Tag Archives: quick meals

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken

Tonight I have another recipe for you from The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart. I made it the night after I made her Pumpkin Gnocchi Soup (yes, the very first time!)and this dish was delicious as well. It was also my second time using my new crock pot. I’ve found a lot of crock pot recipes that sound good, but they call for several steps or adding things at specific times. Is it just me, or isn’t the whole point of using a crock pot being able to throw everything in it and not have to bother with it for 6-8 hours? So I was happy when I found Ruthie’s simple, two step, and yummy sounding crock pot recipe for Crock Pot Mexican Chicken . I don’t have as many pictures, since the prep was done in a rush before I ran out the door this morning, but as Brittany likes to say, I got the money shot 🙂

You’ll Need

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts*

1 16 oz jar salsa of your choice

1 can corn, drained

1 can black beans, drained

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 block of cream cheese

* I learned from my first experience with the Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken that 2 lbs of chicken breasts makes way more shredded chicken than I could possibly eat. So for this recipe, I only used 3 chicken breasts and it didn’t affect the other ingredients as far as I could tell

1. Put all of the ingredients except the cream cheese in the crock pot and mix well. Cook on low for 6 hours (mine cooked for longer than 6 hours because I had to start it before I left for class and I wasn’t ready for dinner at 5:30. It was just fine though)

2. The recipe says to stir occasionally. But as I said, I was gone all day and it was fine unattended. Shred the chicken either as it cooks or before serving.

3. 30 minutes before serving, add the cream cheese and stir very well.

4. serve in tortillas, over chips, or on its own and enjoy!



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Filed under Recipes by Vanessa

Sweet and Simple

I love trying new things in the kitchen, especially if it’s something I never would have attempted a year ago (I’m going to have so much fun experimenting with my new panini press!). But sometimes, a really simple recipe can give you the same amount of satisfaction. Tonight I decided to make BBQ chicken breasts for dinner. It’s obviously not a difficult dish at all. But I’ve never made it before, and now I have a new (not to mention simple and fast!) dish to add to my rotation.

I never particularly liked BBQ chicken when I was growing up. I don’t know why, but I clearly remember being disappointed anytime I’d ask my mom what was for dinner and she’d say BBQ chicken. But when I was home for Christmas last week, that’s one of the things she made for dinner. And it was delicious! So when I headed to the grocery store today to restock my kitchen after being away for almost 2 weeks, I decided to pick up the necessary ingredients to make BBQ chicken. I sprinkled pepper and a dash of garlic powder on both sides of the chicken breasts and rubbed it in a bit before pouring BBQ sauce over the chicken. I covered the dish and baked the chicken at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Voila, a delicious dinner! I served the chicken with steamed veggies and Alexia sea salt and pepper sweet potato fries.

So the next time you’re looking for something new to make, don’t focus just on adventurous or complicated dishes. Simple can be so great!


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Filed under On the Menu

Pumpkin Gnocchi Soup

It’s good to be back! It’s been a crazy few months, and it’s still going to be crazy for two more weeks. But thankfully, our little hiatus allowed me to write when I had the time and now I have a bunch of posts I can’t wait to share with you. I had a little trouble deciding which post to use today! But I finally settled on this one because I’ve made it twice more since the first time, it’s that good. Also, it has pumpkin in it and we are kind of getting out of pumpkin season. To be honest though, I’ll probably keep making it as long as it’s cold.

When I found this recipe I was feeling completely uninspired in the kitchen. And it wasn’t just that I didn’t feel like cooking, nothing sounded appealing to me. Not even super simple dishes like spaghetti or Cream of Mushroom Chicken & Rice. But I have to eat, and ordering out gets expensive fast. So…I went in search of inspiration. And I found it thanks to a blogger who I actually know in person. Ruthie over at The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart started her blog either right before or right after she got married last February, I can’t remember for sure. When my family lived in Texas, my parents and her parents were really good friends so our families spent a lot of time together. I decided to check out her recipe page and see if anything struck my fancy. When I saw Pumpkin Gnocchi Soup, I was immediately intrigued. I also already had most of the ingredients on hand, so I decided to give it a shot. She says she created this recipe as she went along, which is seriously impressive because it’s so good! I made a few changes, but for the most part, I followed her incredibly simple recipe. It was chilly and rained on and off all day the day I made this recipe, making soup sound especially enticing. And pumpkin + soup just screams “Fall” to me.

You’ll Need

1 Tbs olive oil

1 15 oz can pumpkin

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream (the original recipe calls for two cups milk, but I wanted a creamy bisque-like soup so I added cream)

1 16 oz package gnocchi  (I used whole wheat)

3 cups frozen corn, thawed

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp garlic powder


1. Put the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir well

2. Bring to a boil and boil until gnocchi is soft, about 2-3 minutes (be sure not to overcook the gnocchi). Then serve and enjoy. How easy is that?!

A word of caution: My pot wasn’t even half full and this soup still sprayed everywhere once it really got boiling. So wear an apron and stir almost constantly! The only thing I would change is maybe adding a little salt next time, since I used garlic powder instead of garlic salt. But I really like the flavors of this soup and I’ll definitely be making it again!


As I said, I’ve made this several more times since the first time. So here are a few notes for you

  • The second and third times I made this, I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand, so I just used milk like the original recipe called for. I didn’t notice any difference, so I think I’ll stick with just milk from now on and save some calories
  • The last time I made this, I also decided to add some cooked shredded chicken to make the soup a little more filing. I really liked it this way!

Stay tuned for more!


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Filed under Recipes by Vanessa

Souped Up

I’m all about making things from scratch and trying to rely, mostly, on fresh foods. However, I know that sometimes life gets in the way and we have to rely on shortcuts. But that doesn’t mean that those shortcuts can’t taste homemade!

I know grilled cheese and tomato soup is a classic…but the great thing about classics is that you can remix them!

So here’s my take on the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese. Trust me, once you modify the soup it will taste homemade!

**Initially, Military Man intended to have some of his leftovers for dinner. I had him do a taste test on the soup to see if I was right on with my additions and after trying it he asked, “Can I have grilled cheese and soup for dinner too??”**

“Can’t Believe It’s from a Can” Zesty Tomato Soup


-1 can of Zesty Tomato Bisque soup (I’ve only amped up this soup before so I can’t say whether this particular mix of spices would work on a different brand or flavor)

-4 shakes of Hot Sauce (I recommend Texas Pete!)

-1/2 tsp of Nature’s Seasons (AH-mazing spice blend…I put it on everything. Fries, peas, spinach, chicken, etc)

-1 tsp Gahlic Powdaaa

1. Pour one can of soup into a blender or food processor.

2. Add hot sauce, Nature’s Seasons and garlic powder and pulse until combined.

So now that you’ve got your soup how about some grilled cheese to go along with it?

Great Grilled Cheese

~If you choose to use regular bread over sandwich thins then this recipe will not be as low cal, but if you’re worried about flavor, don’t be. This may be a low cal version of grilled cheese but it tastes nothing like cardboard. PROMISE!~


-1 sandwich thin

-2 heaping TBS shredded cheese of your choice (I recommend shredded because it melts easily)

-1 TB garlic hummus

-1 pat of butter

Recipe Note: This is pretty low cal but I’ve included real butter. If you wish to cut calories non-stick cooking spray would work as a substitute. Frankly, I need that buttery, crispy crunch on my grilled cheese. Plus, I live in close proximity to Paula Deen and if I don’t use butter at some point I’m fairly certain she can expel me from the South.

1. Melt butter in a pan on medium/high heat and add the sandwich thin. Move it around so it soaks up the buttery goodness.

2. Add cheese and distribute between both sides. Leave on the skillet until melted, then remove from heat.

3. Spread hummus on one side and press both sides together.


The soup tastes phenomenal and crazy close to homemade. The touch of hot sauce adds a warmth which makes the soup even better for cold, crisp fall evenings. The hummus takes the grilled cheese from mundane to extraordinary! A quick, healthy meal! And the hummus adds more protein for filling power! (Not to mention crazy good flavor!)

-This was a delicious meal for me, however, Military Man needed a little more food. I used regular bread for his sandwich and included crackers to go with his soup.-

Bon Appetit!


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Filed under Creative Concoctions, Healthy Living, On the Menu, Recipes by Brittany

Freaky Fast Pasta

I’m a lover of Italian food. Giada de Laurentiis was the first “celebrity chef” whose show I watched religiously. I am enamored with her! But that is another post for another day…for now I shall give you my super fast and pretty darn healthy pasta dish.

Usually, I try to make most of my food from scratch but with this dish the pre-made foods have “hidden” veggies, upping the health factor!

I can whip this up in less than 20 minutes. No more excuses for fast food, people! Healthy food can be delicious AND fast!

Freaky Fast Pasta

Serves 4

-1/2 jar of Prego Veggie Smart Pasta

-3/4 of the container of skim milk ricotta cheese (In my opinion, in this dish, you can’t tell the difference between whole milk and skim milk ricotta cheese, so why not go with the skim milk and cut down your calories?!)

-3/4 of a box of Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta

-1 TBS of oil (pref. Olive Oil)

-A small palm full of salt

-SaltNPepper+ Garlic Powder

1. Add salt to water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.

2. After pasta has cooked, scoop 1 cup of pasta water and reserve.

3. Drain pasta and pour into a bowl

4. Add ricotta cheese and sauce to hot pasta and mix. If the sauce is too thick, add tablespoons of pasta water until you reach the desired consistency.

5. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste and serve immediately

You can add fresh basil or top it with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. This dish is also vegetarian but you could easily turn this into a meat sauce using ground beef, chicken or turkey.

It’s fast and surprisingly healthy! I recommend it for any night that you need a healthy meal, fast. It also refrigerates well and is easy to reheat and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!


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Filed under Creative Concoctions, Healthy Living, Recipes by Brittany