Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Bowls with Avocado-Cilantro Dressing


Happy New Year, friends! I hope your 2018 has been off to a great start!

Nothing like starting the year off with a bright, healthy, oh-so-yummy new meal to add to your rotation, right? This time of year meals can get so mundane for me. I love a good soup or stew, don’t get me wrong. But with the lack of fresh ingredients available the inspiration for new dishes can just be way more challenging. But I’ll take the challenge…because this one is a sure thing! 

It certainly nothing fancy, but it’s a hit with the whole family. The chicken is so simple..just set it and forget it in the slow cooker. So aside from making a simple dressing, all that’s left to do is gather a few kitchen staples and throw them all together.

 The the avocado-cilantro dressing can be made well in advance. And you’re going to want to go ahead and make a double batch of that stuff…it’s basically my bff these days. On sandwiches, salads, eggs..you name it. It’s a wonder! 

I hope youre seeing that beautiful sun shining today like we are here in MN. 29 degrees and sunny is feeling awfully tropical right about now..soaking it up for sure! Xo

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Bowls with Avocado-Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients

For the Chicken

1 White Onion, peeled and quartered 

2 Garlic Cloves, chopped

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Cumin

1/4 Teaspoon Paprika

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Cup Chicken Stock

1-1 1/2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast’s

1/4-1/2 Cup Prepared BBQ Sauce

For the Avocado-Cilantro Dressing

1 Avocado, mashed

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

1/4 Cup Mayonnaise 

2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Whole Milk

1/4 Cup Cilantro Leaves, chopped

Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

For the Bowls 

1 15oz Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Cup Frozen Corn, defrosted

1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and sliced

1 Small Red Onion, thinly sliced

Shredded Red Cabbage

Chopped Baby Spinach

Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Directions 

For the Chicken

Lay Onion pieces in the bowl of a slow cooker and top with chicken. Sprinkle on garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Pour chicken stock over the chicken and cover. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until chicken is easily shredded with a fork. Remove onion, if desired, shred the chicken and toss with desired amount of bbq sauce.

For the Avocado-Cilantro Dressing

Wish all ingredients together in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

For the Bowls

Divide all ingredients among bowls, top with shredded bbq chicken and drizzle with avocado-cilantro dressing. Serves 4

 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Sausage with Red Sauce


Well, friends, the time has come. My computer…it’s lived a wonderful life. We’ve made it through every ounce of blogging I’ve ever done together..and now, I believe she’s done. If you know me well you are fully aware of my lack of technological savvy..I don’t need much with my computer..just the option to use that good old inter web and a place to store my photos (please pray they can all be recovered by some magical unicorn that has a degree in IT). But I think it’s time for an upgrade…because my computer won’t even show me its elderly little face anymore, just a dark screen. All I get are old, worn down, obnoxiously annoying repetitive beeps. So I’m going to assume this is it, but it was a darn good run.

And basically, because of my lack of knowledge with this kind of stuff..and the fact that it’s just not that fun to drag small children to the Apple Store, it may be a while before I can get it looked at or a new computer tries to step in and take over. So my phone..I can blog from a phone regularly, right?! Let’s just give this a go. 😬

And however sad it may be, it’s nothing a little warm comfort food can’t fix! This is my favorite marinara sauce recipe with some savory roasted Italian sausage thrown in..SO yum. You can certainly serve the red sauce and sausage over pasta, but it works so well served over spaghetti squash..it’s an awesome combination! 


Hope your week is going so very well! This dish would be great for the cozy weekend ahead:)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Sausage with Red Sauce

Notes: the cream is optional here. It balances the acidity of the sauce so well and adds great texture..but it tastes great if you skip it too…use your own judgement:)

Ingredients

For the Red Sauce 

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Red Wine

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 (28 ounce) Can San Marzano Tomatoes

1 (15 ounce) Can Tomato Sauce

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream, optional

Grated Parmesan, for serving 

For the Squash + Sausage

1 (3-4 Pound) Spaghetti Squash

1 Pound Italian Sausage Links

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions

For the Red Sauce 

Heat oil and butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring often, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add red wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, oregano, pepper, tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon. Reduce heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer for at least 25 minutes. Stir in the cream, if using,  and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. 

For the  Squash + Sausage

Preheat oven to 4oo. With a sharp knife, slice the stem off the squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Drizzle half the olive oil over the cut sides of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Place sausage in a baking dish and drizzle it with the remaining oil, tossing to coat. Poke a few holes in each link with a sharp knife. Place both the squash and sausage in the preheated oven and roast the sausage for 25 minutes or until cooked through and beginning to brown, turning occasionally. Roast the squash  for 45 minutes or until very tender. Remove from oven and slice the sausage and add it to the sauce.  Scrape the flesh away from the skin of the squash with a fork to loosen the “noodles”.
Serve red sauce and sausage over the squash noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4+

Xo

Friends…I’m still here, I swear. I think about you every day. I wake up thinking, ok this is the day I’m going to make this glamorous share-worthy meal that I can share with you. I still meal plan..but the key note here would be plan. My plan has been winding up into the shortest route to get dinner on the table. Because, this happened 


This is Rocco Nicolas, you guys. And I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to introduce him to you. Is this how everything goes with the poor third child? But really, you shouldn’t feel one bit bad for him, because he is more loved than I thought was humanly possible 💙


He was born on 5.4.17 and our world has never been more joyful. The big kids are adapting so wonderfully. I keep waiting for the “honeymoon” love they have for him to fade, but we are 6 weeks going strong and I’ll take every second of it. They are so kind and sweet to him, and it makes me cry to think about how patient they’ve been with me constantly nursing him or tending to him..they really take such good care of each other; what a blessing. 

And Nick, he’s been everything.  Giving him all the Daddy and Husband high fives these days…he’s been such a help in every way.


As for Rocco, well, it’s like he came out and said “mom, I know this is going to be a transition for you, so you just let me know what you need me to do and I’ll do it”. Bless his perfect heart, he’s the most chill, sweet, smiley, delicious little thing ever. He is just the perfect addition to our little circus and we can’t get enough!


Things have been pretty busy…from visitors to travels to sickness for momma and Georgia…it’s been crazy! But I wanted to check in with you and let you know I will be back so soon with recipes. I can’t give you a date or a day, because, well, it’s summer and I am vowing to put my kids and fun and memories first. But I will be sharing our new so-called food life shortly, I promise. 

I hope you are well and that your summer is off to a great start! Sending much love and sunshine your way! Xo, M

Photos by the AMAZING Erica at Slow Road Photography 

Blackened Steak Lettuce Wraps with Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

SONY DSCYou guys, the weather around here has been straight up INSANE…and I mean that in the best way possible!  It’s February.  And we have gone to the park nearly every day for the last week, no joke.  Almost every bit of the snow is melted, the sun has been working overtime and there are literally birds chirping.  Can I get allllll the virtual high fives and happy dances from you!?  So let’s  celebrate this spring-like feeling by eating spring-like…at least until we get hit with that snow storm thats in the forecast for this week. Only in Minnesota, my dear friends.  The land that I love 😉

These lettuce wraps are pretty much the whole shebang.  The flavors are so bright and fresh.  So much, that you wont even miss the tortilla one bit; it would just take away from all of the goodies inside!   Continue reading

Italian Sausage, Burrata and Pesto Pizzas

SONY DSCI’m just going to get right to it, you guys.  No beating around the bush this morning…these pizza’s deserve all of the attention.  I literally salivate just thinking about them.  And while I really do hope you are having a great week and all of that jazz-these pizzas have taken over every brain cell and tastebud in my body so I’m just going to go with it.

Using already prepared pesto and naan bread make this so weeknight friendly it’s obscene-so this is a perfect one to keep in your back pocket.  Or front pocket.  Because after one bite I’m fairly certain this may be a repeat offender in your home.  And by repeat offender I mean multiple times in one week.  I only say this because I know someone who has done this.  A friend of a friend….I would never do such a thing…ahem.   Continue reading

A Wonderful, New Opportunity

Friends, new things are on the horizon, and I just couldn’t wait to share what’s happening with you any longer.  How long have we been together now?  Some of us for almost four years, no? Can you believe that?  Let me just say that your support has made so many opportunities possible for me and I feel beyond grateful for that.  And I’m so excited to share the latest of those opportunities, one that is already so near and dear to my heart.

As you likely know by now, I am all about the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time I strive to keep myself and my family living a healthful, nourishing life.  And that leaves 20% to just simply “do what feels good or right”.  Some of you may not agree with this mentality, but it is most definitely what works for me and helps me keep things manageable and achievable in everyday life.  You already know we eat this way; we fill our everyday diets with mostly good but indulging a little is totally acceptable.  Continue reading

Slow-Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Enchilada Cups

SONY DSCHow much do you love appetizers?  Give them to me for every meal, friends.  There’s really nothing like trying a bunch of different small bites.  And with the Super Bowl coming up I think these little Enchilada Cups are going to come in pretty darn handy.

We made these just last night for dinner.  I wanted to come up with an appetizer recipe to share with you guys that would be just perfect for you to share with friends for Sunday’s big game.  I’m pretty sure I accomplished my goal…but turns out they make a pretty stellar dinner, too.  My kids devoured them and requested they be added to the “make-often-because-these-are-our-favorite” list, which is pretty much music to my ears.  And I would feel safe assuming Nick and I could win awards for our ability to consume large amounts of these as well; so stinking yummy! Continue reading