Sweet Potato and Chicken Chili

This is a super quick dinner to put together on those busy weeknights! It’s filling, healthy, and delicious! Pair with a delicious cornbread topped with honey and this meal will definitely become a family favorite!
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I was thinking about a time a few years back when dinner time was crazy because I had a little baby clinging to me, while another one was taking every item out of the pantry closet. It was hard and exhausting but now more than ever I can admit I wish I could pull a jar of baby food out of the pantry and call it dinner!

Every season is exhausting, but with each season certain things become easier while certain things become harder. As of now, having three kids In school with homework, dance classes, singing lessons, piano, soccer, and reruns of Gilmore Girls to catch up on…I HAVE NO TIME!

So while I love to make a good ol’ peanut butter and banana sandwich for dinner, sometimes I feel the need to make a healthy home cooked meal because I love the idea of adding a lot on my plate. I thrive on stress. ;)

Luckily, for you and for me, I have nailed down a handful of delicious, quick, and healthy dinners that come together in under 20-30 minutes. I’ll definitely continue to share these as time goes on because we have to stick together! Also, this meal can be made simultaneously while your 1st grader reads to you a story about spiders and their babies.

In case you were wondering…

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Sweet Potato and Chicken Chili


Ingredients:

3 TB. olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, diced

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks

1 TB. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

3 cups canned crushed tomatoes

1 can chili beans OR black beans in sauce

1 can mild red enchilada sauce

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken


Toppings: Fresh lime, sour cream, scallions, cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips.


Directions:

  1. In a medium heated pot on the stove, add the olive oil. Toss in the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables have softened and are translucent.

  2. Add in the sweet potato and spices, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Next add in tomatoes, beans, enchilada sauce, and broth. Cover and cook until the soup has thickened and the sweet potatoes have softened. Continue to stir frequently.

  3. Once the chili is ready, fold in the chicken and remove the chili from the heat. Serve immediately and top each bowl with the toppings!

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Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

We all know that when it comes to accomplishing certain tasks, if you throw a few children in the mix things can tend to get...tricky. For example, walking out the door. What should be a simple thing which requires little to no brain activity can turn into one of the biggest trials of November. One lost shoe, 15 minutes late, someone has a dirty diaper, you just noticed you aren't wearing a bra...and then FUDGE! Where are your keys?

Every parent says FUDGE when they want to swear but can't. Unless your me, then you say shit. Then your baby says shit. That your 6 your old says, "Mom! The baby said shit!"

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

Let me talk about this morning for example. We've all been so lucky to get that extra hour of sleep this weekend, unless you have children. Because now they wake up at 5:45 instead of 6:45, and you went to bed at 10:45...(technically 11:45, but you figured you would get that extra hour in the morning.) Think.Again.

We just happened to have an extra hour this morning before we had to leave for school! An extra hour never happens, and then your mind starts to wonder about all of the marvelous things you could accomplish if you had time like this EVERY DAY!

You could shower, curl your hair, wear matching clothes, find your kids shoes in time...

cute baby messy kitchen
cute baby messy kitchen
naughty baby
naughty baby

I decided to do a yoga video. I'm trying to embrace Yoga as of lately because of stress. I'm hoping it will calm me, as well as get me toned in all the areas that seem to have just given up.

So I popped in a TWENTY minute yoga video. To some, this seems so insignificant, but to a busy mom, twenty minutes is basically like asking for Milo Ventimiglia from 'This Is Us' to show up at your door unannounced with chocolate. (P.S. why do I want to say his last name all the time?)

5 minutes in, things got dark. The baby was SCREAMING. I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure it was for no reason at all. She climbed all over me yelling in my ear as I tried my best to twist side to side and feel that deep stretch. In between screams I could hear, "Ahhhh. Just breath..."

And then, just like that, with FOUR minutes to spare I hear a cry up stairs, "MMOOOOM! COME WIPE ME!" For real.

"Honey, I can't! I'm "exercising!" Give me 4 minutes!"

"But it's DIARRHEA!!"

Baby screaming. Lady breathing. Kid yelling.

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup
Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

This is why I make soup. Why, you ask? Because soup is something I love, something that comes together SO quickly. I can make a big pot with whatever vegetables I want and can store it in the fridge for a few days of lunch. Then I can store the other half in the freezer for my lunches next week.

Because sometimes as a mom, you don't have time to think about yourself. Sometimes, it's nice to have a meal ready for you in the fridge when you need it. So, hence this soup. It's warm, comforting, and has vegetables in it! Just make sure everyone is wiped and the baby is napping before you sit down to eat...because we all know what happens when moms try to sit down...

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Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped carrots
  • 3 c. diced butternut squash
  • 1/2 c. milk of choice
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 12 cups water
  • 6 boullion cubes
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 7-14 oz pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent.
  3. Add carrots and butternut. Continue to toss and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in milk, pumpkin puree, water, and boullion cubes.
  5. Stir and come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Next add in pasta and chicken, along with spices. Cook until pasta is slightly undercooked/al dente. (The pasta will continue to retain water as it sits.)
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!
  7. (The pasta I used was rather large and took about a lot of the soup, that's why I say 7 oz-14 oz, depending on pasta size and shape.)

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pasta
pasta

The pasta I used was this CUTE pasta I purchased from Trader Joes! Those little pumpkins were the perfect match for this soup. But If you do use this pasta, be careful because it get's rather large. I think next time I might only use 3/4 of the bag. To find the pasta, you can purchase it here: (affiliate link)

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So tell me busy moms/dads/persons, what do you do to find time for YOU? I specifically struggling when it comes to exercise, so let me know when and how you fit it in! Have a great week!!

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup (Vegetarian/Vegan)

*This Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup is my vegetarian version of Chicken Noodle soup with a citrus touch. The lemon is SO perfect and pairs so well with all of the flavors, and gives it such a comforting and light taste! It's perfect to warm your soul on a cold day, with a kick of vitamin C to knock any cold!*  ______________________________________________________________________

My husband LOVES soup! So much that he just gets so tickled when I tell him to hurry home from work because there is a nice warm bowl awaiting his hungry belly!  Not before he makes a pit stop at Taco Bell (true story) because he actually hates soup and every other meal that I declare healthy and delish.

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

I think he doesn't love soup because it doesn't satisfy his fast food taste bud. It doesn't come in a cardboard box, greasy paper bag, with a scent of regret.

It may clean your intestines some what the way a meal from any fast food joint may do, but it won't make you re think every life decision you've ever made at 3 in the morning from fast food hallucinations...

I kid....in a way.

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup

Come fall, or the spirit of fall shall we say, I tend to throw all that's in my fridge in a pot with a cups of broth, grab a sweater and count down for Christmas! It's healthy.  Despite it being 99 degrees all this week, I keep embracing the fact that I am over with summer and I'm ready for leggings!

I guess my delusions of Fall go hand in hand with my husbands acceptance and delusions of Fast Food...

And if that doesn't make us a strong, #GOALS type of couple, then I don't know what will!

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves, diced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced semi thin
  • 3 sticks celery, diced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth, or chicken for a non vegan/veg soup
  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas OR one can of white beans for a softer bean
  • 2 cups cooked pasta noodles of choice
  • juice of 2 lemons (Mine weren't super juicy, so start with one and add more lemon juice if desired)
  • 1 TB. dried Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 tsp. tumeric, optional for color
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot over the stove on medium heat. Add the olive oil, and heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the carrots and celery and toss.
  3. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  4. Next add in the broth and chickpeas, followed by the lemon juice and seasonings.
  5. Once the vegetables have softened, add the cooked pasta. You can add un cooked pasta, but add 2 cups more broth for the pasta to soak.
  6. Serve with lemon slices, fresh parsley, and parmesan cheese on top if desired! Enjoy!

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This soup is SO good! If you love chicken noodle soup, you will love this variation. The lemon is the perfect twist and adds an extra level of comfort! Let's not forget the vitamin C punch that would be perfect for any cold!

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

I'm determined to find a soup that my husband will love, even though the task might be impossible. I'm thinking a beefy baja chalupa soup might be right up his alley....

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup

*This is comfort food at it's finest. Meatball and Spaghetti Soup is the perfect combination of two comfort foods, soup and pasta, mixed into one! It's a quick and easy dish, and it's hearty and filling.* *******************************************************************************************

Here's the deal. I know reading blogs is a thing of the past. So 2012. 2010? Either way, we are a visual world. I know that most of you might just scroll past this and not even read what I'm writing, look at a few of the pics, and go right down to the recipe. You will check the ingredients and then, "Hmmm that sounds doable...I'll have to remember that, Oh wait! I have a new Instagram notification!"

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So basically, I could really say whatever the flying fargin bastage I want. I could tell you the most embarrassing story about my husband, and no one would know. Except my mom, because I think she still reads my blog? Maybe.

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So for now, mom, and maybe some random person from France, thank you for getting to this point. I know it was painful, and excruciating. Have you ever typed out excruciating? It's excruciating.

I'm sorry there is no clever hilarious story, but I'm going to be honest. This day light savings thing has me screwed up and Real Housewives of Atlanta is on. I am not thinking straight.

Here is the recipe you've all been waiting for....The End.

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Meatball and Spaghetti Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion diced

  • 4-5 cloves garlic, diced

  • 2 TB. olive oil

  • 1 small can tomato paste

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes

  • 4 c. marinara sauce (jarred or homemade)

  • 8-10 c. vegetable broth**

  • 2 TB. Italian seasoning

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 2 tsp. cane sugar

  • 12 oz. dried pasta of choice

  • 18-20 cooked meatballs, (Can sub vegetarian meatballs)

  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley

  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil

  • salt and pepper to taste, I started with 1 tsp. of each.

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil.

  2. Then add in the onions and garlic. Stir and cook down the mixture until the onions are translucent.

  3. Next add in your tomato paste. Mix it around for about 30 seconds, then add in your crushed tomatoes, marinara sauce, broth, and spices.

  4. Cover and let the soup simmer on a low boil for 10 minutes.

  5. Add in the cooked meatballs and dried pasta, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, and 1/2 the amount of fresh herbs. Stir and continue to simmer for about 5 or so minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Remove from heat so the pasta doesn’t overcook.

  6. Serve with the extra parmesan cheese on top as well as fresh herbs and enjoy!

  7. **Sometimes with a soup that has pasta, the liquid can keep absorbing into it, which causes the soup to thicken and while also giving you a very soft overcooked pasta. It is key to add the pasta into the last part of the cooking process, and If necessary add a little more liquid. (You will need to adjust the seasonings if doing so.)

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A little about this soup. It's the perfect combination of 2 comfort foods, soup and spaghetti. It makes a lot of leftovers if you have children who eat like birds, which makes for a perfect mommy/daddy lunch!

Don't forget a side salad to add some veggies to this heavier carb dish, because you also can't forget the garlic bread! If you make your own meatballs, I LOVE this recipe. It's my go-to every time. I will make the meatballs while the soup is cooking, and then throw them in at the end! It also has veggies in the meatballs, and if you include a side salad you are on track! It's the perfect Sunday dinnel or when you are having guests over. This is a really long paragraph, so hopefully you get my point :).

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If you made it this far, go ahead and eat some chocolate. You deserve it! You unique one of a kind son of a gun! Bonjour! xo

Simple Top Ramen

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g4

g4

Today I held a (rather large) clump of thin dirty blond hair in my hand.

One child screaming with her hands on her head, and the other child grinning from ear to ear, doing some sort of twirl victory dance.

As I bent down to scold said dancing child, her little two year old mouth looked at me and said, "Yeave me ayone!"

What?!

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ramen5

Then my 4 year old removed her hands from her poor scalp that was probably burning, and screamed, "MY SECOND NAME IS ELSA, QUEEN OF THE QUEEN!"...Followed by a twirl of her gown and loud stomps down the hallway.

"YEAVE ME AYONE."

"NO! MY NAME IS ELSA"

"GO AYAY!"

"YOU CAN'T TELL ELSA WHAT TO DO!"

"AYAYALDLF LSKDJFY!!!!"

Push, Shove, Twirl, Stomp, and Victory Dance...In that order.

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I couldn't figure out whether to talk to Elsa or Gia, and quite frankly I was worried the two year old will pull my hair. So I did what any desperate mom would do...

I drank.

Ice water. It calms me guys. Then I said a prayer.

For sanity, for comfort, and for strength.

And then in that moment, both my girls came and sat on my lap and as clear as day I heard, "They love you so much."

Did they stop fighting after that? No. I swear my oldest was running around saying "Son of a Fish!"

Did I feel like a complete failure? No. Despite the chaos and drama, I felt loved,  I knew they felt loved and loved each other as well.

I also knew that someone had taught my daughter to say, "Son of a fish!"...

Next step:

Comfort Food.


Top Ramen

(Serving size 8 cups)

I will be completely honest and say as a child I LOVED opening a package of top ramen, sprinkling the 'seasoning' packet on top of the dried pasta, and eating as is. I can still taste it! This is a spin off of that ever so popular childhood favorite. This is a vegetarian version, but you can definitely add in your favorite ingredients. Switch up the broths, sautee some diced veggies with the onions, etc.

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. sesame oil, or olive oil

  • 1/4 c. minced onion

  • 3 cloves garlic minced

  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger

  • (Opt: Minced carrots)

  • 8 cups vegetable broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 12 oz. Chinese Noodles

  • 4 tsp. ground celery seed

  • 4-5 TB. fresh chopped chives

  • salt/pepper

  • optional: red pepper flakes, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc.)

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, add oil and heat up. Then add minced onion, garlic, and ginger. (If you add other raw veggies add in here as well.)

  2. Continually toss and cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.

  3. Next add in broth and water.

  4. Stir and add in chinese noodles.

  5. Sprinkle in spices and let cook for a few minutes until the noodles are soft.

  6. Add in your additional seasonings and toppings. Serve hot!

Directions:

  1. Turn the instant pot on SAUTE. Add 1-2 TB. olive oil, the onions, garlic, ginger, and minced carrots. Saute until the the onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the Instant pot and set to MANUAL. Cook for 2 minutes. Release steam when done.


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ramen3

I enjoyed this comfort food all by myself...Imagine that. One child asleep, and the other staring/glaring at me from time out.

You can thank that son of a fish.

Crockpot Tempeh Veggie Chili

In a perfect world, every man would love their veggies.

They would request green smoothies in the morning, kale chips in their lunches, and tofu stir fry for dinner.

But alas...

I am LOL.

Today, on our way home from an outing, (this was AFTER dinner), my husband asked if we could stop at McDonalds.

To get the new McRib.

The McDump...Or whatever.

One man has not been excited about the McRib coming back, as my husband was. I'm talking, literally salivating.

Despite my intentions to shove veggies down his throat, he has a place in his heart for fast foods...(which in turn are hurting his heart, it's really quite ironic.) I figure I am not the only wifey out there, pleading with their spouses to come clean and switch green, begging them to say goodbye to the scary man dressed in a yellow jumpsuit with bright red hair.

But we don't live in a perfect world, we live in reality.

Reality says that men(and most people in the world) love fast food, and the thought of coming home to a tasty healthy tofu stir fry really doesn't get the average person's taste buds dancing.

But if there is something that I have learned with the hubby, it's that the more 'obvious' it is that the meal is healthy, the less likely he is going to touch it. For example, in no way shape or form would the hubby be excited about a salad topped with tofu.

Buuuuttt, this is a GiNoRmOuS But my friends, if I threw on some sick wit' it salad dressing, yummy crunchy coated nuts, some flavored veggies, a little touch of goat cheese, and a slice of warm buttered bread...

Well then he is more likely to dig in.

Fast forward to Halloween.

Every year my family makes chili and cornbread. This year was no different, except I was going full on vegetarian chili.

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My hubby was super nervous when I told him I was making chili for him and a few family members as well...In fact, I am pretty sure he told me, "Make sure it's not a Healthy chili ok?"

I did as I always do, and ignored his suggestions by packing that chili full of veggies, and some crumbled tempeh to give it that hearty meat texture that everyone loves to have in chili.

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What did everyone think?

Let's just say their taste buds were salivating enough to eat more than one...even two helpings...

Especially when they could load their chili with cheese, avocados, bread, or chips!!

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Crockpot Tempeh Veggie Chili

*This was done in a crockpot, but I assume could be done on the stove*

Ingredients:

1 medium sweet onion finely diced

5-6 large cloves garlic finely diced

1 C. butternut squash cubed

2 yellow bell peppers diced

2 pkg. Tempeh Bacon chopped/diced

3 TB. Sucanat

2 cans garbanzo beans(drained and rinsed)

1 can black beans(drained and rinsed)

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 c. veggie broth

8 oz. can tomato sauce

2 TB. cornstarch dissolved in 2 TB. cold water

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. oregano

salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Throw all ingredients into a crockpot. Set on high for about 3 hours, and low for about 2 hours. When the chili is done to desired consistency, turn crockpot to 'keep warm' until ready to eat.

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This is hands down the best chili I have made so far!

And I owe a lot of it to this bad boy:

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source

Tempeh has been my new found love for a while! It's basically cooked and fermented soy beans formed into a little patty. The kind of Tempeh I buy usually has added grains in it too! It doesn't have much flavor, but you can crumble it to the perfect texture to resemble meat crumbles. It gives you that hearty texture of meat, but a lot more nutrition and deliciousness! You can find it at any health food store, even Trader Joes!

For this chili I used Tempeh Bacon, which looks like this:

source

It has an awesome marinated smokey taste! Perfect for chili! :-)

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And after our bellies were warm, we decided to take Baby Boo out for her first trick or treating experience!

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Baby Boo has always been friendly with others, but I wasn't sure how she would act going up to random doors...

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Luckily, that was about as scary as the costumes got....

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And door after door, Baby Boo RAN.

Apparently she had one thing in mind...

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It was like christmas for her!

Especially since her papa dressed like her idol:

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It turned out to be the perfect night with fun costumes, lots of laughter, and full bellies filled with goodness!

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Did I mention the leftovers made a delicious chili corn bread casserole? I'll share tomorrow friends!

Who knew a good thing could get even better?! :-)