Carne Asada Tacos

The end of 2019 was a hectic one for our family. We packed up and moved across the country from California to North Carolina. Coupled with traveling to Indiana to spend Christmas with our families, celebrating our sons 9th birthday, moving into our new house, starting the kids in a new school, and just learning our way around a new military base….whew, it’s been a lot! Now that we are settling back into a routine, I have really found myself in the kitchen a lot more. Which means great meals for my family, and great new recipes for you all!

This recipe idea is not revolutionary, by any means. I mean, tacos are a dinner staple in our house and we have them at least twice a month. They are the perfect meal! Delicious, easy to prep, customizable. You really can’t go wrong. So what makes this recipe so blog worthy? MARINATED.CARNE.ASADA.

Yes. It’s all in the marinade! It’s easy to just brown up some beef or turkey and make that your taco base, but using flank steak and marinating it for just a few hours really knocks this one out of the park. Don’t believe me? After dinner last night my husband did all the dishes AND I got a backrub before bed. Coincidence? Or the magic of Carne Asada? I think you know the answer!

First, gather your ingredients to marinate your steaks.
*2 flank steaks
*1 lemon
*1/4 C olive oil
*3 cloves garlic
*1Tbsp cilantro, chopped
*1 tsp cumin
*1 tsp chili powder
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/4 tsp pepper

Chop your garlic and cilantro and mix it into your spice mixture.

Squeeze in your lemon juice. Next add your olive oil and give it a good stir. The smells….*sigh* so good!

I cut my steaks in half so they would better fit my skillet, and then I placed all 4 pieces into a large Ziploc bag.

Pour your marinade over your steaks and seal the bag. Give it a good mix and rub that mixture into every nook and cranny of your steaks. At this point, place the bag in your fridge and let it marinade for about 4 hours. You can probably get away with a little less time, but I’d be sure at least give it a good 30 minutes to really help seal those flavors in.

Time to cook! Place your skillet over medium high heat and oil the bottom. These steaks are nice and thin, so they take no time at all to cook up. Just keep it in long enough to get a nice brown crust on each side, maybe 1-2 minutes a side.

Remove the steaks from the pan and let them rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes. This helps keep those juices in so you don’t lose that flavor when you slice it up. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. Use this time to make my chunky guacamole and fresh pico de gallo, you won’t be disappointed!

Fresh Pico de Gallo

  • 1 1/2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp cilantro, diced
  • pinch of salt and pepper
    Add all of your diced ingredients to a small bowl. Sprinkle in your salt and pepper, and squeeze your lemon juice over the top. Stir gently to combine. That’s it! So simple and so fresh. Put this on EVERYTHING!

Chunky Guacamole

  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp cilantro, diced
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 roma tomato, diced
    Halve your avocado, remove the pit (carefully), then dice. Add all your diced ingredients to a small bowl. Sprinkle in your spices and squeeze you lemon over the top. Give it a gentle stir, just enough to combine and coat every bit of the avocado, but leave the chunks. Or don’t. But you should!

Corn tortillas, flour tortillas-it’s amazing on either one. We like to do spring mix, my Fresh Pico de Gallo, sour cream, shredded cheese, and black olives, with a side of chips and Chunky Guacamole. Serve these up however you like your tacos! It’s so easy to customize, just lay everything out and let your family go to town. Flavortown, as Guy Fieri would say. Boom.

Homemade Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Most weekdays our mornings are hectic. Kids everywhere, me scrambling to get everyone dressed and hair brushed and PLEASE JUST EAT YOUR BREAKFAST! I love making my family a nice, warm breakfast to help start their day off right…but on weekdays, we’re all just trying to get out the door on time since it takes my kids no less than 30 minutes to eat a bowl of cereal on a school morning, so I don’t even try to push it with anything fancier than that. So, once the weekend hits, I’m all about doing breakfast the right way. Ask my 5 year old what her favorite weekend breakfast is and she will say ‘biscuits and milky-meat sauce’ AKA Biscuits and Sausage Gravy.

Now, there is nothing wrong with canned biscuits. They are a huge time saver, and even a brick would taste great under this gravy, but there is just something about the homemade version that is SO.DANG.GOOD. Our favorite biscuit recipe is actually from the Magnolia Table cookbook. Is there anything that Joanna Gaines can’t do?! Her biscuits are phenomenal. But the real star here though is the Sausage Gravy. I could (and have) eaten it with a spoon straight from the skillet. Yep. No shame here. My dad has always been the breakfast maker in the family, and his biscuits and gravy set the bar pretty high! I must say though, mine is right up there in flavor! Flavorful and hearty, it’s sure to please your breakfast enthusiast!

For the Magnolia Table Jojo’s Biscuits recipe, you’ll need:
*4 C flour (she calls for self-rising, but I use AP with no problems)
*2 Tbsp baking powder
*1 tsp baking soda
*3 sticks salted butter, COLD, cubed or grated
*2 eggs, beaten (plus 1 for brushing)
*1½ C buttermilk ***

***Now, I rarely have buttermilk on hand when I want this recipe. And by rarely, I mean never. Quick tip- you can put 1½ Tbsp white vinegar in your measuring cup, then fill to the 1½ C mark with regular milk. Stir and viola! Much easier than remember to actually write ‘buttermilk’ on my shopping list.

In a large bowl, whisk your four, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the cold butter (I just grate it right into the bowl as you an see above). A pastry cutter would come in handy right now, or you can use your hands like I do and crumple the flour and butter into pea sized bits. Don’t over work it with your hands, you want the dough to have little butter chunks throughout and warm hands can be a detriment to keeping that butter cold. Next stir in your eggs with a wooden spoon until combined. Now stir in your milk. The dough will be a sticky mess, but it’s ok! Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can also do this part the night before!

Scrape your dough onto a floured surface and work it with your hands into a ½ inch thick round. Use a biscuit cutter (or a well floured round glass) and start cutting our your biscuits. Place them touching on a sheet pan that has been oiled or lined with parchment paper. Be sure to combine the dough scraps into more rounds and cut more biscuits as you go…you don’t want to waste it!

Brush the tops with an egg wash and then bake in a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden on top. Resist the urge to eat them all before your gravy is finished.

Now for the gravy! You’ll need:
*1lb sausage
*4Tbsp butter
*4 Tbsp flour
*4 C milk
*salt and pepper to taste

Start with browning your sausage. Once it’s cooked through, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Don’t wipe out the pan! Those little bits are free flavor!

Melt your butter over medium low heat. Add in your flour and start to whisk it together to make a roux. Keep it moving so your roux doesn’t burn or clump up.

Now add your milk and keep whisking. Turn the heat up to a medium/ medium high. Continue to stir it and let it cook until it starts to thicken up. You want a nice bubble, but not quite a boil.

Now add your sausage back into the gravy and let it start to combine. Keep stirring it!

Add your salt and pepper. We usually go heavy on the pepper in our gravy, but you can tailor it to your families tastes. Trust me though, when you think there’s enough pepper…go ahead and add one more dash. By now, you should start seeing it really thicken up.

My dad calls this the Red Sea effect…when you can part it with your spoon and it doesn’t come back together right away, you know it’s ready!

Serve this warm and watch as the hungry masses devour it right before your very eyes.

Frisco Melt

Back in our younger days, my husband and I spent many nights partying with our friends. We were young and carefree and it was glorious. More times than I can count, we would end up at our local Steak N’ Shake at 3 am craving a Frisco Melt to fill us up before we went home to crash for the night (morning?). *Insert drunk driving PSA here…always have a DD, and if you can’t find one then BE one! I always say I’d rather be a DD because I can trust my ability to say no. Okay, stepping down from my soapbox now…* Now we are old and boring and have kids (what happens when you turn 30?!), but I still get a strong craving for a Frisco Melt every now and again! I scoured Pinterest for the sauce recipe, and was lucky enough to stumble upon this one from thecompletesavorist.com that really hit the spot! Check out her page for her take on the delicious sandwich.

Time to gather your ingredients. You’ll need:
*Frisco sauce (recipe below)
*Sourdough bread
*sliced cheese
*2 lbs beef (this made 8 burgers)
*butter
*1/2 onion diced
*salt and pepper to taste

First, the most important part of this recipe…the sauce! Mix 1/2 C Thousand Island dressing, 1/4 C French dressing, 1/4 tsp Worcestershire, and 3 Tbsp ketchup in a small bowl.

That.is.it

Why didn’t anyone ever tell me how easy it was to make? It will look like a lot for just a few burgers, but you’ll end up dipping your fries in it too. Trust me.

#Bloggerfail…I took all of 2 pictures of my burger making process. Fortunately, making the burgers probably isn’t what you’re here for anyway. You really just wanted that sauce. I feel ya. But for the sake of the blog, I’ll at least talk you through it. I seasoned my beef with the salt and pepper and added the diced onion. Then pattied them all up. I shaped them into long ovals instead of the usual round burger, just so it helped cover the sourdough bread from end to end. Cook til brown and crispy on both sides, pushing down with your spatula to get that nice crisp coating.

Picture #2. I’m really knocking this one out of the park, huh? After your burgers are done, wipe out the pan and then melt a pat of butter in it. Use this to toast your bread on each side-trust me….EACH side- I only did one side on the first burger and it just didn’t get that crispy bread that I remembered. Plus my husband, who used to work at Steak N’ Shake, was quick to tell me I did it wrong. He was right, but let’s keep that between us, okay?

Once your bread is toasted and your burgers are all cooked, it’s time to assemble. We kept it simple with cheese and lettuce and loads of sauce. Served with, of course, shoe string fries (because it would be blasphemous to serve with anything else). These were a huge hit! My husband said they were, and I quote, ‘really good babe!’ which is high praise around here! I even made a salad the next day with a chopped up burger and Frisco Sauce as dressing and it was divine. I guarantee this will not disappoint!

Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo

My family is by no means from the south. We are from the very southern tip of Indiana, so close to Kentucky that we can see it as we drive down the Ohio river front. We are as midwestern as they come-we dip our food in ranch, apologize when other people bump into us, and I’ve slipped and said ‘warsh cloth’ more times than I’d like to admit. All this being said, where my husband got his love for Southern food is beyond me. When I meal plan he will always throw me a curveball and ask for recipes that are decidedly outside of my wheelhouse. In the last 2 months I’ve made crawfish AND gumbo for that man, and I had never had either one in my life before! So how does a midwestern girl take on gumbo? By finding several recipes and tweaking them to fit what her Hoosier born palate enjoys. And resisting the urge to put a little ranch on it.

First I prepped my ingredients. I knew the roux would need my attention once I started it, so I wanted all my ingredients ready to go. I used:
*2 carrots, peeled and diced
*1 green bell pepper, diced (I know there’s 2 here…I just used one)
*1 small onion, diced
*kielbasa sausage, sliced (I bought a family pack and used half for this recipe)
*1 container beef broth (you could use chicken, but this is what I had on hand and it was delish!)
*1 bag frozen cooked shrimp
*4 Tbsp butter
*4 Tbsp flour
*1/2 tsp garlic powder
*1/2 tsp onion powder
*1 tsp Cajun seasoning (you can add more for more spice, but my kids won’t do spicy so we keep it mild)
*Salt & Pepper to taste
**I know there’s mined garlic in this photo, but I ended up not using it. Clearly I’m winging it as I go!**

Once your prep work is done, start your roux. Over medium low heat melt your butter in a stock pot. Once melted, add your four and start stirring! Keep stirring until you get a nice smooth texture. Once smooth, it will be a very pale tan color. Be sure to keep stirring and letting it cook until you get a soft brown. You can cook this until you get a deep chocolate color, but it can be time consuming! Also, this can burn easily so watch your heat and keep the roux moving.

So this picture doesn’t do the color justice, but I was able to get it to a nice soft peanut butter brown. Like I said, you can take it further, but keep in mind your gumbo will cook for an hour or so, so keep an eye on how much time you have to work with.

Once my roux was a nice color, I threw in my chopped veggies. I turned the heat up to medium and allowed them to cook until soft, stirring fairly often.

Add in your sausage! You can also brown up the sausage in a separate pan and then add it to the veggie mixture, but that’s just another pan to clean in my book. We all know how I feel about dishes. Let this cook together for a few minutes.

Now add your broth and turn it down to a simmer. Give it a good stir and let it cook for about 10 minutes.

Now it’s time to add in your spices. The smells you are going to have in your kitchen will probably have your kids and husband asking you every 5 minutes if dinner is ready yet.

Now put in your shrimp. Bring the pot to a boil for about a minute or 2, then reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for an hour (or longer if you’ve got the time!) This is prime time to clean the kitchen, start kid bathes, drink a glass of wine….whatever floats your boat.

Serve over rice and you’ve got yourself a meal! Be sure to get lots of that brothy goodness in your bowl. This picture is staged for the ‘gram, but you better believe I added more broth before diving in! The kids devoured it as is and my husband and I added a few dashes of hot sauce. I think the fact that he ate 2 bowls that night and had it for leftovers 2 more times is proof enough that this midwestern girl did the damn thing!

Loaded Potato Soup

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Tis the season! I’m not talking about turkey or candy canes…I’m talking school germs and sick kids. Both our kids have taken turns spreading germs to one another over the last 2 weeks, and I swear I’ve only had 2 days with BOTH of them in school at the same time. With all of the coughing, fevers, and yuckiness I have been trying to make more hearty comfort meals to keep everyone feeling warm from the inside out. Now, I love a good brothy soup. Something I can eat and then drink up the warm broth out of my nearly empty bowl. My husband however, he wants something more stick-to-your-ribs and thick. That’s where this Loaded Potato Soup comes in. It’s thick and cheesy with chunks of potato and bacon in each bite, and it just warms your soul when you eat it. It is great for picky husbands and sick kids alike!

Before I start my mise en place, I make the bacon. I used to loathe making bacon-yes, it is delicious but cleaning the grease mess off my stove top every time made me crazy. I use one of these broiler pans and it is a game changer! No more greasy mess, and crispy perfect bacon every time. Put the bacon in the oven cold and then set to 400°. After 15-20 minutes you have perfect bacon!­

Now that you have your bacon started, you can work on getting everything else in place. You will need:
*1 carrot, grated
*3C cubed potatoes
*1/2C chopped onion
*1/2 tsp celery seed
*salt and pepper to taste
*1 container chicken broth
*3C milk
*3 Tbsp flour
*8 oz cheese (shredded or Velveeta, both have worked for me!)
*1 package crispy bacon, chopped and divided
*optional-sour cream, chives for garnish

Add your chicken broth to a large stock pot.

Add your potatoes, onion, carrot, and spices to the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Once your potatoes are fork tender, add your 3 Tbsp of flour to your 3 C milk. Wisk until combined.

Carefully add your milk and flour mixture to your pot.

Stir to combine and bring your soup back to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes to thicken. Be sure to stir the bottom of the pot often so the milk doesn’t stick or clump. Add in your shredded cheese and stir until melted. You should really notice your soup has thickened up!

Chop your crispy bacon. Stir half into the soup now and reserve the other half for garnish. Try to keep your husband from eating it all off of the cutting board. I put that in because it is a necessary step around here.

You can serve this as is (which is how my husband likes it) or you can garnish with some sour cream and chives (how I like it) and it tastes like a creamy baked potato. Pair it with my 6 Ingredient Sandwich Bread and it is DIVINE! Honestly though, you can’t disappoint with this one no matter how you serve it!

Creamy Shrimp & Tomato Pasta

Usually I try to stick to an easy menu for my family. We have dozens of tried and true recipes that I generally rotate through each week, the kind of meals I could make in my sleep because we have had them so many times over the years. A nice way to describe them is ‘Oldies but goodies’. But I had a craving this weekend for something new….different from our usual repertoire of meals. I wanted something that would look and taste like something you’d find at a 5 star restaurant, but with a budget of take out (is that so much to ask?). Now, what can I work with that is inexpensive but can really step up my dinner game? Shrimp. Even better than just shrimp, is shrimp and bowtie pasta covered in a creamy tomato-ey sauce (tomato-ey is totally a word. I am declaring it as of now). Bonus, most of the ingredients I already had on hand, I just had to buy the shrimp! Done and done.

Here’s what you will need:
*shrimp (I bought the pre-cooked, but you can absolutely use raw)
*Vegetable broth (if you’re using raw)
*1 can petite diced tomatoes
*1 box farfalle pasta
*half an onion, diced
*1/2 C heavy cream
*1 tsp minced garlic
*1/2 C shredded parmesan (plus more for garnish)
*Salt and pepper
*fresh parsley (for garnish…unless you forget to buy it like I did)

First, prepare your farfalle (bowties) according to package directions. I like to do this first so the noodles will be done cooking at the same time as my shrimp sauce.

Toss a couple TBSP of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your onion and cook until tender and translucent.

Once tender, add your minced garlic and give it a good stir. Cook for another 1-2 minutes (reducing the heat if you need to) until the garlic is fragrant. It can burn easily so watch it….as you can see, I let mine get a little dark. Still totally edible, just not as pretty for blog post pictures!

Now add your shrimp. Mine was thawed pre-cooked shrimp, so they really just needed to heat through. If you are using raw shrimp, be sure you cook them until they are pink on both sides.

If you are using precooked shrimp like me, you may notice a lot of water and juices released into the pan. This is great! If you use raw shrimp, or you don’t have this shrimp-juice goodness (I know that doesn’t sound good…shrimp juiceshutter) then you will want to add about 1/2 C of your veggie stock. Reduce the heat to medium low.

Open your can of petite diced tomatoes and drain them. I just put them in my colander and give them a good stir.

Add your tomatoes to the shrimp mixture and stir to combine.

Add your 1/2 C of heavy cream and turn your heat up to medium. Continue to stir as the sauce thickens up.

Once your sauce has thickened to where it coats the back of a spoon, add 1/2 C of your shredded parmesan. Stir until the cheese is completely incorporated in your sauce. Add your cooked and drained pasta to the skillet and mix well, coating each farfalle with the creamy sauce.

Serve the pasta with an extra sprinkle of parmesan and fresh parsley (unless you forget your list in the car like I did). I’m telling you, this recipe is so good and easy! Easy enough for an every day dinner, but looks and tastes like a splurge.

Turkey & Bean Chili

There is just something about a bowl of hot chili that always feels like home. It is so versatile, and nearly impossible to screw up. I know people may think this recipe seems a little blasphemous to die hard chili enthusiasts, but around here we are all about getting the most bang for our buck, and that means adding things to make it as filling as possible while offering a little oomph to the flavor. For me, the beans and carrots are such a hearty filler and I love the softness they add to each bite. The carrots offer a subtle sweetness when they get all soft and cooked down and my family can’t get enough of it. Seriously, my husband has brought leftover chili to work for breakfast every day this week and we are having some on chili dogs for dinner tonight! That’s 2 dinners and 3 breakfasts from one pot!

Here’s what we used:
*2 lb ground turkey ( I know this is a 3lb pack, I’ll get to that later)
*1 can tomato paste
*2 cans diced tomatoes
*2 cans kidney beans (I do light and dark red, one of each)
*1 large can tomato puree
*1 onion, diced
*1 green bell pepper, diced
*3 carrots, diced
*1 tsp minced garlic
*Cumin
*paprika
*garlic powder
*onion powder
*salt/pepper
*chili powder
*shredded cheddar, hot sauce, and sour cream to finish at the end (optional)

First, give your veggies a nice dice. This cooks down for quite a while so I try to keep it from being chopped too small. I don’t want to lose all those little bits in the pot.

Heat up some oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Toss in your diced veggies and give them a good stir. I let these cook down for a bit, until they are nice and soft. A couple of my smaller pieces started to brown, but it’s ok you can save it! All of those brown bits on the bottom will add to the flavor later. When you notice the veggies getting nice and soft, add your minced garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Once my veggies tender and the garlic is nice and fragrant, add the small can of tomato paste. I like to stir it around and get the veggies nice and coated in it. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer, making sure to mix it and not let the tomato paste burn to the bottom of your pot.

While that is cooking down, I start browning my turkey meat. I went ahead and browned the whole 3 lb package, and reserved about a pound to put in the fridge for an easy spaghetti sauce filler later in the week. Anything I can do to make life easier on myself later, I’m all about that!

You will also want to give your beans a good rinse. I just dump them into my colander with the cold water running over them and give them a good swish with my hands until the water runs clear off of them.

Once your meat is browned and your beans are rinsed, you can go ahead and add them both to the pot. Give it a good stir and make sure it all gets coated with that veggie/tomato paste mixture. It should start smelling REALLY amazing in your kitchen about now.

Now add in your 2 cans of diced tomatoes and your large can of tomato puree. I always add my seasoning at this point, and I would love to tell you how much that is. Honestly though, I just sprinkle-sprinkle-sprinkle until the Chili Gods tell me ‘that’s good, just like that’.

Now you have some time on your hands! I let my chili cook over medium low for at least 2 hours. Keep coming back to stir it and waft in that warm chili smell, but mostly you can leave it covered and let it do it’s thing while you scroll Instagram and decide to make some homemade chocolate pudding for desert (Does anyone else LOVE Jennifer Garners #PretendCookingShow?!)

And there you have it. A hearty bowl of happiness. I love to top mine with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and some dashes of hot sauce. And it is heavenly. Let me know how you love yours!

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Fried Rice

Our family loves take-out nights. Sure we order pizzas or grab drive thru burgers, but our absolute favorite is Chinese take-out! I honestly think my kids and husband could eat it every single day and never tire of it. Of course, eating out regularly is insanely expensive and you can easily make it yourself for a fraction of the price. I started making this recipe almost a decade ago, and it is requested not only by my kids, but also every time my mother comes to visit. It is a crowd pleaser every time!

First start your prep work on your chicken. You’ll need:
*4-5 chicken breasts (cubed)
*1C corn starch
*2-3 eggs
*1-2 TBSP oil

In a large frying pan, heat some of your oil over med high heat. While that’s heating up, set up your dredging station with your corn starch and eggs.

Working in batches, coat your chicken pieces in the corn starch.

After shaking off the excess, coat the chicken in the egg.

Then brown them on all sides in your pan. The insides will still be raw and that’s ok, these will finish cooking in the oven.

As you finish the chicken, transfer them to an oiled 9×13 baking dish. You can do this step in advance and then pop the container in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them, or you can move on to making your sauce.

For the sauce, you’ll need:
*4 TBSP ketchup
*1Tbsp soy sauce
*1/2 C vinegar
*1 tsp garlic salt (I was out, so I used garlic powder and a pinch of salt)
*3/4 C sugar

Just whisk it all together in a measuring cup.

Pour the mixture over your chicken, and stir to coat each piece. Then place in a preheated 325° oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

I know it can seem time consuming to stir every 15 minutes for an hour, but just remind yourself how much money your saving here! And the smell that starts to fill your kitchen will have you eagerly coming back for each stir.

During the last half hour of the chicken baking, I start working the fried rice. For this you’ll need:
*2C cooked rice
*2 eggs
*1 onion, diced
*half bag of frozen peas and carrots
*soy sauce, to taste
*oil, for cooking

Heat some oil in your large skillet, and add your diced onion. Cook them until soft and translucent.

Add your frozen peas and carrots. Stir and continue to cook until the veggies are soft. Don’t forget to stir your chicken!

Next you’ll add the cooked rice and stir to combine. Let this cook for a few minutes to heat the rice through.

Scoot your rice to one side of your pan, and give the other half a good spray with your oil. Crack your eggs directly into the pan, being careful to not get any egg shells in it. Scramble the eggs until cooked through, and then mix them into the rice mixture.

After you have everything mixed thoroughly, add your soy sauce. Now, my family likes a lot of soy sauce on their rice so I add a good 2 Tbsp to the pan. And even then, my husband will add more to his plate. Just remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it off once you’ve put it in.

And there you have it! A home cooked dinner, that was inexpensive and much better for you than any take out you could have ordered. Now enjoy the sweet silence as your family practically inhales this right before your eyes.

Turkey Meatball Veggie Soup

We are closing in on the end of the month, and that means our pantry and fridge are looking dismal. Couple that with the fact that we are finally seeing some chilly fall weather here in the desert, and it has me craving ALL the soups! I peeked into my fridge and found a bunch of produce that needed to be used before it gets tossed, a pound of ground turkey I had saved from when I made my Sautéed Mushroom Turkey Burgers, plus some on hand pantry staples. You know those dinners where everyone is quiet because they are so busy eating they don’t talk? This got me one of those. It’s that good!

First gather up your ingredients. For the soup, I used:
*6 C Chicken broth
*8 oz mushrooms
*6 baby gold potatoes
*1 carrot (I only had 1 carrot, I recommend using 2-3)
*2 stalks celery
*1/2 C half and half
*1/2 onion
*1.5 tsp (each) garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
*1 tsp celery seed
*Salt and pepper to taste
*parsley garnish

For the turkey meatballs:
*1 lb ground turkey
*1/4 C breadcrumbs
*1 egg
*1Tbsp chopped parsley
*1 tsp (each) garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
*Salt and pepper to taste

Last week I had some pieces of my 6 Ingredient Sandwich Bread that was about to go stale. I cubed it and baked it at 350° until crispy and then placed it in an air tight container. This recipe was a great chance to use it! I just tossed a handful in my Ninja blender and pulsed until crumbly. Perfect homemade breadcrumbs!

Once you have your meat mixture well combined, form your meatballs. I just eyeballed it, but I wanted them to be fairly small. A small cookie scoop would be a great way to make sure they all come out uniform in size, but we aren’t after perfection here at the Murphy house. Place all of your meatballs in a large skilled and let them brown on all sides. They don’t have to be fully cooked on the inside since they will finish cooking in the crock pot, but you will want that nice brown crust on the outside.

While your meatballs are cooking, start prepping your veggies. I chopped everything into a nice dice and then pat myself on the back for not letting so many veggies go to waste (and getting my kids to eat them!)

Then add them all to your crock pot.

Cover with your chicken broth and spices. I only had 5 C of broth in my container (again, cleaning out the fridge) so I just added 1 C of water to the mix. No harm no foul, right?

Add in your cooked meatballs and stir everything together. I was worried that my meatballs may fall apart in the crock pot if I added them in the beginning, but they held up great. Once everything is combined, place your lid on your crock pot and set to high for 4 hours (or low for 6-7 if you’re starting it earlier in the day). I let this sit most of the time, only stirring it twice (mostly because it smelled so great I needed a reason to put my face in it).

At the 3.5 hour mark, I added 1/2 C of half and half and gave it a good stir. Cover once again and let it cook for a half hour longer. This is the time I used to bake up some butter bread slices to dip into our bowls. Because toasted carbs dipped in warm soup broth=the definition of fall comfort food.

And there you have it! All that’s left is to ladle some into a pretty bowl, garnish with some fresh chopped parsley, and take a picture for the ‘gram.

Sautéed Mushroom Turkey Burgers

This week has been another one where every day seems busier than the last, and by the time I get a chance to sit it’s already time for dinner. The last thing I want to do is spend the next hour in the kitchen making dinner and making another mess I have to clean (we all know no one is chomping at the bit to help with dishes around here). So I’m all about the easy and delicious. Something that requires minimal prep, simple ingredients, and will be filling and crowd pleasing. You know what checks all those boxes? Burgers and fries! But before you reach for the pre-made frozen stuff, you can whip up this easy recipe and feel good about what you are feeding your family.

Making burgers and fries is something super simple that you can make seem really spectacular with just a few tweaks. Toasting your buns? Yes, please! Topping your burger with sautéed mushrooms? You’re crazy if you don’t! Is your mouth watering yet?!

For my turkey burgers, I like to keep things simple. Here’s what you will need:
*1 small chopped onion
*2 lbs ground turkey
*2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
* butter (for sautéing)
*1 tsp Cajun seasoning
*1 tsp garlic powder
*salt and pepper
*8 oz sliced mushrooms
*Buns (we used onion buns-so amazing)
*cheese of choice (we used good ole’ cheddar)

Once you get everything prepped, mix it by hand in a large bowl. Be sure you get everything incorporated nicely, we want all the flavors to come to the party. Set the bowl aside and get your mushrooms started, you want them cooked before the burgers are done.

Melt about a Tbsp of butter into your skillet on medium heat. Then add your mushrooms. Stir them occasionally until they get soft and a nice brown color on all sides. Try not to eat them all straight out of the pan….I always make a little extra just for this reason.

I know it looks like I ate a lot of them, but I promise you they just shrink down quite a bit.

Also I ate some. But only, like, 4.

Or 5.

While your mushrooms are sautéing, start rolling your burgers into balls. I usually make 8 1/4lb burgers. I roll 8 balls about the size of my palms and set them on a baking sheet, then as I’m placing the burgers in my pan I flatten them out with my hands and use my thumb to push a small divot in the center of each burger, this just helps them cook evenly all throughout.

This is the part where a professional would tell you how long to cook your burgers before flipping them, but I just wait until I see them starting to cook halfway up the sides. When you flip them they should have a nice brown crust on the bottom.

Just before each burger is completely cooked, pile them up with your sautéed mushrooms. I then covered each one with a slice of cheddar. Now, you don’t have to do it this way. My husband said he thought it was weird that I put the cheese ON TOP of the mushrooms. I was just trying to keep them from falling off, and as the maker of the dinner I control how it gets done, ya know? You do you and live your best mushroom-burger-eating-life.

Feel free to serve these on a plain bun with some tater tots or fries, or you can jazz them up with a toasted bun and some herb potato rings or wedges. It’s all about customizing your meal to fit your preference and your families schedule. Or how many dishes you feel like creating, which is how I make most of my meal making decisions.