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Sorry kids, I know these are tardy but better late than never, right?

Meatball and Veggie Soup with Pasta

Serves 6, prep 20 minutes, cook 10 minutes

64 oz beef broth

1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano – undrained

1 12-16 oz pkg frozen cooked meatballs (I use Italian style)

1 10 oz pkg frozen mixed veggies (I use just green beans)

1 C dried small pasta (I use orzo)

Dump everything but the pasta in a 4-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, return to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.

 

Lemon-Butter Chicken Breasts

Serves 6, start to finish 30 minutes

(I fudge the hell out of this one – I only use 3 chicken breasts but keep everything else the same)

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

½ C all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning

1/3 C butter

2 lemons, sliced (sometimes 3, who’s counting?)

Put the chicken breasts in a heavy plastic zip bag, one at a time. Pound viciously with the flat side of a meat mallet until about ¼” thick. Mix flour and salt; dip chicken in, turning to coat. Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning. Melt butter in a large skillet and add chicken. Allow to cook at least 6 minutes, turning once. (I leave mine in there a hell of lot longer than 6 minutes!) Once browned, top with lemon slices and reduce heat to low. Cover and allow to hang out until the rest of dinner is done. (may I suggest a nice rice pilaf?)

 

Rice Pilaf

Serves 4, ready in 50 minutes (time consuming at the start, but worth it)

2 Tbsp butter

½ C orzo pasta

½ C diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ C uncooked white rice

2 C chicken broth

½ C frozen peas

1 tsp salt

1 tsp Penzey’s Shallot Pepper

Melt butter in lidded skillet over medium-low heat. Cook and stir orzo until golden brown. Stir in onion and cook until it becomes translucent; add garlic and cook another minute. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand another 5 minutes.

 

Bacon Alfredo

Serves 4, start to finish about 35 minutes

1 lb thick cut bacon, roughly chopped (get the good stuff)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

8 oz dried pasta

1 14.5 oz can chicken broth

1 C water

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper

1 C frozen peas

½ C whipping cream (or half & half, I’ve used both)

Parmesan cheese

In a very large skillet cook the bacon until crispy. Add the onion and garlic and allow to cook until tender. Remove bacon, onion, and garlic from pan and drain on paper towels. Drain bacon grease from pan. Add broth, water, salt, pepper, peas and pasta; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover and cook 12 – 15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring once. Stir in cream and Parmesan cheese. (that cheese will turn into a globby mess if you add it all at once so do it bit at a time and stir like crazy in between! It’s best to have a friend help with this. And you can’t have too much cheese.) Add the bacon mix back in.

 

Nutella Pie

Serves 6

1 13 oz jar Nutella

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 8 oz container Cool Whip, thawed

Prepared Oreo crust

Spread ¼ C of the Nutella over the bottom of the crust. Beat remaining Nutella and cream cheese together until smooth. Fold Cool Whip in. Pour mix into the crust and spread evenly. Allow to chill at least 4 hours.

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