‘Sweet Heat’ Slow Cooker Chex Mix

This recipe from Kim looks amazing! This is the kind of thing my family would devour at the beach!

I love a Chex Mix for several reasons…I can make a huge batch at once, there are tons of different flavor variations, it’s great to have on hand for hungry kids that are constantly in and out of the kitchen, and it’s super easy to throw in a ziploc bag and carry with you on long car trips or to the beach. However, we’ve been experiencing quite the heat wave this week, so turning on my oven, and opening it every so often to stir up a batch of chex mix was not appealing to me.

Crock Pot Chex Mix EAH

Crock-Pot to the rescue!! Yes, the slow cooker comes in handy all year long! I couldn’t quite decide which direction I wanted to go with this mix…did I want sweet? Did I want spicy? I kind of wanted both, so that’s what I did. A sweet and salty combo with just a little bit of heat. You could easily increase the heat on this, but I knew my kids wouldn’t go for it, so I kept it mild. It actually sneaks up on you – the first few bites taste sweet and salty, and then you get a little kick from the cayenne.

Sweet Heat Chex Mix EAH

And yes, those are little Minion cheese crackers. According to my 7 year old, the Minions taste better than the traditional square crackers! As with almost all chex mixes, you can add whatever you like or have on hand.

'Sweet Heat' Slow Cooker Chex Mix
A sweet and salty combination with just a little heat, that comes together easily in your slow cooker.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of each:
  • Corn Chex cereal
  • Rice Chex cereal
  • Wheat Chex cereal
  • Cheerios cereal
  • Pretzels
  • Cheese Crackers
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 bag Pretzel M&M's (or candy of choice)
Instructions
  1. Place all of the cereals, pretzels and crackers into slow cooker.
  2. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter.
  3. Add brown sugar, Worcestershire, seasoning salt, cinnamon and cayenne to butter. Mix well.
  4. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir to coat.
  5. Cover with lid and set slow cooker on low for 2½-3 hours, stirring every 30 mins. (Make sure to stir down to the bottom to make sure it doesn't burn)
  6. NOTE: to prevent condensation from dripping onto cereal, you can place a clean dishcloth between the lid and slowcooker base.
  7. Once done, spread out on wax paper to cool.
  8. Add M&M's and store in air tight container.

Just beware…it’s hard to stay out of!

Kim M. is a contributing writer for Eat at Home, as well as the mom behind the mayhem at Makin’ it Mo’Betta. There you will find kid-friendly recipes, quick and easy meals, and many more desserts!

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Italian Sausage Sub Casserole

I love this recipe that Eat at Home writer, Kim brings us today!

I love Italian sausage, and use it in the place of, or in addition to, ground beef in many recipes. I also really like Italian sausage subs. You can usually substitute it in the place of meatballs on a meatball sub or chicken in a chicken parm sub. I can not tell you how many of these I ate during my first pregnancy! Maybe that’s why my oldest loves sausage. This recipe is basically a sub sandwich in casserole form, and comes together quickly and easily.

Sub Casserole Ingredients EAHI used a cheese bread loaf purchased from my grocery store’s deli, but any good thick bread will work. You can’t have too much cheese in my house! I also used turkey Italian sausage, reduced fat cream cheese and light mayo to cut the calories a little. You can use your favorites. Speaking of favorites, the sauce pictured – Newman’s Own Sockarooni, I highly recommend it!

Sub Casserole Collage EAH

I usually cut this recipe in half, so pictured is an 8 x 8. The recipe below is for a 9 x 13 casserole dish. You could also add peppers and onions, but I have to pass on that to get my kids to eat it. I even have to puree my sauce so there are no chunks! Any one else have super picky eaters?

Italian Sausage Sub Casserole EAH

Italian Sausage Sub Casserole
All the flavors of an Italian Sausage sub sandwich, in casserole form!
Ingredients
  • 1 package Italian Sausage links (4-5 links)
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread
  • Olive oil, for coating bread
  • garlic powder, optional
  • 1 (8 ounce) brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook Italian sausage links according to package directions. Cut into 1 inch chunks.
  3. While sausage is cooking, slice bread into 1½ inch slices. Spray or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Broil until lightly toasted on each side.
  4. Place toasted bread in a single layer in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, Italian seasoning and pepper.
  6. Spread cream cheese mixture over bread, and top with ½ the cheese.
  7. Place Italian sausage over cheese.
  8. Pour spaghetti sauce and water over the sausage and top with remaining cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.

I do love a casserole, and this one is a keeper!

Kim M. is a contributing writer for Eat at Home, as well as the mom behind the mayhem at Makin’ it Mo’Betta. There you will find kid-friendly recipes, quick and easy meals, and lots of desserts!

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6 Meals in 10 minutes each – Slow Cooker Freezer Plans SALE!

You want to enjoy summer, so why not keep the cooking easy and your kitchen cool too!  Stop guessing about what’s for dinner and pull out a slow cooker freezer meal instead!  If you can spare 1 hour, you can have a freezer stocked with 6 meals ready to go for your busy summer days.

We’ve even got summer plans so you don’t have to eat soup or stew in July!  Load the slow cooker and spend your day having fun with your family.  Then come home to a great meal that required almost no effort on your part.

We’re having a quick sale this week on this great resource.  Get it for just $7.97!

That’s $4 off the regular price of $11.97.

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These meals are my “busy day emergency stash”.  They keep us out of the drive-thru lane, but require minimal effort to get dinner on the table.

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Use the code: SUMMER at checkout

 

We’ve put together all of the Slow Cooker Freezer Meal plans from the last year into one big printable.  Now you can get dinner organized and ready in just 1 hour for a whole week’s worth of meals.  That’s about 10 minutes per meal!

You get 12 plans, each with:

  • 6 dinners designed to be assembled and frozen to be cooked later in the slow cooker
  • Side dish suggestions
  • Color-coded grocery lists
  • Printable recipes
  • Instructions on assembling all of the meals

slow cooker plans summer sale banner

 

Use the code: SUMMER at checkout

Add to cart

This is a quick sale and only lasts through Thursday July 2 at midnight Pacific.

All of the members to Weekly Meal Plans get one of these Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plans each month as part of their membership.  It’s a popular benefit of being a member!

Here’s an example of a few months of menus.  Grocery lists, assembly instructions and printable recipes are included in the ebook.

  1. French Dip Sandwiches, Fries, Carrot + Celery Sticks
  2. Mediterranean Chicken, Pasta, Salad, Garlic Biscuit Bites
  3. Easy Crockpot Beef Fajitas, Corn, Chips + Salsa
  4. Teriyaki Pork Chops with Red Pepper and Pineapple Rice, Peas
  5. Chicken Shwarma Ranch Veggie Salad, Chips
  6. Italian Parmesan Herb Chicken and Potatoes Tomato and Artichoke Heart Salad
  1. Maple Apple Chicken, Roasted Broccoli and Red Pepper, Pretzel Rolls
  2. Slow Cooker BBQ Peach Pulled Pork, Sweet Potato Fries, Carrot and celery sticks
  3. Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Rice, Peas, Egg Rolls
  4. Chicken Tacos, Summer Corn Salad, Chips and Salsa
  5. Easy Pepper Steak, Pasta, Salad
  6. Chicken Philly Sandwiches, Quick Cole Slaw, Fries

Use the code: SUMMER at checkout

Add to cart

 

 

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Cherry Chocolate Clusters — 30 Days of Whole Food Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

I’ll admit. This is not entirely  whole food friendly. But I can’t resist the dried fruit and nuts with chocolate!

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These chocolate cups look beyond incredible. Chocolate and cherries are one of my favorite combinations. I love the sweetness of chocolate, and the chewy tartness of the cherries together. Add in some of those delicious, toasted almonds and it gives it a wonderful salty crunchiness. It’s pretty much the perfect dessert on the go.

 

The one benefit of melting these candies in the slow cooker is you don’t have to worry about sitting over it and stirring it constantly. If you are careful to check that it’s staying on a low temperature, it will melt the chocolate gently and perfectly and make scooping up these into their cups easy and and worth it.

Click here to get this recipe and instructions.

30 Days of Whole Food and Garden Fresh Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

Looking for easy, healthy meals you can make in your slow cooker? We’re sharing 30 Summer Slow Cooker Recipes that use Whole Foods and garden fresh produce this month! Click here to find all the recipes in the series.  Would you like a menu of slow cooker meals, along with a color-coded grocery list all done for you?  Find your perfect Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plan here.

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If you’ve ever wanted to improve your food photos (or any photos)

How to Improve your photos

I’ve been blogging for nearly seven years now.  I’m still not a great photographer, but I’ve come a long way.

(Most of this post focuses on food photography, but these basics are applicable to photographing any subject.)

Here’s one of the very first photos I took for the blog.  The recipe is still one of our favorites (I really need to shoot a new photo!).  The original photo probably wouldn’t convince you to try it.

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Now here’s a photo that I took more recently.  The recipe is based on the slow cooker version in the photo above, but it looks much more appetizing in this photo:

15 Minute Chicken Fiesta Skillet

 

I know others can take better photos.  But I try not to compare myself to others.

I want to see growth when I compare myself to myself – old work to new work.

Here are a few things I’ve done to improve my photography over the years:

1.  I learned to use my camera on manual mode.

After attempting to read the manual and learn on my own, I finally took a class to learn to use my Nikon D40 on manual mode.  The teacher got me up to speed quickly.  Much, much quicker than if I’d tried to do it on my own.

2.  I learned about lighting.

Good photographers are always chasing daylight.  In the beginning, I never did that.  I just shot the picture where I happened to be standing, usually at the kitchen counter under artificial light.

tripod photo

 

(photo above taken with iPhone and edited with PicTapGo)

Now I’ve learned a few tricks:

* I move the food near a window.  I’ve learned which places in my house have the best light.

* I use white foam core boards to bounce light on the subject.

* I use a tripod to keep the camera steady while shooting in lower light.

* I use special photography lights when I have to shoot in the winter.  There’s just no way for me to get enough light in the house during the darkest months of the year.

There are other things I’ve learned over the years, of course, but these are the things that have had the biggest impact on my photography.

I’d like to say that I never take a truly bad photo anymore, but that’s not the case.  I’m still learning.

In fact, I just took advantage of the chance to buy the Ultimate Photography Bundle.  It’s packed with 13 eBooks and 5 eCourses.  That will keep me learning for a long time!

I started with iPhone Only Photography, because that’s the camera I have with me most often.  I’ve already learned a few things that I didn’t know about the iPhone camera, in spite of the fact that I’ve been using an iPhone for years now.

(updated for iOS 8) iPhone Only Photography will teach you the three MOST IMPORTANT lessons to get UHHHMAAZZZZING photos every time with your iPhone: 1. How to take manual control of your iPhone camera. 2. How to create strong composition.  3. How to edit to recreate the feelings you felt when you took the photo.  Also you’ll get specialized teaching and tutorials for portraits, food photography, night shooting, landscapes, concert photography, and panoramas.

(updated for iOS 8) iPhone Only Photography will teach you the three MOST IMPORTANT lessons to get UHHHMAAZZZZING photos every time with your iPhone:
1. How to take manual control of your iPhone camera.
2. How to create strong composition.
3. How to edit to recreate the feelings you felt when you took the photo.
Also you’ll get specialized teaching and tutorials for portraits, food photography, night shooting, landscapes, concert photography, and panoramas.

I’m also looking forward to diving into Eat Pretty Things and Tasty Food Photography, so I can gather tips I can use here on the blog.

EatPrettyThings

Tasty Food Photography February 10 2015

And The Unexpected Everyday eBook looks great for capturing images of my family’s everyday life.
TheUnexpectedEveryday

The Photography Master Class: Your Complete Guide to Photography eCourse sounds like it will cover it all, and in a video format too.

This is an amazing deal at just $37.  The bundle is only available for a week, June 22-29.  The Photography Master Class alone is worth $199.

I’m excited to improve not just my food photos, but also photos of my family too.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

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Weekend Links – Fun things to read and listen to

It’s been forever since I’ve shared a weekend links post with you. The end of the school year is always a little crazy and these posts went on the back burner for a while. Now school is over and we’ve been to the beach for vacation and I’m feeling refreshed!

Here are some things that have caught my attention lately:

Happy Listening

PodcastHappierLogo

I’m back to taking morning walks.  I always listen to a podcast while I walk and my current favorite is Happier.   It’s a fun listen with lots of interesting info that can be applied to make your life happier.

Fun Reading

I’ve also started reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Better than Before.  Her insights into personal tendencies and how those affect our habit making and breaking are really useful.

summer-reading-guide-cover

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s latest Summer Reading Guide came out a few weeks ago.  I’ve got several of her picks on my reading list, but I hit the beach with Love Walked In.  It’s got lots of old movie references, which was fun.    The story was breezy, but still had substance.

Better Photos

Speaking of the beach, I didn’t take one, single photo.  These days, most of my photos (other than food photos) are taken with my phone.  For vacation, I just wanted to put my phone down and not be tempted to check email or Facebook or blog stuff.  It made me wish I had a small point and shoot camera, because I now regret that I have no photos of our time together.

I love this free resource for learning to take great family photos.  It will help you capture everyday moments and special times with your family.  A lot of taking great photos is just being mindful of picking up the camera and learning to really see and notice the moments happening around you.  Guides like this one help us do that.

Good Watching

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My youngest daughter and I blew through the first season of When Calls the Heart.  We’re anxiously waiting the second season to be added to Netflix.

510H87W38RLOne of my very favorite movies is on Netflix right now.  Of course, I had to watch it again.  The book is better, but the movie is fantastic too.

Just for Fun

My parents shared this video with me a few weeks ago.  It’s a fun watch and it introduced me to some new music too.  Dustbowl Revival is now a station on my iTunes radio.  Good stuff!

I hope you’re enjoying summer!  What fun reads, watches and listens have you been enjoying?

This post contains affiliate links.

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22 Ways to Expand your Easter Menu

easter

I love Easter. Spring has finally arrived, and it’s a special day I get to celebrate with family–and good food of course! Easter dinner is so special for us, and I love having a table filled with a feast of good food! But sometimes planning an Easter Menu can feel complicated. Or sometimes I just want a fresh twist on the classic Easter Dinner ingredients to change things up a bit.

If you are looking for some ways to change up the usual Easter fare a little, or just need some good ideas to expand and round out your Easter Menu, I’ve got 22 easy recipes that are the perfect addition to any Easter Meal. From some main course ideas, to sides and some desserts, hopefully these recipes will give you some new inspiration as you plan your Easter Meals this year. And because you know I’m all about easy cooking, none of these recipes are super complicated or overly time consuming. But they are all delicious! Plus, if you end up with too much left over ham on Monday, two of the ham dishes are perfect for turning leftovers into some great dinners.   [Read more…]

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Eat at Home Reader Survey and $100 Amazon Card Giveaway

Reader Survey

I’ve been sharing recipes with you here on Eat at Home for over 6 years.  It’s important to me that the recipes and cooking tips and other blog posts you read here meet your needs.

To make sure that we’re delivering what you want, I do a couple of things.  I read every comment that gets left on the blog.  I read (and try to respond) to every email that I get.  I pay attention to the conversation that takes place on the Facebook page.  All of that gives me a better idea of what you find helpful.

Reader surveys are another way for me to get to know you and your needs better.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to fill out the survey today.  As a thank you there’s a chance at a $100 Amazon card in it for you.  The survey is only 12 questions and should take just 5-10 minutes to complete.

We’ll be back to recipes tomorrow and I’ve got some great recipes to share this week – Easter recipes, a new Ham and Asparagus Quiche recipe, Pineapple Dump Cake and a quick, easy, and healthy side dish idea!

Here’s the link to the survey.  A BIG thank you for helping me out!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EatAtHomeReader2015

Giveaway will be one $100 Amazon card.  Winner will be chosen by random from the competed surveys and notified by email.

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A menu and shopping list for your wardrobe?

Have you ever heard the term “decision fatigue”? It’s a phrase used to describe the condition of a person after they’ve made a long series of decisions. After a whole day of deciding large and small things, we get tired. Our decisions become poorer. This is why we’re more likely to eat a whole bag of chips or a big bowl of ice cream in the evening, even when we’ve determined we’re going to eat healthy foods.

It also explains why we run through the drive thru instead of heading home to face what may or may not be in the pantry. Before we can cook, we have to decide what to make and often that’s one decision too many at the end of a long day.

I don’t like to shop, partly because of decision fatigue. Shopping involves too many decisions. Whether it’s for groceries or clothes, I just don’t care for it. Of course, it still needs to be done!

There are two ways to reduce decision fatigue in the area of shopping for clothes or food.  One is to eat and wear the same things.  Adopting a uniform or a rotating menu saves time and energy.

But sometimes you want to break out of the spaghetti, tacos, chicken casserole rut.  Both menus and wardrobes can use refreshing now and then.

I have learned that having meals all planned out and printing a grocery list ahead of time makes the whole process better. The shopping goes quicker. The decisions of what to fix at the end of a long day is taken care of. (For years I menu planned for my family so we could enjoy the benefits of it. Now I do it for you too.)

eah weekly meal plans 3

 

Like having a menu and grocery list – for your wardrobe!

I’m excited to tell you about a service I stumbled on last year. Through the rabbit trails of the internet, I found the website, Get Your Pretty On. My timing was great because Alison was just starting her very first Spring Fashion Challenge. I signed up and have since done her challenges for every season of the year, plus her Basic Wardrobe Challenge and the Men’s Challenge (great for having a list to shop for my husband).

Just like the Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans has everything planned out so you can hit the store knowing exactly what you need, Alison gives you a printable shopping list for seasonal clothing.

And just like Weekly Meal Plans gives you main dishes and sides to go with them for each day, Alison gives you outfit ideas combining the items on her shopping list.

You end up with 21 days of outfits. I save the outfit ideas to my Evernote and refer back to them all the time. In fact, our weather warmed up last week and I pulled out the ideas from last year’s Spring challenge to wear again.

Registration for this year’s Spring Style Challenge opens today.  Early bird registration (with its lower price of $29 ends on April 2).  Click here to register.

Why is it important to reduce decision fatigue?

Using a pre-planned service for clothes shopping or grocery shopping frees up valuable energy. That means more mind power to focus on helping one of my kids work through an issue. Or having the energy to plan family time together. Or even just to be fully present at the dinner table.

And it’s fun to get new ideas and try things I might not track down on my own.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I only share things with you that I truly love and that I think you will too.

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It’s Virtual Freezer Cooking Day!

Virtual Freezer Cooking Party

 

Pop in and visit us while you get some freezer cooking done.  We’ll be chatting on the Facebook event page all day today.

Even if you aren’t cooking today, feel free to pop in and gather recipe ideas.

And if you are cooking, we’d love to hear what you’re working on!

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