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 RagĂș, 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.