Skinnytaste Meal Plan (January 21- January 27)

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and Weight Watchers Freestyle™ SmartPoints®.

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and Weight Watchers Freestyle™ SmartPoints®.

I just had an exciting week in Chicago promoting my cookbook Skinnytaste One and Done on Windy City Live and doing a cooking demo at Macy’s on State Street. Here’s the segment if you want to watch!

If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.

There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.

Lastly, if you’re on Facebook join my Skinnytaste Facebook Community where everyone’s sharing photos of recipes they are making, you can join here. I’m loving all the ideas everyone’s sharing!

Also, if you don’t have the Skinnytaste Meal Planner, now would be a great time to get one to get organized for 2019! There was a print error last year, but it’s perfect now! You can order it here!

THE DETAILS:

Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated Weight Watcher Freestyle Points for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!

The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.

And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them!

MONDAY (1/21)
B: Yogurt Chocolate Chip Muffins *(7) and a banana (0)
L: Classic Egg Salad (3) on 1 slice whole grain bread (3) and an apple (0)
D: Red Lentil Soup with Spinach* (1) and ½ a piece of whole wheat naan (3)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 17, Calories 915**

TUESDAY (1/22)
B: Yogurt Chocolate Chip Muffins *(7) and a banana (0)
L: Red Lentil Soup with Spinach* (1) and ½ a piece of whole wheat naan (3)
D:  Cheesy Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Skillet (9)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 20, Calories 980**

WEDNESDAY (1/23)
B: Yogurt Chocolate Chip Muffins *(7) and a banana (0)
L: Classic Egg Salad (3) over 2 cups arugula (0) and an orange (0)
D: Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu (5) with Roasted Asparagus (0)
Totals: Freestyle™  SP 15, Calories 833**

THURSDAY (1/24)
B: Yogurt Chocolate Chip Muffins *(7) and a banana (0)
L: LEFTOVER Red Lentil Soup with Spinach* (1) and ½ a piece of whole wheat naan (3)
D: Quick Beef Chili (4) with 2 tablespoons cheddar (2), and 1 ounce avocado (1)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 15, Calories 869**

FRIDAY (1/25)
B: Greek Yogurt with Berries, Nuts and Honey (5)
L: Classic Egg Salad (3) on 1 slice whole grain bread (3) and an apple (0)
D: Blackened Scallops with Horseradish Sauce (2), Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (5) and Roasted Parmesan Green Beans (1)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 19, Calories 1,021**

SATURDAY (1/26)
B:  Blueberry Banana Bread (3) with 1 cup mango (0)
L: Hummus Avocado Toast (6) (Recipe x 4)
D: DINNER OUT!
Totals:  Freestyle™ SP 9, Calories 446**

SUNDAY (1/27)
B:  Blueberry Banana Bread (3) with 1 cup mango (0)
L:  Chopped Salad with Shrimp Blue Cheese and Bacon (7) (Recipe x 2)
D: Giant Turkey Meatball  Parmesan (6) with Broccoli and Orzo (4)
Totals:  Freestyle™ SP 20, Calories 995**

*This is just a guide, women should aim for around 1500 calories per day. Here’s a helpful calculator to estimate your calorie needs. I’ve left plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food such as coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc.

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Easy Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup is the ultimate comfort food. Fragrant leeks are simmered with potatoes and chicken stock. Add in some cream and emulsify for a flavorful soup that you’ll want to enjoy all year long.

We love making creamy potato soups, they’re easy and comforting! I find that having a bisque-like smoothness to a soup makes it so elegant (yet easy), and using the natural ingredients to thicken it rather than cornstarch is always a win. Our favorites are pumpkin soup, butternut squash soup, and of course, this thick and creamy potato leek soup.

Bowls of leek and potato soup topped with pepper, croutons, and thyme with silver spoons.

Potato Leek Soup

Potato leek soup is a classic soup that our family has made for generations. Leeks have a mild onion-like flavor, which is perfectly paired with the naturally sweet starches found in potatoes.

This inseparable combo is intensified with a delicious chicken stock (if you’re vegetarian, vegetable stock works well too). Add a splash of heavy cream to finish rounding off the flavors, and blend until smooth.

If this leek and potato soup is a little too thin for your liking, return it to the stovetop and simmer to reduce for another 5 minutes or so (or you could add a quick slurry of cornstarch and water).

Potatoes and sauteed leeks ready to be cooked into potato leek soup.

Potatoes For Soup

Russet Potatoes are the best potatoes for soup due to their high starch content. I use them in other soup recipes like corn chowder and Easy Crock Pot Ham and Potato Soup. Russet potatoes break down easier than other potatoes (but= have a thicker skin so make sure to peel them).

Potato Soup Texture

The texture of potatoes can be described as slightly grainy/starchy, even when blended – think mashed potatoes. If you’d like to make this soup silky smooth, strain the soup through a cheesecloth. Straining is how I learned to make this soup in culinary school but truthfully, for a simple at home soup, I don’t feel it needs it, I enjoy the texture of the soup as it is blended. 

Leeks being sliced on a wooden cutting board for potato leek soup.

How to Cut Leeks

When you prepare leeks for soup, you want to keep the white to light green section and discard the dark green areas. The dark green part of the leek is often tough and bitter. Leeks are easy to prepare but you’ll want to slice them in half to ensure you wash them well as they can often have a lot of dirt and grit in them.

  1. Chop off the green stems and the top of the leeks.
  2. Slice the leeks lengthwise.
  3. Wash each half (between the leaves) to remove dirt and debris.
  4. Slice the leeks as thinly as possible.
  5. Saute in butter.

The secret to a perfect leek soup is sauteing without browning (so use a low temp.).  This brings out the sweet flavor of the leeks.

Potato leek soup serves as the perfect simple base for any other delicious additions you might want to add. I love topping mine with fresh rosemary, thyme, croutons, or making a potato leek bacon soup with crumbled bacon. You can really get creative with this recipe!

Potato leek soup with added cream and a silver ladle ready to serve.

What To Serve With Leek And Potato Soup

This hearty meal is great on its own, but it is also a great appetizer. Some of my favorite sides for potato leek soup include:

More Creamy Soups You’ll Love

Potato Leek Soup

Potato leek soup is the ultimate comfort food. Fragrant leeks are simmered with potatoes and chicken stock. Add in some cream and emulsify for a flavorful soup that you’ll want to enjoy all year long.

  • 3 large leeks (white only)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes (about 5 medium)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chives or thyme for garnish
  1. Cut off the green of the leeks and discard (or freeze for stock). Cut the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove any dirt or grit.
  2. Thinly slice the whites of the leeks, you should have about 5-6 cups.
  3. Place leeks and butter in a large pot. Cook over medium heat until leeks are tender without browning them, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes, stock and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer covered for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Using a hand blender, blend soup until smooth. Return to pot, add cream and simmer 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Optional: Once blended, run through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to achieve a smoother texture.

This easy potato leek soup recipe is the ultimate comfort food. It's creamy, smooth, and uber flavorful! #spendwithpennies #potatoleeksoup #leeksoup #soup #potatosoup #easysoup #souprecipe #leeks
This easy potato leek soup recipe is the ultimate comfort food. It's creamy, smooth, and uber flavorful! #spendwithpennies #potatoleeksoup #leeksoup #soup #potatosoup #easysoup #souprecipe #leeks

Easy Italian at Home (better than a restaurant)

Chicken Piccata is one of my all time favorite dishes. Tender chicken breasts are dredged in a lemon pepper flour and seared until golden. The chicken is then simmered in a fresh lemon caper white wine sauce. Serve this easy (yet seemingly fancy) dish over pasta or mashed potatoes to impress your family and friends!

Add in a side salad and a loaf of crusty bread for the perfect meal.

chicken piccata with lemon and capers in a pan ready to serve

Easy Italian Meals at Home

We love going out to eat and Italian is one of my all time favorite choices. From Chicken Parmesan or a hearty pappardelle topped with  bolognese to the bread and fresh olive oils, I just can’t resist (and of course don’t even get me started with Eggplant Parmesan). 

Being able to make restaurant quality meals at home means I don’t have to sacrifice the meals I love while saving money (let’s keep it real, while staying in my pajamas). Cue, this easy chicken piccata recipe, it is a win-win!

What Is Chicken Piccata?

Chicken Piccata (or any piccata such as veal piccata) is a dish that features meat pounded thin and topped with a buttery lemon caper sauce.

Similar to my Lemon Shrimp Linguine, this lemon chicken piccata is usually served over pasta and I prefer a thinner pasta such as angel hair or a light linguine as its a delicate dish. It also goes great with Oven Roasted Potatoes  and a side of baked zucchini or steamed broccoli!

chicken piccata with lemon and capers served over linguine

How to Make Chicken Piccata

The meat is dredged in flour then added to a easy piccata sauce made from lemon and white wine that is packed full of  full of capers, butter, and other delicious ingredients.

This sauce is reduced to bring out the best flavors from the broth, white wine, garlic, butter, and capers. It creates a light but silky sauce with a flavor punch you won’t be able to resist!

How To Sear Chicken

To make this easy chicken piccata, begin by pounding the chicken breasts until they are even (so the fatter side cooks at the same rate as the thinner end).  I like to use a meat tenderizer, but the back of a sturdy cup or rolling pin also work in a pinch.  Feel free to cut them in half if your chicken breasts are large. Sear the chicken breasts on both sides to brown the outside. Because they are thin, they’ll only need a few minutes.

How To Make Chicken Piccata Sauce:

To make this easy chicken piccata sauce:

  • Cook butter and flour to make a roux.
  • Add broth, lemon juice, white wine and capers. Reduce for a few minutes.
  • Add chicken and parsley and heat through.

Piccata sauce is so easy to make yet has tons of flavor and is great over pasta!

chicken piccata sauce poured over searched chicken with lemon and capers

What to Serve With Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata is a great dish with a delicious buttery sauce so we serve it over any starchy carb (or of course Zucchini Noodles or Cauliflower Rice if you’re a low-carber). We love noodles, especially the pasta found in the refrigerator area of our grocery store (since it’s so easy and fast).

Alongside most pasta dishes like (Baked Spaghetti) we always add bread or buns to sop up any sauce and of course a fresh Italian salad or Caesar Salad.

If you’ve got leftovers, piccata can be reheated in the microwave or placed in a small pan with a lid and cooked on low until heated through.

Our Fave Chicken Recipes

Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata features chicken breasts simmered in a delicious caper and lemon white wine sauce.

  • 4 chicken breasts (pounded to about 1/2 inch thick or cut in half crosswise)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 lemon (zested)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (more as needed)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons))
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
  • 3 tablespoons capers (drained)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  1. Combine the flour, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour mixture

  2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat and cook chicken about 4-5 minutes per side or until just until cooked through. Cook in batches if you cannot fit into pan.  Remove from pan and place in a dish to keep warm.

  3. In the same pan, melt 1/4 cup butter and add flour to create a roux. Whisk until smooth. Cook 1-2 minutes.

  4. Gradually stir in chicken broth whisking after each addition until smooth.

  5. Add lemon juice, white wine and capers. Simmer 3 minutes, whisking occasionally. 

  6. Add chicken back to pan and simmer 2-3 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve over pasta.

 

We just love this Chicken Piccata recipe! Tender chicken breasts are dredged in a lemon pepper flour and seared until golden. The chicken is then simmered in a fresh lemon caper white wine sauce. #spendwithpennies #chickenpiccata #easyrecipe #easydinner #maincourse #chicken #lemonsauce #creamychickenpiccata
We just love this Chicken Piccata recipe! Tender chicken breasts are dredged in a lemon pepper flour and seared until golden. The chicken is then simmered in a fresh lemon caper white wine sauce. #spendwithpennies #chickenpiccata #easyrecipe #easydinner #maincourse #chicken #lemonsauce #creamychickenpiccata

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Turkey Stuffed Peppers combine ground turkey, tons of vegetables, and pepper jack cheese into a satisfying healthy low carb meal. Jump start your healthy eating habits with these oh-so-delicious stuffed peppers!

I’m always looking for meals that not only taste amazing and are packed with flavor, but finding low carb options – especially this time of year – is always a huge bonus when I’m really trying to watch what I eat. These stuffed peppers are very similar to my classic stuffed peppers, but that recipe uses ground beef and rice along with all the other ingredients. I do find that adding rice or quinoa to a stuffed pepper makes it more filling and it feels more like a complete meal, but I also know a lot of people are searching for grain free or low carb recipes. That’s why I wanted to create a stuffed pepper recipe that was basically meat, cheese, and veggies.

How to make turkey stuffed peppers:

  • First step is to par bake your peppers. The reason you want the peppers partially cooked is because you will fill them with cooked hot filling. By pre-cooking the peppers, everything will be perfectly cooked by the time you’re ready to serve.
  • To make the stuffed pepper filling, simply start by browning the ground turkey. After a few minutes you’ll add some onion, garlic, and any remaining pieces of bell pepper. Let those turn golden brown and completely fragrant.
  • To that mixture, I add diced zucchini, diced tomatoes, and season it with salt and pepper.
  • To assemble the turkey stuffed peppers, simply pack the hot peppers with your filling, top with cheese, and finish them off in the hot oven to melt the cheese. You can choose any kind of cheese that you like, or completely omit if you need a dairy free stuffed pepper, but my preference is to use pepper jack.

Turkey stuffed pepper variations:

I prefer to use ground dark meat because it has more flavor, but you can also use ground white meat. Instead of using ground meat at all, you can also use diced cooked turkey and add it to the mixture after the vegetables have sauteed for a bit. That would be a great option if you’re looking for a post-holiday leftover turkey recipe.

You can also change up the vegetables you add to your stuffed peppers. Instead of tomatoes you could add some baked butternut squash and sage – both of which go fantastic with turkey.

Turkey stuffed peppers are also a great recipe to make on the weekends if you are looking for healthy meal planning options. They are great to pack in work lunches throughout the week!

Other stuffed pepper recipe ideas:

Turkey Stuffed Peppers
 
Turkey Stuffed Peppers combine ground turkey, tons of vegetables, and pepper jack cheese into a satisfying healthy low carb meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 whole bell peppers, any color
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey, dark meat recommended
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ tsp salt, more or less to taste
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese.
Instructions
  1. To prepare the peppers, slice the tops off and remove any veins or seeds inside. Do not discard tops as you will use any remaining pepper attached to the stem.
  2. Add peppers to a casserole dish, fill with about ½ inch of water, cover with aluminum foil, and bake in a 425 F oven for 20 minutes in order to steam, or parbake, the peppers.
  3. While the peppers are steaming, cook the ground turkey, onion, garlic, and any remaining pepper from the stem piece (diced) in a large saute pan over medium high heat until the meat is crumbly, about 10-15 minutes. Add the diced zucchini and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat.
  4. Once peppers are done, remove from oven, discard water, and return peppers to casserole dish. Fill each pepper cavity with the ground turkey filling until all of the peppers have been evenly filled. Top with pepper jack cheese. If making ahead, store in airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to heat and serve.
  5. Return peppers to oven and cook until heated through and cheese has melted. This should only take a few minutes.

 

 

Sauteed Mushrooms in Minutes!

Sauteed Mushrooms are a staple around here adding rich deep flavor to steak dinners and delicious alongside roast chicken dishes. They’re the perfect addition to soups, stews and even cooked rice!

In this easy recipe, mushrooms are sauteed in garlic butter with a dash of soy sauce. Soy sauce not only adds great flavor but helps to caramelize these delicious mushrooms to a deep golden brown.

Sauteed Mushrooms ready to serve

The Perfect Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms are one of my all time favorite veggies (along with Bacon Wrapped Asparagus), they add such a deliciously earthy rich flavor to dishes and are ready in just minutes. Fried Mushrooms with garlic are the perfect side dish or make a great topping for Pork Tenderloin or burgers!

How do you make fried mushrooms? Truthfully, fried mushrooms are easy to make but there are a few things you can do to take your sauteed mushrooms from ordinary to extraordinary.

Fresh mushrooms sliced and ready to make the best Sauteed Mushrooms

How to Make Sauteed Mushrooms

The key to a deep rich flavor and making the best sauteed mushrooms is to allow them to caramelize and add aromatics (garlic/thyme) and salt (soy sauce). I add lots of garlic but you can also add fry onions for the perfect sauteed mushrooms and onions burger topping!

You can use any kind of fresh mushrooms in this recipe, sauteed portobellos are a delicious meaty option as well!

How to Caramelize Mushrooms:

There are a few secrets to getting mushrooms to caramelize perfectly! Start by wiping mushrooms with a damp paper towel.  Quickly rinsing mushrooms under water  is ok, but if you leave them too long it can cause their spongy texture to soak up the water which, as you’d imagine, can result in soggy sauteed mushrooms.  Instead, give them a quick rinse and dab them dry or wipe them with a damp paper towel or a mushroom brush!

  1. Use Butter and Olive Oil:  The combination of the two adds great flavor and definitely makes a difference to oil alone.
  2. Do Not Crowd the Pan: If you crowd the pan your mushrooms will simmer in their own juices rather than caramelize.
  3. Do Not Stir Too Much: The key to caramelized mushrooms is allowing the mushrooms to form a crust which means you need to let them sit on one side without stirring.
  4. Turn Up the Heat: Add additional flavors such as wine or Worcestershire sauce in small quantities while the pan is very hot.

Sauteed Mushrooms caramelized to a golden brown

While I love using fried mushrooms to top a steak or burger, they also add amazing flavor to any mushroom recipe!  They’re perfect to cook and add to casseroles, soups and stews.  The extra flavor and caramelization will add tons of depth to your dishes with very little extra effort.

Can You Freeze Sauteed Mushrooms?

Yes you can, fried or sauteed mushrooms freeze well (although the texture can change slightly) and are great to add to Pasta Sauce, omelettes and chicken or beef stews.

  • Cook and cool as directed.
  • Lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze flat.
  • Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or container.

More Mushrooms Recipes:

 

Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic

Sauteed Mushrooms are an amazing side dish or make a great topping for steaks or burgers! The key to the deep rich flavor is to allow the mushrooms to caramelize.

  • 1 lb white or brown mushrooms (or cremini or portobello)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried thyme)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • chives for garnish (optional)
  1. Clean mushrooms by gently wiping with a paper towel or using a mushroom brush. Slice into thick slices (about 1/2″).

  2. Add butter and oil to a pan and heat over medium high heat.
  3. Quickly toss the mushrooms & soy sauce (do not do this ahead of time, this will remove too much moisture from the mushrooms)
  4. Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss with olive oil mixture. Do not stir allow to cook about 4-5 minutes without disturbing to brown on one side.

  5. Add white wine if using and allow to evaporate. Add garlic and thyme (if using). Continue cooking an additional 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally until cooked.

  6. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Here are a few more recipes that you’ll love!

Fried mushrooms are a staple around here adding rich deep flavor to steaks and alongside chicken dishes. Mushrooms sauteed in a mixture of garlic and soy sauce not only adds great flavor but helps to caramelize these delicious mushrooms to a deep golden brown!

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef Stew is unbelievably easy and delicious! Tender beef chunks and hearty veggies like potatoes, carrots, and onions are set to cook in the pressure cooker to create an effortless stew.

Serve this easy stew alongside 30 minute dinner rolls for the perfect comforting pressure cooker dinner that everyone will love!

Two bowls filled with Instant Pot beef stew topped with fresh parsley.

Instant Pot Cooking is Easy!

If you’re new to pressure cooking (and the Instant Pot), it’s going to be life changing for you! It’s so easy to use and cooks meals in minutes in just one pot (including browning meat and cooking). Win-win! If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can find them online here!

This is an easy beef stew recipe, and it’s made even easier by pressure cooking in the Instant Pot! We make homemade beef stew often but if you don’t have time to simmer it to perfection, not to worry. Just pull out your Instant Pot, and you’ll have that stick-to-your ribs dinner on the table in no time flat! 

How To Make Instant Pot Stew

To make this instant pot beef stew recipe:

  1. Chop up the veggies.
  2. Turn the Instant Pot on to sauté and brown the stew beef chunks on all sides.
  3. Add the rest of the beef stew ingredients and turn the pressure cooker on.
  4. When cooking cycle ends, depressurize your Instant Pot and add the cornstarch slurry to thicken.

Ingredients for Instant Pot beef stew in a pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Beef Stew Ingredients

  • Choose the Right Meat:
    • When it comes to pressure cooker beef stew, there is no better cut of meat than chuck. Buy a thick chuck pot roast and cut it into chunks. If you can’t find chuck, regular stewing beef will work just fine!
  • Sear the Meat: 
    • Start this easy Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe off right by searing the meat in batches. If you crowd the pan, you’ll get too much juice and the meat won’t brown properly. The bottom of your pan should have a nice glaze on it which adds a delicious richness to the broth.
  • Deglaze the Instant Pot: 
    • Deglaze once the beef has a nice crust on it! Simply add broth/wine and scrape any goodies off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the Vegetables: 
    • Stay away from delicate veggies. Any veggie you’d use to make roasted root vegetables would also be great in the pressure cooker (like potatoes and carrots) as they don’t fall apart.

Instant Pot beef stew simmering in a pressure cooker.

How Long to Cook Beef Stew in the Instant Pot

This pressure cooker beef stew recipe starts with searing the beef to get a good crust on it (don’t skip this part). This will take about 10-15 minutes or so (in 2 batches).

The stew cooks for 35 minutes in the Instant Pot but keep in mind, that’s the cooking time only. It will take about 10-15 minutes to get up to pressure and it will natural release for about 15 minutes.

Overall, you can expect this Instant Pot Beef Stew to take about 90 minutes start to finish, but don’t worry, most of the time is hands off.

What to Serve with Instant Pot Stew

Beef stew is practically a complete meat-and-potatoes meal in itself, no need to fuss with side dishes.

Serve it with dinner rolls, biscuits or corn bread slathered with butter. I also love adding a side caesar salad for a nice light crunch alongside the hearty stew.

A ladle scooping Instant Pot beef stew to serve.

Can You Freeze Beef Stew?

Yes you sure can! This beef stew recipe is so yummy, you might not have any leftovers. If you do, you’ll be happy to know it freezes easily. 

To serve a quick beef stew dinner, no need to pre-thaw. Just empty the frozen block into a pot on low heat, and you’ll have dinner on the table again in no time!

More Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Beef Stew

This instant pot beef stew is unbelievably mouthwatering. Tender beef chunks are pressure cooked with other delicious ingredients like peas, potatoes, carrots, and onions.

  • 2 pounds stewing beef (trimmed and cubed)
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder (salt and pepper)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine (or 1 more cup beef broth)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 large carrots (chopped)
  • 3 cups baby potatoes (cubed)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped, about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup peas (defrosted)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  1. Toss beef with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Turn a 6-quart Instant Pot to sauté and add half of the olive olive oil. Brown half of the beef, about 3-5 minutes, don’t stir too much so you get a nice crust. Repeat with remaining beef.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, rosemary, wine and vegetables (ensure ingredients do not go above fill line). Secure lid and select Meat/Stew; cook on high pressure 35 minutes.

  4. Once the timer beeps, allow for a natural-release for about 15 minutes. Release any remaining pressure.

  5. Remove lid and turn to sauté bringing broth to a boil.

  6. Create a slurry by combining cornstarch and water in a small bowl or cup.
  7. Once the broth is simmering, stir in the cornstarch to reach desired consistency (you may not need all of it). Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. 

  8. Stir in peas and serve.

Note: You may not need all of the cornstarch slurry.

This Instant Pot beef stew recipe is so easy and so delicious. We love making this on busy weeknights! #spendwithpennies #beefstew #instantpotbeefstew #instantpot #pressurecooker #easystew
This Instant Pot beef stew recipe is so easy and so delicious. We love making this on busy weeknights! #spendwithpennies #beefstew #instantpotbeefstew #instantpot #pressurecooker #easystew

Chewy Brown Butter Blondies

Brown Butter Blondies! These chewy blondie bars are enhanced with the rich flavor of browned butter and loaded with (optional) nuts and candy pieces. Don’t worry if you’ve never browned butter before, it’s easy and I’ll walk you through the steps below!

Two chewy brown butter blondies

Brown Butter Blondies

Hi everyone! Sam here from Sugar Spun Run with another sweet treat. Today I’m sharing a decadent recipe for Browned Butter Blondies.

I recently set out to make the perfect blondies and was pretty satisfied with my results. However, because of my sheer inability to ever leave any recipe un-changed, I couldn’t help but think about how wonderful these would taste if only I were to brown the butter…

Well, the results were every bit as incredible as I’d hoped they’d be. Richly flavored, chewy, and just simply delectable. I then decided to up the ante even further and stir in some chopped walnuts and toffee bits (I have a favorite toffee recipe but kept things simple and used the storebought “Bits o’ Brickle” pieces).

Worried about browning butter? Never tried it before? Don’t panic! It’s easy and I’ll walk you through the steps below. It takes a bit more time, but it’s worth it, just look at those beautiful browned butter flecks in the batter…

Brown butter blondie batter

How to Make Browned Butter

Browned butter (more formally known as buerre noisette, how fancy is that!?) is one of my all-time favorite things to make in the kitchen. It’s so much easier than you might think and elevates any baked good to new heights. Oh, and as a bonus, your house is going to smell amazing. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut your butter into Tablespoon-sized pieces and place in a medium-sized saucepan over medium/low heat.
  2. Once butter is melted, increase heat just above medium
  3. Use a wooden spoon to swirl the butter frequently. The butter will begin to bubble and pop.
  4. Once the bubbling/popping slows (you should still be stirring this whole time) you’ll notice it will begin to turn brown. As soon as this happens, remove from heat quickly and transfer to a heatproof bowl.

More Tips & Tricks for Browning Butter

  • For best results, use a light-colored pan when cooking your butter, this will make it easier to see once the butter begins to brown, reducing your risk of burning your butter.
  • Never, ever, walk away from your butter while it’s browning! Even taking your attention off of it for a second can result in burnt butter, and burnt butter is every bit as awful as browned butter is wonderful. If you burn your butter even a little bit you’ll have to start all over again.
  • Have a heat-proof bowl ready for when your butter has finished browning. You’ll want to quickly transfer the butter to this container — it can still burn even after you’ve removed the pan from the heat.
  • Your browned butter will be hot! Make sure you let it cool back down to room temperature (or at least close to room temperature) before adding the rest of the ingredients for these blondies.

Slice of brown butter blondie

Enjoy!

Brown Butter Blondies
 
Chewy Brown Butter Blondies loaded with (optional) nuts and toffee!
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into Tablespoon-sized pieces (226g)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar tightly packed (200g)
  • ¾ cup sugar (150g)
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temperature preferred
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 /2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • ½ cup toffee bits, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a 9x9 metal baking pan* with parchment paper or lightly grease and flour.
  2. Place butter in a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted. Once melted, turn up heat just a notch above medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly as it pops and sizzles. Once the popping slows and the butter begins to turn brown, remove from heat and pour into a large heatproof bowl.
  3. Allow browned butter to cool for at least 20 minutes before proceeding.
  4. Once butter has cooled, add sugars and stir well.
  5. Stir in eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet until completely combined.
  8. Stir in nuts and toffee bits, if using.
  9. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake on 350F (175C) for 25 minutes or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  10. Allow to cool completely before lifting from pan, cutting, and enjoying. The blondies may seem slightly greasy while still warm, so let them cool completely before enjoying.
Notes
*This recipe will also work in a 9x13 metal pan, it will only need to bake about 18-20 minutes. This recipe will work in a glass pan, but the baking time will be longer.

 

Sheet Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

Sheet Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken is such an easy meal with crispy breaded chicken with potatoes and asparagus.  This is the perfect meal for your family! 

Sheet Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

This sheet pan chicken is crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  It is a complete dinner made on just one sheet pan.  A full meal with just one dish to wash?  Sign me up.  Life has been so busy and I am trying harder to make meals for my family during the week, even on the busiest nights.  Crispy parmesan garlic chicken us one of my families favorite meals.  I have so many delicious crispy chicken recipes on my site like this crispy parmesan chicken with lemon garlic pasta, or this parmesan chicken with zucchini.  There is a lot of crispy chicken going on in our family and it is always a huge hit!

Can you make this crispy parmesan chicken in the skillet?

You can definitely cook this in the skillet.   Add 2 tablespoons oil to a medium-sized skillet.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes until the outside is crispy and the chicken is cooked throughout.

Can you make this chicken in an airfryer?

You can cook the chicken in an airfryer at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Watch a video on how to make Sheet Pan Crispy Garlic Parmesan Chicken here:


4.8 from 5 reviews
Sheet Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sheet Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken is such an easy meal with crispy breaded chicken with potatoes and asparagus.  This is the perfect meal for your family!
Author:
Serves: 4-5
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 cups panko
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Pound baby potatoes, I used both red and gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 3rds
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside
  2. In a shallow dish, whisk together egg and milk. In another shallow dish add panko, parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
  3. Salt and pepper the chicken and dredge them in the egg mixture and then coat them in the panko mixture. Lay them on your sheet pan.
  4. In two medium sized bowls add the asparagus and potatoes. Salt and pepper and toss with the olive oil. Lay the potatoes next to the chicken on the sheet pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the chicken over and add the asparagus and continue baking for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

More crispy parmesan recipes:

Sheet Pan Crispy Cheddar Pork Chops

One Pan Crispy Walnut Chicken 

Red Lentil Soup with Spinach

This delicious, Middle Eastern inspired Lentil Soup, made with red lentils, turmeric, spinach, carrots and lemon will exceed your expectations. It’s golden in color, and very easy to make and leftovers are freezer-friendly.

This delicious, Middle Eastern inspired Lentil Soup, made with red lentils, turmeric, spinach, carrots and lemon will exceed your expectations. It's golden in color, and very easy to make and leftovers are freezer-friendly.

I love lentils and lentil soup. One of my go-to’s are my Chicken and Lentil Soup. I wanted to recreate a lentil soup I had at a Persian restaurant and knew this would be amazing! Directions included for Dutch oven or Instant Pot!

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Homemade Potato Skins – Crispy and Delicious!

Homemade Potato Skins are one of my absolute favorite appetizer recipes! These easy baked potato skins are deliciously crispy with a garlic buttered exterior and then fully loaded with bacon, cheese and green onions!

Serve these at any party for the perfect spread alongside Pigs in a BlanketSpinach Artichoke Dip and Baked Buffalo Wings!

Dipping a cheesy baked potato skin into sour cream

Loaded Potato Skins

Potato skins are delicious and easy to make.  We use russet potatoes as the skins hold up well (but save the skins from baked sweet potatoes, because you can eat sweet potato skins and they’re amazing in this recipe too)!

Most restaurant style potato skins are deep fried and then the toppings are added and they’re broiled. While I love them, I don’t love how greasy they can be (and homemade potato skins are so much better).

This recipe bakes the potato skins until crisp and then adds toppings and they bake a few minutes more until the cheese is melted.

Golden, homemade potato skins lined up on a white baking dish and garnished with chives and green onion

How to Make Potato Skins

Potato skins are simple to make and they taste amazing! They’re easy to crisp up in the oven and can be prepped ahead of time if you’re having guests.

Potatoes

  • Choose smaller potatoes to make bite sized snacks.
  • Use russet potatoes and bake potatoes in the oven until tender.
  • Cool completely before cutting. Save the inside for Baked Potato Soup or use to make Mashed Potatoes.
  • Cut lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. I usually leave about 1/4″ of potato in the shell. You need enough to allow the potato to hold up.

Toppings for Baked Potato Skins

Fill the skins with your favorite toppings and bake. Add cheese and bacon or turn these into a meal with heartier toppings. The possibilities are endless:

  • Bacon, cheddar and chive/onions dipped in sour cream for the classic potato skin recipe
  • Ground beef seasoned with Taco Seasoning, cheese and cilantro
  • Leftover Crock Pot Pulled Pork (with Mac and Cheese in the bottom of if you have some)
  • Create Jalapeno Popper Potato Skins for a spicy twist on the usual
  • Fill with Sloppy Joe meat and cheese for a fun potato skins meal

A platter full of loaded baked potato skins with sour cream for a dipper

Can Potato Skins Be Made Ahead of Time

Yes they sure can! If I am making a recipe that needs cooked potatoes (like Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes or Twice Baked Potato Casserole) I simply bake the potatoes and scoop out the flesh.

Freeze the empty shells on a baking pan and then once frozen, stack them in a freezer bag. They’ll keep for several months in the freezer. Bake these easy potato skins starting right from frozen, no need to defrost first!

More Appetizer Recipes You’ll Love

Crispy Oven Baked Potato Skins

Crispy garlic buttered potato skins filled with cheese and bacon are the perfect appetizer!

  • 5 baked potatoes (small)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 slices cooked bacon (finely chopped or 3 tablespoons bacon bits)
  • 2 tablespoons chives (or green onions)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • sour cream (for serving)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine butter, parsley, seasoned salt and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

  2. Ensure baked potatoes are cooled. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scoop out the flesh leaving a 1/4″ shell (or more if you’d prefer).

  3. Brush both the inside and outside of the potatoes with the butter mixture. Place potatoes cut side down in baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.

  4. Flip potatoes over and bake an additional 5 minutes or until slightly browned and crisp.

  5. Fill each potato with cheese and bacon. Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

  6. Remove from the oven, top with chives and serve with sour cream.

Baked Potato Skins are so easy to make and equally delicious to eat! #spendwithpennies #bakedpotatoskins #homemadepotatoskins #easyrecipe #appetizer #easyappetizer #withcheese #snack
Baked Potato Skins are so easy to make and equally delicious to eat! #spendwithpennies #bakedpotatoskins #homemadepotatoskins #easyrecipe #appetizer #easyappetizer #withcheese #snack