chicken meatballsWhile we were in Utah skiing, this recipe popped up on one of the blogs I read. I knew at once it had to go on my menu for the upcoming week. I love chicken parmesan and this variation of some of my favorite flavors had to be tried. It was a hit at our house! Everyone loved it.

It came together fairly easy for a weeknight meal and the boys loved the meatballs. I loved everything about it. I served ours atop of some gluten free orzo and thought it was fabulous. I know this will be on regular rotation at our house.

Chicken Meatball Parmesan

For the sauce:
2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, liquid reserved (I used one fire roasted and one plain)
1 tbsp. butter
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1½ tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

For the meatballs:
½ cup bread crumbs (I use the heels from gluten free bread.)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1½ lbs. ground chicken

To finish:
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
2-3 tbsp. minced fresh basil (optional)

To make the sauce, add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding a bit of the reserved liquid if necessary to smooth the mixture out. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook about 1 minute, until it begins to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato mixture, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 5-8 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. Set aside.

To make the meatballs, combine the bread crumbs, finely chopped onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic and egg. Stir together with a fork just until blended. Mix in the ground chicken and knead together gently until evenly combined. Form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter.

Place the meatballs on a broiler pan and broil in the oven until browned and cooked through. Turning the meatballs to make sure all sides are browned. (These could also be cooked in a skillet but I prefer to broil my meatballs.)

Once the meatballs have browned turn the oven to 400 degrees. Place the meatballs in the pan with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella and additional Parmesan over the top. Bake until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with the fresh basil. Serve warm over orzo.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.
Leave a Comment | Tags: Chicken, Entree, Gluten Free

Last week our family took a vacation to go skiing in Utah. This was our second year going over the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. day. We had a fantastic time and this year Jeffrey got to join us on the slopes. (Last year he was still recovering from acl surgery.) I have really grown found of the little town of Eden, Utah and feel like I know my way around Eden and Ogden. Knowing where to grocery shop and where to find the local Costco are very helpful on keeping our expenses down while still providing great food for our trip.

I do spend some time beforehand planning the menu for the week and I package up the necessary spices that I may need. All and all it takes not much work before the trip and we end up having a great, stress free time. I thought it might be fun to share my menu for the week and some of the fun finds we found in Utah.

Saturday was our travel day. We arrived just before lunchtime and headed to In and Out burgers for lunch. I packed a gluten free bun for Tyler and he enjoyed his In and Out experience very much. We then headed to Ikea and found a couple of treasures for our house. Then we were off to pick up groceries and skis before heading to the condo. I knew this would be a crazy day so we utilized the rotisserie chickens at Costco added some rice, steamed broccoli, and salad and we feasted on a fabulous meal.

Sunday was a ski day so we started our day off right with steel cut oats. I had some travel sized Nutella packets to offer a fun add-in. Lunch was a humble PB&J, chips, apple sauce, fruit twist and cheese stick. For dinner we had chipotle chili.

Monday was another ski day so breakfast and lunch were the same as Sunday, but I had chicken tikka masala in the crock-pot cooking while we skied.

Tuesday we took the day off and headed to Park City after having a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast. It was fun to visit the Olympic park and get geared up for the Winter Olympics starting soon. We had a late lunch at Lucky Slice Pizza. It quickly became a family favorite last year on our ski trip no we were all excited to go back. Fortunately, we planned our vacation right because the week before they were closed for renovations. Since we all filled up on our lunch, we had leftovers for dinner.

Wednesday was another ski day but unfortunately Tyler was under the weather so he and I took the day off and lounged around the condo watching movies and reading. We stuck to our breakfast of steel cut oats and lunch of peanut butter though. For dinner we had chicken enchiladas casserole(using leftover rotisserie chicken).I put this on the menu without really remembering if the family really enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised. Everyone loved it and wondered why we didn’t eat it more often at home.

Thursday was a ski day for all. Thank goodness Tyler was feeling better. Breakfast and lunch were the same as previous ski days although we did have a hot chocolate break at the ski lodge and we had spaghetti and Caesar salad for dinner.

Friday we started the day off with a coffee cake, fruit, yogurt, and granola. (I made granola before we left on vacation and threw it in my carryon to enjoy throughout the week.) lunch was scrapping up any leftovers before heading to Ogden to explore. We found a fun area that had a rock-climbing wall that the boys thoroughly enjoyed. Some delicious cupcakes at ye olde cupcake shoppe. Then headed back up the canyon to eat at another local favorite Carlos and Harley’s.

Saturday was time to head back home to Kansas so we finished up some odds and ends for breakfast and headed to the airport.

All and all it was a fantastic vacation. We played hard, relaxed, ate well, and spend time as a family without the everyday distractions. I always through in some goodies for vacations that are not the norm for our normal routine such as pop tarts, ice cream after dinner, brownies and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the evening.

Leave a Comment | Tags: Menu Planning, Miscellaneous

cookie bite

My children have a love affair with Nutella. They love it on toast, in oatmeal, on pancakes, on waffles and in cookies. I think they could just about eat it straight out of the jar if I would let them. The other day while skimming through pinterest I saw these cookies and knew I had to give them a try.

They are super easy because I used store bought gluten free chocolate chip cookie dough, but you could use your favorite cookie dough. They are super easy to make and a a fun addition to any event where a sweet treat is needed. If you or your family are Nutella fans, I am sure they will be a big of a hit at your house as they were at mine. We are already looking forward to the next time we make these little treasures.

GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites with Nutella

1 tub of Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (or recipe of your choice)
1 13oz container of Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 24 count mini muffin tin spray non stick spray. Roll cookie dough into small balls and place in each tin.
Cooke for 10-11 minutes or until dough turns golden brown.
Remove from oven and using the end of a wooden spoon press an indentation into the cookie dough to form a cup.
Let cool completely or slightly if you can’t wait until they are completely cool.
Fill each cookie cup with Nutella using a spoon or a piping bag.

chocolate chip cookie bites with nutella

Leave a Comment | Tags: Cookies, Desserts, Gluten Free, Treats

chocolate skillet cake

If you have ever tried Texas Sheet Cake and enjoyed it, I know you will love this chocolate skillet cake. It is basically a smaller amount of Texas Sheet Cake baked in a skillet. It was perfect for our family and oh so yummy. Jeffrey even loved it and he doesn’t really love Texas Sheet cake. Something about the thickness and gooeyness of baking it in the cast iron skillet. It is pretty incredible.

It would make a nice option for a birthday cake as well. Something a little out of the ordinary but still quite scrumptious.

Chocolate Skillet Cake

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup flour (I used Gluten Free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
dash salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
3-4 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt together and set aside.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, bring the butter, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the dry ingredients well. Mix in the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Bake the skillet cake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Make the frosting: While the cake starts to cool, bring the butter, cocoa, and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove them from heat and add the icing sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over the warm cake, spread with a spatula. Top with whipped cream or ice cream. Serve immediately!

skillet cake

1 Comment | Tags: Cake, Desserts, Gluten Free, Treats