Spicing Up the Dinner Table

I’m in a dinner rut. I feel like I make the same few meals day in and day out. Every day around 2pm, my husband and I  have the same conversation via text or e-mail:
Me: What do you want for dinner?
Tim: I don’t know. Whatever.
Me: I hate you.
Now that I’m dairy free, the regular meal rotation has gotten even smaller. I dug into my Pinterest boards the other day for some inspiration. I made two dinners this past week that were delicious, and my super picky eater husband even ate one of them, so I thought I’d share.
Seeing as it is still freezing, tonight I made Creamy White Bean Stew with Bacon. Creamy is a misnomer, as there is no cream in it, but it still tastes very rich. The recipe is from The Cozy Apron and pretty easy to make.


12 ounces apple smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces ( I used about 6 oz and just had regular Oscar Meyer Center Cut bacon- our personal fave)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (Sorry Emma!)
1 onion, small dice (I only had half an onion and I think that is fine)
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Pinch or two sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
6 (15 ounce) cans small white beans (or navy beans), drained and rinsed (This seemed like a lot, but I ended up using most of them)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
-She has you chop up your bacon and fry it in the Dutch oven or heavy pot. I baked my bacon in the oven because I didn’t want to sit next to the stove and watch it, as Emma was still awake. Pre-heat the oven to 400*, line a baking sheet with tinfoil, lay bacon so it isn’t touching and bake around 12-18 minutes depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Best part- no splatters so you don’t have to clean your stove top which is THE. WORST.
-Add bacon fat to the pot, along with the olive oil and the butter, and allow them to melt together; once melted and hot, add in the diced onion, carrots and celery, and allow them to soften and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic,cook for a few minutes and  add in about 2/3 of the crumbled cooked bacon, as well as the Italian seasoning, the sea salt and the pepper, and the white beans, and stir to combine. Add in the chicken stock, stir, and allow the stew to gently simmer for about 40-45 minutes, partially covered with lid. About half way through the cooking process, mash the beans a little bit with a potato masher to thicken the stew. Finish the stew by adding in the chopped parsley, the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Garnish with the remaining crisped bacon.
I wouldn’t skip the parsley or lemon zest and juice as they really add a fresh flavor to the stew and finish it off nicely. Obvi the crumbled  bacon on top is delish. I plan to eat this for lunch for the rest of the week because Tim won’t touch it.
The second dinner I made was Baked Honey Garlic Chicken from Jo Cooks. Easy and healthy and Tim approved, which is really saying something!

Clearly not my food photography.
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • sesame seeds, optional
  • fresh chopped parsley, optional
For Honey Garlic Sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs to a shallow plate. Beat the eggs in another shallow plate.
  3. Season beaten eggs with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the eggs and toss to make sure each piece is fully coated in the egg mixture.
  4. Coat each piece of chicken with breadcrumbs and place on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and slightly golden.
  5. While baking, mix all the sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn down the heat and cook for a couple more minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour sauce over chicken and toss so that the chicken pieces are fully coated. If there’s left over sauce, use for dipping. Garnish with sesame seeds and parsley if preferred.
  7. Serve over rice and/or veggies. (Or just eat on a plate all by itself like I did.)

2 thoughts on “Spicing Up the Dinner Table

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