Sunday, December 25, 2016

Croissant Breakfast Casserole ****

I have made this one nearly every Christmas morning since the first time I tried it back in 2007.  That's how much we love it.  It's become a tradition for us.  I do always change it up with the additions that I've noted, but that's mainly because I want to make it stretch further.  It's still basically the same as the original recipe (except for the added sausage and green pepper), so I keep it under Dottie's name.  She's the brilliant mind behind this one.  Our Christmas mornings wouldn't be the same without it!  Oh, and the last few times around, I've used Egg Beaters instead of eggs, since I almost always have some that need to be used up.  No difference at all, other than having to cook it for the full 60 minutes.  But the taste is still wonderful!  Just as proof of how great it is, I've been making it for 9 years now, and we're still every bit as excited to dig into it as we were the first time. :-)

This is a no fail recipe! Easy for the beginner cook, and looks very elegant. Can be doubled and tripled with no problem! Cook time does not take into consideration overnight sitting time, so plan ahead!!
Recipe By: Dottie (hokiesmom) ~ with additions by Amy (luckymommyto2boys)

4 plain croissants (I used 6)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
¼ cup sliced green onions
4 eggs (I used 6)
1 cup milk (I used 1 ½)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (I omitted)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2 cups)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 lb sausage
1 green pepper, sliced

1. Split croissants in half and place bottoms cut side up in one layer in a rectangular casserole. (Brown sausage).
2. Melt butter in a fry pan.
3. Sauté mushrooms and green onion (and green pepper) until tender and liquid has evaporated.
4. Set aside.
5. Beat together eggs and milk.
6. Pour half over croissants, layer mushroom mixture, sausage, and cheeses on top, then pour over remaining liquid.
7. Position croissant tops over the bottoms, cut side down.
8. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.
9. Bake at 350*F for 25 to 30 minutes (It took mine about 50-60 minutes) or until set.
10. Cover with foil if browns too quickly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Biscuits and Gravy with Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole ****  This was good.  I mean, what could be bad about it, ya know?  Eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage...  What could possibly go wrong?  It was great, though.  Thanks to my dog, I was up super early this morning, so it was the perfect time to throw this together.  You could honestly get so much of it prepared the night before and then just combine it and throw it in the oven the next morning.  I made a few little adjustments, but nothing that would alter the end result.  I subbed the frozen sausage crumbles, Egg Beaters, and canned sausage gravy (2 cans).  It was crazy good.  I did have to cook mine for about 50 minutes, but other than that, it was perfect!  An awesome comfort breakfast for a cool fall morning!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ ScatteredThoughtsofaCraftyMom)

12 ounces of buttermilk biscuit dough (we used Grands, which are slightly bigger)
6 eggs
1 (2 3/4 ounce) package peppered gravy mix (makes 2 cups)
1 lb sausage, any flavor
1 cup cheese, shredded
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13×9 pan
Brown the sausage in skillet and drain thoroughly.
Cut biscuit dough into 1″ pieces, and line the bottom of the pan.
Layer cooked sausage over the biscuit pieces,
Layer shredded cheese over sausage.
Whisk eggs and milk, add salt and pepper and pour over biscuit/layers.
Make gravy according to instructions, and pour over everything.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until eggs and biscuits are cooked through.
Serve warm (leftovers are excellent too!)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak ***

This was another winner for us.  There was only one little problem, but it was all my fault.  I always sub ground turkey for ground beef.  Even in meatloaf.  This is one of those recipes, though, where you really need to use the beef.  The turkey just doesn't hold up all that well in the crockpot.  But the flavor was amazing.  Next time, though, I think I want to double the sauce ingredients and throw in some fresh mushrooms.  It's not my typical easy-peasy recipe, but it's really not bad at all.  We will definitely keep this one handy.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ AllRecipes)

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (1 ounce) packet dry au jus mix
3/4 cup water

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, and milk using your hands. Shape into 8 patties.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the patties in flour just to coat, and quickly brown on both sides in the hot skillet. Place browned patties into the slow cooker stacking alternately like a pyramid. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, au jus mix, and water. Pour over the meat. Cook on the Low setting for 4 or 5 hours, until ground beef is well done.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Crockpot Swedish Meatballs****

This was so stinking good.  I didn't realize until after we were already eating it that we'd had almost exactly this same recipe before when I made the Crockpot Meatball Stroganoff. In fact, the only difference was the addition of the dry onion soup in place of the chopped onions.  I think I prefer it this way.  I always use the dry onion mushroom soup, just because I love mushrooms.  I meant to add some mushrooms to the crockpot while it was cooking, but since work has been so crazy this week, hubby has had to do the cooking for me.  I bought the mushrooms, but I didn't think to add them to the recipe notes for him.  Oops.  But it was still another winner for us!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheCountryCook)

1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup, low sodium
1 can beef broth, low sodium
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen meatballs
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (1 cup)
1 (16 oz.) package egg noodles

In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, mix undiluted soup with beef broth, onion soup mix and steak sauce. Stir well. Then add in frozen meatballs.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-5 hours.
After meatball mixture has cooked, stir in sour cream.
At this time, put a pot of water on the oven to boil for your egg noodles (make according to package directions.) Drain noodles well when done.Mix noodles and meatballs together. Or serve meatballs on top of noodles.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole ***

I believe I've mentioned once or twice (or a zillion times) that I have a freakish love of tater tots.  I'm always excited to find a recipe that uses them successfully.  This was absolutely perfect.  The cheesy flavor of the tater tots kind of reminds me of loaded baked potato skins.  Just seriously yummy.  Again, nothing mind-blowing, but just simple and tasty.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ PlainChicken)

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (3-oz) package real bacon bits
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (32-oz) package frozen tater tots
1 (10.75-oz) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
16-oz sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cook ground beef in a large skillet until no longer pink. Drain fat.
In a large bowl, combine cooked beef, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, tater tots, cheese soup and sour cream. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Spread mixture into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until bubbly.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Deconstructed Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Pasta **

This was just kind of "meh."  It wasn't bad by any means, but it just wasn't anything special.  I was pretty disappointed.  To me, it really wasn't reminiscent of chicken parmesan at all, but that is probably because there wasn't flavoring from any breading.  I don't see myself making it again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FoodySchmoody)

1 onion, sweet, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 tbsp basil, dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 (24-oz) jars pasta sauce
16 oz rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parsley, freshly chopped

Place onion and smashed garlic in slow cooker.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and place on top of onions. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle dried basil on to the sauce. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
When slow cooker time is up, remove chicken, shred and place back into sauce. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and stir into slow cooker.
Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese over the top of pasta and replace cover just until cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
Garnish with parsley just before serving.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Crockpot Green Beans ***

These were delicious!  I would definitely use the bacon strips.  I had a pack of bacon pieces to use up, and while it was still great, I think it would have been even better with the real deal.  I had to double the recipe for my crew (growing boys will eat you out house and home), but other than that stuff, I really didn't change much.  Can't beat the simplicity on this bad boy!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ RecipesThatCrock)

2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian cut green beans
2 pieces of bacon
4 T butter
water (enough to cover your beans)
salt and pepper to taste

Pour your cans of green beans in your crock pot.
Tear up your uncooked bacon into pieces and scatter in your crock pot.
Cut up your butter into pats and place evenly around your crock pot.
Add enough water to cover your beans by a half inch.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I doubled the recipe.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Tex-Mex Beef and Rice Casserole ****

This one just blew our minds.  I mean, it obviously wasn't anything special, but the flavors just go together perfectly.  When I picked it, I assumed it would basically be another version of one of our favorites, Mexican Chicken.  In theory, it is, but they taste nothing alike.  It's still just as yummy, just in a different way.  Hubby is job-hunting at the moment, so he made this one while I was working late one day.  He said he thought it would be good with one of the flavored rices, but I just loved the white rice with it.  I think anything else would pull the attention away from the other flavor players.  The chips give you just enough of a little salty crunch with each bite.  Just a great recipe all around!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 tub (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
1 pkg.  (1 oz.) TACO BELL Taco Seasoning Mix
2 Tbsp. milk
1 can (14 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (11 oz.) corn with red and green bell peppers, undrained
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Colby and Monterey Jack Cheeses, divided
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 350*F.
Brown meat in large nonstick skillet. Meanwhile, mix cream cheese spread, seasoning mix and milk until blended.
Drain meat; return to skillet. Add cream cheese mixture, tomatoes, corn and onions; mix well.
Combine rice and 1/2 cup shredded cheese in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; spread to cover bottom of dish. Top with meat mixture and remaining shredded cheese; cover.
Bake 30 min. or until heated through. Top with crushed chips and cilantro.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Little Smokies Croissant Breakfast Casserole ***

It was pretty obvious from the title that I would love this recipe.  I mean, with Little Smokies and croissants, how could you go wrong?  I was right, though.  This thing was awesome.  I did have to go for the full 50 minutes, just to make sure the eggs thickened up enough.  As usual, I subbed Egg Beaters for the eggs.  I'm wondering how it would be with the Southwestern Egg Beaters.  Might have to try that next time.  I did leave out the Dijon and the onion powder.  I never can get into those flavors with pork in general, but the idea of them in a breakfast food makes me kind of gag.  Honestly, even if I liked the flavors, I doubt I would want them in something like this.  Eggs are so good on their own (to me, anyway), and once you add in the croissants and Smokies, the flavor just get even more spectacular.  I would be afraid that the mustard and onion flavor would jsut take too much attention from all the other yummy goodness.  But all of that aside, we loved this bad boy.  Not to mention how much I love being able to throw it together the night before.  My oven has a timer that allows me to set it to come on and preheat at a specific time.  So I set it early, got up and popped that bad boy in the oven, and went back to bed for 50 minutes.  Perfect!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ PlainChicken)

1 (14-oz) package Little Smokies
1 (10 to 13-oz) package mini croissants
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 eggs

Chop little Smokies and mini croissants into bite-sized pieces. Toss together little Smokies, croissants and cheddar cheese. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13-inch pan.
Whisk together milk, heavy cream, onion powder, Dijon mustard and eggs. Pour over croissant mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover casserole. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole **

I think my 11-year-old said it best: "This is good, but it's definitely not my favorite."  It was tasty and filling, but it just kind of lacked something.  For one thing, the rice gets too mushy when it's cooked for so long.  If I did it again, I might try it on high for the shorter cook time.  I doubt I'll mess with it again, though.  It just didn't "wow" us enough.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ MostlyHomemadeMom)

6 oz box long grain and wild rice mix (unprepared)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz sliced mushrooms
10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup real bacon pieces

Pour dry rice into bottom of slow cooker, set aside seasoning envelope. Lay chicken over dry rice.
Sprinkle mushroom slices over chicken. In a small bowl, whisk soup, water, and contents of seasoning envelope.
Pour over mixture in crockpot. Sprinkle bacon pieces on top.
Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Corn Dog Delight ****

This is an old recipe from the BBC group, but it's been a year or two since we've had it.  The kids went crazy for it.  I really don't even like hot dogs, aside from the occasional corn dog, if it's done really well.  This does taste a bit like a corn dog, but with the sage and the celery, it really has a flavor all its own.  It's just plain awesome.


2 cups Finely minced celery
2 tbsp Butter
1-1/2 cups Sliced green onions
1-1/2 pounds Hot dogs
2 Eggs
1-1/2 cups Milk
2 tsp Sage
1/4 tsp Black pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
2-8.5 oz Jiffy muffin mix
8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded

Sauté celery in butter for 5 minutes. Add onions and continue cooking 2 minutes. Dump skillet ingredients into a large bowl. Cut hot dogs in half lengthwise, then chop into bite size pieces. Sauté dogs in skillet; turning to brown. Add to bowl. Reserve 1 cup of hot dogs & veggies in a small bowl. Slightly beat eggs & milk together. Add egg mix and next 4 ingredients to bowl. Add 1-½ cups of cheese to bowl also. Mix all ingredients well. Spray 13x9 Pyrex. Pour in casserole. Top with reserved hot dogs and cheese. Bake uncovered 400* for 30 minutes.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Crockpot Country Ham Potato Casserole ***

If you're looking for the perfect cold-weather comfort food, look no further.  Honestly, it was nothing special for me, but the 11-year-old loved it.  It's obviously not healthy, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's quick and easy and decently tasty.  I can definitely see us having this again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ RecipesThatCrock)

2 c cooked ham, diced
2 c milk
1 c boiling water
10.75 oz can Cheddar cheese soup
7.8 oz pkg cheesy scalloped potato mix, unprepared
2 (11 oz) cans sweet corn & diced peppers, drained

Spray your crock pot with cooking spray.
Pour all of your ingredients into your crock pot and mix well.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Crockpot Pierogi Casserole ****

This positively blew our minds.  I mean, yes, it was pretty obvious that with potatoes and cheese and dough, you really couldn't go wrong, but we were wowed.  The 13-year-old took it to school for lunch and said it was even better the next day.  As I was pulling this together to post the blog, I just noticed her notes on the page about adding in veggies.  I put them at the bottom of the recipe, so that I can remember to try that next time.  I'm all about one-dish meals!  But even if you have to add a side, this still takes hardly any time at all.  The only prep work is slicing the sausage.  I did double the sausage amount, and I think I had too many pierogies.  The store didn't have the boxes, just the larger bags.  So since I wasn't sure how much was in the boxes, I just used them both.  It was fine.  Obviously, the sauce was less "saucy," but I kind of liked it that way.  I'll probably do the same thing next time, unless I add in the veggies.  Whatever, though, this is now one of our favorite dishes!

The recipe below is with my adjustments, just because I needed to have enough for extras.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ DailyDIYLife)

2 (2-lb) bags Mrs. T’s Cheddar Pierogies - regular or mini
6 cups chicken broth
12 oz cream cheese
1-1/2 cups cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 lbs kielbasa - sliced (or other cooked meat mentioned below)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in your crockpot. Cook on high 3-4 hours, or on low for 6 hours.
Serve with a fresh green salad and crusty bread.
OP's Notes: Yes, this family favorite recipe calls for kielbasa. To be completely honest with you I have also used crumbled cooked bacon, leftover cooked sausage, ham, chicken, or just vegetables a time or two. That’s one of the reasons this is such a go-to recipe that we just love. Add in your favorite veggies to make it a complete meal. Broccoli and snap peas are our favorite add-ins, but really anything will work nicely. A few reviewers even said they added sour kraut too. That might be an interesting twist.

Beef Stroganoff Ravioli Skillet ***

This one was pretty good.  Not my favorite, necessarily, but definitely worthy of making again.  It intrigued me to think of mixing ravioli and beef stroganoff.  It didn't disappoint.  I used a ton of mushrooms with it, but that's just our personal preference.  We all love us some mushrooms!  I would probably double it next time, though.  It was plenty for the four of us, but there were absolutely zero leftovers for lunches the next day.  We had it with a salad and some bread, and it was the perfect amount.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FoodFanatic)

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 8 ounce packages mushrooms
3/4 cup beef stock
1 package frozen beef ravioli, approximately 1 pound, 9 ounces
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet melt butter until foamy. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until golden and soft. Add mushrooms and stir until well coated. Brown for 5-6 minutes.
Pour in ravioli, tossing to mix everything together.
Add beef stock, mix well. Cover and let cook for 5-8 minutes, or until ravioli are cooked, stirring half way through.
Pour in cream, mix until well blended. Remove from heat.
Stir in sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Overnight Sausage, Egg, and Biscuit Bake ***

This was really good.  I didn't see the part about the overnight thing until the next morning, so I just made it fresh and popped it in the oven.  I'll definitely try it overnight next time.  I couldn't find the sausage crumbles at our store (very rarely can, unfortunately), and I was too lazy to actually cook the sausage myself.  I had some of the real bacon pieces, so I just used them instead.  It reminded me a lot of the Bacon-Cheese Pull-Aparts, but I think I preferred the additional eggs in this one.  I'll definitely be making this again, since it's such a simple and filling breakfast for school mornings!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ MessForLess)

16 oz container of biscuits
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups of shredded cheddar/jack mix
2 cups cut up breakfast sausage
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
Open up a package of biscuits and cut each into 6 pieces.
Spread cut biscuits in the bottom of the greased casserole dish.
Cook breakfast sausage according to package directions. Cut into bite sized pieces and spread over top of biscuits.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the sausage.
Beat 6 eggs with milk and pour over the biscuits and sausage.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and add a shake of salt and pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the eggs are set.
(Once you pour the eggs and cheese on top, you can bake it or place it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it the next morning.)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Crock Pot Salsa Ranch Chicken Pasta ***

This was super yummy.  I found the cilantro lime dressing, but the 11-year-old is pretty adamantly opposed to cilantro (truthfully, I have to agree with him - yuck!).  Instead, I just went with the basic buttermilk ranch.  We all loved it!  It reminded me of some of the other ranch and chicken crockpot meals we've tried, but I really liked the addition of the salsa in this one.  The sour cream and salad dressing obviously soften the spice of the salsa, so I'm thinking that next time I might go with a hotter version (I typically stick with mild when it comes to salsa).  This took me all of 10 minutes to throw together on my lunch break, but the final result tasted like I spent some real time on it.  We'll definitely be having this one again soon!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheCountryCook)

5-6 frozen chicken breasts
1 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup salsa
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1 (1 lb.) box rotini pasta, prepared

Place frozen chicken breasts into the bottom of a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker.
In a medium bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, salsa and minced garlic.
Pour this mixture over frozen chicken breasts. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
About 30 minutes or so before this is finished cooking, begin preparing the rotini pasta according to package directions.
Once chicken is cooked, remove chicken breasts and shred them or cut into chunks.
Whisk sour cream and Hidden Valley Ranch dressing into cream of chicken/salsa mixture in the slow cooker. Add chicken back into the slow cooker and stir in prepared rotini pasta.
Stir well. Then serve with a yummy, green salad!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Crock Pot Apple Dump Cake **

I decided to do this one for breakfast, since it was basically just muffin mix and apples anyway.  Unfortunately, I have to give this two stars, even though I'd really prefer to give it three.  One kid loved it.  The oldest said it "tastes weird, but okay... I guess."  He then decided to go with a bowl of cereal instead.  Personally, I thought it was great.  But since I have to do my ratings on how the family digs it...   It's basically just an apple crumb cake, but I loved that I could start breakfast before bed and have it ready first thing in the morning.  Not to mention how amazing the house smelled when we crawled out of bed!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheCountryCook)

2 (7 oz.) packets Martha White Apple Cinnamon (or Apple Cider) muffin mix
2 cans apple pie filling
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Lightly spray a 4-6 quart slow cooker (crock pot) with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour in two cans of apple pie filling.
Evenly sprinkle two packets of muffin mix on top of the apple pie filling. Pour melted butter over entire muffin mix. Note: the butter won't cover all the dry muffin mix.
Cover and cook on low or 3-5 hours.
You want the top to be golden brown and the apple pie filling should be bubbling up from underneath. 
Serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Creamy Crockpot Chicken and Rice ***

I couldn't even guess how many times I've made this over the past couple of years, but it's always a hit for us.  I don't follow any of the steps, but I stick to the ingredients list.  I just pop everything  except the cheese into the crockpot and cook on low for about 6 hours.  I've even thrown in the chicken frozen, and it still cooks perfectly.  I just add an extra hour or two on to the cook time.  Now, granted, the rice is softer when it's cooked the full time in the crockpot, but we actually prefer it that way for this one.  It soaks up more of the flavors of the dish.  One of my favorite aspects of this one is that it reheats so beautifully.  I like to double the recipe and freeze half.  Then when I'm ready to have the second portion, I just put the entire thing back in the crockpot.  Works well on the stovetop too, though.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SurvivalGuideByTheWorkingMom and SouthernPlate)

4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large Vidalia onion (chopped)
1 (8-ounce) box of Zatarain's Yellow Rice Mix (cooked - see notes)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Trim all the fat off chicken breasts and add it to the bottom of the greased crockpot.
Add the chopped onion and cream of chicken.
Cook chicken in the crockpot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
Check to make sure chicken is fully cooked.
Cook Zatarain's rice according to the directions on the box.
Add cooked rice, cheese, and corn to the crockpot and let it cook for about 5 minutes so the corn heats up and cheese melts.
Stir the ingredients all together and serve.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I mixed everything but the cheese into the crockpot and cooked on low for 6 hours.  Right before eating, I shredded the chicken and stirred in the cheese.
AMY'S FREEZER DIRECTIONS:  Double the entire recipe. It fit perfectly in my crock.  When finished cooking, serve half of the entree.  Take the second half and put it in a gallon Ziploc bag.  Lay bag flat in freezer so that it will not take up as much space.  To reheat, place in crockpot on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

Previous Posts
UPDATE (10/6/13):  I just posted this a few days ago, and I mentioned that accidentally made WAY too much.  So I took half of it, loaded it in a gallon Ziplock bag, and threw it in the freezer.  After lunch today, I took it back out and put it in the crockpot for 4 hours on HIGH.  Every bit as good as it was the first time around.  I'm changing the recipe to add the freezer directions, because I am absolutely doing that from now on.  It's no extra trouble, and it saves me from having to make dinner an extra night.  Perfect!
ORIGINAL POST (9/30/13): This was actually really good.  I could have sworn the recipe said it served 4 people, so I doubled it, in order to have enough leftovers for lunches.  Oops.  Made LOTS, lol.  That's okay, though. We'll just throw some in the freezer for weekend lunches.  Anyway, we really enjoyed it.  I'd never had the Zatarain's Yellow Rice, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.  The oldest (10) said it tasted like "gold," whatever that means, lol.  It's perfect comfort food for these cooler fall nights.  I stuck to the recipe, but I used frozen chicken breasts and cooked on low for 7 hours.  When I got home from work, I shredded the chicken, threw the corn and cheese in the crockpot, and let those warm while the rice cooked.  All that was left to do was to stir in the rice when it was finished.  Perfect!

Slow Cooker Ham with Pineapple ****

You just don't get any easier yet flavorful than this recipe right here.  I always double the cola and the pineapple, since the kids are crazy about the pineapple rings.  I've made this for family birthdays and holidays, but my favorite thing is just that I can start it before I leave for work in the morning and not have to rush home and spend my lunch break putting together our supper.  The ham comes out so tender and salty-sweet.  We all adore it.  I've made it at least 30 times since Amylz first posted it, and I have never once had to make any changes to the recipe.  It's absolutely perfect just as it is!

Amy (amylz)
All Recipes  Servings: 14

1 (6 to 7 pound) picnic ham
1 (15.25 ounce) can pineapple rings
1 (16 ounce) can cola-flavored carbonated beverage (such as Pepsi)

Place ham in slow cooker with the fattier side facing down. Use toothpicks to attach pineapple rings to the ham. Pour juice from the can over the ham. Pour the cola into the slow cooker.  Cook on Low 7 to 10 hours.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I doubled the cola and pineapple.

Previous reviews:
1/27/14 ~ This is crazy, scary good.  I could have easily kept eating it until I made myself sick.  I took Amy's advice and used two cans of pineapple, so that we'd have enough for everyone to have some.  I also doubled the Coke in it.  Mine cooked about 10 hours, and it was sheer perfection.  I have never, ever had a ham that was so yummy.  When you take into account that it took all of 2 minutes to throw together, it's practically the perfect recipe!  The kids both asked for seconds on the ham, which is just unheard of around here.  I served it with the Too-Tasty-to-Be-Good-for-You Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese, and they went perfectly together.  I will definitely be making this one again.  Soon. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Crawfish Tortellini ***

So my original plan for the crawfish had been to sub them in another recipe (One-Pot Cajun Pasta).  Well, long story short, I apparently tore a ligament in my foot on vacation, and I'm in a boot this week.  I decided I needed something quick and easy instead.  Since most of the ingredients were the same, I just hit the store on the way home from work and grabbed some tortellini so that I could throw this one together.  It.was.perfect.  As usual.

The original recipe tells you to cook this in an oven at 350 for 45 minutes.  That seems silly to me, so I've always done it stovetop.  It comes out as pure perfection.  The kids and the hubby oohed and ahhed over it excessively, just as they always do.  Now I'm seriously thinking it about having it again this week. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 lb frozen crawfish tails, thawed
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 cups (1 1/2 pints) whipping cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons parsley
1 large package tortellini noodles

Cook tortellini in pot as directed.
While noodles are cooking, sauté the crawfish tails in 2 tablespoons butter for about 5 minutes.  Add remaining butter, onion, and garlic, and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring sauce to a boil, and pour into pot with drained tortellini.  Bring to a boil again.  Turn down and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so - just enough to thicken the sauce.

Previous posts:
8/10/11 ~ We've had this recipe before, and the kids loved it.  They think that crawdads are just about the coolest animals we can eat, but I rarely make any recipes with them.  This was a hit as usual.  As last time, I made it on the stovetop (still waiting for the new oven to be delivered - boo!), but it was as delicious as always.  We were on vacation all last week, and with all of the running around we had to do yesterday to get ready for the upcoming work week, we haven't eaten a homecooked meal in what feels like ages.  This was perfect.  I hated that it heated up the house, of course, but it was quick to prepare.  That was the main thing.  I wimped out and just served it with corn, but it was divine nonetheless.  I ran out of parsley, so I just used oregano in its place.  It worked perfectly.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Slow Cooker Potato, Brat, Corn, and Cheddar Casserole *

This was just gross.  I really thought it would be similar to one of our favorites, Brat-N-Tot Bake (which did convert successfully to a crockpot meal, so that wasn't the problem either).  It most definitely was not similar in flavor.  For one thing, the potatoes still weren't cooked through after the 8 hours.  I had to put it back on for another 2 hours.  By that time, it had cooked perfectly.  But it was like massive bites of steamed, flavorless potato slices.  Every now and then, you got a taste of bratwurst (i.e. flavor), but the majority of the time, it was just total blandness.  It kind of made me mad, because I took and early lunch at work and spent my entire lunch break slicing potatoes and onions, basically for nothing.  I could go on, but you get the point.  We won't be doing this one again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FamishedFish)

8 russet potatoes, scrubbed and washed
2 large white onions
1 15 oz can corn
8 oz cheddar cheese, grated
1 26 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 pack Johnsonville beer brats

Begin by slicing the scrubbed potatoes and onions thinly with a knife or mandolin, set at 1/4″ thickness.
Layer 1/3 of the potatoes and onions in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
Slice the brats and layer 1/3 of the drained canned corn and 1/3 of the sliced brats over the potatoes and onions.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the corn and brats. Spread 1/3 of the mushroom soup over the cheese.
Repeat the layers two more times and cover with the lid. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove lid to cool and thicken for 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tater Tot Sloppy Joe Casserole ****

We all absolutely loved this one.  I did make a few changes, but not enough to affect the final outcome of the dish.  I used frozen chopped onions and green peppers, so I just cooked them with the ground turkey, which I subbed for the ground beef.  That's really all I did differently.  The flavor is phenomenal.  I mean, it's obviously nothing fancy-schmancy, but it's a nice, hearty meal with some good veggies in there.  Other than the tater tots, it's actually not too terribly bad for you.  (Forgot to mention that I also used reduced-fat shredded cheese.)  The youngest didn't like the crunch of the carrots, so if I do it this way again, I'll probably cook them ahead of time with the meat and peppers and onions.  The other problem for me is that my tots were still kind of frozen after 25 minutes.  Nothing that a little zap in the microwave couldn't fix, but it was still a bummer, especially since they were already browning on the edges.  It would be much better to start with them thawed, I think.  I actually want to try doing this in the crockpot.  I've done similar dishes successfully in there, so I have high hopes that this will convert nicely.  Or not.  We'll see.  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ GalOnAMission)

2 pounds 80/20 ground beef, cooked and drained
2 carrots, diced into small quarters
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 large white onion, diced
12 ounces frozen corn
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
14.5 ounce can Hunt's Diced Tomatoes
2 15 ounce cans MANWICH original
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 pounds frozen tater tots

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix together the cooked ground beef, carrots, bell pepper, poblano pepper, onion, corn, garlic, salt and pepper, diced tomatoes, and MANWICH in the same pan you cooked the beef in.
Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheddar cheese on top. Top with tater tots. Sprinkle 1 cup cheddar and mozarella cheese on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tater tots are cooked.
Freezer Directions: Prepare the casserole into a freezer casserole dish. Cover and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake at 425 degrees until the tater tots and filling are warm, approximately 25-30 minutes.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I subbed ground turkey and frozen peppers and onions, which I cooked all together in the beginning.  Next time, I will cook the carrots ahead as well and thaw my tots.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Egg Sausage and Spinach Casserole **

I actually made this one back in the spring, but I never got around to posting it.  I've since lost the picture that I took of mine.  It was basically the same as the one from the original posting, so I'm including that below.  Just know that the pic is from her meal, not mine.

I enjoyed this one, but sadly, the rest of the family did not.  I did add mushrooms to ours, but considering that we all adore spinach and mushrooms, I don't see how that could have affected the final result.  I would still like to try it again, though, just in case.  I figure I've waited long enough now that they probably won't even remember the first time. ;-)  I think I might go ahead and use the full-egg Egg Beaters, though, just to kind of *beef* it up a bit.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ LaurenKellyNutrition)

12 egg whites or 1 box of egg whites or combination of whole eggs and egg whites, whatever you prefer
1 package of lean turkey breakfast sausage
2 cups of baby spinach
1/4 cup shredded mexican cheese blend or whatever cheese you like

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place baby spinach (or whatever vegetables you like) on the bottom of casserole dish.  Next layer with sliced sausage and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
Pour egg whites on top and bake for 35 minutes until completely cooked ( I do not like wet eggs AT ALL!)
ENJOY!!  Makes 6 servings.  Cut into 6 equal servings immediately so you aren’t tempted to eat more than the correct portion.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut ****

We've had this recipe several times now, and honestly, it seems like we like it more and more every time.  The sweetness of the apples perfectly melds with the tartness of the sauerkraut.  The kraut doesn't taste like kraut at all, actually.  It's just so absolutely divine.  I used a small package of the "real bacon pieces" instead of frying bacon (and dirtying another dish, lol).  It makes the bacon pieces puff up nicely, giving you a little taste of bacon in each bite.  Seriously, this is so good.  The Johnsonville brats come in packs of 5, so I just used two full packs.  Not a problem at all.  Mine were in the crock for 6 hours and were absolutely perfect.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ MomsWhoThink)

8 uncooked bratwurst links
1 (14 ounce) can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground mustard
8 brat buns, split

Place the bratwurst in a greased 5-6 quart slow cooker.
In a large bowl combine the sauerkraut, apples, bacon, brown sugar, onion and mustard; spoon over bratwurst.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until sausage is no longer pink.
Place brats in buns; using a slotted spoon, top with sauerkraut mixture.

Previous reviews
7/18/13 ~ Loved this.  Seriously.  The hubs wasn't quite as thrilled with it as the kids and I were, since he didn't like that the brats lost their crispness in the crockpot.  He did love the flavor, though.  I was worried about the sauerkraut, since he's definitely not a fan (he'd rather starve than eat it).  There are a couple of recipes I can get away with using it in, but I always have to wash and drain it really well.  Since that was in these directions anyway, we were golden.  :-)  There's honestly not a sauerkraut taste to this at all.  The apples and bacon completely mute the sauerkraut flavor.  My 9-year-old hates that stuff as much as his dad, and he actually ate it on top of the brats.  The 7-year-old liked the flavoring of it, but he ate the brat without the kraut (I had to rinse it off, lol).  This is most definitely a winner with us.  It's going right in the rotation!

Chicken-Chili Crescent Bake ****

Even after the several times I've made this, we still adore it.  My 10-year-old had THIRDS.  That child rarely even finishes one helping of anything, so I was totally in shock that he loved it that much.  I always add about 3/4 cup of sour cream to the chicken and bean mixture as it's cooking on the stovetop, just to soften the spice.  I'll always stick with that, because it really adds a lot, in my opinion.  The one time I forgot and made it without the sour cream, it was just a bit too spicy for the kids.  I ended up having to stir sour cream into their individual servings.  We all seriously love this one, so I should really make it more often.  The only problem is that it is getting harder and harder to find the Fiesta Beans.  I guess I need to find a copycat recipe, just for backup!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via Pearls,Handcuffs,andHappyHour)

Rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 can Bush’s Fiesta Black Beans
1 can Rotel
2 tbsp. taco seasoning
1-2 cups shredded cheese
1 can crescent seamless dough sheets

Mix together chicken, beans, Rotel, and taco seasoning in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until heated through.
Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with cheese and top with the crescent seamless dough sheet.
Cook at 375 for about 18-25 minutes or until crescent topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes.
*Amy's notes: I used mild Rotel and added 3/4 cup sour cream to the chicken mixture.  I also just use 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts in place of the rotisserie chicken.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Crockpot Meatball Subs ****

It's been ages since I've made this one.  I love that you can put the meatballs in raw, though.  I try to keep homemade ones on hand, but I tend to fail at that (a lot!).  This is a good compromise for me.  I don't have a lot of time on my lunch breaks, so I rarely get a chance to put them in the frying pan first.  That would be my preference, of course, but you can't beat the ease of throwing them in raw.  It's perfect when you don't have much prep time.  I typically use Italian breadcrumbs, just to give it a little more flavor.  We also prefer provolone cheese.  So good.  I always sub ground turkey, just because it's our preference.  This time, I used Egg Beaters instead of the egg, though, and it didn't really "bind" the way it normally does.  I can't even explain it.  They held together well, but they were just kind of mushy, for lack of a better word.  Still fabulous, but they didn't have the firmness to them that they normally do.  Oh well.  It was still great.  The youngest (10) was actually asking to have it again the very next night, so that's always a good sign, lol.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
6-8 sub rolls/hot dog buns
Mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded

Place first seven ingredients in large bowl with hands.
Shape into approximately 30 1-inch balls. Bake in an ungreased oblong pan (13x9x2) in a 400*F oven until light brown, 20-25 minutes. OR: microwave meatballs in an ungreased baking dish, 6 minutes on High, turning once. OR: cook over medium heat in frying pan, turning occasionally, until brown, about 20 minutes.
Place cooked meatballs and spaghetti sauce in crock pot. Cook on low for about 2 hours. If you cook longer, stir every hour or so. OR: Place raw meatballs in sauce in crockpot and cook for 8 hours on low.
Place meatballs and sauce in hot dog buns and top with mozzarella cheese.
** Amy’s notes: I used Italian breadcrumbs and 1/4 tsp onion powder.

Previous Posts:
6/6/11 ~ I am so glad to be back on the cooking wagon!  May is a crazy month for us, with all the end-of-year school activities and baseball with both kids.  I dearly love baseball season, but I am so proud to have a break from all the running!  For at least 4 weeks there, we didn't have one single night to be lazy.  Whew!  Then add in the fact that my oven has been broken for about a month and a half now (again, no time to go get a new one and have it installed - grr), and I haven't cooked much at all.
These are so good.  Not to mention that they're so stinking easy!  I used provolone cheese on ours instead of the mozzarella, but I've always used the mozzarella in the past.  I think we prefer the provolone, but both are yummy.  The kids ate every bite.  My 5-year-old hates bread (I know - how could he possibly be my child???), but this is filling enough for him to just eat the meatballs with cheese on them.  I always use ground turkey, and it's never been a problem.  This time, I used meatballs that I'd frozen from the last time.  I just dumped them in the crockpot with the sauce for 6 hours on low.  Dh is already looking forward to tomorrow's leftover lunch!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

One Pan Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Quinoa ****

Oh.  Wow.  This was just unbelievably delicious.  We're recent quinoa converts, and the only way I've ever made it was in the crockpot (just two recipes: Crockpot Pizza Quinoa and Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa).  I've been wanting to find a way to try it on the stovetop, and boy was this a winner.  I mean, what's to dislike, considering you've got broccoli, cheese, and chicken; am I right?  But we all loved it.  The recipe below is doubled from the original, since it was written with only 4 servings.  I don't know that I would say it's actually a full 8 servings, but we did get 7 servings out of it.  Hubby and both boys took leftovers for lunch the next day.  It's very filling, but so flavorful.  It's a nice comfort food, but you don't have the heaviness that comes with most comfort foods (which are so often potato-based - not that I'm complaining, lol).  Between the quinoa and all that broccoli, I was able to convince myself that we were having a decently healthy meal. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ CookingClassy, doubled)

2 lbs chicken breasts, diced into 1” cubes
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
3-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups dry quinoa
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4-5 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add onion and sauté 2 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer (chicken should be cooked on outsides, but inside doesn’t need to be fully cooked through at this point because it will boil and simmer).
2. Add in broth, quinoa, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a full boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook 12 minutes.
3. Then quickly lift lid, sprinkle broccoli over top, recover and simmer about 8 minutes longer or until quinoa and broccoli have cooked through (it may have a little broth in the bottom still at this point, and you can carefully drain it off if desired, just don’t pour everything down the drain!).
4. Sprinkle cheese over top.  Cover and heat 1-2 minutes until cheese has melted.
Serves 6-8

Sunday, February 28, 2016

One-Pot Cajun Pasta ****

I'm sorry I've been gone a bit.  I'm still cooking, but I just started a new job last month, after working from home for the past 4 months.  It's been quite an adjustment, so I've been sticking mostly to old tried and true favorites.  Now that I've (hopefully!) found my new rhythm, I plan on getting back in to trying new recipes again!

This was just absolutely amazing.  The kids and hubs raved.  Both kids begged to take leftovers to school.  And the 10-year-old said that when he sat back down at the table after reheating his in the microwave, his friends were all telling him how it smelled like his mom must be a really good cook.  Proud mama moment. :-)  But seriously, this recipe is so amazingly easy that it would be really hard to mess it up.

I took a few little shortcuts, just because I have so little time after work now (my commute home with my new job is longer than it used to be).  For the onion and peppers, I just used a bag of frozen fajita blend peppers and onions.  I meant to set it out to let it thaw ahead of time, but since I forgot, I just threw them in with the chicken at the beginning.  The only difference was that I had to pour out a bit more liquid after everything had cooked down.  No biggie.  Then I used the pre-sliced mushrooms from the produce section.  Ideally, I would have thought to dice the chicken and sausage ahead of time, but alas, that did not happen.

We will most definitely be having this again.  They were all asking me to make it again the very next night, lol.  I'd really like to try it with some crawfish tails.  I can see them being amazing in something like this!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ BuzzFeedTasty)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
8 oz Andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
16 oz box of the pasta of your choice (we used linguine)
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning

1. Pour olive oil into the pot. Add diced chicken breast to the pot, cover with Cajun seasoning (You can use a store-bought Cajun spice mix or make your own! We used equal parts cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.), and stir until the chicken is evenly seasoned. Then, add sliced sausage and stir. Cook the meat on medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Once the meat is cooked, add in the garlic, onion, peppers, and mushrooms, and stir. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes as the veggies cook down.
3. Add the dry pasta to the pot (if using long, thin noodles, break in half), then pour in the chicken broth. Stir until everything is well-mixed. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, keep covered bring the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes (stirring every two minutes). If there still extra chicken broth, you can discard it, cook longer until the liquid evaporates, or add a little cornstarch to thicken the liquid.
4. Lastly, add heavy cream and Parmesan and stir until your pasta is well blended. Garnish with green onions, more Parmesan, a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning (if you want some extra spice), and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used a bag of frozen fajita blend peppers and onions and put them in with the chicken at the beginning.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Slow-Cooked Ham and Corn Chowder ***

I first made this one back in 2009, and I'm ashamed to say that we never had it again.  I've been trying to remake some oldies from the blog, though, and this one seemed pretty perfect for the small ice that we had a few weeks ago.  It was perfect for the cold weather, and it's the ideal comfort food.  I served it with a nice crusty bread.  I am definitely not going to wait another 6 years to have it again!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2 1/2 cups milk
1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes
1 cup cubed cooked ham
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
salt and pepper
1-2 dash Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Chowder ***

This was pretty good.  The kids really liked it.  It could have used something more, but I'm honestly not sure what.  I did end up adding some instant mashed potato flakes, since it never would thicken up for me.  That made it pretty good.  I'd have it again, but I would definitely still add the mashed potatoes.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ DamnDelicious)

4 slices bacon, diced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
12 ounces red potato, diced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
4 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
Place chicken, potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, and corn into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in chicken broth, garlic, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together half and half and cornstarch. Stir in half and half mixture and butter during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Serve immediately, topped with bacon and garnished with chives, if desired.
OP's Notes: Half and half is equal parts of whole milk and cream. For 1 cup half and half, you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I added about a cup of instant mashed potato flakes to thicken it up at the end.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sweet Corn Cake ****

This is probably the boys' favorite thing that I make.  Out of everything.  It helps that I only make it once a year, though, lol.  I typically make it to serve with our annual New Year's Day Hoppin' John meal.  It's ridiculously good, but with the creamed corn and the sugar, what's not to love?  I do usually back off the sugar amount a bit.  I double the recipe, but I only use about 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar total, depending on my mood.  I also use the baking Stevia instead of regular white sugar.  You can't tell a difference in this at all, and it makes me feel just a tad bit better about serving such a sweet item with our regular meal.  Better than nothing, right?  Ha!

(Chandra ~ chaneden ~ adapted from AllRecipes)

1 (8oz) pkg Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg slightly beaten
1 (8oz) can creamed corn
1/2 cup white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. (A smaller pan will make a thicker cake which is preferred over a thinner one.)
2. Place cornbread mix in bowl. Stir in milk and egg. Mix in creamed corn and sugar. Pour into greased pan.
3. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (I look for the edges to turn a little brown and pull away from the sides.)
* Chandra's Notes: I usually multiply this by three, then divide into two pans to make a thicker cake.
** luckymommy/Amy's notes: I doubled it and put it in a 9 x 13 glass baking pan.

Hoppin' John ****

Being born to a family with Southern roots, black-eyed peas are a staple on New Year's Day.  That, along with putting quarters in the windows and not doing laundry are a must in our family.  My grandmother just passed this last summer, and up until her very last New Year's, she would call around the night before and remind everyone not to do laundry.  It's the only way in which she was superstitious.  Every other fiber of her being was rooted in what is stable and reliable.  So for the remainder of my years on this Earth, I will be enjoying black-eyed peas with my quartered windows and dirty laundry on New Year's Day.  And I will be missing her the entire time.

That said, this is the only way my hubby will eat black-eyed peas, which is odd, considering that he was born and raised in the South, while I was born and raised further to the North.  So many of our first years of dating and marriage were spent with me trying to force-feed him a spoonful of black-eyed peas once a year.  Thanks to GatorGrrl, though, we've been enjoying this one together for the past 6 years.  I always serve it with Sweet Corn Cake (also from the BBC CFYF board).  Both recipes are typically only a once-a-year thing for us, which makes them a special treat.  Our kids love it as much as we do, which is a blessing in itself.  I've made a few changes over the years (mainly using green chilies for the jalapeno and cubed ham for the ham hock), but all in all, we stick pretty firmly to the recipe.  Why fix it if it ain't broke?  ;-)

(Sharon --GatorGrrrl)

4 cans black eyed peas
2 pieces of chopped up bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno (take the seeds out to cut the spice)
1 large smoked ham hock
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1-2 cups water
Cooked white rice

Saute 2 pieces of chopped up bacon.  Use the bacon drippings to saute a large onion, garlic, and a jalapeno. Then add big smoked ham hock, 4 cans of black eye peas, a tsp each of thyme, parsley and oregano.  Add just enough water to make it soupy, about 2 cups.
Let it simmer for at least an hour, but the longer the better.  At a certain point, take the ham hock out and let it cool and chop up the ham and stir it back in.
Serve over white rice.
*Amy's notes: I use a can of chilies in place of the jalapenos and cubed ham steak in place of the ham hock.  I also stir 3-4 servings of white rice directly into the peas before serving.

Past Reviews:
1/2/11 ~ Oh man, oh man, oh man. This was wonderful! I made very few changes to the recipe, because it was the first time I've ever attempted Hoppin' John. Although I live in the South (transplant though I may be), I am sad to admit that I'd never even heard of Hoppin' John until last New Year's. My family had always done black-eyed peas and ham for luck on NYD, but dh hates black-eyed peas with a passion. He says they smell like stinky feet and taste about as good as they smell. :) He eats one bite, just for me, every year, but he detests even that much. After my boss described Hoppin' John to me last year, I decided to give it a shot, just to see if I could find a way of making them that dh could tolerate. He actually enjoyed this. For one thing, canned peas don't have that "dirt" flavor to them that fresh do, and he definitely liked that aspect of this recipe. That's why I chose this one in particular. That and the fact that I didn't want to slave away all day on some big fancy pea recipe, just to have him turn his nose up at it, lol.
We all loved this. The only big change I made was to use an 7-oz can of chilies instead of the jalapeno. My kids aren't much on spice, so this was the right decision for us. At the end, I just put 2 servings of white rice directly into the peas. I also used an extra hamhock, with the hopes that I might get some more meat off of it. Instead, I have come to the conclusion that unless you get a much better hock than I did, there is very little usable meat on it. I'm grossed out by eating the fat or skin off of it, so after sawing on those hocks for ages in search of meat, I eventually chunked them. However, I adore the smoky flavor that the ham hocks give it. I've decided that next year, I'll put the one ham hock in there, add chopped ham, and then just let someone's dog have the hock when we're done. Other than that, I am SOLD on this sucker! :)
I served it with Sweet Corn Cake, which gave the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.