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Main Course/ Recipes

Poppy Seed Chicken

Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,

Poppy seed chicken is something I have been eating since I was a kid and It’s always been one of my favorite comfort food meals! There are so many variations that you can make to this recipe like adding in veggies, rice, or noodles, but it’s perfect even without any extras! The sauce is so rich and creamy and the Ritz cracker topping is so buttery and crunchy! I like to make it with rice in the bottom of the dish to soak up some of that sauce. This might be called poppy seed chicken, but the sauce is totally the star of this dish. (Sorry little poppy seeds)  🙂 My family goes crazy for this stuff!Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,

I made this last week and I’m already craving it again looking at these pictures! I don’t think anyone will mind if I make it again soon though! 🙂
Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,


5 from 4 votes
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Poppy Seed Chicken

A chicken casserole with a rich and creamy sauce and crispy buttery topping!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts (Cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder (divided)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 10.5 ounce cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 24 ounces sour cream
  • 2 cups ritz crackers (crushed)
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 tsp poppy seeds (divided)
  • 4 cups cooked rice (optional but super yummy)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  2. If you would like to add the rice to the bottom of the casserole, layer it on the bottom of your 9x13 casserole dish first. *You can use leftover rice or one of the quick microwavable bags of rice. No need to make it fancy!

  3. Cut your chicken into bit size pieces and season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. 

  4. Heat a large sauté pan and cook your chicken on medium heat until it's just cooked throughout. Make sure not to over cook since it's going back in the oven. 

  5. Add your chicken to the casserole pan on top of the rice (if you're making this with rice) or just add it to the bottom of the pan. 

  6. In a large bowl, mix together your sour cream and **cream of chicken soup, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp, garlic powder and 2 tsp of poppy seeds. Once combined, spread this on top of the chicken. (This is why the rice is so great! It mixes with all that yummy sauce!)

  7. In a small bowl, mix together your crushed ritz crackers, melted butter, and ***poppy seeds. Sprinkle this on the top of the casserole. 

  8. Place in the oven for 25 minutes until the top gets a little browned. I let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving. ENJOY!! 

Recipe Notes

*The rice in this dish makes it a little heartier but I have made it plenty of times without the rice and it's still just as delicious! 

**I have made this dish with low fat sour cream and it's still great. However, I would NOT make it with low fat or "heart healthy" cream of chicken soup. It makes the casserole watery and have less flavor. 

***Also I know this is called "poppy seed" chicken but I've also make it quite often without the poppy seeds because I didn't have any on hand. It's still amazing! (And you won't have little black things stuck in your teeth hee hee)

(You can serve it with any kind of veggies you like too! The sauce is delicious on veggies!)

 

Coco and Ash

Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,

Cuban Food/ Main Course/ Recipes

Ropa Vieja – Cuban Shredded Beef

Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

I had this ropa vieja simmering away in my slow cooker yesterday and it smelled so good I thought I’d go crazy waiting to eat dinner! Even my all-American hubby loves it! I actually just had a big bowl full for lunch again today and I’ll probably have it for dinner tonight. Is that excessive? 🙂

If you’re not familiar with Ropa Vieja, it’s a Cuban dish (actually the national dish of Cuba!) and it literally means “old clothes”. I’m guessing it’s called that because the meat is so tender and falls apart so easily! It’s made with a large cut of beef that’s slow cooked in a tomato based sauce and by the end of the cooking time, the meat is so flavorful and tender and shreds so easily. It’s traditionally served with white rice so you can soak up all that extra sauce!Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

This is one of the things that I definitely order if I see it on a menu. It’s not a fancy dish but it’s one that is so hearty and flavorful! And by the way, if you drain some of the liquid off, ropa vieja is amazing in tacos!!

I normally try to give you guys step-by-step photos but in a slow cooker dish (whoop whoop), it’s pretty much just dump and go so I’ll just give you the pictures of the finished product this time. 🙂 By the way, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you NEED to get one! HERE’S A LINK for some to choose from. It will easily become your favorite kitchen appliance!


Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

5 from 4 votes
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Ropa Vieja - Cuban Shredded Beef

Cuban shredded beef in a tomato based sauce flavored with peppers, onions, and garlic and more! 

Servings 8
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound flank steak (you could also use chuck)
  • 1 tbsp adobo seasoning (if you don't have adobo, use 1.5 teaspoons of salt and 1.5 teaspoons of garlic powder)
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced into strips
  • 6 large garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup green spanish olives (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 cup white cooking wine
  • 28 ounce can of tomato pureee
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp each: ground cumin, dried oregano, white sugar, salt

Instructions

  1. Take your flank steak and rub each side down with the adobo seasoning then add it to the slow cooker.

  2. Slice your peppers, onion, and garlic and add those to the slow cooker along with the olives. 

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together your white wine, tomato puree, tomato paste, and seasonings and then add that in the slow cooker. 

  4. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

  5. After the 8 hours, remove just the meat and shred with 2 forks. Ropa vieja is traditionally served shredded very finely so I don't leave any large chunks. Add the meat back in the slow cooker and cook for 20 more minutes. 

  6. During that 20 minutes is when I make my rice using my rice cooker

  7. I serve my ropa vieja over the white rice with a big extra scoop of the sauce on top! 

Coco and Ash

Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

Main Course/ Recipes

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

This honey lime shrimp and broccoli dish is one of my favorite dinners!! I’ve actually made it twice just this week! One reason being that it tastes amazing and the other being that it is so quick and easy. It has a touch of sweetness from the honey and a little tang from the lime which tastes amazing with that savory soy sauce.  I also used a Publix “steam in bag” veggie pack which made it even that much easier!

It starts with a simple marinade/sauce. You’re going to add in your honey, soy, garlic, and lime juice and whisk that together. Here’s a little tip for you…when you’re going to measure your honey, spray the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and the honey will slide right out instead of sticking!Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

After whisking your sauce together, set aside 1/3 cup of the sauce for later and add the shrimp to the remaining sauce. Pop that in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

While the shrimp are marinading you can get your rice ready (if you’re having rice). I use a rice cooker so I don’t have to really think about it. Here’s a link to the one that I have. This is also when I steam my broccoli. I just use these steam in bags from Publix but you can use a steamer or prepare it however you’d like. Just leave it a tiny bit under cooked. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

When you’re ready to cook your shrimp, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, melt the butter and then add in the shrimp (discard the marinade) and cook for about 1 minute per side. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy
After cooking the shrimp, you can add in the steamed broccoli and the remaining sauce that you had set aside and cook for 2 more minutes. You’re not really “cooking” the broccoli any further. You just want to incorporate it into the sauce. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

After cooking for the 2 minutes, you’re all done!!

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

5 from 4 votes
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Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp butter (you could also use olive oil)
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli (I use Publix "steam in bag")

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, lime juice, and garlic.

  2. Scoop out 1/3 cup of the sauce and set it aside to use later. 

  3. Add your shrimp to the bowl with the remaining marinade and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. 

  4. While your shrimp is marinading you can steam your veggies. I use Publix "steam in bag" veggies so I pop it in the microwave and just let it hang out until I need it. If you are making this with rice, you can also start that while the shrimp is marinading. (This is the rice cooker that I use. You can actually steam veggies in there too!)

  5. When you're ready to cook the shrimp, add your butter to a skillet on medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, take a slotted spoon and add in just the shrimp. You can discard the marinade. 

  6. Cook the shrimp for about 1 minute per side. 

  7. Add the steamed broccoli and 1/3 cup of reserved sauce to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes. 

  8. I serve mine over white rice and a little extra squeeze of lime juice on top. 🙂

Recipe Notes

I used broccoli for this recipe because it's my favorite but you could use any veggie you like! 

Coco and Ash

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

Main Course/ Recipes

Skillet Meatloaf with Pan Gravy

skillet meatloaf easy dinner best pan quick

When I think of comfort food, one of the first meals that comes to mind is meatloaf. But there is one downfall to a traditional meatloaf…it can take over an hour just to bake! What if I told you that this meatloaf recipe takes less than 30 minutes?! It’s cooked in a skillet so each piece has those coveted crispy edges and it also has an easy pan gravy that is perfect over top of mashed potatoes as well. I honestly can say that I will never make meatloaf in the oven again…and I don’t think you will either!

It starts off just like a traditional meatloaf except instead of forming one large loaf, you are going to make 4 patties and sauté them in a skillet then use those drippings to make a delicious gravy that has onions, and beef broth and tastes like it simmered all day! skillet meatloaf easy dinner best pan quick

4.5 from 2 votes
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Skillet Meatloaf with Pan Gravy

So much quicker and tastier than a traditional baked meatloaf, this comes together in 30 minutes and has a pan gravy that you can smother over mashed potatoes and the meatloaf!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

FOR THE MEATLOAF

  • 1 slice of white bread (crust removed)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 small onion (diced very finely and separated into 2 equal piles...about 1/4 cup each)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lb ground beef

FOR THE GRAVY

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Reserved 1/4 cup of onions
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Instructions

FOR THE MEATLOAF

  1. In a large bowl, add your white bread (with crust removed), and the milk. Let it sit while you chop your onion. 

  2. Finely chop your onion and add HALF of it to the bowl. It should be around 1/4 cup. Save the other 1/4 cup for the gravy. Don't worry if your measurements are not exact...it'll be just fine 🙂

  3. Add in the beaten egg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Use a fork and combine everything together so it is one big mushy concoction. 

  4. Add the ground beef to the bowl and combine everything together. Now I hate to say it but your hands are the best tools for this. So take those rings off and dig right in!. Mix it until it's just combined being careful not to over mix the meat or it can get tough. 

  5. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. I don't add any oil to the pan since the meat will have its own but definitely spray your pan with non-stick spray....yes, even if it's a non-stick pan.  If you don't have the spray, just use a tiny bit of oil to coat the pan. 

  6. Once the pan is hot, divide your meat into 4 equal parts and form them into patties with your hands. Add to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. (TIP: before flipping, spray the tops of the meatloaf with more non-stick spray so that the other side doesn't stick when you flip it over)

  7. Once cooked, remove the meat from the pan and set them aside on a plate. 

FOR THE GRAVY

  1. In the same hot skillet, add your butter and onions and sauté until the onions are soft. (about 3-5 minutes)

  2. Once they've softened, add in the flour and cook for just one minute while stirring. I would normally say whisk it but since you are using a non-stick pan, just use a wooden spatula so you don't scrape up your pan.

  3. After the minute is up, add in your beef broth and stir that until it begins to bubble, then add in the ketchup. Stir to combine it all together and your done! The gravy will thicken as it sits. 

 

Coco and Ash
skillet meatloaf easy dinner best pan quick 30 minute 25 minute

Cuban Food/ Main Course/ Recipes

Cuban Picadillo

Cuban picadillo dinner recipe ground beef hash spanish

If you are part of a Cuban family, I don’t need to explain the amazingness of picadillo to you. You already know that it’s the ultimate Cuban comfort food. But if you’ve never had or even heard of picadillo you’re probably wondering, “what’s so great about this ground beef concoction?” Well it’s savory ground beef in a tomato based sauce with spices and a few extra goodies. I know it doesn’t sound particularly exciting…but it’s just plain good! I promise 🙂

CLICK HERE TO PIN THIS RECIPE FOR LATER!

Picadillo is one of those meals that is complete comfort food to me. My (American) husband thinks I’m crazy but I could eat it a couple times a week and never get sick of it! It’s nothing fancy or complicated, but to me, it’s the perfect meal. And if you’re wondering why there’s a banana in the photo…well that’s my Cuban roots. I can’t eat picadillo without a banana on the side. There’s something about that salty/sweet combination that’s just perfection.

It start with the same base as any good Cuban recipe…onions, green peppers, and garlic. Cuban Picadillo dinner comfort food easy recipe

And this is not a sponsored “Adobo” post but I love the stuff so much that I’m going to go ahead and give them a shout out here. If you don’t have adobo in your pantry…go get some right now!  If your grocery store doesn’t sell it, you can find it here. You could sprinkle it on a shoe and it would taste amazing. It’s basically a mix of salt, garlic powder, turmeric, and a few other things. I use it more often than I use salt and pepper and this dish is no different. Cuban Picadillo dinner beef easy spanish

Now I’m not  big olive fan, but there’s something about them that’s just perfect in picadillo. If you don’t like olives though, you can leave them out and it’ll still be great! And you don’t need any fancy olives, just the jarred, pimento-stuffed olives. I slice mine in half but you can leave them whole or dice them up small if you’d like. Cuban Picadillo recipe beef hash easy dinner spanish

Once you add the tomato sauce and paste and seasonings, you just let it simmer for 15 minutes and it will thicken up and be ready to serve!cuban picadillo recipe easy dinner ground beef hash

Cuban picadillo dinner recipe ground beef hash spanish

I like to serve mine over a big bowl of white rice. I just use my rice cooker and it comes out perfectly every time! If you don’t have a rice cooker HERE’S ONE that’s great. Not only do they cook rice but you can steam veggies, and make oatmeal, cook pasta…a rice cooker is an essential in my kitchen!

Cuban Picadillo dinner ground beef recipe spanish

Shout out to the lowly banana that I just have to have with my picadillo!!

I hope you enjoy this picadillo dish and find as much comfort in it as I do. And by the way, it’s very kid friendly! My kids have been devouring this stuff since they first were able to chew! (I do leave out the olives for them thought because…toddlers) 🙂

5 from 4 votes
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Cuban Picadillo


Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion - diced
  • 1/2 large green pepper - diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 and 1/2 lb ground beef (I use lean)
  • 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning (if you don't have this...go out and get some asap!! It's the best)
  • 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup pimento stuffed olives plus 1 tbsp of the brine from the jar (I just slice my olives in half but you can leave them hole or dice them finely)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add in your olive oil and then add your chopped peppers and onions. Saute until they are soft. It usually takes about 5 minutes. 

  2. After the 5 minutes, add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. 

  3. Add in the ground beef and sprinkle with the adobo seasoning. I have to be honest, I never measure this. I just sprinkle it all around the beef. It does have salt in it though so if you are sensitive to salt, try not to go over the 1/2 teaspoon. 

  4. Cook the meat until it's browned then add in the rest of the ingredients. (tomato sauce, tomato paste, white wine, olives and brine, sugar, and cumin)

  5. Stir everything to combine and cook uncovered for 15 minutes over low heat. 

Recipe Notes

I know some traditional Cuban picadillo recipes contain raisins. If you'd like to include them, just add in 1/4 of raisins when you add in the olives. 🙂 

 

Cuban Picadillo recipe dinner ground beef