Monday, January 30, 2017

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Want a quick meal for a busy weeknight or weekend.  This was a quick throw together on a Sunday night when we had basketball games and Sunday family visits.  This was very easy to make and to me tasted a bit like a cheese soufflĂ© dish we make.  I used a low fat evaporated milk, but stayed with the whole milk.  We used the bagged shredded cheese to make this even easy.  Paired with a salad and a light dessert and it was a quick comfort dinner.  I would make it again but is still no substitute for my traditional Mac and Cheese.


Cooking spray
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
1  teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
Dash of paprika

In a large 4-quart slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray, mix the macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs and all but 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the mixture and then sprinkle with paprika. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker, stir the mixture and serve hot.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Crockpot Salisbury Steak

Our Crockpot has been getting a workout since the beginning of the year.  It seems when we ready to put it away another great recipe is found.  It is not that we don't have time to cook, it because we have found some great recipes.  I think that winter time is the Crockpot season of cooking and summer is the grilling season. The cold snowy days makes you crave warm comfort foods.  Now,  can I say I really can't wait for grilling season?  I am a warm weather type of girl, but comfort foods like this will get me through.

6 oz sliced mushrooms
½ onion, sliced
1½ cups beef broth (low sodium)
1oz package brown gravy mix (dry)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon dijon
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons corn starch
4 tablespoons water

Beef Patties
1½ lbs lean ground beef
1 egg yolk
¼ cup minced onion
⅓ cup Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1 clove garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Place mushrooms & onions in the bottom of your slow cooker.
Combine beef patty ingredients and form 6 patties. Brown over medium high heat (about 3 minutes per side).

Layer beef patties over mushrooms. Combine remaining ingredients except water and cornstarch. Pour over beef and cook on low 5 hours.

Once cooked, remove patties and set aside.
Turn slow cooker onto high. Combine cold water and cornstarch. Stir into the broth and let cook a few minutes until thickened. Add beef back into the sauce to coat.

Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One Pot Cheesy Taco Casserole

Here is another quick one pot meal for weeknights that is pretty tasty.  Hubby found this browsing on Pinterest from Mother Thyme and we decided to give it a try over the holiday break.  What I love about one pot meals is that you have your major dinner components in one dish and if you add a side salad, the meal is complete.    
The family was pleased and the bowl was empty at the end of the meal.  I guess this is a keeper.  

1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 ounce packet taco seasoning (or about 3½ tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)
2 cups water
1 cup jarred mild salsa
8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
1½ cups shredded Mexican-style cheese
Optional toppings - chopped tomatoes, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, chopped cilantro

Preheat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked thoroughly. Drain grease.
Stir taco seasoning into ground beef then stir in water, salsa and pasta noodles.
Bring mixture to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until pasta is tender.
Turn off heat and stir in cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with optional toppings if desired.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Creamy Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms

Chicken Thighs have become more of a staple in our freezer and on our dinner plate. While boneless chicken breast are the preferred cut, thigh meat is very flavorful and is relatively inexpensive.  You can always find it on sale.  We have also found some great recipes that are specific to using thighs rather than chicken breast.  

This recipe is no exception.  The sauce was wonderful and was great over the rice that accompanied our dinner.  


4 to 6 chicken thighs -skin on and bone in
2-3 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon minced garlic
14 oz cups sliced Portobello mushrooms (1½ cups)
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
1½ cups 2% milk - (We used a mixture of skim and heavy cream)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with 2 tablespoons of extra milk mixture
¾ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley - to serve


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Season chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Heat cooking oil spray in a large, non stick and oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Sear chicken thighs until golden and crispy on each side (about 3-4 minutes each side). Transfer to a warm plate.

Drain some of the excess fat from the pan, reserving 2 tablespoons for added flavor. Return pan to medium-high heat; sauté the garlic in the pan juices until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the mushrooms, herbs and 2 teaspoons of parsley; fry until they just begin to soften.

Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the milk and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the center of the pan, and continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.

Add ½ cup of Parmesan cheese; allow sauce to simmer for a further minute until cheese melts through the sauce. Add the chicken back into the pan; transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of parsley and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.

Serve with steamed rice or pasta.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Cajun Chicken Alfredo in the Crockpot

 Over the Christmas to New Years week we hosted our daughters boy friend for a visit.  A few nights we went out to eat to expose him to some of our great local great restaurants, but a couple of nights we made dinner here at home.  One of those nights while I was looking through Facebook I saw where he had tagged our daughter on a recipe post from "Get in my Belly" on Facebook.  Since it looked like he wanted to try this I decided to give it a try that night,  

New Year's Eve

It was a pretty easy recipe, all prepared in the crockpot and done in just over 3 hours.  We had most of the ingredients on hand just needed the Cajun seasoning.  Lately we have made sure that we have at least a pint of heavy cream and half and half on hand.  It seems more and more recipes are calling for them that we have been using.  This recipe required the heavy cream  and since it was the holidays we definitely had enough.  The results were delicious and well received.  I think our daughter will be making this once she is back at school.


3 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 tsp of Cajun Seasoning
4 Tbsp Butter
1 Red bell pepper, chopped
1 Green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp Dried basil
1/2 tsp Lemon pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Ground black pepper
8 oz Penne Noodles
Parmesan Cheese for topping


Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover the chicken with the Cajun seasoning.
Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the Penne Noodles. Cook on high. After about 2.5 hours, check the chicken. If it is cooked, shred the chicken. Add the Penne noodles at this time.
Once the Penne noodles are fully cooked (about 30 minutes) it is time to serve. Garnish with Parmesan.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A classic revisited plus a new blogger to follow

*UPDATED*  posted wrong link last week.

We were revisiting old recipes last week and found a favorite of ours from a few years back.  This was a Rachel Ray recipe for chicken breast stuffed with blue cheese, spinach, arugula and then wrapped in bacon.  While my hubby was making this our daughter was posting this to her Instagram and blog.  She is a Nutrition major studying to be a Registered Dietitian and has created a great little following for her tips and recipes.  If you are on Instagram following @theroardtobeingandrd.
Here is what Dinner looked like before heading to the table.  If someone doesn't like blue cheese, you can substitute cheddar or brie.  Experiment, because true cooking is taking a recipe and making it your own.


4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Black pepper
4 to 5 ounces blue cheese crumbles
A handful arugula leaves from bulk bins, chopped
A handful baby spinach leaves from bulk bins, chopped
4 slices bacon


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using a small sharp knife cut into the thick end of the chicken and make an incision reaching 2/3 the way down the breast. Loosen up the incision with your fingers to make a hole. Season the chicken with pepper. Combine the cheese with arugula and baby spinach and stuff the breasts. Spiral-wrap the breasts with the bacon tightly to cover the meat evenly. Place chicken on a nonstick baking sheet and roast 20 to 22 minutes until bacon is crispy and chicken is firm.

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