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Simple Comfort Food Recipes for the Healthy Soul

You don’t have to sacrifice your health or extra holiday calories to have scrumptious comfort food all season long!  Liz shares 3 of her favorite curl up and cozy soup recipes which are perfect for those chili evenings.  Easy to prep, great for leftovers, perfect to freeze for later and easy on the waistline!  Take a look at these simple comfort food recipes for the healthy soul…

comfort food recipes

Simple Comfort Food Recipes for the Healthy Soul

I am certainly in the spirit of curling up in big sweaters, holiday smells and hearty comfort food.

There is nothing I enjoy more this time of year than walking in my house with soup in the crockpot and that amazing smell that one may think I spent the entire day in the kitchen.  With a baby and toddler at home I need to make my life as simple as can be, especially when it comes to meals so I’ve got some easy recipes to share with you today.

Just substituting a couple ingredients will give you a healthier version of these traditional comfort soups without losing any flavor! Enjoy!

potato soup


Ingredients: Serves 6-8

  • 6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 40 ounces low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon parisien bonnes herb, or a blend of chives, French tarragon, basil and dill
  • 1 ½ cups of fat-free half and half
  • 1 ½ cups low-fat cheese, cheddar works well
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

For Garnish:

  • Low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-pound turnkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Green onions, thinly sliced or chives, chopped

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray and set your temperature to HIGH. Add in diced potatoes, chicken stock, salt, pepper and red pepper.

Sauté sliced carrots in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes.  Add diced onions to the carrots and cook on medium-high until onion is translucent.  Add minced garlic and sauté 30 more seconds.  Add sautéed carrots, onion and garlic to the potato broth mixture.

Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or until potatoes have softened. Using a potato masher, mash part of the cooked vegetables while they are still in the slow cooker. Only mash down on the vegetables 3-4 times.  Add herbs, half-and-half, cheese and chives. Mix well.  Once cheese has melted, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with sour cream, turkey bacon, extra cheese and chives.

turkey chili


Ingredients: 6 servings

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey or chicken (99%)
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained

For topping: cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro and plain greek yogurt (healthier version of sour cream)


Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic and red pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Next add in ground turkey and break up the meat; cooking until no longer pink. Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt; stir for about 20 seconds.

Next add in tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. Garnish with anything you’d like.


Reduce the chicken broth to 1/2 cup and brown the turkey and onions before adding to the slow cooker. This is an awesome tailgating or football party recipe!


chicken noodle


Ingredients:  6 servings

  • 1 ½ lbs., cubed chicken breast
  • 3 carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 teaspoon, dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon, dried thyme
  • 4-6 cups, low sodium organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • Handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • 8 ounces of egg noodles

Dump all ingredients except the parsley and noodles into crock pot, cook on low for 6 hours. Cook noodles according to directions, add noodles and parsley to crockpot about 20 minutes or so before serving. Turn crockpot off to avoid overcooked or mushy noodles.


From iFamily to Yours,

Football Season Party Dip Recipe

Football season is upon us here in Kansas City and with that, comes the need to know some new recipes to wow your fellow tailgaters. You don’t want to take that same tired dish that you bring every time. Food is meant to be enjoyed…not to be a reputation!  Max, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares one of his favs with us!

Football Season Party Dip Recipe

Just like the pros use the pre-season to work out the kinks and see what will work, I use the pre-season tailgates to test out some new recipes. My wife and I enjoy taking our girls to the Chiefs pre-season games because they are a bit more low-key, but we get to start the indoctrination process early.

Pre-season brings some unique difficulties to the tailgating process. First, these games are typically on weeknights meaning that most people that are at the tailgate not only have to work the next day but they also likely just came from work as well. This makes it more difficult to have an impressive spread and means that someone else will inevitably swing through their local Hy-Vee to get some roll-ups and a couple bags of chips. While this is certainly the easier route to take, I’d like to think that there is a compromise to be had between store bought snacks and a full-on BBQ spread.

That compromise comes in the form of DIPS. Who doesn’t love a good dip?! For this pre-season tailgate, I made an Enchilada Dip from our leftover ingredients earlier that week. I was in a bit of a bind because I didn’t have the time to go to the store and we had already promised to bring something to the tailgate. The following is the recipe that I can up with and I highly encourage you to use this more as a guide so that you can change it to your specific preference. Like I said, I used ingredients that I already had on hand to make this.

Football Dip Recipe

-1lb browned hamburger meat

-1cup enchilada sauce

-1cup shredded cheese

-1/2cup rice

-1 can black beans

-3tblspn taco seasoning

-salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown and season the meat with taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. You will need to cook your rice while you’re browning the meat. Once both are cooked, simply dump the ingredients into an oven safe bowl. Pop it into the oven until it’s warm. I heated it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  If needed you can turn up the heat if you need it to be done sooner.

This pre-season dish is perfect for the regular season, too, or any other entertaining that you have to o throughout the year. It’s a perfect complement to your homemade guac and salsa for taco night, too!

From iFamily to Yours,

Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

Thinking back to your own childhood, what were some of your favorite foods that you always looked forward to when your mom made a delicious treat? Foods can bring back incredible memories that would otherwise be long forgotten. Today, we invite you to try out a classic recipe that has been enjoyed by generations. Gabrielle, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares her recipe for simple banana pudding that your kids are going to be begging you to make time and time again. Take a look…

Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

Summer time and the living is easy-  At least it should be.  I do absolutely everything I can to avoid turning on the oven when the temperature is above 90 degrees.  So when I was asked to bring a dessert to a family gathering a few weeks ago, I immediately thought of no-bake options.  This one is inexpensive and quick.  It also has the benefit of being a real crowd-pleaser.


  • Two packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 Bananas (less can be used depending on how much your audience loves bananas)
  • Milk (or milk substitues)
  • Vanilla wafers or shortbread cookies ( I love using Girl Scout cookies or Voortman Chessmen)
  • Whipped topping
  • Cream cheese (softened)
  • Trifle bowl (if you’re feeling fancy)


Step One:

Mix pudding according to package directions.  Most use a couple of cups of milk with pudding mix for a couple of minutes.  This can be done with whole milk or milk substitutes.

Pro-Tip: For an extra hint of sweetness, you can use condensed milk.   Blend in cream cheese until smooth.

Step Two:

Place a layer of cookies in the trifle dish, or serving bowl.

Step Three:

Cover with about 1/3 of the pudding.

Step Four:

Slice and layer bananas.

Step Five:

Cover with another layer of pudding.

Step Six:

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping.

Step Seven:

Repeat layers until trifle dish or serving bowl is almost full, finishing with a layer of whipped topping.  Top can be garnished with crushed cookies for extra flair.

Chill for at least 30 minutes.  Then the dish is ready to serve.


From iFamily to yours,


On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Hello, Kansas City! I don’t know about all of you, but I am always looking for new recipes, especially kid/family-friend ones. Luckily, iFamilyKC has some great Mom Squad Ambassadors that are busting out some of their yummy go-to recipes, and sharing them with all of us. Take a look at Becky’s Parmesan Chicken Pasta that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

After my post on dinner cheats, I felt the need to prove to all of you (really, myself) that I do actually (sometimes) cook dinner for my family.


But here’s the deal: I really do like to cook, but I am not a Martha Stewart chef. I’m not into recipes that send me to three different specialty grocery stores and into the woods to forage for rare ingredients. I don’t have time to babysit simmering sauces on the stove by constantly stirring for 15 minutes. I can’t be held responsible an entire list of crucial measurements. And I definitely do NOT want to spend more time cleaning up after a meal than we actually spend eating the meal.


All my go-to recipes have to pass my FED test—fast, easy and delicious. That last one is key, because it doesn’t matter how fast or easy it was, if no one likes it then it wasn’t worth the time and energy to make it.


Here’s a new recipe I threw together last week that passed my FED test with flying colors.



Antonio’s Parmesan Pasta with Chicken

Serves 5-6

(Ok, ok. I made up the ‘Antonio’s’ part but it helps sell it, don’t you think? Feel free to rename it with your own fictional Italian uncle’s name.)


Here’s what you need:


3-4 raw chicken breasts cut roughly into 1” cubes

A package of your favorite tubed pasta

6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Few cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1/3 stick of butter

Splash of milk (use cream if you’ve got it)

1 ½ cups of Parmesan or something similar (if you want to up it to 2 cups, I won’t tell)

Chopped basil (fresh if you have it, any type of dried Italian seasonings if you don’t)

Salt and pepper



Here’s how you make it:


Heat up a pot of water on high heat for your pasta. While waiting for that to boil, heat up a large skillet on medium-high with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add your chicken and season with salt and pepper.


Stir occasionally making sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 6-7 minutes. Move the cooked chicken into a bowl. This is where other recipes would tell you to tent with foil. The chicken will be just fine, let’s move on.


Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and return to the med-high heat on the stove to make the sauce. If you’re short on time, you can speed things up by cooking the sauce and the chicken in separate skillets at the same time but I prefer fewer dishes to wash.


Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped garlic and stir until it’s toasted and smells garlicky. While that’s happening, salt your boiling water (I promise it makes a difference) and add your pasta.

Next, add the butter, milk and cheese to the skillet.

Stir until smooth, which only takes a few minutes.

Once your pasta is cooked al dente, drain and add it to the cheese sauce. Stir until your pasta is coated.

Finally, throw in the cooked chicken and stir until it’s mixed with the cheesy pasta.



Plate and top with chopped basil. Mama mia!


Oh, don’t mind them. Those are just my boys chowing down on seconds of this dish.


Fast, easy, tasty. Check, check, check.



Becky is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,


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Heart Shaped Valentine’s Day Calzone

These can be customized by the kids. You could change up the filling adding all their favorite pizza toppings or you could make it a dessert calzone by simply adding canned apple pie filling to the center, brushing with an egg wash and sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top. There are lots of possibilities here. BUT the best part is spending one on one quality time doing something your lil one is going to enjoy J

Kids can help:  Filling the dough and crimping edges.

For the dough: 

  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cup white flour
  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour

For the filling:

  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Marinara sauce
  • Turkey pepperoni

Combine yeast, sugar and warm water and let set for 5 minutes.  Mix remaining ingredients and then add yeast mixture.  Let dough rise, in a warm place, for about 1-2 hours, until double in size.

Roll out a small portion of the dough at a time, cutting two equal sized hearts.  Fill middle with a thin layer of marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni, and cheese, and then layer the top with another heart and crimp the edges together with a fork.  Set on baking tray.  Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.  Test to make sure dough is done baking.  Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

iFamily KC Mom Squad Blogger Keri Nichol

Fast, Easy, and Yummy Holiday Treats! Only 3 Ingredients Each!

Peppermint Bark

Easy to prepare, no bake time and only three ingredients! The kids will enjoy crushing the candy canes in a gallon size baggie.  We love making this with any remaining candy canes from our tree before we take it down!  We get the traditional peppermint candy canes…but this might be good with other flavors as well.



1 package white chocolate chips

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

6 candy canes (slightly crushed)

microwave the chocolate chips in a glass bowl until just about melted (about 1 ½ minutes) stir with spoon until silky.  Add crushed candy cane and peppermint extract! Spread on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and let harden (about 15 minutes in freezer)  then break apart and eat.  These freeze well.

Rolo Pretzel Delights!

These are easy and always a hit with both big and little kids! if you like the turtle chocolates, you will love these! There are only three ingredients, and the kids will love putting the pecan on top!


Rolo candies

Small pretzels


Lay the pretzels out on a cookie sheet and top each with a Rolo candy.  Put in oven for 3 to 5 minutes.  Take out and lay a pecan on top of Rolo and press down.  That’s it!

Donut Snowmen

These guys are extra cute and extra easy!  No cook time and three ingredients!  Let the kiddos help out with this one, they will be so proud of their finished snowman!  Great treats to take to the school holiday party! Found this on Sandy Duffy’s Pinterest site under Holiday foods!  There is also a reindeer version using chocolate donuts, gumdrops and pretzels!



Mini Powdered donuts

Candy corns

Mini chocolate chips

Simply lay donuts on serving platter and place the candy corn bottom side down into the hole then make eyes and mouth with chocolate chips by pressing slightly into donut!

  Fast, Easy and Yummy Holiday Treats the Kids will Love to Eat and Help Prepare!
Submitted by Shari Jacobs


Frugal and Convenient Recipe

By Keri Nichol


Our schedule is so chaotic sometimes that finding time to make a meal is a real chore. Not to mention, the fact that you want it to be something more than a can of cold ravioli’s. I have been trying to get into making foods up in advance and freezing them for convenient foods that we will love and will fill our bellies.

For us, though, the trick is making foods that we all like and that are cheap to make. It’s hard enough to stay on a food budget day to day, let alone trying to plan ahead. However, I found one recipe that seems to be a hit in our family: breakfast burritos.

We always have potatoes and eggs. And once every month or two one of the local grocery stores will have a four day breakfast sale where you can get rolls of sausage for $.99 and the same with shredded cheese. So, I wait for these sales and then buy them up. I will find sales on 12 inch tortilla and buy what’s on sale also. I have used plain whites, wheat and even Chipotle.

So when my potatoes start to get soft and I know I need to get them used up I will slice them all up real small. I normally leave the peeling on because my hands cramp from peeling them and besides that skin is supposed to be healthy, right. I fry up the sausage and then pull the crumbles out and put them on a plate. I leave the grease from the sausage to cook the potatoes in. I then add the potatoes to the pan and also a diced onion. I slowly fry the potatoes until they are very soft and mushy. This usually takes a while and is the key in a good burrito. Then I make a well in the middle of the pan, pushing the potatoes to the edges. I whisk up my eggs and pour them into the well. Make sure the heat is very low at this point. I don’t mix the potatoes in with the raw egg. I wait until the eggs are mostly cooked stirring them in the well and then I combine them with the potatoes. When the egg is thoroughly cooked I add the sausage back in and also some cheese and mix well. Then I put large spoonful of the mix into a tortilla and wrap it up. I like to wrap the tortilla in some aluminum foil. This way I can pull them straight out of a freezer bag and pop them into the oven. Plus it helps hold them together.

In my last batch I used 5 lbs. of potatoes, one whole onion, 5 sausage patties (leftovers), 1 lb. roll of sausage, 8 oz. shredded mild cheddar cheese and 8 large eggs. The best part of this idea is that you use what you have. You can change the type of meats and cheeses you use to suit what you have, what’s on sale or what’s been left over in the frig that week. This is a way to reuse foods and use them up without letting them go bad but still making a great meal. The last batch that I made – made 19 big burritos. We have had these for a fast breakfast, lunch and even a dinner on the go. The kids usually split one since they are so filling.