Tag Archives: crock pot

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 41 (10/7/13-10/11/13)

Were you absolutely lost without a menu last week? I didn’t think so. I knew you could do it on your own. We were away from home for the entire weekend for a wedding, so there was no cooking on the schedule. Or grocery shopping for that matter.

I actually dragged my hung-over husband out on Sunday afternoon to buy produce and necessities. I can’t lie…it was a little fun watching him “recover” while I calmly shopped for pears and milk.

This week, I have a plan. There is an extra recipe or two thrown into the mix this time because my freezer is honestly looking a little bare. I’m not panicking just yet…despite the fact that my dear son will be born in 33 days or less.

33 days or less.

Wow.

OK, now I’m ready to panic.

I have plans to make a couple of off-menu recipes this weekend, because in my short-lived jaunt as “Bento box lunch packer“, I’ve realized that my little muffin of a daughter LOVES her ‘special treats’ that pop up unexpectedly. I purchased a Wilton Mini Pie Press AGES ago, and have yet to use it, so I’m going to see how it handles apple-pie-making tomorrow. I bought that pie press way before kids were even in the mix, and now I’m wishing that I had an even smaller version (since my girl doesn’t really need a pie even as big as the mini press I have). I might try to procure a smaller one, but for now I’m going with the one I have.

Incidentally, there are some absolutely adorable pumpkin-shaped cookies floating around my Pinterest feed.

Screen shot 2013-10-04 at 3.05.13 PM

[source]

Yeah, I won’t be making those. They’re so cute, but that’s just a little too ambitious for this pregnant lady.

However, I will be making these:

Screen shot 2013-10-04 at 3.09.14 PM[source]

I’m going to shred some ham and add it between the potato layers, since Big Daddy will not likely accept a meat-free meal–especially one involving potatoes of any variety.

I didn’t pick regular recipes that are overly complicated. I tried to keep it as simple as possible, considering that there are 6 new recipes this week.

New Recipes:

Recycled Recipe:

Here’s a link to all of the recipes, the menu, and the grocery list. I did away with the plan because I’ve listed what day to make which recipe on the menu…so “the plan” sort of felt like overkill.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

beth signature

 

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 39 (09/23/13-09/27/13)

Happy Friday!!

It’s starting to feel like Fall in Maryland! YAY!! I was beginning to wonder if we were actually going to have a fall this year, considering that we were pushing 90 degree temperatures up until this past week. Lame.

Last week’s menu was fairly-well executed in the Smithstrong household. The only thing that did not happen was the chicken and noodles, despite the fact that I did actually “roast” the chicken for the recipe (I use this recipe to “roast” it in the Crock Pot, which works and tastes amazingly well). It turned out that Big Daddy ended up eating the chicken by itself anyway, so it wasn’t a total bust.

And, we thoroughly ate the heck out of the Tater Tot Casserole.

tater tot

Um yum.

In fact, I just ate the last of this for breakfast today. Yes, for breakfast. And it was delicious.

I wasn’t entirely convinced about this recipe before I made it, but it has officially been starred and bubbly-hearted in my binder so that I remember to make it again in the future. So delicious.

In addition to the Tater Tots we thoroughly enjoyed, the Toddler has been enjoying her exciting Bento-style lunches. Admittedly, it takes me a bit longer to organize her lunches in the evenings (I am not a morning-lunch-packer because I enjoy sleep too much), but it might add an extra 10 minutes to the process. Not a deal breaker for me, considering how excited she reportedly gets every day when she gets to search for the “BUNNY!/DOGGY!/KITTY!/BEAR BEAR!” in her Bento box.

I probably would’ve loved this as a child, so I’m likely just projecting…but that’s another story for another day.

If you want to read all about my Adventures in Toddler Bento Lunches, I wrote a whole post about it here. I didn’t want to bore anyone who is just here for a menu with my ramblings about making lunches for The Toddler. You’re welcome.

I had a really difficult time picking out recipes this week because of all of the delicious fall DESSERTS that are clogging up my Pinterest feed. I cannot stop thinking about pumpkin donuts, apple pie, and all things sweet and fall-y…so of course there’s no room for legitimate food in my brain. I did my best, but I really wanted to keep it simple in terms of cooking because Mama wants to have some fun (and not be testing her pregnant feet for 6-8 hours in the kitchen on Saturday/Sunday).

Hence, I searched the word “casserole” on Pinterest, and an enormous list of beautifully-constructed casseroles appeared. It’s magic, that Pinterest!

Casseroles are almost always a big hit in our house, so I pretty much can’t go wrong.

Nacho Casserole won, because really…who doesn’t love anything that resembles a taco? Just us?

Nacho-Casserole[source]

And I couldn’t get past the anticipated cranberry-orange goodness of these.

9122f-024[source]

 

Mmmmm…just try to resist the allure of the cranberries. You can’t.

So here’s the lowdown for next week:

New Recipes:

Recycled Recipes:

I’m enjoying the fact that I have just as many new recipes as I do recycled recipes lately. That means that my grand plan is working out beautifully. Less cooking! More time for fun!

Everything you need (menu, recipes, plan & grocery list) is hanging in the folder on Box.com!

beth signature

 

 

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 38 (9/16/13-9/20/13)

Just a quick and dirty post today, considering that it’s Sunday and I haven’t grocery shopped yet.

Let’s just say that Friday I was lazy, yesterday I was overly ambitious (to the tune of a 5 hour cleaning marathon), and today I’m playing catch up on the food-front. It happens.

But you should get excited, because there’s this.

[source]

New Recipes:

Recycled Recipes:

Optional Recipe:

 

Here’s a folder with all of the files you could possibly need for the week… Week 38 Menu, Recipes, Grocery List & Plan.

beth signature

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 37 (9/9/13-9/13/13)

So in case you were wondering, I obviously blew the menu off last week. That’s sort of how I do things…I’m a little unpredictable at times. I decided that I didn’t want to grocery shop for anything more than produce last week, so I declared it a week of “winging it”! Hopefully, you were able to survive off of recycled recipes for the past week. I’m sure you were just fine without me.

Besides not wanting to spend money on groceries, I was also frazzled from being away for Labor Day weekend. The family and I (dogs included) traveled 400 miles north to visit my NY family one last time before baby boy arrives. Actually, it’ll be the last time we make that trip until the end of March 2014, since I am not a fan of snow…and snow sometimes lasts until April in Central NY.

I’ve safely entered into the “single digit” baby countdown now. I can’t believe that I will have a baby in 9 weeks or less. It feels impossible. Insane.

And my house isn’t clean!

And my freezer isn’t fully stocked!

And there are so many things that need to be obsessively organized!

Regardless of any of that, he’s still coming…and I’m never going to really feel prepared for his arrival, so I’m just going with it. Winging it. It’s my theme lately. For instance, last night, I came home from work with The Toddler, and rather than rush inside and get dinner started, I sat on the front lawn and talked to Big Daddy while he did yard work. All the while, The Toddler cavorted in the front lawn, plucking basil leaves out of the herb garden and playing in the dirt. Supervised, but I certainly wasn’t regulating how much basil (or dirt) she ate.

Then I went inside and ordered takeout.

It was glorious.

Sometimes, you just have to put down your schedule and wing it. I don’t allow myself to do that very often, but when I occasionally do, it’s sort of liberating.

That said, let’s talk about the new menu! [Since my brain can only handle the freedom of ‘winging it’ for so long, ya know].

My challenge as of late is that there is very little room in the belly anymore for food! It’s a sad situation for someone who loves food as much as I do. I have a difficult time even considering what to eat on a regular basis, because it takes forever before I don’t feel full from my previous meal. I’m not talking full. I’m talking FULL…from just eating a normal-size portion of food. I ate three 2″ x 2″ squares of pizza for lunch yesterday, and I felt full until 8PM. It’s completely unreasonable.

And meat kinda makes me feel pukey again. But I sure do love oyster crackers right now.

And chili.

plate-crock-pot-chicken-chili-con-queso-recipe

Yep, I realize that it’s chicken chili. What can I say…I’m a walking contradiction today.

Since we’re on the topic of food challenges. I’m having a bit of a challenge lately feeding the toddler, because she’s claiming to not like anything besides Chick-Fil-A nuggets and macaroni & cheese. It’s posing some challenges for me in the “keep the baby fed” front. She does generally eat a little better at daycare though, so in an effort to encourage at least 2 solid meals per day (she eats breakfast and lunch there), I’ve been packing her a daily Bento box that looks a little more fun than your average lunch.

If I’m being honest, I have way too much fun putting her lunches together now, so it’s about 45% selfish decision, and 55% trying to motivate her to eat.

I’ve been compiling ideas (and bento supplies) over the past couple of weeks, but I’m working on my skills. As we were driving to daycare this morning, I checked the passenger seat of my truck to ensure that I hadn’t forgotten her lunch on the counter at home. It wasn’t there. However, it WAS on the floor. Sideways. With applesauce inside the bento box. Unprotected. Leaking into the Earth Balance Cheese Popcorn.

I still need some practice.

I just started pinning to a board on Pinterest for Bento stuff if you want to check it out. It’s pretty cute. I try to only Pin the stuff that is possible for me to accomplish, because some of it is a little out of my realm (and patience level).

This one? Not likely.

unreasonable bento

I’m a relatively practical Bento-er. This is more my style:

practical bento

Except lunch meat freaks me out right now.

…so many issues!

But this isn’t therapy. You’re here for a menu, aren’t you?

New Recipes:

Recycled Recipes:

Ok, I’m sure you’ve had enough of me for today.

Click for the box.com folder with the menu, recipes, plan & grocery list!

beth signature

 

 

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 32 (8/5/13-8/9/13)

Is it just me, or has this been the slowest week in the history of ever? Maybe it’s just because my brain is still on vacation.

So, 6 months and many lethargic afternoons later, I’ve decided this week that I’m going to lay off the carbs for a while. I have been feeling so sluggish lately in the late afternoon and evening that I can only attribute it to carb overload. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the gestating baby I’m carrying, combined with meltingly hot temperatures outside. No matter the reason, I’m going to lay off the carbs and see if I feel any better.

However. The deliciousness of this stromboli from last weeks menu has me dreaming of creating all types of fun, doughy, meat and cheese combinations.

Screen shot 2013-08-01 at 3.21.40 PM

So, I’m going to double (or triple) the recipe and whip up a bunch for the freezer. Because when you’re feeling over-carbed, one stromboli just isn’t enough. Makes sense, right?

Since I was able to find a great organic pizza dough at the grocery store last week, it made the whole stromboli process even easier. I think this recipe will come in handy since I can bake the stromboli  in foil, and then just pop them in the freezer. I tried it out last week, and they heat up really nicely in the oven (which will be perfect after a long day of chasing a toddler and feeding a newborn). The version I made for this past week was filled with pepperoni and mozzarella, brushed with egg yolk and water (per the recipe), then I sprinkled the top with course sea salt and some Tastefully Simple Garlic & Pesto Mix that I had in my cupboard from ages ago. It was so freaking delicious!

So, that’s a carb bomb that can’t be avoided…although…I’m sure it’ll be fine since I won’t be eating the entire stromboli or anything. Maybe.

Another hit from the Week 31 Menu was the Spicy Sausage Pasta (although I made it not spicy because toddlers tend to not be a fan of that sort of nonsense).

Screen shot 2013-08-01 at 3.47.35 PM[source]

I loved this recipe. I was a major fan of the fact that I didn’t have to boil my noodles in one pot and cook the rest of the stuff in another pot. I’m seeing more recipes pop up where you can just add your noodles into the recipe uncooked, and they turn out beautifully. I suppose if it works for Hamburger Helper, why wouldn’t it work for a similar homemade recipe, right?! This recipe turned out great, and the leftovers were even better than the original.

This week, since I’m trying to focus more on protein and less on carbs, you may feel a bit shafted in the “side dish” category. Since a lot of my recipes are one-dish type meals, that’s normally not an issue (since they’re generally all carb-o-licious and stuff). My plan is to skip the carbs and just steam up some frozen veggies instead, or throw some fresh veggies on the grill with a sweet potato. Sounds delicious still, right?!

I’m trying to convince myself that pasta = steamed veggies. But it just doesn’t compute. I will survive.

Now. Don’t get it twisted and think that this week’s menu is “low carb”. It’s so not.

Exhibit #1.

index11-682x1024[source]

Now, this recipe looks delicious to me, but I need to add a disclaimer. The the recipe uses some version of conventional grocery store breaded, bagged chicken. I don’t intend to take that route (unless I can find an organic version), so I might be breading my own chicken for this recipe. I’m personally not opposed to those extra few steps so avoid any type of “frankenmeat” situation…but I also won’t judge you if you use a Tyson-esque version of breaded chicken either. I’m just paranoid.

New Recipes:

Recycled Recipes:

Don’t get nervous that there are FIVE new recipes this week. I promise you that they are all easy, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re standing in the kitchen all weekend. I added the breakfast sandwiches on the plan to be prepared tonight (Friday), so just whip them up after the kids go to bed (you know…before you watch the next episode of Orange Is the New Black in your queue).  That way, you’ll get a head start on your weekend cooking. If you wanted to be REALLY ambitious (heck, it’s Friday…you can stay up late watching Netflix, right?!), you could even make your Sweet & Spicy Chicken, which will take you next to no time to put together anyway.

Here’s the Menu, the Plan, and the Grocery List.

It’s almost the weekend!!! Enjoy it, because summer will be over before we know it (at least on the East Coast it will be)!!!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

 

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 25 (6/17/13-6/21/13)

It’s time for another menu…already!

Baby girl and I are headed to the beach this afternoon, and we don’t return until Saturday…just in time to host a Father’s Day party for our family and friends (p.s…I’m pretty excited about making this Tomato Potato Zucchini Summer Squash “Casserole”)! It should be interesting preparing for a party in addition to preparing everything for next week’s menu!

Luckily, I’ve made it pretty simple on myself. Most of the breakfast items are from my freezer, I added 2 (extremely easy) slow cooker recipes to the menu, some “slap ’em together and throw ’em in the oven” tacos, and a muffin recipe. Simple stuff, guys.

If ever there was a week to jump into the mix, this is it. If you are just starting, begin by just making the new recipes, and piece-in and improvise your way through the recipes that you don’t have in your freezer yet. In a few weeks, you’ll have all of the freezer-stock recipes on-hand, and you will be right on schedule with me.

This recipe has me the most excited this week:

pic1EFGmW[yum]

Here’s the new recipes for this week:

Pulling out of my freezer:

Here’s the menu (including all of the recipes in pdf format), the grocery list, and the plan.

Have a great weekend!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

 

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 24 (6/10/13-6/14/13)

It’s raining!

That’s not particularly exciting news to the rest of the world, but hopefully the half-dead Gerber daisies on my front porch appreciate this. Sidebar: is it just me, or are we actually experiencing “April” in “June”?

More exciting than the weather: we find out what flavor baby we are having on Monday!

2013_04_11_08_28_57 crop

Any early guesses?

Yeah, me either. I vacillate back and forth based on which “gender test” I’ve taken during the week. The Chinese Gender Predictor tells me it’s a girl, and the ring/string test tells me it’s a boy…so there’s no telling what we’ve got. But, we’ll know for sure on Monday!

I know–you’re here for a menu. Sorry.

This week, only 4 new recipes because I still have an abundance of food in the freezer (mainly breakfast food), and because really…let’s not overexert ourselves, OK? It could potentially stop raining, and we may want to actually do something fun this weekend (or take a nap or 5)!

New recipes:

Oldies:

**A note about the Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak: the recipe I posted calls for 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. Since I don’t subscribe to the “cream of (insert type) soup” club, I make my own using this recipe: Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute. It takes only a few minutes to make, and it’s much better for us than that old goopy canned junk. Just double the recipe, add some chopped mushrooms and you’ll have the Cream of Mushroom soup that you need for the salisbury steak recipe. Amen.

p.s…I didn’t put the “Cream of Yuck” soup on your grocery list because I can’t support that type of behavior. If you MUST buy the yucky stuff, make sure to add it to your grocery list.

My second side note on this recipe is that it calls for dry onion soup mix. You can make your own soup mix too…as well as several other of those dry packet mix thingies. I came across a link on Pinterest a while ago, and since then, I’ve made all of the combinations mentioned (taco seasoning, dry onion soup, and ranch) with great success using spices that I already have on-hand. It’s very cool.

I’m also going to whip up some mashed potatoes to go with the Salisbury Steak…I’ll use my own recipe, but it basically resembles Paula Deen’s Garlic Mashed Potato recipe. Um. Yum. And, you can make these in advance and freeze them. They reheat lovely in the oven or on the stove top (just keep the burner on low, or you’ll burn them).

Here’s the menu (with all of the recipes attached to the pdf document), the grocery list, and the game plan.

So there you have it, kids. I’ll be running out of breakfast food soon, so we’ll probably have to make some muffins next week. Get your muffin tins ready!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

 

 

 

 

 

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 19

I am honestly TRYING to break my pregnant self out of the carb-fest that I’ve been on for the past several weeks. However, my body really has a different idea. Eating is still posing some significant challenges at the moment.

  1. I still don’t want to eat meat (this lasted my entire pregnancy last time).
  2. Chicken literally makes me gag.
  3. Salad is iffy.

I have problems. Which means that you have problems too, if you’re following my menu. If you’re trying to be ‘bikini-ready’, you’ve surely come to the wrong place. However, I’m trying to keep you (and my poor protein-deficient husband) in mind when I plan the weekly menus. If it was only about me, the menu would look like this:

Screen shot 2013-05-03 at 2.11.43 PMScreen shot 2013-05-03 at 2.12.42 PMScreen shot 2013-05-03 at 2.15.39 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmmmm.

But! I can’t do that to you guys. Instead, I’ll only sorta kinda carb bomb you.

I’m also trying to branch out a little bit on the toddler front, and give the little one some different variety. She does eat a very nutritious diet, but I’d like to make sure she’s trying new food often, and I sometimes feel like I have a hard time keeping it interesting.

So this week, we’ll try hummus. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t tried to give her hummus yet. I suppose I just never have it in the house because my husband hates it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Coupled with my pregnancy-related malfunctions, I’m also having a problem motivating myself to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I’d much rather be enjoying the warmer weather, digging in the garden, strolling the baby, and playing at the playground. As a result, you may have noticed that I started making only 3 dinner meals per week, and I’ve also scaled down on the number of recipes in total that I make each weekend.

Incidentally, this will probably come back to bite me in the butt when my freezer starts to look a little sad and empty…but I’ll suffer the consequences later. I’d rather enjoy the weather.

The menu this week is pretty easy, so this is a good week to get started if you’re just jumping in!

That’s it! Pretty easy, right?

Here’s the full menu for the week, the grocery list, and the plan.

Have a great week!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM