Category Archives: Healthy & Yummy

Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

I love soup.  And not just in the winter.  I really could eat soup all the time all year round.  But it’s especially comforting on cold, damp days like today.

And you know what else I love?  My Instant Pot!  As someone who loves to cook all sorts of things – this isn’t a tool I use every day.  I like variety – and lets face it, most of what comes out of the IP is what my family calls “goop on rice”.  (Although I did make a super tasty cheesecake!).

This soup couldn’t be easier.  No soaking beans.  Just throw it all in and let the magic pot do it’s thing.  With all the liquid, it does take awhile to come up to pressure – so 40 minutes of pressure cooking, 20 minutes of release, the veggie  chopping and the coming up to pressure – it’s a good hour and a half before you have soup.  I did use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth – I just like it better.

  Recipe here.

Lighter Chicken Marsala

Is it possible to say it too many times?  I really love Gina from There hasn’t been a recipe from her that hasn’t been a winner – she is so good at putting together amazing recipes that don’t feel like they skimp on calories – but they do!  This one was another from her cookbook that isn’t on her website – but I did find it here:

My skillet looked just like hers in the book!

Lighter Chicken Marsala

Wine…chicken…shallots…mushrooms…what’s not to love?  There isn’t a lot of sauce – so if you want to serve with pasta, you’re going to need some other sauce – or more of the marsala sauce.  I opted to serve with some red potatoes and a salad.  There wasn’t a single bite left.

Salsa Verde Chicken

I needed something easy for dinner – and whenever I ask my family what they want, the kids usually say “Mexican!!”.  So that leaves me in a quandary – the kids love tacos and all things Mexican, but the hubby doesn’t like anything with chili powder.  So – Gina to the rescue!  I made her Salsa Verde Chicken – and it couldn’t be easier or tastier.

I served it over cilantro-lime rice (very Chipotle like – just take regular white rice, and then stir in some chopped cilantro and a little lime juice at the end) and topped with cheese, tomatoes, red onions, black beans, sour cream, lettuce and sliced avocados.  Awesome burrito bowls!!


Chicken Pesto Mushrooms

I whipped up this recipe for lunch today – I love Cooking Light recipes and this one did not disappoint.  However, I did find the directions confusing – so let me tell you what I did differently.  Here’s the recipe.

12 ounces of rotisserie chicken turned out to be exactly all of the breast meat from the chicken I picked up – perfect.  I probably cooked the red onion a little longer than they said – and I moved them around some since mine didn’t stay in their circles.  I used jarred pesto – and omitted the 1 tsp of oil since there’s plenty in pesto and I didn’t see what this 1 tsp would add.  The filling filled up my 4 mushrooms perfectly – be careful!  It’s amazing how delicate portobello mushrooms are.

This is where things got confusing.  The recipe says to put the filled mushrooms back on the grill pan for a few minutes “until the mushrooms are tender”.  After a few minutes, I just could not imagine how these mushrooms were going to get tender on my grill pan as is.  The bottoms were getting charred, yet the tops were still cold.  So I put them in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.  This definitely cooked them – but also made a lot of water in the pan since the mushrooms released their juices.  I drained off the water, and then added the mozzarella cheese and broiled them.  Some of them fell apart a little – but I tell you -they were yummy!!

IMG_3582 IMG_3579

I suppose if you don’t mind raw mushrooms, the original recipe would work.  But I definitely like my mushrooms cooked.  This was surprisingly filling.

Chipotle Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce

It always seems to happen that when I make a lot of something, it doesn’t turn out that great and I’m sorry I have so many leftovers…then the night that I make something super delicious, not only were there no leftovers – but the guys were looking for more.  That was tonight…this was soooo good!

Chipotle-Chicken-(2)  Recipe here.

Hubby and younger son like things very spicy…me and older son – not so much.  When I saw “chipotles in adobo” – I knew this had the potential to be really spicy because those suckers are hot.  So I decided to use 1 pepper instead of 2.  I tell you – it wasn’t spicy at all.  Maybe a little burn – but almost nothing.  Even I could have handled the 2 peppers I think – but it was a delicious smokiness just the way it was.  Oh – and to keep it simple, I used chicken tenders.  I only marinated it for about 30 minutes since I didn’t plan ahead – and it was plenty.  But my goodness – the avocado cream sauce…that was out of this world.  You would expect the herb to be cilantro in something like this…but trust me, the basil was so good.  I didn’t even have fresh (I freeze my leftover herbs to use later).  Since this was done up in a blender, it didn’t matter that it was frozen.

Delicous…and everyone loved it.  Winner winner chicken dinner!

Thail Basil Chicken

More love for Gina from Skinnytaste!  Her recipes are really amazing.  And anything that gets my youngest son Brian (my picky eater) to say “PLEASE MAKE THIS EVERY WEEK” gets extra points in my book.

thaibasilchicken-550x825  recipe here.

You can use regular basil, but if you have it available, get the Thai basil.  We are fortunate to have an international grocery store pretty close by – and bonus, it’s super cheap.  Next time I will add other veggies – maybe broccoli, mushrooms, water chestnuts – something else to bulk it up a bit (as Gina suggests in her blog post).  This time I just served some braised baby bok choy.  Who needs take out when homemade is this good, quick and healthy?

Salmon with Avocado salsa

I’ve been craving salmon…I only buy it when I can find wild caught.  If you read what they do to fish that is farmed raised, you will never eat it again. I like to buy fist at Costco since it’s cheaper – but I got tired of waiting for Costco to get wild caught salmon – so I splurged on some from Wegman’s.  It was worth it – so good!  Avocados are another thing that I crave…maybe I’m low in my omegas!

Here’s the inspiration for this dish:  recipe here.


A few changes that I made:  First of all, I don’t really like to grill fish.  It tastes good, but I don’t like it when I make burgers afterwards…the grill takes a long time to lose that fishy-ness.  So I baked it instead…350 degrees until it’s done depending on thickness.  You could also broil it.  The spice rub is pretty strong…it’s delicious, but overpowers the fish.  A little goes a long way – so go sparingly until you know how much you like.  I used about half.  The avocado salsa is perfect!

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Ok…I think I may be falling in love with Gina from  Everything I’ve tried from her cookbook or her website has been delicious.  Tonight was no different!  I made her Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri.

Mine needed to grill more than 3-4 minutes per side.  And mine was still medium.  The key is to slice it thin after it rests a few minutes.


But the real star of this dish is the chimichurri.  OMG it was so good!


I served this with roasted asparagus and salad (plus tater tots for the kids…I resisted…well, ok, maybe I had one or two ).

Garlic Parmesan Kale Chips

I’ve had kale chips a few times, but have never made them.  I had half a bag of kale leftover from a soup I made last week and needed to use it up.  I reviewed my usual blogs and Pinterest – combining many ideas into my own.  This is what I did:

  1.  Tore up kale to fairly uniform sizes.  Removed any thick stems/ribs.
  2. Drizzled the kale with a little garlic infused olive oil, sprinkled with some fresh ground sea salt.
  3. Baked at 350 degrees until crispy.  This part was tricky.  I stirred it around a bunch and kept a close eye.  Crispy to burnt can happen quickly!
  4. Just before it’s all crispy, sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.
  5. Back in the oven until cheese is melted and kale is all crispy.

This took a lot of babysitting – but Hubby and I devoured the entire pan in seconds!

Crock pot Maple-Dijon Chicken drumsticks

So my husband isn’t a big fan of chili.  He calls chili powder B.O. powder.  He hates the smell, the taste – so when I make anything chili or Mexican, I’m always searching for non-chili powder recipes.  Except today.  I decided to go traditional.  So to be nice, I made him something different.  Good thing it was Sunday and I had some extra time on my hands!

Hubby’s dinner was this:  Skinnytaste Maple Dijon drumsticks.  I love crock pot meals because they are so easy – but I’m usually disappointed by the end product.  I’ve never been that impressed with my crockpot – usually I’m just “well, that was ok”.  But Hubby gave this rave reviews!    It was super quick and easy – the most work was getting the skins off the drumsticks.  I let it go the full 4 hours on high like the recipe.  Mine was definitely lighter in color than it shows on the website – I’m thinking maybe she broiled hers at the end.  But it was fall off the bone tender and a winner.