Category Archives: Recipes

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 Tortilla Soup

Of all the recipes that I make, this is one that I’ve probably made the most…and it’s definitely my most requested recipe whenever I share (and I share often since when I make it, it makes a ton!!).  I’ve altered it many times since I got it from my good friend Carter – she made it for one of our scrapbooking trips forever ago.



It has a ton of ingredients – but seriously…the longest part is pulling all of the chicken off of a rotisserie chicken.

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 (14 ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth
4 cups half-and-half  (can use fat free half and half – or a combination of both).  *note below
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa (mild, medium or spicy, depending on taste)
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 (15 ounce) can whole corn
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (I find that I usually add 2 cans of beans – I like it chunkier)
pulled chicken from 1 store bought rotisserie chicken
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (1.27 ounce) packet dry fajita seasoning
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I always add a lot more!!)
8 ounces shredded pepper-jack cheese (or plain jack if you don’t want the heat)

1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the garlic and onion in the
butter or margarine for 5 minutes. Add flour and stir well, cooking for
1 minute more. Add the broth.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.

2. Add the soup, salsa, corn, beans, chicken, cumin and fajita seasoning.
Stir and continue to barely simmer for 15 minutes.  Add half and half
and cheese. (the original recipe called for adding the half and half
with the chicken broth, but I found that when you use the fat free
stuff, it separates when it cooks too long – so I like to add it to
the end.  It doesn’t change the flavor if it separates – just makes it
look a little funny).  Heat until cheese is melted – bring to just
under a simmer only.  Add cilantro.

3.  Serve with crushed tortilla chips.

*note:  the above is how I made it for years.  Lately, I don’t think it needs as much half & half.  I probably use about half of the amount…I eyeball it – I pour some in until it’s a color that I like.  I think the flavors shine more with less half & half.

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.

Roasted Chicken Shawarma

Oh my goodness was this delicious!!  Packed with flavor – and flavors that my exotic-flavor loving family couldn’t get enough of.

chicken-shawarma-2  Recipe here courtesy of

Although a number of ingredients in the marinade, it comes together pretty quick.  In fact I did it around 7am before leaving for work.  I let the chicken sit in the marinade all day – then made the tabbouleh salad when I got home.  My organic chicken breasts weren’t that big – so I definitely cooked the chicken less than 45 minutes.  Use your best judgement and cook appropriately.  The garlic sauce (although got rave reviews on the website) didn’t sound all that great to me and didn’t sound all that healthy.  Instead, I mixed some greek yogurt with some lemon juice and garlic.  Even healthier would be to serve this over a bed of greens – but I managed to find some fluffy pita bread at the grocery store, so splurged on some carbs.

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!

Fruity Curry Chicken Salad

I love this chicken salad from

Chicken salad isn’t always the healthiest option, but I tried to make it a little healthier.  I’ve used both red and green grapes – as well as regular and golden raisins.  I do like the darker colors just for the color contrast.  I like to use rotisserie chicken – it’s quick, easy and moist.  I also tend to use half mayo and half greek yogurt.  You can use all greek yogurt as well – but I must admit, I like the mayo taste.  I put less in than the recipe calls for – just enough to hold it sort of together.  I like to serve it just in a bowl with some veggies on the side – but it’s also great in a pita half.

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?