Now, I'm no gourmet chef or anything. No, not much sense in honing those skills at this point considering most of my 1 year old's food has to be pureed still (I'm a freak about choking hazards), and the loving meals I prepare for my 3 year old are most often "too spicy" or "slobbilly"(which is defined by Little Miss as "you know," that's right she says "you know" just as often as I do..."slobbilly means foods that don't taste too good mamma,") and my husband, well, he can pretty much stomach anything (seriously, "what's the expiration date on that? It expired a few days ago? Oh well, close enough. Probably won't hurt me.") besides he's usually going to drown whatever I make with salt and pepper and be done with plate number one before I even sit down. So see what I mean, not much point in spending hours and hours in the kitchen.
But somehow I still hold onto the hope that I will only be preparing one meal each night rather than three (plus baby food, but that doesn't really count...milk & open a jar, wish I could feed everyone so easily!) So I try to make the meals family friendly and I thought I'd share a couple of quick easy recipes I make (plus I told you all about the chicken tortilla soup the other night but failed to come back and share the recipe, so here's me trying to make ammends with instead three...that's right...THREE recipes. See what good fortune you have to have stumbled onto this blog.) They're all good (as opposed to the people who share recipes they don't like?) and even toddler friendly (is that even possible? toddler friendly food?) and two of the three involve a crockpot (I'm a big fan of the crockpot...seriously, I think I could kiss the guy that invented that on the mouth upon first meeting...ok maybe not, but I'd at least shower him with praises.)
So without further ado here's Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup, Easy Cheatin' Jambalaya (I made that up. Pretty good name eh?) and the infamous Pesto Pasta (ok that one needs a better name, suggestions?), just be forewarned not to eat that one within an hour of your run or you could wind up like me a few days ago which, in case you missed it and care to know, can be found here.
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
(Saw this first in the book Fix-It and Forget It, but have altered it slightly. Those books are awesome by the way)
2-can black beans
2-cans of Rotel tomatoes (or just get diced tomatoes w/green chiles)
1-2 cups of your favorite salsa (I use Jack's in the deli area)
1-can of green chiles (small)
1-(14 1/2 ounce)can of tomato sauce
1-can of corn (optional)
3-4 chicken breasts
tortilla chips (optional)
sour cream (optional)
shredded mexican cheese (optional)
Put the black beans, salsa, chiles, tomato sauce, corn (I say optional cause my husband doesn't like it) and chicken in the crock pot. Rinse out the cans with some water too and add that. Cook on low for 8 hours or until the chicken is done. You can even just put frozen chicken in there if you like (or forgot because you were too busy getting ready for your morning run and 4:30AM wakeup call to remember to take the chicken out of the freezer.) When the chicken is done, take it out and shred it with a couple of forks. Then stick it back in and mix it up with the rest of the soup. Top it with any (or all) of the following: crunched up tortilla chips (I like the lime ones, but no one else does, which on the one hand might be a good thing ;-), avocado, sour cream and mexican cheese.
Now for the three year old in your life who probably won't eat the soup because it's too spicy, here's what you do. When you take the chicken out to shred, cut a little bit up in bite size pieces (sometimes I have to rinse it off a bit to get all the tomatoey beany goodness that causes said spiciness off) and also give her a handful of tortilla chips (because chips for dinner is awesome to a kid!), also a handful of shredded cheese and whatever fruit you have around the house and you've pretty much got every food group involved except cookie (oh wait no vegetables either now that I think about it. See she just so rarely eats vegetables that I don't even think about them anymore. Shame on me!! Although she did eat a pumpkin muffin today, so that counts right?)
EASY CHEATIN' JAMBALYA
2-boxes of Zatarrin's Jambalya
1- Green pepper
1-Can of diced tomatoes
2-packages of sauage or polska kielbasa (or one of each)
1-pkg of cooked frozen shrimp (thaw it by running under cold water, it doesn't have to be completely thawed. I run it under cold water and remove the tails at the same time. When I finish, I put it in.)
Word on the meat: any one choice of meat makes a great meal, but the best is when you use them all!
Cut up the peppers and onion however you like (I like mine pretty chunky). Put the the Zatarin's, peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, sausage (cut up into abou1 inch chunks) into the crock pot. If your using chicken you might want to brown it first before you cut it up and put it in. Add water as per box (I think it's like 4 cups but I don't happen to have the box in front of me at the moment). Let it cook on low for 8 hours. Then, about 10 minutes before your ready to eat it, put in with the rest of the Jambalya and mix it up. Really you're just trying to warm up the shrimp since it's already cooked which doesn't take long. But once it does, dish it up. Your ready to eat! Add some kind of pillsbury roll to this as an extra plus.
For the kiddos, you'll need to pluck out the sausage or chicken (possibly rinse off) and cut it up. Usually mine will go for a roll too, but then I've got to add to dinner a piece of cheese (yeah my daughter is big on cheese, especially Monster Cheese which started out to be Meunster Cheese but now is what she refers to all white sliced cheese as, unless you try to slip in Swiss. Then you are in trouble)
1-rotissere chicken (just buy it at the grocery store already done)
1- can of artichokes quartered
1-jar of sundried tomatoes in olive oil (thanks to John over on Tribal Running for this suggestion...such a yummy addition)
1-package of mushrooms (I get baby bellas pre-sliced and pre-washed)
1-package of whole wheat thin sphagetti (or whatever you prefer)
Basil pesto (comes in a jar in the Italian food section of the grocery store)
Warm up a little bit of the olive oil (about a tbsp depending on how many mushrooms you're adding, I use a whole package of fresh) from the sundried tomatoes in a sautee pan and sautee the mushrooms until done. And start making the pasta as per box. Cut up the sun dried tomatoes and the chicken into bite size pieces. Once the mushrooms are finished (however you like them, I pretty much sautee the snot out of them), add the chicken, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes to the pan and mix it all up. Next add the pesto as per taste (I usually add about 2-3 tablespoons). Make sure you mix it up in the jar before you add it to the pan otherwise your probably just adding more olive oil. Stir it up really well and let it all blend together and get nice and warm for a few minutes. Plate yourself some pasta and pour some of the chicken, pesto, artichoke, tomato, mushroom mixture on top. Sprinkle on some parmesean if you like and voila! You have my favorite, quick easy pasta dish.
And for the little darlings: Cut up some of the plain noodles before you add anything to it on top, and sprinkle on some parm. My daughter eats this like she hasn't been fed for a week and I'll take it away at any second (then again if she only eats half the meals I make, she probably IS starving.) It's not uncommon for her to ask for 2nds and 3rds. I usually also make broccoli with this dish which is like the only vegetable Chloe will eat (that and celery...how weird?) Again add an apple or a pear, maybe a scoop of cottage cheese and my daughter is thrilled with this dinner. Although my floor probably has about an equal amount of pasta on it as Chloe does in her tummy. But she is getting better and is now responsible for her own giant mess! YAY!
So there you go.
'Til next time...
P.S. Maybe next time, we'll talk ice cream cake :-) I'll check and see if I can find that one.