Tag Archives: slow cooker

Book Review: Mexican Slow Cooker

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My newest cookbook is the Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider and it is one that should be on your counter, too.  For a bottom line up-front (BLUF) take on the book: I love it, but it is not a book for everyone.  I love the pictures, the obvious thought that went into creating authentic Mexican dishes and the flavors that this food delivers. This is definitely not a “dump and go” slow cooker book and I love that about it. I think there are plenty of those books out there and I’m not yearning for more of those kind of recipes. Having an authentic, inexpensive Mexican meal that I made myself with some prep in the morning and some prep right before dinner makes me feel like I am winning at dinner.

This book is a great option for the “weekend warrior” or home-intermittently-during-the-day type of person. This book has a few recipes that could be last all day in a slow cooker for people that are out of the house all day.  Most recipes are intended to be cooked in four to six hours on the low setting and most do require some prep (fifteen or more minutes). If you have a machine that switches to warm after that amount of time and are gone for several more hours this could be problematic. Although, I think this type of slow cooking is the best type of slow cooking. It allows me to sleep in on a weekend, drink some coffee while I slowly take in the recipe then char some chiles and get the cooker going and I haven’t missed that “golden window” of time where the recipe is a wash if I wait too long. For most of the recipes if you start them by lunch you’ll have an amazing dinner.

These girls love their lentils!

These girls love their lentils!

I love that this book has so many recipes that are freezer friendly.  We love leftovers because it makes a home-cooked meal easy and freezing does the same. I know I will continue to make these recipes and freeze some so that I can have an easy Mexican meal (or at least parts of it) ready quickly.

I wanted to try out a variety of the recipes that are different from things I’ve made at home before. We ended up having to substitute ingredients for several recipes because our grocery store options are limited, but we still loved the recipes. Here is our take on the recipes we tried:

Sopa de frijol (page 13). We shop at a pared down American grocery store so opted for pinto beans and regular oregano. I wanted to make this early in the week so we used store-bought beef broth instead of caldo de res.  This soup requires turning off the cooker and allowing it to settle for fifteen minutes to skim the fat from the top. The impatient part of me after a long day wanted to just eat already but doing this patient resting of the dish to allow easy removal of the fat made for a perfect dish.  This one was definitely spicy and smoky and really felt Mexican.

I love slow cooking overnight and then storing food quickly no safely in a 2" deep covered casserole dish. Makes dinner so easy!

I love slow cooking overnight and then storing food quickly and safely in a 2″ deep covered casserole dish. Makes dinner so easy!

Sopa de lentejas y longaniza (page 25). Our store sells the cured chorizo but not longaniza so we made a substitute.  We are a lentil-obsessed family so I figured this one would be a huge hit.  Four out of five of us loved this one. Hubby found this one underwhelming, but the rest of us loved the hearty, smoky flavor. This one was not spicy at all but had great flavor from the chiles.

Frijoles de olla (page 104).  I used less crushed red pepper than this one called for so that it would be kid-friendly and these are awesome. They came out just the right texture; tender but not mushy. These are great as-is but I can’t wait to try them in the frijoles refritos!

If you are looking for a book to give you authentic Mexican recipes this book definitely delivers. If you are looking for a slow cooker book that has quick prep time, easy to find ingredients and long cook times this book may not be right for you. We are really happy with this book and have already grabbed the ingredients to make costillos, torta de tamal with carne Colorado and burrito Ahogado.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Week In Review: Salad of my dreams

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We try a lot of new recipes around here.  Pretty much every week we are trying something new.  This was a habit I got into when I worked as a clinical dietitian and I had clients that needed recipe recommendations and it has since spiraled into an obsession with trying new recipes.  The crazy thing about it is that usually we are trying new recipes and can say that they taste great…like that other thing we had however long ago.  It is a rare thing when we taste something that really tastes like nothing we have ever had  before.  We had this sort of experience with the kale salad this week.  It was really a Caesar salad with Caesar in quotations.  Caesar salad just doesn’t do this salad justice.  And kale salad, pfff.  You may think kale salad is SO 2015.  It’s not.  This salad is literally the salad of my dreams.  You’re welcome that I linked it below. 🙂

Hello, lovahhhhh!  This kale Caesar has really been starring in my dreams lately.

Hello, lovahhhhh! This kale Caesar has really been starring in my dreams lately.

Sunday: Kale “Caesar” Salad and Pasta with Abruzzi-Style Lamb Sauce. Let me just start by saying that the pasta was good.  The sauce definitely had a slight gamey flavor with the lamb, but if you like lamb {we do} then you will like it.  Now, about the salad.  Oh my goodness!  This may be my new favorite salad of all time.  It was the best Caesar salad I have ever had in my whole life.  It made me fall even more in love with Damaris Phillips than I already am.  We might make the pasta again, but we will definitely make the salad again.  Maybe everyday.  It was that good.

Monday: Korean-Style Chicken WrapsI signed up to bring a meal to a mama with a new baby (cutest baby of all time, next to my kiddos, of course!) who has a deployed hubby.  What a hard gig she has!  I decided to make one of our fave Asian recipes since it has the best homemade Korean barbecue sauce ever.  By some miracle the weather was gorgeous and hubs was able to actually grill the chicken outside. If you are looking for some new, un-run-of-the-mill chicken recipes that are perfect for weeknights check out this cookbook from Food & Wine (just click the image below).  You will be glad you did!

Tuesday: Chicken Cassoulet-Style SoupI couldn’t decide what to have for dinner and wanted something meaty and hearty and bean-y so I looked at my pantry and freezer staples and decided to make this.  It is SO easy to make and we all love it.  We just toss it together then it simmers for a little bit and then dinner is ready.  So quick and so yummy.

This pantry/freezer staple soup is a lifesaver on nights I can't decide what to make for dinner.

This pantry/freezer staple soup is a lifesaver on nights I can’t decide what to make for dinner.

Wednesday: Leftovers.  Easiest day of the week!

Thursday: Citrus and Chile Braised Short Ribs with Cucumber SaladWe really liked this one but it pains me how much inedible portion there is with short ribs.  I’m  not even going to go into how un-dietitian-like short ribs are as a cut of meat.  But how much you pay for the bones that you can’t even eat?! I die.  Sure, bone both is super trendy, but c’mon.  Anyway, we did really like the flavor of this and it was easy to make so we will make this recipe again, but with a different cut.  I was thinking maybe flank steak because it is lean or a pot roast since they are budget friendly and it is easy to pick the healthy meat portion away from the fatty parts.

My sweet Chloe is 11 months already!  Where has the time gone?!

My sweet Chloe is 11 months already! Where has the time gone?!

 

Friday: Thai Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice.  To be fair, maybe the curry that we used wasn’t quite strong enough.  We bought a wimpy, mild one so that the kids would eat it.  The flavor of the coconut milk came through which was great, but it just tasted like gravy and not curry.  It really didn’t hit the mark for us so we won’t make this one again.

Thank goodness for long roasts and slow cookers during baby teething season!

Thank goodness for long roasts and slow cookers during baby teething season!

Saturday: Steamed Kielbasa, Sauerkraut and PierogiesHubby ended up going on a work trip last minute…to Portugal.  Poor him, right?  At least I had heard about it on Friday so I was able to go to the grocery store and get what I needed to make this slow cooker recipe that is my absolute favorite slow cooker recipe.  This recipe is a great alternative to slow cooker stews and super quick to put together.  If you like any of the ingredients in the recipe name I urge you to give it a try.  If you are interested in more recipes like this check out Family Circle magazine.  We have been subscribing for a few years and it is one of my new faves: a little fashion, a little home, a little kids and hubby, and some recipes! I love it!  Click the image below to find out more info and to subscribe!

Thanks so much for reading!  Did you have anything great to eat this week?  I’d love to know in the comments section below!

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Friends, Fam and Food

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We had such a great week!  We just wrapped up Chloe’s baptism and are winding down our time in Ohio.  It was so fun to have friends and family in town for the baptism and was such a great excuse to have some of our favorite Dayton food!  We mostly stuck to the menu plan for the week.  Yay!

Hannah "shoveled" her spaghetti and spaghetti squash.  Should I just be thankful that she used a utensil?  Probably, huh?

Hannah “shoveled” her spaghetti and spaghetti squash. Should I just be thankful that she used a utensil? Probably, huh?

Sunday: Butter chicken with rice and salad.  This was a great quick meal. I usually like to have it with a kale and mango salad but we just whipped it together so had a normal salad.

Monday: Meatballs in the slow cooker with spaghetti and spaghetti squash.  We used up the turkey meatballs from our freezer and the last of the spaghetti squash from our CSA from the past Fall.  I like to mix the spaghetti squash with normal spaghetti and some parmesan cheese. The kiddos end up not even noticing it and getting in a ton of veggies. Love when that happens!

Tuesday: Sloppy cubanos.  This is a Rachael Ray recipe (love her!) and has such great flavor.  I love that it takes a simple meal and elevates it to something that feels fancy but accessible.  Our kids are nuts for pickles so they ate a ton!  We had pickle slices on the side and called them pickle chips.  It is a low-cal swap for other chips and has about the same amount of sodium.  We will definitely keep making this again and again!

This slow cooker veggie chili was quick to prep and everyone loved it.  Definitely a keeper!

This slow cooker veggie chili was quick to prep and everyone loved it. Definitely a keeper!

Wednesday: Happy Earth Day!  Slow cooker veggie chili. So we sort of ran out of leftovers and I just didn’t mention to hubs that it was a veggie chili when we were setting the table for dinner.  We all really liked it…and he said he did see the veggie crumbles on the counter so he knew it was a vegetarian meal and still liked it.  He is even open to eating it again!  This was so easy to prepare and can cook in just a few hours in the slow cooker so it is a perfect one to keep as a staple meal with all ingredients on hand for those days that I forget to pull meat from the freezer or forget to start the slow cooker in the morning (that never happens to me, right? 🙂 ).   

Thursday:  Chicken with chorizo and tomato sauce with salad and either rice or potatoes.  Hubby bubby was not feeling well and wanted Chipotle.  Who could argue with a sad hubby bubby that just wants something comforting? 

Be still, my heart!  I sure do love Pappadeaux.

Be still, my heart! I sure do love Pappadeaux.

Friday: Breakfast for dinner for kiddos and kids and I went to Pappadeaux!  Hubby made the kids scrambled eggs with tomatoes, an English muffin, and fruit.  They loved it and it is so inexpensive!  I think we will do breakfast for dinner more often!  Hubby bubby and I went to Pappadeaux.  I. Die.  I love that place!  Everything on the menu is amazing and the servers are all so personable but not schticky.  I had trout with shrimp and a scallop and a lemon butter sauce with a barley, tomato and arugula salad.  Shut the front door.  It was SOOO good.  I even ate the leftovers for breakfast and it was still fabulous.  I am definitely going to miss that place!

Saturday: Dewey’s pizza and salads.  Friends and fam made it to town so we got pizza from our fave pizza place and I made a salad with fruit and blackberry basil vinaigrette.  It worked out perfectly since my sister’s main squeeze had mentioned that he hadn’t gotten in enough fruit for the day. 

Sunday: Shish Wraps for Chloe’s Baptism. There is nothing quite like Shish Wraps.  Everyone loved it and we had just enough extra to give us some leftovers.  I think we’ll still visit Simon a few more times before we go…healthy and delicious?  Gotta eat it!

Pinterest win with the decor!  Thanks to my sis and her main squeeze for putting the tulle on the balloons.  It looked so great!  I love fresh flowers.  Stay tuned to my Pinterest page...I'll be make the baptism board public soon!

Pinterest win with the decor! Thanks to my sis and her main squeeze for putting the tulle on the balloons. It looked so great! I love fresh flowers. Stay tuned to my Pinterest page…I’ll be make the baptism board public soon!

 How did your week go?  What are some of your places to go out to eat?  Thanks for reading.  I hope you have a wonderful and delicious week!

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Busy week ahead

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Muffins are on the menu this week!  We will probably make a few varieties.  What is your favorite muffin recipe?

Muffins are on the menu this week! We will probably make a few varieties. What is your favorite muffin recipe?

I am so excited that it is Earth day!  I love to plant things and get out in the garden…but now that we’re moving all I get to do in the garden is pull weeds.  Weeding is not super exciting!  At least I’m planning a meatless meal for the kiddos and I for Earth day (hubby bubby doesn’t love veggie chili).  This weekend I was 100% ready to eat Shish Wraps and checked their menu and GASP they were about to close.  I took that as a sign from God and whipped together one of our pantry staple meals.  At least I know we’ll have Shish this coming weekend!

Sunday: Butter chicken with rice and salad.  We love the Maya Kaimal sauces.  They just have such great depth of flavor and make it so easy to whip dinner together in a jiffy.  Check them out on my Pinterest page.

Monday: Meatballs in the slow cooker with spaghetti and spaghetti squash.  Now that Hannah has soccer every Monday I am planning menus that can be prepped earlier in the day and just require a few minutes right before dinner time so we can make it out the door with cleats on when we need to.

Butter chicken with rice and salad is always delicious.

Butter chicken with rice and salad is always delicious.

Tuesday: Sloppy cubanos.  This is one of my favorite sloppy joe riffs.  Rachael Ray has such a gift with tweaking childhood staples and making them more grown up.  I love that this is a kid friendly way to incorporate some new flavors.  The recipe calls for plantain chips on the side but we do pickle slices to help us eat more veggies.  I love that pickles are a veggie!  When replacing chips with pickles the sodium content is negligible so we can eat our hearts out on pickles with no guilt!

Wednesday: Happy Earth Day!  The kiddos and I will be having a slow cooker veggie chili and hubby bubby will be having leftovers since he doesn’t love veggie chili.  Chili is supposed to have cubes of meat and gravy he says.  Texas style.  No ground meat (that makes it just a soup with chili powder) and no beans…maybe a few on top for some flair, but not in the actually chili.

Thursday:  Chicken with chorizo and tomato sauce with salad and either rice or potatoes.  My plan is to make “roasted” potatoes in the pressure cooker.  Has anyone ever tried this?  The potatoes are browned in the pressure cooker and then you cover them and bring them to pressure so that they have a crunchy exterior and creamy interior.  Sounds awesome, right?  I’m hoping it goes well!

Hoping for a date night with this handsome guy this week!

Hoping for a date night with this handsome guy this week!

Friday: Breakfast for dinner.  I’m hoping that hubby bubby and I might be able to go out to dinner.  Pappadeaux is calling our name!  We will have scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions, muffins and fruit for the kiddos even if we go out.  This way we’ll have some yummy muffins for snacking on when the guests start to arrive!

Saturday: Dewey’s pizza and salads.  Friends and family will be arriving for Chloe’s baptism so it is the perfect time to get our last fill of Dewey’s.  We will definitely have to get the Socrates’ revenge (partially because I will always be a philosophy lover) because it has pesto, artichoke hearts and goat cheese. MMmmMM!!!

 

 How do you define chili? Beans or no beans?  Served over spaghetti?  Just the cubes of meat and gravy?  If you have a great chili recipe I’d love to try it!  Thanks for reading.  I hope you have a wonderful and delicious week!

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Dinner dates and kids sports

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Hannah loves to help dish the salad and fruit at dinner.  She is becoming such a big helper!

Hannah loves to help dish the salad and fruit at dinner. She is becoming such a big helper!

This week Hannah had her first soccer game!  So fun!  I so don’t agree that there should be a snack sign up for a three- and four-year-old soccer game.  The game is only 45 minutes of the kids staring at their parents and frolicking after the ball for a bit…but more on that later.  We are really winding down in Ohio and it feels so surreal!  We are checking off places on our list that we HAVE to eat at before we move.

Monday:  Chicken bratwurst with broccoli slaw.  This, one was both a hit and miss.  The chicken apple sausage with the onions in the slow cooker was delish.  The broccoli slaw not so much.  It was pretty bland.  It just tasted like plain broccoli with some parsley, very underwhelming.  I couldn’t let all the slaw go to waste so I added some to my brat and had some on the side.  It gave the brat a nice crunch so I think when I try this next time I will just use our fave slaw dressing recipe and put that on some broccoli slaw. 

Chicken brats were yum, need to doctor up the slaw next time to make it a perfect meal.

Chicken brats were yum, need to doctor up the slaw next time to make it a perfect meal.

Tuesday:  Pork tenderloin gyros.  These were awesome!  The tomato-yogurt sauce had a great flavor and tasted very fresh.  By some miracle I actually managed to marinate the pork a day ahead.  Chloe and I prepped the marinade while hubby was at work late, Hannah was asleep and Ryan the Rascal was getting out of his bed every 4 minutes.  I loved the idea of a pork gyro.  We are porky people so this is definitely a keeper.

Wednesday:  Leftovers. Makes life so much easier.  I love to cook but it is still such a relief to have dinner already done.  Makes me feel like I have a wife.  Anyone else ever feel like that?

Thursday: Leftovers for kiddos and dinner at Pasha Grill for hubs and I.  It was great to go out on a weeknight without kiddos.  I felt like such a rebel even though we were home before 9.  I had the doner special which is gyro meat on a bed of eggplant puree topped with tomato sauce and hubs had the chicken kebab with yogurt.  Yum!

Leftovers for dinner meant time to go to the park on a beautiful afternoon.  A great reason to make a little extra!

Leftovers for dinner meant time to go to the park on a beautiful afternoon. A great reason to make a little extra!

Friday:  Dinner out at Coco’s Bistro.  We were hoping to sit in our fave waiter’s section and even requested his section on OpenTable but we got stuck near the windows with too much air conditioning.  Luckily the lobster nachos, lamb tacos and curried chocolate torte were amazing!  And ya gotta have a great time when you’re drinking a Moscow mule, right?

Saturday:  Sloppy Cubanos or Chorizo burgers.  Grilled skirt steak with smoky almond sauce, salad and rice.  Guess who forgot to pull the pork and chorizo from the freezer?  Me!  I wish there was an app that could remind me, like a dinner prep personal assistant.  Would be so nice, right?  We ended up having grilled flank steak (our store didn’t sell skirt steak!) with smoky almond sauce with rice and salad that we were planning to have a few days later but luckily I had already done the grocery shopping for the week.  This one was good, but there are other steak recipes we like better so we are not planning to make it again.  The sauce used ingredients that are expensive if you don’t end up using all of them so we’re gonna keep “seeing other recipes”.  Sorry to break up with you, smoky almond sauce!

The delicious doner specialty at Pasha Grill.  Get in my belly!

The delicious doner specialty at Pasha Grill. Get in my belly!

How did your week go?  Did you try any new recipes?  Hope you had a delicious week!  Thanks for reading!

 

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Transition plan for our babysitter

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Planned a slow cooker meal for soccer practice day and it was raining...at least I am getting the planning part right!

Planned a slow cooker meal for soccer practice day and it was raining…at least I am getting the planning part right!

Thank goodness Chloe has done well taking the bottles of breastmilk…we gotta get our last few bites in of our favorite places in Dayton!  Our babysitter thought we were moving later in the year and told me she needs a transition plan.  Guess that means we’ll have a few date nights before the kids and I head to my parents.  How will we ever find such a great babysitter in Germany?!

Monday:  Chicken bratwurst with broccoli slaw.  This is a slow cooker meal which is great because it means I have a lot of time when it is just me plus three kiddos.  Hubby has another late night training this night.  I will be so excited for this training to be over so we can enjoy our last few weeks in Ohio together…and all the nice weather!

Tuesday:  Pork tenderloin gyros.  We are having our homemade version of Shish!  We love pork and gyros so this should be a crowd pleaser in these parts.

These kiddos are going to miss our babysitter SOOO much!  It would just not be right to take them away from her without a bunch of date nights, right?!

These kiddos are going to miss our babysitter SOOO much! It would just not be right to take them away from her without a bunch of date nights, right?!

I will most definitely get the homemade Thousand Island dressing at Coco's. It is made with beets.  Amazing!

I will most definitely get the homemade Thousand Island dressing at Coco’s. It is made with beets. Amazing!

Wednesday:  Either leftovers or breakfast for dinner.  The kids and I are planning to make some muffins and I am in the mood for an egg and chorizo scramble…might just have to do breakfast and skip leftovers!

Thursday: Leftovers for kiddos and dinner at Pasha Grill (a Turkish restaurant) with some of hubby bubby’s peeps that are in town.  I can’t wait for the lebneh, baba ganoush and shish kebab with yogurt.  Yummy!

Friday:  Dinner out at Coco’s Bistro.   I know.  We are eating out way more than usual.  We have GOT to get our last suppers in at all of our fave places before the kiddos and I head to my parents and who knows when we’ll have a reliable, awesome babysitter in Germany?!   Gotta get date nights in while we can.  And we need to say goodbye to Jason, our favorite waiter.  Okay, maybe we do have a problem.

Saturday:  Sloppy Cubanos or Chorizo burgers.  Something sandwichy that will use up all the chorizo in our fridge.  The Cubano has pickles on it so I am leaning that direction.  And I always love a riff on a sloppy Joe.  MMmmmMM!

What will you be eating this week?  How are you doing with the transition to Spring and nice weather?  Hope your week goes well!  Thanks for reading!

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Best chicken EVER!

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Love this slow cooker!  Gotta ship this one ahead so it is there when we arrive in Germany!

Love this slow cooker! Gotta ship this one ahead so it is there when we arrive in Germany!

This week we had the best chicken EVER! And then some underwhelming recipes. Ahh, well. You win some, ya lose some. Better luck next week I guess. Maybe we should just have the honey-ginger chicken every week?! 🙂

Saturday: Honey-ginger chicken with lime and quinoa and arugula. Oh. My. Goodness! Shut the front door! This was the best meal we’ve had in a very long time. So good that we were still talking about it the next morning after we woke up: “all those layers of flavor.” “I know! And that skin; so crispy and flavorful!” I totally ate the chicken skin and I’m a dietitian. That says something. This was a meal that when you speak of it afterwards it feels like dirty talk. That good. The recipes are on my Pinterest page. You MUST try them!

Sunday: Butcher shop chicken with potatoes and romaine salad. This chicken was a really good, mild-flavored chicken. It was no honey-ginger chicken with lime, but still good. Both kids ate a ton of chicken. Let the clucking commence.

Looked so pretty...looks were somewhat deceiving.

Looked so pretty…looks were somewhat deceiving.

Monday: Steamed sausage, sauerkraut and pierogis in the slow cooker. This was divine as usual! Ryan licked all of the potatoes out of the pierogis before eating the dough…such a two year old! This meal made me even more excited for our big move to Germany. Sausage and sauerkraut here I come!

Tuesday: Tuscan-style garlic-herb pork chops with salad and beans.  The pork chops were just okay and the bean salad was pretty bland. Even with a bunch of things that usually add flavor (all those herbs! Lemon zest! Capers!) it just all tasted very one note to me and hubby bubby. Hannah loved the beans. She scooped herself two giant spoonfuls after she ate her first portion. Girl sure does love her beans!

Wednesday: Leftovers. The good wife that I am I let hubby bubby have the honey-ginger chicken and I ate the pierogis and sausage. More chicken for the kiddos. Still so many pork chops left. Rut roh.

Hubby bubby's heavenly pasta.  I'm still swooning!

Hubby bubby’s heavenly pasta. I’m still swooning!

Thursday: Indian butter chicken with basmati rice and Indian-style chickpeasHubby bubby whipped together pasta with sausage and fire roasted tomatoes. It was delish and used up stuff from the fridge, freezer and pantry! My very own Tom Colicchio (sans baldness)…or maybe Bobby Flay. Swoon!

Friday: Giada DeLaurentiis’ Pirate pasta. I hate to write this because I have a total girl crush on Giada, but we didn’t love this one. I usually love pasta with olives and capers…puttanesca is one of my favorites! I think the tuna threw it off for me and the briny flavors made hubby not love it. The kiddos ate it just like normal, though.

Saturday: Dare I say we had to eat leftovers? Cringe. The only leftovers we had left at this point were about 8 pork chops (how many people did I think we were feeding?!) and the pirate pasta. None of it was bad, just still not very exciting the second time around.

Arrgh, mateys!  At least with a name like Pirate Pasta our little Neverland Pirates gobbled this one up.

Arrgh, mateys! At least with a name like Pirate Pasta our little Neverland Pirates gobbled this one up.

What are some recipes that make you feel like you’re “talking dirty” when you describe them? Did you have one this week? Hope your week was awesome! Thanks for reading!

 

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Welcome, Spring!

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Teeny tiny baby Chloe! Grow, grow, grow little lamb!

Teeny tiny baby Chloe! Grow, grow, grow little lamb!

Ahhhh, Spring!  Finally!  This week we are hoping to head outside more so I have some slow cooker recipes planned so we won’t be cooped up inside while it is nice out.  Gotta get our Hannah outside on her new Princess Sofia bike!  Chloe is still too tiny to ride in the Ergo carrier so taking all three kiddos down the street to the swings might be a little challenging.  It will at least be entertaining if nothing else!

Our teeny tiny girl is still not back to birthweight. 🙁 But at least at the last weight check she was still gaining well so I can keep exclusively breastfeeding.  Makes me feel like I need to keep up with my cookie intake…luckily I picked up some Girl Scout cookies from a mama friend this week.  Hopefully all the meals planned for the week will help keep us all well fed!  Here’s what we’ll be having:

Sunday: Butcher shop chicken with potatoes and romaine salad.  I have to admit that we are trying this chicken recipe because it is a Tom Colicchio recipe and I have a little bit of a crush on him.  🙂  Who doesn’t love a man that knows his way around the kitchen?!

Chocolate cookies? Yes, please!  I'm hoping to bake a few more things this week.  Gotta feed the baby!

Chocolate cookies? Yes, please! I’m hoping to bake a few more things this week. Gotta feed the baby!

Monday: We are having a HOOTOWL meal on Monday since hubby bubby has a work dinner to go to.  HOOTOWL is an acronym that was used by a mom’s group I was in that stands for “husband out of town or working late.”  We will have my absolute favorite slow cooker meal: steamed kielbasa (we use chicken apple sausage instead), sauerkraut and pierogis.  I can’t wait!!!!

Tuesday: Tuscan-style garlic-herb pork chops with salad and either potatoes, beans or rice.  May actually be able to grill outside!  I have not mastered grilling on the real grill so I will use the grill pan if hubby isn’t home when these are ready to go on the grill.  We are big pork fans in our family and love Italian flavors so this should go over well.

Wednesday: Leftovers.

Maybe we'll make a trip back to German village in Columbus this weekend to continue celebrating our pending move.  Love that place!

Maybe we’ll make a trip back to German village in Columbus this weekend to continue celebrating our pending move. Love that place!

Thursday: Indian butter chicken with basmati rice and Indian-style chickpeas.  Since we will be moving in less than 90 days (eek! such a short timeline) we have to start using up our pantry staples.  I am going to have to make sure that I can have the Maya Kaimal sauces shipped to our APO address…someone that loves me will send them over for me if Amazon won’t, right? 🙂

Friday: Giada DeLaurentiis’ Pirate pasta with radicchio salad with sourdough vinaigrette.  This pasta has olives, capers and tuna.  Sounds like an interesting combo!  Hubby loves tuna noodle casserole and I am not a big fan of it so I keep trying to find a recipe with pasta and tuna that I like that fills this comfort food craving for him.

Saturday: I’m not sure what we’ll have yet.  My plan is for something with protein from our freezer…maybe shrimp or chicken.  We shall see what kind of food mood I’m in next Saturday.

Do you love tuna noodle casserole?  Are you willing to share your secret recipe with me?  I hope you have a great week!

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Our new normal

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Happy kiddos!

Happy kiddos!

We are starting to adjust to our new party of five.  Hubby bubby is really back to work, Papa and Gigi have been gone for almost a week and the kiddos and I had our first full day alone together on Thursday…and we survived!  I was super proud of myself for showering before noon three times this week.  With daylight savings just happening recently I like to pretend that it was really eleven in the morning…a huge success with a newborn!  So far we have managed to stay pretty close to our meal plan.  I know that won’t last for long. 🙂

Sunday: Pasta with sausage, basil and mustard and salad.  Going from two kiddos to three kiddos hasn’t been too crazy yet.  We have moved from a “man-on-man” to a “zone” defense.  This means we also are having to tag on and off in the kitchen at times.  I started the sausage browning, boiled the pasta and prepped the rest of the pasta ingredients and then Chloe was hungry.  Tag, you’re it Hubby bubby!  He swooped in and finished the pasta and made a salad with “chetons”.  What are chetons exactly?  Only the best croutons in the world!  When we were stationed in Washington, D.C., hubby bubby acquired the nickname Chet and he loves to make homemade croutons so they have now been dubbed chetons.  Yum!

Pasta with sausage, mustard and basil and yummy salad with Chetons.

Pasta with sausage, mustard and basil and yummy salad with Chetons.

Monday: French Market Soup in the slow cooker.  This is one of our staple recipes since I LOVE bean soup and it passes for a stew so it counts as a meal to hubby bubby.  The last few times we have used ham hocks they have been all bone and connective tissue.  What gives?  They used to be so meaty!  Anyone else have this trouble?  We are planning to buy some hocks and some diced ham for the next time we have this since it is much better with yummy ham chunks in it.

Tuesday: Happy St. Patty’s Day!  Slow cooker corned beef and cabbage and double chocolate Guinness smoked porter cookies.  We tried this corned beef recipe for the first time last year and it is a keeper!  The addition of leeks and rutabaga make me swoon.  I love how creamy the rutabaga is and the leeks turn silky and delicious.  This one is finished with a horseradish sauce.  Pretty sure that is not traditional at all…but so yummy!  The kiddos and I made some chocolate cookies using a smoked porter hubby had brewed.  These were so sinful and so worth every bite!  I think I ate five cookies before I put them in a Tupperware container.  They were super soft and the chocolate chips stayed gooey.  There wasn’t a strong beer flavor, more just a whisper of it which was perfect.

Italian chicken for St. Joseph's feast day.

Italian chicken for St. Joseph’s feast day.

Wednesday: Leftovers.  Didn’t need to make dinner!  Hallelujah!

Thursday: Italian chicken with salad.  I decided since it was the feast day of St. Joseph that we needed to have something Italian.  I had planned on doing something with an Italian spin in the slow cooker and this was the result.  I just thawed some chicken breasts, cut them into chunks and added them to the slow cooker with a sliced onion, a packet of Italian dressing mix and a jar of marinara sauce.  The kiddos gobbled it up, which was great because hubby and I thought it was just okay. Not one I’ll whip together again, but at least it was something.

Friday: Grilled shrimp burrito bowls.  Another Friday during Lent and this time we went Tex-Mex.  We all love grilled onions and hubby bubby is now over thinking the grill pan makes food “taste funny”.  I love our grill pan…even though it was the first way I started a fire in our kitchen a few years ago (leave a comment below if you want the full story 🙂 ).   I managed to make this one while hubby bubby corralled the kiddos.  We all loved this one and will definitely make it again.  Quick, easy and delicious?   I’ll take it!

Grilled shrimp burrito bowl.  Visit my Pinterest page to find the recipe!

Grilled shrimp burrito bowl. Visit my Pinterest page to find the recipe!

Saturday: Tonight we’re having honey-ginger chicken with lime and quinoa with arugula.  I’m pretty sure Ryan won’t try the arugula, but everything else should be crowd pleasers.

I love my Le Creuset grill pan!  I couldn’t live without it.  Do you have one?  If not, I highly recommend it!

Grilling onions and scallions on our Le Creuset grill pan.

Grilling onions and scallions on our Le Creuset grill pan.

How did your week go?  What helps you adjust when life gives you a “new normal”?  Hope you had a great week.  Thanks for reading!


 

 

 

 

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Happy birthday to me!

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This week was my birthday so I got to pick my birthday meal and cake.  The pumpkin cake was the big winner so we had that and it was so yummy!  Papa arrives late this week and we are all so excited to see him.

Arugula salad with pomegranate vinaigrette. Check it out at www.thegourmetrd.com!

Arugula salad with pomegranate vinaigrette. Check it out at www.thegourmetrd.com!

Sunday:  My birthday!  We had red-wine spaghetti and meatballs with arugula salad with pomegranate vinaigrette (check out www.thegourmetrd.com for the recipe!).  These were the best meatballs I have ever had.  The combination of ricotta and couscous in the meatball really made them tender and gave great flavor.  I think this will be my birthday meal every year for the rest of my life.  The salad was amazing!  Ryan was trying to scoop the salad up with his hands he liked it so much!

Monday: Leftovers.  A little earlier in the week than we usually have them but needed to make some room in the fridge.  We were all happy to have some more meatballs and cake, of course, mmmMMMmmm.

Pumpkin layer cake with some Halloween sprinkles (thanks, Gigi and Hannah!).

Pumpkin layer cake with some Halloween sprinkles (thanks, Gigi and Hannah!).

Tuesday: Marinated flank steak with bleu cheese sauce and salad.  The flank steak was pounded thin so it was super tender.  We all liked this one.  Ryan ate almost all of the blue cheese sauce himself.  He had a little bit of steak with his sauce. 🙂

Wednesday: One-hour Spanish chickpea soup.  Hubby bubby made this in the pressure cooker and it disappeared very quickly.  Ryan didn’t want the greens, but ate three bowls of the beans.  Hannah ate three bowls of the soup.  Such a happy mama that they love their beans like I do!  I am so impressed with how quickly the pressure cooker can cook dried beans. Truly amazing!

Thursday: Tonight we’re having the Asian pork wraps.  They are actually in the slow cooker now…finally remembered to thaw the pork! 🙂  This has an Asian slaw to go with it so they are almost like Asian tacos.

Friday:  Jerk rubbed catfish with slaw and rice for another Friday during Lent.  I’m hoping our jerk spice isn’t too spicy for the kiddos or Papa.  Hannah can probably handle more spice than Papa if we’re being honest.  Hopefully we’ll remember to cook a piece or two of fish without it just in case.

Ryan is super excited for Papa to arrive on Friday!

Ryan is super excited for Papa to arrive on Friday!

Saturday: Salsa verde pork with rice and salad.  Since our pork loin was ginormous we are using the rest of it for a southwest style pork.  This one is super easy…a good way to round out the week!

What are you up to this week?  How does your family do with spicy food?  Hope you have a great week.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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