Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

This easy recipe came to me via email this morning from All Recipes and is probably going to be the answer to my "What are we going to have for dinner tonight?" question. That is, if I can get to the grocery store in time to start the chicken.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
2 green bell pepper, seeded and cubed
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic

Put the chicken in the slow cooker. Top with the spaghetti sauce, green bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, and garlic.
Cover, and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is very similar to the chicken with potatoes and veggies dish I last posted about.

Chicken Noodle Soup

6 chicken thighs (or whatever you like)
1/2 package angel hair pasta (or whatever kind you like)
Medium onion, diced
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken in a stock pot with water and onions, salt and pepper. Boil until it's done. In a separate pan, place the noodles and vegetables in boiling water and cook until it's almost done. Drain and return to pan. Serve together with the chicken and broth. When I cook chicken noodle soup, I usually keep the noodles separate from the broth because the noodles seem to want to soak up all the broth.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Deboning/cutting up chicken

We eat a lot of chicken so I was glad to find some great tips on deboning chicken thighs, deboning chicken breasts and cutting up a whole chicken at

We buy a lot of bone-in chicken thighs since I prefer dark meat, thighs are easy to cook and eat, and of course, bone-in meat is cheaper. I normally don't take the bone out until it's completely cooked, but these tips say removing the bone reduces cooking time.

This summer I've been cooking our chicken either in the crock pot out on the back porch or on the stove in a pan of water. This winter I'll be able to turn the oven on and bake some chicken!

Friday, September 19, 2008

One Pot Chicken with Potatoes and Veggies

This can be served either as a wet dish or a soup. I gave it to the kids as a wet dish and ate it myself as a soup. Either way, it's delicious.

One Pot Chicken with Potatoes and Veggies

6 chicken thighs (or whatever you like)
12 small potatoes
Medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken in a stock pot with water and onions and salt and pepper. Start it to boiling while you peel and chop the potatoes. I used the veggie chopper my grandma gave me for the potatoes and onions but of course a knife works just fine too. Put the potatoes in the pot and after a few minutes, add the vegetables. Cook until everything is done. Dish out with a spoon with holes in it for just a wet dish or use a ladle to eat it as soup.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pasta with meat and veggie sauce

Here's something I threw together the other night with what I had on hand that could be cooked quickly. I had no idea how this would turn out but the kids devoured it and there wasn't anything left over. My 10-year-old niece, who is a very picky eater, seems to love all my one-dish meals made with whatever I have available. Hmmm.

Pasta with Meat and Veggie Sauce

Package of egg noodles

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 medium onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the noodles on to cook and then start the sauce. Brown the meat with the onions, and then add other ingredients. Cook until vegetables are tender. Serve the meat and veggie sauce over the noodles.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Turkey patties (with oatmeal, shhh!)

I had heard of using oatmeal to stretch ground meat but hadn't ever tried it. I had a pound of ground turkey thawed with five kids to feed the other night, so I figured if there was any time to experiment with stretching meat, that would be the time to do it. I used both oatmeal and eggs in the ground meat and nobody knew! Everybody ate like they hadn't eaten a thing all day long so I figure that was a success!

Turkey Patties with Oatmeal

1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned)
2 small eggs (or one medium egg)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp. olive or safflower oil
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients well and shape into patties. Place in a heated skilled oiled with olive or safflower oil. Cook until middle is done.

While the meat was cooking, I cooked some egg noodles in some leftover chicken stock. When the noodles were done, I poured some of the stock over the done meat patties and tossed in a little flour in an attempt to make gravy. It didn't look all that great to me (lumpy gravy) but it tasted fine. There wasn't anything left.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beefy Potatoes and Peas

Here's another hearty, one-pan comfort food dish!

Beefy Potatoes and Peas

1 lb. hamburger meat
1 pkg. frozen purple hull peas
3 medium potatoes
Small onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the hamburger meat with the onion. Take the meat out and place it on a paper towel and wipe out the skillet. Put the meat back in and add the frozen peas and salt and pepper. Cover the peas with water and start them to boiling. While the peas start cooking, peel the potatoes and chop into medium-sized chunks. Add the potatoes and cook until everything is done. It tastes better if it can simmer together for a while.

Serve with crackers. In the winter serve it over rice or with some fresh baked bread.

There are several variations for this recipe. If you use ground turkey, which is what I normally use, you can skip the draining step. You could also use any kind of frozen peas or beans. I thought the purple hull peas looked nice along with the potatoes, and they tasted really good together too.

I also thought this was delicious but the kids weren't so enthusiastic about it. (That's when they get the reminder about how fortunate they are that they have parents who feed them every day and that care if they eat or not, etc.!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beefy Beans

This is one of the many variations possible with my husband's family meal staple, Beefy Beans!

Beefy Beans

1 lb. ground beef
1 can pork and beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup vegetable juice (V-8)
2 tablespoons mild salsa
Small onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the hamburger meat with the onion. Take the meat out and place it on a paper towel and wipe out the skillet. Put the meat back in and add the cans of beans and tomatoes, vegetable juice, salsa, and salt and pepper. Cook until thoroughly warm. Tastes better if it can simmer together for a while.

Serve with crackers. In the winter serve it over rice or with some fresh baked bread. All the kids loved it and there weren't any leftovers. (Rats.)

That was my quick version. You can use ground turkey (which is what I normally use; with that you can skip the draining step) and dried beans that you have cooked beforehand. You can use fresh tomatoes and green peppers or a whole jar of salsa, depending on which you have on hand or which you prefer. You can also use two cans of pork and beans instead of a can of that and a can of pinto beans. It doesn't really matter which way you decide to fix it, it's delicious!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wonderful Meatloaf

Here is a recipe I simply must try! It's meatloaf with rice in it!

I have to wait until it cools off enough for me to turn the oven on to make this, though.

Wonderful Meatloaf

1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup cooked rice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, combine the beef, rice, brown sugar, onion and 1 tablespoon ketchup. Mix well and place in a 5x9 inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Spread remaining 1/2 cup ketchup over the top of the loaf. Bake for 15 more minutes.

This recipe comes from All Recipes. You can sign up for the daily recipe newsletter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

With all the back porch slow cooker cooking I've been doing this summer, I was thrilled to get this recipe from All Recipes in my inbox this morning!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

1 (6 pound) bone-in turkey breast
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast. Rub onion soup mix all over outside of the turkey and under the skin. Place in a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high for one hour, then set to low, and cook for seven hours.

I believe that's simple enough!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Crockpot potato soup

This recipe comes from's Busy Cooks. I'm going to try it soon, using chicken stock I've frozen in place of the ready-to-serve chicken broth the recipe calls for.

Crockpot Potato Soup

* 5 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
* 2 onions, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 (14-ounce) cans ready to serve chicken or vegetable broth
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 (13-ounce) can evaporated milk
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
* 2 Tbsp. dried snipped chives
* 1/8 teaspoon celery salt

Combine prepared potatoes with onions, garlic, broth, salt, and pepper in 4-5 quart crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat until potatoes are tender, 6-8 hours.

When potatoes are tender, coarsely mash with large spoon or potato masher.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine evaporated milk and 2 Tbsp. flour and mix well. Add to crockpot, stir well, and cook on high for 20-30 minutes to thicken.

Place sour cream in small bowl and mix with 1 Tbsp. flour; add some of the hot soup liquid; stir well with wire whisk to blend. Gently stir into crockpot along with remaining ingredients and cook on high for 20 minutes longer. Serves 8-10.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Applesauce update

We tried the applesauce recipes I posted yesterday and here are the results:

My son really liked the applesauce oatmeal (my version) but I didn't. But I was making it for him, after all. I made it without cinnamon since I don't like cinnamon and I wanted to try it. I'll just make it for him next time with cinnamon, since he does like it.

The strawberry applesauce recipe seemed rather complicated, what with boiling water and all that, so I just skipped that step. I just made individual servings of applesauce and then sprinkled a little gelatin powder in it and mixed it up. Delicious! A big hit with three applesauce eaters, and I loved it too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Abundance of applesauce!

We had two coupons to buy two jars of applesauce and get one free at Kroger. One was mailed to us and another was generated by the computer at checkout. (I love how they track your purchases with your store card and get you coupons accordingly!) My husband tried to redeem both coupons the other night with six big jars of applesauce, but they only let him use one. He came home with the six jars anyway, and gave me the unused coupon. That means we have six jars of applesauce to eat with three more on the way. Two of our kids love applesauce but nine jars seems a bit much even for them to eat!

I looked online at All Recipes and Recipes 4 Living for recipes with applesauce as an ingredient and found tons. I was particularly looking for something I could make right now without heating up the house. My two favorites were applesauce oatmeal and strawberry applesauce.

Super Duper Oatmeal

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar

Bring the milk and water to a boil in a pot. Mix in the oats, and reduce heat to medium. Stir in blueberries, applesauce, wheat germ, cinnamon, and sugar. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until oats are tender.

I am going to make this for my son for lunch but with some changes:

Applesauce Oatmeal

1 cup water
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk

Cook the oatmeal according to package directions. When it's almost done, remove from heat and stir in milk, applesauce, sugar, and cinnamon.

This is how I already make it for him with just applesauce added.


Here's another one that is similar to how the girls' school fixes applesauce. My applesauce eaters LOVE this dish. They call it Rosy Applesauce at school.

Strawberry Applesauce

1 (3oz.) box strawberry gelatin
1 can applesauce
1 cup boiling water

Mix gelatin and boiling water, stir to dissolve. Add applesauce and stir. Chill, but do not allow to set. You can double or triple this recipe with ease.

I have a box of mixed fruit gelatin that I'll use to try this with later on today. The kids can have it for dessert after supper.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chicken Pot Surprise #2

This recipe is somewhat similar to yesterday's Chicken Pot Surprise. I made it almost exactly the same, with only a few very minor modifications. The result was a completely different dish with a different appearance and a different flavor. The kids seemed to like the #2 recipe better.

Chicken Pot Surprise #2

3-4 chicken leg quarters
Medium onion, chopped
Several small potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 cups frozen purple hull peas
1-2 cups frozen butter beans
1/2 cup frozen okra
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken leg quarters and chopped onions in a stock pot and cover with water. Add salt and pepper and turn on medium-high heat. While the chicken is boiling, peel and chop the potatoes. I used my handy-dandy veggie chopper that my grandma gave me! Add the potatoes and vegetables when the chicken is about half to three-quarters done.

This time I stirred the chicken up with the rest of it instead of keeping it separate like I did with the other recipe. That gave it an entirely different appearance, as did chopping the potatoes with the vegetable cutter as opposed to just cutting them up into chunks with a knife the way I did yesterday's recipe.

The small amount of okra gave this recipe some flavor. Since I put it in so early, the okra itself just kind of melted into the dish and gave it the flavor without the pieces sitting there staring at you. (I don't really care for okra!) I was really surprised at the difference in flavor and I think the kids were too.

We got two meals from this dish as with the other one. That's always a good thing.

I served them both as kind of a wet, one-dish meal with crackers but in the winter the very same recipe could be served as soup with some bread. Yummy!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chicken Pot Surprise

We had this dish a few nights ago and it was surprisingly good! It was even better the second night.

It came about pretty much by accident and in stages of mistakes and misfortunes: 1. I didn't load the slow cooker in time; 2. I didn't know how many people I was going to end up feeding; and 3. I didn't have many groceries in the house.

It was basically an experiment or really just a fluke. I put some chicken in the slow cooker with the intention of putting a few potatoes in with it and steaming some veggies when it was time to eat. But I didn't start the chicken in time and then I realized that my nieces were most likely going to eat supper with us. I dumped the chicken in a stock pot, peeled more potatoes, and grabbed some frozen peas and beans to throw in there, and turned that fire up!

It's easy because it cooks all in one pot, as it turns out.

Chicken Pot Surprise

6-8 chicken legs or thighs
Several potatoes
Medium onion
1 cup frozen field peas with snaps
1 lb. frozen speckled butter beans
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the chicken, onion (cut up), and salt and pepper in a large pot and cover with water. Cover and boil. While the chicken is cooking, peel several potatoes and cut them up in chunks. When the chicken gets about halfway done, put in the potatoes, peas, and beans. You will probably need to add a bit more water.

When everything gets done, it's ready to serve a couple of different ways. Either serve the chicken intact with the potatoes and peas on the side or tear the chicken up and mix it up with the potatoes and peas. I served the chicken intact.

This looked pretty good in the bowl actually, rather like good comfort food! I liked the way the peas and beans looked with the potato chunks for some reason. My husband actually liked it and said so. My girls ate the chicken and picked over the rest. My nieces ended up not eating with us that first night.

We ate all the chicken the first night but had a good bit of potatoes and peas left. I browned a half a pound of ground turkey and put it in the pot and warmed it all up. It tasted better that night, and the kids ate it better. My nieces loved it and ate three servings each.

I pondered over what to call it and ended up deciding on "Chicken Pot Surprise" since I was just adding stuff as I went, and because you can make it so many different ways.