Category Archives: Dinner

Chicken and Basil Stir Fry

This recipe for Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry is quite possibly my favorite chicken recipe ever! It is so quick and simple to make and the flavors come together so beautifully.

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I’m a huge fan of basil. It adds such a wonderful light and summery flavor to lots of dishes. Caprese salad is one of my favorite uses for basil and my favorite Thai restaurant has Basil Fried Rice which is amazing! At my old house, we had extremely hearty basil! The original plant went to seed and the seeds spread throughout my yard. The lawn had various crops of basil (which made mowing it a teeny bit more pleasant thanks to the lovely fragrance) and one plant had a trunk. Yes, it was such a large and healthy plant that it had an actual trunk with tons of basil growing from it! I really miss that. We’re just coming out of winter here and I have no herb garden at the moment. I had to buy basil from the supermarket for this recipe and it was disappointing. I mean, the chicken was still perfect, but within a day of buying the basil, the leaves were wilted, even after putting it in water. Sad. Bottom line, I suppose, is grow your own basil. We will be doing that again soon for sure!

Basil Chicken

Anyway, for this recipe, I cut up a pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes, then combined them with soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. After heating oil in a wok, I stir fried the chicken with garlic until cooked through, then added in chili powder and hoisin sauce. You can also add a chopped up fresh red chili pepper which we’ve done in the past and it’s delicious but to make this more kid friendly I omitted it this time around (and my son still burnt his tongue on the rice. Oops).

Finally, after everything was cooked, I removed the wok from the burner and stirred in thinly sliced fresh basil.

I don’t know what it is about this recipe but the flavors meld together so well. You wouldn’t think it initially, but the basil adds the perfect touch at the end of the cooking process and is really key to bringing all the flavors together. And without the chili pepper it really was kid friendly. After my son recovered from the hot rice incident, he shoveled these little chicken chunks into his mouth with glee! So my food critics were happy and I was too! No leftovers here! Enjoy this quick, simple, and surprisingly flavorful dinner tonight!

Basil Chicken

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Chicken and Basil Stir Fry (adapted from Step-by-Step Asian Cookbook)

Yield: serves 3-4

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes or thin strips

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh red chili, seeded and minced (optional)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

small bunch of basil leaves, thinly sliced

steamed rice, for serving

Directions:

1. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Place them in a bowl with soy sauce and cornstarch and stir to combine.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir fry the chicken, garlic, and chili pepper if using for 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

3. Add the chili powder and hoisin and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced basil. Serve over rice.

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Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Bowl

My current job has a really fun Taco Tuesday tradition. Somehow I didn’t know about this into well into my time there but on Tuesdays, the line practically runs out the door while people wait for their yummy lunchtime tacos. Unfortunately I’m moving on and won’t be there for any more Taco Tuesdays. So, in homage to the cafeteria, PLUS to feed my hungry child, I decided to make my own tacos. In addition, my husband is always a fan of those taco salads that come in the edible tortilla bowl so I decided to surprise him with that treat for dinner too. Success all around! This dinner will satisfy your hungry family for sure!

Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Shell

To make the tortilla bowl, I placed medium sized flour tortillas into a brioche pan. I’ll be honest, I have no idea why I have brioche pans because I’ve never made (and possibly never even eaten) brioche (though I want to, after all, it is bread). But anyway, I put the tortillas into the pans, sprayed a light coating of nonstick olive oil spray on them, and baked them in a moderate (300 degree) oven for 25 minutes until crispy and lightly golden. Keep an eye on them because your oven may be quicker than mine and you don’t want a charred taco shell. If you aren’t lucky enough to be cluttering your kitchen cabinets with brioche pans, other pans will work too to create the shell, possibly a small metal (oven-safe) bowl. A quick pinterest search showed me that some people use an inverted muffin tin to get the right shape. So you have options. Or just use the taco filling for soft tacos, it’s still awesome!

Tortilla Shell

For the filling, I cooked onions in a large skillet until softened, then added garlic, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. You can use a jalapeno too if you prefer extra spice. Then I added ground beef and cooked it until it was browned. Finally, I added in a can of crushed tomatoes and let the mixture cook until the liquid was evaporated because no one needs watery tacos!

Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Shell

The last step is decorating your taco salad with all your favorite toppings. I stuck with veggies, just some chopped lettuce, tomato, and onions but feel free to dress it up with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, or whatever floats your boat! Picky eaters will love to adorn their own individual tacos.

Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Shell

Don’t forget, Cinco de Mayo isn’t too far off…this would be a perfect way to celebrate–with a large margarita of course!

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Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Bowl (adapted from Everyday Food)

Yield: serves 6-8

6-8 medium flour tortillas

nonstick cooking spray

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (I used 4 small onions)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 6 cloves)

1 jalapeno chile, minced (optional)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

salt, to taste (I used 3/4 teaspoon)

fillings for taco salad such as lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, black beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, etc. (your choice!)

Directions:

1. For the taco shell, place the tortillas into a brioche pan, on an inverted muffin tin, or in any oven proof bowl. Lightly coat with the nonstick spray. Bake at 300F for 20-25 minutes, checking frequently to ensure not too browned. Let cool slightly in pan.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and other spices, stirring the mixture together.

3. Add the ground beef to the pan, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently to avoid sticking, until the liquid has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

4. Carefully remove the taco shells from the pan and place onto a plate. Fill the shells with the beef mixture and your toppings of choice.

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Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

Since my son started eating “real” food, meatballs have become one of the most frequently served dinners in our household. I like to mix it up, sometimes using beef, sometimes turkey, and I use a variety of seasonings and sauces. But sometimes it’s nice to stick with traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs. This recipe doesn’t require hours of your time. It’s fast enough to make for a weeknight dinner though still hearty and satisfying so you feel like you’re sitting down for a relaxing family meal.

Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs

The meatballs include standard ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs (I used panko), garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and an egg white to help bind everything together. Easy so far. I’ll admit this recipe “cheats” a little and includes jarred tomato sauce. I love to make everything from scratch but I have my hands full with a full time job and a toddler and sometimes (okay, realistically, always) there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes to do it all. So jarred sauce it is.

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

After forming the meatballs from the ground beef mixture, I lightly browned them in a nonstick skillet coated with a little olive oil cooking spray. I then added the prepared tomato sauce, spiced it up with a little basil, and let simmer for 10 minutes. I made the pasta while the sauce was simmering and the dinner was ready before I knew it, about 40 minutes max. Save time after work by chopping the onions in advance or preparing the meatballs in advance and refrigerating the uncooked meatballs until you’re ready to brown them. I bet this would freeze well too!

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

Like all the meatballs I’ve shared here, my son was a HUGE fan! No leftovers for us! He’s only 18 months old but I’m sensing my grocery bills are going to be nuts when he’s a teenager since he can already down quite a bit! But I love cooking for him. And seeing his excitement when he finds something really yummy, like these Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs, is so worth it!

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Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs (adapted from Cooking Light Five Star Recipes)

Yield: serves 4

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup minced fresh onion

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1 jar (about 25 ounces) of tomato sauce (tomato and basil flavor works great), divided

cooking spray

1/2 tablespoons dried basil

8-12 ounces uncooked spaghetti

Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, egg white, and 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Shape into 20-24 meatballs, about 1.5-2 inches in diameter.

2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides for 6 minutes. Pour in the remaining tomato sauce and add the dried basil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. While the sauce is simmering, boil water and prepare the pasta according to package directions. Serve meatballs over spaghetti. Garnish with basil or cheese if desired.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings and Stout

Well, St. Patrick’s Day just kind of crept up on me and now it’s here. Before we move on to the next fun food holiday recipes, here’s just one more for March 17. I’ve already said that my little kitchen leprechaun refused to let any green recipes be successful this year so I had to try another way to get a little “luck o’ the Irish” into my kitchen. Using Guinness, which hails from Dublin, Ireland, in my recipe is the perfect way to infuse a little “green” into your dinner, whether for St. Patrick’s Day or any other day. Plus any time I find myself with a little extra time, I consider myself VERY lucky, and using my slow cooker might just save me a few minutes. Win!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings and Stout

I started off with boneless skinless chicken thighs, which I dredged in a little flour, salt, and pepper. I lightly browned them over the stove, then put them into the ceramic bowl of the slow cooker. To the chicken drippings I added more flour, plus a bottle of Guinness and some brown sugar and stirred it all together until it was smooth. I poured this over the chicken thighs in the slow cooker, then added chopped carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, and chicken broth.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings and Stout

I cooked the stew on high for 3 1/2 hours, then added in fluffy dumplings and peas, seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked for another 30 minutes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings and Stout

It turned out like the Irish version of matzah ball soup, very hearty and flavorful, and a delicious comfort food. Perfect with my quick Irish Soda Bread! Slainte!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings and Stout

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Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings and Stout (adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook)

Yield: serves 6-8

6 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided

1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, packed

1 2/3 cups Guinness Stout

6 carrots (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 cup lower sodium chicken broth

2 cups frozen peas

For the dumplings:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill

1/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Combine 6 tablespoons of flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat the chicken thighs in the flour mixture and transfer to a plate.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and cook until well browned, 2-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a slow cooker once browned. Reduce heat to medium, add 2 more teaspoons of oil, and cook the remaining chicken until browned. Add to slow cooker.

3. To the drippings from the chicken remaining in the skillet, add 1/2 cup flour, the Guinness, and the brown sugar, and stir until smooth. Transfer to the slow cooker.

4. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and thyme to the slow cooker. Pour the chicken broth on top. Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours.

5. For the dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With your hands, add in the shortening, dill, and a little bit of the water at a time to make a soft dough. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls between the palms of your hands. Add the dumplings to the slow cooker at the 3 1/2 hour mark.

6. Add the peas (they can still be frozen) right after the dumplings. Cook on high for another 30 minutes then switch to warm until ready to serve. Serve with Irish Soda Bread.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

This post is part of a Pi Day themed Blog Swap and comes from Kristin at Dizzy Busy and Hungry. Over the past few months that I’ve been blogging I’ve learned a lot from interacting with Kristin and from following her blog, so I am so excited to be featuring one of her recipes here at The Dinner Pages! 

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie from DizzyBusyandHungry.com

Hi, my name is Kristin and I blog over at Dizzy Busy and Hungry! My blog is all about easy, healthy, family-friendly food and how to fit it all in to today’s busy schedules. I am excited to be participating in this blog swap meet today! Many thanks to Jessie for hosting my post on her blog. We hope that our wonderful readers will enjoy this little variation from our regular posts!

The theme for our swap today is “Pi Day”. You remember pi from your math classes, right? It is an irrational number and one of the most widely known mathematical constants, equal to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (can you tell that I used to be a math teacher?). Anyway, all you need to know today is that pi is typically rounded to 3.14, which is why March 14th is also known as Pi Day. And the best way to celebrate Pi Day is with pie! Sweet, savory, fruity, or chocolatey, it doesn’t matter as long as it is pie. It just so happened that I had a gem of a pot pie recipe waiting in the queue to be written up, so Pi Day provides a perfect opportunity to share it! I have made chicken pot pie before, but I love this recipe because it is super easy and because most of the work is done by the crock pot during the day while I am at the office. Then, when I get home and we are ready to eat dinner, I just transfer the chicken and veggies to a 9×13 baking dish, pop some packaged refrigerated biscuit dough on top, and bake for about 15 minutes. My entire family LOVES this recipe! Even my picky eater (who typically turns his nose up at vegetables) happily gobbles up every morsel of this dish. It is perfect for a weeknight meal if you can just spare 10 minutes in the morning to get everything in the slow cooker. (If it makes your morning easier, cut up your potatoes the night before and store in the refrigerator covered with water.)

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie from DizzyBusyandHungry.com

Here’s a totally optional hint if you like the nice golden color and sheen on the biscuits: Take a minute to whisk an egg white together with a tablespoon of water and brush it over the top before placing the baking dish in the oven for the final 15 minutes of cooking. Don’t those biscuits look beautiful? Most nights I really can’t be bothered with a cosmetic step like that, but every once in a while I like to get fancy. 🙂

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 (20 ounce) jar chicken gravy
  • 3 or 4 red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag mixed vegetables (your favorite, no need to thaw)
  • 1 cup diced onion (can be frozen, no need to thaw)
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (8 biscuit) tube refrigerated biscuit dough

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken in the slow cooker.
  2. Combine the gravy, potatoes, mixed veggies, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika, and pour over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. 20 minutes before you want to serve dinner, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. Transfer the chicken and veggies to a 9×13 baking dish. In the process, pull the chicken apart a little so there are chunks throughout the mixture.
  6. Cut each round biscuit in half from side to side (to form two thinner rounds) and place on top of the chicken and veggies, touching each other.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown on top.

Thanks again to Jessie for hosting my blog swap Pi Day recipe post! Please feel free to stop by my blog (Dizzy Busy and Hungry) and see what else I have cooked up lately, or follow me on social media!

Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Google+

Enjoy, and Happy Pi Day!

Kristin -

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Below the collage are links to all of the blogs that participated in our

Blog Swap Meet: Pi Day Recipes

Hosted by

Edward from If You Can Read, You Can Cook and Kristin from Dizzy Busy and Hungry

Stop by and visit them all!

march swap meet collage

Chef Mireille’s East West Realm

The Dinner Pages

Dizzy Busy and Hungry

Fearless Dining

If You Can Read, You Can Cook

Kneaded Creations

Polish Housewife

Curry Meatloaf with Spicy Sriracha Peanut Glaze

I was so excited to participate in this monthly recipe swap through “What’s Cooking?” because I finally met the minimum number of recipes. Just barely but hey, it counts! I was assigned to try a recipe from Ashley of Cheese Curd in Paradise. I immediately went to her blog to check it out and spent an hour reading through her recipes as well as the fun stories about her life that she intersperses throughout. Her son is only a few months younger than mine so I loved that we have similar challenges when it comes to cooking for our families now. I had a hard time choosing which recipe to prepare because several really caught my eye to include the Indian Spiced Meatballs and Red Velvet Cheesecake but I eventually settled on Curry Meatloaf with Spicy Sriracha Peanut Glaze because the flavors sounded really interesting and I know my son does well eating foods with ground meat. It did not disappoint!

Curry Meatloaf with Spicy Sriracha Peanut Glaze

I made a few changes to the original recipe, using panko breadcrumbs instead of crushed up saltines and coconut milk instead of cow’s milk to keep it dairy free. Unfortunately once I took it out of the oven and sliced it there were still some slightly pink parts within so I had to put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes but that was really the only snafu.

Curry Meatloaf with Sriracha Peanut Glaze

The meatloaf was moist and flavorful and the glaze was delicious. The sweet combination of peanut butter and orange juice coupled with soy sauce and a hint of sriracha was fantastic. It was definitely not overly spicy. My son loved it. He had thirds! Can we say growth spurt anyone?! Anyway, we very much enjoyed this unique twist on meatloaf and will definitely make it again. Thanks Ashley at Cheese Curd in Paradise for sharing your delicious recipe with me!

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Curry Meatloaf with Spicy Sriracha Peanut Glaze (adapted from Cheese Curd in Paradise)

Yield: 1 meatloaf

For the meatloaf:

nonstick cooking spray

2 pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons minced green bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced white onion

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 egg

1/8 cup unsweetened coconut milk (can use regular milk if you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 cup ketchup

For the glaze:

1/3 cup peanut butter

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons sriracha

pinch of salt and pepper

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine all of the meatloaf ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until well combined. Press the meatloaf mixture into the loaf pan.

3. Bake for 45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small mixing bowl.

5. After 45 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven, drain any grease that may be there, then top the meatloaf with the glaze.

6. Return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the center is no longer pink.

7. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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If you like this recipe, also check out Cheese Curd in Paradise for more recipes from Ashley! Thanks to Sarah from A Taste of Home Cooking for hosting!

Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

What’s for dinner tonight AND tomorrow? How about Slow Cooker BBQ meatballs? Minimal effort for maximal flavor!

Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

We have some weeks that are really crazy. My husband and I can get really busy with working nearly opposite schedules leaving us with minimal time to cook thanks to a clingy toddler who wants to be held all the time and/or climbs up the oven door to check out what’s happening on the stovetop. (He is very familiar with the word “hot” but still loves to explore!) To avoid takeout or quick prepared freezer food every night, we try to do some cooking in advance to have food ready to go. Just pop in the microwave after work and 2 minutes later, dinner is served…

These tasty meatballs fit the bill. They’re great right from the slow cooker, reheat really nicely, and don’t take too much time to prep up front. I’ll give you our meatball recipe if you want to make them “from scratch” but you can totally sub in the already prepared meatballs from the freezer section of the supermarket and just make the quick and flavorful sauce if you really want to do things quick and easy. Aside from a simple dinner, they also make a nice appetizer at a party…though they’re a bit sticky so caution with white shirts and clean tablecloths!

To make the meatballs, combine ground beef (or turkey if you prefer) with panko bread crumbs, garlic, onion powder, black pepper, dried oregano, and some eggs to bind things together. Mix everything really well by hand. When my husband and I first starting dating he made me meatballs but didn’t do such a great job mixing things and hence, “variety pack” meatballs were born, since you never knew which variety you’d get in a bite…so to avoid “variety pack,” mix thoroughly. Form into meatballs. We got 75 small (about 1 inch in diameter) meatballs. Then pop in the oven for about 15 minutes until no longer pink inside.

For the sticky sweet sauce, in the crockpot combine the meatballs, honey, apricot jelly, your favorite barbecue sauce, and 3 tablespoons of your favorite grill spice. We use McCormick Smokehouse Maple because it is both sweet and smoky and imparts great flavor to the sauce. Then turn the slow cooker to high until the meatballs are hot. Our meatballs were cold at the beginning (since we made them the day before and refrigerated them overnight) so it took about 2 hours, but if you make the meatballs then put them in the sauce immediately, it’ll be even shorter. Once the meatballs are hot, turn the slow cooker to warm until ready to serve.

We’ve come back to this recipe again and again to have an easy and tasty meal prepped in advance allowing for quick dinners on crazy weeks!

bbq meatballs

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Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

Yield: 75 small meatballs

For the meatballs:

2.5 pounds ground beef

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 large eggs

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Combine the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly by hand. Form into meatballs approximately 1 inch in diameter (a heaping tablespoonful). Place into pyrex baking dishes.

3. Bake until no longer pink inside, approximately 15 minutes.

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For the sauce:

1/8 cup honey

1/8 cup apricot jelly or preserves

3 cups barbecue sauce

3 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommend McCormick Smokehouse Maple)

Directions:

Combine the meatballs and the above ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on high heat until the meatballs are hot, about 2 hours. Turn to warm until ready to serve.

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This recipe was featured at the Sunday Sharing Pinterest Party at Adventures with Jude!

Want more meatballs? Try Fajita Meatballs or Gingersnap Meatballs!

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