Archive for the ‘Kid Friendly’ Category

Back when I was maybe 10 or 11 I was tinkering in the kitchen and wanted to make soup for dinner.  It became a staple and for some reason, instead of chicken soup Julie's Soupor some version of that title — it was dubbed “Julie’s soup” and stuck!

Got a call from my sister the other day who said, “I am heading to the store – looked at the blog first for Julie’s soup and it’s not there!  What’s up with that?”  Thanks for calling me out on my slackerdom there sis!  Love you!  Here it is!  (I’ll have to make it now so I can get a real picture here!)  🙂

1/2-1 lb chicken tenders – cubed
1 medium onion – chopped
4 stalks celery – chopped
1 zucchini – cubed
2 small potatoes cubed
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup frozen crinkle cut carrots (or 1 cup fresh cut up)
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen kernal corn
1 cup frozen baby peas
4 packets Goya chicken bouilliion (I like Goya but you can use other brands)
1 cup white wine — any dry variety
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes  (if you like your soup spicier – use a can of Rotel tomatoes with green chilis)
1 can great northern beans (cannelloni)
1 small can garbonzo beans (chick peas)
1/2 cup low-fat grated parmesan cheese
8 cups of water
salt & pepper to taste
In a large stock pot – put 2 tablespoons butter, minced garlic and chicken pieces, salt and pepper to taste – saute until chicken is browned on all sides (about 8-10 min) and remove.  Add 1 more tablespoon butter (or teaspoon olive oil) and add onions, celery, potato, cabbage & zuchinni and saute for about 6 minutes, stirring regularly.  Add water, frozen veggies, (except peas), tomatoes, beans, bouillion, wine & lemon juice and put heat on medium-low to simmer for about an hour and a half.  When potatoes are tender, add peas, and cheese and let simmer additional 5-10 minutes.
Here are some additional things you can add if you want:
  • 1 Andouille sausage chopped (adds spice)
  • cooked egg noodles or datalini noodles – or whatever noodles you like!  I add them in to the indivdual bowls not the pot because they absorb all the broth and my kids LOVE the broth – so putting them in at the end gives you the noodles without taking away from the soup!
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped spinach – sounds gross – but it’s really good and gives you lots of iron!
  • 1 small can of green chilis if you want to make it more like a tortilla soup – then you can top each bowl with cracked tortilla chips and shredded jack cheese
I hope you like it —  I serve it with crusty bread (which I watch the kids eat – lol) or biscuits or all by itself – in fact that’s what we’re having tonight! 🙂

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A family favorite around here – and oh so quick and easy! 

  • 1- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast sliced into strips or cubes (try to make uniform in size for even cooking)
  • 1 package sliced portabello or white button mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground Salt/pepper
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cups dry white wine (I like Pinot Grigio!)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Shaved parmesan

Season chicken with salt/pepper & teaspoon garlic powder.  Heat skillet to 300 degrees, add butter and chicken breast slices…sauté for 5 minutes tossing while browning.  Then add mushrooms, a dash more salt & pepper.  Flip chicken and mushrooms for another 2 minutes, browning everything on all sides. Add lemon juice, wine and apple juice, scraping bottom of skillet for all those amazing tidbits and sauté for additional 2 minutes.  Put everything onto a platter, top with a sprinkling of shaved Parmesan and enjoy! We actually love to pour the whole mixture over some al dente penne pasta or linguine—even jasmine rice.  Pair with a nice salad or crusty loaf of bread and life is grand!

You may also want to add….toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries or a little sprig of rosemary to the mix.  If you like it spicier, toss in a few red pepper flakes or a couple shakes of chili powder.  Experiment!  Oh and by the way – Hailey says – don’t eat the flower!

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Had this with our girl’s night dinner last night, brought my my very good friend “Miss Mimi!”  So good!  She got this recipe from a cookbook her sister gave her and modified it a little.   This salad is complex enough to be a light main course – so delicious and summery!m

  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1 1/2 Tbl sesame oil
  • 2 handfuls snow peas, trimmed and snapped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups sunflower seed kernels, toasted
  • Asian Citrus Dressing
  • 3 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions (about 6 onions)

Cook orzo, drain and rinse with cold water.  Combine orzo and sesame oil, tossing to coat.  Spoon half of orzo into a large bow.  Top with half each of snow peas, raisins and sunflower seeds.  Repeat layers once.   Pour 3/4 of Asian Citrus Dressing over top and let seep in.  Combine parsley and green onions; sprinkle over salad.  Pour remaining dressing over top.

Asian Citrus Dressing
  • 3/4 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbl sugar
  • 2 Tbl grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Thanks Miss Mimi for your culinary goodness! 🙂  This is perfect for a luncheon or potluck too!  It’s pretty and yummy — and so different from what “everyone always brings!”  Try it!

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Everyone in our family has “THEIR” specialty – and my sister has mastered the art of the chicken taco! 😉   An amazing cook, mom and of course SISTER — this is a family favorite for all – and a fun meal to share — she said I could let you guys in on it! 😉  Thanks Shelly! 

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts (cut into half inch pieces)
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies (Original, Mild or Hot depending on your desired level of spicy!)

In a large skillet over medium high heat (8), simmer onions in olive oil until soft and semi transluscent. Add the chicken, stirring frequently until almost all the pink is gone. Add taco seasoning, stir until coating is even. Add Rotel tomatoes, stir evenly. Cover and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is thoroughly cooked and absorbing the juices in the pan. Remove cover and simmer until some of the juices evaporate. Remove from heat.  Then simply place in desired taco shell, soft or crunchy…and load on your favorite toppings; cheese, salsa, sour cream, avacado…  HINT: Learned this one from our Mom, scoop the sour cream into a sandwich baggie, snip off the end and squeeze onto tacos.

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My kids like a little extra kick to their alfredo – so here’s a spicier version of a classic alfredo.  If you want it more simple – take out the chili powder and red pepper flakes.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – rinse, pat dry – then cube
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup roughly chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 1 pound cooked fettuccine

Put your pot of water on to boil – add splash of good olive oil and good dash of salt to the water.

In a large skillet – heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Season your chicken with chili powder, garlic powder and paprika – plus salt and pepper to taste.  Sauté the chicken in hot skillet until brown on all sides and barely pink in the middle, roughly 5-7 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium – Add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Reduce heat to low, then add your cream, sundried tomatoes and red pepper flakes and simmer to reduce cream by half.  Next add in half the Parmesan and turn the skillet off.

When your water is boiling – add your fettuccine and cook 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain your pasta – toss with the alfredo – and serve topped with additional Parmesan.  If you like sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley or basil on top!  Serve with loaf of Italian bread and side salad and you’ve got happy campers in your house.

Want the quick and easy way to make this? – Cook your chicken as directed – add a jar of your favorite alfredo or lite alfredo sauce,  plus the sun dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes – it’s just as good – but doesn’t take as long since you don’t have to reduce the cream.  The whole thing can be done in under 15 minutes!

Variations to try:

  • Shrimp instead of chicken!  Reduce cooking time slightly as the shrimp will cook faster – use 1 lb of shelled, de-veined, cleaned shrimp.
  • Toss in 3/4 cup of frozen petite peas just before draining the water – just enough to make them warmed through and bright green!
  • Got a cup of cooked broccoli to use up?  Or even frozen florets — give them a quick blast in the microwave to warm through and toss in at the end.
  • Try different pastas – this is great with penne, tortellini, bow ties…get creative!


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  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 (8oz.) package sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes – cut in half
  • 1 (8oz.) package dry penne pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. In medium skillet, add butter, asparagus, peas, and peppers and sauté for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Transfer vegetables and drippings to a large bowl; set aside. Add pasta to boiling water, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Place pasta in the bowl with the vegetables. Toss with olive oil, Parmesan, onion salt and pepper.

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We eat a lot of chicken – so I’m always looking for ways to add a little twist – and make it less boring.  My kids love this meal – the chicken falls off the bone and they ladle the sauce over jasmine rice.  I usually serve it with cole slaw or zesty corn.  The nice thing about this meal – once you do the first part – is it pretty much cooks itself!  (Always a plus!)

It also re-heats well- so if you want to make it on the weekend and serve it during the week, that makes life a little easier too!  You can also transfer to a crockpot after the first steps and then put on low to cook for the rest of the day if that works better for you too!

  • 1 package chicken leg quarters with thighs**
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • garlic powder
  • ground cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • bottle of your favorite bbq sauce

All right — take a big skillet and put on medium heat – add about a tablespoon of olive oil and your butter. Season your chicken with garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cumin can be strong – so you may have to play with it to get the right amount for your family. If you want you can take the spices and create a rub first and sprinkle it over the chicken that way – but I just tend to give everything a good shake then put the chicken in the skillet to brown (medium-gold) on both sides.

Take the chicken out when brown then add the wine & lemon juice to the drippings and scrape the drippings free to make a nice sauce base (about 5 minutes) — then put the chicken back in, cover and put in a 250 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours. After the first hour and a half, add about half your barbeque sauce, cover the chicken liberally and then cover the pot back up and put back in the oven. (If your skillet’s not big enough – transfer everything to a casserole to roast in the oven) At hour 2 – check your chicken for doneness — add remaining BBQ sauce. Cook additional 1/2 hour if needed or let rest. I serve it over jasmine rice – the kids pour the sauce all over the rice and are happy little BBQ campers!

**you can use any chicken pieces you want – these just happen to always be on sale here so you know — but if you prefer chicken breasts that’s cool too – or if I’m making a lot of it for company, I get a package of breasts, a package of leg quarters..

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