3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – December 15

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Graduation menu set

Our oldest daughter graduates on Friday with both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.   She was able to earn bachelor’s degrees in Chinese and communications and a master’s in communications in just 4 1/2 years.  We’re incredibly proud of her!

December graduations come at a pretty busy time of year.  We’re having a small gathering for her on Friday and I’ve finally hammered down the menu.  Usually, when you think graduation party you think of a spring/summer menu.  I wanted something that would fit the season, but wouldn’t be too Christmasy.

I settled on Loaded Potato Soup and Velma’s Chili (both can do their thing in the slow cooker, while we’re at the ceremony).  I’ll add a veggie tray, cheeseball and crackers to this.  And a cake and maybe some cookies.  Nothing fancy, but we’re not fancy people.

2.  Easy Roasted Butternut Squash

I love this Butternut Squash side dish, but sometimes I want something even easier.   Last week, I combined that Butternut Squash Skillet recipe with the Roasted White and Sweet Potato method to come up with a delicious, yet super easy dish.

I cut the squash in cubes.  Then toss with olive oil, thyme, cinnamon, ginger and salt and pepper.  It’s both amazingly easy and impressively tasty.  I’ll do a full blog post for this one soon.

3.  Three new recipes to be posted this week

I had a lot of success in creating new recipes over the past week.  And I’ll have three of them for you on the blog this week!

Rosemary Goat Cheese Cornmeal Mini Muffins – These are wonderful to add to your appetizer line up or to serve as a side dish with dinner.

Salted Caramel Fudge – Simple, deeply chocolate fudge topped with a ribbon of salted caramel.  Yes. It is as good as you’re imagining.

Coconut Fudge – Another delicious fudge variation. It’s so simple to make.  It looks very pretty with the dark chocolate topped with white coconut.  We loved this one!

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

 

 

 

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – December 8

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

I think I’m finally starting to feel better after the cold/flu/sinus infection thing that got me over Thanksgiving.   Really, it didn’t seem severe enough to take me out like it did.  But it was a headache inducing, energy sucker.  And I’m glad it’s gone!

1.  Big Grocery Trip!

I stopped by my favorite little Kroger store and bought all the things.  I didn’t shop with a list this time.  I just pulled one or more of everything off the shelves.  Actually, shopping without a list is one of my creativity tricks for spurring new recipe ideas.  I buy a lot of inspiration ingredients and all the basic type ingredients too.

And it worked!  I’ve made several new recipes this week and have ideas for more.  And my baking drawer in the pantry is overflowing with good stuff!

2.  Stove top version of a slow cooker soup.

spicy chicken soup done

The original post for this Spicy Chicken Soup tells how to make it in a slow cooker.  There are also a lot of ideas for variations.

I decided to make the soup on the stove top, using frozen rotisserie chicken.  I skipped the rice and the bell pepper.  We ate it with Fritos, so of course it was a hit!  And it only took 15-20 minutes to fix.  Win. Win.

3.  Candy Cane Fudge for Advent and other fudge ideas.

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We had an Advent dinner at church on Friday night.  I was asked to make a recipe as part of the program and to include the kids in the cooking.  We made this easy fudge recipe.  I’ll share the recipe this week and how we made it fit into the Advent program.

And I’m majoring in fudge making this week!  I’ve got plans for Coconut Fudge and, if all goes well, a Salted Caramel Fudge.  I’ll share all the successes with you soon.

And 1 thing that didn’t work – the deep freeze.

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Jim went into the garage on Saturday morning and noticed that the freezer wasn’t working.  All that meat was thawed and stinky.  Sad, sad, sad loss of the pork and an organic chicken we had gotten from Jim’s sister and her husband.  This is not a good way to clean out a freezer.

We are still trying to determine if it’s the freezer that died or if it’s something wrong with the outlet.  Either way, it was a stinky, expensive mess.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – December 1

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

For the first time that I remember, I was sick on Thanksgiving.  I started coming down with a cold on Monday.  By Tuesday night I was running a fever and my cold was feeling a lot more like the flu.  And it was Saturday before I really started feeling like myself again.

So I was not one of the things that worked in the kitchen this week!

1.  My fabulous husband

Our original plan was to go to Ohio to a family gathering on Thanksgiving Day.  I was planning to take pies.  By Wednesday night we realized that was not going to happen.  (I told him to go without me, but he didn’t like that plan.)

So Jim braved the stores the evening before Thanksgiving and bought a few things to make dinner at home.  Then on Thursday he baked two homemade pies, crust and all (Pumpkin Pie and Derby Pie).  He also made roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli, cranberry sauce and rolls.

I’m definitely thankful for Jim!

2.  The kids

The kids took charge of cleaning up the kitchen during the time I was sick.  They also brought me cups of hot tea and made toast for me.

3.  Homemade Bread from my 12 year old.

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On Monday afternoon, Mia decided to try making homemade bread.  I pulled up the Depression Era Bread recipe for her.  She did a great job!

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

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – November 24

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  My daughter using Weekly Meal Plans.

I love that my oldest daughter and her husband eat together every night.  She does the grocery shopping for them each week.

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She likes the structure that Weekly Meal Plans gives.  It’s easy to swap out whole meals or cross off ingredients that she already has.  She chose the Whole Foods Small Plan.

2. Having a stocked pantry.

I like using the Weekly Meal Plans too.  Last weekend we were out of town and that meant I didn’t do any grocery shopping.  But because I normally follow the Weekly Meal Plan lists, my kitchen stays pretty stocked.  It was easy to pull meals together, even though I hadn’t done a big grocery trip.

The recipes included on all the Weekly Meal Plans use common, pantry ingredients.  That means that I regularly buy all the basics.  And if I don’t use the ingredients for one meal, they will get used for another.

3.  Altering a slow cooker recipe and making it on the stove top instead.

chicken enchilada soup in slow cooker done

One of the meals we had this week was Chicken Enchilada Soup.  I didn’t think of it until later in the day though, so that meant I couldn’t use the crockpot.  Instead, I changed the recipe and made it on the stove.

I used frozen rotisserie chicken.  I left out the red bell pepper and creamed corn, because I didn’t have those.  And we topped it with cheddar cheese instead of Monterey Jack.

Don’t be afraid to alter recipes to make them fit your pantry and your day.  Sometimes you can make minor changes that still work.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

 

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – November 17

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  New Apricot Soy Ginger Chicken Recipe

On Sunday I decided to try a new recipe for our lunch after church.  I had a chopped salad in the fridge (more on that below) and wanted to build the meal around that.

I decided to grab the apricot jam that I was planning to use for Apricot Oat Bars (like these Cherry Oat Bars, only apricot instead) and use it for the chicken instead.  It turned out great and I’ll share the recipe with you on Wednesday.  It works equally well in the oven or slow cooker, so you can match it to your day.

2.  Adapting a recipe for slow cooker so that it’s ready after church.

I really wanted Butternut Squash Skillet with that chicken recipe, but I didn’t want to have to fix it after we got home from church.

butternut squash skillet

 

So I started it in the skillet, but instead of finishing it in the oven like the recipe calls for, I transferred it to the slow cooker.  I do prefer the oven version better, but the slow cooker worked fine.  Having the food ready to eat when we came in from church was wonderful.

If you’re looking for more ideas for after church, here’s a list of easy meals that work especially well for Sundays.

3.  Chopped Salad Mixes

chopped salad mix

 

Recently I’ve been buying chopped salad mixes.  The one above is from Costco.  It has brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cranberries and more.  We’ve also tried an Asian Chopped Salad and a Southwestern mix from Kroger.

The chopped salads seem to hold up better than bagged lettuce salads.  And we like them better too.  Even the boys have been known to eat them.  They don’t go for lettuce salads so much.

The other thing I like about them is I don’t have to make it.  For some reason, I hate making salad.  It’s not hard, of course, but I don’t like doing it.  This way we can get a big serving of raw veggies that we wouldn’t normally eat.  I mean, I’m probably not going to chop brussels sprouts or broccoli stems up for a salad.  But we’ll eat them if I buy the mix.

Am I lazy?  Probably so, but these salad mixes are working for us right now!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – November 10

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Car picnic

Our youngest is playing volleyball now.  So we finished soccer season and have picked up volleyball.  The season got off to a quick start with two out of town games on Monday and Tuesday.

I hate to admit this – again – but I had no plan for Monday’s dinner.  And we had a soccer banquet that night too and I had no plan for that either.  (As my excuse, we had a lot of family in for the weekend and my focus was entirely on that.)  This lack of plan meant we grabbed fast food Monday night.

And I was determined not to do that again on Tuesday.

So I grilled some chicken in the afternoon, cooled it, sliced it and added it to tossed salad.  Easy. Nutritious.  Packable.  We ate it in the car between volleyball games.  So, so much better than fast food.

2.  Chicken marinating for the lazy and forgetful.

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I really like the way marinated chicken tastes better than plain.  But I don’t always plan ahead for that.  One way to do it is use the lazy freezer method.  That works great!

But I didn’t have any chicken in my freezer this time.  So I grabbed a bottle of Italian dressing and doused the chicken right before grilling.  While it was still in the package.  It worked great!

Don’t be afraid to try shortcuts.

3.  Pancake Supper + Grocery Shopping

Wednesday night Jim was gone.  I still hadn’t been to the grocery other than quick runs for one or two things.  Pancakes and sausage for dinner worked fine.

My go-to pancake recipe is this whole wheat one.  I have it memorized so it’s quick to fix.

On Thursday I made it to the grocery with a printed list from Weekly Meal Plans.  I used one of the Traditional lists for November.  I changed up the soup recipe on the list for a new soup idea (tried it, liked it, sharing it soon).  I also added ingredients for a Thanksgiving dessert recipe idea. Hopefully, it will turn out and I’ll share that one soon too.

The color coding on the grocery lists makes swapping things out so easy!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

 

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – November 3

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

$4 New Spatula

spatulas

Why do I wait so long to make simple purchases for the kitchen?  I’ve had the spatula on the left for years.  It works fine, of course.  But the handle has gotten all dried out in the dishwasher. Every time I pick it up I have a desire to put lotion on it.  It just feels so, so dry.

I picked up the spatula on the right at Kroger the other day.  Four bucks and 30 seconds to find it and toss in the cart is all it took.  Flipping pancakes and grilled cheese is much nicer now.

 

Putting a new spin on ingredients for old recipes

I’ve been in a recipe creation frenzy. Partly because I’ve been creating and partly because I get a little stressed when I don’t have as many recipes to share here as I’d like.

This week I used ingredients from the Weekly Meal Plans grocery list to come up with new recipes. So instead of Chicken Fajitas and Southwest Steak and Cornbread Dressing – I came up with a new recipe for Salsa Chicken and Cornbread Dressing.

I can’t wait to share that one with you! It’s so simple and so full of flavor.

I also created another slow cooker recipe, a muffin recipe and a dessert that’s perfect for Thanksgiving time.

Better way to store eggs in the fridge

eggs in container

I usually just put the egg carton in the fridge.  There’s a skinny place next to the milk on the top shelf where a dozen-sized carton will fit.  But it’s too small for a carton that holds 18.

The other day, I came in with 18 eggs and already had 6 eggs in a carton in the fridge.  Since I was stocking up before having a lot of company for the weekend, there wasn’t much space.  So I pulled out a plastic container and was able to fit all 24 eggs in it.

eggs in fridge

Don’t judge my fridge and I won’t judge yours.

I really like the way the eggs fit in here so much better than leaving them in the carton.

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

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week (and my confession) – October 27

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

I’m going to be sad to see October go.  November gets precariously close to winter and I’m not ready for that!

Super Easy 15 Minute Meals

I’ve been working with McCormick most of the year and they sent me a package that came in so handy this week. Their new skillet sauces saved dinner twice this week. More on that on Wednesday.

McCormick skillet sauces

Eating Out

This is embarrassing to admit, since my blog is called Eat at Home, but we ate out quite a bit last week. It’s what worked. I had a terrible cold at the beginning of last week and I never went to the grocery or made a plan. And on Thursday I was supposed to go to book club for dinner, Mia had volleyball practice and Jim was taking Isaac to a soccer tournament for the weekend. I’d planned that we would all eat out, since no one would be home. I ended up skipping book club to due to a headache, but we still had take-out.

On Friday night, I gathered up Mia, plus my oldest two kids and we ran some errands and had pizza out.

Some weeks are just like that. But a steady diet of restaurant food usually puts me in the mood to eat at home again. Which leads too…

 

Big Grocery Trip – Finally!

printed grocery list

Saturday I hit the store with a well thought out list. I printed the Slow Cooker list for this week of Weekly Meal Plans. I’ve looked ahead at our schedule and I know I need slow cooker meals for Tuesday and Thursday. I also added all the items I’ll need for next weekend, when my family comes to visit. And I even made a list of last minute items I’ll need to pick up late in the week for that visit.

It feels good to be organized again!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1. I’m still using the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

But mostly just for Macaroni and Cheese. This is the best mac and cheese! The leftovers are really good too (which isn’t something you can often say about mac and cheese). But I really do need to learn some other pressure cooker recipes and use it more often.

2. Quick Tortilla Soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made this Chicken Tortilla Soup real quick before running out the door to pick up Isaac from soccer practice. I love this soup. It’s so easy and so good. I even made the crunchy tortillas. Sometimes I skip those, but they are worth the effort.

Broken Ice Maker.

water pitcher

Okay, actually that’s something that’s not working. What is working is keeping a pitcher of cold water in the fridge. Simple solution. The fridge guy is coming on Wednesday to see if it can be fixed.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – October 13

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

After writing this post, I realized that all three things this week have to do with making do and adapting (or borrowing!).

1.  Great neighbors!

We live in a fairly new subdivision and we’ve got the best neighbors.  They’re great for a lot of reasons, but one is that we often borrow ingredients from each other.  If I find I’m missing a can of broth or clove of garlic, I’ve got three neighbors I can call and ask to borrow.  And they do the same with me.

Friend text1

 

Friend text2

 

That’s a screen shot of recent texts between one of my neighbors and me.  I wonder how many trips to the grocery store we’ve saved each other!

2.  Recipe altering – Corn Chowder

corn chowder bowl

 

Never be afraid to alter a recipe.  I made Corn Chowder the other day.  I decided to add chicken, because the boys prefer meat in everything.

I also didn’t have enough half and half, so I used milk instead.  The soup wasn’t as rich as it normally is, but it was still good.  And the added chicken helped make up the difference.

3.  Adapting for the picky eater.

We had breakfast for dinner one night.  I served ham and pancakes.  I really wanted Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes, but I’ve got that one kid who refuses to eat fruit.

whole wheat apple pancakes done

No problem.  I made the batter in one bowl and diced up an apple in another bowl.  Half of the batter got poured over the apple and stirred together.  Ta-da!  Apple pancakes and plain pancakes.  (Shhh…don’t tell him there was applesauce in his plain pancakes!)

What has worked for you in the kitchen this week?  How do you make do when you need to?

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