Mealtime Monday: Gluten Free Beef Stew over Mashed Potatoes

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I know it is mid July and close to 100 degrees most days right now, but I can’t help start planning for fall.  While I love the heat and love summer, there is something special about the feeling of fall.  All the bounty of the garden flowing in, the warm home cooked meals, and planning for the holidays.  I have already started researching my Halloween decor of this upcoming October….it is never too early to start diy-ing decorations right?  So, in the spirt of dreaming of fall, here is my recipe for gluten free beef stew.

Fall cooking beef stew over mashed potatoes.  Gluten Free.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons gluten free flour
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons worcestershire

Mashed Potatoes:
6 russet potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Gluten Free Beef Stew recipe

Starting with prep, chop up your carrots and onions.  Set aside.

Beef Stew

Mix together your gluten free flour, salt and pepper.  Toss in cubed meat.  You can save money at the grocery store by picking out a roast and asking the butcher to cube it for you instead of buying cubed meat.

Beef Stew recipe for fall

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven pot.  Add your flour coated beef cubes.

Fall recipe beef stew

Sauté beef for about 2-3 minutes, browning on all sides.  Make sure to move frequently to not burn.

Fall cooking beef stew

Remove meat from pan and set aside.  It will not be cooked through, just browned on the outside.

Cooking beef stew

Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pan.  Sauté for 5 minutes, scraping up the bits of meat into the vegetables.

Cooking beef stew over mashed potatoes

Add the browned meat, wine, broth, thyme, bay leaves and worcestershire to the pan. Simmer on low for   about 2 hours to soften the vegetables and thicken the broth.  While you are waiting, you can make your mashed potatoes.

Beef Stew recipe.  Serve over mashed potatoes

Serve over the mashed potatoes and enjoy.  I can’t wait for fall to actually be here to start enjoying delicious meals like this!

Fall cooking beef stew over mashed potatoes.  Gluten Free.

Mealtime Monday: Pork Lo Mein

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Happy Monday!  I am back on the cooking spree and wanted to get around to sharing weekly recipes again.  To start out, here is an easy weekday recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff for Pork Lo Mein.  The original recipe called for bagged veggies, but I opted to chop up some fresh ones instead.  Even with adding a little prep time to chop up the extra veggies, this is a good fast weekday meal to try out.

Pork lo mein recipe

Ingredients (for 2-4 servings):

  • 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 2-3 cups mixed vegetables (I did broccoli, carrots, snow peas & zucchini)
  • 8 ounce Teriyaki marinade ( I used Kikkoman Marinade & Baste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Angel Hair Pasta

Easy pork lo mein recipe

Cut up your veggies, cube the pork loin and gather the other 3 ingredient.  Simple and quick prep.

Easy pork lo mein ingredients

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

Making pork lo mein

Meanwhile, toss the cubes of pork into a skillet over medium heat.

Making pork lo mein at home

Stir around occasionally to brown, approximately 5 minutes.

Cooking pork lo mein

Add in the veggies once the meat is partially cooked.

Cooking pork lo mein at home

Continue sautéing until the meat is cooked through the the veggies are softened.

Easy pork lo mein for dinner

Once cooked, add in the sauce, ginger and water.  Stir around to incorporate and heat up for about 2 minutes.

Pork lo mein for dinner

Stir saucy meat mixture into the cooked pasta and enjoy your pork lo mein.  Simple and easy menu item for a weeknight meal.

Pork lo mein

Mealtime Monday: Fried Chicken Tenders

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One of my favorite meals to eat growing up was fried chicken tenders.  They are SO GOOD!!  I love fried chicken, but can get weirded out by tendons or bones or strange texture pieces, so this is the perfect way to enjoy fried chicken for me.  These little guys can be served as an appetizer or as a meal with a side.  While they are great paired with mashed potatoes or mac ‘n cheese, you can lighten them up by serving with a salad or some fruit.

Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe - Best ever!!


  • 1 bag frozen chicken tenders (completely thawed)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Season All
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable Oil

Fried Chicken Tenders-Recipe

In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, garlic salt, garlic powder, season all and pepper.  I like my chicken salty and flavorful, but you can adjust the amount of seasoning to taste.

Making fried Chicken Tenders

Taking one tender at a time, rinse in water and dip into the flour mixture.

Making Fried Chicken Tenders at home

Flip it around and pat down to make sure you get a nice coating on all sides.

Easy Fried Chicken Tenders

Set aside onto a plate and continue until all chicken tenders are coated.  Reserve the flour mixture for now as you may want to re-dip the chicken before frying if you see missing or wet spots in the coating.

Homestyle Fried Chicken Tenders

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add about a 1/2 inch of oil.  Test oil with a pinch of flour to make sure it is hot enough before adding chicken. Cook on the first side for 3-5 minutes, or until it starts to set and become golden.

Homestyle Fried Chicken Tenders recipe

Flip and cook the opposite side.

Easy Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

You may want to flip one more time if the first side does not get crispy enough.  You do not need to worry about cooking it through, but you want to make sure you have a nice crispy coating on all sides.

Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe-Yum!

Remove chicken from skillet and set on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Repeat with all remaining pieces of chicken.

Fried Chicken Tenders

Place chicken in oven safe glass baking dishes in a single layer.  Pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.  Try to flip part way through, but make sure to be careful to not rip the coating off.  If they are stuck to the pan too much and soggy, then they are not quite ready to flip yet.

Baking fried Chicken Tenders

Remove from oven and back onto a paper towel to absorb any more oil.

Baked fried Chicken Tenders

Serve and enjoy!  A great game day appetizer or dinner plan.  Happy Mealtime Monday!

Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

Mealtime Monday: Skillet-Toasted Penne with Chicken Sausage

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I have been a bit sporadic with Mealtime Monday posting this year, but I’m back today with a recipe idea from Cooking Light for skillet toasted penne pasta.  By slowly cooking the pasta in a skillet, it brings out a lot of flavor.

Skillet penne pasta recipe for dinner


  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 13 ounces Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Skillet penne pasta ingredients

I have started being better about prepping my ingredients prior to starting the meal to help with the panic mid cooking of needing something that is not yet clean and cut.  Also, since I have been working longer days lately, Alex has been fantastic with prepping and even cooking more, so it has been great!

Skillet penne pasta prep

While prepping the ingredients, you can add your stock to a saucepan on simmer.  You want to keep your broth warm for this recipe throughout, but not to have it boiling.

Broth for skillet penne pasta

Next, in a large skillet over medium/high heat add 1 tablespoon oil and your dry penne pasta.

Skillet penne pasta for dinner

Saute for about 5 minutes or until you start to see some browning and smell the nutty flavor.

Skillet penne pasta

Remove pasta into a bowl and set aside.

Penne pasta with spinach recipe

In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion & sausage (removed from casing).

Penne pasta with spinach & sausage recipe

Saute until onions are softened and the meat is cooked through, using your spatula to crumble the sausage as it cooks.

Penne pasta with spinach

Set the meat mixture aside.

Skillet penne pasta with sausage

Add your toasted pasta back into the original skillet and reduce heat to medium/low.  Add one cup of your warmed stock at a time, allowing it to absorb and cook down before adding more.

Skillet penne pasta for dinner

This process will take awhile, so be patient.  You will notice the pasta soften & plump more with each addition of stock.

Skillet penne pasta for dinner tonight

Once you are on the last cup of stock, add your spinach to the pan.

Skillet penne pasta recipe for dinner tonight

Stir around to allow the spinach to wilt and mix in with the pasta.

Penne pasta with spinach and sausage

Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, add the meat mixture, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt & pepper flakes to the pan.  Stir together and remove from heat.

Penne pasta with spinach and sausage recipe

Serve and top with a little more parmesan cheese if desired. This is a time consuming meal and not great for a weeknight, but very flavorful and worth it on occasion.

Skillet penne pasta recipe for dinner

Mealtime Monday: Shredded Beef Chimichanga

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I have a soft spot for a good Chimichanga. Starting when I was a kid, we would go to Cafe Delicias in Auburn and enjoy their amazing shredded beef Chimichangas.  Years have gone by and I have never considered trying to make them at home.  Then one fateful day while browsing Pinterest I stumbled across a recipe from Jam Hands for homemade Chimichangas.  It was on!  Plus this is another great way to use leftover meat from my favorite Slow Cooker French Dip recipe.

shredded beef chimichanga recipe


  • 2 cups shredded beef (I used left over meat from making crockpot french dip sandwiches)
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes with jalapeños
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 large flour tortillas
  • Cooking oil
  • Shredded cheddar & mozzarella
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream

shredded beef chimichanga ingredients

In a small saucepan, combine shredded beef, diced tomatoes, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin.  Heat over medium high heat until warmed through and boiling, about 10 minutes.

shredded beef chimichangas recipe

Remove from heat.  Strain out excess liquid.

Amazing chimichangas recipe

Place a handful of the grated cheeses down the center of each tortilla.

chimichangas recipe

Next add a heap of the meat mixture.

Easy shredded beef chimichangas recipe

Now the tricky part, folding the tortilla into a nice tight packet.  This is best explained in photos.

Amazing shredded beef chimichangas at home

How to roll a chimichanga

Secure with toothpicks.

How to make beef chimichangas at home

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the Chimichangas into the pan, folded side down first.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until nicely browned.

making shredded beef chimichangas

Flip and repeat on the other side.

Easy shredded beef chimichanga recipe

Remove from the pan onto paper towels to absorb the excess oil before serving.

Amazing chimichanga recipe

Before serving, top with a sprinkle of grated cheeses, sour cream, guacamole and jalapeños.  Soooo good!!  Enjoy :)

Amazing shredded beef chimichanga recipe

Mealtime Monday: Kielbasa Pasta Recipe

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Mealtime Monday has been a bit more sporadic this year so far, but here I am again with an easy weeknight meal to share.  I can’t believe how fast this month is flying by.  It is already the 24th and this is only my 2nd post of the month.  Wow.  In the last few weeks we went to Reno for my company trip, had friends over for an appetizer party, I got sick with a head cold and then we moved offices at work.  Crazy busy indeed.  Anyways, back to the food, with this recipe from Taste of Home for Kielbasa Sausage Pasta.

Kielbasa pasta recipe with tomatoes, bell pepper and onion


  • 1 pound pre-cooked kielbasa sausage, cut into small pieces
  • Angel hair pasta (I cook 1/2 the box and it makes about 4 hearty servings)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 can diced stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • Grated parmesan

Kielbasa pasta recipe

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add cooking oil, bell pepper, garlic and onion.  Sauté for about 5-10 minutes to soften veggies and heat sausage.

Kielbasa pasta with tomatoes, bell pepper and onion

Add the diced stewed tomatoes.  Reduce to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Sausage pasta recipe with tomatoes, bell pepper and onion-YUM

Meanwhile in a large pot, cook angel hair pasta according to the directions on the box.

Sausage pasta with tomatoes, bell pepper and onion-YUM

Add butter and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.  Mix to incorporate.

Kielbasa pasta

Serve pasta into each bowl.  Top with a little more parmesan cheese.

Delicious kielbasa pasta with tomatoes, bell pepper and onion

Layer on the sausage mixture and a sprinkle more cheese.

Kielbasa pasta recipe-YUM!

Serve and enjoy!

Sausage pasta recipe with tomatoes, bell pepper and onion

Mealtime Monday: Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

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Long, long ago I pinned a recipe for PF Chang copycat lettuce wraps (recipe here).  After browsing my cooking Pinterest board while coming up with the meal plan list the other week, I stumbled across it again and decided to give it a try, with a few variations. I love meals these Asian turkey lettuce wraps that feel light and healthy on a weeknight, but full of flavor.

Yummy Asian turkey lettuce wrap recipe


  • 4 large lettuce leaves (I like using Romaine lettuce)
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper sauce
  • 4 ounces water chestnuts — drained, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions — thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

PF Chang inspired turkey lettuce wraps

First step in this recipe is to do your prep.  Dice up the onion, water chestnuts, green onion and ginger.  Measure correct amounts and set aside.

Asian turkey lettuce wrap recipe

In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground turkey.

Turkey lettuce wrap recipe

Once cooked through, add red onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, rice wine vinegar and chili sauce.

PF Chang copycat turkey lettuce wraps

Mix together to throughly coat.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

Yummy turkey lettuce wrap recipe

Add water chestnuts and green onions.

Asian turkey lettuce wraps

Stir together and cook for about 2 more minutes to wilt the onions.  Remove from heat.  Stir in sesame oil.

Turkey lettuce wraps recipe

Wash the lettuce leaves thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.

Delicious turkey lettuce wrap recipe

Fill each lettuce leaf with the meat mixture.  Serve and enjoy!  Another great work night meal to add to our list.  Now I really need to sit down and work on my cook book to keep all our favorite recipes in on easy place.  Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Yummy Asian turkey lettuce wrap recipe

Mealtime Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup

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Happy Monday! With the warm weather here in California, it seems like spring, except for all the colds and flus still going around.  Today I am sharing my homemade chicken noodle soup recipe.  It is  a great comfort meal on a cold evening or when fighting off a nasty bug.  I am not exactly sure where this recipe came from originally, but it has evolved over the past few years into the recipe here.

Homemade chicken noodle soup recipe.  Easy and good


5 carrots
7 stalks of celery
1 parsnip
3 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup flour
96 ounces low sodium chicken broth
2-3 cups shredded chicken
6 ounces egg noodles
Salt & pepper to taste


In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter.

Chicken noodle soup

Once melted, add the diced carrots, celery and parsnip.

Chicken noodle soup recipe

Stir together to mix in the melted butter.  Sauté for about 10-15 minutes to start softening the vegetables.

Yummy chicken noodle soup recipe

Add flour and stir to fully incorporated.  The flour is used to make the broth in this soup creamier and slightly thickened.

Yummy chicken noodle soup

Pour in the chicken broth and stir.  Simmer on a low boil for about 20 minutes or until the vegetable reach your desired softness. Add shredded chicken and dry egg noodles to the pot.  Simmer for another 10 minutes to cook the noodles.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Homemade chicken noodle soup

Serve and enjoy!  The recipes makes plenty of soup for two people to have dinner and left overs for lunch.  I love chicken noodle soup and how easy this recipe it to make.  Now if only we can finally get a few rainy days to stop the drought and give a good reason to make a delicious pot of soup!

Homemade chicken noodle soup recipe

Mealtime Monday: Pesto Chicken Lasagna Roll-Ups

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Happy Monday!  This week I am sharing a new recipe we just tried out that I found while browsing Pinterest. I slightly adapted the recipe from Damn Delicious for pesto chicken roll-ups and found them to be to die for!!  So good!  So cheesy!  So creamy!!  Simply good home cooked comfort food.

Chicken pesto lasagna rolls-YUM!!


  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 15-ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pesto Lasagna roll recipe

The first step it to make a butter cream sauce.  According to the recipe I followed this sauce is called béchamel. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter.

Pesto Lasagna roll-ups

Add flour, whisking to incorporate.

Chicken pesto lasagna roll recipe

Continue whisking for about 1 minute, to lightly toast.

Creamy, cheesy, pesto lasagna rollups

Slowly add milk and continue whisking while it simmers and reduces.  Should be thickened in about 3-4 minutes.  Make sure to stir frequently to keep it from burning.

Pesto Lasagna rolls

Spread about 1/2 a cup into the bottom of the glass baking dish and set aside.

Pesto chicken lasagna rolls recipe

Next, boil your lasagna noodles in lightly salted water.  Cook them until softened, but not mushy.  About 1-2 minutes less time than per the instructions on the box.

Chicken pesto lasagna rolls

Meanwhile, prepare the filling for the roll-ups. In a medium sized bowl, add together shredded chicken, ricotta, pesto, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy, cheesy, pesto lasagna roll-ups

Mix together until fully incorporated.

Creamy, cheesy, pesto lasagna rolls recipe

Lay out all the lasagna noodles and add a generous amount of filling down the center of each.  I did not measure out the filling, I just added a bit to each noodle until it was all allocated.

Pesto chicken lasagna rollups

Roll each noodle and place into the baking dish lined with béchamel.

Pesto chicken lasagna roll-ups

Top with a generous drizzle of béchamel.  I did not use all the sauce that this recipe made because I did not want it to get too rich.

Pesto Lasagna rollups

Next, top with marinara sauce.  I used just over 1/2 the bottle on top of my roll-ups.

Pesto Lasagna rolls-yum

And finally, top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Chicken pesto lasagna roll-ups

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until warm throughout and browned on top.

Pesto Lasagna rolls recipe

YUM!  Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving so it is easier to serve, if you can.  I was so excited and it smelled so good I could not wait!

Creamy, cheesy, pesto lasagna rolls recipe-SO GOOD!!

To serve, pour some of your remaining marinara sauce on a plate.  Remove one roll and place it on the bed of marinara.  Now take a deep breath and imagine yourself and a fine Italian restaurant.

Pesto chicken lasagna rolls


Creamy, cheesy, pesto lasagna rolls











Mealtime Monday: Tomatillo Enchiladas

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Welcome to the last mealtime monday of 2013!  Crazy how fast this year has gone by.  Today I am sharing a meal that I revised from a recipe from Cooking Light.  Funny how I thought that I posted this back in the summer, only to find it again when  going through pictures.  So today I am finally sharing my favorite recipe for tomatillo enchiladas!  I searched out this recipe after getting a bag of tomatillos from my parent’s garden.  My friend gave me her recipe for a homemade tomatillo sauce, so I was looking around for ideas to use the sauce in.  When I saw this I new it was perfect, and I was right.  It is a great light, summery meal to share on a December day.

Tomatillo chicken enchilladas recipe


  • 1-1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa verde (see recipe here) or buy store bought sauce
  • 2 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/3 cup low fat cream cheese
  • 8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup crumbed queso fresco
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • lime wedges & cilantro option garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   In a medium bowl add your shredded chicken.  If you don’t have left over chicken to use for this meal, you can easily boil a chicken breast or two in advance.

Yummy tomatillo enchilladas

Add cream cheese to the chicken and stir together to combine.  Now add 1/2 cup tomatillo sauce.  I prefer to use homemade tomatillo sauce when my parent’s garden is in full production mode, but you can also buy green sauce at the store and blend it with onion and garlic to make it a bit more fresh in flavor.  Mix together to fully combine.

Chicken tomatillo enchilladas

Pour chicken broth into a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Take one tortilla at a time into the boiling chicken broth, flipping over after 5-10 seconds.  This helps to soften the tortillas, but make sure to remove from the broth quickly because they easily become soggy and fall apart if too much broth is soaked up into the tortilla.  Remove tortillas to a paper towel and complete with all tortillas.  Next, spoon about 1/4 cup of chicken filling along the center of each tortilla.

Chicken enchilladas

Roll seam side down into a glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Repeat process with all tortillas.

Green enchilladas

Pour more tomatillo sauce over the enchiladas.  Top with crumbed queso fresco and chili powder.

Yummy chicken tomatillo enchilladas

Bake at 425 degrees for about 18 minutes or until heated throughout.  Serve with lime slices and garnish with cilantro.  Enjoy!  This recipe is so good and surprisingly light for enchiladas.

Green tomatillo enchilladas