Simple Build-a-Spanish-Rice-Bowl

Sometimes I think I have picky eaters at my house. Then I realize that my kids eat a huge variety of foods and I should be grateful.

I mean, when I was a little girl, I liked exactly two varieties of fruits and vegetables: green beans (canned) and apples (with the peeling off). Somehow this kept me alive, I made it to college, and learned to eat salads (to avoid the Freshman 15, of course). Later, I got married and found out about a thing called broccoli. Little by little through the years, I’ve tried and liked dozens of fruits and veggies, expanding my repertoire many times over.

Though I still don’t like jicama.

It’s okay though because I often sit in my recliner snacking on raw spinach, which isn’t even weird, not even a little bit, am I right? I can’t figure out why my teenagers tease me about this.

Well anyway, my kids aren’t really picky, I’m realizing, because they like and eat a big variety of fruits and veggies. But still, we all have our preferences. Some of us really like cheese and some of us think it’s fun to snack on spinach.

Because of our wide variety of preferences, sometimes, instead of making a meal that everyone has to eat whether they like it or not, it’s fun to instead set out a big buffet of choices and everyone can build their own plate or bowl.

I love this idea so much that I include a category for this every single week in our Simple Meals plans. Build-Your-Own buffets are a huge time saver and make for a really fun meal too!

Today’s idea is Build a Spanish Rice Bowl.

I used to make Spanish Rice all in one pot, but some people like corn and some don’t. Some like black beans and some don’t. Some want sour cream and some don’t. I have found it easiest to simply set out all the fixin’s and let everyone build their bowl the way they like.

We each pile in our favorites:

spanish rice bowl41

Then stir it up and dive in.

spanish rice bowl11

The bowl above has a lot of greens (bet you can guess which mom that belongs to), no rice (can we even still call it spanish rice?), a whole lotta ground beef and black beans, and a dollop of sour cream.

But this one got piled up with rice, meat, beans, corn, and salsa without the greens and sour cream.

spanish rice bowls21

So it got stirred up to look like this.

spanish rice bowls31

At the end of the meal, everyone was satisfied and happy because their bowl was filled with everything they wanted and nothing they didn’t want. Of course, many participants in this meal filled their bowl more than once, which is also fun because they could either choose to fill it the same way as the first time or create something new the second (or third) time around.

Build a Spanish Rice Bowl

Simple Build-a-Spanish-Rice-Bowl
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef, seasoned with chili powder, garlic powder, and salt
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can sliced olives
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Fresh greens
  • Cooked corn
Instructions
  1. Set out any or all of the ingredients listed above, along with anything else your family might like.
  2. Allow each person to fill their bowl the way they like.

Those are just some of the foods you might want to set out for your Build a Spanish Rice Bowl buffet. I’d love to hear of any add-in ideas your family might like.

Build a Spanish Rice Bowl

Want to enjoy more Simple Recipes? You’ll never have to work hard at cooking again!

728x90

Join Simple Meals here – we’d love to have you on board!

What Happens When a Mom Takes a Step Back

Well, honestly, sometimes when this mama takes a step back (literally), I fall over (actually). I’m just not as spry or coordinated as I used to be, and also sometimes the reason I’m falling is because I have tripped over the groceries my kids didn’t put away after I asked them twice.

Which leads me to a big point of this post.

It is rare that my kids will do exactly as I ask, immediately after I ask. I often have to say things twice or twelve times. They hardly ever come right when I call. Sometimes I say, “Put all your shoes away before you head up for the night” but then I find all the shoes exactly where they shouldn’t be in the morning. We can be sure that if I didn’t tell them to pick up their sweatshirts, all of the hoodies in the world would stay on the floor forever.

One of my kids always forgets to rinse his dishes even though that’s been our practice after every single meal for every single day of his entire life. Getting my kids out of bed in the mornings requires much more than a cute wake-up song, and I often hear about all the parts of life that aren’t fair.

This is what I do all day. I am Mom. I am blessed to be with my kids all day, but the thing is that I AM WITH MY KIDS ALL DAY.

It is my responsibility to educate and train them in everything ranging from geography to kindness to algebra to selflessness. I’m intentional about preparing them to be godly husbands, leaders, servants, employees, people. So every time one of their weaknesses flares or their response to an assignment, chore, brother, friend, or parent is less than ideal – I am on it! I instruct, reprimand, encourage, cry, offer suggestions, pray, and yep, sometimes even yell.

I see their weaknesses; no doubt they see mine.

What I sometimes fail to see is their strengths. Their gifts, talents, leadership abilities, Christ-like hearts, tenderness, humor, care, compassion – those are all there in my kids too, in abundance. But I all too often forget to notice the greatness through all the crusty socks that never made it upstairs to the basket.

It’s when I take a step back that I see the good that’s been there all along. It’s there in spite of me and even a little bit because of me. Mostly it’s there because God is at work in my kids and He wants their good even more than I.

When I step back I see…

  • My oldest, almost 20 now, being loved by so many on the college campus, taking a lead he doesn’t even know he’s taking, just because people are drawn to him. He rocks at videography, already utilizing his skills professionally. When he talks about his special girl, his voice is gentle and sweet. He loves the Lord and continues to learn what it means to live for Him.

asa2sm

Photo cred goes to the man himself

When I step back I see…

  • My 17-year old being a leader on the basketball court, encouraging his younger teammates, motivating his youth group peers to join him in a service project, teaching younger kids how to play soccer, talking sweetly to an elderly lady. I hear the music he creates and I am blown away that my kid has ability like this. I hear his poetry, the words of which tell me of his talent and of his heart for God.

justus31

When I step back I see…

  • My 15-year old coming out of his shell, making people laugh, talking to me about the sweet girl he likes, getting the door for people coming in behind him, and spoon feeding our disabled friend. I see him cheerfully making trips back and forth from apartment to truck as he helps another disabled friend load heavy furniture. I hear him confidently singing a solo on stage for the first time, fulfilling roles we never could have dreamed he’d be willing to step into. I hear him pray at night, amazed at his growing relationship with God.

elias2sm

When I step back I see…

  • My 12-year old being the “big kid” that the little kids at church flock to. I see him confidently teasing adults and making them laugh. I see him hugging the man whose wife is dying, making the gentleman smile through his tears. I watch him on stage, acting as if he was born to be in character. I see him excited to finally have a chance to go on a mission trip this summer with his older brothers, and I see him with tears in his eyes as he says, “Mom and Dad, I am ready to be baptized.”

malachi3sm

When I take a step back, I see all of this, and I don’t even have to look hard. This is all there because at their very core, this is who my children are.

In the thick of parenting, instructing, teaching, planning, dreaming, longing, and probably not sleeping quite enough – too often parents are only able see to the tip of the arguments and to the end of the unmade bed. Stepping back, we see the entire picture – the one that is beautifully painted with caring children, strengths that shine through the weaknesses, and a God who is at work to bring out His purposes for these darlings who are dearest to us.

To all who are in very middle of this parenting adventure: Take a step back. What are your children doing well? Where do they shine? In what ways have they grown? Bring it all to mind. Sit there for a while, and bask in the sweetness. It’s peaceful there and it is very real.

It is in this place, the place of stepping back, that we can remember our purpose and joy as parents. We remember that good shines brighter than bad, and that God is powerfully at work in both our children and in us.

Then hopefully, next time we trip over the backpack that got dropped right in the middle of the floor, we can recall to mind the heart of the child that left it there, even as we holler once again for said child to come put the backpack where it goes before we throw it into the fireplace.

What Happens When a Mom Takes a Step Back

Please take a turn! I got to share about each of my sons. Will you please take a minute, step back to see the good in each of your kids, and leave a comment to share that good with us?

5 Top Family-Friendly Recipes

I suppose it’s obvious that if I’m sharing a recipe with you here, it’s because my family loves it. But what I really enjoy is when you try a recipe and send me feedback about how much your family loves it too!

Here are some messages I’ve received recently. I’m sharing them here because everyone needs to know how these recipes save time, money, and are a hit with families! If you haven’t tried these yet, here are a few reasons you should. :)

About Simple Pizza Chicken Bake, Pam said: I made this for our small group last night, and they scraped the pan clean. My husband asked me to make it again. It was a hit! Thank you so much for your fun and easy recipes.

pizza-chicken-bake

About Last Minute Creamy Bacon Spaghetti Amber said: I’ve made this 3 times now, and it’s definitely a family favourite! I always double the cream cheese, because… cream cheese. Yum! So good. Thanks for another great recipe!

And Tara said: Laura, I just made this tonight after we spent an extra long time at the park. We ran home and got in the door at 5:30pm, and I had nothing planned for dinner. Thankfully I had bacon and cream cheese, so I threw this together and steamed some broccoli, and served it with a side of applesauce. It was on the table at 6! So easy, and it was a big hit with everyone in the family—including the 3 year old twins that are very picky these days.

bacon-spaghetti

 

About Simple Chicken Cheeseballs with a Kick with a Kick, Megan said: These were SO GOOD tonight that we all just called them “amaze-balls”. Thank you!

simple-chicken-cheeseballs1

About Homemade Vanilla Wafers, Jennifer said: This is definitely a keeper!  Hubby kept going on & on about how ‘good these vanilla wafers are!’ He had a hard time not eating them. This comes from someone who likes his white flour, white sugar type cookies. Thanks!!! But thanks from all 6 of my children, too.

vanilla_wafers

 

About Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta, Tosha said: My 3 year old son made this today! He added spinach because that is his favorite vegetable! I love that even he could do this with a little supervision from mama!

crock pot pasta2

 

Have you tried any recipes here recently that you love? I’d love to hear how they worked for you.

Also, it’s been really fun to hear feedback from Simple Meals subscribers. If you get Simple Meals Planning Packets in your inbox every week, share here what you love about them!

 

Simple Barbecue Beef Roast (2 Minute Prep!)

Before I tell you about the easiest Barbecue Beef Roast on the planet earth, I must ask this:

How did we ever get through life without knowing how to make the Easiest Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes?? I don’t even know.

Well, I guess I do know. I had given up on making mashed potatoes altogether. Never able to fit it into my schedule, or not wanting to mess with the mess if I did have time – I just stopped making them. We’ve been through all this.

But now that I know I can make them like this and it takes almost no effort, time, or clean-up? I’ve made them for my family at least once each week since.

My children are so happy. My husband is so happy. But I am the happiest because I feel like a great big champion when I’ve made not just a delicious, wholesome dinner but fantastic mashed potatoes too. I feel like a rock star. Mashed potatoes have made me a rock star.

I obviously measure success in ways that no one else does. Everyone else can have their fame, fortune, fancy boats, big houses, and cool cars. We have our mashed potatoes. This is what dreams are made of.

bbq roast beef

Well, perhaps it’s time to move on to information about the Barbecue Beef Roast?

This new recipes is even easier than the potatoes, which of course, is saying something. So if you happen to have two crock pots, you can make both of these on the same day and your family will stand up at the table and give you an ovation.

The first time I made this roast, I did this:

  • Walked to the freezer and got out a roast. (30 seconds)
  • Opened the package and put it into a crock pot. (20 seconds)
  • Got out some barbecue sauce and dumped it on the roast. (20 seconds)
  • Grabbed and onion, pulled off the outer layer, rinsed it, and quartered it, then threw it in with the meat. (40 seconds)
  • Plugged in the crock pot, turned it on low, walked away. (10 seconds)

This, my friends, is how we make dinner in 2 minutes.

My kids scrubbed the potatoes for me and we got those started in our second crock pot a couple hours later. At dinner time, we mashed the potatoes (2 minutes), steamed some green beans (30 seconds of “work”/5 minutes of cook time), and got out a bowl of fresh pineapple.

This dinner is glorious.

P.S. I considered making gravy but decided I had “worked” hard enough to make this dinner. So I chose to simply use the juice in the crock pot. That was still perfection.

Simple Barbecue Beef Roast

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Barbecue Beef Roast (2 Minute Prep!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound beef roast, frozen or thawed
  • 1-2 cups BBQ sauce
  • 1-2 medium onions
Instructions
  1. Place roast in a crock pot (frozen is fine).
  2. Douse the meat with barbecue sauce.
  3. Quarter the onion and place in the crock pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours if frozen or 8 hours if thawed.

Simple Barbecue Roast Beef

Get more Simple Recipes here…

728x90

Better yet, grab a Simple Meals subscription. It will save you time, energy, money, and brain power. So many are loving Simple Meals!!

My Husband is Making Me Do This

How sweet of my husband to be so supportive. How great of him to jump on board with my latest “pet project.” Between the two of us, we’ve even gotten our boys excited and they have started to tell their friends. We’re in this together, and we’re looking forward to being a part of this!

But I’m not sure about this newest idea my husband came up with. Who does he actually think I am, anyway? After 22 years of marriage, does he not know that I do have some limits? My inner spring chicken flew the coop more than a few years ago.

Yet, Matt said it so confidently, as if he didn’t even question my ability. I guess I should be honored? Sure thing.

world-vision2

So first things first, to catch you up on my inner conundrum: Our family is taking part in a 6K event with World Vision on May 6. Many of you have signed up to join, and if even more of you join, I will be so ridiculously happy.

This will mean clean water for people who normally have to walk 6K every single day just to get DIRTY water. The thought of this makes us sick, and knowing that our 6K efforts on May 6 will help provide people with a short walk for CLEAN water? Well, I’d walk 6K every day if it would keep the donations coming in.

My youngest saw this picture and was like, “Eeew. What is that?” and I had to tell him that it’s the dirty water kids are walking for miles to get for their families —>

world-vision4

My husband’s idea

Here’s what Matt said, and you guys, I am both amazed at his brilliance and terrified that I won’t be able to handle it.

“We need to do this the right way. When we go on this 6K walk, we’re going to take along a big jug, and map out a path that will take us 3K to a body of dirty water. We’re going to fill our jugs and walk back the final 3K with our full jugs. How else will we truly understand what these children face every day?”

So basically, I feel like a 43 year old baby. I wanted to argue, and even opened my mouth to do it. My hips, you know? My bad knee!

But the truth is that little tiny children, who are likely malnourished, walk this trek every single day just to collect a jug of dirty water for their families.

Dirty water.

Every day.

So we’re doing this thing.

Our family is walking the 6K for World Vision and we’re doing it with jugs of water. If this doesn’t make me appreciate the beautiful, pure water at my tap I’m not sure what will.

We’ll be live-streaming some of our journey via Facebook on May 6 so we can share more about our experience. I hope you’ll join us! And by that, I really mean that I hope you walk with us! (You can just walk it though. Jugs of dirty water are not a requirement.) :)

I’m extremely thankful our sons were so quick to join in with us, so we’ve got them signed up too. The beauty of how this 6K works is that you and I don’t have to be physically together to do this. You can sign up, then walk straight out your own door and do the walking in your own neighborhood.

So, May 6. Walk 6K for water. Join our virtual team. Why?

  • Every day, people around the world walk an average of 6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) in search of water, and that water is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.
  • World Vision provides safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to decrease illnesses, improve health and lessen the burden on women and children.
  • Safe drinking water, improved sanitation, good hygiene and good water resource management can lead to a reduction in child mortality, cut transmission of malaria, improve public health and reduce extreme poverty.

Learn more here about World Vision’s water program here.

Want to do this with me?

Sign up here. Want to see part of our live journey on Facebook May 6? Like my page here.

Here’s to clean water for everyone!

Jenuinely Pure – Non-Toxic Cleaning Products Giveaway

Some of my favorite cleaning products include the very cheap and non-exciting: vinegar and water. And also washrags. Children are also a great help. (Let’s hear it for teaching our kids the importance of doing chores around the house.)

Well, water and vinegar (and children) are all well and good, but sometimes we need more than that – for the tougher jobs (as if all cleaning isn’t tough, but don’t worry, I won’t start my typical “I don’t like to clean” whining fit).

jenuinely pure

This Jenuinely Pure All-Purpose Cleaner is the one I’ve used on my shower that left my husband asking, “Who came and installed a new shower in our bathroom?” Yep. It got the shower THAT clean.

I personally love that not only does this work very well, it is completely organic and non-toxic. And if all that isn’t great enough, it truly lives up to its “all-purpose” title. I mean windows, carpet, bathrooms, kitchens – one cleaner really does do it all!

Jenuinely Pure All-Purpose Cleaner boasts:

Safe and effective on all surfaces in your home – use in kitchens & bathrooms, spray lightly to clean windows & mirrors and floors; treat stains on clothing and carpet, dust wood surfaces…leaves surfaces clean, streak-free and smelling fresh. Plus, the essential oils used in this cleaner are known for their antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Jenuinely Pure also has a great variety of products from Bar Soaps (super high quality, wonderful smelling, luxurious!) to Foaming Hand Soap and Gentle Baby Products.

These Jenuinely Pure products are worth trying. They are hoping this 20% off code will tempt you! (Use 20%off at checkout)

Not only that, they are giving away two $20 gift certificates to spend in their store. Want a chance to win? Enter the Rafflecopter below. I’ll draw two random winners on Tuesday, April 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dear Teenage Girls (From the Mom of Four Teenage Boys)

Dear Teenage Girls,

I think you all know how much I love spending time with you. I’m the only one of “our kind” at my house, so any time I’m with one or more of you and we can talk about sparkly things like toenail polish, cute dresses, and all of our feeeeeelings, I find it so refreshing and fun. You girl people are so neat. I can’t wait until the day four of you are my daughters-in-law. Truly, we will have so much fun together.

I wouldn’t trade my life with a houseful of men for anything in the entire world, and I cherish my life for exactly what it is. This leads me to share my mom-thoughts with you, from a “mother of boys” perspective.

family1sm

I want to assure you of what we do intentionally at our house.

First and foremost, we are teaching our boys about their need for Jesus and inviting them to seek Him alongside us. Because of that, we are working to train our boys to respect you, to treat you with care, and to show you every kindness. There aren’t any other females in our house, so whether they know it or not, our boys get to practice all these skills on me, their mom.

It melts my heart every time my boys open a door for me. (Having four sons and a husband, it is a fact that I have not had to open a door for myself in so many years that I don’t even remember how to do this task.)

My sons have learned to allow me to walk in ahead of them, to tell me “thank you” when I’ve done something for them (all day long, thank you very much), and to listen to me when I’m going into far greater detail and using many more words than they might prefer. They’ve learned to hug me when I’m teary-eyed, to let me talk when I want to share something God put on my heart, and to carry all the heavy stuff. (I have zero to prove about how “I can do everything a man can do.” I absolutely can’t, plus I’m often too busy doing so many of the less-heavy-but-equally-needed jobs around here. So can the gentlemen get the luggage and carry the boxes and open the jars? Yes, they most certainly can.)

Also, my men clear and rinse their own dishes after every meal and always, always put the toilet seat down. Unfortunately, they still do not see all their stuff laying around on the living room table and floor and think to carry it to their room at the end of the day. I’ve done everything I can – their wives must take it from here.

This might all seem like physical training (dishes, luggage, doors), but I believe what our sons are learning is that you, darling girl, deserve to be cared for, honored, respected, and loved.

Do my boys sometimes say or do something inappropriate, crude, or disrespectful? Of course. So do I. I guess it runs in the family, or maybe it just shows that no matter how noble our efforts, each of us is human and needs a Savior.

So, assuming that you, as a teenage girl, are also seeking Jesus, I want to encourage you to never compromise your Godly desires. That respect you want from others? Show that very same level of respect to yourself and to everyone around you – guys and gals alike. When respect meets respect, a relationship becomes un-pressured, fun, and all around great.

I know what you’re thinking. But, not to worry. This isn’t the part of the letter where I say, “Therefore, this is how I think you should dress and how you should carry yourself and how you should sit and…”

No. Because I’m absolutely sure that if you desire God’s greatness in your life and in your relationships, you’ve already set a high standard for yourself in all these areas. You and I know that being a Godly person isn’t about following all the rules. Words like “dress modestly” and “act appropriately” land precariously all over a wide spectrum depending on each person’s perspective and experiences. Yes (for the love of my teenage, Jesus-seeking sons) do both. But do them with a pure heart motive because you are choosing God’s best, not because the purity rules dictate such behavior.

Rules get us nowhere, but a heart’s conviction and desire to put others before ourselves and to seek God’s Truth in all things – well, that will change everything about how you and I see life as we strive for Kingdom living.

So, Girls. I’ll continue to do my part in raising (hopeful) future husbands, fathers, men of God. You do your part in seeking His goodness in every area of your life as a (hopeful) future wife, mother, woman of God.

At all times, keep the Truth in mind about who you are. Hold tight to your “list.” (I know you’ve got one. It’s the list of everything you want in a guy. I had one too. About the time I thought my list was too unrealistic – like there wasn’t a guy on the planet that would meet all my expectations – I finally met him. Then he exceeded my expectations and he even wanted to marry me. God is faithful – to me and to you. Never forget this.)

Above all, seek Jesus and trust His promises. Treat others as you want to be treated – from the cute guy in Bible class to the elderly lady at the grocery store.

Teenage girls, you are dear to me. I am on your team, in your corner, and cheering you on with more love and longing in my heart than you might be able to imagine.

Seek Jesus, choose goodness, and keep on being adorable. You are cherished.

With love ,

Laura, mother of teenage boys

Dear Teenage Girls

The First 25 People Get $15 From Me!

While standing at a soccer game this weekend (I had forgotten my chair, again; you’d think I’d have this figured out by now) I decided that this week I wanted to do a little something fun for you. You know, since usually we don’t do anything fun around here.  Ha!

But this time, it’s extra fun. It also might even be the answer to “how can I find time to take a nap?” or “why do these people need to eat every single day?” or “is there actually life outside this kitchen?”

This is for all of you (well, 25 of you) who have been eyeing Simple Meals, wanting Simple Meals, and thinking Simple Meals would be a huge help for you and your family – but you just haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

simplemeals300

This week, if you hurry, you can get $15 off! This is the biggest discount we’ve ever offered, so we’re limiting the coupons to the first 25 people who email me and request it.

If you aren’t one of the first 25, I bet we’ll find something else almost as great (like a stick of gum. totally kidding). But if I’m you, I’d try to jump in quickly while there are $15 coupons to be had.

My email address is laura@heavenlyhomemakers.com.

These coupons have to be used before Friday, April 14 so keep that in mind if you’re requesting one.

This $15 coupon will make each weekly Simple Meals Weekly Menu Planning Packet cost a mere $0.71, which is basically free considering all you get. See? I told you this would be fun!

Don’t forget that every Simple Meals member gets over $70 worth of FREE eBooks. It’s a huge bonus!

Okedokee, email me quickly so you don’t miss out. (laura@heavenlyhomemakers.com)

The countdown is on!

Read more about Simple Meals here.

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Of all the Simple Recipes I’ve been sharing around here, this Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole has proven to be the very simplest. Get this: No cooking necessary to make this recipe. A two-year-old could make this. Or a very busy adult. Either one will do.

pizza casserole1

This Simple Meal requires one dish (a crock pot) and thirty-seconds of prep (dump/stir/plug in). Your meal cooks itself.

As you can see from the above picture, I even cheated on my veggie side dish by simply setting out mixed greens and grape tomatoes. Therefore absolutely nothing about this meal took any work or actual cooking.

Now, you can add other cooked meats to this if you want. You can chop in some mushrooms and peppers if you want. None of those tasks take long, but they do take a few more minutes of prep. Sometimes I throw those veggies onto the table as side dishes, along with a can of black olives. Or, in a pinch, sometimes I skip it all and just throw out the mixed greens.

Either way, this meal is completely effortless, very inexpensive, and ridiculously good.

This spring, we’ve found this meal great to throw together before leaving for the soccer field. When we get home, we immediately get to sit down to an awesome, warm dinner. (Spring soccer is cold. I have done this cold soccer season for 15 years. When does it end?! Good thing my kids are worth it. Good thing I have a really great coat, and hat, and gloves, and fuzzy blanket. Good thing I can come home to warm comfort food at the end of my wind-blown, drizzly soccer cheering experience.)

Look how effortless this is —>

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 16-ounces UNCOOKED whole grain pasta
  • 50-ounces pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 6-ounces pepperoni
  • Optional: additional cooked meat, sliced olives, chopped sweet pepper, and/or sliced mushrooms
Instructions
  1. Stir uncooked pasta and pizza sauce in a crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Stir.
  4. Top with shredded cheese and pepperoni.
  5. Cook for an additional 10 minutes on low to melt cheese.

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Will your family love this, or what? But trust me: no one will love it as much as you. Because this recipes allows you to cook without cooking. It provides you a great meal without working for it.

And now, if we could all find ourselves such a thing as a Self-Cleaning Crock Pot. (Tip, I soak my crock overnight and everything comes clean easily in the morning. No need to scrub when soaking does the hard work for us, am I right?)

Want to enjoy more Simple Recipes? We’ve got a bunch!

728x90

Make the Simple Recipes even easier!

Join everyone who is LOVING Simple Meals! Your meal plan, recipes, and grocery list will be sent to you every single week. All you have to do is execute to super simple plan. Win back your family time! Eat well. Love the simplicity! Read about it here and join us!

simplemeals300

Why I Don’t Make Broth in the Crock Pot

I’ll get right to the point.

I think it’s a fabulous idea to make homemade bone broth in the crock pot. But that doesn’t work for me and here’s why:

My crock pot only makes 3 quarts of broth at one time.

(It’s a 6-quart crock pot, but after the bones are strained out, the amount of broth only ends up being about 3 quarts.)

Instead of a crock pot, I make broth in my big stock pot, which makes almost 2 gallons at one time! (The same is true for applesauce. It absolutely doesn’t save me time to make a crock pot full of applesauce when I can make many quarts in my stock pot in much less time.)

broth in stock pot

My food prep mantra: Go big or go home.
Except that the food prep happens when I already am home. So…
Go big or go bigger.

Indeed, my stock pot makes almost three times the amount of broth (or applesauce) at one time compared to my crock pot. Since broth simmers slowly for several hours no matter what I cook it in, efficiency tells me to always use my stock pot.

In addition to this, I typically make two huge batches of broth in one day to make the most of my chicken or beef bones. I make one batch of broth when I’m cooking a couple of chickens. Then I strain the broth to put into jars, pull the chicken off the bones, and throw the bones back into the pot to make a second batch. In both batches, I throw several pounds of onions, carrots, and leeks. I get almost four gallons of broth in a day when I do this! (Read the following links for specifics on  how I make Chicken Broth and Beef Broth.)

This process gives us enough broth for soups and other recipes for about two weeks. It is awesome.

A Side Note: I Make Orange Chicken or Beef Broth

Let’s talk for a moment about all those veggies I cook into the broth. They get ridiculously mushy after cooking for so many hours, so I just blend them up and stir them back into the broth for added nourishment. You know what this means, don’t you? This means that my broth always turns a beautiful orange color.

How to Make Chicken Broth

A word to the wise:

If you follow this example of cooking and blending carrots/onions/leeks/celery/spinach into your broth, turning it a beautiful orange color – I suggest that you inform your family about the contents of the pretty orange liquid you’ve placed in jars in the fridge. Otherwise they might say, “Can I have some orange juice?” and you might absentmindedly say, “Sure” before you realize you don’t actually have any orange juice. And then your kid will take a big swig of chicken broth and almost puke.

Hypothetically.

It could happen I think.

I have no idea why my youngest won’t touch orange juice anymore.

Back to talking about the Stock Pot Broth Making Method

Now in a few years when all these strapping teenage sons of mine have left the nest (sniff) and I no longer need pounds and gallons and cases of food like I do now, might I go back to using my crock pot to make broth again?

I haven’t decided. I like efficiency. Broth freezes just fine, so I may always use the stock pot for broth-making to avoid having to make the mess as frequently.

And the truth is, I’m not even sure I remember how to make less than 16 quarts of something at once. We may enjoy a lot of leftovers (or company) until I can figure that out.

In the meantime,

This is why I don’t make broth in the crock pot.

Why I Don't Make Broth in my Crock Pot

How do you make your broth?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pssst…a note from Lilla Rose

Look at the GORGEOUS new Flexi-of-the-Month for April…Felicite!!! It is so beautiful for spring! Also, get a free hairband with any $80 purchase!

Felicite purple (1)