3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – Grilling, Pressure Cooking and more

3 Things that work in the kitchen

I’ve been knocked flat by a terrible cold this weekend.  I even thought I had a sinus infection, and went to the doctor.  She told me I had allergies.  Funny how I caught these “allergies” from my daughter (who was treated for a sinus infection earlier in the week) and have now passed along the “allergies” to my son.  Hmmm…

The result of this is that I did very little in the way of work and now it’s 10:45 on Monday morning and I just now realized I’d never written my post for today.

Here’s to catching up!

1.  Charcoal grilling

kingsford charcoal lit

I’ve used a gas grill for years, but I’ve been wanting to try charcoal for a while.  So far, I’m really enjoying it.  It does take longer than the gas grill, but there’s the added benefit of toasted marshmallows at the end of the meal, so it’s worth it.

We’ve grilled steaks and hamburgers on it so far.  I’m looking forward to more experimenting this summer.  I’ll have a post up soon about grilling the steaks.

2.  Pressure cooking

I’ve had my pressure cooker for several years now, but I don’t use it much.  In fact, I’d started a post about why I’m not jumping on the pressure cooker bandwagon.  And then I decided I’d better give it a try again.

I’ve adapted three different chicken recipes from slow cooker to pressure cooker in the last three days.  I’ve been posting my results on Instagram and Facebook.

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Look for some pressure cooker recipes here on the blog soon, as well as my take on when it makes sense to use this appliance.

3.  I went to the grocery.

 

I realize this isn’t exciting.  But this is about as exciting as the last week has been for us.  I shopped with the Slow Cooker list, which turned out to be perfect for experimenting with the pressure cooker over the weekend.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – Easy Grilled Pizzas and more

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Easy Grilled Pizzas

For Mother’s Day I decided to grill out pizzas.  I’m not a fan of eating out on Mother’s Day.  It’s always crazy busy, and keeping kids happy in a restaurant isn’t the easiest anyway.  Of course, our kids are all old enough to behave in a restaurant now. We’re long past the baby/toddler/preschool days.  Still, it’s just nicer to skip the crowds and eat at home.

The grilled pizza idea came from the Sorta Awesome podcast.  I love this podcast and a recent episode covered all things grilling.  Laura Tremaine, one of the show’s hosts, shared that she likes to make grilled pizza using naan.  This is an Indian style flatbread.  You can find it in grocery stores.  I’ll be doing a post on this soon, because it really is the easiest way to do pizza for a group.

We brushed the naan with olive oil on both sides and added sauce and toppings.  It was a bit of a clean-out-the-fridge affair that night.  We had some leftover ham slices, pineapple cubes from the freezer, a quick homemade sauce, pepperoni, red onion, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  Everyone added what they wanted and then the pizzas went on the grill for a few minutes.

Quick, easy and crowd pleasing!  I should have taken photos, but I didn’t think about it.

2.  Company group #1

Our son, Isaac performed in the musical Aladdin last week.  He played Sultan and did a great job!  On Thursday night, we had the first set of grandparents come to see him.  I wasn’t sure how many we’d have for dinner, but it turned out to be eight of us that night.

I followed the Weekly Meal Plan I’d printed and shopped with earlier in the week.  BBQ Pork Sandwiches with Quick Cole Slaw fit the day perfectly.  I put the meat in the crockpot in the morning and it was ready to eat when we were.

3.  Company group #2

For the second night of the production, my parents came.  The Weekly Meal Plan came in handy again.  This time I went with Enchiladas with Chili Tomato Sauce.  And because we had nine people, one of whom isn’t a big fan of beef, I also made a recipe of White Enchiladas as well.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Clearing out the Fridge and Freezer – 3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  “Stray” meals from Weekly Meal Plans

This week I wanted to cook a few of the meals that we hadn’t gotten to from some of our Weekly Meal Plans.  Each week has six meals, but sometimes I don’t get around to all of them in a week.  That’s actually kind of nice, because it means I have a few meals with ingredients ready to go for later.

This week I made Cottage Pie and Smoked Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner.  Both of these had been held over from a previous week of meal plans.

Smoked Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner with seasoned potatoes

2.  Freezer clean out – Live and learn…not so much

A year or more ago, our deep freeze in the garage kicked the breaker off and proceeded to thaw all the meat inside.  On Wednesday it did the same thing.  That is a sad, messy, expensive way to clean out the freezer.

This time we’re going to swap out the switch and get an alarm, so that if it happens again we can deal with it before losing all the meat.

3.  Photographing 3 more meals

I’m working on a special project that I know you’re going to love.  Part of it involves cooking and photographing quite a few recipes.  I did three more this week, including this Garlic Dijon Tilapia with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash.

Garlic Dijon Tilapia with Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Special Edition – 3 Things that Work in the Kitchen – Exercising, Organizing and Cooking

I normally post my 3 Things That Work posts on Mondays, but today I have a special edition for you.

The other day I told you about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.  Today, I want to tell you about my three favorite products that are included.

1.  Healthy Moving Housework Action Pack

 

TheHouseworkActionPack

I hate to exercise, but I do want to be healthy.  Jen from Healthy Moving has changed the way I move through my days.  She teaches her clients to transform their everyday movements.

The Housework Action Pack teaches movements you can do as you work in the kitchen, clean the bathroom, do laundry and other housework.  Jen is a big advocate of the saying, “little hinges swing big doors”.

I’ve mentioned Healthy Moving to you before.  I’m part of Jen’s Healthy Moving Coaching and Challenge Program.  Since I’ve been doing her challenges, I have more energy and feel better.  I move more throughout my day.

Grabbing the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and trying out the Housework Action Pack is a great way to see if Jen’s programs are a good fit for you.  In fact, that’s exactly what I did last year during the UHB sale.

2.  Organizing – Cozy Minimalist Mom

cozy-kids

I have Nester’s original Cozy Minimalist course and have really enjoyed it.  The Cozy Minimalist Mom course comes in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.  It’s not so much a decorating course like the original Cozy Minimalist, although she does talk about that a little.

This course focuses more on realistic organizing for families with kids.  She even talks about dealing with all the cups in the kitchen.  This is a woman who understands living with kids.

My favorite thing about this course is it isn’t overwhelming.  She doesn’t talk about going through every item in your house or trying to have a clutter free life.  Instead, she has sessions titled, “If it doesn’t bother you, don’t bother”.  This is really about making your house work for you.

3.  Easy cooking – Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

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I mentioned the other day that my own Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plans are included in the bundle.  And yes, I’m sharing them as one of my favorites.

This is the method I use to fill my freezer.  From the menu, the color-coded grocery list, assembly instructions and recipes – these plans work for me.

If you were to buy all three of these resources, the cost would be over $68.  The cost of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is only $29.97.  And you’ll have access to a lot more than just these three products.  This sale is a no-brainer.

Don’t wait though!  The sale only runs through this coming Monday, May 2.

This post contains affiliate links.

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – a couple of obsessions

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Simple soccer night dinner

When I say simple, I really mean it.  Some of us had packed sandwiches eaten in the car.  The others cleared out the leftovers.

I’m all for planned dinners and eating at home, but sometimes the simplest thing works best.

2.  Cooking (and photographing) 8 meals in one day

Saturday was a busy day of cooking.  I’m working on a new project for the site (I think you’re going to love it!) and I needed to shoot eight recipes, although I only got 5 done on Saturday.  It worked out great that the leftovers had gotten cleared out of the fridge a couple of days before when we had our simple dinner night.

Here’s one of the ingredient photos I took.  We’ve got some great meals to eat this week from all of that cooking.

Chicken Florentine Quesadilla ingr instagram

3. Listening to Hamilton while cooking

I’ve fallen into a deep, deep Hamilton obsession.  I have no reason for this.  A few weeks ago, I hadn’t even heard of Hamilton.  Then I heard some people talking about it.  I had to google to find out what it was.

Oh my!  Since then I’ve devoured everything I can find and the cast album has been on repeat on my Spotify account.  I have a friend who loves musical theater and I’ve been trying to talk her into sharing this obsession.  I think it’s working 😉

In case you wonder what I’m talking about or you want to fall deep in the Hamilton hole yourself, here are a few links:

Opening scene Grammy performance

The video below is a performance at the White House. The singing starts 9 minutes into the video, if you want to skip President Obama talking.

Another video performance at the White House, this time of the song “My Shot”.

A story on Hamilton by CBS Sunday Morning:

Here’s an interesting article on all the Biblical references in Hamilton. To be clear, this is not a show/album that you’d want to listen to with young kids. There is some language in some of the numbers and some adult themes.

Okay, I’m done now. I could go on, but I will spare you.

I’d love to know what you’re listening to in the kitchen this week (and what’s working for you).

 

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – Some encouragement

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  More online grocery shopping

I hit up the Kroger online again.  The morning I picked up the groceries it was pouring down rain.  I felt terrible for the man who had to be out in it, loading groceries into cars, but I sure was happy not to have to get wet myself.

I may devote a whole post to online grocery ordering tips at some point.  Overall, it’s working great.  I did end up with the wrong amount of garlic this time.  I meant to order 1 bulb.  Instead I got a whole pound!  I won’t need garlic again for a while.

garlic pound

2.  Fridge menu

I used to stick my color-coded Weekly Meal Plan grocery list on the fridge, so we would know what we had for dinners.  Now that I’ve been online shopping, I’ve been printing the display menu instead.

fridge menu

The good thing about these (available for members of Weekly Meal Plans) is that they are editable PDFs.  So if I swap out a meal for something different, I can easily make that change on the printable.

I check off things as I make them and also add items I need to get on the next shopping trip.

3.  When things aren’t working

This weekly post is about things that do work in the kitchen, but in the past I’ve also shared things that haven’t worked.  And then there are a lot of times things don’t work and I don’t share it.  The kitchen is the center of the home and a lot of parenting goes on there.  Sometimes it’s just plain hard.

As moms, we can be so hard on ourselves.  It’s too easy to focus on what’s not working – the dinner that didn’t get fixed, dishes that didn’t get washed etc.  We get down on ourselves for those things.  We tend to think we should have it all together.

I’ve found some great encouragement in this video series.

We all need encouragement sometimes.  And let’s face it – we don’t always get that in our everyday lives.  Take a few minutes and watch this video series.  I found the videos to be really encouraging.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – Clearing out Pantry and Freezer

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Skipping the big grocery shopping for the week.

This one is a blessing and a curse.  It worked, but it had its drawbacks.

I meant to order groceries from Kroger on Monday night, to be picked up on Tuesday.  Monday was crazy busy though, so I forgot all about the grocery order.

I also really wanted to clear out the pantry and freezer a bit, especially the freezer.  And we had several meals from the past few weeks of Meal Plans that we hadn’t gotten to.  So this week was dedicated to making those meals and using the meat stored in the freezer.

Meals we ate that were held over from previous Weekly Meal Plans:

2.  Warm comfort food

Thursday night we sat through one of the coldest soccer games I remember.  Thankfully, that was also the night we came home to the King Ranch Chicken over hot baked potatoes.  Perfect timing for that meal!

Usually by April I’m not making soup much anymore.  I love soup, but by this time of year we begin to transition to warm weather foods.  But as I write this post on Saturday morning, I have plans to turn two chicken breasts into soup for dinner.  I haven’t decided what recipe I’ll use yet, but it will probably be either:

Easy Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Curry Soup

Thai Chicken Curry Soup

Humble Chicken Soup

Humble Chicken Soup

3.  Finding a new breakfast

We tend to have the same thing for breakfast everyday.  It simplifies the morning  – no decisions, and you get quick at putting together the meal because you go through the same motions everyday.

Since the beginning of the year we’ve been starting with green smoothies and scrambled eggs with veggies.

eggs and veggies

Now we need to try something lower in cholesterol.  I’m thinking we’ll switch over to oatmeal, but I’m open to other ideas.

Do you have a favorite low-cholesterol, easy breakfast?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – Cleaning and more

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1. Clean oven door glass – even in between the glass

It’s embarrassing to admit, but the glass on my oven door was so grimy that you couldn’t even see through it.  It’s been that way since I roasted a chicken a long time ago.  The chicken splattered all over the oven and I never cleaned it.

So the other day when I saw something about cleaning the oven door glass with a magic eraser, I decided to give it a try.  It worked, but I had to use a razor blade in addition to the magic eraser.  It didn’t take very long to do – maybe 15 minutes.

oven door

But once we could see through the glass, we could also see between the glass.  There were a few old spills in there, and also a spider web! What in the world was that spider thinking!

I googled how to clean between the glass on an oven door and found that you can take the door apart.  That part was easy.  Cleaning it was easy.

Putting it all back together again – not so easy.

Jim fiddled with it for a while and finally got it fixed.  The whole thing looks so much better now.

2.  Making my daughter think I’m famous 😉

This is the conversation that happened when my youngest child texted to ask what was for dinner.  She didn’t know what Reuben Calzones were, so she googled it.

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Reuben Calzones were on our Weekly Meal Plan.  They were really good!

3.  Impromptu dinner for 8 after church

I had a feeling we’d end up with a crowd at our house after church, but we hadn’t talked about it so I didn’t make a plan.  After church I realized there would be eight of us.

I had cheese tortellini bought at Costco the day before.  I also had chicken breasts to throw on the grill.  My oldest daughter suggested we turn the pasta into pasta salad.  It didn’t take too long to pull together when we all worked together.  Jim grilled the chicken.  I made the pasta salad and my oldest baked cheddar muffins.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That (Didn’t) Work in the Kitchen This Week

3 Things that work in the kitchen

Do you ever have one of those weeks where things just don’t go right?  Of course you do!  We all do sometimes.  Last week was my week.

1.  Clogged garbage disposal.

I could show a picture of this, but I’ll spare you.  I was ditching old leftovers the other day and tried to run some sliced beef down the garbage disposal.  I must have put it down too quickly and it plugged both sides of the sink.

Jim was out of town for a few days, so I couldn’t push the task off on him.  Instead I got on the phone with my dad and he talked me through taking the trap off underneath the sink and clearing out the clog.

I felt accomplished and gross!  But the sink and garbage disposal are working just fine now.

2.  Leaking dishwasher.

Black, gooey stuff started coming out from under the dishwasher the other day.  When we pulled the panel off the bottom of the dishwasher we found lots of water and mildew.  Apparently there’s been a leak for a while.  Again, I’ll spare you the photo.

We’ve run the dishwasher several times since noticing the problem and there’s been only two small drops of water from the front panel.  I had a repairman come and he wasn’t sure what caused the leak, since it isn’t leaking all the time.

I did a google search though and found that if there’s a crack in the spray arm (either top or bottom), it can cause water to spray directly at the door and leak.  I checked the spray arms and the top one is broken and missing a small piece.

I’m pretty sure I’ve solved the problem.  Now I just need to get the repair guy to order the parts, because I couldn’t find the bottom panel replacement online and it’s ruined from mildew.

3.  Ants

Those infernal, tiny ants are back now that the weather has warmed up.  This is a constant battle.  We’ve found that Terro Liquid Ant Bait works best.

Let the battle begin (again)!

What’s working (or not working) in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen – Online Grocery Shopping

3 Things that work in the kitchen

I tried online ordering with Kroger for the first time last week.  And I’m in love!  This is the BEST thing to come to grocery shopping in forever.

Because I loved it so much, all 3 Things are going to be about this spectacular Internet-meets-RealWorld invention.

I do want to say, this is not a sponsored post.  Kroger has no idea who I am.  This is just me sharing with you.  I know some of you don’t have this option available right now, so I apologize for making you envious.  Because you will be envious when you see how easy it is.

1.  Using Weekly Meal Plans with Kroger online ordering.

I use Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans when I shop.  No shock there.  I love using them, because it’s all laid out for me with the grocery list and everything.  It saves me so much time.

The good news is that with online ordering, it’s even easier to use the grocery list.  I went item by item, skipping things I already had on hand.  The Kroger site made it so easy to search and add items to my cart.  I was done with my order in about 15-20 minutes.  I kept my EaH grocery list in one tab and the Kroger site in the next tab, moving back and forth between them.  So easy!

online shopp

clicklist

The price says $0.00 up there, but that’s because I pulled up a history of my account for the screen shot.  More on how much it did cost below.

2.  Store Pick Up.

When you place your online order, you also select a pickup time.  The earliest available for me was the next day.  You choose a one-hour window of time for the pickup.  Then it’s just a matter of driving to the store, parking in the designated spaces and waiting for them to load your groceries in the car.

Where was this when my kids were little?!?  Of course, if I could have shopped this way, I wouldn’t have that memory of my kids knocking over a large display of ice cream cones.  Or the time my daughter dropped a large yogurt in the floor, breaking the plastic container and splattering yogurt everywhere.  Good times.

Another great thing about getting groceries this way is that you touch them twice – once to carry the bags in the house and once to put the items away in the kitchen.  Regular grocery shopping means you touch items 6 times.  Obviously, it’s much easier to do 2-touch shopping vs 6-touch shopping.

pantry front

3.  Cost

I’m not sure I can give an honest review of this yet.  I had been to the grocery about four days prior to my online order, but I’d been feeling very sick and hadn’t bought nearly what we needed.  However, I didn’t need a full, normal week of groceries when I did the online order.  I did buy some meat – frozen chicken tenders, fresh bone-in chicken breasts, Italian sausage and boneless pork chops.  I bought produce, pasta, beans, juices etc…

My order was about $60.  It seemed very reasonable for everything I got.  The sale prices come up online, so you can see what’s a good deal that week.  You can even search by sale items.

I will definitely be trying this again!

Do you have online ordering or grocery delivery where you live?  Have you ever tried it or do you think you’d like to?

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