One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies


I’m working longer days now. Which in part, I love because it earns me an extra day off per week (I’m working 4, 10-hr shifts). But, when that puts me walking in the door post-workout on a weeknight at 7:30, I don’t want a complicated recipe. (And honestly, who really does on a weeknight!)

I ran across this recipe, actually on Pinterest, a couple months back looking for easier dinner recipes. And this is one of the ones that stuck. We’ve made this several times. Often enough to be honest, that I’m a little embarassed that I haven’t added it on here yet.


The basis for the recipe is from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. We make it largely as written using one of the pre-cooked flavors of chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s and tons of veggies. It’s probably us more than the recipe, but I usually end up roasting this on 2 separate pans. When the pans are too crowded the food ‘steams’ instead of roasting, and you all know we want the flavor that comes from those browned, roasted veggies.

With the addition of the red pepper flakes, it is a touch spicy. Probably not too much for many adults, but if you were making this for kiddo’s, you might want to back of the amount or leave it off. We typically serve this over brown rice, but you could easily serve over quinoa, couscous, etc.



(Printable Recipe)

One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies
From Chelsea’s Messy Apron

1 pkg. pre-cooked Trader Joe’s chicken sausage (5 links)
4-5 small red potatoes
0.75 lb. fresh green beans
2 bell peppers, any color
2 heads broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Quinoa/brown rice/couscous
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.

For the veggies: cut the red potatoes into small pieces (~1/8 potato) to allow them to cook completely. Seed and chop the bell peppers. Cut the ends off the green beans and cut in half, if needed. Trim the broccoli florets and discard the stems.

Slice the sausages. Add both the sausages and the veggies to a large bowl. Add olive oil and spices, and stir to coat. Divide evenly between the pans. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir each pan and continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes. Serve over your grain of choice and top with Parmesan cheese.

Meal Plan – Week 1

Well, hello there blog world! It’s been quite awhile!

Life has gone on a little since I last regularly updated this little blog. I’ve moved. Across several states. Twice. Completed two half-Ironman distance triathlons and one full Ironman. With the new Ironman tattoo to prove it. The first of these lead to the ultimate demise of my blog. Turns out when you’re working full time and training 8-10 hours (or 14-16 for the full Ironman) a week you end up hungry. Really, really hungry. And you don’t really care what the food you’re eating looks like (definitely not photo ready) or how “original” the recipe was. If it’s food, you eat it!

In all honesty, I’m lucky I remembered the password to this darn thing… But here I am. I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things with a few recipes a week as well as a few non-recipe pieces including our weekly menu ideas. So without further ado, the food 🙂

A bit about our meal plan philosophy. The hubbs and I meal plan to an extent, however we are not rigid about it. We typically will pick out 4-5 recipes per week which and make whichever recipe happens to sound good that day. The other days are supplemented by leftovers, about 1 dinner out per week, and standard staples we keep around the house. We often turn to these staple meals on the days where we’re either too busy and/or too tired (read: triathlete on the verge of hangry if I’m not fed now nights). Most of these things aren’t really “blog worthy”, but I can elaborate as they come up.

On our list for this week:

Grilled steaks with grilled asparagus

Roasted Poblano Salsa Chicken Enchiladas -The Iowa Girl Eats
(recipe and photo credit to IGE)


BBQ chicken and veggie pizza – The Cookin’ Chemist original (Although not yet posted. This is slightly different that the other BBQ chicken pizza I have referenced)

Greek pitas – Also The Cookin’ Chemist original, although this isn’t much of a recipe

Unstuffed Pepper Skillet – The Garlic Diaries
(recipe and photo credit to The Garlic Diaries)


Cheers to getting back in this game!

Barbacoa Beef (Chipotle Copycat)

barbacoa beef in a bowl2

Back when my husband and I were undergrads, we actually had a pretty standard date night. Chipotle burritos + Cold Stone as dessert. Guess I was a relatively cheap date?!? How I was able to ingest that much food at one time, I am not sure. Oh to be young and on a sports team again! 🙂

These days, we still occasionally end up at Chipotle, although I’ve switched my preference to the burrito bowls (more room for toppings!). The thing that has not changed is my love for the barbacoa beef. It is SO GOOD! A couple of weeks ago, my husband was in charge of groceries for the week and came across a recipe from the Food Network that claimed to be a copycat of Chipotle’s barbacoa.  I have not done a side-by-side comparison with Chipotle’s barbacoa, but I can tell you that this recipe is awesome.

The recipe is your basic crockpot recipe and could not be easier. You brown the meat on each side and throw it in the crockpot with some Southwestern seasonings. I promise your house will smell incredible while this is cooking. One note about the chipotle peppers. I find that the heat level of the dish can get out of hand rather quickly with chipotle peppers. If you know you’re not in it for spice, you may want to add fewer peppers. Taking out the seeds also helps. Shred the meat once it is cooked, and you’re ready for dinner. I served ours like my favorite chipotle order – burrito bowl style with brown cilantro lime rice, black beans, sauteed veggies (to the crisp-tender stage), a bit of cheese, and some plain Greek yogurt. I had to take the pictures before I loaded on all my toppings because after I got everything in the bowl,  you couldn’t really see the meat. 🙂 That said, a burrito bowl is just our method, and this meat could be used in a million ways! Tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, burritos. Don’t even get me started on possible toppings. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Barbacoa Beef (Chipotle Copycat)
Adapted from The Food Network

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. lime juice
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. canola oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 bay leaves
4-5 lbs. chuck roast

To make the adobo sauce, combine the vinegar, lime juice, chipotle chiles, garlic cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt, and cloves in a blender on high speed until smooth. Set aside.

Warm the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Trim any large pieces of fat from the roast. Cut the roast into 4-6 large pieces. Brown the meat on each side and place in the crockpot. Pour the adobo sauce over the meat. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves. Cook on high for 6 hours or all day on low. The meat will fall apart when cooked through.

When the meat is finished cooking, shred with two forks. Return the meat to the adobo sauce remaining in the crockpot. Serve or use as desired.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

chicken and sausage jumbayla close

I was clearing the masses of emails out of my personal account recently and noted a foodie email with recipes for Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras already? Really? Not that we ever really have done much to celebrate the holiday, it still was completely off my radar this year. I have been to New Orleans a couple of times, and outside of the seafood, I really enjoy the intense flavors in the food.

Given that much of the authentic Cajun food contains seafood, making non-seafood versions at home is usually my best bet. This recipe comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. It starts with some traditional Cajun ingredients – celery, bell peppers, onion, and garlic, and ends up as a homey, filling, fairly healthy skillet meal. We have a local grocery store that makes their own chicken and pork sausages, so I swapped in crumbled spicy chicken sausage for the sliced sausages. Don’t got light on the Cajun seasoning either. Maybe it is just because we are completely obsessed with it, but I think the Cajun seasoning completely brings this dish together. I added just a little more than called for in the recipe, although it can be varied according to your preference for level of spiciness. Enjoy!

chicken and sausage jumbayla cooking

(Printable Recipe)

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 lb. spicy chicken sausage, removed from casing, crumbled, and browned (can also use sliced sausage)
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. Cajun seasoning (can adjust amounts up or down as desired)
1 (10 oz) can hot diced tomatoes with green chiles (can use mild), undrained
1/2 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups prepared brown rice

In a large, high-sided skillet or stockpot, cook the sausage and chicken over medium heat until cooked through. Set the meat aside and drain the fat from the skillet if necessary. Melt the butter in the same pot. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the flour starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add the vegetables, basil, Cajun seasoning, diced tomatoes with green chiles, and sugar. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low to medium-low heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add the sausage and chicken back to the pot, cook for another 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the chicken broth and simmer for about 5 additional minutes. Stir in the rice. Can continue to cook for a few minutes to obtain desired texture, if desired.

Favorite Pork and Vegetable Kebabs

family favorite kabobs closer

April might be a little early to start thinking about grilling season. But if any of you are like we were when living in the Midwest, when there’s a will, there’s a way. We’ve even been known to scoop the snow off the top just in order to use ours (of course this wasn’t in AZ!).

This is a kebab recipe that I’ve been making since before I was even blogging. In fact, I can distinctly remember the first time we made it because the weather was quite the opposite that night. We had tornado warnings rather than snow 🙂 

Crazy weather aside, let’s talk about the food. The term “favorite” in this recipe comes from the original recipe, although I would certainly say this is on the top of our grilling list. There are quite a few steps in this recipe, but the end result is worth it. We have adapted it through the years in both ingredients and methods to match what works best for us, and you can certainly swap the vegetables for others that you prefer others. My only piece of advice would be not to leave out the pineapple! 

family favorite kabobs

Break out the grill early this year, and try this out. Enjoy!  

(Printable Recipe)

Favorite Pork and Vegetable Kebabs 
The Cookin’ Chemist Original

6 small red potatoes, halved

1-1/4 cups canola oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

3 Tbsp. prepared mustard

2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 medium ears sweet corn, cut into 2-inch wheels

1 large onion, cut into wedges

1 large green or red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pkg. cherry tomatoes

1-1/2 cups cubed fresh pineapple (can use canned)

1 cup brown rice, uncooked
lg. foil roasting pan


Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until starting to soften, about 10-12 minutes (this will depend on the size of the potatoes). You do not want to cook them completely through as they will go on the grill later. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, parsley, pepper, and garlic. Pour half into a large resealable plastic bag; add the pork. Pour the remaining marinade into another plastic bag, add the vegetables and pineapple. Seal both bags and turn to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for 1-2 hours. 

Drain and discard the marinade from the pork. Thread the pork pieces through skewers. Drain the vegetables, reserving a couple tablespoons of marinade. Place the vegetables in the foil roasting pan and add the reserved marinade from the vegetables. Heat the grill over medium heat. Place the entire pan of vegetables and the pork skewers on the grill. Grill until the pork has cooked through and the vegetables have softened. Serve over rice with some of the reserved liquid in the vegetable pan.

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup (2)

I don’t feel like I need to speak to the beauties of the crockpot too much. A hot meal ready when you walk in the door? Not too many complaints there! 

While crockpots are wonderful dinner tools, one of the things I still struggle with is cooking times. Even on the best day, the crockpot is likely to be cooking whatever meal it contains for at least 10 hours. Yes, this has resulted in some over cooked meals… Because of this fact, one of the things I find myself using the crockpot for the most is soup. It is much harder to overcook soup (unless you run out of liquid – haven’t done this yet…)

chicken tortilla soup in crockpot
chicken tortilla soup close

Like many other classic recipes, there are about a million variations of chicken tortilla soup. This adaption is based off a recipe from one of my co-workers that I adapted somewhat to our tastes. I left the chicken breasts whole to cook with the soup, shredded them, add added them back to the soup. Does not get easier than this! Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Shannon

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed if frozen)
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen or fresh corn 
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 cup Black Bean and Corn salsa
1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
8 oz. corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
light sour cream, garnish

Add ingredients through the salsa to the bowl of a crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove chicken breasts and shred. Add back to soup with cooked rice. Turn the crockpot to high to heat through, if needed.

Roughly crush the tortilla chips. Place in the bottom of each bowl. Spoon the soup over the chips. Top each bowl with Monterey jack cheese and sour cream if desired.  

Vegetable Gumbo

vegetable gumbo

With tomorrow being Fat Tuesday, the calendar is telling me that it’s Mardi Gras! I cannot believe that we are already approaching Lent. Where has the year gone? I have been to New Orleans a couple times – one while in high school and then again this past December for a pharmacy conference. It’s quite the city, and for me at least, I think visiting during Mardi Gras is definitely on my Bucket List.

My trouble with much of the Cajun food is that I don’t do seafood. It is just not my cup of tea. I can do spice, so I’ve always thought it was unfortunate that they couldn’t just leave the shrimp, catfish, etc. out! Several weeks ago, one of my co-resdients ran across this recipe from the Food Network and brought it in for me. As a vegetarian gumbo mixed with greens and black-eyed peas, it certainly fits the bill of being seafood-free. 

After reading the reviews, I subbed a can of black-eyed peas for the frozen peas as many indicated that it took too long for the frozen peas to cook through. I also added a bit of a Cajun seasoning mix to kick up the spice factor. Our verdict – my husband beat me out in taking the leftovers for lunch. Guess it was a hit?!?  Enjoy and Happy Mardi Gras!

(Printable Recipes)

Vegetable Gumbo
Adapted from The Food Network Magazine

3 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. smoked paprika (preferably hot)
Cajun seasoning, to taste
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 lb. kale (or Swiss chard), stemmed and chopped
1 (14oz) can black-eyed peas
prepared brown rice for serving

Prepare rice according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, 3 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and paprika and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in the vegetable broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, then cover and bring to a boil. Add the greens and black-eyed peas to the pot. Add Cajun seasoning to taste. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the rice.

SRC: Coconut Chicken Soup

coconut chicken soup with roll

Well, the Secret Recipe Club is back! After taking the month of January off, I am excited to be back with the group to start our February reveals. This month, my blog assignment was Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Camilla has a fun blog with a ton of different recipes with influences from all over the world. 

Since she has so many different recipes, I wanted to try something that was a little bit out of my typical comfort zone. I looked for awhile at this recipe for kadu bouranee, but as it is winter, I went with my cravings and chose this recipe for coconut chicken soup. In her post, Camilla mentions that this is a recipe that she just put together quickly from the things that she had in her kitchen. I certainly had to buy a couple things as this is actually the first time I have ever actually made anything with swiss chard. 

coconut chicken soup cooking
coconut chicken soup

The recipe here is really more of a guide as Camilla does not list ingredients. I used all the ingredients she suggests, but varied amounts based on what I had and to taste. I’ll list my approximate measurements below but feel free to add or vary ingredients as you prefer. For the two of us, there was plenty of soup for dinner and several days of lunch, and as most soups do, this seemed to get better and better after storing it. A hit here, and I certainly have a great new (to me) blog to check out for ethnic dishes! 

(Printable Recipe)

Coconut Chicken Soup
Adapted from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup fennel bulb, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 whole carrots, peeled and sliced 
1 pkg. swiss chard, leaves removed from stems and torn
3 cups baby spinach, torn
1 (14.5oz) can light coconut milk
2 cups water
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 – 1 tsp. cardamom
3 Tbsp. lemon juice (or juice from 1 lemon)
2 cups brown rice, cooked
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Fluff and set aside. Boil water in a medium saucepan and add raw chicken. Boil until the chicken is cooked through. Shred with 2 forks or by mixing the hot chicken in the bowl of a stand mixer on low for about a minute. 

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the fennel and garlic and saute until they begin to soften. Add the chicken, carrots, chard, spinach, cooked brown rice, coconut milk, water, and chicken broth. Season with spices, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the greens are wilted and the vegetables are cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Grilled Lemon Chicken with Sweet Corn and Tomatoes

This is a meal that almost did not make it to completion. It was no fault of the recipe itself which comes from Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats. In fact, I really think it is a genius way to showcase some of summer’s best produce, and ended up being a great meal in the end!

The fail in this recipe was entirely user error in cooking the rice. See, I have this great microwavable rice cooker from Pampered Chef that I always use to cook my brown rice. If you even cook brown rice, you know that you have to plan ahead a little bit because it is not a quick cooking process, even in the microwave. Well, I measured the rice, measured the water, started it and continued on with cooking the rest of the recipe. When it was time to add the rice, I pulled it out of the microwave only to discover that it was dry. Like dark brown, overcooked, crusty dry. I still have no idea what went wrong. I hate it when something you always do goes wrong and you have no idea why!

Luckily, I save dinner in a with some pearl couscous from the pantry so that we didn’t have to wait forever for more rice to cook. The meal was great. Fresh and light. The flavors were spot on. In retrospect, I think it would have been a little better with the rice as the larger pieces of couscous seemed to compete with the corn and tomatoes, but hey, what can you do? Next time, I will cook the rice correctly, and this meal will be that much more delicious. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Grilled Lemon Chicken with Sweet Corn and Tomatoes
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Lemon Dressing:
2 lemons, juiced
6 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 cup brown basmati rice, prepared according to package directions
1 cup sweet corn, cut off the cob
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. Marinate the chicken in about 6 tablespoons of the dressing for about 15-20 minutes. Set extra dressing aside. Grill the chicken on medium-high heat until cooked through and then set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the lemon dressing in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute corn and red onion for 3-4 minutes, or until onion is soft. Mix in cooked rice and remaining lemon dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir cherry tomatoes into corn and rice mixture, plate, the top with grilled chicken. 

Yield: 2 servings

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry

We are back! If you noticed the absence of my posts last week, the hubby and I were able to get away to Antigua to jointly celebrate our anniversary and graduations (his was last year). We had a great time, and it was nice to spend some time relaxing! While we were away, summer definitely arrived in Arizona! Our temperatures have been north of 110 for the past two days, and even though I love baking, you couldn’t pay me to turn my oven on today 🙂

Because I knew these hot days were coming, I was on the lookout this spring for great dinner recipes that wouldn’t involve heating up the house. Anything involving only cooking pasta/grains for a short time on the stove, the slow cooker, or the grill was game. This recipe is originally from Salt and Paprika, although I followed Kristin’s adaptions on Iowa Girl Eats. I love curries but don’t make them at home very often, so I was excited to give this one a whirl.

The recipe came together great! If you follow Kristin’s adaptations, you’ll end up with enough “sauce” for two recipes which is a double bonus for busy days. The biggest struggle I had with this recipe was finding the Garam Marsala! With the recent popularity of Indian dishes, I feel like this mixture shouldn’t be that hard to find, especially where we live. Nevertheless, we had to go to 3 different grocery stores before we finally found it in the bulk spices at the local market. If you also have trouble locating some, it is something that can be made at home too. My only change to Kristin’s method was to increase the cornstarch mixture. My hubby has a thing for thicker sauces in dishes like this. He wants the sauce to coat the meat/veggies not sink into his rice, so I tend to go a little heavier on the cornstarch than is called for in most recipes. Completely personal preference.

I served this with basmati rice and whole wheat homemade naan (recipe to come soon), and it made for a great, non house-heating meal. I know I’m already looking forward to using the other half of the sauce currently living in our freezer! Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry
Originally from Salt and Paprika, adaptions from Iowa Girl Eats

1/2 large onion
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
2 garlic cloves
1 small can tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) light coconut milk
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. Garam Marsala
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into big chunks
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (May add more if desired. Just mix it in a little water before adding)
basmati rice, prepared according to package directions
naan, warmed

Place bell pepper and onion into a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add in garlic cloves, tomato paste, coconut milk, salt, curry powder, and Garam Marsala and process until smooth. Divide the sauce in half (for me, half was just a little less than 2 cups). Place half the sauce into a freezable container and freeze to make this dish again at another time. 

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Combine with the remaining sauce and cook in a crockpot on low for 4 hours. After 4 hours, dissolve water and cornstarch together and add to the crockpot. Keep the lid cracked and cook on high for another 10-15 minutes. You can also transfer the sauce to a saucepan and simmer on the stove top over medium heat for 3-5 minutes if desired.

Serve with prepared rice and naan. If desired, the naan can be warmed by wrapping in foil and placed in the oven on broil for a few minutes. Enjoy!