Buffalo Chicken Loaded Baked Potatoes – Perfect for Super Bowl

ALDI Buffalo Chicken Loaded Baked Potatoes

Super Bowl is coming!  And with it, the most important part – the food, of course.

I’m not a huge football fan, but I do love food.  When ALDI asked me to create a recipe that would be perfect for Super Bowl parties, Buffalo Chicken popped into my mind.

I love using the slow cooker, and that works great for cooking the chicken and keeping it hot during the party.  Grab a second slow cooker for the baked potatoes, if you’ve got one handy.

ALDI Buffalo Chicken slow cooker

Using small sized potatoes keeps this dish appetizer sized.  That’s great for parties, because you’ll still have plenty of room to try all the other foods being served.

But this recipe also makes a great weeknight dinner.  Use large, baking potatoes. Serve it with a big green salad and roasted broccoli.  It’s a great twist on a plain Tuesday night.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Buffalo Chicken Loaded Baked Potatoes.  All of the ingredients can be found at ALDI, so you know you’ll get them for a good price too.   [Read more…]

Reading Digital Books, a 28 Day Challenge and More

Reading digital books and a book recommendation

A while back I shared that I thought one reason I hadn’t been finishing books recently is that I’d been reading on my phone.  My theory was that reading on the phone, or even Kindle, made it too easy to ditch the books.

It’s been a while since I started any books on my phone.  I used to buy books fairly regularly.  Kindle books, that is.  But for the last several months I haven’t been doing that.  In fact, it’s been so long that I forgot why I stopped.

But looking back, I remember thinking I would give more paper and ink books a try instead of relying on my phone and kindle to read.

The trouble is, I ended up quitting on the paper books just as easily as on the Kindle.  And I forget about the very few I did buy.

Obviously, I have a quitting problem.  Or at least a quitting habit that I need to come to terms with.  I do think that I read more when I read on my phone.  It’s handy.  It’s convenient.  And even if I don’t finish a book, I definitely start more when I give myself the option of reading digitally.

This week I bought Lisa Terkeurst’s book, The Best Yes.  I’ve heard so many good things about this book, but I was skeptical.  I thought it would be a lot of the same things you hear everywhere.

I’m only a few chapters in, but this one is really good!  It’s thought provoking in a way that has already caused me to take action.

I’ve been so scattered and distracted lately. My schedule has gotten completely out of control and I’ve let some bad habits creep into how I manage my time.  I’m not sure where the rest of the book is going, but the third chapter was worth the purchase price for me.

Rediscover Me – a 28 Day Challenge

rediscover-me-header

You may remember me sharing the fashion challenges that Alison has done before.  This time, she’s pulled together a 28 week journey to help women rediscover themselves.  Sometimes in the midst of mothering and working and all the other things that pull at us, we forget to take care of ourselves.

This program won’t be for everyone. In Alison’s words:

This challenge might be for you if:

  • You’re ready to regain your confidence and a sense of who you really are.

  • You’re stuck in a rut and not sure how to get out of it.

  • You’re wanting to rediscover a sense of your identity outside of your typical roles of mom and wife.

  • You’re an empty nester ready to reinvent yourself.  You may have a vague sense of what’s next but aren’t really sure.

  • Most importantly, you’re ready to dig deep and DO THE WORK.  This course is called a challenge for a reason.  It’s intensive and life changing.  I only want women who are 100% committed to it.

I’ve signed up and here’s why – It’s not so much that I feel stuck in a rut, but I do sometimes feel stuck in the gray of winter.  Sometimes just a little change is enough to perk me up.

And I’ve done all of Alison’s fashion challenges.  The programs she puts together have been top notch.  And the community that she builds around those programs are also amazing.  I expect the same to be true of her Rediscover Me challenge.

The challenge starts on Feb. 1 and the registration closes on Jan. 30.

Freezer Cooking – Virtually and in your own kitchen

I’m in the process of planning a Virtual Freezer Cooking Day event on the Eat at Home Facebook page.  Right now I’m planning on Feb. 21.  More details to come!

And in case you’re in the mood to get a head start on stocking your freezer, the 12 Slow Cooker Meal Plans ebook is on sale through the end of January.  All the details about the book and the sale can be found here.

200 lp12 slow cooker freezer meal plans

 

I’ve also got another video that I’ll be uploading next week.  This time I show how to assemble the meals for the February Slow Cooker Weekly Meal Plans freezer week.  That video will go up sometime next week.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Chowder

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Chowder

 

If you like a hearty, hot soup for dinner in the winter, this one’s for you.

It’s thick and cheesy.  Full of smoked sausage, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions.

I adapted the recipe from Cheesy Hamburger Soup.  I used smoked sausage instead of hamburger.  And shredded cheddar instead of Velveeta.

Serve this soup with crusty bread and a big, green salad.

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

22 Slow Cooker Recipes That Can Handle Cooking All Day

22 Slow Cooker Recipes that can cook all day

A lot of times when we think of using the slow cooker, it’s because we’re leaving the house early and won’t be back until dinner. Slow cookers are great for those days, but not all recipes will work.

You need to use a recipe that can take the heat for that long and still hold up. Soups, stews, large pieces of meat (especially if it has a bone) all do well.

Another tip is to make sure you’re using a slow cooker size that’s right for the amount of food.  It should be about 3/4 full or more if you want to cook it all day.  Less than that, and the slow cooker will cook too hot, leading to overcooked food.

Here’s a list of recipes that you’ll have success with.

african pulled beef sandwich done

African Pulled Beef Sandwiches

beef stew done

All Day Beef Stew

bbq chicken sandwiches in slow cooker done

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

beef and bean topped potatoes done

Beef and Bean Topped Baked Potatoes

beef shwarma in the slow cooker

Beef Shwarma

Calico Bean Soup with Smoked Sausage (aka Mixed Bean Soup)

chicken enchilada soup in slow cooker done

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken Fiesta with Black Beans

Honey Mustard Chicken

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Curry Soup

Thai Chicken Curry Soup

Easy Shredded Taco Beef

Garlic Chicken with More Garlic

pumpkin black bean chicken chili

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

Pulled Pork

BBQ Peach Pulled Pork

slow cooker beans for the freezer done

Beans for the Freezer

Chicken Cock-a-leekie Soup

Chicken Cock-a-Leekie Soup

Chicken Minestrone in the Slow Cooker

Chicken Minestrone Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Ham and Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

Ham and Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut Soup

Sauerkraut and Smoked Sausage Soup

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

 

3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – January 19

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Virtual Freezer Cooking Party idea

Freezer cooking always works to make meal time simple.  Last weekend I made 6 more slow cooker freezer meals from the upcoming February meal plans.

This week, we ate two of those meals.   And it reminded me of a Facebook event we did a few years ago.

Virtual Freezer Cooking Party will take place on a Saturday in February. More details to follow, but for now here are a few facts:

  • The party will take place on the Eat at Home Facebook page.
  • We’ll each choose our own recipes to prep and freeze.  I’ll give lots of ideas for recipes in a post and in Facebook statuses as we get closer to party time.  But choose whatever recipes you like and work for you.
  • We’ll check in on Facebook, sharing how it’s going, asking questions, sharing recipes.

The date will be announced soon, but I’m thinking toward the end of the month.

2.  Adding items to the Traditional List

I shopped with the Traditional List this week.  While I was printing the list, my son asked for a meal of bbq chicken legs and Corn Casserole.  It was really easy to add these ingredients to the list.

That meal tasted like a little bit of summer!  I put the chicken legs in the oven with bbq sauce.  The Corn Casserole also went in the oven.  It was too late to use the slow cooker after I got back with the groceries.  And we had sweet potato fries to round it all out.  Yum!

3.  Pineapple in our green smoothies – not sure that works for me.

I’ve been making green smoothies every morning, since I got a Vitamix for Christmas.   I had a pineapple that I sliced and froze in small bags.  But when I add those to the smoothies, it seems that it gives it a weird, thick texture.

I like the flavor of the pineapple, but the texture weirds me out.  I think it’s the pineapple that causes that.  Have you tried pineapple in your smoothies?  Do you notice a different texture to it?

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

 

The Best Ever Roasted Butternut Squash or Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Butternut Squash or Sweet Potatoes

 

Every time I make this easy side dish I think I’m going to take photos to share here.

And almost every time, I forget.  Or I’m in a hurry.  Or it’s completely dark outside and I don’t want to set up my photography lights.

Finally, I managed to snap a photo.  It’s not great, but it does give me a reason to share this recipe with you.

Really it’s just method more than recipe though.  It’s an easier version of Butternut Squash Skillet, which I love.

But instead of starting it in the skillet, along with onion and garlic, I just toss the cubed squash with olive oil, several shakes of cinnamon, ginger,thyme, salt and pepper.

Then it gets poured onto a baking sheet and popped in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

The flavor is fantastic!  And it works equally well with sweet potatoes too.

Chili Topped Macaroni and Cheese

Chili Topped Mac and Cheese

 

I’m not sure where I saw this idea of serving chili over the top of macaroni and cheese.  But ever since I ran across it, I’ve wanted to give it a try.

And oh yes.  It is just as good as I imagined it would be!

The chili with all of its meaty, spiciness contrasts wonderfully with the creamy, cheesy pasta.

A match made in dinner plate heaven!

You can use any kind of chili and macaroni recipes you like.  I link up some possible recipes below.   [Read more…]

3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – January 12

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1. Chipotle style burritos in 20ish minutes.

My son asked to have burritos the other night.  He wanted something like Chipotle makes.  I ended up doing a quicker version of the recipes I created for the Savings Lifestyle blog a few years ago.

I took no photos and didn’t write anything down, thinking that it was just a quick meal. But it was so good and so much easier than the recipes I wrote originally.  I’ll be making this again and sharing it this time.

The biggest time saver – using rotisserie chicken.  I’ll make them again soon and share the recipe here.

2.  Skillet Chicken Curry alteration.

We also had Skillet Chicken Curry this week.  But instead of the chutney the recipe calls for, I used a can of coconut milk, like the slow cooker version calls for.

Skillet Chicken Curry with Peach Chutney

 

3.  Grocery shopping with two lists.

I shopped at my favorite little Kroger store the other day, with two grocery lists.  One for a week of Traditional Meal Plans and one for the freezer week of February Slow Cooker Meal Plans.

I like to have the freezer stocked with the slow cooker freezer meals to use on extra busy days.  And I made another video to share (it’s been a while since I did that).  I’ll upload and share the video in a post in early February.

When I was shopping for meat, I asked the butcher if he had any more cube steaks.  There was only a small package in the case at the time.  He offered to make some for me and told me to come back to the meat counter in 10-15 minutes.

I went on with my shopping and he found me in the store and delivered the meat to me.  And he was able to pack enough for a family pack, getting me a $1 off per pound.  Such nice customer service!

What worked for you in the kitchen this week?

How I’m Trying to Kick my Migraines

This post is much different than most that I share. If you’re just here for the food, skip this one.  We’ll be back to the table on Monday!

The biggest goal I have this year is to get rid of my migraines and headaches.  I know.  That may not really be possible.  But as I thought about it, I do have control over a few things that could make a big difference in how I feel.

I almost didn’t share this post.  These things may not work for me.  Or for anyone.  The reason I decided to publish this is because maybe it will help someone.  People who deal with migraines will try all kinds of things to get rid of them.  But we also get tired of trying sometimes.  Right now I’m at the place where I’m ready to make a renewed effort.  If you’re at that place too, maybe some of these things will help.

This will be an ongoing effort for me, but here are the things I’m trying:

1.  Going to bed on time.

One thing that triggers migraines for me is being tired.  But I can make sure I get in bed by 10pm every night.  Or nearly every night.

2.  Yoga – particularly one set of poses for healthy neck and jaw.

I’ve been using Stay at Home Yoga since October.  I’m really loving this program!

Stay at Home Yoga

I like that it doesn’t require any special equipment.  And that I can do it in my living room.

There are full, multi-class series (my favorite series is Yoga for Desk Jockeys), mini yoga breaks that only take a couple of minutes and 3 short poses that focus on a specific need.

I’m committed to do the 3 poses for healthy neck and jaw everyday for at least 90 days.  I’ve logged 16 days so far (I started in December).  These poses stretch the exact muscles the massage therapist worked on last winter in an effort to treat my migraines.  As soon as I tried the poses, I knew I’d stumbled on something good.

Those poses only take about 5 minutes, so it’s easy to fit in.  Then I’ve been adding one of the other classes too.

3.  Essential Oils

After I had the flu/cold thing in November, with its weeklong headache, I broke down and bought Young Living Essential Oils.

I bought it mostly for the Thieves oil, which supports your immune system. (We diffused this when my daughter came down with the flu and no one else got sick.  You can read more about that experience here.)

I’ve been using peppermint oil and Stress Away to help ward off migraines.  As soon as I feel my shoulders, neck and jaw get tight (early warning symptom of a migraine for me) I rub Stress Away all over the area.  Then I apply peppermint to my temples, behind my ears and base of my skull.

I do think this has curbed several migraines.  And it also provides some relief when I do have one.

Young Living also has an oil called M-Grain that I’ll be trying soon.

4.  Taking vitamins daily.

I bought a big jar of gummy vitamins at Costco.  May not help, but it won’t hurt.

5. Magnesium oil

I’ve read that many people are low in magnesium and that can cause migraines (among other things).  One way to get magnesium is to spray magnesium oil on the feet each night before bed.  It’s absorbed best through the skin, which works for me because I hate swallowing huge pills.

You can easily make your own magnesium oil by boiling 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup magnesium flakes.  Put that in a spray bottle and you’re all set.  I added drop of Lavender oil because it’s good for sleep.

6.  No sweets until after dinner.

This is a personal rule I came up with to curb my sweet tooth a bit.  I think there’s connection between too much sugar (especially chocolate sweets) and my migraines.   Instead of going cold turkey like I tried last year, I’m taking a “small is big” approach.  I’m too likely to throw in the towel if I make it too hard on myself.  Knowing I can indulge a little late in the day keeps me on track.

How it’s going:

So far, so good.  I’ve taken  a lot less Treximet than I usually do.  Time will tell if these changes will reduce my migraines and headaches.  But so far, I do think I’m moving in the right direction.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

How to Convert a Slow Cooker Recipe for Oven or Stove Top

how to convert slow cooker recipes to oven or stove top

One trick I use in the kitchen is to match my cooking appliance to the kind of day I’m having schedule-wise.

I’m talking about fitting the dinner cooking schedule with all the other daily activities.  If I have more time to prep a meal in the morning, I’ll choose the slow cooker.

If I find myself at 5 o’clock having done no dinner prep, then it’s too late for crock-potting.  But some of my favorite recipes are slow cooker recipes.

No worries.  Almost all slow cooker recipes can be converted for making in the oven or on the stove.  Most of them started out with these traditional cooking methods anyway.

I’ve already talked about how to convert recipes into slow cooker recipes.  Here are a few tips for going the other way and using the oven and stove top.

1.  Soups

If it’s a soup, it can be made on top of the stove.  It will take a fraction of the time that the slow cooker calls for.  You’ll still want to follow the order given in a slow cooker recipe.  Meats go in first.  Creams, milks and cheeses are often added at the end of cooking time because you don’t want those to boil.

2.  Try using a Dutch oven.

A Dutch oven is a cooking pot with a tight fitting lid.  Many pots and pans sets come with a dutch oven.  Cast iron Dutch ovens are popular, especially those with enamel interiors.

Assemble the slow cooker recipe just as it calls for, but put the ingredients in a Dutch oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for for an hour or 1 1/2 hours.  Add time if it’s a large piece of meat.

3.  Casserole type recipes

Most crockpot casserole recipes started out as oven recipes.  Generally, baking in a casserole dish at 350 degrees for about 1 hour will work.

4.  Determine what the cooking time is accomplishing.

Is the time in the crockpot meant to cook meat from raw?  Or is it just for bringing something to a near boil, such as a sauce?  Answers to these questions will help you determine how much time the recipe will need on the stove or in the oven.

 

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