‘Sweet Heat’ Slow Cooker Chex Mix

This recipe from Kim looks amazing! This is the kind of thing my family would devour at the beach!

I love a Chex Mix for several reasons…I can make a huge batch at once, there are tons of different flavor variations, it’s great to have on hand for hungry kids that are constantly in and out of the kitchen, and it’s super easy to throw in a ziploc bag and carry with you on long car trips or to the beach. However, we’ve been experiencing quite the heat wave this week, so turning on my oven, and opening it every so often to stir up a batch of chex mix was not appealing to me.

Crock Pot Chex Mix EAH

Crock-Pot to the rescue!! Yes, the slow cooker comes in handy all year long! I couldn’t quite decide which direction I wanted to go with this mix…did I want sweet? Did I want spicy? I kind of wanted both, so that’s what I did. A sweet and salty combo with just a little bit of heat. You could easily increase the heat on this, but I knew my kids wouldn’t go for it, so I kept it mild. It actually sneaks up on you – the first few bites taste sweet and salty, and then you get a little kick from the cayenne.

Sweet Heat Chex Mix EAH

And yes, those are little Minion cheese crackers. According to my 7 year old, the Minions taste better than the traditional square crackers! As with almost all chex mixes, you can add whatever you like or have on hand.

'Sweet Heat' Slow Cooker Chex Mix
A sweet and salty combination with just a little heat, that comes together easily in your slow cooker.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of each:
  • Corn Chex cereal
  • Rice Chex cereal
  • Wheat Chex cereal
  • Cheerios cereal
  • Pretzels
  • Cheese Crackers
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 bag Pretzel M&M's (or candy of choice)
Instructions
  1. Place all of the cereals, pretzels and crackers into slow cooker.
  2. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter.
  3. Add brown sugar, Worcestershire, seasoning salt, cinnamon and cayenne to butter. Mix well.
  4. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir to coat.
  5. Cover with lid and set slow cooker on low for 2½-3 hours, stirring every 30 mins. (Make sure to stir down to the bottom to make sure it doesn't burn)
  6. NOTE: to prevent condensation from dripping onto cereal, you can place a clean dishcloth between the lid and slowcooker base.
  7. Once done, spread out on wax paper to cool.
  8. Add M&M's and store in air tight container.

Just beware…it’s hard to stay out of!

Kim M. is a contributing writer for Eat at Home, as well as the mom behind the mayhem at Makin’ it Mo’Betta. There you will find kid-friendly recipes, quick and easy meals, and many more desserts!

Italian Sausage Sub Casserole

I love this recipe that Eat at Home writer, Kim brings us today!

I love Italian sausage, and use it in the place of, or in addition to, ground beef in many recipes. I also really like Italian sausage subs. You can usually substitute it in the place of meatballs on a meatball sub or chicken in a chicken parm sub. I can not tell you how many of these I ate during my first pregnancy! Maybe that’s why my oldest loves sausage. This recipe is basically a sub sandwich in casserole form, and comes together quickly and easily.

Sub Casserole Ingredients EAHI used a cheese bread loaf purchased from my grocery store’s deli, but any good thick bread will work. You can’t have too much cheese in my house! I also used turkey Italian sausage, reduced fat cream cheese and light mayo to cut the calories a little. You can use your favorites. Speaking of favorites, the sauce pictured – Newman’s Own Sockarooni, I highly recommend it!

Sub Casserole Collage EAH

I usually cut this recipe in half, so pictured is an 8 x 8. The recipe below is for a 9 x 13 casserole dish. You could also add peppers and onions, but I have to pass on that to get my kids to eat it. I even have to puree my sauce so there are no chunks! Any one else have super picky eaters?

Italian Sausage Sub Casserole EAH

Italian Sausage Sub Casserole
All the flavors of an Italian Sausage sub sandwich, in casserole form!
Ingredients
  • 1 package Italian Sausage links (4-5 links)
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread
  • Olive oil, for coating bread
  • garlic powder, optional
  • 1 (8 ounce) brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook Italian sausage links according to package directions. Cut into 1 inch chunks.
  3. While sausage is cooking, slice bread into 1½ inch slices. Spray or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Broil until lightly toasted on each side.
  4. Place toasted bread in a single layer in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, Italian seasoning and pepper.
  6. Spread cream cheese mixture over bread, and top with ½ the cheese.
  7. Place Italian sausage over cheese.
  8. Pour spaghetti sauce and water over the sausage and top with remaining cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.

I do love a casserole, and this one is a keeper!

Kim M. is a contributing writer for Eat at Home, as well as the mom behind the mayhem at Makin’ it Mo’Betta. There you will find kid-friendly recipes, quick and easy meals, and lots of desserts!

2-Ingredient Pineapple Cupcakes

Yes, you read that correctly…just 2 simple pantry items are all you need to make these light and tasty cupcakes. It’s nice to have a few simple recipes like this on hand for those sudden cravings or when you just need an easy dessert.

Pineapple Cupcakes EAH

It’s also nice to have something that will satisfy a sweet tooth without totally blowing the “it’s almost bathing suit season” diet! I stumbled across this “recipe” (it’s hard to call mixing two ingredients together a recipe!) a couple of years ago when I was doing Weight Watchers. (The muffins are 1 point each, if I remember correctly.)  The version I made called for a box of Angel Food Cake mix and a can of pie filling, but then a friend told me I could use the same cake mix with a can of crushed pineapple.

2 ingredient cupcakes EAH

I had to give it a try! The result is a light and citrus-y dessert, and makes a great base for fresh fruit and whipped topping. This can also be made in a 9 x 13 baking dish or in a tube pan.

2-Ingredient Pineapple Cupcakes

Serves: 32

You only need 2 pantry ingredients to make this light and tasty treat!
Ingredients
  • 1 box Angel Food Cake mix
  • 1 (20 ounce) can Crushed Pineapple, in juice - do not drain
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the Angel Food Cake mix with the can of crushed pineapple (juice and all). Do not add the water called for on the back of cake mix.
  3. Pour into desired pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. For cupcakes, fill ⅔ full and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.
  4. Allow to cool in pan. Once cooled, run a knife along the sides of cupcakes and gently pull to remove from tins.

Also, be aware that once you mix the angel food cake with the pineapple, the mixture will get very fluffy! This is normal. The texture of the cupcakes will be that of Angel Food cake (sponge cake) and not that of traditional cake. I think I will try this with mandarin oranges next!

Kim M. is a contributing writer for Eat at Home, as well as the mom behind the mayhem at Makin’ it Mo’Betta. There you will find kid-friendly recipes, quick and easy meals, and many, many more desserts!

Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I’ve learned}

4 Tips for Making Perfect Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great dish to bring to a party, family get-together or for summer entertaining. It makes a great side, and if you are like me, you can make a meal out of it. It’s also so versatile, that you can add just about anything to it. However, for years…I just couldn’t get it right. After much trial and error, I have come up with what I think is the Perfect Pasta Salad!

Perfect Pasta Salad Bowl EAH

 

  • First tip, it’s important to cook your pasta al dente (it should say on the box how many minutes this is, I like to use rotini pasta and it’s usually 7 minutes). This will prevent the pasta from getting too mushy/soggy because the pasta will soak up some of the dressing as it sits.
  • Second, and this is where I often went wrong, you need equal amounts of pasta to vegetables/add-ins. I like to chop my main veggies fairly uniform (“bite” size), like cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. My other ingredients that I use less of because of the strong flavor, such as onions and peppers, are chopped smaller. By add-ins, I am talking about not only vegetables, but also cheese, meats (pepperoni, ham, chicken), etc.
  • Third,  the dressing…everyone has their favorite and how much they like, but too much or too little can turn your perfect pasta salad into a “ehhh, it’s okay” pasta salad. My rule of thumb is 4:4:14 cups cooked pasta, 4 cups veggies/add-ins, 1 cup dressing. Even when I make a large batch for a cook-out or party, I stick with my ratios. See, math does come in handy sometimes! The pasta and veggies will soak up some of the dressing, so if you make this the night before, you may need to add a little more dressing the next day. This is a good starting point, and you can adjust to suit your taste buds.
  • Finally, and this is just a suggestion because they are not always readily available, but I highly recommend adding fresh herbs. My favorites to use are basil or cilantro.

Pasta Salad Ingredients EAH

I am particularly fond of the above ingredients for my pasta salad. However, I usually add peppers and I always add some kind of cheese, which somehow did not make the picture! I usually use feta, but feel free to add whatever is your favorite.

Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I've learned}
This pasta salad is the perfect side or light meal. Great for parties, cookouts, and more.
Ingredients
  • 8 oz dry pasta (will yield about 4 cups when cooked)
  • 4 cups desired vegetables/add-ins (such as cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, fresh herbs, cheese)
  • 1 cup dressing (such as House Italian, Oil & Vinegar, etc.)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package for al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. Place drained pasta in a large bowl, adding vegetables and desired add-ins.
  3. Add dressing, salt, pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Place in fridge to chill or serve immediately.

P.S. Want to save $60 and 2 hours each week on grocery shopping? Click herehttp://eatathomecooks.com/MealPlans429

Kim is a contributing writer for Eat at Home and author of food & family blog, Makin’ it Mo’Betta. She blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, incorporating life as mom to teen and tween girls, as well as a young son with nut allergies, and wife to a diabetic husband. Life is never dull!

Homemade Toaster Strudels {quick and easy}

I like to show my kids that things they like in the grocery store or restaurants can usually be made at home. It takes some of the appeal out of spending that money when you know that you can make the same thing at home, and often times they are cheaper, healthier, and taste better. I’m not saying these Homemade Toaster Strudels are any healthier, but they were SO easy and very tasty!

Homemade Toaster StrudelsThese literally come together in just minutes using puff pastry and pie filling! Of course, you could certainly make them completely from scratch, but that would require a lot more time and patience. My kids aren’t big on patience!   [Read more…]

Chocolate Mocha Pudding Cake

Pudding Cake, also known as Chocolate Cobbler, has been around for quite some time. It’s quick and easy to make, requires just a few ingredients, and the results are fantastic. I mean, what could be better than chocolate cake, and a layer of luscious chocolate pudding (think lava cake on a large scale)? Oh yeah…adding coffee could make it better!

Pudding Cake CollageIf you are a coffee lover, and you like chocolate, then this dessert is for you! It will definitely make an appearance at my house again. Even my girls liked it, and they don’t drink coffee except for the occasional Starbuck’s Frappuccino – which is so full of cream and chocolate chips that it’s a dessert as well.   [Read more…]

Sausage, Ham and Cheese Quiche

I have to admit, I used to think pie shells were only meant for dessert. I went for years refusing to eat Chicken Pot Pie, Quiche or any savory dish with a pie crust. Finally, when desperately trying to come up with something different for dinner one night (and use ingredients I had on hand) I made a quiche and realized what I had been missing! I also thought that quiche could only be a fluffy, non-filling dish and boy was I wrong. This recipe is loaded with meat, cheese, potatoes, and the best part, it’s so easy to make! Another huge bonus, my very picky 12 year old loved it.

Quiche w label EAHI have been all about “re-purposing” leftovers, and this dish is great for that. I used a leftover baked potato, and leftover chicken sausage. You could use whatever you have on hand as well. My children won’t eat peppers and onions, but they would be great additions too. This meal is hearty enough for dinner, but makes a great breakfast or brunch item.   [Read more…]

Healthier Sausage “McMuffin” Casserole

I love casseroles. I also love breakfast food…anytime of the day. Therefore, breakfast casseroles that can be served for breakfast, brunch or dinner are just my thing. Last year, I made an ‘egg mcmuffin’ casserole and have been meaning to make a sausage version ever since – because if calories didn’t count, I’d order a Sausage McMuffin over a regular one any day. Unfortunately, calories do count so I avoid the golden arches as much as possible, but can still have this yummy and healthier casserole whenever I want!

Sausage McMuffin Casserole EAH

Healthier Sausage “McMuffin” Casserole
Ingredients
  • 4 English muffins, split *I used Nature's Own 100 calorie multi-grain
  • ½ to 1 lb. turkey sausage, cooked & crumbled
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs (or ½ cup Egg Beaters and 2 eggs)
  • 1¼ cup skim milk
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 325 degrees F.
  2. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.
  3. Cube English muffins, and add half in a single layer in baking dish.
  4. Top with half of the cooked sausage and ½ cup of the cheese.
  5. Layer the remaining English muffins, sausage and remaining cheese.
  6. Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  7. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the casserole.
  8. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, but can be left overnight.
  9. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until eggs are set.

I added a little extra cheese to the top because my family loves cheese. You can also double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 casserole dish if serving a crowd.  The recipe is very versatile in that you can really tailor it to your family’s taste, which is why I put 1/2 to 1 pound of sausage.  You can also use American cheese for a more “mcmuffin” flavor if you like.

What about you? Do you love breakfast food? Do casseroles make you as happy as they do me? I’m actually getting ready to prepare this chicken casserole for dinner. If you have a favorite feel free to let me know, I’m always looking for new ideas!

Kim M. is a married mother of 3; ages 12, 10, and 5.  She is the author of  Makin’ it Mo’Betta where she blogs about food, family and and her adventures in the kitchen. 

Biscoff Cereal Treats w/Chocolate-Butterscotch Frosting

If you still haven’t tried Biscoff Cookie Spread, then I strongly recommend it! It is a favorite in my house, and I have to make myself not eat it straight from the jar with a spoon. Yes, it’s that good! Another favorite around here are cereal treats. I know that traditionally they are made with Rice Krispies, but I often make them with remnants of cereal in the pantry. I really like using Cheerios, or in this case ‘Joe’s O’s’ from Trader Joe’s.

Biscoff Cereal with frostingI needed a quick and easy dessert to take to church the other evening (after I had a pie that turned out, uhmmm, let’s just say, less than desirable!) so I searched my cabinets and came up with these. I’ve made cereal treats with Biscoff before, but the chocolate-butterscotch topping really put these over the top. They were delicious!

Biscoff Cereal Treats EAHOf course, a few pumpkin sprinkles on top makes them even better (according to my children!)

Biscoff Cereal Treats w/Chocolate-Butterscotch Frosting
Ingredients
  • 6 cups cereal (crispies, O's, etc.)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup Cookie Butter
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
For topping
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • Sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9x13 dish, set aside.
  2. Melt butter and cookie butter in a large pot on medium heat, add marshmallows.
  3. Stir until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Remove from heat and add cereal.
  5. Stir until cereal is completed coated.
  6. Spread cereal mixture into greased pan. It's going to be sticky!
Tip - Spray hands with cooking spray and press cereal into pan. Be careful, it's hot!
For Frosting
  1. Combine chocolate and butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on high for 45 seconds.
  3. Stir.
  4. Continue microwaving in 15 second intervals until melted, stirring after each 15 seconds.
  5. Spread melted chocolate mixture over cereal treats.
  6. Add sprinkles if desired.
  7. Chill for a few minutes for topping to firm up.

These came together quickly and easily, and no one was the wiser that I had a  flat, sunken pie at home (that the kids and I still ate!)

KimM is a contributing writer for Eat at Home. She lives in NC with her husband, three children, and 2 fur babies. You can find her blogging about her kitchen adventures at Makin’ it Mo’Betta

Pumpkin Spice Eclair Cake w/Chocolate Frosting {No Bake}

Eclair Cake is one of those desserts I see often at potlucks, family gatherings, and is a personal favorite of mine. If you are not familiar, it’s a no bake dessert that is made up of just a few simple ingredients: graham crackers, vanilla pudding, cool whip, and usually chocolate frosting (but I’ve also seen it with chocolate pudding on top).

Pumpkin Eclair Cake top

I decided to make this dessert for a church dinner, and as I was getting my supplies from the grocery store, I spied this…

pumpkin spice pudding

HOLD THE PHONE! Pumpkin Spice pudding?! I immediately scooped up several packages, and then the idea of substituting the pumpkin spice pudding for the vanilla pudding, and using cinnamon graham crackers instead of regular in the eclair cake came to me. It sounded seasonal and delicious…and it was!

Pumpkin Eclair Cake IngredientsI realized too late that the milk was left out of the picture, but I used skim. You could use any kind you like, and I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use almond, soy, etc., but I’ve never tried it.

Pumpkin Eclair Cake CollageAs I mentioned, I made this to take to church, so I couldn’t get a picture of the inside of the cake after I made it. However, I assumed I would be able to quickly (and discreetly) take a phone pic after people started cutting into it. Well, that didn’t go according to plan. When I got to the dessert table, it was gone! Only some crumbs of frosting remained, and someone even came along and licked the spoon before taking it to the kitchen :-) Luckily, I had snagged a few bites from one of my children’s plates, so I can attest that it was very tasty.

I usually make this in a 9 x 13 pan, but on this occasion, I made 2 8 x 8’s  – one pumpkin spice and one regular eclair cake. (The regular cake was also eaten before I got to the dessert table!) The following recipe is for the 9 x 13 size.

Pumpkin Spice Eclair Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients
  • 1 box Cinnamon Graham Crackers (you will have some leftover)
  • 2 boxes Instant Pumpkin Spice Pudding mix
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 container Cool Whip
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. allspice (optional)
For Frosting -
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Mix 2 boxes of instant pudding with 3 cups milk. Stir until it begins to thicken.
  2. Fold in container of Cool Whip.
  3. Line a 9 x 13 pan with single layer of graham crackers.
  4. Spread ⅓ of pudding mixture on top of crackers.
  5. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of pudding.
  6. Repeat layers, ending with pudding mixture.
  7. Place in refrigerator to chill while making frosting*
For the Frosting
  1. Mix sugar, cocoa and milk in a medium size pot.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat - stirring the entire time with a wooden spoon.
  3. Boil for one minute (still stirring!)
  4. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.
  5. Mix until it just starts to thicken - don't let it thicken too much or it is difficult to spread over cake. Pour over pudding layer of cake. Icing will 'set' on cake.
Time Saving Tip - If you do not want to make homemade icing/frosting, you can take a store-bought can of frosting, heat in the microwave, and pour over cake.
  1. Allow cake to chill in refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight before serving so the graham crackers can soften and create a cake like texture.

I like to divide my pudding into thirds when layering my eclair cake, but if you want a thicker pudding layer, you can just divide it in half, ending with graham crackers on top. I’ve made it both ways, I just prefer a thinner pudding layer. It’s an easy dessert that always goes over well! What do you like to bring to potluck/cover dish dinners?

KimM is a contributing writer for Eat at Home. She lives in NC with her husband, three children, and 2 fur babies. You can find her blogging about her kitchen adventures at Makin’ it Mo’Betta

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