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

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.)

This Week’s Meal Plan & Today’s Recipes

Meal Plans for 12/28 – 1/3/16 (Yikes!)

So today is my prep dat for things I can do make or do ahead of time. I’ll make a quiche and some black beans and rice to have for lunches on days I don’t want to have leftovers. And I’ll run to the store if there are ingredients that I’m missing.

I’ve planned out all three meals because I’m really good at skipping breakfast which is bad. And I often struggle over what to have for lunch.

So here you go.

Monday
Breakfast: Smoothie (berries, spinach, almond milk, protein powder)
Lunch: Quiche
Dinner: Lentil-Quinoa Soup, Cornbread

Tuesday
Breakfast: Egg White Omelet w/ Veggies; toasted Ezekiel bread
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Beef & Bean Burritos; Homemade Mexican Rice

Wednesday
Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, Greek yogurt, almond butter, honey, almond milk)
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: California Chicken Wraps; Roasted Veggies

Thursday
Breakfast: Hard-boiled egg; turkey sausage; toasted Ezekiel bread
Lunch: Black Beans & Rice w/ Sausage
Dinner: Leftovers

Friday 
Breakfast: Smoothie (strawberries, yogurt, almond milk, honey, protein powder)
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Homemade Pizza (trying a grain-free crust): 1. chicken & spinach Alfredo, 2. beef & mushroom, 3. cheese & cheese smile emoticon
Treat Night: Homemade Ice Cream Sundaes

Saturday
Breakfast: Bacon & Egg Breakfast Pizza (grain-free crust)
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches; Crash Hot Potatoes

Sunday
Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, yogurt, almond milk, almond butter)
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Slow Cooker Bacon Ranch Chicken, Pasta, Green Peas, Roasted Carrots

I will post pics and dinner recipes throughout the week.

Here are the recipes for the two things I’ll make today for lunches. 🙂

Lynne

Easy Quiche

I’ll make this today to have for lunches this week. Hubby will be off so I’ll have to feed him, too. Notice that the word “easy” is in the title (name?) of both recipes. 🙂

Source: allrecipes.com
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 50 min
Total: 1 hr
Servings: 8

Ingredients

2 cups milk
4 eggs
3⁄4 cup biscuit baking mix (I’m trying a grain-free baking mix)
1⁄4 cup butter softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1 cup cubed cooked ham
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 10 inch quiche dish.
In a large bowl, beat together milk, eggs, baking mix, butter and parmesan cheese. Batter will be lumpy. Stir in broccoli, ham and Cheddar cheese. Pour into prepared quiche dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, until eggs are set and top is golden brown.

 

Easy Black Beans & Rice

Source: wearychef.com
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 25 min
Total: 30 min
Servings: 4

 

Ingredients

 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic crushed or minced
1 cup white rice I like medium grain
2 cups chicken broth
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
15 ounces canned seasoned black beans drained and rinsed
1/2 package smoked sausage or turkey sausage, sliced into “coins”

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 minutes, until onion is tender and starting to brown. Add garlic, and sauté one minute longer. Add uncooked rice, and stir and sauté 2 minutes.

Add broth, salt, and cumin. Stir together, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute sausage slices in a tiny bit of oil over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Remove lid, stir in beans and sausage, and cover again. Turn off heat, and let stand for 3 minutes before serving.

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

Slow Cookin’ Monday: Herbed French Dip Sandwiches (+ recipe!)

What’s in my Crock Pot for dinner tonight? Herbed French dip sandwiches. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds lean beef roast
  • 12 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
  • 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 are our favorites.). Use cooking juices as “au jus” for dipping, if desired.

Yields 12 servings. 

 

Dinner is served!

I love soup! And not just in the fall and winter. (I also don’t believe it’s EVER too hot for coffee!) I mean, restaurants serve soup year-round, so why shouldn’t I? And since many soups can be cooked in the Crock Pot, your kitchen doesn’t get heated up to 1,438 degrees – at which time it might actually be too hot for soup. But not coffee..never coffee. But I digress.

So yesterday I was painting my living room. I needed dinner that I could leave for the family since I had Bible study last night and needed to leave before hubby got home. I have two Crock Pots, so I cooked up a pot of chili and a pot of white bean/kale/carrot soup and a pan of cornbread. Mmmm…cornbread. What I love about both of these is that they are even better the second day (today) and freeze well, too. So if there are any leftovers after dinner tonight, I’ll freeze them in individual serving sizes to have as quick lunches or dinners when needed.

There are no pics because I wasn’t home to take any and my family thinks I’m weird for taking them. I’ll take some of the leftovers. 😉

Here’s the recipe for the chili: https://www.facebook.com/notes/living-simply/my-favorite-chili/1039563579392902

Here’s the one for the white bean/kale/carrot soup:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/living-simply/white-bean-kale-carrot-soup/1027616107254316

And here’s the one for the cornbread:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/living-simply/buttermilk-cornbread/1109108119105114

And…dinner tonight will be easy-peasy. I’m off to finish painting! I’m LOVING the new, lighter color. Makes me happy! 🙂

Lynne