What’s for Dinner? Pampered Chef Lemon Pasta Chicken Toss & Black Bean Pumpkin Chili by Kitchen Treaty

Summertime is full of vacations, staycations, running around and general busyness and can feel like we lose touch with each other, but with all of the parties, BBQs, picnics, pool parties etc.  It provides us with so many different ways to connect. So while summer is different from the rest of the year I encourage you to take advantage of the chance to connect, reconnect and just hang out with one another and build relationships as well as memories, so while this is a busy time remember you are still “Bringing Back Dinner”; food is the tool that gathers us.  Have fun and laugh a lot!

Pampered Chef – Lemon Pasta Chicken Toss

pampered chef chicken pasta

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I really do like Pampered Chef recipes, they are easy and always look like you worked much harder than y ou did.  This recipe is no different.  It was a quick and easy but still tasty meal.  We made an exchange though; spinach for broccoli.  You could use either vegetable or add something new.  This dish would be easy to play around with.

 

MEATLESS MONDAY – Kitchen Treaty – Slow Cooker Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

black bean and pumpkin chili

Time: 6-8 hours on low

Ease: Simple

Review:  This dish sounds weird, I’ll just say it, but it is really very good!  My family loved it and one of them even tweeted about it  “Let’s just make a deal to put pumpkin in everything. It makes food ten times better.”  You can’t get a much better review!  We were divided on one aspect of this dish – heat.  That is why they make Sriracha sauce.  Just serve hot sauce on the side for those who want a little heat.  Otherwise a perfect meal.

We often think of the slow cooker as a winter cooking device, but it is a great for the summer.  It doesn’t heat up the kitchen and frees you up to run around town all day and not worry about dinner.  Pull out your crockpot and have a great day at the pool!  Dinner will be waiting for you.

 

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Do you need to go shopping in your Freezer? Chicken & Leeks, Vegetarian Chili, Soup, and BBQ Beef Tacos

Shopping in your freezer!
Shopping in your freezer!

If you are like me you find great deals on items and put them in the freezer or cabinets and then forget about them.  After a while I’m overflowing with items I  just don’t use on a regular basis.  When my kitchen gets too full I go shopping in my freezer and make my menus based on what I already have on hand.  You will be surprised how much money this can save you over time.  This week I was able to shop from home for everything but milk and fruit.  Not bad!

I managed to come up with lunches and breakfast for the week and also four meals from my freezer and cabinets: Chicken & Leeks, Vegetarian Chili, Potato Soup with Thyme and Slow Cooked BBQ Beef Tacos!  What can you make?  Go to Reply at the end and tell us what you had in you freezer.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Chili

vegi chili

Learn more about how you can help your family go meatless on Mondays at www.meatlessmonday.com

Time:   45 Minutes

Ease: simple

Recipe Card: Vegetarian Chili

Review: We love chili!  In an effort to really embrace Meatless Mondays I try to find vegetarian dishes that are also hearty.  I had trouble finding a chili that felt meaty and not soup like and decided to create my own.  We were pleased with the end result.  I used bulgar to help make it more filling and it adds a sort of meaty texture.  It is a little mild, but can be served with hot sauce.

Potato Soup with Thyme

potato soup close

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Recipe Card:Potato Soup with Thyme

Review: Potato soup makes a regular appearance in our household, but it is almost never they same twice.  I love treating it like an science experiment. There are just so many wonderful spices.  This time I took the time to write it down after our guest commented that I should because it was good!  So, maybe I can make it just like this again.

Chicken and Leeks – The Food Network

chicken and leeks lemons

Time:  40 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This is an easy recipe that is great just the way it is written.  I found that I can buy frozen leeks at Trader Joe’s and keep them on hand for soups etc. without worrying about them going bad too quickly and most dishes I use them in cooked them down a little anyway.  If you can find it in the freezer section I recommend it.  The one difference is that it includes both greens and whites, but I find it still works well in most recipes.

Slow Cooked Chipotle BBQ Beef Tacos

chipotle bbq tacos

Time: 8 Hours in slowcooker on low

Ease: unbelievably Simple

Recipe Card: Slow Cooked BBQ Beef tacos

Recipe Card: Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Review:  The BBQ sauce from a few weeks ago is so easy to make and we like it for so many things that I often have it on hand.  When I did my shopping in my freezer, fridge, and cabinets I discovered I had a nice sized batch and used it in my tacos.  If you use a store bought BBQ sauce I recommend adding one pepper and a little sauce from a can of chipotle peppers.  It adds heat and a nice smokey flavor.  The only problem with this recipe was too many second and third helpings, so we ran out!  Serve it with traditional taco toppings.

Cucumbers and Tomatoes

cucumbers and tomato

Time: 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This was not a main meal, but a dish I’d like to share. It screams summertime, gardens and freshness.  Chop one cucumber and a large tomato or a cup of cherry tomatoes and about 1/4 cup onion.  Red onion is nice if you have it.  Mix 1-2 Tablespoons mayonnaise into the cucumbers and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and let sit about 10 minutes.  That’s it!  It sounds plain, but the juice from the tomatoes mixes in with the mayo and makes it very flavorful. You can also add things like dill, oregano, basil, mint etc.  The proportions are really up to you if you you like more tomato add more etc.

 

  • What did you come up with from your freezer?
  • Do you have a recipe you would like Bringing Back Dinner to prepare and review?  Send your request and a link to us by using Reply, Twitter or Facebook. Use hashtag bringingbackdinner.
  • If you  make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Official Meatless Monday Blogger

Reviews: Peruvian Beef, Chili, Tilapia with Brandied Garlic Sauce & More…

cornbreadI love cornbread, truly I could live on cornbread and sweet tea and be completely happy.  Not healthy, but I’ve been told we can’t have everything!  This week’s meals could have had cornbread as a side dish for every meal, yummmm.  There are many great recipes out there, but I usually follow the directions on the corn meal and I like corn meal from the Guilford Mill or Mabry Mill when possible.  They are so full of flavor! So, please feel free to add cornbread to any meal below and use the best corn meal you can find.

I also rarely add flour to my cornmeal, but this is a preference thing.  It is often more crumbly with just cornmeal, but so good.  Another must and I mean must is a cast iron frying pan.  You must heat the pan with oil in it (we use crisco down here, if not lard) and then pour the mixture in and when you hear it sizzle you will know you you’ve done it right.

This week’s Reviews:

Peruvian Beef Saltado – Ingrid Hoffman

Tilipia with Roasted Potatoes and Brandied Garlic Sauce – Todd Porter and Diane Cu (Food and Wine Magazine)

Hearty Lentil Soup – America’s Test Kitchen (to view recipe a membership is required)  also try sophistimom.com

Pork Satay with Sweet Coconut-Milk Glaze – Kris Yenbamroong (Food and Wine magazine

Chili Con Carne – Nell Newman (venison)

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and family when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to include your friends.

The Meals:

Peruvian Beef Saltado – Ingrid Hoffman

peruvian beef

Time: 30 minutes.

Ease: simple

Review: This was an easy and hearty dish.  The flavors are mild and understated, but nice.  Use the leftovers in soft taco shells and jazz it up a little with some hot sauce.

Tilipia with Roasted Potatoes and Brandied Garlic Sauce – Todd Porter and Diane Cu (Food and Wine Magazine)talapia brandy sauce

Time: 1 Hour

Ease: Simple

Review: I am trying to add more fish into our diet and have found it a little harder than I expected to find new flavors.  This was a nice dish with great flavor.  The brandy flavor didn’t come through, but I feel it still added to the total feel and flavor of the dish.

Hearty Lentil Soup – America’s Test Kitchen (to view recipe a membership is required)  also try sophistimom.com

hearty lentil soup

You may also check the recipe out at sophistimom.com

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Note: I used the recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.  The recipe is online, but does require a membership to view.  Another option is the link above where sophistimom.com gives the recipe as she has adapted it.

That said, it was an easy soup to make and an all around good, basic soup to keep in your repertoire of soups.  There were options to change the spices which I found nice for the leftovers.  Make it plain to start with and serve the leftovers with things like cardamom, cinnamon, curry etc.  It becomes a whole new dish.

Hint: For the balsamic vinegar try using different types.  I used Honey, ginger, lemon balsamic.  It was a nice touch.

Chili Con Carne – Nell Newman (venison)

venison chili

Time:  1 1/2 hours

Ease: Simple

Review: This is my go to chili recipe, you have seen it before and will probably see it again, but we just love it.  We almost always omit the celery (hubby doesn’t like) and peppers (wifey doesn’t like in chili) and corn (kiddies don’t like in chili) – I know aren’t they difficult! geesh.   This time we used venison.  I often let it cook longer for the flavors or toss it in the crockpot, but found the venison didn’t hold up well with that method so if using ground venison, stick to shorter cooking times.  Make sure to taste it and adjust spices as needed, venison adds a subtle and different flavor-but good.