Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Julie's Chicken ***

I've made this at least a zillion times now, and it's always a winner.  I keep trying to change it up each time, to make it work even better for us.  Last time, I used shredded zucchini in it, which we loved.  This time, I was out of zucchini, so I used about half a bag of the coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots).  Couldn't tell at all after it all cooked down, and my kids ate every bite.  :)  I always, always, always make this in the crockpot.  I have actually never even attempted it in any other way.  That just works for us.  I double the sauce and throw everything in the crock for about 5 hours.  Today, I had forgotten to thaw out my chicken, so I threw them in frozen and just cooked it an extra hour.  It was actually even better than usual!  Starting the chicken from frozen kept it even more moist.  After it's done cooking, I add about 6 cups of cooked rice and shred the chicken.  I kid you not when I say that my 7-year-old (who has been complaining about nearly all meals lately) actually licked his bowl!  It was awesome!

(heath ~ BabyCenter)

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 sm. bottle of Wishbone Russian Salad dressing (must be that brand of dressing)
1 jar apricot preserves

Heat oven to 425*.
Place chicken in baking dish.
In a med. bowl, mix together dry soup mix; salad dressing and preserves.
Pour over chicken and bake for 40 minutes.
* Amy’s notes: I double the sauce mixture, use 1 package of thawed (or frozen) b/s chicken breasts, add about 1-1/2 cups of shredded zucchini or cabbage, and cook in the crockpot for 5-6 hours (add an extra hour if breasts are frozen). I then shred the chicken, cook 3 cups of rice (6 servings), and mix it all together.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal **

I really enjoyed this one.  I loved waking up and having breakfast ready for the kids.  That in itself was wonderful.  I liked the flavor too, though.  One of the kids liked it, and the other didn't, so I guess I'll just be making it for myself in the future.  I may try some other flavors to see if I can persuade him.  We'll see.  I didn't have apples or raisins, so I just used Craisins.  I don't like raisins anyway, so that was no big loss for me.  I did stir some milk into each bowl when I served it, since it became pretty thick.  I have a larger crockpot, so I only cooked mine for about 6 hours. I think I'll leave the nutmeg out next time, since it just didn't seem to "fit" with the flavors.  Of course, I'm not a big nutmeg fan anyway, so others may think it's fine.  Either way, this was a yummy, easy breakfast for a cold morning.  Can't beat that!
Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

2 cups rolled oats
4 cups water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 apple, diced
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray.
Combine all ingredients, cover and cook on low setting overnight (around 8 hours).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beefy Pizza Ramen Skillet ****

Dh and I had this when I very first started cooking - back before I started rating my recipes.  I saved it in a file on the computer and forgot all about it.  I pulled it back out to give it another try, and I am so glad I did! We all loved this.  The kids both ate every bite and oohed and ahhed the entire time.  This is such a keeper in my book.  It's so simple and good.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 (3-oz) packages beef-flavor ramen noodle soup mix
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef)
24-30 slices pepperoni (1 to 1-1/4 inches in diameter)
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
1-1/2 cups water
1 small green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Break blocks of noodles in half (reserve seasoning packets) and set aside. In large skillet, cook beef and pepperoni over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain.
Stir tomatoes, water and seasoning packets into beef mixture. Heat to boiling. Stir in noodles and bell pepper. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender and water has evaporated.
Sprinkle cheese on noodle mixture in ring around edge of skillet. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatball Skillet ***

This was really good.  I didn't notice until I started cooking tonight that this only serves 4.  I normally like stuff to serve 6, so that I have enough to send with dh for lunch the next day.  I added an extra cup and a half of water and an extra cup of white rice.  I also used the entire 2-lb bag of meatballs.  I added an extra handful or so of green beans too.  We all enjoyed it, though.  Of course, the kids would eat just about anything if it had meatballs in it, lol.


1 pkg garlic rice and vermicelli mix
1-1/2 cups water
1 lb frozen fully cooked meatballs or Easy Meatballs, cooked
2 cups frozen French cut green beans
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the mix according to package instructions, adding 1/2 cup more water and adding the meatballs along with the water and seasoning packet. Five minutes before the rice is done, stir in the green beans. Cook until rice and pasta are tender. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kale Chips ***

I couldn't find any kale at the store, but I really wanted to try these.  The kids and I are crazy about spinach, and since the OP mentioned in her review that spinach can be a good substitute, that's the route I went.  We all adored them!  I made them Saturday morning, and my five-year-old kept going back and sneaking bites all day long.  I did them with just salt at first, and I put way too much.  It just takes a pinch.  The second time, I just did olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan.  I didn't have fresh, so I didn't add any salt to it.  That was definitely our favorite.  The only problem with the spinach, though, is that it stuck to the pain and was really thin once it cooked.  I'm definitely going to have to try the kale, since the crinkles in it would help hold it off the pan and keep its shape more.  Either way, this sucker was a huge winner for us!
Photo of similar recipe courtesy of

(All notes are by OP ~ Submitted by Mindy ~ The Sisters Cafe)

1 bunch of Kale (about 6 ounces)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil*
Sea salt to taste***

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees**. Rinse and dry the kale. It is very important to get the kale totally dry - use a salad spinner or quickly wipe down each of the leaves with a paper towel after washing. Cut or tear the leaves off the tough center rib. Toss leaves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. (I also tried doing this in a large zip lock bag, which actually worked really well. You can rub the oil onto pretty much all the leaves very easily this way. But tossing in a bowl works fine, too.) Arrange leaves on a silpat lined cookie sheet (parchment would work, too) in a single layer. Bake for 26 minutes or until leaves are crisp to the touch, but still green.
*I tried using cooking spray (such as Pam), which actually worked pretty well. I like the taste of the oil better on the kale chips, but using cooking spray is definitely a good option if you are watching calories.
**I had the best luck with 275 degrees, but I also tried baking at a couple other temperatures: 300 degrees changed the bake time to about 20 minutes. 375 degrees changed the bake time to about 15 minutes.
***Other variations on seasonings I have used and liked:
Salt and Vinegar:
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Sea salt to taste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons of fresh parmesan

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beer Bread ****

I've been down in my back lately, so I haven't been cooking very much.  Sorry for the lack of posts.  I'm going to try to get back in the swing of things this next week.
We just adore this one.  It's so easy to throw together, but it's really good.  It's a really dense bread, but it tastes yummy with some butter spread on it.  I've been wondering if it would be good with soups.  I need to try that sometime.  As it is, we mainly just make it to eat by the slice, lol.  When looking for a picture on, I just noticed that you can even mix the batter up in the loaf pan, to save on dirty dishes.  Woo hoo! 

Photo courtesy of


3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup sugar
12 ounces beer
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to oven.