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“Mom what’s for dinner????”

Am I the only one who cringes every time I hear this??? I dread this question EVERY SINGLE DAY, because I know it will be followed by at least one of my kids turning their nose up at a new found hatred for something they loved the day before. You may not know this, but not only am I a portrait pro, I also love to cook! SO, I thought I would help you out mama by sharing some recipes that are quick easy and kid approved!

Pizza rolls

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Who doesn’t love pizza am I right?!?!? This fun, simple take on pizza is just different enough to add a little variety and a lot of flavor to your dinner! Throw together a little salad and you are all set! I love this one because it is EASY. And if your kids like to help like mine do, this one is a great one to do with your kids. You can even prep them ahead of time and have them for after school snacks. These are fun because your kids can pick what toppings they want so it makes everyone happy…….which is a win if you ask me! (recipe copied from Myrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 8 oz can of refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup of Marinara Sauce Divided
  • 4 ounces pre-shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup), divided
  • 1/2 (3.5-oz.) pkg. sliced pepperoni, chopped and divided

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups. Unroll crescent roll dough onto a lightly floured surface. Separate dough along center perforation to form 2 (7 1/2- x 6-inch) rectangles; press perforations to seal each rectangle.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of the marinara sauce on each rectangle, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Top each rectangle with half of the cheese and half of the chopped pepperoni. Roll up each rectangle jellyroll fashion, starting at long end. Using a serrated knife, gently cut each log into 6 even slices. Place pizza rolls in prepared muffin pan. 
  • Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on wire racks 5 minutes.

Instant pot Spaghetti & meatballs

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Denver portrait pro

Ok- if you do not have an instant pot you NEED TO GET ONE. Let me say that again GET YOURSELF AN INSTANT POT! During soccer season, I cook meals in this sucker almost every night. I am not sure how I survived without one. Anyway, this is hand down my kids favorite meal. And it is SO EASY! I found this gem on Pinterest from Iwashyoudry.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb frozen meatballs
  • 8oz uncooked spaghetti
  • 24oz pasta sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese, fresh basil for serving, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Arrange the meatballs in Instant Pot in one layer. Break the spaghetti in half and arrange them over the meatballs.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil over spaghetti. Pour in the pasta sauce and water, making sure spaghetti is completely covered.
  3. Cover and set the Instant Pot to manual. Set the timer to 10 minutes. Quick release the pressure and carefully open the lid. Stir in cheese and basil, if using. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Copycat Panera Mac & Cheese

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Denver Portrait pro

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! This one is a must! We like to throw a little bacon in well because everything is better with bacon right?!?!? But seriously, this tastes so much like the original, you would swear it was takeout. This is another one from myrecipe.com.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound pound dried pasta shells
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) white American cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Cook pasta shells according to package directions; drain well.
  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat; stir in the flour to form a thick paste. Whisk in the milk, heavy cream, and Dijon mustard, whisking until combined. 
  • Add the white cheddar cheese, white American cheese, and salt to pan; stir until melted and combined. Stir in cooked pasta shells. Serve immediately. 

Instant Pot Carnitas

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Denver portrait pro – favorite recipes

We love Mexican food in our house. Especially if it comes with margaritas lol! I snagged this yummy recipe for carnitas from Food Network and it is on our meal rotation for sure! I love that its done in the instant pot and that my kids can personalize their tacos with toppings that they love- again it’s a win win!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pork belly, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup lager, homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Serving suggestions: Warm corn tortillas, pico de gallo, lime wedges, guacamole, chopped onion, chopped cilantro and shredded cabbage 

DIRECTIONS

  • Put the pork shoulder, pork belly, lager, chili powder, cumin, coriander, 1 heaping tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a 6-quart Instant Pot® and follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 60 minutes (see Cook’s Note). After the pressure cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release and wait until the quick release cycle is complete. Be careful of any remaining steam and unlock and remove the lid. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a small bowl, cover and set aside. Set the pot to saute on high and reduce the liquid until almost completely evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Set the pot to off and transfer the reduced sauce to the meat, then toss to coat and serve.
  • For crispy carnitas (optional): Transfer the reduced sauce and cooked carnitas to a large nonstick skillet over high heat and cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Toss and continue to cook for about 5 minutes more to crisp other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined platter, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the skillet, and serve.
  • Serve the carnitas with the tortillas, pico de gallo, lime wedges, guacamole, onion, cilantro and cabbage.

Ham & Mozzarella Panini

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Denver Portrait pro

YUMMMMMMMM I love making these with fresh gooey mozzarella on sourdough bread (you can use any bread you want really, but we love sourdough). Again, these are great for picky eaters because the kids can choose what they want in their panini and they love making them in the panini press. We found this recipe from Yummly!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 baguettes (halved, sliced into 4 long thin slices)
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 8 slices serrano ham
  • 3 tomatoes (sliced)
  • 5 1/4 ounces mozzarella cheese (sliced)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves (large)

DIRECTIONS

  • Spread 4 baguette slices with pesto then top with ham, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves.
  • Place remaining 4 baguette slices on top and press down firmly.
  • Broil for 3-5 mins, turning once, until bread is toasted and cheese has started to melt.
  • Alternatively, cook in a panini press for 3-4 mins. Halve and serve.

Easy Peasy Mama!

So there you go Mama! Hopefully this gives you some fresh new dinner ideas to try. Especially if you are on the go all the time like this portrait pro! Do you have any favorite kid friendly recipes? Drop a comment or shoot me an email! I am always looking for new dinner ideas! Happy cooking!

Personal, Resources

April 6, 2020

What’s Cooking?? | Denver portrait pro shares 5 quick weeknight dinner recipes!

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