Cooking Inspiration: 5 Family Favorite Recipes

October has hit, which only means one thing — we’re all googling fall family recipes.

So let’s dust off our crock pots and clean out the muffin tins in celebration of oven-inspired meals.

From my kitchen to yours, here’s some of my family favorite recipes for these cooler fall and winter months.

2-Hour Chicken

(Fool them with this easy, delicious, fall-off-the-bone chicken recipe!)

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  • In a lined lasagna-type pan, drizzle olive oil over chicken drumsticks.
  • Sprinkle with your favorite chicken seasoning (I use Montreal Chicken seasoning, non-MSG seasoning salt, freshly ground pepper).
  • Flip the drumsticks and season the other side.
  • Place in 350 oven. After 1 hour, flip the chicken and continue to bake for another hour.

Fish Tacos:

(Delicious with soft or hard tacos)

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In a frying pan, crumble and cook any white fish over olive oil (I usually use basa or sole). Sprinkle 1/2 package of taco seasoning. Can substitute ground turkey or chicken if you don’t like fish.

** OR

Bake halibut filet, sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning (I usually bake at 400 for 12 mins). Once cooked, simply flake off the halibut into the taco.

Mango Salsa:

  • 1 mango, bite sized pieces
  • 2 green onions (both ends), finely chopped
  • bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • minced ginger (I use lots)
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 avacado, finely chopped 

After cooking up the fish (or turkey/chicken), place in a taco and add mango salsa on top.

Curry Chicken

(Also a curry base for veggies, lentils, meat or seafood)

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  • 4-6 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (or substitute with veggies, lentils, mean or seafood)
  • 1/3 C butter (or olive oil)
  • 2-6 Tbsp garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-5 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1/2 jalepeno pepper, diced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground Tumeric
  • 1-2 tsp ground chili pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 C+ boiling water
  • 1-2 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • Cilantro (optional)

On low heat, sautee garlic, ginger and jalepeno in butter (or olive oil). Add onions and cook for about 3 minutes; then add tumeric, red chili pepper, salt, cumin seed and tomato paste. Add water (at least 1 Cup). Simmer for about 10 mins. Stir often to prevent burning. Keep adding water to reach desired thickness. Add chicken (or whatever else you are using e.g. veggies, lentils or meat)**. Cook on low simmer until chicken pieces are cooked through (about 10 – 15 mins). Watch carefully and stir often. Add the Garam Masala. Serve over rice (or quinoa as seen in photo) and garnish with cilantro. Serve with naan bread. **(If you are using prawns, scallops or other seafood, don’t cook as long or they will taste boiled/overdone).

Mama Leone’s Tomato Sauce

(Definitely not as good as my MILs, but close)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive oil, at least 3 Tbsp
  • red wine (optional)
  • 2 large cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp ground chili peppers
  • pinch of dried basil
  • ** If you have, add 1-4 fresh tomatoes, blended (Romas best — drain seeds if you can)

In a large pot or skillet, cover bottom surface with olive oil. Sautee onions until soft. Add garlic and sautee for about a minute, stirring often. Add red wine (if using) and let the liquid reduce. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, sugar, chili peppers, basil and freshly blended tomatoes (if using). Stir together and simmer on low for at least an hour, lid half on. Stir a few times while simmering. 

Minestrone Soup

(A classic Italian soup. Excellent for the kids. Freezes well.)

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Minestrone Paste (freezes well)

  • Chop up and steam a whole bunch your favorite veggies into bite-sized pieces (e.g. zucchini, potato, carrots, broccoli, parsnips, green beans, etc.)
  • 1 large can of white kidney beans or white Roma beans, drained
  • 2-3 C Mama Leone Tomato Sauce (or cheat with your fav canned tomato sauce)
  • Macaroni or other small noodles (optional, but not the same without)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large pot or skillet, bring tomato sauce, beans and steamed veggies to a boil. This is your Minestrone paste. This can be frozen.

To make the soup:

  • Bring 1-2 C of water to boil
  • Add 1-2 C noodles. Let boil for 1-2 mins. Stirring often.
  • Add 2-3 C Minestrone paste. Let boil for 2-3 mins, or until pasta is al dente. Stirring often.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese on top (optional)

(not great leftovers b/c the pasta gets too soft. However, the Minestrone paste freezes well).

Leave your feedback in the comments below. If you like these recipes, I’ll publish some more family favorites.

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