Simple Crock Pot Chicken Soup with a Kick – 4 Ingredients!

It’s as if this soup knew we needed it in our lives. As if somehow, in the mysterious ways only known to soup, it recognized that many days of the week are busy, and our time in the kitchen is limited, but we still want a hearty meal as the sun goes down. Therefore, on the day we needed it most, this soup arrived, begging us to make it on a morning we are still half-asleep and thinking about the other items on our agenda for the day.crock-pot-chicken-soup-with-a-kickThis soup! I don’t think I’ve ever made one that takes less effort or energy. I didn’t even thaw the chicken ahead of time. I had all four ingredients already in my home because I almost always have:

  • boneless chicken
  • salsa
  • chicken broth
  • cheese

I didn’t have to chop, stir, measure, or think. I put the ingredients into my crock pot, plugged it in (always recommended), turned it on, and walked away. Six hours later we sat down and ate soup.

If all of life was as easy as this soup, we would all turn into lazy, squishy people. Seeing as most days we are going-going-going, I don’t think we need to fear the squish. But this soup? It’s got our back at the end of a busy day, because it recognizes all we do and it’s here to say, “Dinner? No problem. I’m here for you. Sit down with your family. Eat. Enjoy.”


Simple Crock Pot Chicken Soup with a KickYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Crock Pot Chicken Soup with a Kick - 4 Ingredients!
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 16-ounces salsa (more or less is fine)
  • 32 ounces (1 quart) chicken broth
  • 8 ounces cheese (cheddar, Colby jack, Monterrey, Pepper jack - whichever you prefer)
  1. Put all ingredients into a crock pot.
  2. Cook on hi for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8.
  3. Shred chicken and serve.

What to serve with this Chicken Soup with a Kick:

  • Tossed salad
  • Fresh fruit

Consider adding to your bowl of Chicken Soup with a Kick:

  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Sour Cream
  • Sliced Olives
  • Black Beans
  • Corn

This soup will work wonderfully to serve to guests. It is seriously delicious and need I remind you? You don’t have to thaw the chicken ahead of time. I mean, you can if you want. But why plan ahead when this soup doesn’t require it?

This recipe, for sure, will be one of my go-to recipes this fall and winter.

Hopefully you also saw the Simple Baked Salmon and Asparagus recipe I posted earlier this week. If you’re wondering if there’s some kind of theme going on – perhaps a conspiracy to force us put healthy meals on the table with very little effort – you are right on track. Meals that take just a few minutes to prepare. Healthy food ideas and guides that prevent us from spending hours in the kitchen. Plans to save our family time. Oh yes. This is definitely in the works.


Our Simple Meals project is coming along nicely. Details coming soon! I really cannot wait to share. In the meantime, more Simple Recipes are on the way. Hope you’re hungry. :)

High Five Recipes: Easy Butterscotch Bars

People can’t get enough of these butterscotch bars. They’re made with whole wheat flour but no one knows. They’re made with only five ingredients that you probably have on hand – so easy!


I originally posted this recipe in 2010, but decided to post it again for you today. Why? Because butterscotch bars. And also because I have only been home 3 of the past 11 days so I’m behinder than ever. While I play catch up and work on new projects (wait till you see!), I wanted to bless you a recipe so you could bless others.

High Five Recipes 2

You’ll be glad to know that this is a High Five Recipe! (High quality recipes + five ingredients or less = High Five Recipe)

This is not a Low Sugar Recipe, however. So make them to share with others, and saver them slowly (as opposed to gobbling down half the pan before you realize what happened).


Easy Butterscotch BarsYum

3.3 from 3 reviews
High Five Recipes: Easy Butterscotch Bars
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1¾ cups sucanat or brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  1. Stir melted butter and sucanat together.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
  3. Stir in flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour batter into a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  5. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

These bars are gooey, rich, and need I remind you to make them to share with friends?

Now that I’ve been making these butterscotch bars for so many years, I get frequent requests for them.

  • “Laura, would it be too much for me to ask you to make a batch of your butterscotch bars for me for my birthday? Like very year for the rest of my life?”
  • “Laura, my friends and I were talking about your butterscotch bars and now we want some. I told them I’d ask…can you make us a batch?”
  • “How much arm twisting would it take for you to make another pan of your butterscotch bars?”

These requests make my day, and since the bars are so easy to make, I almost always say yes! If you haven’t tried these bars yet, do it. They’re crazy easy, but beware: people will beg you to make more. You’ll have more friends than you ever had before and everyone will love you for providing the butterscotch bars. It’s hard, but you can handle it.

Easy Butterscotch Bars - Five Ingredients!

Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

I was looking through this week to see what produce I could get for great prices, and what do I see? Oodles of sale prices for chips, frozen pizza, and crackers. It must be Super Bowl Week.

I’d forgotten all about it. For us right now it’s Blizzard Week, and we are in preparation for Youth Rally Weekend (where our church hosts 120+ teens for a fun and spiritually encouraging weekend). Therefore, I’m very much out of football mode. This is not such a shocker, since I’m always out of football mode and don’t even know who’s playing this weekend. Denver? And some other team? Forgive me.

Now that I’m (only barely) caught up on what most Americans are thinking about this week, I’ve decided to share a new chip dip recipe in case you want to make this for your Super Bowl party. It includes bacon, sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and shredded cheese – so you know that means it is delicious. Since the recipe is coming from me – so you know that means it is easy.

Our family tested it with corn chips, potato chips, and baked tortilla chips. We all preferred a different chip – which basically means that anything goes.

Why do we have so many chips on hand? Oh my goodness, you do not want to see my stash of chips right now. It has just a little something to do with my preparations for Youth Rally Weekend where somewhere between 15-20 teenage boys will be staying at our house from Friday-Sunday. They’ll eat their meals at the church building, but it’s so weird that they are all hungry again when they come back here for the night. It’s like they’re normal or something.

For this dip recipe, you’ll need this Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix recipe. Make it by the jar-full because that mix is what makes the world go ’round.

Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip
Serves: 10
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons homemade ranch dressing mix
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  1. Cut bacon into ½-inch strips.
  2. Cook the bacon to your liking, then drain.
  3. Stir cooked bacon into a bowl with all other ingredients.
  4. Spread mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.
  5. Bake in a 400° oven for 20-25 minutes or until dip is bubbly and hot.
  6. Serve with corn chips, potato chips, or baked tortilla chips.

Easy Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

Unrelated to bacon and ranch but very much related to dip and the Super Bowl…

This Homemade Chocolate Ganache happened this week in my kitchen.

chocolate ganache with fruit

I’ve already started playing with some of the recipes in the big free Paleo Package being offered right now. (Remember – I’m not going Paleo. I just appreciate their nutrient-rich recipes for my family!)

This Chocolate Ganache recipe is in the 5-Minute Paleo Recipes book included in the package. You’ll want to look it up! I had to add more honey than the recipe suggested – but YUM! What a fun way to eat fruit. Now I desperately need strawberries to be in season so I can eat them by the truckload with this dip!!! You can get your free package here.

Are you in Super Bowl Week mode? Or Blizzard Week mode? Or Something Else Week mode? Or all/none/some of the above?

5-Ingredient Sour Cream Drop Biscuits

Sour Cream Drop Biscuit

My friend Emily is the one who told me about these Sour Cream Drop Biscuits as we stood in the church foyer solving all the world’s problems and talking about recipes. (The two go hand in hand.) She told me these included only four ingredients and that sour cream was one. “Let me guess then,” I said. “Sour cream, flour, baking powder, and salt?” Yep! With some butter drizzled in for flavor.

Well, yeah. Of course. Butter. Butter drizzled in for flavor, and a large pat of butter melted onto both halves of the biscuit immediately following their removal from the oven.

She promised to send me the recipe, and I was planning to wait patiently. But the next morning, all I could think of was how much I wanted a Sour Cream Biscuit. Surely I could figure out the correct proportions of the ingredients in these biscuits. So I got out the goods and experimented. How hard could it be?

Not hard. (Would I be sharing these with you if they were?)

The trick is that you’re going to need to get your hands messy. The ingredients get tossed in a bowl all together, then you can begin to stir. After a short while, the stirring spoon will likely be thrown into the sink and your hands become your greatest kitchen tool. Mix and squish, friends. Mix and squish.

Since your hands are already messy, use them to pull out bits of dough (whatever size you want your biscuits). Roll the dough in your hands and press the ball down gently onto a baking sheet. This is so much easier than rolling and cutting and cleaning up the mess afterward. I mean, you will have to wash your hands.

5-Ingredient Sour Cream Drop BiscuitsYum

5-Ingredient Sour Cream Drop Biscuits
Serves: 12
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups sour cream
  1. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Mix in sour cream and melted butter.
  3. You may need to use your hands to get the ingredients mixed thoroughly.
  4. Roll dough into balls with your hands, then flatten slightly and place them side by side on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 450° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with butter, honey, jelly, or gravy.

Please don’t ask if you can sub buttermilk for the sour cream. There are plenty of Buttermilk Biscuit recipes out there. But these are Sour Cream Biscuits, so subbing another dairy or non-dairy item would make them a Not Sour Cream Biscuit.

5 Ingredient Sour Cream Drop Biscuits

Tall and Fluffy Biscuit Tip:

Put your biscuits onto the baking sheet side by side – rubbing shoulders, getting cozy. This way they have no choice but to bake up, not out. See, biscuits need their friends to come along side them to help them grow. This is, of course, a perfect and wonderful analogy to help you and I see our need for friends to come alongside us to build us up. Thank you, Fluffy Biscuit Tip.

Ever tried stirring sour cream into your biscuits?

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites

Cookie bites? Eh. We like ’em okay. ;)

Because we all like healthy snacks and we absolutely love easy recipes – let us take a moment to review the previous no-bake cookie bite recipes shared here:

One idea turned into another, and now we have No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites to add to the list!

No-Bake Cookie Bites - Easy Recipes!

With a few ingredient tweaks, a Peanut Butter Cookie Bite came about. Of course, a peanut butter cookie bite must be gently pressed with a fork like the real deal, don’t you think? These taste so much like Peanut Butter Cookies, we couldn’t believe it. But instead of being an actual cookie full of sugar – they are a high protein, high fiber, low sugar snack. But hey, call it a cookie since it still tastes like one. Healthy treats are so exciting!

Peanut Butter Cookie Bites - No Bake!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites Yum

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Roll the mixture into teaspoon-sized (or whatever sized) balls.
  3. Press down gently, criss-cross, with a fork.
  4. Refrigerate before serving.

It really is that easy.

(Here are my homemade peanut butter instructions.)

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Bites

Where to get Coconut Flour:

Many have asked about Coconut Flour. I order it from Tropical Traditions or Amazon. A little bit goes a long way, so don’t let the price-tag scare you. Coconut flour is naturally gluten free, high in fiber, and high in protein. I love it for its nutritional value!

Ways to enjoy these No-Bake Cookie Bites:

  • Packed in a lunch
  • As a snack/pick-me-up
  • Before or after a work-out
  • On the road during a trip
  • In a box, on a train, with a fox, in a tree (thank you, Sam I Am) – Do you really need any more reasons to love these? Eat them any where for any reason!

Lovin’ these No-Bake Cookie Bites!

Give me more cookie flavor ideas to play with!! What would you like to see here?

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

chocolate mint mousse 3

This is one of the easiest treats you will ever make.  You’ll especially appreciate the final step.  Allow me to explain…

Many a recipe (including this one) will instruct us to:

    1. Mix ingredients.
    2. Pour mixture into serving dishes.
    3. Chill for at least two hours.

Is it just me, or does it seem that in order to follow the directions diligently we should mix our ingredients, pour the mixture into serving dishes, then promptly “put our feet up and do nothing for at least two hours?”  It says to “chill” right?  If we read this literally, I do believe we are being told to do absolutely nothing.  Relax.  Take a breather.  Chill out already.  For two entire hours (or more – don’t forget the “or more”).

Is anyone else thinking about Amelia Bedelia right now?  (If you haven’t read those children’s books, you’re missing out.)

Now I’m not exactly sure what to think about recipe instructions that say, “chill until firm.”  Rarely do I notice more defined muscle tone when I’m chillin’ in my chair for two hours or more.  “Chill until it jiggles in the middle” – well now, unfortunately that makes quite a bit more sense.

I’ll be the first to admit that taking time to rest doesn’t come easy for me.  I’d love to “chill” after mixing up a recipe – but who will take care of all those dirty dishes?  Amelia Bedelia, perhaps?  If only.

While I’m sure we could have a lovely discussion about taking time to rest, washing dishes, or encouraging healthy muscle tone – I will now turn the conversation back to this new recipe I’d like to share, letting you know that in fact, once you mix it up, it needs to be poured into serving dishes and chilled.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

Dark Chocolate Peppermint MousseYum

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Measure 3/4 cup cream into a sauce pan.  Heat until hot, but not boiling.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate chips, stirring until melted.  Stir in peppermint extract and set mixture aside.

In the meantime, whip the remaining 3/4 cup cream in a bowl until firm peaks form.  Fold chocolate mixture gently into whipped cream.  Spoon mousse into 6-8 bowls or cups.  And finally, the instructions you’ve all been waiting for:  Chill for at least two hours before serving.

To be clear, this means that you need to put the mousse into the refrigerator for at least two hours until you are ready to serve it to your family or guests.  Before the pan and bowl get crusty, wash your dishes and wipe down the counter-tops.  Then hug your children, check the mail, return a phone call, switch out the laundry, get out meat for dinner, scrub the gunk off the floor, and re-hang the curtain that got pulled down.

After that, by all means, you should chill.

Easy Veggie Dip (With Homemade Seasoned Salt)

It’s been exactly 21 hours and 4 minutes since I posted the Homemade Seasoned Salt recipe, so I’m assuming all of you have some mixed up and ready by now? Perfect. You’ll be needing it for this Veggie Dip recipe. You have cucumbers and carrots on hand, right? Perfect.

Easy Veggie Dip 1

One of the recipe cards that we made to go with your Seasoned Salt gift package shares this Easy Veggie Dip idea. Right after mixing up my first batch of seasoned salt, I made some Perfect Potato Wedges (a recipe also found on the free recipe card printable) and some of this Easy Veggie Dip. It was so….well, easy. The only way I can get my family (including the mother – that’s me) to eat cucumbers is if I supply dip. Typically, I go for ranch. But cucumbers with this Easy Veggie Dip is delicious. Even my hubby, who doesn’t really dig cucumbers, was enjoying the combo. Yay – another great way to eat veggies!

Easy Veggie DipYum

Easy Veggie Dip (With Homemade Seasoned Salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise (I use Hain safflower mayo)
  • Seasoned Salt to taste
  1. In a bowl, mix together minced onion, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Add Seasoned Salt until mixture changes color (it should become a light peach color), tasting as you go for desired flavor. Chill for at least one hour before serving. Serve as a dip with assorted raw vegetables.

You’ll find our Seasoned Salt recipe here, along with this recipe (and 3 others) on cute printable recipe cards. This makes a great gift! This dip is great for holiday parties, or simply as a way to get your family to eat vegetables (like cucumbers!) any day of the week. <—- I’m looking at you Coppinger Clan.

Can’t wait to hear how you like this Seasoned Salt and the recipes to go with it!

Easy Veggie Dip with homemade Seasoned Salt

Hot Chocolate Souffle ~ A Recipe That Just So Happens To Naturally Be Grain Free and Dairy Free

hot chocolate souffle 2

Elias, our 12 year old, is my cookbook buddy. Just like me, he enjoys looking through new recipes, getting food ideas, looking at the food pictures. He’s my right hand man when it comes to finding new recipe ideas to play with.

During our past few trips to the library, Elias and I have picked up different cookbooks to look through and get ideas from. This Hot Chocolate Soufflé is one he found recently. He liked the look of the dessert and figured we could adapt it with our healthier ingredients pretty easily. Obviously, he cares so much about using healthier ingredients, just like all normal 12 year old boys. Ha. Haha. Ha. Ha.  Well, at least he knows his mom cares, and he sort of understands why. Really, all he was concerned about was that this recipe looked like a yummy chocolate dessert. What else matters, right?

Here’s what’s fun about this Hot Chocolate Soufflé recipe:

  • It’s very easy to make
  • It only has 4 ingredients
  • It can be made for those who need to avoid gluten and/or dairy

Hot Chocolate SouffléYum

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup sucanat powdered sugar
5 eggs, separated
pinch of sea salt

Separate eggs – whites and yolks – into two separate bowls. Stir sucanat powdered sugar into the egg yolks until smooth. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, stirring constantly and removing from heat immediately after chocolate has melted. Stir melted chocolate into egg yolks and sucanat mixture. Beat egg whites and sea salt until stiff peaks form. Fold chocolate mixture into the egg whites until barely mixed. Pour mixture into a 8×8 inch baking pan. Bake in a 400° oven for about 15 minutes or until done through and through.

Grain Free, Dairy Free Hot Chocolate Souffle

These would be great for your Make-Ahead Lunch Box. Also, I looked into where you can purchase allergy free dark chocolate chips. Here’s what I found:

Do you like looking through cookbooks and recipes? (Hope so – this site is full of ’em!)

This post contains affiliate links.

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cups ~ Perfect For Your Make-Ahead Lunch Box

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Allow me to introduce you to my new love, the Raspberry Lemon Cream Cup ~ Five simple ingredients, easy to make, and perfect to make ahead of time to pull out for your lunch box or table. Add this one to our High Five Recipes collection. Put this on your list of side dishes to go with lunch. Hope and pray it stays in the fridge long enough to actually serve for lunch.

Yeah, I’m just saying that it may not last that long. My first batch disappeared about 10 minutes after I made it. Time to triple the recipe, maybe Laura? Yes, I think so.

Raspberry Lemon Cream CupsYum

1 cup raspberries
20 drops stevia or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

In a bowl, smash raspberries with a fork. Stir in sweetener of choice, lemon juice, and sour cream. Set aside. In another bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold raspberry mixture into the whipped cream. Pour into individual serving containers and chill for at least 2 hours. (Or for 10 minutes if you are my family and can’t wait 2 incredibly long hours.)  This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

I love this side dish idea for make-ahead lunches! If you pack lunches for work or school, this can easily be prepared in bulk and packaged for a filling treat to go with the main dish. Pucker up – this recipe is a tart one. That’s what makes it so good. :)

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cups

You know what else is good? Subbing a different variety of fruit for the raspberries. Since we liked the Raspberry Lemon Cream Cups so much (and ate them so quickly), the following day I blended up nectarines to stir into this treat. I can’t decide which one I like more.

Nectarine Cream Cups

1 cup pureed nectarines
20 drops stevia or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Stir pureed nectarines, sweetener of choice, and sour cream together and set aside. In another bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold nectarine mixture into the whipped cream. Pour into individual serving containers and chill for at least 2 hours. This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

nectarine cream cups

These fruit cream cups are healthy, filling, and a perfect side dish to go with other Make-Ahead Lunch Box recipes like Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad or Whole Wheat Pizza Swirls.

What other fruit should we try blending into in these cream cups?

7-Minute Strawberry Ice Cream ~ Dairy Free Option

Healthy food always takes a long time to make, right?  Not at my house.  Healthy food always tastes like “health food,” right? Oh, for real.  Healthy food always costs a lot of money, right?  Not if I can help it. 

Most of the guests I feed at my house don’t even suspect that I’m serving them healthy food. In fact, I fed this simple Strawberry Ice Cream to someone last week, and all he knew was that I was handing him a dish full of homemade ice cream. All he knew was that it tasted delicious, he loved it, and he asked for seconds. He was impressed that I had “taken the time” to actually make homemade ice cream. He had no idea it was made in 7 little minutes. He had no idea the dessert didn’t have any added sugar (I used stevia). He had no idea the health benefits of what he was eating. He just thought he was eating really good ice cream. Boom.  Score one for healthy food that doesn’t appear to be health food.

Yes, from start to finish, this ice cream just takes about seven minutes to make. No ice cream freezer necessary – all you need is a strong blender or food processor.  By the way – those seven minutes it takes to make this treat? Well, it’s not like it takes 7 minutes of work on my part. I just put the ingredients into the food processor and walk away. God bless the person who invented food processors so that I can check email while I’m making ice cream.

7-Minute Strawberry Ice CreamYum

4 cups (give or take) frozen strawberries
1 can (13.5 ounces) chilled coconut milk or 1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 drops liquid stevia or 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup or 1 Tablespoon honey

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Serve right away. Makes 4-8 servings.

7-Minute Dairy Free Strawberry Ice Cream

Have you tried the Cool Pineapple Cream Dessert recipe yet? This is pretty much the same recipe, except for the obvious switch from pineapple to strawberries. I found that when using pineapple, I didn’t need to add anything else to sweeten the treat. Strawberries are a little more tart, so adding a tiny bit of stevia made this perfect.

Next I plan to make this treat using frozen peaches. Then maybe frozen blueberries. Then frozen raspberries.

Health food? You can keep your rice cakes. I’m having ice cream.

What’s your favorite “healthy food” to serve that doesn’t appear to be health food?