6 Ways to Make Slow Cooker Oatmeal

6 Ways to Make Slow Cooker Oatmeal

 

I’ve been doing lots of experimenting lately with slow cooker oatmeal flavors.

Some have been a huge hit.  And others weren’t blog-worthy at all.

I tried blueberry oatmeal cooked in blueberry-pomegranate juice, which turned out tasting like grape oatmeal.  Not good.

And I tried maple brown sugar, which sounded so good, but was just okay.

However, these 6 recipes are all fantastic!  I tend to like things sweet, so if your sweet tooth isn’t as big feel free to cut the sugar.

I’ve also got two tips on using your slow cooker for oatmeal, so keep scrolling after the recipes.   [Read more...]

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How to Keep Apple Slices from Turning Brown for Several Days

How to Keep Apple Slices from Turning Brown

 

Have you ever wanted to serve apple slices at a party?  Or pack them in a lunch?

The problem is that, once they’re cut apples start to turn brown.  But I’ve figured out a simple, two step method to keeping them looking fresh.  I’ve tested this method several times.  The first time, I checked the apples for several days after cutting.  They stayed looking fresh the whole time.  This time, I tested them for 24 hours.  Again, the method worked perfectly.

Keep Apple Slices from Turning Brown for over 24 hours with this two step method

 

The first step involves slicing the apples and letting them soak for 2-3 minutes in Sprite.  I pour the Sprite in a bowl, add the apples and then stir so that all surfaces of the apples are in contact with the Sprite.

I’ve used lemon juice to dip apples, but it does alter the taste a bit.  And I’ve never soaked the apples in lemon juice, just a quick dip, so the anti-browning action isn’t as good.

I’ve also heard of people using salt water to deter browning in apples.  But again, that would alter the taste of the apples.

Sprite works great though.  It doesn’t change the taste of the fruit noticeably at all.  And that means the apples can take a 2-3 minute soak, which really helps deter the browning for longer.

How to keep apples fresh

 

The second step of the method is to drain the apples and put them in zip top plastic bags.  Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags.  Then store the slices in the fridge.

I’ve held the apples in the fridge for several days with no browning happening.  This is good if you need to do some party prep ahead of time.  Slicing apples isn’t hard, but it can be time consuming if you have a lot to do.  It’s nice to know you can do it ahead and still have fresh looking apples.

I also tested the apples after coming out of the fridge and sitting on a plate at room temperature.  Here’s what they looked like immediately after I put them out.

keepapplesfresh

 

You can see I tested 3 different varieties.  The Fuji was naturally darker than Ida Red and Jonathan, but all of them still looked fresh 24 hours after the Sprite bath.

And here they are 30 minutes later:

keepapplesfresh30min

 

No noticeable change.  I’ve also tested the slices for several hours on the counter and there wasn’t any browning that I noticed.

So, if you want fresh slices to pack in a lunch or serve at a party, grab some Sprite and zip top bags.  Don’t forget the caramel sauce for dipping!

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How to Keep Guacamole from Turning Brown

You know how you have to eat all the guacamole as soon as you make it so it doesn’t go brown?

Of course, we tend to eat all the guacamole anyway, because we love it.

But if you’re fortunate enough to have some leftover, or you want to make it a little bit ahead of feasting time, here’s a great tip for you.

How to Keep Guacamole from Turning Brown

How to Keep Guacamole from turning brown

 

The main reason the guac turns brown is because of the contact with air.  So you need to try to keep any air from getting to it.  I have heard of people brushing the guacamole with oil, but I like this method better.

Put the guac in an air tight container.  Smooth the top with a spoon as best you can.  Then place a piece of plastic wrap over the top.  Be careful to get it covered snuggly, so there are as few air pockets as possible.  Then pop the lid on the container and refrigerate.

The container in the photo above is over 24 hours old.  It still looked and tasted fresh.

If you’re looking for a recipe for Homemade Guacamole, here you go.  The photo isn’t great, but the recipe is!

Happy snacking!

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How to Make 7+ Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in 1 Hour

A couple of weeks ago, I made over 7 slow cooker freezer meals in 1 hour.  It was easy to do and I have loved having those meals ready to go!

We’ve used several of them and they’re super convenient.

How to Make 7+ Freezer Meals in 1 Hour

Today, I’m going to get all brave and share the video I made on my cooking day.  This is the first video I’ve ever done for my blog.  For someone who can’t even stand looking at pictures of herself, putting a video out there is pretty intimidating.

I wanted to share it though, because I thought it would be helpful for others who want to do some freezer cooking in a limited amount of time.  I’ve also got some tips to share with you.

Weekly Meal Plans – All Slow Cooker Plan with Freezer Meals!

If you love having the planning done for you, check out our Weekly Meal Plans.  You’ll get menus, grocery lists and printable recipes for both Traditional and All Slow Cooker plans.  Each month of Weekly Meal Plans has one week of Slow Cooker Freezer Meals that can be assembled in about an hour!

Eat at Home Cooks Weekly Meal Plans

Tips for Making Slow Cooker Freezer Meals Quickly

1.  Choose easy recipes.

This may go without saying, but if you’re trying to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time, you need to keep it simple.  Choose recipes that don’t require a lot of chopping or pre-cooking.  You want “assembly only” type recipes.

2.  Don’t measure what you don’t have to measure.

Many times, you can just eye-ball the measurements for ingredients.  Look for recipes that will be forgiving of variances.  It’s much faster to pour approximately 1/2 cup of an ingredient in than to measure it and then pour.

3.  Do all your chopping at once.

Count the number of onions, garlic and other items that you’ll need to chop.  Cut them all at one time and set aside.

4.  Group ingredients for each recipe together.

As you open cans, chop onions or set out spices, group the ingredients for each recipe.  And don’t forget to keep your printed recipe handy so you can refer to it.

Video

Now for the video.  I hope you find it helpful!

These are the recipes I made for the September video:

And the video for October:

October recipes:

November recipes:

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Dinner Solutions for the Crazy Season

I’ve been in a season of “crazy” the last few weeks. I’m expecting at least another week of it. There’s something about the start of school that is the busiest, most insane season of the whole year for me. I shared that sentiment on Facebook yesterday and many of you agreed.

drive play feed

To add to all the back-to-school stuff, the hard drive on my computer crashed the other day. I didn’t expect that out of a 9 month old Mac. The good news is they got it fixed quickly and it was under warranty. The bad news is that I did lose a few documents, photos and such. And the whole event put another snag in Crazy Season.

So I thought I’d share a series that I wrote a few years ago. Each post in the series focuses on getting dinner during sports season. But it doesn’t have to be sports that have caused Crazy Season in your house. No matter what you’ve got going on, I think you’ll find some good dinner solutions in these posts.

Rock the Slow Cooker

Pack It!

Grocery Store Meals

15 Minute Meals

If you’re in Crazy Season too, hang in there!  It can’t last forever, right?

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Watermelon Cutting for People Who Hate Cutting Watermelon

Watermelon cutting for people who hate cutting watermelon

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve confessed before that I’m very lazy in the kitchen.  If it can be done easier, I’m all for it.

This is my tip for cutting watermelon in a hurry.  You can have an entire melon ready to serve in about 5 minutes with this trick.

Just cut the melon in half.  Then use an ice cream scoop or even a large, metal spoon to scoop out melon balls.  Actually, they won’t be perfect balls.  So if you’re needing a melon that looks fantastically beautiful, this isn’t the method to use.  I can’t even help you with that method, because I don’t often worry about beautiful food.

But if you just need your watermelon cut up so a bunch of hungry kids can dig in, this is your method!  Give it a try!

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3 Ingredient Main Dish Recipes – aka Super Simple Suppers

13 main dish recipes with 3 ingredients

 

I love keeping things simple.  Especially, when it comes to dinner prep.  One way to streamline things, is to use few ingredients.  It’s not always possible, but there are many main dish recipes that can be made with just 3 ingredients.  (I’ll be sharing 4 and 5 ingredient recipes soon too.)

For these, I didn’t count salt and pepper as ingredients.  That was too nit-picky.  I also counted the rice in the first recipe as a side, not an ingredient for the dish.  Call me a cheater if you want.

slow cooker teriyaki beef with pineapple

Slow Cooker Beef Teriyaki with Pineapple

BBQ Ham Steak on the Grill – Really any kind of meat you put on the grill could count as a 3 ingredient or less main dish, as long as you keep the rub or sauce simple.

Chicken Tacos

Honey Mustard Chicken in the Crockpot

Honey Mustard Grilled Pork Chops

Pesto and Crushed Tomato Shells

Pesto Tomato Ravioli

Slow Cooker BBQ Peach Pulled Pork

Tangy Sweet Pork Chops in the Slow Cooker

Teriyaki BBQ Chicken Legs in the Slow Cooker

toasted apple and brie sandwiches on cinnamon bread done

 

Toasted Apple and Brie Sandwiches on Cinnamon Swirl Bread - most any type of grilled cheese sandwich would count for a 3 ingredient meal.

Tony’s Tilapia

Potato Soup

 

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5 Graduation Party Menu Ideas

5 Graduation Party Menus

It’s that time of year! Graduation season is right around the corner.  I’ve got a son graduating from high school this year.  I’ve been working to come up with a menu for his party.  In the process, I’ve got 5 different menus to share with you.  I hope these ideas will help you plan your celebrations.

Read to the bottom for all the dessert ideas!  I wanted to add them separately, instead of one for each menu.

Easy and Casual BBQ Feast

bbq-pork-sandwich

BBQ Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

potatosaladdone_thumb

 

Potato Salad

bakedbeansdone_thumb

Homemade Baked Beans in the Slow Cooker

asian broccoli salad done

 

Asian Broccoli Salad

This is the menu I am most likely going to use for my son’s party.  It’s easy.  The pork can be made ahead of time and frozen, then heated in the crockpot.  The baked beans cook in the crockpot and are easy to put together.  The only thing that will have to be done the day of the party is toss the dressing on the Asian Broccoli Salad.

To this, I’ll add desserts and probably potato chips.  I may also add cut fruit.

Nice Family Dinner   [Read more...]

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Easy Meals for After Church

What do you do for dinner after church?

We usually come home to eat, but everyone is always starving.  If I don’t get some food on the table quick, their bellies aren’t the only things grumbling.

There are lots of options for quick meals after church.  Here are a few tips on choosing your menu items.   [Read more...]

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10 Ways to Cook Ground Beef – No Recipe Required

It’s been a while since I’ve added a post to this series.  In the past, we’ve covered:

Sometimes, you just don’t feel like dragging out a cookbook or even looking something up on the computer.  For those days, try one of these easy ideas.

I love to have ground beef browned out and stored in the freezer.  It makes it really easy to pull together a meal.  If you’d like to cook it in bulk, try using your crockpot to cook ground beef.

1. Hamburgers

There are a million ways to top a burger.  And you can choose to cook them on the outdoor grill, a George Foreman type grill or in a skillet.  Easy and classic.

2.  Tacos

Season the cooked ground beef with your favorite homemade or store-bought seasoning.  Stuff in your favorite shells.  Top with your favorite toppings.  Chances are, this meal is a staple in your house.

3.  Add to Spaghetti Sauce

This is a quick way to beef up your favorite spaghetti sauce.

4.  Meatloaf

Another classic with a million ways to fix it.  Try this method:

  • 1 egg per pound of meat
  • 1/2 cup tomato product (ketchup, BBQ sauce, chili sauce etc) per pound
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs per pound
  • onions (and peppers and/or celery if you want), diced
  • salt and pepper

5.  BBQ Sandwiches

Stir your favorite barbecue sauce into a pound of cooked ground beef.  Serve it on buns.

6.  Quesadillas

Add cheese, tomatoes, salsa etc.  Fill soft tortillas and toast in a skillet.

7.  Gravy Topped Potatoes

Add a jar of beef gravy to one pound of browned hamburger.  Top baked potatoes for a hearty meal.

8.  Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes

Add your favorite grated cheese or Velveeta to a pound of cooked hamburger.  Top baked potatoes.  Add diced tomatoes and bacon bits too.

9.  Top a Pizza

I usually think of pepperoni or sausage for topping pizza, but ground beef is tasty too.

10.  Poor Man’s Steak

Add 1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs, salt and pepper to a pound of raw hamburger.  Pat into patties and fry in skillet.  Pour 1 can cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1/3 can of water over the patties.  Heat and serve.

What’s your favorite way to use ground beef?

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