Monday, December 22, 2014

Meatball Sub Bubble Up Bake ***

Wow.  This is really good, considering how ridiculously simple it is.  I had a bag of meatballs I needed to use up, and I knew this was something the kids would dig.  It was a favorite all around. The boys and the hubby gobbled it up.  I wasn't feeling well, so I only had a bite or two.  It was great, though.  I will definitely be making it again soon.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ LifeWithTheCrustOff)

1 can Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
1 bag frozen meatballs
1-1/2 to 2 cups spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Cut the uncooked biscuits into 8ths.
Place into greased 9x13 dish.
Cover with sauce, start with 1-1/2 cups, add more if you think it needs a little extra.
Place the meatballs on top of the biscuits.
Sprinkle with the cheese.
Bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes.
Serve to your hungry family!

Crockpot Hot Chocolate ***

I made a big crockpot of this for our annual trip to see the lights.  We always take hot chocolate and popcorn.  It's a tradition for us.  I normally do instant hot chocolate, but I've seen so many crockpot hot chocolates on Pinterest that I just couldn't resist trying one.  This seemed to have the least sugar in it, while still maintaining the sweetness for the chocolate.  I also loved the idea of getting the sweet flavor from sweetened condensed milk.  I just adore that stuff.  I didn't have any marshmallows on hand, but it was good without them.  Next time, though, I think I would use half water and half milk (or possibly all milk), to make it creamier.  That was really the only change I'd make.  It was nothing spectacular by any means, but it hit the spot.  The kids loved it!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ CreatingThroughLife)

1/2 cup dry baking cocoa
12 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Marshmallows, as many as you want

1. In crockpot, combine milk, water, and vanilla.
2. Add dry cocoa and salt; stir until smooth.
3. Cover and cook on high 2 hours or on low for 4 hrs (or until very hot).
4. Top each serving with marshmallows. Can also do whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon
To speed things up, heat the water before adding it to the chocolate mixture.
Add a mocha flavor by stirring in instant coffee in step 2.
Add a cinnamon stick for a delicious twist.
If the edges burn, you might want to cook it at a lower temperature next time. The hot chocolate isn't ruined; you just don't want to hit the sides when stirring and serving so that the little bits won't float in your drink.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Libby's Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling ****

It's still so hard to believe that just a few years ago, I was paying someone else to make our pumpkin rolls at Christmas.  Oh, the money I could have saved if I'd only realized how easy they were to make!  True, they are a little time-intensive, but the simplicitiy more than makes up for that.  Not to mention the little bit of heaven that's in each bite, lol.  I've gotten to where I automatically buy enough to make two rolls when I make one.  It's just a given that we will need two, because the first always goes so quickly.  We normally end up fighting over the last piece.  ;-)
Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

¼ cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.
COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

Previous reviews:
12/27/10 ~ Loved, loved, LOVED this one! Hubby has been begging me to try my hand at a pumpkin roll for years now. He just adores them. I've always kind of shied away from them, since they seemed so complicated. I had no idea how easy they were! I went with the Libby's recipe, since I'd heard good things about it, and I figured it had to be fairly basic. I'll be sticking with this one, though. No need to improve on perfection. :) I used self-rising flour and eliminated the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. I'll keep doing that, since it came out so well and is much simpler. I don't have a wire rack, so I kept it rolled in the towel on the pan and just turned it over every 5-10 minutes or so, until it had cooled. Next time, I will make the filling layer thicker and make the roll looser, to keep the filling from spilling out so much. Other than that, no changes for me!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Ham and Pineapple Sandwiches ***

The kids and I loved these.  Hubby thought they were just okay.  I put them on the King's Hawaiian buns, which I will absolutely do every time.  YUM.  I took the buns and put them face-up under the broiler, with a slice of Swiss on each.  Then I added the ham afterwards.  So, so, so good.  I didn't do the peppers and onions and dried onions like it says, though.  I just used one of the frozen bags of three pepper and onion blends.  That buys you a little more cook time too, so I got away with 4 hours on low easily.  This is definitely a keeper for us.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SixSistersStuff)

2 lbs ham, fully cooked and cut into small pieces
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried minced onion

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Add all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir together. Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or until completely heated through. Serve by scooping sandwich filling on a large hamburger bun (or bun of your choice). Makes about 10-12 sandwiches.
To make these even yummier, I threw some Swiss cheese on top of the ham and put them under the broiler in the oven for a minute or two (until the cheese was nice and melted). It was amazing.

Caesar Tortellini Salad ***

This was actually really good.  Hubby hates avocado as a general rule, but he said that he couldn't taste it at all in here.  Once it's been refrigerated, the flavors all kind of blend together, and the avocado serves more as a means of adding to the creaminess than as a flavor of its own.  I refrigerated it for about 8 hours, but it was even better the next day.  I'll definitely be making it again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TasteofHome)

3-1/2 cups frozen cheese tortellini
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can (3.8 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing
8 thin slices hard salami, cut into 2-inch strips

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine tortellini and remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until serving.
Yield: 5 servings.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon, and Tater Tot Crockpot Bake ***

We just love this one!  I made it for the first time several years ago, but after all the satisfied grins around the table tonight, I figured it deserved another shout out.  It is just so good!  Definitely don't use the salt, though.  Between the little bit of salt on the tater tots and the bacon, it's plenty salty enough.  Anything more would be overkill.  It's amazing how tender the chicken stays.  Dh and I normally are not fans at all of white meat chicken, but it's so tender and flavorful in here.  Plus, it has tater tots.  Add tater tots to just about anything, and I'd be willing to at least try it.  I love me some tater tots!  Lol!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 (32 ounce) bag tater tots
3 oz bacon bits
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups grated colby cheese
1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack pepper cheese
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper

Grease the bottom of the crock pot.
Layer 1/2 the tater tots on the bottom of the pot.
Sprinkle with 1/2 of bacon bits.
Combine the two cheeses, and sprinkle 1/3 of it over the bacon and tots.
Top cheese with the chicken breasts.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
Top chicken with another 1/3 of cheese.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 of the jar of bacon bits.
Add remainder of the tater tots.
Top with final 1/3 of the cheese.
Pour milk over the top.
Set crock pot to high and cook 3-4 hours.
* Amy's notes: I leave out the salt completely and only use 2 cups of shredded Colby-Jack blend cheese.

Previous Reviews:
7/11/11 ~ I took my lunch late today, and I wanted to find something I could throw together quickly that didn't take long to cook. I didn't want anything stovetop, since it's hotter than Hades around here right now. It took ages to cool off the house after I cooked stovetop last night. Ugh. And with my new oven still waiting to be delivered and dh's new grill not quite ready to go, that left the good old crockpot. I found this one on and knew immediately that my family would love it. I made a couple changes. I used the b/s chicken tender strips, so that it wouldn't take forever to cook. I also just used a 2-cup bag of shredded Colby-Jack blend cheese. I really don't see a need for the additional cup of cheese. That was plenty, in my opinion. I left out the salt, since I figured the bacon would give it plenty. I was right. It didn't need any additional salt.  Long story short, it's a winner! Everyone loved it. Dh and I put hot sauce on ours, but the kids had theirs as-is. Next time, I'm either going to cut up the chicken before cooking or used cooked shredded chicken. We're not huge fans of chicken breasts, so I think having it shredded would work better for us. This has inspired me to try my Brat 'N' Tot Casserole as a crockpot dish, though. The tater tots were fully cooked and held up beautifully in the crock.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole ***

It's been a while since I've made this, but it was calling to me, for some reason.  I was afraid the boys wouldn't go for it this time, since they're anti-green peppers at the moment, but they LOVED it.  It helped that my peppers were diced pretty small, so they didn't notice them as much.  I've been down in my back lately, so I'm trying to cut down cooking time as much as possible.  To make it a little easier on me, I came home on my lunch break and threw the 2 lbs of ground turkey (I double the recipe) into the crockpot with a big bag of frozen onion and 3-pepper blend and cooked on high for 4 hours.  Then when I got home, I just had to cook the rice, mix it all together, and throw it in the oven.  LOVED it.  I hate browning ground beef and ground turkey anyway, so that made it even better on me.  It really is a pretty hearty meal, though.  I cooked it for 30 minutes, after which it was fine, but then I got distracted and ended up letting it sit in the oven an extra 10 minutes or so.  The cheese was all crusty on top, and it was so good!  I think I'm going to keep doing it that way.  Now I'm wondering why I took so long to make it again, lol.

(mrsrader86 via Kraft Food and Family Magazine)

1 lb ground beef
2 green peppers, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked long grain white rice
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 cups Italian Five Cheese Blend, divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown meat with peppers and garlic in large skillet, drain. Stir in rice, spaghetti sauce, and 3/4 cup of cheese.
Spoon into 2 qt. casserole; top with remaining cheese.
Bake 25 minutes.
*Amy's notes: I always double and put it in a 9x13.

Previous reviews:
6/7/10 ~ I am in love! I got, "Good, it was great!" from DS1 and "It was so great!" from DS2. Dh had to work late, so he hasn't tried it yet. So far, though, it's a winner with the rest of us! I subbed ground turkey, Fiesta Blend cheese, brown rice, and a garlic pepper spice blend (for the garlic cloves). All substitutions were a success. I did, however, make mine in a 9x13 rather than my 2 qt dish, just so that the cheese would be more evenly distributed. I will make this one again and again. It's taking everything I have not to go in there and eat dh's helpings too, lol. Seriously, though, this is a wonderfully easy and tasty dish. Definitely a keeper.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tortellini Pizza Bake ***

I just started a new job a few weeks ago, and it's made it kind of hard to cook like I used to.  On top of that, we've had baseball and soccer games 6 out of 7 days for the past month or two, so I've been doing very little cooking at all, other than sandwiches and frozen pizzas.  Anything that's easy to grab on the way out the door, basically.  Our one day a week with nothing to do is Wednesday, so that's typically gotten to be my cooking day.  This was the first time I've done a new recipe in a while, though.

So it could have been our extreme excitement at having a real home-cooked meal again, but we all absolutely loved this one.  Tortellini is one of my favorite foods in the world anyway, as is pizza.  I was fairly certain this one would be a winner for me, lol.  It seriously was great, though.  I used chicken and herbs tortellini, along with mushrooms and black olives.  The recipe doesn't say where to add the garlic powder, so I just left it out.  I honestly don't know why you would need it anyway.  The sauce has plenty of flavor in it already.  We'll definitely have this one again.  And soon!  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ What'sCookingInTheBurbs)
Serves 6
WW PP=10
Cal 401, Carbs 50.1, Fat 12.6, Fiber 6, Protein 22.8

1 pkg refrigerated tortellini
1 jar pasta sauce
1 1/4 cups reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 oz. sliced pepperoni
1 tsp. garlic powder
any other additional toppings of your choice (olives, mushrooms, green peppers, onions - anything!)

Cook tortellini to al dente. Drain and set aside.
Spread a small amount of pasta sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Evenly spread half of the cooked tortellini along the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the pasta sauce on top of the tortellini and evenly sprinkle on half the Parmesan cheese. Top with some of the pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Repeat.
Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Enjoy!
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I added mushrooms and olives and left out the garlic powder.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mexican Chicken Casserole ****

Sorry for the absence.  If you look back, I'm rarely posting recipes during this time of the year.  With baseball and soccer games and/or practices 5 nights a week, I don't have a lot of time to cook new stuff.  I stick to the old tried and true recipes.  I haven't reviewed this one in a couple years, though, so I figured I'd post it again.

This has always been one of our favorite meals.  I've been making it for at least 10 years now.  It's one of those recipes that I can remember by heart, so it's easy to pick up the ingredients at the last second if necessary.  I can change it around to suit my moods, which is always nice.  Tonight, our baseball games were rained out, so I ran in the store and grabbed a rotisserie chicken to use in it.  We could honestly eat this several times a week and be happy. The very best part is that it's so easy. I keep all of the items on hand, and it only takes about 3 minutes to throw together. Even the kids can make it on their own, which they just love.  Perfect for a last-minute meal. Plus, you get the little bit of Mexican flavor without the heat. That makes it a safe choice for the entire family. Dh can add salsa and sour cream to his. The boys and I can eat ours plain. Just yummy all around!  Oh yeah, baby.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 (10-3/4oz) can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup
1 (10-3/4oz) can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can fat-free evaporated milk
1 (4-oz) can diced green chilies
1-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 package plain Doritos
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 (4-oz) can sliced black olives

Mix first four ingredients in order. Crush the bag of Doritos into little pieces; add to mixture. Stir in chicken.
Pour mixture into 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with olives, and then cover with cheese. Bake at 350* for about 30-35 minutes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easy Chili ****

Yesterday was rainy and cold and just all around yucky.  My very favorite cold weather food is chili, so I pulled this recipe out yet again. This has been my tried and true chili recipe for several years, since it's the only one I've found that doesn't contain those dreaded kidney beans (hubby's thoughts, not mine). My original recipe only had 3 cans of beans, but I added a fourth, to make it a little heartier.  I eventually added a fifth, to make the recipe go further.  To me, it's the green chilies that totally make this dish. You can't taste them at all, but they just give another dimension to it.  Hubby and I have ours over Fritos and topped with shredded fiesta blend cheese.  The boys like to have their chili with the cheese on it and then scoop it up with the Fritos. 

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 lbs ground beef
5 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
2 (1 1/4 ounce) packages mild chili seasoning mix
1 (46 ounce) can tomato juice
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies (optional)

In large stewpot, cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain.
Put back into pan; add seasoning, beans, chilies, and tomato juice.
Mix well.
Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Serve over corn chips with cheese on each serving.
Crockpot version: Cook ground beef in skillet on stove until no longer pink; drain.  Add all ingredients to crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Do not add extra liquid, as it's not needed.
*Amy's notes: Sometimes, I will skip draining the beans and just use less tomato juice.  I very rarely use the entire 46oz, since we don't like ours overly juicy.

This time around, I made it in the crockpot, since I was so pressed for time. I'll be doing that from now on. I loved how the chili seasoning flavor really soaked into the meat that way. I just cooked the ground turkey and then threw everything into the crock for about 7 hours. I was afraid some of the liquid would evaporate, so I added about 1/4 cup of water to it. It was not necessary at all. The boys both had baseball games until late tonight, and it was so wonderful to come home to a meal that was completely ready!

We had the same winter storm come through that most of the country got this week. Our snow came late Wednesday night, so by the end of the day yesterday, I was really craving chili. This is strange, but I have never made plain chili in my life. I've made vegetarian chili and white chicken chili, but never plain old regular chili. Since that's what I was craving and I hadn't included it in my weekly meal plan, I went in search of a recipe that would be easy to throw together last minute so that I could just hit the grocery store really quickly on my way home from work. I found this one and gave it a shot. It was SO yummy! Dh loved that this one had pinto beans instead of kidney, since he hates kidney beans, lol. We all loved it, though. I stuck to the recipe, except I used 2.4 lbs ground turkey and reduced sodium pinto beans. We had it over Fritos and then topped it with shredded cheddar cheese. The best part is, it made enough for dh and I to both have leftovers for lunch today, and it just gets better the next day!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Pot Tortellini and Sausage in Tomato Cream Sauce **

This one was just okay for me.  The kids and hubby liked it, but it was too salty, in my opinion.  I didn't even add in the salt that it calls for.  I figured the kielbasa would give it plenty of salt on its own, and it does.  It's not that it has a bad taste or anything.  It's just a little too much for me.  Like I said, though, the guys all liked it.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ YellowBlissRoad)

1 lb package of Turkey Kielbasa
1/2 cup diced onion
20 oz. package of refrigerated Tortellini
20 oz can of whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen scissors
1 cup chicken broth or water
Pinch of salt & pepper
2 Tbsp cream cheese
2 cups shredded jack and cheddar cheeses

Cook the onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add sliced turkey sausage and cook until browned. Add chicken broth, tortellini, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente. Remove from heat and add cheeses, reserving a handful for topping. Cover and let stand for five to ten minutes. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Serve hot.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mushroom Rice ***

This one has been all over Pinterest.  The notes say that you can add chicken, but I honestly don't think it would be all that good with the chicken in it.  I think that the chicken might overpower some of the mushroom flavor.  I made it with brown rice, and even after cooking it an extra 10 minutes, it still was firmer than I would have liked.  I'm going to try it with white rice next time and see how it goes.  The flavor and smell are great, though, and it's a breeze to throw it together.  I would absolutely make it again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

9 mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 garlic clove
1-1/2 green onion
3 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups rice
3/4 teaspoon parsley
1-1/2 to taste salt
1-1/2 to taste pepper

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat; cook mushrooms,garlic and onion until mushrooms are cooked and butter evaporated.
Add broth and rice; season with parsley (chopped), salt, and pepper.
Cover and cook on low heat about 15 mins till rice is cooked.
If using as main dish, add cut-up cooked chicken after rice is cooked.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana Sandwiches ***

These were yummy.  The 8-year-old (who rarely ever finishes a meal) devoured his.  He practically inhaled it.  I made a few changes, but nothing to really alter the basic recipe.  I forgot to thaw the chicken, so I mixed the sauce up and used 3 frozen breasts.  Then I added an extra hour to the cook time.  It was done perfectly in 7 hours.  I would probably use 4 breasts next time, though.  Tonight, it was just me and the boys eating, so 3 was perfect.  I'd need 4 to have enough for all of us plus leftovers for hubby's lunch.  I used some crusty bolillo rolls.  I didn't want to take the time to put them in the skillet, so I sliced them all in half, used a little spray butter, and stuck them under the broiler long enough to toast them up a bit.  I also added a small tub of sliced fresh mushrooms, since I had some in the fridge that needed to be used up.  I would totally do that again.  They were really, really good in there.  

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FoodFamilyFinds)

29 ounces canned tomato sauce
14.5 ounces canned petite diced tomatoes
12 ounces canned tomato paste
2 cups sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped (about 2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (about 6 leaves)
3-4 large THAWED/FRESH boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese
4-6 hard rolls

Start the slow cooker on low heat.
Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and stir until combined.
Add onions, garlic, stir.
Add parsley, oregano, bay leaves, basil and stir.
Set chicken breast on top of the sauce, sprinkle generously with salt/pepper, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Use two forks to shred the chicken.
Slice the hard rolls in half and toast on a hot buttered skillet.
Use tongs to grab chunks of the chicken, tapping the excess sauce into the pot before adding to your roll.
Top with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan, sliced mozzarella and serve.
*luckymommyto2boys/Amy's notes: I used frozen breasts and cooked on low for 7 hours.  I also added a small package of sliced fresh mushrooms.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Apple-Pecan Bread Pudding *

I actually made this back in January for my dad.  He loves bread pudding.  I subbed Craisins for the raisins, just because that's my preference.  I'm not a fan of bread pudding in general, so there's that going against it already.  It's kind of a texture thing with me.  The apples and Craisins were absolutely amazing in the sauce.  The bread just wasn't that great.  I used toasted French bread, hoping that it would keep it from getting as mushy.  Didn't work as well as I'd hoped.  My dad seemed to like it, but it's not something I would make again.


Cooking spray
4 cups toasted bread cubes (approximately 8 slices; I used gluten-free bread)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
2 cups half-and-half

Use a 2-quart slow cooker. Spray your stoneware insert well with cooking spray. Put the toasted bread cubes into your cooker and add the diced apples. Toss the bread and apples with the melted butter. Dump in the pecans, raisins, and brown sugar, and sprinkle in the pumpkin pie spice. Stir gingerly to distribute the ingredients evenly. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half, and pour evenly over the top of the assembled ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Your pudding is done when it has browned on top and pulls away from the sides. The center should be set and not super jiggly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream as a dessert or plain for breakfast.
Serves 6

Monday, March 3, 2014

Crockpot Split Pea Soup ****

I haven't made this in several years,  but for some reason, it sounded really good.  We loved it yet again.  I always sprinkle a little bit of cheese on the servings, but this time, I also stirred 8 oz of sour cream into the crockpot before serving.  I figured it might cut some of the spice from the Tony's, while also making the consistency a little creamier.  Yum!  Definitely going to do that again.

Photo of similar recipe from Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed
2 cups diced ham (I rinse mine)
3 carrots, shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup chopped celery, chopped (or diced green peppers)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's or seasoning salt
Pepper, to taste
6 cups hot water
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients except the water and the bay leaf in a crockpot.  Do not stir.  Simply pour the water on top of the ingredients to disperse them.  Add bay leaf.
Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours (my preference) or high for 4-5 hours. 
Remove bay leaf before serving.

Previous reviews:
12/7/10 ~ I looked at several split pea soup recipes online and came up with this combination. Dh and I had never tried split pea soup before, so we didn't know what to expect. I hate green peas with a passion, and I always just assumed split pea soup tasted like that, lol. Oh, how wrong I was! Dh and I both LOVED this. The kids had already eaten, so they didn't try it. I would need to cut down on the Tony's or use seasoning salt in its place, since that adds a little spice. The kiddos aren't fond of that kind of thing. I also ended up using chopped green peppers instead of the celery, since I was out of celery. I would gladly do that again. Dh and I gobbled it down, though. I don't even like leftovers normally, and now I'm wishing I hadn't promised dh he could take them to work for lunch tomorrow. :-)

Cake Mix Cookies ***

It's been ages since I've made these, since I rarely have cake mix on hand.  I had a box of cake mix left over from Christmas, and we're iced in for three days with no school.  Figured we could use a little sugar pick-me-up. :-)  This time, I just used yellow cake mix with chocolate chips, but I've made lots of other versions in the past.  We used to love the chocolate mix with the Andes mint chips and the chocolate mix with mini peanut butter cups.  These are no gourmet delight or anything, but they're good nonetheless.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy~

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, butter and eggs until smooth and well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
* You can use peanut butter chips or raspberry chips and nuts instead. You can also add 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Or you can use another flavor cake mix and omit the chocolate chips. The cake mix, butter and egg mixture is the same for all.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Beer Crockpot Chicken **

This was pretty good.  It smells divine while cooking.  I used a bunch of boneless skinless thighs.  I cooked mine 4 hours on high, and it was a bit too long.  My crock always runs hot, so I think they probably would have been perfect at the 3-hour point.  Because of that, they were kind of dry.  I'm going to try them again with a shorter cook time and see what we think.  The flavor was really pretty good, so it's definitely worth a shot.  There's absolutely no beer flavor to them at all.  I'm not a fan of beer, but I love it when used in cooking.  This didn't disappoint in that respect.  I served it with the Parmesan-Roasted Green Beans, and they went together perfectly.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ MyDailyDish)

4-6 Chicken Breasts or 1 Whole or cut up Chicken
1 Can of any kind of Beer
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
*You can use whatever spices you like

Put all ingredients into crockpot.
If frozen cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10.
If fresh cook on high 3-4 hrs or low 7-8 hours.

Parmesan-Roasted Green Beans ****

These are absolutely unbelievable.  I've had Roasted Asparagus and Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli made like this, so I knew I would love the green beans.  Even the hubby raved about them, which is HUGE.  He's not normally a green bean fan, so the fact that he loved them says so much.  The youngest monkey wasn't crazy about them, which really surprised me.  He loved both the asparagus and broccoli recipes, so I really thought he'd like the green beans too.  The oldest one loved them, though.  The parmesan kind of crisps up on the outside of the beans.  The beans themselves are kind of crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  Just all around yummy veggie goodness.  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ BudgetSavvyDiva)

8 oz of green beans
Olive oil
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400.
In a medium size mixing bowl place green beans ( trim off ends), small amount of oil ( enough to coat beans), pinch of salt and pepper. Mix till everything is covered.
Lay green beans onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle a “healthy” amount of cheese on top
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes – green beans should be crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
Enjoy ( you can garnish with extra cheese if you like)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole ***

I just love the "one pot" dishes.  I've always loved one dish meals, but there have been so many new stovetop ones going around Pinterest lately (see One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta and One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein).  It's pretty awesome.  This was great, just as I knew it would be.  I don't know that it's necessarily a cheeseburger taste, but I would say it's more like a fancy Hamburger Helper, lol.  But it was delicious nonetheless.  I stirred the cheese directly into the pasta before serving, just to make it easier.  I put a small sprinkle on each serving as well, to give it a little more pizzazz, but that way, I didn't risk the kids making a mess when they stirred the cheese into their bowls. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ DamnDelicious)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 cups water
1 pound rotini pasta
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Roma tomato, diced (optional)
2 green onions, sliced (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and onion and cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drain excess fat.
Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, ketchup, mustard, pasta and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes.
Remove from heat and top with cheese. Cover until cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with tomato and green onions, if desired.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ravioli Casserole with Spinach and Mozzarella ***

I just adore spinach.  I really and truly do.  I also like ravioli (although it falls second to tortellini - yum!). This was my third time to make this recipe, and we still loved it.  Once again, I really didn't make many changes.  I doubled the recipe, put it in a 9x13 (I like to have leftovers for dh's lunches) and added a TON more spinach.  Other than that, I pretty much stuck to the plan.  Although, I did use some shrimp scampi ravioli that I came across at the store today.  So good!  Definitely better than plain old cheese.  Last time I made it, I added in a handful of chopped grilled chicken, since hubby doesn't think it's a meal if it doesn't have meat.  That went really well too.  I didn't preboil my ravioli, and they were still perfect.  Everyone loved it once again, so I need to remember to make it more often!

(Amy - amylz)

1 pkg. fresh cheese-filled ravioli
1 jar pasta sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 cups baby spinach

Cook the ravioli in a generous amount of lightly salted water for 3 minutes, or until firm/tender. Scoop out the ravioli with a slotted spoon into a large bowl of ice-cold water. When chilled, drain the ravioli well. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spoon 1/4 of the pasta sauce into the bottom of 8-inch square baking dish. Layer 1/3 of the ravioli on top of the sauce. Top the ravioli with 1/2 the spinach leaves. Top the spinach with 1/3 of the cheese. Top the cheese with 1/4 more of the sauce, 1/3 more of the ravioli, the rest of the spinach and 1/3 more of the cheese. Top the cheese with 1/4 more of the sauce and the remaining ravioli. Top the ravioli with the remaining sauce and cheese. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
Makes: 4 servings
* Amy's (luckymommyto2boys) notes: I double the recipe, put it in a 9x13, and cook for 30 minutes covered and 20 uncovered.  I don't preboil the refrigerated ravioli, and I sometimes add a handful of chopped grilled chicken.

Previous reviews:
11/15/10 ~ I saw this on Amy's blog and knew I had to make it ASAP.  I had two packages of refrigerated ravioli that were just waiting to go bad, and I am an absolute spinach fiend.  It was the perfect solution.  :)  It got raves all around.  Even dh gushed, and he's totally not a gusher.  I have strict instructions to make this one again soon, so I guess that tells how much my family likes it, huh?  ;)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Crockpot Creamy Italian Chicken ***

This is one of the recipes that I made back in 2007, before I even started my blog.  I had down that it was a recipe we liked, but I never rated it or reviewed it in my notes or anything.  I have several like that in my files, so I'm trying to work through them here and there.  We loved this one, though.  I made it with the tricolor rotini, and I used frozen chicken.  I started it a little late, so I had to cook on high for a bit at the first.  I'll do the frozen again, but next time, I'll do hours on low and then add the cream cheese and do another hour.  My crockpot runs pretty warm, so that's all the time it takes to cook from frozen.  I didn't bother mixing the cream cheese or anything.  I just added it the last hour, along with the mushrooms and soup.  At that point, I also shredded the chicken.  Then I stirred everything up and left it for the rest of the time.  When it was done, I stirred in the cooked noodles.  Perfect!  It does need a little pepper, but other than that, it's absolutely wonderful!

(Grace ~ TigMode)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 cup water
1 package (8oz) light cream cheese, softened
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
hot cooked rice or noodles (I really like this served over spinach fettuccini or tri color rotini pasta)

Place chicken in slowcooker. Combine salad dressing mix and water; pour over chicken. cover and cook on low for 3 hours. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken. Cook 1 hour longer or until chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice or noodles.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used frozen chicken and cooked a total of 5 hours.  During the last hour, I shredded the chicken and added the cream cheese, soup, and mushrooms directly to the crockpot and stirred well to combine.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crockpot Cashew Chicken ***

I was pleasantly surprised by this.  The kids loved it, which really took me by surprise.  I've been down with a cold the past few days, so just threw everything in frozen (chicken and all veggies).  When it was done, I shredded the chicken and stirred in 4 cups of cooked white rice.  It had a little bit of heat to it, so I might cut back a bit on the red pepper next time.  I couldn't find rice wine vinegar, so I subbed apple cider vinegar (thanks to some online advice).  I would definitely make this again, and I would stick with cooking from frozen, since it makes things so much easier.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SallyCooks)

4 chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces
3-4 cups frozen broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup cashews (unsalted works best so as not to oversalt the recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water or chicken broth

Layer chicken, cashews and vegetables in the crockpot.
Combine remaining ingredients except water and pour over chicken in crockpot.
Add water or broth if necessary so mixture is almost completely covered.
Cook for 2-4 hours on high or 4-8 hours on low.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I subbed apple cider vinegar for the rice wine vinegar.  I threw everything in the crockpot frozen and stirred  in 4 cups cooked rice at the end.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ranch Corn Salad ****

This is one of my favorite salads.  I've doubled the recipe before for family gatherings, but for just the 4 of us, the quantities are perfect as written.  The first time I made it, I only used 1/4 of a jalapeno and picked it out of the kids' servings.  Since then, I just skip the jalapeno and use a can of green chilies.  It works perfectly for us.  I don't know what it is, but the corn and ranch blend together so well in this.  Then you add in the bacon, and I am just in heaven.  Big time favorite here.  I actually get cravings for this one fairly often in the summer.  :)

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 (16 ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, partially thawed
6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 cloves garlic
1 fresh jalapeno, chopped
¼ cup chopped black olives
2-3 chopped green onions
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or Colby/Jack, etc.)
1 cup bottled ranch dressing (more or less, according to your taste)

Combine all the veggies.
Add the dressing, just enough to coat the vegetables well.
Gently stir in the cheese and bacon.
Refrigerate until serving.
*Amy's notes: I always replace the jalapeno with a can of green chilies.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Karen's Cheesy Enchilada Meatballs **

These meatballs were really good.  They were just kind of missing something for me, though.  I think it was because I served them on tortillas.  Next time, I believe I'm going to serve them over rice.  I'm also thinking I might mix some sour cream in there before serving, just to cut down a bit on the flavor of the enchilada sauce.  I'm definitely going to make again, though.  Hubby loved it, and both kids asked for seconds.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ my friend Karen)

1 bag of meatballs
1 (10-3/4 oz) can of cheddar cheese soup
3 cans of enchilada sauce
Shredded fiesta blend cheese

Combine meatballs, soup, and enchilada sauce in crockpot.  Sprinkle as much cheese as you like on top.
Cook on low all day.  Can be served over rice or on tortillas.

Slow Cooker Three Envelope Pot Roast Sliders ****

I've made this a few times already, but we just love it.  It is hands-down the very best roast I have ever had in my life.  And that's coming from a woman who normally can't stand beef roast.  The entire family LOVES it.  I did the sliders, since we all love the Hawaiian rolls.  For the kids, I didn't do the chipotle sauce.  I simply put ketchup on theirs.  The first time I made it, I was looking for the salsa on the Mexican foods aisle and came across a Taco Bell brand of Creamy Chipotle Sauce, so I just used that instead of following that portion of the recipe.  Now that's the only way we'll eat it.  I cannot rave enough about this one.  You have the saltiness of the meat/gravy combo, the sweetness of the rolls, and the slight spiciness of the chipotle sauce.  It is pure perfection.  The only downside is when you cook it on a Sunday and have to sit and smell the amazing smell of it all day while knowing that you just can't eat it yet.  :)

(willowing3 ~ via Six Sisters' Stuff)

1 (3-4 lb) beef roast
1 cup water
1 cup salsa
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 envelope Au Jus mix

Whisk together water, salsa and seasoning packets. Place roast in slow cooker. Pour seasoning mixture over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.

Three Envelope Pot Roast recipe (above), shredded
1 pkg. King's Hawaiian Rolls
Sliced Swiss cheese (1 slice per slider)
Creamy Chipotle Sauce (recipe below)

Cut each roll in half and place on a baking sheet. Place a slice of Swiss cheese on the bottom half of each roll. Place baking sheet in oven with broiler on low. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until edges of the rolls are golden and cheese has melted (be sure to watch them closely so they don't burn!). Remove baking sheet from oven.
Place a spoonful of shredded beef on top of each roll with Swiss cheese on it. Spread Creamy Chipotle sauce on the top half of each roll. Assemble each slider by placing the top half of the roll on top of the bottom.

Creamy Chipotle Sauce:
1/4 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
2 Tbsp chili sauce
2 tsp creamy horseradish sauce (I used Kraft)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Crockpot Cheesy Veggie Rotini ***

I originally set out to make the Slow Cooker Inside-Out Ravioli, from  Once I started making it, though, I ended up making so many changes that I doubt the taste is the same as hers.  I figured I'd better give it a different name.  I definitely want to give her credit for the inspiration, though.

This was absolutely delicious!  I'm on a tricolor garden rotini kick right now, so that was the reason behind my first change.  I also am completely crazy about spinach and the three-pepper onion blend (as I've mentioned before, lol),  I just can't even describe the deliciousness.  It's so easy to throw together.  If you had the meat already cooked and frozen (which I often do), you could just throw it all in the crockpot together and up the cook time a bit.  I'd be willing to bet I do that in the near future.  Everyone loved it, and plates were cleaned all around.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 lb ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
1 package frozen three-pepper and onion blend
1-2 tsp garlic powder (your preference)
1 (24 oz) jar of plain pasta sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 cups fresh spinach
16 oz tricolor rotini, cooked
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups mozzarella, shredded

Brown the ground turkey, onion, peppers, and garlic powder.  While meat is cooking, add pasta sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and spinach to 5-6 quart crockpot. Drain meat and stir into crockpot.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours (depending on your crockpot).
About 15 minutes before serving, add 1-1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, and al-dente cooked pasta. Stir well to mix in sauce evenly.
Sprinkle individual servings with remaining mozzarella.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Sandwiches ***

This is not the first time I've made this one, but I wanted to update with some changes.  I forgot to thaw the chicken overnight, and it was way too busy this morning, with rushing around to ball games.  I instead just threw the chicken breasts in the crockpot with everything else (no mixing) and stuck that baby on high for 4 hours.  I shredded the chicken when it was done, and everything was perfect.  That's how I'll be doing it from now on (using the frozen breasts), because it really makes things so much easier.  Oh, I also threw in one of those bags of frozen three-pepper and onion blend.  I do seriously love those things.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Food, Family, & Finds)

2 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 green bell peppers, sliced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
2 tablespoons Dale’s Steak Seasoning
sliced Mozzarella cheese
hoagie rolls

Spray a 3 – 4 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and turn to LOW heat.
Add butter, onions and green peppers.
Toss chicken with steak seasoning, salt and pepper, then add to slow cooker.
Cover and cook for 5 hours.
Serve on hoagies with a slice of cheese melted on top.
*luckymommy's notes: I dumped frozen chicken breasts in the crock with everything else and cooked on high for 4 hours.  I put the rolls on a cookie sheet, opened them, and added a slice of cheese to each.  Then I stuck them under the broiler for a couple minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese and toast up the bread a bit.

Previous reviews:
8/8/13 ~ I've had this on my "to try" list for a while now, but when someone posted it on the BBC Recipe Swap board the other day, it reminded me to put it in the lineup.  So very glad I did!  It was really yummy.  I had never even heard of Dale's Steak Seasoning before, but I was able to find it on the aisle with A-1 at Walmart.  I love it!  It reminds me of A-1, without the little kick to it.  It has more seasonings in the flavor as well.  It's hard to describe, but it's really good.  In fact, my only change that I would make to this would be to add about one extra tablespoon of the sauce next time.  I don't think the flavor carries through to it enough.  Also, I cut my chicken in small chunks and used my 6-qt crock.  It was done in about 4 hours.  I put the rolls on a cookie sheet, opened them, and added a slice of cheese to each.  Then I stuck them under the broiler for a couple minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese and toast up the bread a bit (to prevent sogginess).  My kids who have sworn against green peppers said that they actually enjoyed them in here.  Probably because they are so softened by the slow cooking.  I'll definitely be making this one again!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta ****

I loved this one!  It was a hit for all of us.  The chicken and pasta are both perfectly cooked, which kind of surprised me.  This was from the same website as the One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein, so I shouldn't have been surprised.  We really enjoyed that one too.  I normally am not a huge fan of black beans, but you can't really taste them in here, since you rinse them before cooking.  I cooked mine for 15 minutes and then let it sit for 5.  I used a frozen three pepper and onion blend (I love those things!), so this took very little prep for me.  Will definitely be making this again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheWholesomeDish)

1 (13.5 oz) box of whole wheat rotini (or any pasta you like)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 medium green bell pepper cut into thin strips
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 (15 oz) can Rotel canned tomatoes and chilies (I used the Mexican blend with lime and cilantro)
1/4 cup taco seasoning (I used one packet)
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups fat-free chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Mexican cheese blend, plus more for topping (Optional)

Add all but the last 2 ingredients (beans and cheese) to a large pot. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. There should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot when it is done.
Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans and cheese (optional). Cover and let it rest for about 3 to 5 minutes to warm the beans, melt the cheese, and absorb the excess liquid.
luckymommy/Amy's notes: I added 2 uncooked boneless/skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces to the first step.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Crescents ***

Oh wow.  These are amazing!  I made the mistake of buying the larger chicken tenders, so they were definitely not pretty.  I just rolled out the crescents a little thinner and upped the temp to 400.  The flavor was fabulous, though.  I used shredded fiesta blend cheese, since that's what I had on hand.  So good.  These made for a perfect Sunday lunch for us and the kiddos.  Definitely going to be doing them again soon!

(Dottie ~ hokiesmom ~ via

8 fully cooked fried chicken fingers (I used Purdue all natural tenders)
8 slices cheddar cheese, cut in half
1 can crescent rolls
1 (10oz) can enchilada sauce (there is plenty left over and I used some as a dipping sauce)

Preheat oven to 375.
Separate crescent rolls into 8 triangles. Pour sauce into a bowl or saucepan. Place one half slice of cheddar cheese on top of crescent roll. Dunk chicken finger into enchilada sauce and place on top of cheese. Roll up crescent and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken fingers and crescents. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and top each crescent with remaining half slice of mozzarella cheese. Bake for additional 5-8 minutes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Too-Tasty-to-Be-Good-for-You Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese ***

This was really pretty good.  I couldn't find whole wheat macaroni, so I went with penne.  I had some errands to run this afternoon, so the 10-year-old actually made it for us (with Hubby's help, of course).  It's written as a recipe for kids to make anyway, so it really worked out pretty well for us.  He got a kick out of getting to cook, and I didn't have to do it.  Ha!  

The cauliflower is the best part of the dish.  The noodles and cheese are good too, but I could have happily eaten just the cauliflower and cheese by themselves.  The recipe says it makes 4 servings, but we still had about 2 servings left over after the four of us had gotten ours.  I'd definitely make this again, though.  A nice way to add some extra veggies to an old favorite.  I served it with the Slow Cooker Ham with Pineapple.  Yum-O!  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ RachelRay)

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 pound whole wheat pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Ask a GH (Grown-Up Helper) to bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the cauliflower and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Ask your GH to transfer the florets with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. In the same boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, then drain in a colander. Add the pasta to the cauliflower.
While the pasta is working, ask your GH to melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Have your GH help you whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and chicken broth and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese. Whisk in the mustard and season with pepper. Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta and cauliflower. Yum-o!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crockpot Italian Chicken *

This was good, but it was way too salty.  I'm wondering why you really need two packets of the dressing mix.  I think you'd still get the flavor with one.  Even with that, though, the peppers give it quite a bit of salt on their own.  I don't know.  I think it has possibilities, with a lot of changes, but it's just not worth trying again.  For my group, at least.

For a crockpot chicken sandwich recipe, the Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Sandwiches are so much better.

(BeyerBeware via Pinterest)

2 lbs of chicken breast, thighs, or combination
1 (12 oz) jar of pepper rings
2 (.7 ounce) envelopes of Italian Salad Dressing and Spice Mix

Put chicken in the bottom of a crock pot. Pour pepper rings with juice over chicken. Sprinkle Italian mix over chicken. Cook on low for 8+ hours or on high for 4+ hours.
After chicken has cooked, remove any bones or skin and shred. Keep on low till ready to eat. Add chicken broth or water if chicken seems to be drying out.
Serve on buns.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Slow Cooker Lentil Rice Casserole (Clean) ***

I have this listed as clean, but you obviously need to leave out the cheese for a cleaner dish.  Honestly, while the cheese is always a welcome addition to any dish (in my world, anyway), it's really not all that necessary in here.  I'll keep using it, just because I love me some cheese, but I think it would be just as good without it.

The flavors in this are amaze-balls.  I used a pack of three pepper and onion blend (I'm all about those things right now!), added spinach, and went with the taco seasoning.  I would definitely recommend that route.  It gives it a flavor that's really different from other lentil recipes.  Because I wanted to make sure we had leftovers, I did 1.5 times the original recipe.  In retrospect, I really think that the recipe as written is definitely closer to 6 servings than 4, so I wouldn't bother doing that again.

The only problem I ran into was that even after cooking 10 hours, my lentils were still pretty hard.  After doing a little research online, it looks like our hard water and old beans were probably the culprit.  Next time, I'll use bottled water to soak them and make sure I get fresher beans.  I definitely want to give this another go, though.  If nothing else, I can always just convert it to a rice-only dish, and it would still be yummy.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheHumbledHomemaker)

3/4 c. dry green lentils
1/2 c. brown rice
1 c. water
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 c. tomato sauce (8 oz. can) or 1 6-oz. can tomato paste + an extra 1/2 c. stock
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped green or red pepper
1 grated or finely chopped carrot
2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
optional: other vegetables like spinach, broccoli
3 tsp. Italian seasoning or taco seasoning
2 cloves crushed garlic or 1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 c. grated cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar, but try a Mexican blend with the taco seasoning or mozzarella with the Italian)
optional: salsa or spaghetti sauce to serve

Combine rice, lentils and water in crock pot. Soak overnight. (Do NOT turn crock pot on!)
In the morning, drain the water and mix in all remaining ingredients except cheese.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Add cheese in 30 minutes before done.
Serves 4-6.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used a 3-pepper and onion blend, added spinach, and chose the taco seasoning.  I want to make sure to use bottled water and fresh lentils next time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein ***

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of lo mein.  It just always tastes to oily to me, for some reason.  I saw the picture of this one on Pinterest, though, and I knew I had to try it.  So glad I did!  It was delicious.  I used two large boneless/skinless chicken breasts, just to make it stretch a bit further.  I also used linguine, since that's what the OP used with hers.  Definitely my favorite for this dish as well.  I think the fettuccine would have been a bit too big for this.  It would have taken away from the other flavors, in my opinion.  The red pepper flakes add just a bit of heat, but it was just right for my kids.  Over all, this was an absolute winner for us.  I served it with the Slow Cooker Baked Sliced Apples, so that we'd have a little of sweet to offset the heat. ;-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheWholesomeDish)

1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
12 oz. whole wheat linguine or fettuccine, broken in half
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in thin 3 inch long strips
1 medium red bell pepper, cut in thin 3 inch long strips
1 bunch green onions, white part sliced and green part cut in 3 inch long strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Add the chicken, then the pasta, then the remaining ingredients to a large stockpot and cover. Bring to a boil. Stir and reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until most of the liquid is gone and the chicken is cooked through.

Slow Cooker Baked Sliced Apples (Semi-Clean) ****

I am nearly speechless at how wonderful this was.  My monkeys were licking their plates.  They loved it.  It's not truly a "clean" recipe, since it has the margarine, but you could make it one by subbing olive oil.  It wouldn't be as good, lol, but it would still have great flavor.  I chose to go with organic butter, and it worked fine for me.  Since my crock is a 6-qt, I was afraid that it would burn easily.  I went ahead and used 6 medium Fuji apples (absolute perfection in this recipe) and doubled everything else.  I'm trying to get away from Splenda, so I went with Stevia instead.  I couldn't find unsweetened apple juice, so I used some that had the least amount of sugar I could find and was all-natural.  I don't have butter-flavored cooking spray, so I just used my olive oil spray.  Oh, and I used Craisins in place of the raisins, just because I really can't stand raisins in stuff.  I think that's about all of my changes, lol.  Seriously, though, this was some dynamite stuff.  It would be spectacular with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ GetCrocked)

3-1/2 cups apples, (cored, peeled, and thickly sliced)
1/4 cups raisins (seedless)
1/4 cups Splenda granular
1-1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice
2 tablespoons apple juice, unsweetened
1 tablespoon margarine

Spray a slow cooker container with butter-flavored cooking spray.
Combine apples and raisins in crock.
Add Splenda, apple pie spice, and apple juice.
Mix well.
Dot top with margarine.
Cover. Cook on Low for 4-6 hours.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used 6 medium Fuji apples and doubled everything else.  I also subbed Stevia for the Splenda and Craisins for the raisins.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Slow Cooker Clean-Eating Jambalaya ****

I could have kept eating this all night.  Seriously.  I made a few minor alterations, but nothing that would greatly change the outcome.  My shrimp and chicken were frozen, so I just chucked them both in at the beginning of the cook time.  I cooked it for 6 hours on low and 1 hour on high.  I used a package of frozen peppers and onions (the fajita blend packs), just because I already had some in the freezer.  Similarly, I used Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning in place of the Cajun seasoning, because that's what I had on hand.  I accidentally picked up a tomato paste that had salt and basil and oregano, so I cut the salt from the recipe.  So basically, I used the recipe, but I just improvised a bit, lol.  Oh, I did cut the Creole seasoning to 2 tablespoons instead of 3, so that it wouldn't be too spicy for the kids.  It was absolutely perfect.  Just enough heat without being too hot for them.  Now I can't wait to have it again!  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ GetCrocked)

2 lbs. chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1/2 c. green bell pepper, diced
2 c. celery, finely diced
1 c. yellow onions
2 c. tomatoes, fresh, diced
2 c. chicken broth, Organic, Free Range
6 oz. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. cajun seasoning
1 tsp. sea salt
1 lb shrimp, uncooked wild-caught; peeled, and de-veined
2 c. cooked brown rice

Combine chicken breasts, bell pepper, celery, onion, tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, garlic, seasoning and salt into large, 6-quart slow cooker.
Cover. Cook on Low for 6 hours, or High for 3 hours.
Stir occasionally, if needed.
Add shrimp to slow cooker, stirring to combine.
Cover. Cook on Low for an additional 2 hours or on High for 1 hour.
Cook brown rice according to the directions on the package, stirring in the last 15-20 minutes before your meal is done.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I subbed 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning for the Cajun seasoning.  I also put frozen shrimp and chicken in at the beginning of the cook time and cooked for 6 hours on low and 1 hour on high.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Crockpot Cajun Roast (Clean) ****

This was really good.  Absolutely phenomenal.  I tried to pull the pork out of the crock to slice it for the kids, but it was so tender that it just fell apart.  I ended up just shredding it in the pot and adding 6 cups of cooked brown rice in with it.  I also just used a package of frozen sliced onion/peppers blend.  We all loved it.  It made a LOT, though.  I was able to put some up for hubby's lunch and still have enough for a weekend lunch for all of us.  Yay!  Definitely making this again.  The only change I might make is to add in more corn.  The kids and hubby all said they would have liked to have more corn in each bite.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ StacyMakesCents)

1 roast of your choice (2 to 2-1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups corn
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 tomato diced
Rice to serve

Combine spices.
Put roast in greased crock pot. Pour half of your spices over the roast. Rub in. Flip roast and coat with remaining spices, rubbing in well.
Pour veggies (excluding corn) over the roast.
Layer the corn over the top.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until temp reads 160+ degrees.
Serve over a bed of rice.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I shredded the pork and stirred in 6 cups of cooked brown rice before serving.   I also just used a package of frozen sliced onion/peppers blend.  Next time, I will add more corn.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Crockpot Pizza ****

This is an old tried and true favorite for us.  I got it from Rachel years ago, and we've been enjoying it ever since.  I add black olives to mine, and since I can never find large jars of pizza sauce, I just use three of the medium-size jars.  Comes out perfect every time.  Our stores never carry rigatoni either, so I just use regular penne.  I've used the whole grain noodles in the past, and there's really not much of a difference, since it cooks for so long.  It's yummy either way.  :-)

(Rachel ~ 4*Kowbabies)

1 box rigatoni, cooked
1 1/2 lbs ground chuck browned and drained
1 large pkg sliced pepperoni
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 pkg mozzarella cheese shredded
2 large jars of pizza sauce
1 med. onion chopped
(optional can of mushrooms)

Stir all ingredients together. Place in crockpot and cook on low for 5 hrs.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I use 3 small jars of pizza sauce, add a can of black olives, and sub penne noodles.

Two-Ingredient Banana Cookies **

Yet another review that I'm slow on posting.  We had these sometime over Christmas break, but I honestly can't even remember when.  I had some bananas to use up, so I whipped them up one night after supper.  They are probably the easiest cookies I've ever made in my life.  I added pecans and chocolate chips to ours. They were good.  Nothing fabulous, but a nice little sweet treat that wasn't too terribly unhealthy (would have obviously been much healthier without the chocolate, lol).  Everyone else said they really liked them, but I just thought they were okay.  They have a kind of mushy texture to them that I didn't really care for, but the flavor wasn't bad.  Kind of like banana bread, I guess.  

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheBurlapBag via Pinterest)

2 large old bananas
1 cup of  oats (quick or regular! if you use regular, we’d suggest chopping them a little so everything holds together better)

Mix those two together. Old bananas are amazing for this, but you can use fresh ones too. I buy a bunch of bananas, let them get old on my counter, and then stick ‘em all in the freezer.
Then add in what sounds yummy to you! (or nothing!) We love: a handful of chocolate chips, crushed walnut pieces, cinnamon, raisins
Since all bananas are different sizes, the needed measurements can vary. If it seems too runny and the cookies would flatten out too much, add in more oatmeal. And make sure to not add in TOO many mix-ins as the cookies won’t hold together very well. The ones in these photos have a handful of chocolate chips, a teaspoon or two or cinnamon, and 1/4ish a cup of crushed walnuts.
We made 16 cookies with those measurements. We cook them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a GREASED cookie sheet. Don’t forget the greased part…. I did once and had to scrub my pan forever.