One Pot Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese

One Pot Stove-Top Mac & Cheese

 

I’ve been experimenting with mac & cheese recipes and methods.  My favorite so far is Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese.

But I started wondering if this could be made on top of the stove.  One of the things I like about the pressure cooker method is that it’s all done in one pot.  It also uses real cheese and milk, but doesn’t require the making of a white sauce.  (Not that making white sauce is hard, but sometimes you want to go even easier that that.)

What I found out is that you can use the same recipe as the pressure cooker version to make this dish on the stove.  I didn’t think it was quite as creamy as the pressure cooker type, but it was still very good.  And my stove takes forever for a pot of water to boil, so I still think the pressure cooker is faster.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker though, this is definitely worth a try.  [Read more...]

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Simple Meal Plans and Freezer Meal Video

I posted the video for the April Slow Cooker Freezer Meals the other day.  This time, I show how to package the meals for a smaller family of 3-4 people.  For the record, I still really, really hate seeing myself on these videos.  I hope that seeing the meals prepped is helpful though.

The freezer week for April is April 21.  The recipes will be previewed on the blog then.  But members get access to the whole month at once for all three of the Weekly Meal Plan options – Traditional, Slow Cooker and the new Whole Foods Plans.

Meal Plan collage

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If you’ve been looking for a way to save time on menu planning, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the organizing and thinking is done for you.  No grocery list making or side dish planning needed.  I love using these and when I don’t have to do any recipe creation, this is my preferred way to shop and cook.

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Whole Foods Menu

  1.  Italian Sausage Skillet
  2. Easy Meatball Subs using homemade meatballs
  3. Homemade Chicken Fingers
  4. Whole Wheat Waffles
  5. Chicken Vegetable Soup
  6. Homemade Pizza (or) Calzone
  7. Amish Oatmeal Cookies

Traditional Menu

  1. Cheesy Chicken Chili Mac
  2. Pizza Steak Sandwiches 
  3. Crab Cakes with Creamy Sauce
  4. Italian Sausage with Bowties
  5. Grilled Chicken
  6. Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders
  7. Coconut No Bake Cookies

Slow Cooker Menu

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Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Nut Topping

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

 

This was the first cheesecake I’ve ever made.  Can you believe that?

The reason I’d never made one was that I lacked a springform pan.   This Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Nut Topping justifies the purchase of a set of pans.

Oh my goodness!  This is one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted.  It’s smooth and rich and oh-so-very chocolatey.  The pretzel crust adds a bit of salty to the sweet chocolate and the nut topping brings a little crunch to the creamy.

Ever since I first saw a post on using the slow cooker for making cheesecake on Mommy’s Kitchen, I’ve wanted to try it.  I used an 8 inch springform pan, which fit inside my crockpot with a small amount of room to spare around the edges.  I also used the rack from my pressure cooker in the bottom of the crock.  This kept the pan a little bit higher, making it easier to get the finished cheesecake out of the crock.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Nut Topping

 

I pieced together several different recipes and ideas to come up with this one.  I used the chocolate cheesecake recipe from Taste of Home as the base, but changed the cooking method to slow cooker.  And I used the pretzel crust recipe from Bake or Break.  I did leave the pretzels in larger crumbs though, so it was more identifiable as pretzel.

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

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Tomato Basil Parmesan Tilapia – 15 Minute Meal

Tomato Basil Parmesan Tilapia 15 minute meal

 

A lot of people eat fish during Lent.  If that describes your family, you may be looking for some new recipes to try.  And even if you don’t eat fish on Fridays during Lent, you will want to make this quick meal.

For this recipe I used tilapia and a McCormick Tomato Basil Recipe and Seasoning Mix packet that was meant for salmon.  I know.  I’m a rebel swapping out the fish like that.

The Tomato Basil Recipe and Seasoning Mix is both full of flavor and full of crunch.  The kids love having a crunchy coating on their fish.  They really eat up the fish I make if it’s both crunchy and has good flavor.  If I leave it fairly plain, only using salt and pepper to season, they’re less likely to eat it.

Tomato Basil Recipe and Seasoning Mix was a hit with all of us.  And since I had some Parmesan in the fridge too, I added some of that to the top.

This meal is very easy to put together.  Once the fish is thawed, you can have dinner ready in about 15 minutes.

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

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Migas – My new favorite way to eat scrambled eggs

Migas my favorite egg dish

 

When I was in Boston in February (hint: Boston has terrible weather in February!), I had Migas for the first time ever.

Oh my!  This scrambled egg dish is the perfect comfort food.  It helps that I associate it with having lunch with Jim in a very, very small corner deli.  While the snow piled up outside, we were warm and cozy sharing lunch together.

I’ve made Migas several times since returning from Boston.  It’s a very easy recipe to make.  In fact, you really don’t need a recipe at all.  There are a million ways to make it.  I’ve cooked giant skillet-fulls for lots of people.  And I’ve made it just for one for my own lunch.

Migas consists of scrambled eggs, tomatoes, onion, peppers, corn tortillas and cheese.  I did a little searching online and found that you can either fry the tortillas to make them crisp or leave them soft.  I chose the soft method for two reasons.  First, that’s the way I had them in Boston.  Second, it’s easier and quicker.

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

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Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf – a Freezer Friendly Meal

Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf sliced1

 

I am so excited to be partnering with ALDI this year.  On a recent trip to ALDI, I picked up all the ingredients for this Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf.

It looks impressive, but it’s so easy to put together.  And it freezes great too, so you can assemble it ahead of time, but wait to bake until you’re ready.

Fresh mozzarella, pepperoni and marinara sauce bring a twist to the traditional meatloaf.  And because all the ingredients are found at ALDI, it makes it affordable too.

Click here to see the recipe and more photos of the assembly process on the ALDI Simply Smarter Living Blog.

Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf whole baked1

 

Disclosure:  I am partnering with ALDI and have been compensated, but all opinions are my own.

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Simple Meal Plans & Real Life – March 31

The new Whole Foods Meal Plan will be posted for members on April 1, along with the Traditional and Slow Cooker meal plans. You can find out more about the Whole Foods Plan here and more about Weekly Meal Plan membership here.

Have I mentioned lately that we’re planning a wedding?  Our oldest daughter, Meredith is getting married May 31.  We’re keeping things simple, but even so, a wedding is a big event!  If you’ve been through marrying off a daughter, I’d love your wedding planning advice :)

We’ve been joking that Meredith thinks we’ve gotten a lot done and I say we’ve gotten nothing done.  I think the reality is somewhere in the middle.  

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional Plan

Slow Cooker Plan

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Weekend Links

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Earlier this week we were badly in need of a field trip.  It had snowed a little bit again.  And we just really needed to change things up for the day.  So we bundled up for a hike at Raven Run.  It was only 27 degrees, but the sun was out and the hike was just what we needed.  We didn’t see another living soul on the path.  But we did see a few plants with buds about to burst into bloom.  We smelled the earthy scent of mud, which was thawed despite the cold temperature.  And we spent a little while at the overlook, pondering the pale green color of the Kentucky River.

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Last night we stayed up to watch the UK game against Louisville.  What a game!  Definitely worth staying up for, especially if you’re a UK fan.  I may need to make Blue Velvet Cupcakes again!

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Recently, I watched From Time to Time on Netflix.  If you like movies and shows about old, English castles then you will like this one.  There are two story lines, one that takes place during WWII and another that tells the history of the old house.  The story reminded me of the book,  The Sherwood Ring, one of our favorite homeschool reads.  From Time to Time is streaming for free on Netflix.

Disney FastPass+ News

Starting March 31, off-site guests will be able to make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance of their vacations.  I was able to link all of our tickets to the My Disney Experience website a few weeks ago.  So I’m all set to make our FP+ selections when we’re 30 days out.  Now I just have to get a plan touring the parks together!

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I managed to snag The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for just 99 cents a few months ago.  I’d read it once and loved it.  The other day, I started reading it for the second time.  It’s just as good this time through as the first.  Do you ever read books more than once?  I’d love to know which books you find worth a second read.

I hope you have a great weekend, full of rest and renewal.

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Slow Cooker Blueberry Crisp – A Healthy Dessert

Blueberry Crisp in the Slow Cooker

 

I’m pretty sure I’m not known for my healthy dessert recipes.  I like my dessert to be full of sugar and fat!  But this one would come in on the healthy end of the spectrum, I think.

Not only that, but it tastes wonderful!  The crisp topping is made from almond meal, oats and pecans.  It’s sweetened with a bit of honey or maple syrup.

The recipe is adapted from the book Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.  She mentions this blueberry crisp recipe several times in the book and I decided I would give it a try in the slow cooker.

I like slow cooker desserts just because they can be set up and assembled hours before you want to serve them, but you can still have a warm dessert.  They’re also perfect for summertime, when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.  (psst…look for a return of the very popular Summer Slow Cooker Series this summer, this time with 100 days of recipes!).

I adapted the recipe in Bread and Wine in a few other ways too, in addition to making it in a slow cooker instead of the oven.  I used butter instead of olive oil.  Because butter tastes better than olive oil.

And I used honey instead of maple syrup, because I had honey in the pantry.

I also used double the amount of “crisp” to berries.  We like it that way.

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

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New! Whole Foods Weekly Meal Plan!

eat at home weekly meal plan whole food button

 

I am so excited to tell you about the new Whole Foods Weekly Meal Plan option!  This will be available for members beginning with our April plans. (April plans will go up on the member page on April 1.)  The Whole Foods Plan joins our Traditional and All Slow Cooker Weekly Meal Plans.  Members get access to all three options!

Meal Plan collage

There’s a whole spectrum of how people eat at home.  What people consider healthy varies widely.  No matter what you choose to eat, there’s someone who will cite research to say that it isn’t healthy.

With this Whole Foods Plan, we want to avoid all judgement and encourage healthy eating.  This plan seeks to incorporate a wide variety of healthy foods.  If you are following a paleo diet or vegetarian/vegan diet or raw diet, this is not the plan for you.

But if you’re interested in eating more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, along with a variety of meats then you’ll like this meal plan.  The recipes are Eat at Home favorites, with changes made to add whole foods where needed.

Our goal at Eat at Home is to help you make healthy choices for your family.

When you think of Whole Foods think FRESH, UNPROCESSED, & REAL. Whole Foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, real cheese and whole grains. We will stay away from refined sugars and highly processed foods. You will find that you will recognize the ingredients.

The Whole Foods Meal Plan will encourage you to use fresh food when possible because it has the most nutrients and vitamins. You’ll be encouraged to make things from scratch, and we will give you all the encouragement we can to help you gain confidence as a healthy cook! We know that many of you want to eat as healthy as possible, and we want to be a resource for you as you make highly nutritious meals for your family!

Just like our other meal plans, the Whole Foods Plan includes 6 dinners and 1 dessert.  We aim to make the dessert as healthy as possible too.  Honestly, we debated whether or not to include dessert.  In the end we decided that one dessert a week provides a nice treat.  And it’s good to see how even dessert can be made more nutritious.

Introducing our new Whole Foods Plan writer

I have wanted to introduce a Whole Foods Plan for a while now, but I knew I needed a special writer for it.  While my family does eat healthy, we also eat a wide variety of foods, including those that are not whole foods (pasta and white flour, I’m looking at you!).

I wanted to bring on a writer who could take Eat at Home favorite recipes and adapt them where needed.  I also wanted someone who could add a new dimension of options specifically for the Whole Foods Plan.  And the new meal plan writer would need to be able to keep things simple and convenient as much as possible too.

Enter Sarah!  I’m going to let her tell about herself and her family’s journey to whole foods:

“After my husband and I had been married for one month we hopped on the industrial scale at his family pecan farm only to discover we each had gained 15 pounds. 15 pounds in one month! That was not ok! We read the Makers Diet by Jordan Rubin, and consulted a few nutrition experts that we knew. We decided we were going to focus on eating Whole Foods. (*Not to be confused with the organic grocery store Whole Foods.) I started creating a weekly meal plan, so we knew what we were going to eat each evening. After one month of eating whole, unprocessed food, we had both lost the extra honeymoon weight and we both started feeling great.

Over the years our meal plan has changed. I’ve learned a lot about what “healthy” food is, and what things to avoid, and what foods to enjoy. It has been a process. I did not make huge changes overnight. The small changes we have made have become part of a healthy lifestyle. We still eat French fries on occasion, and of course we enjoy birthday cake at family celebrations too, but we’ve made such great lasting changes that my children ask for Carrot Cake* for their birthdays, and green applesauce* for lunch. (Carrot Cake has 1 pound of carrots in it & green applesauce has spinach in it….and I know you’re thinking ‘yuck’, but they both taste great! And yes, my kids are normal!)

It is my hope that as the Whole Foods Meal Plan writer I can encourage you to make nourishing food that your family will enjoy, just like I am doing for mine. Oh, and you might like to know that we live on a really tight budget, and still eat GREAT! I cook 5 days out of a week, and we eat left overs 2 days. I enjoy cooking, but let me be honest… I need some down-time too!

I have a knack for being able to recreate recipes I’ve had at restaurants. I’m especially good at identifying ingredients based on taste. I am a firm believer that homemade food ALWAYS tastes better & is usually better for you too! All the women in my family are wonderful cooks, so I guess you could say good cooking is in my genes. I grew up eating colorful meals, which were typically meat and veggies. As I discovered my own style of cooking I realized I liked eating REAL food. I also realized that food is connected to many special relationships, and those relationships grow and blossom around meals. There is much to be said for sharing a meal with one another. When food tastes good you want to savor it, and you want to share it with those you love. It is my genuine hope that I can encourage you to learn the benefits of eating WHOLE FOODS, and help you to provide the most nourishing, live giving food you can provide for your family!”

If you aren’t a member of the Weekly Meal Plans yet, you can find out more by clicking here.

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