Pineapple Crisp with Whipped Coconut Cream

Pineapple Crisp with Whipped Coconut Cream - dairy free

 

I’m no gluten free/dairy free expert, but I’m pretty sure this dessert meets those qualifications.  Not only that, it tastes fantastic!

This is the same crisp recipe I use for Blueberry Crisp in the Slow Cooker.  This time I used pineapple instead of berries.   I made it in the oven instead of the slow cooker.  And I topped it with whipped coconut cream instead of ice cream.

The result is pretty marvelous.

The crisp topping is a nutty contrast to the sweet pineapple.  I love the texture of the coconut cream even more than regular whipped cream.  It’s a little thicker and tastes very decadent.  I bumped up the coconut flavor by adding coconut extract.  You could use vanilla extract instead if you wanted to down play the coconut taste.  This topping can be use in place of whipped cream for things like shortcake.  I can’t wait to try it with strawberries.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the pineapple crisp:   [Read more…]

3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – May 4

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I experimented the other day with grilling pork tenderloin.  I used this 7-6-5 method as a starting point and it turned out amazing!  I brined it as the recipe states, using sugar and kosher salt.  Then I sprinkled the meat heavily with McCormick’s Smokehouse Maple Seasoning.  That stuff is amazing!

It was the best meat I’ve ever grilled.  I didn’t take any photos, but I’ll make it again and share a real post with instructions.

2.  Roasted Vegetables

I’ve been on a roasting roll.  With the pork tenderloin, I made roasted potatoes and sugar snap peas.  I sprinkled both heavily with Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Roasting vegetables is such a fast way to have an amazing side dish.

Potatoes need longer to cook, so I put them in the oven first and added the peas after about 15 minutes.  That way both peas and potatoes finished roasting at the same time.

3.  Grilled Burgers

I’m determined to learn to make really great burgers on the grill this summer.  I have a bad habit of over cooking them and they aren’t very moist when that happens.

I found this McCormick sauce in the grocery on Saturday.  The weather was perfect for testing out a new burger grilling method.

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I mixed one packet of sauce into 2 lbs of ground beef.  The packet says to use 1 lb. of meat, but I stretched it.  Then we topped our burgers with balsamic caramelized onions and blue cheese.

They turned out a bit rarer than we would like, but oh my!  They tasted amazing!  This will make a frequent appearance at dinner all summer!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

P.S.  The May Weekly Meal Plans are ready to print on the member page.  Here’s what one of our Weekly Meal Plan members said this week when she renewed her membership for a year. “I thought I’d try to save $50 and not re-enroll. But after a couple of weeks of that, I realized that Eat At Home is both a money-saver and a time-saver. So … I’m back. Thanks again for all the work you do! I’m so appreciative!”  Click here to find out more about becoming a member.

Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Salt and Pepper Dressing – an easy, whole food side dish

Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Salt and Pepper Dressing

 

This side dish is so easy and it’s a great way to use up the vegetables in your fridge.  You can use just about any vegetable you want, although I do recommend sticking with tomatoes.  They add some juice that creates its own dressing.

The ingredients in this are super simple.  It’s really more method than recipe.

I made this on a night that we needed to pack our dinner for a soccer game.  The green beans needed to be used, but we weren’t going to be home to eat them hot.  I blanched the beans, added the tomatoes, threw on a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar.

I think the tomatoes would be great paired with broccoli or cauliflower or zucchini or yellow squash.  You can add fresh herbs too, if you’ve got them.

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

3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 27

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Pineapple Crisp with Whipped Coconut Cream

I have had a dry spell in creating recipes lately.  And then there have been recipes that I made and the photos didn’t turn out, which is super frustrating.

But I did come up with a good one this weekend.  I can’t wait to share this recipe with you!

Pineapple Crisp with Whipped Coconut Cream

One good thing about this dessert is that it is fairly healthy, as dessert goes anyway.  There’s only 1/4 cup of maple syrup (or honey) in the crisp.  And the coconut creams is sweetened, but it is non-dairy, if that’s important to someone in your family.

2.  Soccer team party

Thursday night, Mia had another soccer game and one of the families invited everyone back to their house for a meal.  They served Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad (so good!) and the rest of us chipped in with dessert, cut fruit, drinks etc.

I loved that this busy family opened their home to all of us.  It was welcoming and relaxed and a great time to get to know each other better.  The girls ate, talked and laughed together on the deck and the parents visited around the kitchen table and spilled into the living room.  It made me realize that having people over doesn’t need to be complicated.

I’m encouraged to host more gatherings at our house.  Now to follow through with that idea…

3.  Question – Cooked beets at Costco???

While shopping at Costco the other day, I noticed packs of cooked, vacuum packed beets in the refrigerator section.  The label said something like, “ready for anything”.  That’s great, but my imagination isn’t that good!

How  would you use cooked, cold beets?  Warm them up for a side dish?  Add to a salad?  Do you like them? Inquiring minds want to know!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

How to Adapt Your Meal Plans for Sports Season

Dinner during sports season

Sports season –  I’m not actually sure that it’s just a season.  I think it’s the norm.  It seems we’re always juggling things for soccer or volley ball.  I know many of you are in the trenches too with various sports.  It’s fun, and there are a lot of benefits for our kids, but there are trade offs too.

Family dinner is often the big loser during sports season.  It gets trampled under a schedule that has enough cleats to punch holes in the best laid dinner plans.

How to handle it?  Here are my top tips to keep the family eating together (at least most of the time) and avoid the drive-thru.

1.  Make a plan for the off nights

Be very intentional about planning meals together when you can get everyone gathered around the table.  And if having everyone there seems impossible (and with various teen schedules, it really is nearly impossible) go for as many family members as you can.

The way this works in our family is that if I’m home around dinner time, I will make dinner.  There may be two of us at the table or five of us.  Sometimes the kids bring a friend too.  I tend to cook for 6-8 people, no matter how many will be eating that night.  Leftovers get eaten up for lunches and late night boy snacks over the next couple of days.

We also aim to have at least one meal a week with all of us – and that includes our daughter and her husband.  This one takes some planning for all of us, but it’s so worth it.

Dinner gets harder on nights when I’m out to drive a child to a game or practice.  But there are strategies for that too:

2.  Use a slow cooker

If you’ll be home at a reasonable time to eat dinner, grab the slow cooker and fill it up early in the day.  Here’s a list I wrote a few years ago that categorizes slow cooker recipes for 5-10 minute prep, cook all day, and minimal sides required.

The key is to choose a recipe that works for your day.  If you’re looking for a big list of slow cooker recipes that can cook all day, check out this one.

22 Slow Cooker Recipes that can cook all day

And since that list is old, I think I need to do an update post for each of those categories with even more recipes.

3.  15 Minute Meal

If you’ll be home in time to eat, plus have 15 minutes to spare ahead of time, try a 15 minute recipe.  You really can get dinner on the table in just 15 minutes.  Here’s a list of 15 minute recipes.  Scroll down on the page to find the recipe links.

15 Minute Meals for Back to School

4.  Pack it

There’s no shame in eating on the sidelines or in your car.  I have a reputation on our kids’ soccer teams of showing up for games with a picnic.  It’s never fancy, but I never regret packing it either.  What I do regret is a run through the fast food place when I haven’t taken the time to pack a meal.  That’s expensive, doesn’t taste great, and not good for us either.

This week we had three soccer games.  I made packable food for all three, although two were so early we didn’t really need to do it.  No worries though.  Having a meal all done like that, meant that other family members at home were able to eat as well.

Here’s what we had this week:

  • Egg salad sandwiches (made with Greek yogurt), carrots and celery sticks
  • Pasta Salad with grilled chicken
  • Hummus Wraps, Green Bean and Tomato Salad (recipe coming soon)

Here’s a post with a few tips and ideas for packable meals that aren’t sandwiches.

P.S. Would you like a menu of easy meals, along with a color-coded grocery list all done for you? One of our Weekly Meal Plan members shared that she saves at least 2 hours each week by using the meal plans.  She also saves a minimum of $60 each week on food!  Find out how you can become a member by clicking here. Find your perfect Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plan here.

 

3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 20

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Dinner to go

We had three soccer games this week, which threw a wrench in dinner plans.  I’m sharing a post tomorrow about how to alter your meal plans during sports season.

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One of our meals was egg salad.  We have plenty of eggs, thanks to Jim’s sister and her husband.  Well – thanks to their chickens, anyway!  I used part mayo and part Greek yogurt to make the egg salad, which turned out great.

2.  Costco

We live just 5 or so minutes from Costco.  The more I shop there, the more I love it.  Their produce is especially nice.  This week I bought oranges, spinach, patty pan squashes, green beans, and grape tomatoes.  The oranges and spinach get used in our morning green smoothies.  The tomatoes are fantastic eaten in a salad or roasted with other veggies.  I haven’t tried the squash yet, but I’m looking forward to roasting them alongside some pork chops.

3.  Orange Carrot Ginger Juice

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When Jim gave me the Vitamix for Christmas, I really wondered how much use it would get.  Answer – a lot!  We use it every morning for green smoothies.  And lately, I’ve been making orange, carrot, ginger juice in the afternoon.

A little apple or orange juice, 1 orange, 1 carrot, a piece of fresh ginger and some ice all go in the blender.  It tastes sunny and healthy.  The ginger gives it a little flavor kick that helps ward off the afternoon sleepy feeling.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

Quick and Easy Chipotle Burrito Bowls

Quick and easy Chipotle Style Chicken Burrito Bowls

 

This is one of our new family favorites.  It’s quick to make, can be made ahead of time and customizable to different tastes.

I originally created this for another site that I wrote for.  Since then, I’ve made the process a lot easier.

The main short cut is using rotisserie chicken (or other chicken you’ve cooked).  I keep cooked chicken in the freezer for quick meals like this one.  It cuts the prep time down a lot when you start with cooked chicken vs raw.

This one recipe is a compilation of several:

  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Black Beans
  • Corn Salsa
  • Salsa
  • Chipotle Chicken
  • Guacamole

The black beans, corn salsa, chipotle chicken and guacamole come together really quick, but making all of these homemade still takes a while.  If you work quick though, you can finish in about 30 minutes.

However, you’ve got a lot of options here.  You don’t need to make each item homemade.  Here are some ideas for speeding things up:

  • If you’re in a hurry try Minute brown rice instead of long grain.
  • Use store-bought salsa
  • Use store-bought guacamole
  • Skip one or more of the items
  • Use pre-shredded cheese (we like Monterey Jack, but cheddar is good too)

The recipes for Homemade Salsa and Guacamole are already on the site, so I won’t repeat them here.

Let’s start with the Cilantro Lime Rice.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry rice (white or brown)
  • water
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice
  • handful chopped cilantro
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice in water according to the package directions.
  2. Add 2 Tbs. lime juice, cilantro and salt to finished rice.
  3. Serve as first layer in burrito bowls.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 cans black beans, undrained
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ⅛ tsp. allspice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat.
  3. Serve in burrito bowls, tortillas or as side dish.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
  • 16 oz frozen corn
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ - 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • handful chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Place corn in colander and under cool water to thaw.
  2. Pour into bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Serve with burrito bowls.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in microwave safe bowl.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Heat in microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring and adding time as needed until hot.

P.S. Would you like a menu of easy meals like this one, along with a color-coded grocery list all done for you?  Find your perfect Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plan here. 

3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 13

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Speed dinner

On Thursday evening, I hadn’t made a plan for our dinner, because I was still trying to figure out the plan for the evening.  I didn’t know who would be home, what time they’d be home or if I would be home.  We were juggling a late drama practice, a volleyball game that I’d only learned about the day before and a soccer practice.  It was all last minute when we decided which of those things we could make it to.

What ended up happening was I got home at 5:20 and had to leave again about 6:00.  I decided I had time to cook a quick dinner and eat it before we left.  We had Pressure Cooker Mac & Cheese (I delegated the cheese shredding to one of the kids), a quick chopped salad (chopped because it’s infinitely faster than tearing) and smoked sausage heated in the microwave.

It was much better than fast food.  I’m glad I did throw it together, because we ended up not getting home from the volleyball game until nearly 10pm.

2.  Kitchen pet peeve – revealed in a dream

File this one under “things that aren’t working”, “weird dreams”, and “things that don’t matter at all”.

I had a dream one night and the only part I remember is standing in the kitchen, pointing at the counter, saying, “And we always have all these twist ties and bread bag things all over the counter!”.

I didn’t remember the dream until the next morning when I was wiping down the counter.  There must have been 3 or 4 twist ties and plastic bread bag things on there.  And then I remembered the dream and realized that this is one of my pet peeves.  The funny thing is, I’d never really thought about it before.  It never consciously bothered me before I dreamed about it.

But now – oh my gosh!  Why do we have all these bread ties laying around?!?

Every day I clear several off the counter, but the next day there are more.  I think they are reproducing or something.  It’s crazy!

3.  Taco soup can be made from almost anything

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We love taco soup.  It’s perfect for clearing out the pantry.  You can use nearly any kind of meat – chicken, ground beef, sausage, leftover roast…

Use any type of beans, mixing and matching what you’ve got on hand.  Use canned corn, frozen corn or creamed corn.  Add canned or fresh tomatoes.  Season with a packet of taco seasoning, fajita seasoning or mix up your own homemade.

The possibilities are nearly endless.

The night we had taco soup, Isaac fried up some corn tortillas we needed to use up.  They were the perfect, crunchy compliment to the soup.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

P.S. One of our Weekly Meal Plan members share that she saves at least 2 hours each week by using the meal plans.  She also saves a minimum of $60 each week on food!  Find out how you can become a member by clicking here.

 

A Glimpse of All of You and a Peek Behind the Scenes – Some Survey Results

Last week I ran a survey so that I could get a better picture of who you are and what your needs are.  I want to be sure that Eat at Home is meeting your needs.  That’s not to say that we can meet every need.  There’s no way to be all things to all people.  But I do want to be sure that we’re doing a good job with what we provide.

A note on why I say “we”

I (Tiffany) am the one who started this blog and I’m still the main person behind it.  I create most of the recipes, do most of the photography, write most of the posts, guide the Weekly Meal Plans…  I’m still solely in charge of my own email and customer service.  However, I don’t do all of the work by myself.  I have a lot of support and that’s why I sometimes mention “we”.  I’m a homeschool mom and that takes up a lot of my time.  I only work 15-20 hours a week on the blog, so I need to have help.

Chantel is my virtual assistant.  She does all kinds of things from uploading meal plans, scheduling emails, helping with the Facebook page, reviewing and editing, and generally keeping me on track.  I also have three writers for the Weekly Meal Plans.  Rachael, Kate and Jen each do one version of the meal plans, choosing the recipes and creating the grocery lists and other printables.  Mary Beth joined us recently as editor.  It’s been great to have another set of eyes checking things over on the meal plans.  And from time to time I have a couple of other people who write recipe posts.  You’ll be seeing a few of those again in the future.

Who you are

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No surprise here.  As a group, you are 95% female.

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You’re most likely in your 30’s, 40’s or 50’s.

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And then there’s this question on kids, which doesn’t tell me as much as it could.  Why?  Because I forgot to give an option for no kids at home.  But I do see that 408 people skipped that question, so maybe that means that a large percentage of you don’t have kids at home.  Basically, this area remains a bit of a mystery.

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Most of you work outside the home full time.

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How you view your cooking skills was varied.  Most of you are pretty good home cooks.  There are some who are new cooks and some who are trained chefs.  But most of you fall in the middle and feel comfortable in your own kitchen.

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Thankfully, there are only a few of us who can only squeeze 15 minutes for dinner prep.  However, I bet all of us have days like that sometimes!  Thirty minutes to an hour is the more common amount of time available.  I wish I would have asked about what you try to multi-task while cooking.

I’d love to have you leave a comment on this post telling me what else is happening while you cook!

I’m guessing this will be everything from taking care of babies, talking on the phone, reading the mail/email, watching tv, folding laundry, helping with homework….  Let me know what happens in your kitchen while you’re cooking.

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Oh, this question!  This is the question that made me realize that we share the same struggles.

We are tired.  Things are always crazy at the dinner hour.  Time was the number one struggle for most of us.

That was followed by planning, money, ideas, grocery shopping, finding easy and healthy meals, kids’ sports schedules…

Whether we’re cooking for a family, have little kids, or cooking for one – we’re tired.  And we’re busy. Between work, kids, family, friends etc we have full lives.  I wish I could bring a meal to everyone one of you.  Not that I have it so all together to do that – many nights I wish someone would bring a meal to me!

We are all in the same boat together.  On the plus side, this means that eating is not a survival thing for any of us any more.  We don’t have to spend our days gathering and cooking food.  But all the other things that have crept in do sap energy from cooking.  And trying to find healthy meals that are also quick is a challenge too.

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I loved reading what you think makes Eat at Home unique.  I’ve copied some of the answers below:

“Real regular ingredients I can find–pushes me a little but not so over-the-top out of my comfort zone that I can’t get it done on a week night. Some of your recipes have become regulars at out house!! Thank you so much for your time, sharing your family’s life and recipes with us! ”

“Lots of great basic dishes that I can then customize – I love the basic chicken skillet and then the variations – it makes me, someone who doesn’t often go off recipe, get how it’s done and feel a little more adventurous.”

“I appreciate your practical and reasonable recipes and things that worked in the kitchen. You are the every person home cook who prepares good food for her family. That’s me, too!”

“I enjoy the “chattiness” of it – it feels like sitting across the kitchen counter from a good friend, talking about our day.”

“Tiffany seems normal and approachable like an older sister. I think she may be a happy introvert like me. (: The recipes are delicious and not uppity. The photography and blog all reflect approachability and quality. Like Publix with a scoop of Aldi.”

It makes me really happy that the simple meals that my family enjoys are also things that your family enjoys.  The recipes are connecting and helpful to you!  That’s what it’s all about.

Thank you so much for filling out the survey!  I promise to use all that info to continue to make the blog and Weekly Meal Plans meet your needs.

P.S. The winner of the Amazon gift card is Loree W.

 

Au Gratin Potatoes in the Slow Cooker – Make an Oven Recipe Work in the Crockpot

AuGratin Potatoes in the slow cooker

 

One fantastic cooking trick to learn is how to change a recipe so that it can cook in the slow cooker instead of the oven – or vice versa.  Being able to do this with a recipe gives you so much more control over your time and schedule.

On Easter, I really wanted to make Black Angus Au Gratin Potatoes.  I love this recipe.  It’s all from scratch and the taste is so good.  The problem is that the original recipe bakes in the oven for a medium amount of time – too long for doing after church and too short for baking the whole time we’re gone.

The answer, of course is to change up the recipe and make them in the slow cooker instead.  And I also wanted to be able to do all the prep work the day before.

The original instructions call for boiling the whole potatoes till tender, slicing them hot, making the cheese sauce and pouring that over the hot potatoes, then baking for 20 minutes.

On Saturday I boiled the potatoes and cooled them before storing in the refrigerator.  I also made the cheese sauce and put it in the fridge in a separate container.

Sunday morning it only took a few minutes to slice the cold potatoes and arrange them in a buttered crockpot, spoon the cheese sauce over the top and turn the heat to low.

I will say that the oven version has a slight edge over the slow cooker version for taste.  However, it’s such a small edge that it doesn’t override the convenience of the slow cooker at all.  We all really enjoyed this dish and I doubt that anyone else at the table even considered that they’d be better oven baked.

Here’s the recipe with the slow cooker instructions for you and here are 6 more tips on converting oven recipes to slow cooker recipes.

Au Gratin Potatoes in the Slow Cooker - Make an Oven Recipe Work in the Crockpot

Serves: 6-8 servings

This recipe allows you to prep it up to a day ahead of time. If you want to put the potatoes immediately in the crockpot without refrigerating them or the sauce, that's fine too.
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds potatoes, unpeeled
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1½ cups hot milk
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp. parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • extra cheese for the top
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender. Cool and store in the fridge for up to one day.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  3. Add the garlic and cook it for a minute over medium heat.
  4. Whisk in the flour and cook for another minute.
  5. Whisk in the hot milk, stirring constantly. Stir in the cheeses and keep stirring until it’s all melted and smooth.
  6. Cool and store the finished cheese sauce in the refrigerator for up to a day.
  7. Butter the inside of a slow cooker.
  8. Slice potatoes into ¼" slices and arrange in the crock.
  9. Spoon cheese sauce over the top.
  10. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

 

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