Tag Archives: Slow Cooker

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 33 (8/12/13-8/16/13)

Another week is over! It’s not just a cliche–time really does go by faster when you’re old(er).

And your kids grow up right before your eyes.

Screen shot 2012-08-27 at 8.13.16 AM

wagon

Seriously…it feels like that first picture was taken last week. Now I have a full-fledged toddler on my hands. It took like a WEEK for that to happen (in my brain, anyway). Isn’t it tragic that we can’t just preserve them in all of their squishy baby-ness?

Speaking of toddlers. She wasn’t a fan of Week 32‘s Ham & Cheese Stromboli. Or the Breakfast Freezer Sandwich. I thought for sure she’d eat the stromboli (since it was loaded with cheese), but wasn’t entirely surprised that she threw the breakfast sandwich on the floor. She only recently started to eat eggs, and she’ll only eat the egg from a Starbucks breakfast sandwich (but are they really even eggs anyway?). So, we’ll keep attempting to feed her some real eggs, and see if she changes her mind at some point.

For now, I’ll leave the Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches for Big Daddy…because he doesn’t throw his on the floor.

She did, however, LOVE the Sweet & Spicy Chicken (which we made non-spicy). She actually ate that twice for lunch during the week because Big Daddy and I ate all of the pork tenderloin that she was supposed to have for lunch on Wednesday (oops).

This week, I’m branching out a bit with a recipe for beef tri tips. I still have no flipping clue where I’m going to locate an organic version of beef tri tips, but I guess that’s my problem, not yours. I will find them. And if not, I’ll improvise with a different cut of beef.

Because it’s just worth it…

Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 2.02.56 PM[source]

Don’t you love how I tell you that I’m “branching out”, but it’s really just an excuse for me to eat mashed potatoes & gravy?

Yeah, that’s how it works right now.

And, SURPRISE!

Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 2.05.33 PM[source]

Guess who managed to work another stromboli into the menu this week??!! I’m sorry, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so convenient to make (and tasty). This one is even more exciting to me, since it’s a breakfast version. It kind of reminds me of the sausage bread that my mom made when I was little.  And again, I’ll probably double the recipe so I can stick a couple in the freezer. If you buy frozen dough (as I mentioned last week, I found a really good frozen organic version), one batch of dough will make 2 stromboli.

New recipes this week:

Recycled recipes this week:

Keep in mind that I DIDN’T add a recipe here for mashed potatoes to go with your tri tips. I figured that you will use your favorite recipe for those…or just eat the string beans…or choose a different side dish if you’re not a pregnant mashed potato junkie like me.

Also…I’ve mentioned before that I don’t mess with the canned “Cream of _____” gloppy soup garbage. You can use that in the Cheesy Chicken Casserole recipe if you want, but you can also easily make your own using this recipe for Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute. Amen.

Here is the printable menu, the plan, and the grocery list.

Happy weekend!

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 27 (7/1/13-7/5/13)

It’s getting crazy up in here. I realized again yesterday that my freezer is looking pretty baron. I need to get cooking (and freezing), but it’s so DAMN HOT OUTSIDE! However, I’m going to have to suck it up and do some cooking.

That said, this week is a little heavy on the freezer-stock…although it’s still very light as compared to many of my previous (spring) menus.

It includes these delicious beauties…

8949460517_70b30b2fb0_c[source]

Don’t you want to eat those for lunch next week?! They’re like Bagel Bites, only much more delicious and better for you.

This week, despite the sad state of my freezer, I’m not overdoing it. I’m mainly focusing on getting at least one lunch and one breakfast meal stocked and ready to go, which will last for several weeks into the future. I’ll probably freeze a dinner or two (weekends…or for when the baby comes) next week. I figure if I continue at that pace, alternating between stocking breakfast/lunch/dinner over the next 3 months, I’ll have a solid freezer stash ready going into the fall and winter.

Of course, that is the plan.

We’ll see how it turns out.

[…insert vision of me, on/about November 25th, with a 19-month-old slung on my back in the Maya Wrap, and a newborn wrapped to my front in the Moby…both screaming…both hungry…I’m lactating…I’m also probably crying hysterically…starving…nothing in the oven…husband is at work. So, the ultimate goal is to avoid this scenario.]

Last weeks menu was very lazily-executed on my end. I skipped a couple of recipes that were intended for the end of the week because I just honestly could not find the motivation to cook last weekend (other than the breakfast necessities and the stuffed peppers), and then I’ve been working late this week, so I bestowed the dinner responsibility upon the husband.

But, the stuffed peppers were SO GOOD! Loved them.

This week, since I’m expecting myself to fizzle and burn out again, I’m using a couple of dinner recipes that seem quick and easy. It should make everything a bit easier to execute, especially considering that I have committed to make 3 (admittedly easy) recipes for my company picnic on Sunday afternoon.

Also for that reason, I have noted on the menu that the muffins for Monday’s breakfast will be made this evening. I realize that’s ambitious considering that today is Friday, and I also have to still grocery shop (tonight), but that’s basically the only way these muffins are getting made.

Sleep be damned.

New recipes this week:

Recycled recipes this week:

Here’s the plan, the menu, and the grocery list.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 16

Another week is upon us!

This week’s menu is heavy on the freezer, so I hope you’ve been keeping up! Why is it heavy on the freezer, you ask?! Well…because Mama’s feeling lazy! And we might as well use that food in the freezer–that’s why it’s there, right?!

There are FIVE freezer pulls on the menu this week:

  • Vanilla French Toast
  • Mini Pizza
  • Apple-Pear Bran Muffin
  • Spinach Lasagna Roll
  • Baked Oatmeal

 

If you haven’t stocked your freezer with all of these recipes yet, that’s OK. Just improvise until you get them all stocked in there. Most of these are sort of the staples that always remain in my freezer, so when I get ready to run out, I add it into my schedule to make more. Actually, I make Vanilla French Toast every single Saturday with the previous weeks’ leftover bread and eggs! It’s a great way to ensure that I always have it in the freezer.

The star of last week for me was the Blueberry-Raspberry Baked Oatmeal.

oatmealSo delicious! I’ve made a mental note that next time I need to add a crumbly topping to it prior to baking it, because that would make it even more delicious.

Here’s this week’s menu:

And the recipe list (starred recipes are from the freezer):

 

Here’s the full pdf version of the menu for 4/15/13-4/19/13 (if you click on this link and then “download”, all of the recipes are attached to the pdf), the plan, and the grocery list!

Have a fantastic week!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 14

How did everyone do with last week’s plan?! Did you make one recipe? Two? Three? The whole darn thing??

I made most of the recipes, but I definitely didn’t get it done over the weekend. I enlisted a combination of “wing’ it” and “call in some help from mom” this week. I did manage to throw together my Italian Mixed Green Salad with Pasta and Herbs, and my mom very lovingly cooked the PaleOMG Meat Sauce (and had it warm and waiting when I got home from work, to boot), but that was about the extent of it.

This week, I fully intend to get my crap together and actually cook the full menu.

Despite the fact that my brain kept whispering “pasta…pasta…pasta” while I was planning this week’s menu, I tried to throw some non-pasta dishes in. Pasta seems to be my go-to lately, even though the rest of the family is not all that fond of pasta in most forms.

I sourced all of the new recipes this week from Tasty Kitchen, which is one of my favorite recipe collection sites. I had intended on just going on there to take a look, but I just couldn’t pull myself away!

There’s no way I could walk away from these breakfast burritos.

burto2-410x610

Impossible.

Here’s the menu for this week:

 

I’m probably a little too excited about the Italian Sausage, Kale and Blistered Tomato Fettuccine.

Here’s the grocery list for 4/1/13-4/5/13 and the Plan 040113-040513!

Just remember that items from the freezer are not included on the grocery list, so if you want to make those to stock your freezer for the future, be sure to add them to your grocery list!

Have a great week everyone!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 13

Happy new menu day, everyone! Hopefully you were much more plan-ish, organized, and able to manage your time than I was last week.

My chicken enchiladas never happened.

My Sweet Potato Chai Muffins turned into Apple-Pear Bran Muffins, since the 2 sweet potatoes floating around in my produce drawer turned out to be hairy.

The Crockpot Migas? I didn’t even get my crockpot cleaned after I made the Ham & Egg Casserole.

So yeah. Some weeks just don’t look as good in real life as they do on paper, and that’s OK. Looking on the bright side, I did make us one breakfast in addition to the dozen muffins (11 of which went into my freezer for the future), and I was able to bake one pan of Old School Mac ‘N Cheese for the week, and I put a second pan in the freezer for another day.

We also thoroughly enjoyed Pioneer Woman’s Italian Pot Roast.

pot roast

Some of us more than others, obviously.

Despite the fact that I didn’t exactly execute the menu fully last week, I don’t consider it a total bust. I was able to stock my freezer with enough muffins to last us at least another week or two, one dinner for the future, and now I have 2 fully cooked rotisserie chickens in the freezer (since my chicken enchiladas never came to fruition).

But we ate a lot of pot roast.

This week, I’m going to keep things as simple as possible. My “tiny little baby” turned one yesterday **cue the tear-shaped confetti**. My family is coming to town from Central NY on Saturday morning (hooray), and we are having a relatively low key birthday bash fit for a one-year-old!

52 weeks

She’s totally ready to party!

In light of Saturday’s festivities, I am not going to have time to prep anything, so all of my cooking will happen on Sunday…and I don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen, considering that most of my family will be going home that day, so I want to spend some time with them!

My mom is going to be staying with us for the whole week next week, and she really likes salad…so get ready–we’re going to eat salad this week. But, I promise that it’s yummy salad.

My Italian Mixed Green Salad w/ Pasta & Herbs recipe uses the fancy word “Chiffonade”, which I have no idea where I even learned. And I wasn’t even sure that I was using the correct word until I just Googled it up again. If you don’t know what “Chiffonade” is, don’t get nervous–just check this out: How to Chiffonade Basil.

Easy, right?!

I know that you’re looking at me right now and saying, “Eewww…I’m NOT eating leftover salad throughout the week”! But just hear me out on this one. Under the proper conditions, this salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days, and the last time I made it (the last time my Mom came to visit, ironically), it lasted nearly the entire week.

salad

This was on day #4 or 5. No joke.

The key is to make sure that the ingredients going into the salad are as dry as possible. Prior to combining each ingredient, I spin everything in a Salad Spinner—especially the pasta, black olives, and artichoke hearts, since they’re all going to involve extra water to begin with. If you get mozzarella packed in water, spin it! If your sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil, spin those suckers! Extra liquid will cause the salad to get really mushy and gross. But! If you keep everything as dry as possible before it touches the lettuce and such, your salad will last well into the week. I promise!

Here’s what we have going on this week in terms of recipes:

So that’s pretty much it. Keeping it relatively simple this weekend, but you’ll have some minimal cooking during the week (but only if you are making the breakfasts from the menu). As always, I left off some of the obvious stuff that doesn’t need a recipe (tacos, cheesy eggs, grilled cheese). Those are pretty self-explanatory!

Just remember that items from the freezer are not included on the grocery list, so if you want to make those to stock your freezer for the future, be sure to add them to your grocery list!

Here’s the grocery list 032513-032913 and the plan for 032513-032913.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest–there’s a widget on the left that’ll take you to the menu for this week, and you can follow me from there.

Have a great week everyone!

1 week

Did I mention that this teeny tiny baby is one YEAR old? I’m going to go cry in a corner now.

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

 

New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 12

Isn’t the new website pretty cool?! I sort of just threw it together in the past few days, so you’ll notice that things will probably continue to morph and grow over the coming weeks. I’m slowly adding the past Weekly Menus onto the site, but for now I’m just focusing on making sure that you have this week’s new menu on time!

New Menu

If this is your first time, you can read all about my menus here.

I’ve just started scouring my old website (RIP Joggerslife) for recipes that I may want to reincarnate, and there is some good stuff on there!  Now I’m deciding if I want them to live on the 52 Menus | 52 Weeks site, or if I want to put them somewhere else entirely. I’ll let you know how that goes.

This menu is a little “comfort food” heavy, and I even added a recipe for Old School Mac N Cheese. Don’t question the deliciousness…just go with it! I promise we’ll only do this every once in a while.

Here’s the recipe list:

Just a few things to remember…I only include items on the grocery list for new recipes. That means that if you’re just starting out and you want to incorporate one of the two ‘freezer pulls’ this week, you’ll have to add the ingredients for Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls and Vanilla French Toast to your own grocery list. The grocery list is completely modifiable (it’s provided in Word format), so you can add what you need to it.

This week I also added a text box on the right side of the grocery list for “Weekly Items”, which is what I do with my own list. That way, you can add the things that you need to pick up in addition to your 52 Menus | 52 Weeks stuff (or add the other miscellaneous items that are on my menu like apples, pears, mixed veggies, etc.). If you’re in my household, you NEVER forget the mandarin oranges. That would put us in crisis mode.

Here’s the Grocery List for 031813-032213, and here’s the Game Plan for 031813-032213

I added a batch of Mini Pizzas on to the ‘Make Ahead’ list this week, so just do that when you have a little bit of spare time. You can do it any time during the week–we’re just stocking the freezer for future meals!

As always, just email me with any questions! Hope everyone has a great week!

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 10.31.42 AM

p.s…If you want to download the pdf document that has all of the recipes, as well as the grocery list and game plan, it’s right here (just right click and choose “Save Link As”, then you can open it in Adobe to view all of the attachments).