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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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – January 19

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Virtual Freezer Cooking Party idea

Freezer cooking always works to make meal time simple.  Last weekend I made 6 more slow cooker freezer meals from the upcoming February meal plans.

This week, we ate two of those meals.   And it reminded me of a Facebook event we did a few years ago.

Virtual Freezer Cooking Party will take place on a Saturday in February. More details to follow, but for now here are a few facts:

  • The party will take place on the Eat at Home Facebook page.
  • We’ll each choose our own recipes to prep and freeze.  I’ll give lots of ideas for recipes in a post and in Facebook statuses as we get closer to party time.  But choose whatever recipes you like and work for you.
  • We’ll check in on Facebook, sharing how it’s going, asking questions, sharing recipes.

The date will be announced soon, but I’m thinking toward the end of the month.

2.  Adding items to the Traditional List

I shopped with the Traditional List this week.  While I was printing the list, my son asked for a meal of bbq chicken legs and Corn Casserole.  It was really easy to add these ingredients to the list.

That meal tasted like a little bit of summer!  I put the chicken legs in the oven with bbq sauce.  The Corn Casserole also went in the oven.  It was too late to use the slow cooker after I got back with the groceries.  And we had sweet potato fries to round it all out.  Yum!

3.  Pineapple in our green smoothies – not sure that works for me.

I’ve been making green smoothies every morning, since I got a Vitamix for Christmas.   I had a pineapple that I sliced and froze in small bags.  But when I add those to the smoothies, it seems that it gives it a weird, thick texture.

I like the flavor of the pineapple, but the texture weirds me out.  I think it’s the pineapple that causes that.  Have you tried pineapple in your smoothies?  Do you notice a different texture to it?

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

 

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – January 12

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1. Chipotle style burritos in 20ish minutes.

My son asked to have burritos the other night.  He wanted something like Chipotle makes.  I ended up doing a quicker version of the recipes I created for the Savings Lifestyle blog a few years ago.

I took no photos and didn’t write anything down, thinking that it was just a quick meal. But it was so good and so much easier than the recipes I wrote originally.  I’ll be making this again and sharing it this time.

The biggest time saver – using rotisserie chicken.  I’ll make them again soon and share the recipe here.

2.  Skillet Chicken Curry alteration.

We also had Skillet Chicken Curry this week.  But instead of the chutney the recipe calls for, I used a can of coconut milk, like the slow cooker version calls for.

Skillet Chicken Curry with Peach Chutney

 

3.  Grocery shopping with two lists.

I shopped at my favorite little Kroger store the other day, with two grocery lists.  One for a week of Traditional Meal Plans and one for the freezer week of February Slow Cooker Meal Plans.

I like to have the freezer stocked with the slow cooker freezer meals to use on extra busy days.  And I made another video to share (it’s been a while since I did that).  I’ll upload and share the video in a post in early February.

When I was shopping for meat, I asked the butcher if he had any more cube steaks.  There was only a small package in the case at the time.  He offered to make some for me and told me to come back to the meat counter in 10-15 minutes.

I went on with my shopping and he found me in the store and delivered the meat to me.  And he was able to pack enough for a family pack, getting me a $1 off per pound.  Such nice customer service!

What worked for you in the kitchen this week?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – January 5

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Starting the day with green juice

I’ve seen photos of green juice all over the internet for years.  I’ve heard people rave about it.

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And I thought it looked and sounded nasty!

Then I tried it.

And I found out that it’s really good, Sam, I am.  You can’t taste the spinach at all.  I’ve been making ours with 2 oranges, 1 banana, a little orange juice or water, several handfuls of spinach and a few ice cubes.

The Vitamix blends it smooth and frothy.  It tastes like really good fruit juice.

2.  Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes

In my quest to find anything that will blend, (I love my new blender!) I found a recipe for Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes.

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I thought these were so good! And they’re really easy too. I made enough for us each to have a small glass.

3.  How I’m attempting to cut back on sugar this year.

I know.  I just shared a recipe for milkshakes.  But I am determined to find some way to stop the chronic headaches and migraines  I get.

One of the things I think contributes is eating a lot of sugary treats throughout the day.  I was very bad about this over Christmas, and paid for it with a week long headache battle.  I easily fall into eating too many sweets at other times of the year too.

So this year, instead of going cold turkey like I tried last year, I’m taking a “small is big” approach.  I’m refusing to eat any sweet treats until after dinner.  I don’t tend to graze on things after dinner like I do earlier in the day.

I’m hoping this little rule will make a difference.  I may up my game and reduce sugar even further at some point.  Or not.  For now, I’m focusing on this small goal.

 

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3 Thing that Work in the Kitchen over the Holidays and into the New Year

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner

For our Christmas dinner, I followed through on my plan to try Aimee’s recipe for Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner from her blog, Simple Bites.

Turkey sheet pan supper

Oh. My. Word!  This was the most amazing meal!  We all loved it and went back for seconds and even thirds.  It was so good, I dreamed about diving into the leftovers the next day.

I made just a few changes to the recipe on Simple Bites.

  • I used a turkey breast instead of the legs and thighs.
  • I increased the amounts – using 2 white potatoes, 3 sweet potatoes, 2 bundles of broccolini, 1 bundle brussels sprouts etc.
  • I made one end of the pan “plain” with white potatoes and broccolini.  The other end had sweet potatoes, cranberries, brussels sprouts, onions, celery.
  • I added the cubed bread all around the turkey, but instead of seasoning that with savory, I used rubbed sage.

The result was an amazing dinner.  It was easy to make, but does require roasting for a while, then adding things to the pan.  Roasting again and adding more items.  I played Dutch Blitz with the family, jumping in for a few hands between tending to the dinner.

2.  My new extra large sheet pan.

When I saw the recipe on Simple Bites, I knew it would require me to either buy a larger sheet pan or make two pans in order to feed all 7 of us.

Luckily, as I was buzzing through Walmart a few days before Christmas I saw a display of Nordic Ware Big Sheet pans.  It’s 21″x15″.  And it was only $15.  Here’s a link on Amazon if you want to take a look.  It’s a dollar more than in Walmart, but so worth the money.

I have used this pan so much already.  It’s great for making cookies.  Because you can fit 20 in one batch, the baking time goes so much faster.

We also used the pan for Angel Biscuits that my mom baked while she was here.  There was enough room on the pan for all of those biscuits.  With 5 cups of flour in the recipe, it makes a lot of biscuits.

3.  New Vitamix

Jim bought me a Vitamix for Christmas.  I’ve wanted a high powered blender for a long time, so I was really excited to open it.  (I wasn’t surprised though.  Jim isn’t the most subtle about gift giving. Ha!)

We’ve had a lot of fun playing around with it and we’ve made some really good whole fruit juices and smoothies every morning.  That’s not the primary reason I wanted one, but it may turn out to be the biggest benefit.

If you’ve got a high powered blender, I’d love to hear what you like to make in it.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!  What worked in your kitchen over the holidays?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen this Week and Merry Christmas!

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

I’ve written this post a few days early – actually on Dec. 17.  You’re reading it on Dec. 22 (or after).  I’m working hard to clear away final details so that I can enjoy my daughter’s college graduation, my dad’s 70th birthday, my extended family’s Christmas together and then…Christmas!

1.  Baking and freezing cookies

I’m sure that by the time you read this, I still won’t have started any real Christmas baking!  But with the weekend festivities in the memory bank, now’s the time to start planning for our Christmas Eve and Christmas day celebrations.

I’ll be baking cookies this week.  Probably Snickerdoodles, Amish Oatmeal Cookies, Candy Cane Chocolate Crinkles and Molasses Cookies.  We’ll eat some as they come out of the oven, but I’ll freeze the rest so they stay fresh.  They thaw so fast that it works great to keep the cookie tray loaded and ready on 12/24 and 12/25.

We’ve had plenty of fudge lately (3 kinds!), so I probably won’t be making any more.  Instead we’ll make Peanut Butter Balls, chocolate covered pretzels, Toffee.  And possibly Peppermint Patties.

2.  Christmas breakfast and dinner menus

In all honesty, I have very little idea on these right now!  That may sound bad, since I’m a food blogger, but I just haven’t had the brain cells to put to it yet.

We tend to keep things fairly the same for Christmas breakfast – some type of egg or egg casserole, Frozen Fruit Cups, cinnamon rolls (Grands from a can), coffee, hot cocoa, juice.

We’ve done all different kinds of things for Christmas dinner, but I like to keep it easy and simple too.  This sheet pan supper from Simple Bites caught my eye.  I may go with something similar, even though Aimee says that she thinks it’s too rustic for Christmas dinner, it looked perfect for us.  We are not fancy people.

In fact, one year we had Croque Monsieur sandwiches and Shaker Village Tomato Soup.  The kids still talk about how much they liked that meal for Christmas.

On keeping things simple, here’s my post on The 80/20 Rule of Christmas Baking.

3. A Christmas blessing

I pray that no matter how many or how few people gather in your kitchen, that you will all enjoy the time together and fully know what a blessing it is to have each other.

I pray that the food you prepare will not only nourish your bodies, but also your memories of this season together.

I pray that if you or your loved ones are hurting or forging through a difficult journey, that God will provide comfort to your heart.

I pray you have a blessed Christmas, remembering the One who gave His life because He loves us with an indescribable love.

Merry Christmas!

 

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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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