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?

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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.

 

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 6

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

So many of you mentioned these 3 Things posts as something you really enjoy about Eat at Home.  I was actually surprised how many times it was mentioned.  A lot of weeks I feel like I don’t have much to share here.  After all, sometimes the things that work are the same things that always work – the no-fail meals, the kitchen tools that come through time and time again.   I’m always looking for new tried and true solutions though, so I can see why others would be too.

You also said you like reading about the things that didn’t work.  You’re in luck, because I’ve got a story like that for you today!

1.  My so-so chicken recipe.

I’ve had a dry spell lately in creating new recipes.  It seems like I’ve cooked every possible quick and easy meal.  I’ve hit these creative droughts before and I know it’s temporary, but it’s also frustrating.

The other day I dug deep and came up with an idea for Asian Orange Chicken in the Slow Cooker served over rice and topped with Pineapple Salsa.  Sounds good, right?

I put boneless chicken breasts in the crockpot with orange juice, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.  It smelled great as it started to cook.

But when I served it, the flavor was missing.  It wasn’t bad, but it just tasted like chicken over rice. The pineapple salsa was great, but a little strange on the plain chicken and rice.  We ate it and debated whether it was blog worthy.  In the end, I decided no.  It sounded so promising, but it turned out to be a disappointment.

2.  Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls

This one is a success!  It’s a recipe I created a while back for Savings Lifestyle.  But I’ve since speeded up the process, making it work great for weeknight dinner.  This meal gives lots of options for serving, lets everyone customize their dinner, works great when you’ve got people eating at different times of day and the leftovers hold up well for lunch the next day.  Perfect!  I’ll share this recipe with you soon.

3.  Finished dining room!

I shared a few weeks ago (months ago?) about our dining room re-do.  The goal was to put all the stuff behind doors so we didn’t have to look at it, but we wanted it handy to use.  We only use the room for dining every once in a while, but we use it for sewing, photography, and school work every day.

Here’s what it looked like when we started:IMG_5455

 

We’ve come a long way!  We started with the idea of just getting some new shelves.  In the end, we installed new laminate floors, painted everything white and used Ikea cabinets to create a large buffet area along one wall.  I’m really happy that it still looks and functions like a dining room.

dining room buffet from ikea cabinets

 

My dad helped us come up with the plan.  He also built and stained the countertop and installed the cabinets.  I love it!  Everything is behind doors.  The sewing machine, a new smaller ironing board, my tripod and photography lights, Mia’s fabric stash, our ugly homeschool books and more.  We even have a few empty shelves, thanks to some serious decluttering.

I still want to add some plants and curtains to this room.  And the opposite wall is blank and in need of something, but the room is functional and mostly finished.

I’m really happy with the plate wall too.  I’ll let you in on a little secret – those plates are all plastic, purchased at Target.  I hung them with Command velcro stickies.  It was so easy and cheap and I love the way it looks.

plate wall with plastic plates from target

 

I’m not great at taking photos of the house (and these are all cell phone photos), but these give a good idea of how it looks.  We also gave the living room a makeover.  We’ve never had furniture for this room, other than my desk and a bunch of bookshelves.  It’s like we added another room onto the house, because now we can really make use of it.

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It’s quirky and fun and light and bright.  From the rainbow bookshelf, to the gold arrows begging you to take a book and plop in a chair, to the gold antelope head that we named Clarence – I love it all!  (And I know the rug is too small according to “rug rules”, but I don’t care.)

Since I’m showing you all of this, I might as well throw in a photo of my work corner.  This is where the blog action takes place ;)

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It’s not much to look at in this photo, but it’s a very nice place to work and I’m loving having the glass white board to use.

This week I’ve got a Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables recipe to share along with a few results from the survey.

What’s working in your kitchen (or house) this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – March 16

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Italian Style Sheet Pan Supper

At Christmas I made a version of Simple Bites Sheet Pan Supper idea using turkey breast.  It was amazing.

Last week I decided to do a sheet pan with a bit of Italian flare.  I used thick, boneless pork chops, brussels sprouts, asparagus, red bell peppers, onions and bread cubes.  I sprinkled everything with thyme and oregano.

Oh my gosh!  It was so amazing.  I should have taken photos, but I promise to make it again.  And this time I’ll photograph the results and share the recipe.  In the meantime, I encourage you to use the Simple Bites version as a great jumping off place for your own spin on it.

2.  Grocery Shopping with Whole Foods List

On Thursday I realized I needed to go to the grocery store very soon, but the forecast was for heavy rain all weekend.  So I woke up early and hit the store Friday morning before the rain started.

I printed the color-coded list for the Whole Foods plan.  My cart was full of lots of veggies when I finished!  The whole experience – printing, shopping, putting away – only took about 1 1/2 hours.  And that included stopping at Starbucks for a coffee to sip through the store.

I love using the Weekly Meal Plans to make my life easier!

3.  Update on the Dining Room Project

We spent the weekend building cabinets and furniture from Ikea.  Next weekend we’re hoping to get the cabinets installed in the dining room.  They’ll be set up kind of like a buffet.  I’ll be sure to show pictures of the finished project.  Here’s how it’s looking right now.  Basically, we’re at the organized mess phase.

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My dad has built and stained a wood counter top for us.  I think it’s all going to look great when it’s finished!  And maybe we’ll have a place to store the ironing board now.  And the sewing machine.  And tripod.  And….

I’ve got some great recipes to share with you this week, including BBQ Beef and Bean Pot Pie, Double Chocolate Pretzel Brownies and Chicken Alfredo Pizza.  All of this has been happening recently in my kitchen and I can’t wait to share with you!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – March 9

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

We were on spring break last week.  Which makes complete sense because we had one of the largest snow storms Kentucky has ever seen.

Snowed in for the second time in one winter is a bit crazy for us.  Thankfully I hit the grocery a couple of days before the storm hit.  Otherwise it gets really hard to find things on the shelves.

1.  Soup!

Snow calls for soup.  I made a big pot of Rustic Irish Potato and Cabbage Soup.  Recipe coming next week.

McCormick Irish Potato and Cabbage Soup in pot

 

2.  Chicken Enchiladas

I made two pans of quick Chicken Enchiladas one night.  I love this old recipe, even though the photos aren’t great.  I wish I would have remembered to take new ones.

I used rotisserie chicken from the freezer.  And I added a little cumin and chili powder to the sauce.  Oh, and because I was out of canned green chilies, I used a can of tomatoes and green chilies instead.  It worked great!

Use what you’ve got and adapt as needed.

3.  Dining room floor installed and Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Despite the snow, the installers were able to come put down the new flooring in the dining room.  What I didn’t prepare for was the sanding of the concrete floor.  Who knew that needed done???

And I wasn’t prepared for the fine dust filtering all over the house.  I had pizza dough started on the counter that I had to cover with a bowl and leave there until the dust settled.

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I love a big empty room.  Or in this case, rooms.  Now we can work on filling them.

The pizza turned out great, despite the dusty kitchen.  I’ll share the recipe in the coming weeks.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

 

What’s working for you in the kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – March 2

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

Last week I completely forgot about writing this post.  We got 14 inches of snow that kept us snowed in the entire week.  My mind went to mush.  It was all about wrapping in a warm blanket, looking outside and saying “wow, that’s a lot of snow”.  We haven’t had this much snow in 17 years and it shut the whole state down.

1.  New Slow Cooker Recipe coming

I made Korean Tacos in the slow cooker and they are good!  The meat is so tender and full of flavor.  And the recipe is really easy.  Look for it on the blog tomorrow.

2.  Frozen meatballs are so convenient – and homemade is even better.

I stocked the freezer with homemade meatballs when we had the Virtual Freezer Cooking Party on Facebook.  I used some of them to make Sweet and Sour Meatballs this week.  We love that 15 minute meal!

Feel free to vary the vegetables in the recipe.  I used red bell pepper and carrots this time.

3.  Dining room re-do

I know this isn’t exactly a kitchen thing, but this project is taking over our house!

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That’s what our dining room normally looks like.  Yes, there’s an ironing board in there.  And a tripod.  And a sewing machine.  And various photography backgrounds and lights.

We use this room all the time.  But we don’t usually use it for dining.  So we decided to add some storage that makes sense for the sewing and photography things, but still fits with the dining room table.  We will still want to be able to eat in there sometimes.

And of course, if we’re doing this room we should also re-do the living room that connects.  And that decision led to taking up the carpet and getting new flooring.  And of course, we need to paint before that.

This is turned into a much bigger project than the original “let’s just buy some more shelves” idea we started with.  Currently we’re in what I hope will be the biggest mess of the entire project.  Both rooms are torn apart in process of being painted.  I think it will all be worth it, but right now it’s a mess!

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – February 16

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Using things I tend to save for a special occasion.

Our Sunday lunch was a big skillet of Migas.  The first time I ever tried Migas, I had an apple cider with it.  A bit of an odd combo, but it was really good.

Thinking of that reminded me that I had some mulled cider spices I’d bought before Christmas.  We served it once during the holidays and it was so good!  I decided that instead of saving them for some unknown, special occasion, I would add the spices to some apple juice and serve it with Sunday lunch.

We all enjoyed it and it made me glad to use something nice instead of saving it.  That one treat made our ordinary lunch a little more special.

Is there anything you’re saving for a special time that you could be using now?

2.  New slow cooker recipe coming – Korean Tacos

I tried out an idea for Korean Taco meat in the slow cooker and it turned out great!  It’s very similar to this Sweet Korean BBQ, but it’s a homemade sauce instead of the package.  I’ll be sharing it in the next few weeks.

3. Homemade pizza.

I ran across a free pizza making class on Craftsy a few weeks ago and finally took the time to watch it.  It’s full of tips for making great pizza at home.

As I write this, I’ve got a batch of pizza dough resting on the counter.  I can’t wait to try it tonight!  I did forget to add the oil to the dough, so my dough is going to be a cross between the American-Style “Neapolitan” recipe and the Naples-Style “Napoletana” recipe.  We’ll see how it turns out.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – February 9

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Quick version of White Chicken Chili

We love this Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili.  But the other night when it was already 5pm, I didn’t have time for slow.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Instead, I altered the recipe and had it ready to go in about 30 minutes.  And that included photographing for the upcoming blog post.  I’ll be sharing it with you soon!

2. 5 People. 5 Different dinner times.

This was our Tuesday.  All five of us who would be eating at home, would need to do it at different times.  And I needed to be able to cook early, leave the house and come back to eat later.  But everyone else needed to easily be able to fix their own meal while I was gone.

Tacos are perfect for this.  I made the taco meat and put it in the slow cooker to keep warm.  I also chopped the lettuce and tomatoes and even made some homemade salsa.

3.  Homemade Frothy Coffee

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One of my favorite things to make in the Vitamix is frothy coffee.  It tastes like fancy coffee from the coffee shop.  I brew strong coffee and add an equal amount of hot milk.  Caramel syrup sweetens the cup.  Pour it in the Vitamix and blend for a few minutes.

The milk creates a nice foam.  I haven’t tried it, but I think this also might work with a regular blender.  It’s a nice afternoon treat.  But I only indulge once or twice a week.  I’m trying not to pick up and everyday coffee habit in the afternoon.  I sure would like to though!

A peak at what’s coming:

Tomorrow I have some easy side dish ideas to share and a Pyrex giveaway from Libby’s!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

 

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3 Things that work in the kitchen this week – February 2

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Using a slow cooker freezer meal.

I have a tendency to hoard these.  Or run through them very quickly.  There’s no balance here for me!

I love having slow cooker freezer meals ready to go.  We made use of another one this week (Chicken Cacciatore).  There’s something about knowing your dinner is cooking away in the crockpot – smelling it all day long – that makes you feel like all is right with the world.  Dinner is done.  Even if nothing else is.

(The February Weekly Meal Plans are all loaded on the member page.  If you’re a member, don’t forget to download your plans!  And if you’re not a member, pop over to this page to find out how to become one.)

2.  I skipped a big shopping trip and we’ve eaten out of the pantry/freezer.

Instead of hitting the store like usual, I’ve been trying to use up some things.  The pantry was very well stocked.  And I also had plenty of meat in the freezer.  I did pop into the store for milk and some vegetables and a few things to pack lunches.

We’ve eaten down a lot of the stash now, but a big grocery trip will be in order soon.

3.  Trail mix is good in oatmeal.

I found this bag of trail mix in the pantry.  I don’t remember buying it.  Unless maybe I picked it up at ALDI one day.  Or maybe my mom brought it at Christmas time?

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It has dried apples, almonds and other good stuff.  And it makes a surprisingly good topping for oatmeal.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – January 26

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1. I used the ham bone from Christmas to make soup.

I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes I freeze a ham bone, but never get it back out to use it.  But this time, I didn’t let it languish in the freezer.

I made Black Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker and it turned out great!  The recipe is coming for you this week.  And no worries if you don’t have a ham bone.  I’ll have options for you!

2.  Made Blackberry Crisp (and ate it for breakfast)

Mia talked me into buying a container of fresh blackberries at Costco.  I swapped out the blueberries in this crisp recipe and made Blackberry Crisp.  I love this recipe because it doesn’t have much sugar. I feel pretty healthy when I eat it.  Despite the scoop of ice cream that tops it.

And it’s great for breakfast!  No ice cream though, although I was tempted.

3.  We had roasted brussels sprouts. And liked them.

I never thought I liked brussels sprouts.  And I really never thought the kids would like them.  But this week I roasted some for a side dish.

And we all loved them!

I’ll tell you more about this, along with the recipe/method.

Bonus #4 – Pineapple in smoothies – new verdict.

Finally, I gave pineapple in green smoothies a bad rap last week.  I tried it again, after many of you said you thought it was great.  You’re right!  I’m not sure where the strange texture was coming from the first few times I tried it, but this week it tasted wonderful.  And no funky texture.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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