've been trying to use my crockpot and instant pot more to help with dinners on the days I work. I had been craving a good french dip sandwich and decided french dip and slowcooker were a perfect match. I did grill the onions after to get them nice and carmelized! But a few extra minutes of prep is worth it! And as always make sure you get some good bread to put it on! You don't want to waste delicious meat on cheap bread ;)

French Dip with Carmelized Onions


4 lb. beef roast

salt and pepper

1 T. garlic powder

2 cans french onion soup

1 can beef consumme

1/2 cup apple juice

2 tsp bouillion (to taste)


1 lg. sweet onion (sliced)

1 tsp. sugar

1 T. butter

splash of apple juice

Sandwich fixin's:

Provolone slices


mayo (we like chipotle mayo with this!)- optional


Rub roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder and place in crock pot. Add soups, consumme, and apple juice to slow cooker. Cook on high for 7-8 hours on high or 4-5 on low. Remove meat from crockpot and shred in a 9x13 baking dish. Broil on high for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the bouillion to the au jus in crockpot as needed. In a medium pan, saute sliced onions in butter until tender. Add sugar and juice and continue cooking for about 30 seconds until carmelized.

Serve shredded roast on hoagies and top with onions, provolone and mayo if desired. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Sweet potato and Farro Bowls

 I love grain bowls for a few reasons. 1) They are delicious and 2) It's easy for each person to adjust toppings to their liking which means less complaining at dinner time! One ingredient all my kids can agree on is a sweet potato which also makes this grain bowl appealing. With a yummy citrus dressing and cranberries it also has enough sweet to convince some of my kids to eat arugula. 

Sweet Potato and Farro Bowls

1 lemon (zested and quartered)

1 T. sugar

1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries) 

3 large sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into 1 in. cubes)

1 large yellow onion (chopped into thick wedges)

2-3 large sweet potatoes

2 T. olive oil

2 tsp. chili powder

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups farro

6 cups chicken stock 

2 T. butter

4 cups arugula

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

pepitas or pine nuts (to taste) 


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Juice the lemon into a small bowl and combine juice with lemon zest, cranberries and sugar. Allow to marinate while preparing the rest of the meal. 

Chop and dice sweet potatoes and onions and mix with olive oil, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Spread out flat on a large baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until tender and lightly roasted. 

While veggies roast, combine farro and chicken stock in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 25 minutes (most liquid should be absorbed). Stir in butter and fluff with fork. 

In a medium bowl mix cranberry mixture with arugula. Serve in bowls by adding farro and roasted veggies first and then topping with arugula mixture, parmesan and pepitas (or pine nutes). Enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2024

Chicken Bagels


Forgive the less than perfect picture and the paper plate! I didn't have time to take a better one but these are worth a post so that I have them for next time. These come together quickly thanks to rotisserie chicken! The picture shows the sandwhich with all the fixings listed below but we did have several kids who opted out of some of the toppings and they enjoyed it too. 

Chicken Bagel Sandwiches

8 cheddar jalapeno bagels (or bagels of your choosing)

Chipotle Mayo

1 rotisserie chicken (removed from bones and chopped)

1 jar of roasted red peppers

1 lb. cooked bacon (I used precooked bacon)

8 slices sharp cheddar

Dijon mustard


Preheat broiler. Slice bagels in half and place bottom halfs on a large baking sheet. Spread with chipotle mail and top with rotisserie chicken, red bell peppers, bacon and cheddar cheese. Broil on low for 5-6 minutes (checking occasionally) until bagel is slightly toasty and cheese is melted. Spread top bagels with dijon mustard and place on top. Enjoy!

Caprese Chicken


This recipe was born out of several other recipes that I already had and a need to use up some cherry tomatoes I had forgotten about. As we've been working on eating healthier we've relied pretty heavily on our grill for giving the food some flavor. Serve this with a caprese salad and some veggies of your choosing. 

Caprese Chicken

6 chicken breasts (cut into strips)

1 bottle caesar dressing

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1-2 T. olive oil

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar (I used a white apricot balsamic)

1 recipe caprese salad and balsamic glaze (for recipe click here)

Combine chicken strips and caesar dressing in a large bowl and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hr. 

Prepare caprese salad and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Grill chicken on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes per side or until cooked through (reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Discard any leftover marinade. 

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet and add cherry tomatoes and garlic. Cook about 1 minute until tomatoes are slightly blistered and garlic is fragrant and lightly browned. Add balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook over low heat until reduced and slightly thickened. 

Serve tomato mixture over grilled chicken and serve with prepared caprese salad. Top with extra glaze if desired. (You can use the glaze recipe from the salad or to speed things up a bit I use nonna pia's from costco).

Sunday, May 12, 2024



Several of my kiddos (and myself) love sushi but it can be expensive for a family of 7. We decided to try our hand at making it ourselves and it's gone really well!  These are far from the beautiful rolls you'll get in a restaurant by someone trained to make it but we're getting better all the time. One thing that has helped with the process is this sushi making kit from Amazon: Sushi Making Kit. At the time of posting this it's on sale for $18 and it was well worth the price! If you don't want the whole kit, at the very least you'll need a bamboo roller mat, a good bamboo spoon to work with the rice, and a good sharp nice to slice it without smashing the roll. 



1 recipe of sushi rice (recipe below is enough rice for 5-6 rolls)

1 pkg. nori wraps

2 avocado (sliced)

1 cucumber (seeded and julienned)

cream cheese

meat of your choice (we used smoked salmon, shrimp tempura and imitation crab)


Sesame seeds (black and white)

Ponzu sauce 

Spicy Mayo 

Crunchy fried onion or panko crumbs 

Rice Recipe:

3 cups sushi rice (we used Jasmine which is a longer grain)

4.5 cups water

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

2-3 T. sugar


Begin by making the sushi by combining rice, water and rice vinegar in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes).  Once cooked, mix in sugar well and spread the rice out flat on a baking sheet and allow to cool. 

While rice cools prepare your vegetables and meats as indicated above. If you are using the sushi press place rice in the press and fill with the fillings of your choice. I've included a few good pairings below. Press the rice together around the filling and place in the nori and roll. Using a small cup of water, dip you fingers in the water and spread it across the top of the nori to seal the edge. If you are not using the sushi press, follow instructions as written with whichever type of mat you are using. 

Top with whichever toppings you like and enjoy!

* Ideas for filling combos

Philly roll: Smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado

Cali roll: imitation crab, avocado, cucumber

Shrimp tembura roll: cooked shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber

Spicy Cruch roll: meat of your choice, avocado, cucumber, panzo sauce, spicy mayo and crunchy onion

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Spicy Ramen


One of my kiddos loves ramen and wanted to try our hand at making our own.  We used precooked chicken to make this a 20 minute meal and it turned out great. We made it a bit too spicy our first time so we all agreed to leave the sriracha out next time and let each person add it to their own preferred level. Give it a try!

Spicy Ramen

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 T. butter

4 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tsp. fresh ginger minced (I love the frozen ginger cubes from trader joes)

6 cups chicken stock

4 T. reduced sodium soy sauce

1 T. cooking sherry

1 T. brown sugar

1 cup shredded carrots

2 cups chicken (we used thinly sliced rotisserie chicken)

8 oz. ramen noodles (I bought some at World Market, but you could also use chicken ramen packets and discard the seasoning)

1/2 cup chopped green onion 

6 hard boiled eggs (cut in half)

Sesame seeds (We used Everything but the Bagel seasoning from Trader joes- DELICIOUS!)

sriracha (to taste)


Heat oil and butter in a large stock pot and cook garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add chicken stock, soy sauce, sherry, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Add ramen noodles and cook until al dente. Add chicken and shredded carrots and continue cooking until the meat is heated. 

Top with green onion, hard boiled eggs and "Everything but the Bagel" seasoning. Add sriracha to taste and enjoy!