Friday, July 31, 2015

BBQ'd Broccoli

Oh. My. Heavens. I don't always have the greatest impromptu ideas when it comes to cooking. But sometimes it's just delicious. The other day I attempted to bbq broccoli and it was so good.

Recipe |

1 bag frozen broccoli florets
Drizzle with olive oil
Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Toss so the broccoli is doused in the olive and seasoning

Use a veggie grilling tray and set the burner to medium heat. Grill for about 15 minutes total, tossing and flipping occasionally. Serve & enjoy.

Because I used frozen broccoli, it's already cooked and will stay juicy instead of drying out, while the BBQ will give the broccoli a nice char and crunch on the outside. Yum!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sweet Green Smoothie

We are a green smoothie family. For us it is the easiest way feed our kids something that is packed with all the goodness that comes from greens like spinach and kale. And the kids (even though they help me stuff the blender with "salad") think they are getting a treat.

Here's one if our favorites...let's call it the sweet green smoothie.

1 cup vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)
1 cup carrot juice
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen mango
2-3 large handfuls of spinach and/or kale

Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

(NOTE: This blend also makes delicious popsicles or freezie pops. Just add the mixture to the molds and freeze. My kids love them! We use these the most.)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Busy Hands | Play Dough & Moon Dough

Play dough and I have a love/hate relationship. I love that it is a excellent tool for learning, great for sensory development, and entertains the tiny hands in my house for hours (yes, hours). But it can be messy and [the brand name kind especially] dries out so easily.

Everyone [my mom and sister] always tell me to just make my own. It's so easy, less expensive, and quite frankly, better play dough.

I also discovered Moon Dough at my son's preschool. It looks a lot like play dough but doesn't flake off, dry out, or leave a weird residue on my table (what-the-what??). Yeah. It's awesome.

For less than $15 and 15 minutes (okay, 30 if you have "helpers"), I made Moon Dough (amount equivalent to about 8 regular sized containers) and Play Dough (amount equivalent to about 16 regular sized containers).

Play Dough:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
Food Coloring

Mix all ingredients together except water. Add food coloring to boiling water and gradually stir in boiling water until it is fairly well mixed and sticky. Once cooled, knead the sticky out and play with this dough for months. I usually make two batches, mostly because I let each kid pick a color. :) So 1 batch makes the equivalent of 8 containers of the store bough stuff, 2 batches makes the equivalent of 16.

Moon Dough:
1 part hair conditioner (or "air" conditioner as my son says)
2 parts corn starch
Food coloring

Mix food coloring with hair conditioner (or just leave it the color of the conditioner. I use Vo5 brand because it is $0.77. Sold.), then mix in with corn starch until you get the right consistency. The moon dough should not be flaky or dry, but stiff enough to be easily molded. The best part of this stuff is it smells SO GOOD. And it is not messy at all, leaves no residue on hands or surfaces. I love it. I'm currently obsessed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

2 Hours, 24 Meals, $146

Here I go again...This round is 24 meals for $146 (averaging about $6 per meal). It took me about 2 hours to prep all the meals and I only used 5 dishes in the process (score!), but don't get me started on what my floors looked like when I was done. I'm a messy cook.

For those of you wondering, 20-25 meals is my happy place. The meals last us long enough that the prepping is worth it but not so long that you forget what you have and the last few meals die from freezer burn.

So let's get started -

Menu |
Caribbean Jerk Chicken Sandwiches on Ciabatta Bread
Sesame Ginger Chicken
Hawaiian Chicken
Garlic & Herb Chicken
Spaghetti Sauce (I know, I make it every time)
Peach Mango Salsa Chicken
Memphis BBQ Rub Pulled Pork
Broccoli Cheddar Soup w/ Bacon
White Chicken Chili
Dirty Rice
Butternut Squash Corn Chowder w/ Bacon
White Chicken Enchiladas

I made two of each.

Grocery List |

2 packages of bacon
5 bags frozen chicken breasts
4 lbs. ground beef
2 lbs. ground Italian sausage
1 5 lb. pork loin (will be cut in half)

1 bunch green onion
1 bundle celery
2 butternut squash
2 yellow onions
2 green peppers
2 limes

2 large bags of frozen corn
2 bags of frozen broccoli florets
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 tubs Peach Mango Salsa
4 packages cream cheese
1 16 oz. tub of sour cream

Canned/Dried Goods:
2 jars prepared marinara
2 cans tomato paste
2 packages broccoli cheddar soup mix
2 cartons chicken broth
2 cans cannellini beans
2 cans black beans
3 cups brown rice (from bulk section)
4 cans diced green chilis
2 cans cream of chicken
2 bags tortilla chips
2 bags ciabatta bread
4 packages tortillas
2 bags pretzel rolls

2 bottles Caribbean Jerk marinade
2 bottles Sesame Ginger marinade
2 bottles Hawaiian marinade
2 bottles Garlic & Herb
2 Memphis BBQ Rub seasoning packets

Other spices you'll need:
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Smoked Paprika
Cayenne Pepper
Bay leaves
Brown Sugar
Salt & Pepper
Gallon sized freezer bags
Slow Cooker Liners (You just need them. Trust.)

Once shopping is complete, unload and label bags. Start cooking the rice (3 cups) in the rice cooker, brown the Italian sausage and ground beef (separately), wash produce, then just move through one meal at a time.

Recipes |

Caribbean Jerk Chicken Sandwiches on Ciabatta Bread

1 bottle Caribbean Jerk marinade
4 chicken breasts
Freeze ciabatta bread with this.

Thaw and grill chicken, lightly toast ciabatta bread. Make a sandwich.

Sesame Ginger Chicken

1 bottle sesame ginger marinade
4 chicken breasts

Thaw and grill chicken - would be great served with rice.

Hawaiian Chicken

1 bottle Hawaiian marinade
4 chicken breasts

Thaw and grill.

Garlic & Herb Chicken
1 bottle Garlic & Herb marinade
4 chicken breasts

Thaw and grill.

Spaghetti Sauce (I know, I make it every time)
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (cooked and drained)
1 lb. ground beef (cooked and drained)
1 jar prepared marinara
1 can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. basil
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder

Store noodles in pantry

Crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Peach Mango Salsa Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts
1 package cream cheese
1 tub peach, mango salsa

Freeze tortillas with this

Crock pot on low for 8 hours. (Note: I usually make this with half medium salsa and half peach, mango salsa but I've been craving a sweeter version so this is it.) Once cooking is complete, shred chicken and serve on tortillas.

Memphis BBQ Rub Pulled Pork
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 the pork loin (approx. 2.5 lbs.)
1 packet Memphis BBQ Rub seasoning
1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Freeze pretzel rolls with this

Add 1 cup of water and crock pot on low for 8 hours. Shred and serve on pretzel rolls with BBQ sauce.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup w/ Bacon

1 bag frozen broccoli
Mix 6 cups water with broccoli cheddar mix

Freeze bacon with this.

Crock po
t on low for 8 hours. Cook and crumble half a package of bacon to top the soup.

White Chicken Chili

1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 carton chicken broth
1 can diced green chilis
1/2 bag frozen corn
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
Salt & Pepper
2 chicken breasts

Store tortilla chips in pantry.

Crock pot on low for 8 hours. Shred chicken and serve with tortilla chips.

Dirty Rice

1 green pepper diced
1.5 cups cooked brown rice
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 Tbsp. Montreal Steak seasoning
Drizzle with EVOO

Thaw and warm in a frying pan.

Butternut Squash Corn Chowder w/ Bacon

1/2 bunch of green onions chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 butternut squash cubed
1/2 bag frozen corn
2 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Freeze bacon with this.

Crock pot on low for 8 hours. Cook and crumble half a package of bacon to top the soup.

White Chicken Enchiladas

 3-4 chicken breasts
8 ounces sour cream
1 can cream of chicken
1 can diced green chilis
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Freeze tortillas with this.

Crock pot on low for 8 hours. Thaw tortillas, shred chicken and fill and roll tortillas in a baking dish. Top with extra sauce and bake for 30 minutes at 375.

Remember to make two of each meal. And I really did only use 5 pans to prep these (plus some knives and spoons)...proof: