Category Archives: Main Dish

Quick ‘n’ Easy Chili {Allergy Friendly!}

chili cover copy

You know how those fabulous craft and food bloggers make their holiday meals weeks ahead of the actual holiday, so they can post them before say, Halloween?
I am not one of those bloggers.
I mean, even if I have time to make the recipe three days ahead of the holiday, the time around the holiday gets so crazy that inevitably, my Halloween post goes up on…

November 1st.

With that, welcome to November everyone! Yesterday was the most perfect weather you could possibly ask for in a Halloween. Just a bit nippy to remind you that it’s fall. Today is full-on winter.

The good news is, with winter weather comes winter food. I love warm steamy comfort food. Chicken noodle soup, macaroni and cheese, piping hot bowls of chili, savory lasagnas, and pumpkin bread–oh, the pumpkin bread! They make up for crap like snow.
{I was raised in Utah, but I’m still an import, people.} 

Speaking of chili, I think it’s time to share my favorite chili recipe with you. This is the perfect after work meal because it’s warm and hearty and can be made quickly. Or if you prefer, brown your hamburger before you head out the door in the morning, toss in the Crock Pot, and come home to mmmm. Once you’ve browned your ground beef with the onions, it really is just a dump and heat recipe. It’s almost as easy as chili-from-a-can. {I won’t tell anyone that you’ve been known to use chili in can.} And this tastes a lot better.

Quick 'n' Easy Chili {Allergy Friendly!}
Adapted from: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
A quick chili for weeknights!
  • 2 lbs. hamburger
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 30 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 30 oz. can chili beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • ½ t. oregano
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • 1½ t. salt
  • 1½ t. cumin
  • ¼ c. chili powder
  1. Cook beef with onion and garlic.
  2. Combine beef, sauce, tomatoes, beans, and seasonings in crockpot or pot.
  3. Stir and cook on low 8-10 hours.
  4. If cooking on stove top, bring to a boil and simmer on low 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with sour cream, cheddar, and corn chips.

Slow Cooked French Dip Sandwiches

french dip cover copy

This is a flashback back post from my old blog at Feel free to jump over there and peruse some quick and easy meal ideas!

When I was a kid, my sister, Anna, decided to make our family a meal she had first had in the school lunch room: french dip. At first, I told her I didn’t want to try it. I don’t like roast beef sandwiches, and to this day I’m not a fan. But she looked at me and told me I had to try it. From that day forward, a beautiful relationship was born. I loved french dip and it’s accompanying cup of au jus. If I go to a restaurant and french dip is on the menu, chances are, I’m going to order french dip.

Now, I’ve made french dip before. Typically I use deli sliced roast beef, lay it in a hoagie roll, top with some cheese, and broil it. And for the au jus, well, I’m sorry to say, I used the little packet that is in the seasoning aisle. You know, next to the taco seasoning? I have seen the light, thanks to this excellent recipe by a new favorite food blog, Our Best Bites. The recipe is so simple, inexpensive, and definitely worth the extra time. The recipe is at the bottom but here are the instructions.

Start by seasoning roast beef with salt and pepper. I used a frozen rump roast and I was terrified the whole day that it would be dinnertime and I’d have frozen meat to serve. Anyway, sear the meat with a little olive oil in the pan on all sides. This acts to lock in the flavor and juices of the meat.

Place the seared roast beef in your crock pot. See that plasticy thing in my crock pot? It’s a crock pot liner. You can find them next to the plastic wrap at your grocery store. Love. At the end of cooking for hours and hours, rather than soaking the pot over night, I just ball it up and toss it then wipe out the crock pot.

Anyway, place two packets of Liptons Onion Soup Mix on your roast. Off-brand is okay too, but seriously, put both packets in. I forgot and added the second one halfway through. :)

Add two cans of beef broth.

And two cups of water.

You just made your au jus. You’re awesome.

Cover the crock pot. If you thought ahead and defrosted your roast you can just cook this on low for about 8 hours. If your meat is frozen, then cook on high until the liquid is boiling. Once it has reached a boil, reduce the heat to low. I cooked it about 4 hours on high, and 4-5 hours on low.

I was going to take a picture of all the shredded beef, but the family got home and life happened. So once your meat is cooked (and it will be cooked! No frozen beef for you!), remove it from the crock pot and shred it with a fork.

Put your meat on hoagies (I did 10 small hoagies and had enough leftovers for a big sandwich for Gary for tomorrow), and top with a slice of provolone. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and the bread is lightly browned. Serve with the au jus in the crock pot.

I loved this. I really did. Much more rewarding than anything that can come out of a little seasoning packet. And I really, really loved being done making dinner at 9 a.m.

French Dip Sandwiches
Adapted from: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Delicious, mouth-watering, melt in your mouth slow cooked beef, shredded on top of crusty rolls. Topped with a slice of provolone and quickly broiled, this sandwich comes with its own dipping sauce.
  • 1 2.5-3 lb. beef roast (you can use a frozen roast if you want)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 1-ounce packages dry onion soup mix
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 cans beef broth
  • 6-8 large buns (or more...6 would be VERY generous servings!)
  • Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.
  • When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You're not cooking the meat, you're just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices.
  • Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onion soup mixes. Pour water and beef broth over roast.
  • Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It's hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it's done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, shred with a fork.
  • Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty.
  • Strain the juices and ladle into small cups for dipping.
  • Serve, and enjoy the silence at the table.
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.
  2. When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You're not cooking the meat, you're just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices.
  3. Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onion soup mixes. Pour water and beef broth over roast.
  4. Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It's hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it's done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart.
  5. When meat is cooked, shred with a fork.
  6. Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty.
  7. Ladle juices into small cups for dipping and enjoy!


It’s Cinco de Mayo!
Did you know that? Do you celebrate it?
If you’re like me last year (and every year prior to last year), Cinco de Mayo was just another day that I may or may not take the time to note. It certainly had nothing to do with me.

Rebecca is in a Dual Immersion Spanish program at school. What this means is that she learns half the day in English, and spends the other half in an environment where no English is spoken. She doesn’t even know her teacher speaks English. This is her second year in the program, and she is no longer allowed to speak English in her class. In first grade, there were a lot of charades in the class. But slowly the students gain confidence and understanding as they build their bilingual skills. We love this program. Not only is she learning a second language, but she is learning about an entirely different culture and its customs.

So this year, we had a Cinco de Mayo night! (No one seemed particularly upset that we did it on  Quatro de Mayo.) I made chalupas, and they were so awesome! This recipe has a surprising source: the Parade magazine. And oh yeah, it’s Eva Longoria’s recipe from her new cookbook, Eva’s Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Friends and Family

‘Fess up: Am I the only one totally surprised (and a little doubtful) about Eva’s ability to eat, let alone cook? Be that as it may, this was delicious. Even my Super Picky Three Year Old ate it and professed love! This is huge.

I’m going to give you the recipe as written but I’ll tell you: use what you have on hand, use what your family will eat, and adjust quantitites based on what they’ll eat. For instance, I was out of tomatoes (but it would have looked prettier with them.) After I took pictures, I ended up topping mine with a little salsa and loved the kick. I only used 1 avocado. I grilled some chicken breasts up after rubbing them lightly with taco seasoning, but you could use whatever you’ve got. Canned chicken, leftover chicken, or rotisserie chicken would all work great in this recipe.

This recipe is super easy and quick, but I did have a little problem with the oil. My first few attempts I used too much oil and didn’t get it hot enough. You want the oil pretty hot so it cooks the tortilla quickly rather than soaking into the tortilla.


1/2 c. vegetable oil, or as needed
8 corn tortillas (we used 10-12)
4 c. shredded lettuce
1 1/2 c. grated queso fresco or cheddar cheese
3/4 c. sour cream
1 large tomato, diced
2 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 c. refried beans, warmed
2 c. cooked, shredded chicken, warmed

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat oil until shimmery and hot. Fry tortillas one at a time until firm, 1 minute per side. Transfer to baking sheet; cool 5 minutes.

Place lettuce, cheese, sour cream, tomato, and avocado in separate serving bowls.

Spread beans on each tortilla. Sprinkle chicken on top. Arrange chalupas on a platter; serve with toppings on the side.

For a dairy free version, omit/substitute sour cream and cheese.


Some meals, sometimes, just need to be simple. Whether you are short on time or short on brain power, there is no shame in pulling out ingredients where the prep work is done for you, tossing them together, and calling it dinner

At least, I’m not ashamed.

Fact: This recipe is on the Rice-A-Roni box.
Of course, I adapted it to make it allergy friendly and added a veggie, but it is so simple! It literally takes a half hour, start to finish. I also love it because it uses uncooked boneless skinless chicken with no extra cooking time, rather than using precooked grilled chicken breast strips.

Man, I love those precooked strips. They make my life so easy. But they are expensive.

 When I’m in a hurry, I tend to grab the precooked stuff, but this just cooks right along with the rice. The only extra step you need is to cut the meat before you put it in the pan. Kitchen scissors, anyone?

And hello, this meal is a one-pan meal. Which totally makes cleanup amazingly easy.

adapted from the Rice-A-Roni box recipe

1 box Rice-A-Roni, Chicken flavor
2 T. margarine or butter
2 c. water
1 lb. uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. frozen broccoli 

In large skillet, sauté rice-vermicelli mix with 2 T. margarine (I used Bestlife Buttery Baking Sticks) over medium heat until vermicelli is golden brown, stirring frequently.

Slowly stir in 2 c. water, Special Seasonings, and 1 lb. uncooked boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces; bring to a boil.

 Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Add frozen broccoli during the last 5 minutes of simmering. Turn off heat. Let stand 5 minutes, toss, and serve.

Optional: top with 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese before standing time.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I asked you to share yesterday’s post about my great coupon deal. Well, you certainly complied! Today I’m giving you my fabulous, amazingly easy recipe for BBQ Chicken Pizza.

The good news is, we are super close to our giveaway! When we have 30 “likes” on facebook I have a great giveaway planned… and I’m not telling what it is.

No, really, it’s a surprise.
And yes, I actually know what I’m doing for the giveaway, Smarty Pants!

We just need a few more likes. Did you know it’s really easy to share pages with your friends? On the left hand side of the Confessions of a Slacker Mom fb page, there is a little link that says “share.” It will post it to your profile page, or you can send it as a message to people you think may be interested.

Okay, now for the pizza! My family loves this recipe. It’s so simple that I make it frequently.

Disclaimer: I measured nothing. These are all estimates which you can easily adjust to your family’s taste and based on what’s in your cupboard.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Adapted from: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A quick and easy BBQ Chicken Pizza that looks gourmet--and is easily adaptable for allergies!
  • 1 unbaked pizza crust (I usually do it from scratch, but a Pillsbury Pizza crust, or even a Boboli pizza would work fine too)
  • ¾ c. honey barbecue sauce (Use your favorite, if you don't have honey flavored, mix in a few tablespoons of honey)
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (you can also use grilled chicken strips)
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 pkg. bacon
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese blend
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • to make this allergy friendly, I typically leave a section of pizza with no cheese for Abigail. As she gets older I will probably make a mini pizza for her with dairy free cheese.
  1. Press pizza crust into oiled baking sheet. Brush ½ c. barbecue sauce over crust.
  2. Cook bacon according to favorite method. (I typically bake it at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crispy.) Remove from oven, and place on plate with paper towels to cool.
  3. Cube chicken into small bite sized pieces. Pour a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken over medium high heat until no longer pink. 2-3 minutes before chicken is finished cooking, pour ¼ c. honey barbecue sauce over chicken and stir until well coated. Remove chicken from heat and spread evenly over pizza crust.
  4. Cook red onion in a bit of leftover bacon grease or with a little olive oil, just until beginning to brown. Spread red onion over pizza crust. Crumble bacon and spread over pizza crust as well. Sprinkle brown sugar over the pizza.
  5. Liberally top pizza with cheese.
  6. Bake pizza at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cheddar is hot and bubbly.
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