Friday, December 25, 2015

Easy Sweet 'n Tangy Crockpot Meatballs ****

I know there's really no need to post a recipe for this one.  Pretty much everyone has tried either this version or the grape jelly and BBQ sauce one at some point in their lives.  But even so, it was the first time I've made any of them myself.  The grape jelly one is usually just too sweet for my tastes, so I decided to give this one a go instead.  We loved it.  I doubled the recipe for our family Christmas party, and it was almost completely gone by the time we left.  I'll definitely be making them again!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheFrugalGirls)

26oz fully-cooked frozen meatballs (homemade or store-bought)
1 (14oz) can of jellied cranberry sauce
1 (12oz) bottle of Heinz chili sauce

Combine cranberry jelly and chili sauce in a bowl, then stir.
Based upon your preferences, you can alter the proportions of cranberry jelly {sweet} and chili sauce {tangy}.
Add frozen meatballs to crockpot and cover with sauce mixture.
Heat on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Once they're nice and hot, let simmer on LOW or WARM setting. ENJOY!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dill Pickle Roll-Em-Ups ****

This is an old family favorite, but I keep forgetting to take a picture of it. I'll have to make them this weekend, just so that I can get one. Then I'll have to force myself to eat them so that they don't go to waste. Darn. ;-)
This is the easiest recipe ever, but it's always gone first at any get-together. The kids love them too, so they're popular all around.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

Pack of sliced ham
8 oz container cream cheese
Jar of dill pickle spears (I like to cut the spears in half lengthwise, to get more rolls out of them)

Spread slice of ham with cream cheese. Place pickle on it lengthwise, and roll up. Slice roll into about 5-6 pieces, and place a toothpick in each piece.
Repeat with each slice of ham
*Can also sub roast beef for the ham

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Easy Chicken Enchilada Tortellini Bake **

We were a house divided on this one.  Hubby and one of the kids loved it.  The other kid and I thought it was just so-so.  Honestly, to me, the enchilada taste is just overpowering.  Combining it with the Rotel makes the sauce way too runny.  If I made it again (which I won't), I would probably use a drained can of stewed tomatoes and a can of green chilies.  To give it a bit more bulk.  I'd also mix a little cheese into it before adding it to the tortellini.  I did add a drained can of corn and a drained can of black olives, just to give it some taste other than the enchilada sauce, and I think that's all that saved it for us.  Oh!  It actually might be better if you just used one can of the enchilada sauce and added a carton of sour cream.  That could be pretty good.  Might have to try that one now!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ ThisGalCooks)

2-1/2 cups of cooked chicken breast. I've included instructions below for slow cooking but you could use a rotisserie chicken, too.
2 (9oz) packages of refrigerated tortellini. I used Butoni Roasted Garlic and Cheese.
1 (14.5oz) can of spicy red pepper diced tomatoes
1 (15oz) can of all natural enchilada sauce. I used this brand.
1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican Cheese (you can also used shredded cheddar)

1. To Slow Cook the Chicken: If slow cooking the chicken, spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Place two split chicken breasts (with the bones and skin - keeps it tender) in the slow cooker and sprinkle with salt, pepper and ground chipotle pepper, if desired. Place ½ C chicken broth in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from the bones, remove the skin and shred.
For using Rotisserie Chicken: Remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken. Pull the chicken breasts from the bones and shred with a fork.
2. Preheat oven to 400.
3. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Once done cooking, drain and return to the pot.
4. Prepare the sauce. Place the enchilada sauce and the diced tomatoes into a blender and blend. You can also place these two items into a large bowl and blend with an immersion blender.
5. Prepare the tortellini bake. Add the chicken to the pot with the tortellini. Mix well. Then add desired amount of sauce to the pot. I used about 3/4 of the sauce. The remaining sauce can be stored in an air tight container in a refrigerator for up to a week. Mix everything well and then pour into a 1.5 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the shredded Mexican cheese.
6. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. After baking, if desired, turn on the broiler to high and broil for about 5 minutes to brown the cheese.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sue's Reuben Sandwich ***

The 12-year-old's very favorite food right now is Reubens.  I haven't made them in at least two years, but both he and the hubby have been begging for them lately.  I finally caved in over the weekend.  They were wonderful as usual.  I do always have to rinse my sauerkraut really well, though, just because hubby hates the flavor otherwise.  Truthfully, I don't really follow the amounts on the recipe.  I just use it as a guide to make sure I get everything on the sandwich in the right order.  I definitely need to make them more often, though, because they all loved them!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

4 ounces lean thinly sliced deli corned beef
2 (1 ounce) slices Swiss cheese
2 slices rye bread
1/3 cup sauerkraut, well drained
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons thousand island dressing (to taste)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 pinch crushed juniper berries or 1 pinch caraway seed (optional)

Bring corned beef and Swiss cheese to room temperature.
Heat sauerkraut until it is warmed to about 120-140 degrees.
Prepare sandwich by first buttering one slice of bread on one side with 1 tbsp butter.
Place bread, butter side down, in a small skillet.
Follow with the following ingredients in this order: 1 slice of Swiss cheese, followed by 4 oz. corned beef, followed by 1-1/2 to 2 tbsp (to taste) of Thousand Island dressing, followed by well drained and warmed sauerkraut, followed by a pinch of either juniper berries or caraway, followed by the final piece of cheese.
Top the sandwich with the last piece of bread and spread the other tbsp of butter on the outside of the bread.
Heat the sandwich in the skillet on a med-low heat until the bottom side becomes golden; flip sandwich with spatula and lightly brown other side.
Remove to plate and slice in half before serving.
Serve with a dill spear and your favorite chips.

Previous Posts:
2/4/12 ~ I was completely astonished when hubby requested Reuben sandwiches this week, since he is vehemently anti-sauerkraut.  That being said, there are a handful of dishes that I can make with it, as long as I rinse the kraut really well.  That takes away some of the tartness of it, which is what he has the biggest problem with.  I don't like Thousand Island, but you really can't taste it in here.  It just adds the tiniest bit of sweetness to the sandwich.
I made these tonight, but I didn't follow recommendations for amounts or anything, just the order in which the ingredients were added.  I didn't bring my meat and cheese to room temp, but when I put them in the skillet, I put the lid on it, to warm the entire thing.  That worked just fine.  When I rinsed the kraut in the colander, I did it with warm water, so that warmed it enough that I didn't have to warm it separately.  Hubby asked for seconds, and both boys loved them too.  Definite winner for us.  :-)

Pumpkin Delight Dessert ***

This was delicious!  My grandma always made a cake she called a Robert Redford, which was basically a vanilla version of this.  Then my mom picked up and made a chocolate version, aptly named Chocolate Delight.  This one miraculously popped up on my Pinterest feed the very same day that my mom asked me to bring a dessert for a family get-together.  It was perfect!  I made it that morning, and it was good to go by the afternoon.  I will say, though, there were a couple pieces left over that the kids had for snack the next day, and it is so much better the second day.  I would probably make it the day before next time.  But however you look at it, this is a total winner for us!  I made it in a 9x13, and if you do that, be sure to follow her notes about increasing the crust amounts.  You don't want to skimp on that deliciousness!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ LilLuna)

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Butter (softened)
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup Pecans, chopped
8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1 cup Powdered sugar
3 cups Whipped topping, divided
2-1/2 cups Milk
3 small pkgs. White chocolate instant pudding mix (or vanilla) - 3.4 oz. boxes
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin puree
1 tsp. Pumpkin spice

Layer 1: Mix flour, butter and 1/2 cup pecans together. Press into a sprayed 9x9 OR 9x13 pan. (For a 9x13 or if you would like more crust add an additional 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup chopped pecans.) Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then remove and let cool.
Layer 2: Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar, add 1 cup of the whipped topping then spread over cooled crust.
Layer 3: Mix milk, pudding mix, canned pumpkin, pumpkin spice and 1 cup whipped topping until smooth. Spread over top of layer 2.
Layer 4: Spread remaining 1 cup of whipped topping and sprinkle pecans.
Let chill for 3 hours or until set.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crockpot Stacked Enchiladas ****

We love this more and more each time I make it.  I know that a lot of people don't like the doughy texture that tortillas get in the crockpot, but honestly, it's one of our favorite parts.  The 10-year-old even picked his tortillas out and ate them first before finishing the rest, lol.  I'm sure the corn tortillas would hold up much better than the flour, though.  We just happen to like the flour.  They all told me over and over how much they loved it.  I personally had to fight the urge to go back for seconds. ;-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 (14 ounce) package taco-size corn or flour tortillas
1 (20 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
3 cups shredded cooked chicken or cooked pot roast
1 (10 ounce) can corn
1 teaspoon cumin
1-1/2 cups light cream cheese
1 (4 oz) can green chilies
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can refried beans
1 can sliced black olives (optional)

Mix cooked meat, cumin, cream cheese, green chilies, corn, and onion together.
Spray inside of crock pot with nonstick spray, then pour a little enchilada sauce on the bottom.
Place one tortilla in the bottom of the pot.
Spread 1/4 of the beans on the tortilla.
Cover with 1/4 of the meat mixture.
Pour 1/5 enchilada sauce on top of meat.
Sprinkle some cheese on top of sauce.
Add another tortilla and continue layering until you run out of meat mixture.
You should still have some cheese and sauce left.
Top with a tortilla, then pour remaining enchilada sauce over all.
Cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
When it's done, sprinkle remaining cheese (and black olives, if desired) on top, and replace lid until cheese melts.
Cut into wedges with plastic spatula to serve.

Previous Posts:
4/16/12 ~ We've had this several times, but it's been a few years.  I'm still going through and trying to work some old favorites into our menus, to see how our tastes have changed.  The last time we had this, Monkey 1 was 4, and Monkey 2 was 2.  They're now 8 and 6.  How time flies!  They loved it this time around.  The recipe has changed so much over the years that I'm no longer even sure where I got it.  I do love it, though.  We prefer the flour tortillas, because they soften up so well.  Others may not be as fond of that and would prefer the texture of the corn.  Either way, you can't go wrong.  :)  This time, I used b/s chicken thighs, since I had some on hand.  In the past, I've used frozen shredded chicken and cooked it 6 1/2 hours on low.  It was still delicious!  It's a very forgiving recipe, which is always nice.  As usual, I served it with my Quick Spanish Rice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Easy Crockpot Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup **

This was just okay for us.  The 12-year-old loved it, but the rest of us thought it was just so-so.  I really love the Chicken and Wild Rice soup at Panera, and the fact that this tasted nothing like it probably did a lot to stand in the way for me.  I did use wild rice, but that wouldn't have changed the taste.  I can't describe it, but the flavors just didn't blend very well.  Oh well.  Back to the drawing board!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ BackforSeconds)

6 cups chicken stock
2 chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
2 bay leaves
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cups long grain rice (NOT quick cooking rice)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
10oz corn

1. Add everything to the crock pot except the rice, corn, flour and milk. Cover and cook for 8 hours. The chicken will cook in the broth and add more flavor to the soup.
2. Halfway through cooking add the rice (or you can stir in already cooked rice at the end).
3. About 30 minutes prior to serving, shred the chicken. In a small container with a lid shake together flour and milk really well and stir into soup. Add Corn. Let cook for 30 minutes more to allow the soup to thicken.
*NOTE: It seems like newer crock pots cook much faster than the older ones, so please keep that in mind. My crock pot is newer and cooks very hot. I cook this soup on low on the 8 hour setting and it is done in 4 1/2 hours. I add the rice about an hour before it's done.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mexican Beef-Stuffed Peppers (Crockpot) ***

First off, I apologize for the picture.  It is quite possibly the very worst one I've ever taken.  While I was snapping it, the 12-year-old dropped his entire plate on the floor.  Plate was fine.  Food was not. :-(  We were already in a rush to eat and head out for the 10-year-old's soccer tournament, so this picture is the only one I got.  I'll shoot for a better one next time.

That said, the recipe below is doubled from the one posted on Taste of Home, just because I needed extras for lunches (and to drop on the floor, apparently).  The original recipe is in the link under the title.  I didn't change anything but the amounts, though.  I have a 7-quart crockpot, and it will comfortably hold 7 peppers.  I made 4 green and 3 red.  The red was my favorite.  The 12-year-old liked the green, and the 10-year-old said he didn't like the pepper part at all.  Oh well.  He did love the stuffing, so it's still no big deal.  I used ground turkey, just because that's our preference.  It worked beautifully.  I've always wanted to make stuffed peppers, but I've never had time.  We love the Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole, but it's just not the same.  Now that I'm temporarily working at home, it was the perfect opportunity!  Hubby and I loved it.  I am already planning on making it again!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TasteofHome)

6-7 medium green or sweet red peppers
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 packages (8.8 ounces) ready-to-serve Spanish rice
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided
3 cups salsa
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
1 cup water
4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds; set aside. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
Stir in the rice, 2 cups cheese, salsa and pepper sauce. Spoon into peppers. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Pour water around peppers.
Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until peppers are tender and filling is heated through. Top with remaining cheese; sprinkle with cilantro. Yield: 6-7 servings.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Slow Cooker Ham and White Beans ****

Last weekend, we went to a nearby harvest festival.  Every year, they have a little stand selling white beans with ham.  It always smells delicious, but there are so many other (more exciting) foods to sample that I rarely get around to having the beans. So this year, I came home craving them something fierce.  I went straight to the store, and the very next morning, these beans were in my crockpot.

Now, first off, I'll say that this is not a fancy recipe.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Truthfully, it should probably be one of those "make it up as you go" things, but I kind of suck at planning those.  Recipes like that can only happen spur of the moment for me.  For everything else, I need a recipe.  Now, I can easily change around any recipe and even turn it into something completely different than was originally written.  I just need something to get me started.  This is perfect for that.  It really needs no changes to what's written, though.  I didn't measure anything, but I just kind of eyeballed all of the ingredients.  I went with ham steaks cut into cubes, and I probably had a bit too much in there.  But other than that, it was great.  I will absolutely make this again and again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ PlainChicken)

1 lb package dried northern beans
ham bone, hocks, shanks or diced ham (about 1 pound)
2 tsp onion powder
6 cups water
salt & pepper to taste

Rinse and sort the beans for any pebbles. Add the rinsed beans, onion powder, salt, pepper, and ham to the crock pot. Add water. Cover and cook on low about 8 hours, until beans are tender. Remove ham bone, shanks or hocks and pull off the meat. Add meat to the crock pot and mix. Serve with cornbread.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Crockpot Pizza Quinoa ****

You guys.  Seriously.  I am just speechless.  This was that good.  And I did it all by myself!  As I've mentioned, we're trying to eat healthier.  Mainly, just trying to squeeze in more veggies and less pasta.  That's the biggest part of it.  So I've been trying out stuff with quinoa.  Well, this week I've been really craving Crockpot Pizza.  I love that stuff.  Since pasta is a no-no more than a couple times a week, I just knew that quinoa would be the perfect sub.  I searched high and low on the internet, but I couldn't find a single recipe that combined pizza with quinoa.  So I winged it.  And it.was.fabulous.  It got 2 thumbs up from every single person.  That's huge.  My 10-year-old just came in here and said, "That might be one of the best things I ever ate!"  I sprinkled a little cheese on top of each serving, just to make it prettier, but it's really not necessary.  The cheese inside is plenty.  I am actually sitting here fighting myself to keep from going back for seconds!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1-1/2 lbs ground turkey, browned
5 oz baby spinach
16 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
8 oz frozen chopped green peppers and onions (fajita blend will also work)
3 (14 oz) jars pizza sauce
4 oz sliced black olives
1-3/4 cups water (I put mine in the pizza sauce jars and slosh them around to get the extra sauce out)
1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 package mini pepperoni

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and stir well to combine.  I like to save a little cheese and pepperoni to put on top, but it's not necessary.
Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low 6-7 hours.
That's it!  It's that simple!
Serves 6-8

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Caramelized Brown Sugar Cinnamon Grilled Pineapple ***

As long as we were using the grill for hamburgers and Grilled Brussels Sprouts, I figured we might as well put some dessert on there too. :-)  This is nothing fancy, but the sauce is to-die-for.  I seriously could have just eaten that with a spoon.  A small piece of pineapple fell off into the sauce as I was dipping them, and I popped it in my life.  I actually think I liked it even better than the end result, lol.  But it's sugar, butter, and cinnamon.  Like there was ever any doubt that it would be delicious!  I didn't bother with what she said about using the pan.  I just mixed it up in a bowl and then dipped the pineapple slices into it.  As sticky as it is, I think the pan idea would be way too messy for me.  But however you do it, this is definitely a winner in our book!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheRecipeCritic)

One pineapple cut into spears
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, melted
1 tsp Cinnamon

Lay the pineapple spears on a pan. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Whisk together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. (If it seems thick, I always put it in the microwave for a few seconds so that it can easily pour on top of the pineapple.) Spread on top of the pineapple.
Grill for about 7-10 minutes or until it is starting to turn golden brown. I always like to brush the excess sauce from the pan back on top of the pineapple before serving.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts ***

I've mentioned it before, but we love Brussels sprouts around our house.  Even the boys have loved them since they were little.  We hit the lottery with two kids who love so many veggies that are often despised by little ones.  Hubby texted me during the day today and said that he was in the mood for burgers on the grill.  He's still trying to eat semi-healthy, so I figured I'd try to find a veggie to grill at the same time.  I already had this one saved in my Pinterest files, so it was a pretty easy decision for me.

Long story short, we loved it.  It's nothing that will sweep you off your feet by any means, and I wouldn't suggest it for anyone who doesn't already enjoy sprouts.  That said, though, we'll definitely be making them like this more often.  It's so simple to throw this together and pop it on the grill alongside the burgers!  Ideally, I would have liked to have sprinkled a tad bit of Parmesan on each serving, but I was out.  I'll definitely do it next time, though.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SugarDishMe)

4-6 cups fresh Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Aluminum foil

Toss the Brussels Sprouts with the olive oil. Set aside.
Heat the grill to medium to medium high (between 350 and 425).
Make a foil pouch. Place the Brussels sprouts in the center of the pouch and roll up the sides leaving the top open.
Sprinkle the Brussels sprouts with the kosher salt.
Toss the pouch on the grill. Close the lid. Stir after about 5 minutes.
They will be done in 15-20 minutes. Some pieces will be crisp and charred, others will be golden, and others will be green and look steamed.
Remove the Brussels sprouts from the pouch to a plate and serve.

Monday, September 21, 2015

One Pan Philly Cheesesteak Pasta **

I was really excited to make this, but it just really seemed like something was missing in it.  Once the peppers cook in the liquid with the noodles, they lose their bite completely.  The roast beef's flavor is sucked out by the liquid too.  It just didn't have enough flavor, in my opinion.  Even a little bit of salt would have helped out some.  I don't know.  Maybe I shouldn't have used such lean meat.  I love the idea of it, so I definitely want to give it another shot.  I just need to figure out how to improve on it without changing the "cheesesteak" theme.  I need to look for some other similar meals and get some ideas, I guess.  Anyway, it was decent, but it wasn't what I had hoped it would be.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ YellowBlissRoad)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1 small onion
2 cups thinly sliced bell peppers (about 3 - red, and/or green)
1 pound thinly sliced, rare deli roast beef
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1/2 pound of small dry pasta, like Rotini (about 2 1/2 cups)
6-10 thin slices of deli Provolone Cheese

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a 12" skillet.
Add onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and onions are clear.
Cut roast beef into one inch thick slices. Add to the veggies in the pan.
Add pasta, broth and water, stir, and bring mixture to a boil.
Cover pan and reduce heat to low.
Cook for 18-20 minutes. Uncover and if there is still a lot of liquid in the pan, turn heat back up to medium-high and cook, stirring often for a few minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed.
Turn off heat and top pasta with cheese slices. Replace cover for about five minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Divide into bowls and serve.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Slow Cooker German Lentils with Sausage *

This one just did not work for us.  It smelled amazing, but even after 10 hours, the lentils still hadn't softened up enough.  The nutmeg kind of threw off the flavor combo too.  It just didn't go well, in my opinion.  I doubt we'll be trying this one again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FiveHeartHome)

1 pound dried brown lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
10 cups chicken stock or broth
1 pound grated carrots (or less, depending on your preference)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 to 2 cups of cubed kielbasa sausage (or ham)
Apple cider vinegar for serving, optional

Place lentils in slow cooker. Add chicken stock, carrots, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, parsley, garlic powder, celery salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in sausage.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until lentils are tender.
Before serving, remove bay leaf and stir in 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, if desired.
Tips, Tricks, & Variations:
You may use green lentils if your grocery store doesn't carry brown, but I find that they take longer to cook before becoming tender.
Since the type of chicken broth that you use can dictate the saltiness of the dish, taste at the end of the cooking time and add more salt, if necessary.
I usually buy a 1 pound link of sausage, use half of it in this soup, and then freeze the other half to use the next time I make the recipe.
You may brown the sausage by sautéing it in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker, if desired.
The first time you make this recipe, watch the liquid level carefully and add more broth if necessary. If you're at home, give it a quick stir halfway through. About an hour before you're ready to eat, stir and check the doneness of the lentils and turn the crock pot up to high for the last hour of cooking time if they're still too firm.
It's normal for the top and sides of this soup to become darker in color. The flavor is not affected, so just stir and everything will blend together.
If you're not sure about using the apple cider vinegar, start with a few drops and taste before adding more. But I really do think it makes a difference (for the better)!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crockpot Banana Bread Quinoa *

This was another one that just didn't quite do it for us.  It was good, in an odd way, but it was just way too sweet for my tastes.  It wasn't that it was quinoa, because I do love quinoa.  I even love it in the crockpot.  It's just not quite right in this one.  For one thing, the bananas just don't blend into it very well.  They taste almost like they're going bad (and mine were just ripe, not over-ripened, as the recipe suggests).  It just didn't work for me.  I'm definitely going to keep trying to find a similar recipe that we can enjoy, though.  I just love how versatile quinoa can be!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheRealisticNutritionist)

1 cup of quinoa (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup of Seasonal Coffee-mate Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie *
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 cup water
1 1/2 banana (past ripe)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*NOTE! If you can’t find that kind of creamer or you’d prefer to use something else, substitute light cream and add about 1 – 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon.

Mash the banana in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar and walnuts together.
Pour quinoa, creamer (or light cream), milk, water, butter and vanilla into the crock pot. Add the mashed banana and stir to evenly distribute. Sprinkle the sugar and walnut mixture into the quinoa and stir to mix.
Cook on low for 4 – 6 hours, or until the quinoa is fully cooked. If you need to, add additional liquid or sugar to the mixture for taste.
Serve warm and garish with slices of banana!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Salmon-Lentil Patties ***

This was much better than I anticipated it would be.  The entire family loved it.  The only thing keeping me from making it a 4-star meal is the lengthy process involved.  I was afraid this one would be a little too "out there" for my meat-and-potatoes hubby, but he was just as in love with this thing as I was.  Even the kids went on and on about how amazing it was.  The only change I made was that I used chili powder in place of the cayenne, just because I couldn't seem to locate my cayenne in the spice cabinet.  I'd definitely go that route again, though, because the chili powder really added to the flavor, in my opinion.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SkinnyMS)

1 (8 ounce) Wild Alaskan Salmon fillet, or 1 (14 ounce) can salmon, well drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cooked lentils, drained well
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 finely diced onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup whole wheat Panko, or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher or sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to broil.
If using salmon fillet, line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil, place salmon on cookie sheet, spread olive oil on both sides. Broil on both sides 5-6 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees. Allow to cool then remove skin.
Place salmon in a medium mixing bowl and flake using a fork. Add egg, lentils, onion, bell pepper, Panko and spices to salmon, mash either by hand or use a potato masher. Shape salmon into 4 patties. Or, use a large circular cookie cutter, pack and press salmon mixture to form patties.
Add canola oil to a large skillet, turn to medium heat and cook patties on each side for about 5 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned.
Serve salmon patties as a main dish or as a burger style sandwich with your favorite condiments.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used chili powder in place of the cayenne pepper. Yum!

Very Best Brussels Sprouts Ever (they really aren't) *

We were NOT impressed with this.  That says a lot, considering that we are bonkers for brussels sprouts.  I think it's the dijon that messes the whole thing up.  I don't mind the bitterness of dijon or sprouts, but when you put them together, they just do NOT mesh well.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ AYearofSlowCooking)

1 pound brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (ooh la la, fancy)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup water

Use a 2-quart slow cooker. Wash and trim the ends off of each Brussels sprout, and cut in half.
Toss into the cooker. Add butter, mustard, salt, pepper, and water. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 2 to 3.
Stir well to distribute the sauce before serving.
The sprouts on the edge get brown and bit crispy on the outer edge. This is a good thing, and not something to worry about!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa ****

We've never had quinoa.  Well, I've had it in salads and such, but I've never really tried it.  Hubby is on a diet and watching his calories and all, so I figured it was a good time to give quinoa a shot.  I knew it had a sort of "different" flavor when by itself, so for the first time we had it, I knew I wanted it in something with a long cook-time and enough levels of flavor that we wouldn't be able to judge the quinoa unfairly.  I also knew it needed to be a type of recipe that was familiar to us.  We love Mexican-type recipes, so this was my choice.  It has a long cook-time, so I knew it would kind of soften the flavor as well as the texture.

Long story short, we absolutely adored it.  I kid you not, my oldest (12) had seconds and is taking leftovers to school tomorrow.  That has never happened.  Literally.  In his entire school career, he has never asked to take leftovers.  So that tells you how much we loved this thing.  Since we were already going out on a limb with a new ingredient, I knew I couldn't get away with a meatless meal as well.  I bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it to add to the beginning with the beans.  Honestly, you couldn't even tell it was in there, but Hubby would know.  He's definitely not a fan of meatless meals, lol.  I let it cook for right at 7 hours on low.  I will be making this one a lot, though.  I served it with Roasted Asparagus.  Yum!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ LeCremeDeLaCrumb)

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can yellow corn, drained and rinsed
2 (15-ounce) cans of mild or medium red enchilada sauce, divided
1 (15-ounce) can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and green chilies
1 cup un-cooked quinoa + 1/2 cup water
4 ounces cream cheese (light or fat free is okay)
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper)
1 cup shredded Mexican style cheese
optional: chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, sour cream

Add beans, corn, 1 can of enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes and chilies, quinoa, water, cream cheese, and salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir everything together.
Pour remaining can of enchilada sauce on top, then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover and cook 4-5 hours on high or 5-7 hours on low.
Uncover, top with tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, and chopped cilantro and serve.
OP'S NOTES: For added flavor, I like to add 1 teaspoon each cumin and garlic powder.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I shredded a rotisserie chicken and added to crockpot with the beans.

Roasted Asparagus ****

I know this is one of those things where you really shouldn't need a recipe.  I needed some guidelines, though, lol.  We were trying quinoa for the first time tonight, and I was scared that Hubby and the kids might not go for it.  We all love asparagus, so I decided last minute that it might be a good idea to have something on the plate that I knew they would eat.  Turns out we really enjoyed the Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa, but everyone still ate every bite of their asparagus. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ CenterCutCook)

1 bunch asparagus (I usually try to find a bunch that is a little thicker, just because it roasts better. Generally when you're preparing asparagus, you want the thinner pieces, but for roasting, thicker works best)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (more or less to taste).

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
Rinse the asparagus and trim off the hard ends.
Toss the asparagus with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.
Arrange it in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast for about 15-18 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.
Options: Sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan cheese after it comes out of the oven OR squeeze  a bit of lime juice over the cooked asparagus. Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2015

One Pot Shrimp Parmesan Pasta ***

The original recipe was just for 4 servings, so the updates below are to make 6 servings.  For the original amounts, make sure to follow the link to Damn Delicious.

This was really good.  The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the fact that cooking the shrimp directly in the sauce gives the sauce more of a "fishy" taste than I like.  I think I would prefer to cook the shrimp separately and just add it at the end.  I know that it would defeat the "One Pot" portion of the title, but I really do think it would be better for my own personal tastes.  Other than that, no complaints.  The flavor was great.  We all loved it.  It didn't necessarily "wow" any of us, but it was a nice to change to our regular meals.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ DamnDelicious ~ with Amy's updates for 6 servings)

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 onion, diced
32 ounces Ragu Traditional Sauce
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
15 ounces uncooked fettuccine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1-1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cups baby spinach
1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion to the skillet, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in Ragú, chicken broth, red pepper flakes and fettuccine; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked through, about 18-20 minutes.
Stir in shrimp and spinach until the spinach begins to wilt and the shrimp is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.
Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crockpot Double Squash Casserole ****

We loved this so much!  I could seriously have eaten this and only this as my entire meal.  It was that good.  My youngest (10) actually asked for seconds of just the vegetables.  I was amazed!  Then he turned around and asked if I could make it again for supper tomorrow night.  That makes this mama's heart so happy!  The only change I made was to use Italian breadcrumbs instead of the Italian seasoning.  I'll keep doing that, but otherwise, there were no changes I'd want to make whatsoever.  This is going in my "Amy's Favorites" file!  I will make it often.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1-1/2 lbs zucchini
1-1/2 lbs crookneck yellow squash
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine
3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cut squash into 1/2-inch pieces and place in bottom of crockpot.
Sprinkle with seasonings and gently toss.
Dot with butter; sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until tender.

Mexican Chicken Tater Tot Casserole ***

I decided to try this one based on the fact that it had tater tots (yummilicious!), looked quick/easy, and was similar to one of our favorite dishes ever, Mexican Chicken.  It really didn't taste a lot like our Mexican Chicken, simply because of the lack of Doritos, but it was still really good.  I used the mild Rotel, since that's what we typically prefer.  I also used a rotisserie chicken, just because it was easiest.  I would say, though, that you really need the 32-oz bag of tater tots.  I used about 3/4 of that bag, just because I like them lined up close together.  That did mean I had to cook it for an extra 5 minutes, but it was totally worth it, just to have more tot-vana.

We all enjoyed it, but I kind of wonder if it might be better with some canned corn added in there.  Might be interesting to play around with it a bit.  Still a great recipe as-is, though.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ InsideBruCrewLife)

3 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 (10-oz) can hot diced tomatoes and chilies (Rotel), drained
1 (10.5-oz) ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 green onions, diced
16 ounces frozen tater tot potatoes
2 cups Mexican blend cheese

Stir together the chicken, tomatoes, soup, and green onions. Spread in a greased 11x8 baking dish.
Spread the frozen tater tots on top of the chicken mixture. Cover with cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese. Be sure to watch it carefully, so it doesn't burn. Top with chopped cilantro and serve immediately. Serves 6.
*If you do not like spicy things, use a mild can of tomatoes and chilies.
**You can make this dish early in the day and keep it refrigerated until 30 minutes before you need to bake it. Reduce baking time by 5 minutes.
***Amy/luckymommy's notes: I used mild Rotel, a rotisserie chicken, and a 32-oz bag of tater tots.  It took closer to 30 minutes to cook.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Barbecued Pork Pot Pie ****

This is one of our very favorite recipes, but since it's kind of time-consuming, I tend to only make it every now and then.  That makes it even more special to us.  :)  I normally use roasted red pepper in place of the chopped sweet red pepper, green chilies in place of the Anaheim pepper, and two boxes of Jiffy cornbread in place of the cornbread twists (we're big Jiffy fans, lol).  I usually put the pork in the crockpot that morning, and then it's ready to shred by suppertime.  This makes a full 9x13, with plenty left over for lunches.  We could easily make it last for two suppers, but I don't like leftovers, other than lunch time.  I'm picky that way, lol.  The kids even loved it.  My 10-year-old actually tried to talk me into letting him have thirds!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Taste of Home)

1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 large Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 can (14-1/2 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 bottle (12 oz) chili sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 square (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 cups cubed cooked pork loin roast (2 lbs)
1 tube (11-1/2 oz) refrigerated corn bread twists

In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the onion, celery, pepper, and garlic in oil until tender. Add cumin and coriander and cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add vinegar and cook for 2 minutes.
Set aside 1/2 cup broth. Add chili sauce, brown sugar, chocolate, Worcestershire sauce and remaining broth to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine cornstarch and reserved broth until smooth and add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in pork. Transfer to a 13x9x2 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Roll out corn bread dough and cut into strips. Twist and place over filling in a lattice design. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 12 servings
** Amy’s notes: I couldn’t find the refrigerated corn bread twists, so I just mixed up two boxes of Jiffy cornbread and poured over the top in a criss-cross design. I also used a jar of roasted red pepper in place of the sweet red pepper and chopped green chilies in place of the Anaheim pepper.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff ***

This was super simple but still pretty yummy.  I added a carton of mushrooms, and I would highly recommend that.  The really add a lot to the flavor, in my opinion.  Hubby and the kids loved it, but hubby said it seemed like it was missing something that he couldn't put his finger on.  I used whole wheat noodles, so I'm sure that was part of it.  Maybe I'll use a bit more worchestershire next time.  The directions say to brown the meat and cook the onions, but I just dumped everything (except the noodles) directly into the pot.  I cooked on high for 2 hours and low for 2 hours.  I did use a kind of meat labeled carne pasada.  Loved it.  Will do that from now on.  It's just little strips of meat, but since my only complaint with stroganoff is the beef chunks, they are the perfect solution for me!

(luckmommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ EazyPeazyMealz)

8 ounces cream cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 cup milk
1 tsp garlic salt
1 lb beef stew meat
1 large onion
1 package egg noodles

Start by chopping up your onion, and putting it in fry pan with your stew meat.
Season with the garlic salt.
Cook just until the onion starts to get translucent and meat is browned on outside, but not cooked through.
Mix together milk, mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce, and cream cheese. Stir well so not too lumpy.
Put sauce mixture and meat and onions in crock pot, put lid on, and cook on low for 4-6 hours. You can stir occasionally.
Just before finished, boil water and cook noodles according to package directions.
When noodles are cooked through, and drained, stir into crock pot. Let sit about 5 minutes, then serve.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I added a carton of mushrooms and just mixed all ingredients except noodles directly into the crockpot, without browning the meat.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Creamy Mushroom Chicken (Crockpot) ***

We just love this one.  It's been several years since I've made it, though.  I have no idea why, since it's so darn easy, and the kids just love it.  My stores never carry jars of the mushroom gravy, so I just use two packets of the dry mushroom gravy mix and then put it and the required two cups of water directly into the crockpot. After the chicken is done cooking, I shred it and put it back in the gravy.  I then cook a bag of egg noodles and add them directly to the crockpot.  I also like to sprinkle a little shredded cheddar on each serving.  Really good comfort food.  The chicken totally takes on the flavor of the gravy, so there's lots of flavor in each bite.  The chicken stays amazingly tender and didn't even dry up the time that I put it in frozen and cooked it for 8 hours.  This would be a perfect weekend lunch for us.  It's great as a supper, but it's just so convenient for everyone to be able to grab a quick bowl when they're ready to eat.  Simple!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ from "Fix It and Forget It")

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
12 oz jar mushroom gravy
1 c milk
8 oz pkg cream cheese, cubed
4-1/2 oz can chopped green chilies
1 pkg dry Italian salad dressing

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
Cover. Cook on Low 6 hours.
Serve over noodles or rice.
* Amy's notes: I mix two packets of dry gravy mix and two cups of water along with the other ingredients, except for the chicken, into the crockpot.  I stir until mixed well, and then add the chicken.  I've also subbed frozen b/s chicken breasts and then upped the time to 8 hours.  I like to shred the chicken after it's cooked and add cooked egg noodles to the crock.  I then sprinkle a little shredded cheddar on each serving.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Crockpot Texas Hash ***

Loved this one again.  We haven't had it in a while, so I thought I'd pop it back into the rotation.  Definitely still a winner.  I do think, though, that I'd like to add a bit more rice next time. Maybe even double it.  Just to break up the meat a bit.  This time, I used a frozen fajita blend with green peppers, red peppers, and onions, and then I threw in a can of corn as well.  I didn't bother cooking it with the meat beforehand, though.  I just threw it all in the crockpot together.  I need to do this one again soon, just to see how the rice thing does.  I'm curious now. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

2 lbs lean ground beef or venison
2 medium onions, diced (1-1/2 cups)
2 green bell peppers or red bell peppers, diced (1-1/2 cups)
2 (16 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup water
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or grated (3/4 cup) (optional)
1/4 cup sliced spring onion (optional)

Brown ground beef, breaking meat into small pieces, cooking until pink disappears from meat.
Pour into colander and drain.
Place cooked meat and all other ingredients into crock pot and stir thoroughly.
Cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. (If you can still see individual grains of rice, keep cooking it until they disappear.)
Sprinkle cheese and spring onions over each serving, if desired.
* Amy's notes: I subbed fire-roasted diced tomatoes, instant brown rice, ground turkey, and a frozen stir-fry mix.  I cooked the stir-fry veggies in the pan with the turkey, and I only had to cook in the crock for 4-5 hours.

Previous Posts:
4/5/10 ~ Oh my goodness, this was so good!  I sent some home with my mom, just because I couldn't believe how good it was, lol.  I used ground turkey, as always.  I also subbed fire-roasted diced tomatoes, just because we prefer them, and instant brown rice, because that's all I had.  After cooking the turkey, I added frozen chopped onion and a frozen stir-fry mix (green peppers, red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and snap peas) to the pan and let them cook until softened.  I then drained everything and added it to the crock.  Because I had already semi-cooked the veggies and used instant rice, mine only cooked for about 4-5 hours on low before it was done.  I added a little bit of shredded cheese to each serving.  This will definitely be a keeper for us!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Slow Cooker Bacon Ranch Chicken and Pasta ***

This was the second time I made this one, and I made so many changes that it's just easier for me to post the recipe as I did it.  The original recipe is in the link under the title, though.  I definitely did not come up with this amazing dish, so I want to give credit where credit is due. :-)

We loved it even more the second time.  It's just so simple to throw together.  It makes a ton, so you can easily halve the recipe for a smaller crock.  I always make extras so that we have enough for lunches or a weekend meal.  The addition of mushrooms this time around was just an afterthought to use up some that I had on hand, but I will never make it without them again!  Canned mushrooms wouldn't be the same, though, so if you don't have fresh on hand, I'd probably just leave them out.  I'm definitely making this again soon!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ original recipe by FamilyFreshMeals)

4-5 chicken breasts, frozen
1 packet real bacon pieces
1 carton sliced fresh mushrooms
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (1 oz) packets dry ranch dressing mix
2 (10.75 oz) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup water
16 oz. angel hair spaghetti, cooked

Spray 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken breasts in cooker.
Combine remaining ingredients (except pasta) on top of chicken and stir well.
Cook on low 6-7 hours (until chicken is fully cooked).  Shred chicken and combine well; stir in cooked pasta and serve warm.

Previous posts:
4/15/15 ~ This wowed all of us.  It's unbelievably quick to throw together, but it tastes like you spent longer.  I doubled the recipe so that we'd have enough leftovers for lunches, but it was a little too much.  I think next time I'll multiply it by 1.5 instead.  I used the real bacon pieces in place of strips of bacon, since that's what I had on hand.  I also went with angelhair pasta in place of spaghetti, because that's just our preference.  It seemed senseless to me to dirty an extra dish, so when I threw it all together, I put the chicken in the bottom of the crock and mixed the other ingredients right on top of it.  Worked out perfectly.  I'll definitely be making this one again.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Crockpot Pizza Tortellini ***

This was really good.  I have an old BBC recipe for Crockpot Pizza that we love, but as I was shopping for the ingredients, I decided to remake it into a tortellini dish.  The kids and I love tortellini, so when coupled with pizza, it was just bound to be a slam dunk.  I originally made it with more water and more tortellini, but I've lowered the amounts in the final recipe.  I used the frozen chopped peppers and onions.  You can obviously sub in ground beef.  Ground turkey is just our preference.  I definitely want to make this again!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

12-oz dried spinach and cheese tortellini, uncooked
1-1/2 lbs ground turkey, browned and drained
8-oz can sliced mushrooms
8-oz can sliced black olives
1 packet sliced pepperoni
3 (14-oz) jars pizza sauce
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green pepper
14.5-oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups water (enough to cover the mixture)
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix all ingredients together in crockpot.
Cook on low 7 hours.
Top each serving with a sprinkle of mozzarella.
Serves 6-8

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sausage and Veggie Pasta ***

We loved this so much!  Before you stir in the pasta, it sort of smells like one of my lentil recipes (which is a good thing!).  The cheese thoroughly breaks down during cooking, and it's just this yummy, creamy sauce.  The kids ate every bite, including all the vegetables!  Not only that, but they didn't see the vegetables as actual vegetables, so I got away with serving another veggie (broccoli) on the side!  Score!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ inspired by Fix-It-and-Forget-It)

2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup butter
2 cups shredded fiesta blend cheese (or your favorite cheese blend)
2 lbs kielbasa, sliced into quarters
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cups carrots, shredded
1 lb rotini pasta

Heat beef stock to boiling on stovetop.  Add in butter and stir until melted.
Add boiling stock to slow cooker.  Slowly whisk in flour until there are no clumps.  Add remaining ingredients except pasta.  Stir well until combined.
Cook on low 6 to 8 hours, until vegetables are soft and tender.
When finished cooking, prepare pasta as directed on box. Drain and mix into crockpot.  Stir gently until well mixed.
Serve warm.
Yield: 8 servings
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Seven-Layer Casserole (Crockpot) **

We were super disappointed with this one.  The flavor was great.  No complaints there.  But it's like a soup.  You can't even tell that the rice used to be rice.  I've done lots of rice dishes in the past with no problems.  The few that gave us trouble just ended up with bloaty, mushy rice.  I can't even describe this, except to say that the rice just pretty much dissolved.  I scooped a full cup of extra juice out of the crock when I was serving.  Just a big mess.  We ate it, since the flavor was okay, but I wouldn't make it again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Fix-It-and-Forget-It)

1 cup uncooked rice
1 (12-oz) can whole-kernel corn, undrained
2 (8-oz) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 lbs ground beef
6 to 8 slices lean bacon

Spread uncooked rice in bottom of slow cooker. Spoon corn with juice over rice.
Mix together tomato sauce, water, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Spoon half the tomato sauce mixture over corn. Sprinkle with onion and bell pepper.
Crumble uncooked ground beef over vegetables. Top with remaining tomato sauce mixture.
Cut bacon slice into fourth and arrange over top.
Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, until vegetables and beef are as tender as you like them. Uncover slow cooker during last 15 minutes of cooking time to crisp bacon.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Crockpot Angel Chicken Rotini****

Holy.freaking.cow.  This is dangerously delicious.  I based it off of our old favorite Angel Chicken recipe, but I made a few changes.  Screw the old recipe.  This new one is our go-to from now on.  The rotini soaks up the sauce beautifully, while still maintaining it's firmness.  My kids rarely ask for leftovers, but they are already asking if they can have the rest for lunch tomorrow!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

4 large uncooked chicken breasts (rotisserie chicken also works well)
1/2 cup butter
8 oz garden vegetable flavored cream cheese (chives and onions is also good)
2 (1-oz) packages dried Italian salad dressing mix
2 (10.75-oz) cans Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup
1 (14.5-oz) can chicken broth
1 container sliced fresh mushrooms
1-1/2 lbs rotini pasta (cook according to box directions)

Place the chicken in crock pot. Cube cream cheese and butter over chicken.  Pour in soup and broth, and then stir in the salad dressing and mushrooms.
Cook on low 5-6 hours.
While pasta cooks, shred chicken in crockpot.
Before serving, stir in cooked rotini pasta.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Crockpot Cajun Chicken Spaghetti ***

We loved this!  I based it off of a recipe on Tablespoon, but I made so many changes that would affect the end result (good or bad) that it felt wrong using their recipe here.  So anyway, this was great.  I will most definitely make it again.  Even the kids were begging for seconds.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ inspired by Tablespoon)

3-4 uncooked large chicken breasts, diced
1 lb turkey Polish sausage
30 oz reduced-fat Alfredo sauce
1 package frozen fajita blend green peppers, red peppers, and onions
28 oz fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1 lb dried angelhair pasta

Combine all ingredients except pasta in crockpot.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Follow directions on package for cooking pasta.  Drain and add to crockpot.
Stir until all noodles are covered.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Creamy Pineapple Dessert ***

I don't know what it is about summer, but I always crave pineapple-y things when it gets hot out.  Add in some nice creamy Cool Whip, and Amy is a happy girl.  This isn't a new recipe, but it's been a year or so since we've had it.  We love it every time.  Even hubby tried and loved it this time around, and he usually turns his nose up at these kinds of sweets.  I need to make it again soon.

Photo from Screaming Sardine

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via Screaming Sardine)

Large can of crushed pineapple and juice (can also substitute chunks)
Vanilla pudding mix – large box
Whipped topping – 8 ounces

Mix all of the ingredients together, including the juice in the can of pineapple. You can also add some
coconut if you’d like. Chill. Enjoy!

Previous posts:
4/29/12 ~ We loved this!  I threw it together in just a few minutes and let it chill for a couple hours.  The kids begged for seconds, lol.  It's nothing extraordinary, but after taking our evening walk, it was the perfect cool, creamy dessert to come home to. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken ***

We loved this!  It reminded me a lot of our long-time favorite Mexican Chicken recipe.  I didn't have any cooked chicken on hand, so I just grabbed a rotisserie chicken and used that.  I also forgot to drain the Rotel, but it didn't seem to matter.  Mine cooked on low for about 5.5 hours and was perfect.  Kind of makes me want to try the Mexican Chicken in the crockpot.  So good, though.  Seriously, I'd have had seconds if my tummy had room!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SixSistersStuff)

14 ounces tortilla chips, white or yellow
5 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chilies, drain slightly (Rotel)
10.75 ounces cream of chicken soup
10.75 ounces cream of mushroom soup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend)
1 cup chicken broth

Spray slow cooker with non stick cooking spray.
Spread a layer of tortilla chips in the crock pot to cover the bottom. (It's ok if they are overlapping.)
In a medium sized bowl combine the chicken, diced tomatoes, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, garlic and onion.
Stir until combined.
Place half of the chicken mixture on top of the chips.
Then top with half of the cheese.
Then repeat layers on top of cheese...chips, chicken mixture and cheese.
Cook on low for about 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
Serve with extra tortilla chips.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Slow Cooker Mexican Hashbrown Casserole ***

This doesn't really seem like it should work, but it just does.  I actually used a bigger bag of hashbrowns, and I didn't even thaw them.  It was totally fine.  In actuality, they probably held up better from frozen than they would have from thawed.  There wasn't too much liquid in it or anything.  I'll do it that way again.  For the onion and peppers, I just used a frozen fajita blend (also not thawed).  I don't like regular stewed tomatoes, so I went with petite diced.  I'm thinking I might try it with Rotel in place of the tomatoes and chilies sometime.  It was all great, though.  The hubs and kids bragged on it quite a bit!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SixSistersStuff)

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 package taco seasoning
4 oz cream cheese
1 (16 oz) package frozen hashbrowns
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place the hashbrowns in a bowl with half of the chopped red pepper, half of the chopped green pepper, half of the onion, and 1 cup of the cheese. Add 1 tbsp of the taco seasoning mix from the package and toss everything together. Set aside.
Saute the ground beef, onions, and reserved peppers in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat until the ground beef is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.
Reduce heat to medium low and stir in the remaining taco seasoning, green chilies, and stewed tomatoes.
Stir in the cream cheese.
Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1/2 of the hash brown mixture onto the bottom, layer half of the ground beef mixture, a half cup of the remaining cheddar cheese, the second half of the potatoes, the last half of the ground beef, and the last half cup of cheese.
Cook on the low setting for 4-6 hours.
Top with tomatoes, avocados, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, and any other toppings you love!
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used a frozen fajita blend for the peppers and onion and didn't thaw the potatoes.  It cooked perfectly at 6 hours on low.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Apple Pie Bubble-Up ****

This.was.phenomenal.  It's some kind of crazy mix-up of cinnamon rolls and apple dumplings.  I doubled the recipe and still used a 9x13.  We needed to feed more than 8, so I thought I'd better be on the safe side.  I just added an extra 10 minutes on to the cook time.  It was absolutely perfect.  There were two tiny pieces left afterwards, and I let the kids have them for breakfast.  Just as good reheated!

The butterscotch chips added an extra little level of flavor, but it honestly would have been just as good without them.  I may try it with halving them next time and eventually try it without them in there at all.  I also wonder how it would be with caramel chips.  Or with using peaches instead of apples.  The possibilities are endless!

We were in such a rush to eat it all at our 4th of July get-together that I didn't get to take a pick.  I'll have to do that next time.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ PlainChicken)

1 (12-oz) can refrigerated Pillsbury Grands Jr biscuits (10 count)
1 (21-oz) can apple pie filling
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine apple pie filling, cinnamon and butterscotch chips. Using a spatula, chop up apple slices into bite-sized pieces. Cut biscuits into 4 pieces. Stir into apple mixture.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes. Combine powdered sugar and milk. Drizzle over baked casserole.
Yield: Serves 8
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I doubled the entire recipe and put it in a 9x13. I then added on an extra 10 minutes of cook time. Next time, I'll cut the butterscotch in half.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Popeye's Red Beans and Rice ***

Even though there's one just a couple minutes from my house, I actually have never tried Popeye's.  However, I love red beans and rice, so when I first saw this a few years ago, I knew I had to give it a shot.  This is probably the hundredth time I've made it since then.  So good!  Not a bit spicy, thanks to adding the hot sauce after cooking.  Hubby and I love ours with the hot sauce, but it is easily left out of the kids' servings.  The OP said she used hot sausage links and goya beans, but I just use turkey smoked sausage and pinto beans.  I also use brown rice instead of white.  I'm sure the white would probably soak up the juices and hold the flavor better, but the brown makes me feel better about it, healthwise.  :)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
4 (16 ounce) cans pink beans, drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 pinch rosemary, crumbled
1/8 cup liquid smoke
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, drained
6 cups cooked rice

Mix all ingredients (except rice) well in a crock pot.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove bay leaf.
Stir in cooked rice and serve with hot sauce on the side.
*Amy's notes: I use turkey sausage and pinto beans.  The OP said she used hot links sausage and goya beans.  I also only use about a tablespoon of liquid smoke.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pizza Pierogi Casserole ****

I have no words for how freaking GOOD this is.  The kids would have eaten the entire dish if I'd let them.  It's unusual for all of us to fall in love with the same dish, but this was definitely a winner for us!  I used 4-cheese pierogies with fresh mushrooms.  I'm sticking with that next time.  Just wow.  Obviously, it's not a fancy dish, and definitely not waist-friendly, but so very worth the calories. ;-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FrugalFoodieMama)

2 (16oz) packages of your favorite frozen pierogies
16 oz jar of your favorite pizza sauce
2-3 oz of sliced pepperoni
1 to 1-1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
Any additional pizza toppings that you would like

Boil the two packages of frozen pierogies according to the package directions. Drain in a colander and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Start layering your pizza pierogi casserole in this order - 1/3 of the pizza sauce spread into the bottom of the dish, then half the boiled pierogies, then another 1/3 of the pizza sauce spread over the pierogies, then half the pepperoni slices and any other toppings you wish to add, then half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layering again from the pierogies.
Bake in the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
To Freeze the Casserole:
Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil, and then freeze. Allow the casserole to thaw completely in the fridge before baking. Then follow the directions above to bake.
Casserole should keep well in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ham and Cheddar Waffle Pockets ***

This one was inspired by the Pizza Waffles on Pillsbury's website.  I thought they'd be perfect as a breakfast food, though, so I actually never even opened the recipe link and just went with my gut.  It's not like it was a complicated idea anyway, lol.

Long story short, the kids loved them.  Hubby and I weren't eating breakfast, so we never tried them.  They smelled amazing, though.  The kids have already requested that we have them again this week!  I love when something so simple turns out so well.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ inspired by Pillsbury)

1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers biscuits
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
8 slices deli-thin honey ham

Spray waffle maker with cooking spray; heat waffle maker.
Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut slit on 1 side of each biscuit, forming a deep pocket. Place 1 slice of folded ham into each pocket. Top with a large pinch of cheese. Press dough around edge to seal each biscuit.
Place 1 biscuit on center of waffle maker. Close lid; cook 3 minutes or until waffle is golden brown. Repeat with remaining filled biscuits.

Monday, June 15, 2015

One Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta ***

We all liked this a lot.  It wasn't really anything special, but it was still a nice change from the norm.  I'll definitely make it again.  I didn't make many changes, other than using two breasts instead of one (to make it go a little further - lunch leftovers for hubby), subbing petite diced tomatoes for the regular diced tomatoes (personal preference), and subbing the real bacon bits/pieces for the bacon slices (that's what I had on hand).  I just realized I left out the garlic, but I doubt it really made any difference in the long run.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ DamnDelicious)

4 slices bacon, diced
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-­inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5­ ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
3 cups rotini pasta
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, or more, to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-­8 minutes; drain excess fat, reserving 1 tablespoon. Stir in chicken and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes.
Stir in barbecue sauce and cheese until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Beefy Bean Burrito Casserole ****

We all love this.  Occasionally, I'll use the bean and cheese burritos to make it meatless, but we all prefer the beef and bean.  However you make it, it's yummy!  One of these days, I'm going to make my own burritos and freeze them to use later.  I'll bet that would be even better.  This is one of those meals that I keep the ingredients on hand at all times, since there's nothing that will go bad.  It's so easy and so good.  Even the kids devour it!  Tonight, I served it with Mexican Green Beans.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

6-8 frozen beef and bean burritos
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped (optional)
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced (optional)
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained (optional)
1/2 cup salsa (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place the burritos in a row across the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and chile peppers. Spread evenly over the top of the burritos. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is slightly browned and burritos are heated through.
Serve with tomato, avocado, olives and salsa.

Mexican Green Beans **

The flavors in this were okay.  I used fresh green beans, and I actually simmered for quite a while longer than the 10 minutes.  I just ended up with some beans that were super hard and some that were super soft.  It didn't really blend well at all.  I think that next time, I would either use canned green beans or stick with the fresh and put a cover over it while it simmers, to allow for a little steaming to soften them up.  I'd be willing to try it again, though, just to see how it goes.  Tonight, I served it with one of our all-time favorites, Beefy Bean Burrito Casserole.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1  tablespoon vegetable oil
1  lb green beans (fresh or frozen)
1  large onion, peeled and chopped
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Rotel)
2  teaspoons basil
1/2 lemon, juice of, fresh

Trim green beans if using fresh.
In a large skillet, saute beans, onion and garlic in hot oil until beans are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
Stir in Rotel and basil.
Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.
Serves 6

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Amy's Pasta Salad ***

This was wonderful once again.  I love the pepperonis after they've soaked up some of the dressing.  I really didn't make any changes, other than never using the last 1/2 bottle of dressing.  The 1-1/2 was plenty, in my opinion.  I think that any more would have surely overpowered the veggies.  I also used frozen broccoli florettes and cauliflower.  I didn't know if it would work as well, but I steamed them, and it came out just as well as the fresh.  This makes a TON of salad, though.  Perfect for our Memorial Day get together!  It was absolute deliciousness! (For the record, I'm not the "Amy" in the title.  That's pure coincidence, lol.)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

2 bottles Paul Newman Italian salad dressing
2 tomatoes
1 white onion
1 green pepper
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
1 can black olives
1 pkg. tri-colored pasta corkscrew noodles
1 pkg. small pepperoni
1 small-medium container feta cheese
Garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles as directed on package. Steam broccoli and cauliflower until crisp. Cut up all other vegetables, cheese and pepperoni. Mix all of the above in very large bowl. Add 1 bottle dressing, mix well. Add seasonings to your liking. I add it 2-3 times while mixing. Add 1/2 of the second bottle of dressing and mix well. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Add rest of dressing. Great for picnics and large groups!