Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas (with a slow cooker option)

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas has been one of my most popular recipes, both on the site and in my kitchen.  These Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas are destined to be just as popular.

They couldn’t be easier to make.  The Instant Pot version starts with still frozen chicken, adds onions and bell peppers along with a can of Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies.

The tomatoes provide not only the extra liquid needed to bring the pot to pressure, but also a fantastic flavor boost.  Canned tomatoes are one of the staples that I always keep on hand in the kitchen.  In fact, I have a whole drawer in the pantry dedicated to tomatoes.  And Red Gold is my favorite brand.

I admit that I’d never thought too much about the flavor difference of canned tomatoes until I visited Red Gold in Indiana and then did a taste test myself.  Red Gold actually tastes like tomatoes.  Really good, farm fresh tomatoes. In fact, Red Gold was recently named the best canned tomato by Epicurious.  The tomatoes are grown on family farms in the Midwest and the Red Gold company is family-owned.  Those things shine through in every aspect, including the flavor of the tomatoes.

We usually wrap the chicken fajita filling in soft taco shells, adding cheese, sour cream and other fixings.  But it also makes great nachos.  Or try serving it over rice.

Using the Instant Pot makes the whole process quick.  You can have the entire meal done in about 30 minutes and that includes putting the ingredients in the pot, allowing time for it to come to pressure and to cook.


Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas (with a slow cooker option)

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. frozen, boneless chicken tenders
  • 3 Peppers (Green, Red, and Yellow), sliced
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
  • 1 Package of Taco Seasoning
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Toppings – sour cream, cheese, guacamole, etc.
Instructions
  1. Put frozen chicken tenders in pot.
  2. Add peppers and onions and pour tomatoes over the top.
  3. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything.
  4. Seal the lid and set the cook time to 12 minutes. Do a quick pressure release.
  5. Serve in tortillas with toppings.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Red Gold, however all opions are my own.

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Beefy Penne Bake – Help Crush Hunger

red-gold-kids-eating

I have shared a lot of posts and recipes over the years, but this is one of the most important.  In a world that can seem a little (or a lot) out of control, with more bad news than we think we can handle, we also have the opportunity to join together for good.

This October, Red Gold is partnering with Feeding America for the #HelpCrushHunger campaign.  And we can easily join in to help!

For each Red Gold product purchased throughout the month of October, Red Gold will donate a meal to someone in need.  The goal is to donate 1.7 million meals to Feeding America food banks across the country.

You guys!  How easy is that?  All we need to do is buy Red Gold tomato products in October and a meal will be provided for people who need it!  Since every grocery list I’ve ever put together has canned tomatoes on it, this is a no-brainer, simple way for me to help.

red-gold-buffet-line

Our church has a small after school program for kids that live in a nearby neighborhood.  This year the organizers of the program committed to including dinner as part of the program.  Many of the kids don’t get enough to eat at home.

I made a big pan of Beefy Penne Bake to share with them last week.  They ate it up!  Another woman brought a watermelon from her garden.  The kids love fresh fruit.  One little guy is a true watermelon lover.  I lost count of how many pieces he ate.  I remember him loading up on watermelon during Vacation Bible School too.

I hope you’ll join me and #HelpCrushHunger during the month of October. When you show or tell about a family meal experience on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, use #HelpCrushHunger in the caption and you’ll be entered to win a Red Gold Family Meal Kit and $100 to donate to your local food bank.  Visit www.HelpCrushHunger.com for more info.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Beefy Penne Bake:   [Read more…]

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Quick and Easy Homemade Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

Quick and Easy Homemade Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti or pasta is a favorite weeknight go-to dinner for many families.  It is for us too.

I used to reach for a jar of prepared pasta sauce, but once I figured out that homemade pasta sauce didn’t have to take all day to make, I rarely grab the jar.

Instead, I use some version of this recipe.  It starts with a can of Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes.  Well, actually I started this version with the Italian sausage, but the crushed tomatoes are the main ingredient.

The sauce comes together in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  It’s so easy!  Homemade is so much better than store-bought and it’s just about as easy as opening a jar.

Italian sausage and plenty of herbs spice up the good tomato flavor.  It’s fantastic over any type of pasta.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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Tomato, Pesto Chicken Quesadillas with Alfredo Dipping Sauce

Tomato Pesto Chicken Quesadillas with Alfredo Dipping Sauce

Chicken Quesadillas are one of our favorite easy meals.  I decided to give them a different spin by swapping out the Mexican flavors for Italian instead.  Since it’s March Madness time, I’m even more motivated to keep the food simple and fun.

We spent part of last weekend watching UK win the SEC tournament.  And tomorrow, the NCAA tournament starts.  We’re hoping to see UK go far in this one!

These are very fast to make.  In fact, if it weren’t for whipping up the easy, homemade Alfredo sauce, these would be a 15 minute recipe.  Even with the sauce, they are really fast to fix.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Tomato Pesto Chicken Quesadillas ingr

You can’t see the chicken in the back of this photo, but there is a bag of cooked chicken there.  I really like to keep rotisserie chicken in the freezer for quick recipes like this.  You can use leftover chicken instead though.  I also think this would be good with Italian sausage instead of chicken.

I used Red Gold diced tomatoes.  They are Non GMO and have a Non-BPA liner in the can.  I was fortunate to visit the Red Gold facilities last September during the tomato harvest.  From the family who owns Red Gold to the people who work there to the process they use for canning the tomatoes – everything was so impressive.  You can see my post about the quality of Red Gold tomatoes here.

Back to the quesadillas.  This recipe is easy to tweak and make it your own.  I used chicken, pesto, Red Gold tomatoes and mozzarella cheese to stuff the tortillas.  Feel free to alter the amounts of these to your own taste.

Tomato, Pesto Chicken Quesadillas with Alfredo Dipping Sauce

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients
For the Alfredo Dipping Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Quesadillas
  • 2-3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1 can Red Gold diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3-4 Tbs. pesto sauce
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6-8 flour tortillas
  • cooking spray or oil
Instructions
For the Alfredo Dipping Sauce
  1. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in milk till smooth.
  4. Stir in Parmesan and melt over medium heat, stirring often. Be careful not to let sauce boil.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
For Quesadillas
  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, tomatoes, pesto and mozzarella.
  2. Spread chicken mixture on half of tortilla and place in a skillet or griddle that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Fold tortilla over the filling. Cook over medium heat till brown.
  4. Flip tortilla to brown the other side.
  5. Remove from skillet and cut in wedges.
  6. Serve with Alfredo sauce.

You’re going to want to give these Tomato, Pesto Chicken Quesadillas a try no matter which team you’re cheering for during March Madness.  Or even if basketball isn’t your thing, find a time to give these a try.

Disclosure: This recipe was created for Red Gold.  I have been compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.

Have you ever really tasted canned tomatoes?

Red Gold product cutting supplies

Canned tomatoes are a staple ingredient for me, and for most of you too.  I have a whole drawer in my pantry dedicated to various tomato products.

But somehow, I’d never given much thought to the differences in quality of those products.  Until now.

Red Gold sent me a product cutting kit to test their whole, peeled tomatoes against Hunt’s brand.  I took a bunch of photos so you can see the difference.

Red Gold can open

The first thing I did was open the Red Gold can.  The photo above is exactly as it was when I opened it.  Four nice looking, whole tomatoes were near the top.  The media (juice) looked red and I noticed a good tomato scent.

Red Gold tomatoes in pan

I poured the Red Gold tomatoes into the provided pan.  All the tomatoes were whole and looked very good.  There was one tomato that was much smaller than the others, but overall they were uniform in size.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's can open

Next I opened the Hunt’s can.  This is exactly what it looked like when I opened it.  I couldn’t see any whole tomatoes at the top of the can.  The media (juice) looked thick and red though.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's in pan

I poured the Hunt’s can into the pan.  There were a few whole tomatoes, but many were squished.

Red Gold product cutting side by side

Above is a side-by-side photo so you can see the differences.

Appearance ratings:

On the Red Gold score sheet, there are five different ratings for appearance.  Each is rated on a scale of five, with 1 being poor and 5 being extraordinary.

Red Color of Tomatoes

The brighter the hue of red, the higher the score.  I gave both Red Gold and Hunt’s a score of 4 on this.

Uniformity of the Size of Tomatoes

The less variation in size, the higher the score.  I gave Red Gold 5 on this.  Hunt’s earned 3.  It was hard to tell if the Hunt’s tomatoes were uniform in size, because many of them were squished or in pieces.

Tomato Integrity

The more firm the tomatoes look, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned 5.  Hunt’s earned 2.

Amount of Peel and Seeds Present in Sample

The less peel and seeds, the higher the score. Red Gold earned 5, because I saw no peel or seeds.  Hunt’s earned 1. On of the Hunt’s tomatoes still had most of the peel on it. Another had a significant amount of peel.  I also saw many seeds in the Hunt’s.

Media

The red and thick juice is the media. The better the color and consistency, the higher the score.  This is the only indicator that Hunt’s may have edged out Red Gold.  Hunt’s media was very thick and red, almost like tomato sauce.  I gave it a rating of 4.  Red Gold’s media looked good, but it is a bit thinner and lighter than Hunt’s.  I gave it a score of 3.

Flavor ratings:

The final two ratings on the score sheet are for flavor.  For this rating, a tomato from each can is cut in half.  Notice the appearance, then taste for flavor.

Red Gold cut in half

The flavor of Red Gold tomatoes is very good.  It’s bright and not far off from a fresh picked tomato.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's cut in half

Hunt’s tomatoes did not taste good.  I was pretty surprised by how badly they tasted.  There was a distinct metallic taste.  They tasted like an old can.  Not good.

Intensity of Tomato Flavor

The more tomato flavor, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned a score of 5.  Hunt’s earned a score of 2.

Attributes

Tomatoes should taste garden fresh without any off notes.  Red Gold earned 5 here.  I could easily eat a plate of these by themselves.  I gave Hunt’s a score of 1.  They just really weren’t good.

Score totals:

Red Gold – 32

Hunt’s 17

I was very surprised at the difference between the brands.

Red Gold is Non GMO certified and uses a Non-BPA Liner for their cans.  Both of these add to the quality of the tomatoes.

Have you ever tried Red Gold tomatoes?  The next time you open a can, take a bite before adding them to your recipe.  I’d love to know what you think.

Disclosure:  Red Gold sent me the product cutting kit.  I have been compensated by Red Gold for this post, however all opinions are my own.