Category Archives: Recipes


Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes

A few weeks ago I was wandering the grocery store while Scarlett was at school (isn’t it amazing how much more leisurely a grocery shop can be without little ones in tow?) I stumbled upon boxed ramen broth – right where the chicken and vegetable broths are – and I did a double take. I had no idea ramen broth came packaged and ready to buy at the supermarket; but of course, I had to buy it. I mean, ramen is delicious, and at-home ramen noodles recipe sounds pretty awesome. Then I set off to get the rest of my ramen ingredients, focusing on a few favorites. Ramen noodles, of course, shitake mushrooms, bok choy, green onion, and eggs.

I am a ramen lover through and through, but despite loving to cook, I’ve never actually attempted homemade ramen because a traditional ramen broth can take hours and hours to make. To even the best chefs, making a truly fatty, salty, umami-dense rich ramen broth is a feat in and of itself. But the result is the ultimate meal-in-a-bowl and pretty near close to perfect comfort food.

Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc.

I’m not saying the original decadent ramen noodle dish isn’t worth the trip to your favorite local ramen house, but when you just want a bowl of hearty noodles (because, carbs) covered in endless topping options that give you the power to make a bowl your very own – from the comfort of your sofa, I might add – this simple ramen noodles recipe in under 15 minutes might just be the key to at-home ramen bliss.

Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc.

Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes

Serves 2-4

INGREDIENTS

dried or fresh ramen noodles*, cooked as directed
ramen broth or vegetable broth
1 TB olive oil
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
1-4 mini bok choy, quartered into long pieces
1 soft-boiled egg
sesame seeds

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

bok choy
shitake or enoki mushrooms
pork belly or sliced roast chicken
scallions
bonito flakes
fresh spinach (blanch and squeeze all of the water out)
frozen spinach (defrost and squeeze all of the water out)
corn (canned, fresh or frozen)
bamboo shoots (canned or fresh) OR Bamboo Shoots in Chili Oil
dried seaweed
tofu (drained and cubed)
snow peas (blanched)
sliced Japanese fish cakes
fresh bean sprouts
chili oil
miso paste
soy sauce
sesame seeds

*I used dried ramen noodles for this, though admittedly, fresh ramen noodles are even better, but not quite as easy to find. Since falling for this soup, I’ve even ripped open one of those 25 cent instant ramen noodle packages and uses the noodles from the package, throwing away the spice pack. It all works.

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, sauté fresh vegetables like onions, bok choy, and mushrooms until golden brown.
  2. In a separate pot, heat your broth and cook noodles according to the package.
  3. If you like having a soft-boiled egg on your ramen, boil your eggs for 5-6 minutes, no more. (I usually cook mine closer to medium, but is purely preference.)
  4. Pour broth and noodles into bowls, followed by any protein and vegetables. Garnish with sesame seeds, and any soy sauce or chili oil, then place half the soft-boiled egg on top. Serve hot with chopsticks and a spoon.

NOTE: I went the pretty traditional route, topping my ramen noodles with shitake mushrooms, bok choy, green onion, a soft-boiled egg, and sesame seeds, but I’m looking forward to trying a whole variety of toppings as we add this simple dinner into our rotation. I’m definitely going to add sliced roasted chicken (something you can easily pick up pre-made at the grocery store) or tofu for extra protein in the future. Everyone loved having ramen at home, especially Scarlett, who was a big fan of slurping up the soft noodles.

Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc. Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc. Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc. Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes Simple Ramen Noodles Recipe in Under 15 Minutes by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc.

Happy slurping!

If you make your own simple ramen noodles recipe at home, be sure to tag me on social media (@glitterinclexi) so I can live vicariously through all of your delicious meals!

Photos by Annie Watts Photography

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you so much for clicking through and helping to support this little blog business of mine! Read more about our site, privacy, and disclosure policies here.


Lexi

Delicious Chewy Granola Bar Recipe: Soft Chocolate Chip Pretzel

Warm weather is here and I am all about no-bake snacks that kids (and grown-ups alike) will love. I stumbled across this chewy granola bar recipe, and made a few simple tweaks, to come up with a new household favorite. Between hubby and Scarlett, these dairy-free* soft chocolate chip pretzel granola bars were gone in a matter of days.

Hubby declared them “the best chewy granola bar recipe yet,” so there’s that.

How to make our favorite dairy-free soft chocolate chip pretzel granola bars. Click through for the easy recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

The texture to these granola bars is perfect – soft and chewy – and the saltiness from the pretzel and peanut butter plus the hints of sweet from the semi-sweet chocolate, makes these granola bars THE perfect snack. I actually cut our granola bars into “granola squares”; perfect for little hands.

*Scarlett can’t have any milk protein, so we’re always experimenting with vegan and dairy-free recipes, in case you want to check them out! While this recipe is not vegan because of the honey, it can be made dairy-free using dairy-free chocolate chips. We use Enjoy Life chocolate chunks and chips; they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free, and totally delicious. They also bake incredibly well. Even Target carries them! Obviously, you can use regular semi-sweet chocolate here instead if you don’t need to keep the recipe dairy-free.

How to make our favorite dairy-free soft chocolate chip pretzel granola bars. Click through for the easy recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

How to Make Our New Favorite Soft Chocolate Chip Pretzel Chewy Granola Bar Recipe

INGREDIENTS

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups twisted pretzels, crushed down to about 1 heaping cup
½ cup salted peanut halves
1 cup peanut butter (more as needed)
½ cup honey (more as needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Toss the oats, crushed pretzels, salted peanut halves, and chocolate chips (optional) together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla together in a separate bowl until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the other bowl. Stir until combined.
  3. Press the bar mixture into a 9×9 inch pan lined with parchment paper (9×13 will work – it will just yield wider, flatter bars). Freeze for 30 minutes. Pull out of the pan and cut into bars. You can also wrap the bars individually in freezer or parchment paper and ziploc bags for quick grab-and-go snacks. They can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer.

How to make our favorite dairy-free soft chocolate chip pretzel granola bars. Click through for the easy recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

NOTES

If your bar consistency seems too dry or crumbly, add more peanut butter or honey, and add more oats or pretzels if the mix seems too sticky.

You can mix-in anything else you want to make these granola bars totally customized. (i.e., dried fruit, chocolate chips, more nuts, seeds, etc.)

Store-bought peanut butters like Jif or Skippy work best in this recipe because sometimes natural peanut butter is less sweet, less salty, and more oily. You can use natural peanut butter, just do your best to balance out the honey dry ingredients until you get the right consistency.

Recipe adapted via Pinch of Yum

How to make our favorite dairy-free soft chocolate chip pretzel granola bars. Click through for the easy recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to make our favorite dairy-free soft chocolate chip pretzel granola bars. Click through for the easy recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to make our favorite dairy-free soft chocolate chip pretzel granola bars. Click through for the easy recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

If you find yourself throwing together a batch of this chocolate chip pretzel chewy granola bar recipe, be sure to tag me on social media (@glitterinclexi) so I can live vicariously through all of your fun snacking!

 

Photos and Video by Annie Watts Photography


Lexi

Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze

Spring is in the air and Easter is just around the corner and have I got the perfect scones recipe for you! Say hello to the most amazing carrot cake scones with cream cheese glaze. It’s carrot cake, turned into the perfect breakfast (or brunch) scone, and topped with a classic cream cheese frosting-style glaze. What more could you want?

Any dessert that practically begs for an accompanying cup of coffee is my kind of dessert. Plus, this totally counts as breakfast, which means CAKE for breakfast. Happy, happy.

Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc.

The amazingly talented Hope Woodhouse, blogger behind the adorable food blog, Pass the Cookies, is sharing this awesome recipe today on Glitter, Inc. and she’ll be contributing recipes here and there in the future. I am SO excited to have her, and I think you’ll quickly see why! (I mean, how good does her lucky charms-filled cereal milk cake look?)

So without further ado, let’s jump right into the sweets …

Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc.

Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze

INGREDIENTS

Carrot Cake Scones
4½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ pound (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 cup grated carrot
⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut
½ cup raisins, optional
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons milk

Egg wash
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk

Cream Cheese Glaze
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cut the butter into small cubes and, while it is still very cold, add to the flour mixture. If the butter has gotten warm with the heat of your hands or from being on the cutting board too long, stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes before adding it to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using two knives, a pastry cutter, or breaking the pieces of butter up with your fingers (my preference). You can also pulse the mixture in your food processer a few times. The butter should be about the size of peas when you are done. Do not overwork the butter.
  4. Add the shredded carrots, coconut, nuts, and raisins, if using, to the flour-butter mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Pour in the milk and mix until the ingredients are combined and the dough starts to stick together. You should be able to work the dough into a ball. Again, do not overwork the dough, otherwise your scones will be tough. If the dough is too dry, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time.
  6. Lightly flour a cutting board or a flat surface and transfer the dough to your surface. Split the dough in half, roll each half in a ball and pat them into 6-inch rounds that are about 1 to 1 ½ inches thick. Cut each round in half, then cut each half into 3-4 triangles (like a pie) and place the dough on your prepared baking sheets, a few inches apart from each other.
  7. Brush the egg wash on top of the dough and bake for 12-18 minutes (depending on the size of your wedges). The scones are done when the edges begin to get golden and the tops bounce back when you press a finger into them. They will continue to set as they cool, so they may not look fully done. Let the scones cool on the tray for about 3 minutes, then remove them from the tray and serve immediately.

Carrot cake scones are best soon after they are baked, but one-day-old leftovers can be reheated in a microwave oven or an oven. Add some butter and they are as good as new.

These can be made ahead of time (perfect for a spring breakfast or unexpected guests!). Stop after you pat the dough into rounds and wrap each round of dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to bake and serve. They can be made up to a week in advance if stored in the fridge, and up to a month ahead of time if stored in the freezer. If you freeze the dough, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before you bake it.

Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc. Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc. Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc. Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc. Carrot Cake Scones Recipe with Cream Cheese Glaze by lifestyle blogger Lexi of Glitter, Inc.

If you make your own carrot cake scones, be sure to tag me on social media (@glitterinclexi) so I can live vicariously through all of your delicious snacking!

Recipe and Photos by Hope Woodhouse of Pass the Cookies for Glitter, Inc.


Lexi

How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts

My family has fallen hard for this simple homemade pop-tart recipe. These 3-ingredient pop-tarts are super simple to throw together; they use a combination of store bought ingredients, and stuff we always have on hand.

They’re also a lot of fun to make with your family and kids. Oh, and did I mention they’re totally yummy? To get your kids in on the action, just cut out your rectangles and let the little ones go to town filling and then decorating their own special pop-tarts. Scarlett loves topping hers with sprinkles and telling us exactly which ones are hers. The combinations are pretty endless and it’s extra fun eating a pop-tart you made yourself.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

And the best part in my book about these 3-ingredient homemade pop-tarts? They can be made vegan, because most store bought pie crust has no dairy in it! (We use Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.)

I made two different milk-free, vegan versions of these homemade pop-tarts for Scarlett and she was SO excited. Her vegan versions had either jam inside or Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips* and marshmallow fluff; a.k.a., vegan s’mores pop-tarts. Both were then topped with a modified version of the frosting that’s super simple to make; we just substituted almond milk.

(Scarlett is allergic to milk protein, so we’re always experimenting with vegan and dairy-free recipes, in case you want to check them out!)

*We use Enjoy Life chocolate chunks and chips; they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free, and totally delicious. They also bake incredibly well. Even Target carries them! Obviously, you can use regular semi-sweet chocolate here instead if you don’t need to keep the recipe vegan or dairy-free.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

Now let’s talk about how to make these awesome 3-ingredient homemade pop-tarts …

How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE POP-TARTS

Makes 8-10 pop-tarts.

INGREDIENTS

Store bought refrigerated pie crust
Rectangle Cookie Cutter (or sharp knife)
Strawberry or Peach jam
Nutella (optional)
Marshmallow Fluff (optional)
Confectioners sugar
Milk (I used almond milk and it worked like a charm!)
Sprinkles (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Using a rectangle cookie cutter or sharp knife, cut each pie crust into 8, fairly equal sized rectangles.
  3. Lay half (about 8) of your rectangles on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Top each rectangle with about a tablespoon or less of jam or marshmallow fluff and/or Nutella (leaving a perimeter of about a half an inch all the way around). Be sure not to overstuff or it will leak out as it is baking.
  5. Lay the other halves of the rectangles on top of the 8 that you topped with jam, Nutella, etc., and using the tines of a fork, seal each pop-tart along all four edges.
  6. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until crust is slightly golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven, and let cool on the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

For the Icing

In the meantime, mix a half a cup of confectioners sugar with a tablespoon of milk. (Consistency is key here; if your icing is runny, add a bit more sugar and if it’s too thick, add a bit more milk. You want it spreadable/pourable.)

Spread or pour a bit of icing on top of each pop-tart (now on the wire rack) and top with sprinkles or drizzle with Nutella.

Recipe Adapted via Kozy & Co.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

Hubby loved our version of s’mores pop-tarts. We filled our s’mores pop-tarts with a thin layer of marshmallow fluff and Nutella and then drizzled a little glaze and Nutella on top. (See above for Scarlett’s vegan version.) The s’mores pop-tarts taste amazing still warm out of the oven.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc     How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

By the way, you can find both my gold whisk and gold wire cooling rack at Target.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc   How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to Make 3-Ingredient Homemade Pop-Tarts; including a vegan version! Kids LOVE making these. Click through for the simple recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

If you find yourself throwing together a batch of these 3-ingredient homemade pop-tarts, be sure to tag me on social media (@glitterinclexi) so I can live vicariously through all of your fun snacking!

Photos by Annie Watts Photography

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you so much for clicking through and helping to support this little blog business of mine! Read more about our site, privacy, and disclosure policies here.


Lexi

Vegan Classic Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares

Remember those classic peanut butter chocolate squares from the school cafeteria and at bake sales? Probably because nostalgia is all the rage these days, these classic peanut butter chocolate squares have been making a comeback (mostly all over Facebook and Pinterest), and I’ve been determined to find a way to recreate this simple and delicious snack as a dairy-free option for my little girl. (She’s allergic to milk protein, so we’re always experimenting with vegan and dairy-free recipes.)

Because the recipe for these classic peanut butter chocolate squares is actually relatively simple (they’re no-bake and can be thrown together in a matter of minutes!), with a few minor tweaks, we were able to have our very own dairy-free bars in a snap. And honestly, you’d never know the difference! Which, I might add, is not always the case with vegan and dairy-free versions of recipes.

These bars are SO good. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again!

How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

The peanut butter chocolate squares keep really well in the refrigerator and can be cut into squares or even smaller cubes to give to your kids as a treat.

This is a great dessert to throw together at the last minute when you have company or want something sweet to bring to a party or gathering. It’s always a crowd-pleaser, and no one will ever know it’s missing the dairy.

How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

Dairy-Free Classic Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup vegan butter* (We use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks.)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 graham crackers)
1 cup peanut butter
12 ounces Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips*

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut butter into pieces and place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute or until butter is melted.
  2. Stir in powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and peanut butter. Stir well until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Line a 9 x 13 inch dish with parchment paper (or foil). You can use a smaller baking dish if you want thicker squares, i.e., more peanut butter per bite. Drape the parchment paper over the sides of the dish so that you can easily remove it once the bars set.
  4. Press the peanut butter mixture into the bottom of the dish.
  5. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate according to package directions. Once melted, spread the chocolate over the peanut butter mixture.
  6. While the chocolate is still warm, but not runny, cut the bars. Allow to set for at least an hour. Like most no-bake desserts, these are best stored in the refrigerator.

Recipe adapted via Center Cut Cook

*While we use vegan butter as a substitute in this recipe, obviously you can use regular butter if you don’t need these to be vegan or dairy-free.

*We use Enjoy Life chocolate chunks and chips; they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free, and totally delicious. They also bake incredibly well. Even Target carries them! Obviously, you can use regular semi-sweet chocolate here instead if you don’t need to keep the recipe vegan or dairy-free.

NOTE: While most peanut butter is vegan, not all peanut butter is. Be sure to check the label if you want to be sure your bars are 100% vegan. (For instance, there are Omega 3s, which are not always vegan, in some JIF peanut butters.)

Same goes for graham crackers: both Nabisco Grahams Original and Keebler Grahams Original are vegan.

How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

I mean, who doesn’t love peanut butter everything? And chocolate and peanut butter were practically made for each other.

How to make vegan and dairy-free classic peanut butter chocolate squares. You will fall in love with this throwback dessert all over again! Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

If you find yourself throwing together a batch of these classic peanut butter chocolate squares, be sure to tag me on social media (@glitterinclexi) so I can live vicariously through all of your fun snacking!

Photos by Annie Watts Photography


Lexi

Crockpot Chicken Vegetable Quinoa Soup

I don’t know about you, but for our family, easy dinners are the name of the game. I’ve always been a big fan of cooking, but the busier we get, the harder it is to open up a recipe book and throw together an elaborate meal to serve on a random Monday night.

We’ve had this crockpot meets rice cooker meets pressure cooker (a.k.a., an Instant Pot) in our pantry for years. Seriously, we got an Instant Pot as a wedding gift and never opened the box … and we’ve been married six years. I know, I know. Clearly, I have a screw loose. Little did I know, the most magical kitchen contraption ever sat unused and unloved in our overcrowded pantry for all these years. I can’t fathom what I was thinking – or not thinking – by ignoring this mystical machine.

Anyhoo, I saw all the rage ALL over the internet about this fabulous pot, and I decided to take the leap … and OPEN the box. I started researching and trying recipes like a madwoman. I think I served hubby and Scarlett dinner out of a crockpot for two weeks straight. It was like a black hole of simple dinners. Basically, the beauty of an Instant Pot or crockpot, is that you essentially throw all of your ingredients in, set the machine to cook for several hours, and walk away. By dinner time, you have a tasty dinner. Granted, there are some crockpot meals that require a little more TLC; i.e., browning meat and veggies first, cooking in stages, etc., but I steered clear of those recipes, because, you know, if I’m going to attempt to make my life easier with a slew of crockpot dinners, I plan on doing it the EASY way.

On our Instant Pot dinner recipe journey, I discovered a few GREAT recipes, and over the next few months, I’ll share our favorites here, with some tweaks of course. (Because I just can’t help myself.)

Now let’s talk about that crockpot chicken vegetable and quinoa soup …

This amazing crockpot (or instant pot) chicken vegetable and quinoa soup is healthy and hearty and requires so little work it's kind of embarrassing. Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

First up is a variation on the crockpot chicken veggie quinoa soup from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. This dinner is definitely of the “empty out your fridge and pantry” variety. Our favorite crockpot chicken vegetable and quinoa soup is healthy and hearty and requires so little work it’s kind of embarrassing. I tweaked a few components to the original recipe, after a bit of trial and error, and my entire family is obsessed with the results.

You can really use just about any vegetables you happen to have on hand, though I do try to keep the carrots, onion, celery, and corn (because the little one loves it!) a constant, and I pretty much always have those hanging out in the back of our refrigerator produce drawer and pantry anyway. I also always tend to add a lot of beans – typically some combination of either black beans, white beans, and/or chickpeas. Adding in frozen veggies like corn and carrots works well too.

We’ve tried the recipe using first a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Ro-Tel) and it was great, but then I got this wild idea to make the soup with a tub of fresh salsa we had forgotten about, and that resulted in a crockpot chicken vegetable quinoa soup that was even more flavorful. Both work, but if you’ve got the salsa on hand, go for it! You can thank me later.

This amazing crockpot (or instant pot) chicken vegetable and quinoa soup is healthy and hearty and requires so little work it's kind of embarrassing. Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc This amazing crockpot (or instant pot) chicken vegetable and quinoa soup is healthy and hearty and requires so little work it's kind of embarrassing. Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

CROCKPOT CHICKEN VEGETABLE QUINOA SOUP

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 6 hr

Servings: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (approx. 2 large) boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans of beans (we use some combination of black beans, pinto beans, white beans, and/or chickpeas)
1 can corn OR 1 bag of frozen corn
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery 2 stalks
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
3/4 cup quinoa
1 container of fresh salsa OR a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Ro-Tel)
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 cups chicken broth/stock
1/2 cup orange juice or extra broth
Salt and pepper
1-2 leaves bay (optional)
1 teaspoon chicken seasoning blend or 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Optional Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

  1. Trim the fat off the chicken breasts. Cut each breast into 3 large even pieces.
  2. Place the chicken breasts chunks in the bottom of a large crockpot.
  3. Add in the drained and rinsed beans, drained corn, thinly sliced carrots (you want them to cook all the way through), sliced celery, diced onion, quinoa (rinse if not pre-rinsed to remove the bitter saponin coating), undrained container of fresh salsa OR can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Ro-Tel), tomato paste, minced garlic, chicken broth/stock, and orange juice (or extra broth).
  4. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste) and 1 teaspoon of pepper (or to taste), bay leaves, chicken seasoning or bouillon, oregano, and paprika. Just use your favorite soup seasonings here. The idea is that crockpot soups tend to really soak everything up, and need a little extra seasoning to maintain that rich flavor.
  5. Give everything a good stir and then cover and cook on high for 5 hours or until the chicken easily shreds. The longer it cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs, but I prefer to cook it for awhile so that the veggies (like the carrots and celery) cook all the way through and the flavors really meld.
  6. Remove the chicken and shred. (I’m a big fan of throwing all of the cooked chicken chunks into my mixer, and mixing it for a few minutes – shreds it perfectly every time!) Return shredded chicken to the crockpot and cook for another hour.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and then enjoy the soup topped with optional toppings such as fresh cilantro or parsley, fresh lime, sour cream, and/or shredded cheddar cheese.

NOTE: For a “brothier” soup just add a few extra cups of chicken broth.

Also, I’m a big fan of throwing all of the ingredients for a crockpot meal – veggies, raw chicken, everything but the broth – into a gallon ziploc bag until we’re ready to cook it. I’ll write in permanent market on the bag how long it needs to cook in the crockpot and how much broth to add, store it in the freezer; then when we’re ready to make it, just take it out, let it thaw, throw the contents in the crockpot, and BAM – a few hours later we have dinner!

Recipe adapted via Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This amazing crockpot (or instant pot) chicken vegetable and quinoa soup is healthy and hearty and requires so little work it's kind of embarrassing. Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

You can keep this soup healthy by eating it just the way it is or topping it with a bit of fresh parsley or cilantro or a squeeze of lime, but it also tastes great topped with shredded cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

This amazing crockpot (or instant pot) chicken vegetable and quinoa soup is healthy and hearty and requires so little work it's kind of embarrassing. Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

Our toddler absolutely LOVES this crockpot chicken vegetable and quinoa soup. It’s super flavorful, is packed with healthy ingredients, and everything cooks down really soft with a hint of sweetness (thanks to the carrots and corn.) Both hubby and Scarlett always ask for seconds of this soup and considering how little effort the entire meal took, I call that a serious MOM WIN.

This amazing crockpot (or instant pot) chicken vegetable and quinoa soup is healthy and hearty and requires so little work it's kind of embarrassing. Click through for the recipe. | glitterinc.com | @glitterinc

How about you? Have you hopped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet? What other crockpot meals do you love? Send me your suggestions!

Photography by Coffee Beans & Bobby Pins


Lexi