Honey Crisp Kale Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Dressing

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Do you ever do something that just makes you so pleased with yourself?  That’s how I feel about creating this salad!  

To me, this Honey Crisp Kale Chopped Salad couldn’t get any better.  I hope you feel the same way.  I do hope you’ll go to your kitchen and give it a try!

This idea came to me in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.  It’s a simple salad, with just a few healthy ingredients – kale, honey crisp apples, and a few dressing ingredients.  The dressing doesn’t even have to be mixed separately.  I just drizzled each ingredient over the salad and tossed.  So easy!

This is the type of salad I could eat forever!

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

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Beefy Penne Bake – Help Crush Hunger

red-gold-kids-eating

I have shared a lot of posts and recipes over the years, but this is one of the most important.  In a world that can seem a little (or a lot) out of control, with more bad news than we think we can handle, we also have the opportunity to join together for good.

This October, Red Gold is partnering with Feeding America for the #HelpCrushHunger campaign.  And we can easily join in to help!

For each Red Gold product purchased throughout the month of October, Red Gold will donate a meal to someone in need.  The goal is to donate 1.7 million meals to Feeding America food banks across the country.

You guys!  How easy is that?  All we need to do is buy Red Gold tomato products in October and a meal will be provided for people who need it!  Since every grocery list I’ve ever put together has canned tomatoes on it, this is a no-brainer, simple way for me to help.

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Our church has a small after school program for kids that live in a nearby neighborhood.  This year the organizers of the program committed to including dinner as part of the program.  Many of the kids don’t get enough to eat at home.

I made a big pan of Beefy Penne Bake to share with them last week.  They ate it up!  Another woman brought a watermelon from her garden.  The kids love fresh fruit.  One little guy is a true watermelon lover.  I lost count of how many pieces he ate.  I remember him loading up on watermelon during Vacation Bible School too.

I hope you’ll join me and #HelpCrushHunger during the month of October. When you show or tell about a family meal experience on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, use #HelpCrushHunger in the caption and you’ll be entered to win a Red Gold Family Meal Kit and $100 to donate to your local food bank.  Visit www.HelpCrushHunger.com for more info.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Beefy Penne Bake:   [Read more…]

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – Remedies, Recipes and more

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Battling colds and other yuck

homemade elderberry syrup

Two of our kids have been sick this week with sinus infections and bronchitis.  Our kitchen has turned into a pharmacy doling out antibiotics and prednisone.  Fun times.

I took that as a cue to make a batch of elderberry syrup.  I took this all last winter to help prevent and shorten colds and flu.  I think it really helped.  This recipe from Wellness Mama is easy to make and tastes much better than the store-bought variety.  It’s also a lot cheaper to make your own.

Usually I freeze part of the syrup, but this week I’ve been taking four doses a day to combat this crud the kids have.  I have picked up the cold, but it isn’t bad.  Fingers crossed I avoid the yuck that they’ve dealt with.

I shared about elderberry syrup on Facebook the other day and people have BIG feelings about home remedies!  I didn’t see that coming.  There were people commenting that I shouldn’t be promoting things like this.  Others commented in favor of alternative treatments.  In the past I’ve created a stir on Facebook for sharing a cake mix recipe or a tilapia recipe; two other items that cause people to be vocal with their opinions.

Whew!  Let’s all just take a breath and keep scrolling when we see something we don’t agree with or we don’t want to use for our family.

2.  Success in creating new recipes to share with you!

I’ve been on a roll with the recipe creation lately.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing recipes for a kale and apple salad, delicious meatloaf inspired burgers, and chicken and veggie super grain bowls.

This is what I started with the other night as inspiration:

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This was a really easy and quick recipe to pull together that was a bit different, thanks to the super grain blend.  Despite the fact that it looks like bird food, it had a great flavor and provided a nice change from rice.

I don’t recommend the fat free feta.  It was just okay.  We ended up with that instead of the regular version, because I sent Mia back for it while I was in the checkout aisle loading the other groceries onto the conveyor.  She ran to the cheese section and grabbed the first feta she found.  Fat free is better than no feta, but full fat is even better.

3. Detailed look at the calendar

calendar

I snapped this photo of my calendar on Sunday morning.  Last week felt wild with three trips to the doctor, five trips to the pharmacy and a bunch of soccer games at the end of the week.  This week I determined to not be caught off-guard.

That said, I still haven’t done any grocery shopping.  I have some things in the pantry and freezer that need to be used, so I may use this week as a chance to do that.  And since I’ve been on a recipe creating roll, maybe I’ll come up with a new, easy recipe to share.

I do know which nights I need to pack for soccer games and which nights I have time to actually cook a meal that might take more than 30 minutes.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Pasta Puttanesca – So easy to make, so amazing to eat!

pasta-puttanesca-so-easy-to-make-and-amazing-to-eat

The first time I heard of Pasta Puttanesca, was in the book Belong to Me by Maria de los Santos.  (Fabulous book, by the way.)  Something triggered my memory of the dish the other day and I decided to make it.

Oh my!  This pasta is full of flavor!  Garlic, tomatoes, olives, basil, Parmesan and anchovies all come together in a burst of taste.  Please don’t leave because I said anchovies.  They add so much flavor and you’ll never even know they’re in there.  They disappear when cooked, leaving behind only a wonderful taste.  Even your kids won’t know about it if you don’t tell them.

This dish is so quick to make.  I pulled it together on a Sunday for lunch after church.  It’s ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

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

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Cooking Chicken for the Freezer and Me Looking Silly on Facebook Live

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Facebook Live – What a grocery trip with an Eat at Home Meal Plan list looks like

I summoned my courage on Thursday afternoon and did another live video on Facebook.  And because I’m so awesome *insert eye rolling emoji here*, I filmed the first several minutes sideways.  

In the video I share the meals I shopped for, compare Kroger vs Walmart online ordering/store pickup, get real about the grocery prices and more.  If you’ve ever wondered what you get when you shop with an Eat at Home list, this video should help answer that question. You can watch the video here.

In related news, the $49 12 month membership sale ends today!  Use the code BIRTHDAY to get the sale price.  Find out more about the plans here.

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2.  Cooking chicken for the freezer – pressure cooker vs slow cooker

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In that load of groceries that I picked up on Thursday, I got two whole chickens.  I decided to cook them right away.  I love having cooked chicken in the freezer for quick meals.  It only took about 5 minutes to get these birds in their respective pots.  I sprinkled them with grey sea salt from France, black pepper and added about a cup of water to each pot.

I set the timer on the pressure cooker for 35 minutes and used a natural pressure release.  The total time for that chicken was about 1.5 hours.  I might have gotten by with five minutes less on the cook time, but the chicken was about perfect the way I set it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Pressure Cooking is not miraculous in cooking speed.  Yes, the cook time said 35 minutes, but that’s not the whole story.  The total time involved was 1.5 hours.  It didn’t heat up the house and it was easy.  Bonus – the pot is easy to clean too.  Just don’t expect a cooked chicken in 35 minutes or you’ll be disappointed.

For the slow cooker, I set it on high and let it cook all afternoon and evening while we were at an out of town soccer game.  It was falling-off-the-bone tender when we got home.

3.  BBQ Festival

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Last Saturday we had enough time between soccer games to go to the BBQ Festival in Danville, KY with friends.  It was the most delicious hour of the week.  Jim and I shared a BBQ Sundae.  I know that sounds strange, but it is so good!  Baked beans, Key Lime Cole Slaw and Pulled Pork.  Hog heaven in a cup!

We also hit up the grilled corn stand.  Good corn on the cob is like eating summer.

To top it all off, I ordered a scoop of Bourbon Butter Pecan gelato and a scoop of chocolate gelato.  While I ate that, we stumbled on a place selling Bacon Chips.  They looked like dog food, but they tasted great, especially with the Bourbon Butter Pecan gelato.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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My Biggest Time Saver Plus a Sale!

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I save a ton of planning and grocery shopping time each week by using Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans.  It’s my number one favorite time saver.  And not just because it’s my own product!  Here are three reasons why I love it:

1.  My pantry stays stocked with common ingredients.

This means even if I need to tweak a meal or test out a new recipe idea, it’s likely that I’ll have the ingredients on hand.  The color-coded shopping list makes it really easy to swap ingredients or even whole meals if I need to.  Usually, I just buy it all anyway, because I know eventually I’ll use the ingredients.

2.  No planning!

Meal planning can be so time consuming. I used to get sucked into the rabbit trails of the internet and my cookbooks, looking for recipes to fix.  Now I just print off the meal plan/shopping list and go.

3.  Recipes that fit my day – 15 minute and slow cooker meals.

Some days require a meal I can get on the table quick.  Every week the Traditional and Whole Food plans have at least one 15 Minute meal that is perfect for those nights.

There are also slow cooker meals each week, plus a whole plan dedicated to slow cookers!  These are great for days when I have a couple of minutes in the morning to fill the crockpot.  There’s nothing better than knowing dinner is done early in the day!

Sale!

My birthday is coming up in a few days and I’ll be turning 49.  I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a $49 sale on 12 month meal plans.  That’s only 94 cents per week to save several hours of planning time and stress.  And it’s an $11 savings off the regular price.  That’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for help with meal planning/list making/cooking etc.

Find out more about Weekly Meal Plans here.  The sale ends Monday, September 19.

Click here to get 12 Months of Weekly Meal Plans for just $49.  Use the promo-code BIRTHDAY at checkout.

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In Praise of Humble Weeknight Suppers

hellmanns-grilled-peanut-butter-banana-and-pretzel-sandwich

Sponsored post Mirum Shopper. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

I spend a lot of time coming up with weeknight dinner recipes.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t hit the occasional evening and all plans fall through the cracks.  Just like your family, sometimes things just don’t go the way we think they’re going to.

You know what?  That’s okay!

And actually, it’s better than okay.  If we stop for a minute and just breathe, we can regroup together.  It’s okay to make do on some nights, pulling together what we can find for dinner.  Bring the kids into the kitchen and let them help you come up with ideas.

Hellman’s Mayonnaise is encouraging families to make a Strangewich.  What’s a Strangewich?  It’s any sandwich that uses an unexpected ingredient.

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For our Strangewich, we used peanut butter, banana and pretzels.  Since peanut butter is even more divine when it’s warm and gooey, we grilled the sandwich using Hellman’s on the outside of the sandwich to create a crisp exterior.

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Paired with a big glass of milk and apples from the fruit bowl, this makes an easy, fun supper.

Try changing up grilled cheese by adding hot sauce to give it a kick.  Or pile on the veggies, like tomato, spinach, onion etc for a “grilled cheese run through the garden Strangewich”!

Let your imaginations run wild and turn the evening of making do into a memorable supper with your kids.  Not every evening has to have a perfect dinner.  Sometimes, the very best things happen when you’re figuring it out together.

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Right now you can get two Hellman’s Real Squeeze for just $7 at Target stores.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored and I have been compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – September 12

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Covering up the empty dishwasher space

dishwasher-curtain

We are still going strong with hand washing the dishes.  The dishwasher died at the end of June and since the HVAC unit for the upstairs died a couple of weeks ago too, we have no plans to buy a dishwasher any time soon.  I’m all for air conditioning and heat over having a dishwasher!

I did decide we should cover up the empty space though.  I bought this fabric at Hobby Lobby and my youngest daughter, Mia sewed the curtain.

2. Facebook Live will be happening Thursday

It makes me pretty nervous (and excited!) to invite you to virtually join me on Facebook live on Thursday afternoon.  I’m planning to shop with one of the Eat at Home plans, then show you what I bought, how much it cost, what I’m going to make with it etc.  I’ll announce a more specific time once it gets closer.

No worries if you miss it and want to watch later. You’ll be able to find the video on my Facebook page.  And no worries if you don’t want to watch at all!  Admittedly, this isn’t the most earth-shattering topic around 😉

3. No pancakes

Jim was out of town last week and that usually means we have a pancake dinner.  I’m proud to report that we didn’t have pancakes once.  I cooked every night he was gone.  We had meatball subs (I used the pressure cooker to make the meatballs and sauce), chicken and potatoes (pressure cooker again) and sandwiches on the sidelines of a soccer game.  Okay, the last one wasn’t cooking, but it wasn’t eating out either.

On the other hand, I actually like pancakes for dinner and we haven’t had that in a while.  It may be time for Peanut Butter Pancakes with Blackberry Jam!

Fun movie I watched on Netflix

This has nothing to do with the kitchen, but I wanted to tell you about a movie I watched the other night.  It’s called A Royal Night Out and it was so fun!  It’s about Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret who go out to celebrate VE Day with the common people.  The story line is fun, but there are also some more serious themes in the movie.  It reminded me a lot of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which is another favorite movie of mine.

Here’s the trailer (you may need to click over to the blog if you don’t see it)

 

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

 

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Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken

Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken with Feta

This recipe for Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken started out as a slow cooker recipe.  Then I created it as a skillet recipe.

Now I’ve turned it into a pressure cooker meal.  Every version tastes great, so how do you choose which to make?  It depends on the time you have available.  I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I really want to make this clear.

Even though many pressure cooker recipes call for 15 or less minutes of cook time, it takes much longer than that in total.  You have to factor in the time it takes to reach full pressure and to release the pressure.

For a recipe like this one, the total time is about 35-40 minutes.  That’s starting with frozen chicken tenders.  It’s very convenient and easy to put all the ingredients in the pressure cooker.  And once they’re in there, you can do other things while they cook.

If you have 30-40 minutes at home before dinner time, using the pressure cooker is the way to go.

If you have time in the morning to load a slow cooker, but will be coming in ravenous at the end of the day, use a slow cooker.

If you only have 15 or 20 minutes to fix dinner at the end of the day, use the skillet method.  Speed that up even more by using rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken from your freezer.

Here’s what you’ll need for the Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken:   [Read more…]

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Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Sandwiches

Chicken Cacciatore Sandwich in the Pressure Cooker

I’ve been trying to experiment with the pressure cooker more lately. As I’ve said before, the decision to use a pressure cooker or slow cooker is entirely dependent on your timing. If you would rather get your prep done early in the day and/or you want to eat as soon as you walk in the door in the evening, the slow cooker is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you have 30-40 minutes before dinner and/or you forgot to load the slow cooker in the morning, drag out the pressure cooker.

Recipes often state the cook time for the pressure cooker to be mere minutes. While this is true, it isn’t the whole truth. The cook time doesn’t take into account the amount of time for the cooker to reach full pressure or how long the pressure release takes.

This recipe for Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Sandwiches is based on the Slow Cooker version. Instead of serving it with pasta, I decided to make a sandwich out of it. We love hot sandwiches, and this was no exception. Sandwich meals are great if you need to eat in shifts or if you’re in a hurry. Sides can be kept simple and it’s easy to pile the filling on a bun.

The ingredients are all very basic, but I failed to snap a photo of them this time.

Chicken Cacciatore Sandwich

I started this with frozen chicken tenders and it worked great.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Sandwiches

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 lb. frozen chicken tenders
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup red wine, broth or water
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ¾ tsp. basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Sandwich buns
  • Sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in order listed in pressure cooker, except cheese and buns.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 14 minutes.
  3. Do a quick pressure release.
  4. Remove lid and shred chicken with two forks.
  5. Serve meat on buns topped with cheese.

 

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