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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3 Things that Worked in the Kitchen This Week – October 6

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Bombed a meal, but redeemed part of it

I tried a recipe from my mom this week.  And I bombed it.  I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I think it may have had to do with the wine I used.  I’ll need to try it again, when I get brave.

It’s a chicken slow cooker recipe that gets served with wild rice blend.  Somehow, I looked at the clock and thought it said 5pm.  But after I put the rice on to cook, I realized it was already about 6:15.  We were hungry and didn’t want to wait for the rice to finish, so we had a different side dish.

But that meant I had a bunch of wild rice to use.  I decided to turn it into a salad.  I’ll share the recipe tomorrow.

Wild Rice Salad - redeeming leftover rice

 

2.  I found a new (to me) grocery.

I pass by a small Kroger store several times a day and I’ve found that it’s perfect for stopping in to pick up a few items or for doing a quick weekly shopping trip.  I love that it’s small.  It has everything I need (or at least so far), and the compact size keeps it from feeling overwhelming.  Fast grocery trips are the best!

3.  My kitchen super power.

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I relate more to this Lego Super Woman than the curvy, human version.

Yes.  I do have a kitchen super power.  And when you find out about it, you’re going to be jealous.  Unless you have it too.

The great thing about this super power is that I put it to use several times every day, so it’s useful.  And practical.

I can judge the size of container needed for leftovers by looking at what’s left in the pan.  I’m almost never wrong.  I’m able to choose which container the leftovers will fit in, filling it nearly to the top, while not overflowing.

I know.  It’s impressive.

What’s working for you this week?  And what’s your kitchen super power?  I know you’ve got one!

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – September 29

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Cooked, frozen chicken

I feel a little like a broken record, but truly – having cooked meats in your freezer ready to be added to recipes is a HUGE time saver.   This week I made fried rice and instead of cooking the chicken in the pan, I used cooked chicken from our last chicken party.  Doing so makes Fried Rice a super quick meal.    It’s pretty quick anyway, but this shaves the time down to the 15-20 minute range.

fried rice new pic

 

Side note – when I write “chicken” on paper by hand, I always write “chix”.   My hand-written editorial calendar is full of “chix”.

2.  Made a meal from a previous Weekly Meal Plan.

I print one of the Weekly Meal Plans each week, but I don’t always get to cook all of the meals.  We change things up sometimes, and I create new recipes too.  This week I finally got around to making the Baked Spaghetti.  The ground beef was in the freezer and the rest of the ingredients are pantry ingredients.  Minus the cheese, of course, but that holds for a while in the fridge.

I love the flexibility of the meal plans.

This is one of our favorite meals.  It was a recipe my mom used to make when I was young.  The leftovers hold up well too, which is a bonus.

baked-spaghetti-done-this-one

 

3.  Used cooked ground beef from spaghetti to make pizza

One of the meals on the menu this week was Pesto Tomato Pizza.  I love this!  But my boys beg for meat.  So I made one pizza using the extra ground beef I had browned out a few days before when I made the spaghetti.

Instead of only cooking 1 pound of meat that was needed for the spaghetti, I cooked a large package and froze the extra.  Once again, pre-cooked meat stashed in the freezer comes to the rescue.

I’m not usually a fan of ground beef on pizza, but this one turned out really good.  And it made the guys happy too.  Win win.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things that Worked in the Kitchen This Week – September 22

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Speeding up a slow cooker recipe

spicy chicken soup done

 

I originally wrote this recipe as a slow cooker soup.  But last week, I wasn’t on my game and it didn’t go in the slow cooker.  I did have all the ingredients though, plus cooked chicken in the freezer.

The onion and bell pepper cooked in oil on the stove top, then I added the other ingredients.  The whole process took about 30 minutes, start to finish.

This Spicy Chicken Soup recipe post has ideas for varying the ingredients for what you have on hand.  But it also works to vary the cooking method so it fits better with your day.

2.  Breakfast for dinner

Jim was out of town one night last week.  That often inspires me to make pancakes for dinner.  But this time we were in more of a French toast mood.  I did make Apple Cider Syrup to go with it.  Yum!  And bacon on the side too.

3.  Easiest grocery shopping ever

IMG_4953

 

Two steps to making your grocery shopping super fast:

1.  Print off your color-coded meal plan and grocery list from Weekly Meal Plans.

2.  Send it with your son to do the shopping.  Peter was off on Friday, so I sent him to do our groceries.  I crossed out the things we didn’t need and added a few extras.  Extra scribbles courtesy of younger sibling.

Peter came back with all the groceries for the week.  Boom!

A huge bonus of Weekly Meal Plans is being able to have someone else do the shopping.  I don’t hand off this job often, but at times it’s really nice to let someone else handle it.  And it’s no problem since it’s all listed there in pretty colors.

What worked for you in the kitchen this week?  

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