Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cold Weather Kind of Food

In honor of the cold front that has swept through much of the state, and because I have had many intentions of posting some new recipes. I thought I would do one big post compiling some of my favorite cold weather meals, that have satisfied this belly.....along with 3 other boys.

Yes, these little cutie pies often help me determine what we will have for dinner. 

And while, not all dinner are successful in the Cole department, he has expanded his horizon past macaroni and cheese and included gnocchi...or "yokey" as he likes to call it.

And this is what we had last night.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup: (to find the recipe click on the name and it will link you directly to the page) The best part about this soup is you can customize it to your liking. I have never ever used half n half, in fact last night I used NF milk, and it turned out really really creamy. I also always add more veggies, and additional seasonings. It tastes similar to chicken and dumplings, and both boys devoured the fluffy little gnocchi wonders.

And while we are on the topic of Gnocchi, this next one is a gem. Because not only does it taste good, it takes no more than 5 seconds to dump together. you better believe I have it filed away in my baby brain, for when this baby is actually here and I have no more than 5 minutes to get dinner in the oven......and a toddler (ahem, Bennett) hanging off my leg screaming to be held, and another toddler running around poking said screaming toddler with whatever poker object he can find....and I'm sure there will be one more little screamer in there demanding to be fed, changed, or held (deep breaths, deep breaths) So yes, I think this recipe will come quite useful in the many months to come.

Full disclaimer....I have accepted the fact that I will probably never be a food photographer...

Baked Gnocchi with Ricotta:

The only thing I did differently was threw in some remaining spinach that needed to be used up, and quite possibly added a little more parmesan and ricotta cheese ( which I was also trying to use up as I had it left over from this meatless meal Spaghetti Squash Lasagna).  Also, make sure you use a good quality marinara sauce, since it is a main ingredient and will definitely affect the flavor of the dish.

This next meal is A-mazing! And a totally different flavor from what I usually make. I also poached my chicken separately because for some reason chicken always feels a little dry when cooked in the crock pot.

Slow Cooker Creole Chicken and Sausage:

I also got a really good and really needed laugh while cooking this one up. Cole always likes to be in the know of what is going on, what we are going to do, and what I'm making for dinner. (For some reason I kept calling this gumbo...which it is fairly close to being) While I was busily throwing stuff in the crock pot, he wandered over and asked,

Cole: "Watcha making for dinner mom?"
Me: "A big pot of gumbo"
Cole (eyes wide and in a frantic little voice) "Dumbo?!?!"

So no, this is not Dumbo or even gumbo, but it is delish, and kind of spicy...don't go throwing in extra creole seasoning until you taste it first. Also, I used some chicken and artichoke sausages that I had in my freezer from Costco, and they tasted just fine in the dish.

White Bean and Pasta Soup:

This one was tasty and very budget friendly. I even followed the directions for the dried beans, and LOVED how they came out. I also added rosemary, thyme and some garlic to the mix. And since I didn't have a tomato on hand I used a can of diced organic tomatoes and really liked it.

Easy Chickpea Curry with Coconut Milk:

I have been trying to cut back our grocery bill each week, and one thing that has helped is to include more meals without meat. This meal was filling and satisfied the ongoing curry craving I seem to always have. I will say, that I felt like it needed a little doctoring up to really taste good to me. I firsted added some chopped up carrots (sweet potato would taste great too!), subbed a regular onion for the leek, added 2 Tbls. Brown Sugar, about a tsp. of Fish sauce, and extra curry paste. But like I always say, make it as it says and then add your own adjustments, most curries are pretty forgiving.

And the last one I've got for you (can you tell I have been in a soup making mood...the cold weather and busy days do that to me!)

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup:

Quick, easy, and a straight forward soup. Perfect with crusty bread. Cole had a bit of a hard time with the orzo.....he can't stand rice (so weird) and for some reason thought the orzo was rice.....but he likes carrots and picked out the tomatoes (apparently those are another no-no). But I liked it all, nothing fancy or frilly about it....just a feel good kind of soup.

I always love getting dinner ideas from friends and family. Especially when I seem to be in a dinner rut, so hopefully these ideas will help someone else out. :)

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