Spring Cleaning & Crock Pot Cooking

Starting spring cleaning today…bathrooms are getting deep cleaned. Yay! (Yuck!) The bathroom is my least favorite room to clean so I’m getting it out of the way first.

Since I’ll be busy, this is going in the Crock-Pot Slow Cooker today.

Slow-Cooker Bacon-Ranch Chicken and Pasta
Source: www.bettycrocker.com
Cook 6 hr 10 min
Total 6 hr 10 min
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breasts
6 slices bacon cooked and diced
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 package (1 oz) ranch dressing and seasoning mix
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 cup water
8 oz spaghetti cooked

Directions

1 Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken breasts in cooker.
2 In medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except spaghetti. Pour over top of chicken.
3 Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 hours or on High heat setting 3 to 4 hours.
4 When about 15 minutes are left, cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
5 Just before serving, shred chicken with 2 forks, and toss creamy chicken mixture with cooked spaghetti.

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Hello! What’s up? Plus…Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin/Chops

Howdy!

Long time, no post…I know. I wax experiencing technical difficulties. I think I have it figured out now.

Today, I have two Crock Pots going using the recipe below. I have a tenderloin in one and chops in the other. One is for us and one is to share.

Here’s the recipe:

FYI:  I LOVE my Crock-Pot Slow Cookers! 

  • 3-4 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1⁄2 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 cup white wine
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup water

Pour water into bottom of slow cooker. Place tenderloin in cooker; lay sliced onions on top. Mix together remaining ingredients in bowl and pour over meat. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
To be served tonight with mashed potatoes, sautéed zucchini and yellow squash, and yeast rolls. 
The house is smelling good!

I also got my sheets washed and out on the clothesline this morning. I love the smell of freshly air-dried sheets! ❤️ Unfortunately, they didn’t get completely dry before the thunder started, but hopefully they were out there long enough to get the good smell!


And right now, I’m doing some front porch sittin’ while it’s not quite as hot as it has been this week. 


(Pardon those knees!)

But my time is about up because I’ve got to get the rest of supper cooked so it can be delivered.

Y’all have a great evening! 

Lynne 

Meal Plan 7/16-7/22/16

Meal Planning – Done! (for this week anyway)

I took an hour or so this afternoon to work on my meal plan for the coming week (Saturday – Friday), making use of what I have on hand as much as possible. My pantry and freezer are pretty full!

For breakfasts next week, I’ll be making the Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Burritos; 100 Days of Real Food’s Breakfast Casserole Bites; and a batch of Amazing Muffin Cups. These are easy to make ahead and then just pop in the microwave or toaster oven to reheat in the morning. Alternating between those will be Peanut Butter & Banana, Peaches & Cream Oatmeal, and PB&J smoothies.

Lunches generally consist of leftovers and I’ll make a batch of some kind of soup (this week it’s Chicken Tortilla along with some Cheese & Chile Corn Muffins) that I can heat up as needed.

Suppers this week are:

Saturday: Grilled Burgers, Potato Salad, Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Sunday: Broccoli Cheese Soup, Sweet Cornbread

Monday: Broccoli & Mushroom Quiche, Skillet/Fried Corn, Roasted Carrots

Tuesday: Smothered Enchiladas (for Hubby), Cabbage Enchiladas (for me), Easy Black Beans & Rice

Wednesday: Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Stewed Summer Squash and Zucchini, Biscuits (if I’m feeling so inclined)

Thursday: Leftover Buffet

Friday: Homemade Pizzas (Chicken & Spinach w/Alfredo Sauce, Beef & Mushroom, Cheese)

We’ll see how much prep work I get done tomorrow. Hopefully, I can make the pie crust for the quiche and the pizza crusts for Friday since those freeze well. I’ll get the breakfast items made and my lunch soup of the week. I’ll post pictures and recipes as I make them.

Wish me luck! Happy cooking!

Lynne

Menu Planning Mond

Menu Planning Monday

I intended to post earlier in the day, but I had a lunch with sweet friends and a run and dinner with sweet running friends. But.. here’s the menu plan for this week.

Monday: Slow Cooker Greek Flank Steak (recipe below), Rice, Broccoli

Tuesday: Baked Ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, homemade yeast rolls

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches, Oven Roasted Parmesan Potatoes, Salad

Friday: I’ll be out of town for the weekend so Hubby is being left with leftover French dip sandwiches fixings, homemade chicken salad and sourdough bread to get him through Sunday. Can’t let him go hungry while I’m relaxing at the beach, now can we? 🙂

Y’all have a great week!
Lynne

Greek Flank Steak Crock Pot

Source: www.thefoodieaffair.com

Prep10 minCook8 hrTotal8 hr 10 min

Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 34 teaspoon salt
  • 34 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • (1¼ lb) flank steaks cut in half
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth

Directions

Place onion in a 5 – 7 quart slow cooker. Stir together oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Rub mixture over steaks and place on onions in the slow cooker. Add broth, cover and cook on low 8 hours. cut steak across the grain into thin slices (reserve half steak for another meal) Serve remaining steak with onions and gravy from slow cooker.

Dinner’s going in the Crock Pot! (Recipe included.)

Good morning! 
This is going in the Crock-Pot Slow Cooker this morning…my daughter’s favorite and her choice for today. Will serve with a side of green beans and some biscuits with herbed butter. It’s going to smell good in here when I walk I from work this afternoon. 🙂
Herbed Chicken & Vegetables
Ingredients
1 1⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 cup olive oil or other oil for frying
1 cup white cooking wine or chicken broth
1 can chicken broth
8 medium carrots cut into chunks
1 medium onion cut into chunks
5 medium potatoes cut into chunks (or small red potatoes)
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon cold water
Directions
Mix together the flour and all the spices; coat chicken breasts in flour mixture. Heat oil in a nonstick Dutch oven (or skillet if you’re going to use the slow cooker) over medium high heat. Cook chicken in oil about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown on all sides; remove chicken and drain on paper towel.
Stir wine, chicken broth, and vegetables into Dutch oven; add chicken. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 35-40 minutes or until juice of chicken runs clear (is no longer pink). (However, the longer it cooks, the better and more tender it is.) Remove chicken and vegetables and keep warm.**
Mix cornstarch with cold water; whisk into liquid in Dutch oven. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Serve over chicken and vegetables.
**Optional: Place chicken in slow cooker; cover with vegetables and pour wine and chicken broth over the top. Cook on low 6-8 hours. This is my preference. I then just add the cornstarch/water mix about 15 minutes before time to serve and it will usually thicken up just fine. 🙂

Recipes from Last Week’s Meal Plan

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

The men in my family love these. I don’t remember where I got the recipe, but I’m glad I saved it!

3-4 pounds lean beef roast
1⁄2 cup soy sauce
1 32 carton low-sodium beef broth
4 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf

 

Directions

Remove and discard all visible fat from roast and place in slow cooker. Combine all other ingredients and pour over roast. Add water to almost cover roast. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours or until meat is very tender. (I usually sprinkle the roast with some meat tenderizer.)

Remove bay leaf. Remove meat and shred. Serve on fresh hoagie rolls or French bread with sliced cheese (Havarti or Swiss). Use cooking juices as “au jus” for dipping, if desired. Yields 12 servings.

Crash Hot Potatoes

My, oh my, I love these things! LOVE.

Source: www.stacymakescents.com

Ingredients

12 whole new potatoes or other small potatoes (I do way more than 12…like a 3-pound bag of little red potatoes)
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh pepper

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

*I use Mrs. Dash garlic and herb mix.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

 

Slow Cooker Bacon Ranch Chicken

Mmmmm…..

Source: www.bettycrocker.com
Total Time: 6 hr 10 min

 

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breasts
6 slices bacon cooked and diced
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 package (1 oz) ranch dressing and seasoning mix (or make your own)
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup (or make your own)
1 cup sour cream
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 cup water
8 oz spaghetti or other pasta, cooked according to package directions

Directions

1. Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken breasts in cooker.

2. In medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except spaghetti. Pour over top of chicken.

3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 hours or on High heat setting 3 to 4 hours.

4. When about 15 minutes are left, cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.

5. Just before serving, shred chicken with 2 forks, and toss creamy chicken mixture with cooked spaghetti. (I serve over the pasta rather than mixing it in, but that’s just preference.)

Menu Planning in the Works

Good afternoon, all!

I’m starting with some menu planning for the coming week and the month of January. Going to use these themes for January. We’ll see how it goes and change it up in February if we have to. (Don’t tell Hubby, but he is going to join me in eating healthier.)

*Meatless Mondays

*Tex-Mex Tuesdays

*”What’s Up?” or “What’s New?” Wednesdays (undecided on name, but it will be new recipes or it might be family member’s choice)

*Throwback Thursdays (leftover buffet night)

*Family Friday (pizza or pasta)

*Soup and/or Sandwich Saturdays

*Slow Cooker Sundays

I have been scouring the internet for new recipes and downloading them to Plan to Eat which is what I use (and love!) for meal planning and am ready to get started. (This is not a usual Sunday and we have leftovers from the THIRD Christmas dinner, so we will actually be having leftovers tonight. Which is fine by me!)

We sometimes have other leftover nights if the fridge is full, but we definitely do Thursdays. Sometimes we have soup twice in one week. (I love soup!) Sometimes I’m really just not in the mood to cook and I order pizza. True confession right there.

What do you think? Do any of you do themed nights? I think it just makes it simpler when you’re meal planning. I know that the last couple of weeks with all the stuff that we’ve had going on that I’ve not been meal planning and man, oh man, can I feel it! And I don’t like it.

Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to simplify your weekdays, in my humble opinion. (That and learning to say the word “no.”)

Let’s give it a try together. I’ll post my week’s menu here as soon as I’m done.

Y’all have a blessed day!

LynneMenu

Meal Plan for the Week

A few days ago, I posted a picture of the schedule that I have been working on for myself. I’ll share more about that tomorrow and include a challenge for you – yay! (Did you know that “schedule” is NOT a four-letter word? I think many people feel that way about one. But more on that tomorrow!)

So today – according to my new schedule – is menu planning day. I set aside an hour for that, but it took a little less than that to plan and prepare a grocery list. I took a quick “inventory” of my pantry and freezer before I made this meal plan and list. I mean, why spend money if you don’t have to, right?

Thursday is payday and that’s when I get my grocery money for the week. I budget $100 – $125, depending on whether I need money for the Fresh Market’s $2.99 Tuesday meat sale that week. My plan is to do my grocery shopping early on Friday morning right after my morning walk. (I walk at 6:30 am; you get to see amazing sunrises if you do that!) This is a test to see if that’s a better time to shop. Friday afternoon…definitely NOT! If Friday mornings aren’t it either, then I’ll try another day.

Anyway, here’s what’s on the dinner menu for Thursday – Wednesday.

*Thursday – Leftovers (always – Mama needs a night off!)

*Friday – Slow Cooker Bacon Ranch Chicken, Pasta, Broccoli or Cabbage (or both!)

*Saturday – Taco Soup, Tortilla Chips, CHEESE (and a dollop of sour cream for me!)

*Sunday – Baked Spaghetti, Corn on the Cob, Bread/Rolls (Since Sunday is a work day for me, I’ll prep the baked spaghetti on Saturday so it will just need to be popped in the oven and cooked on Sunday)

*Monday – Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Soup, Cornbread Muffins

*Tuesday – “Alice Springs Chicken” (like at Outback), Mashed Potatoes (w/ garlic & herb butter), Peas or Green Beans

*Wednesday – Slow Cooker Smothered Pork Chops, Rice, Roasted Veggies (cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash)

We eat leftovers or sandwiches for lunches. Thursday nights are basically for cleaning out the fridge. If there are leftovers after leftover night, I will usually freeze them in individual serving sizes for something quick for lunch or when the plan doesn’t work out. (By the way, it doesn’t always work out.)

Breakfasts are pretty much an “on your own” kind of deal around here. If I’m feeling particularly kind, I’ll make breakfast on Saturday. I have been making breakfast muffins for the week that can be microwaved or put in the toaster oven and heated. Hubby leaves for work at 4:30 in the morning. I love him, but I’m not likely to get up and fix him breakfast. Sorry. He’s not a big breakfast eater, anyway, so I hope his feelings aren’t hurt. smile emoticon

I use an online meal planner, but really all you need to do is sit down with a couple of cookbooks or cooking magazines (not your entire collection), your calendar (so you can see what days are your busiest), and a piece of paper. Oh, and a pen or pencil!
Be sure to include at least one night for leftovers if your family will eat them. You can see that I use my Crock-Pot Slow Cooker as often as possible! Best kitchen appliance ever. Ever, I say! On those busiest of days, it’s awfully nice to walk into a great smelling house with dinner simmering away.

crock pots

If you’ve never meal planned before or if you’re not used to cooking at home, plan 4-5 simple meals, a leftover night, and a night to eat out/carry out. Start with what you feel you can REALLY accomplish and go from there. Don’t plan seven elaborate meals and then feel disappointed in yourself and give up. Please. Pretty please.

Cooking from scratch really isn’t hard…and it’s easier on the pocket book than eating out. And easier on the body that processed, pre-made foods. (Though there are days when that’s just what happens and it’s okay.) Having a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday afternoon to do a little prepping (chopping veggies, mixing marinades, etc.) also helps reduce stress during the week.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! I’d love to help you with your meal planning!

Blessings,
Lynne