Easy Salsa Chicken Salad Recipe (Less Than 5-Minutes of Work)

Hi! It’s me. The girl without an oven.

Actually, I have an oven. It’s sitting in my living room by my couch. See? There it is:

gas oven

Oh man. If you’re one of my Facebook followers, you might have witnessed my first ever Facebook Live video where I showed off my new stove and made a bad joke about having gas. “Going Live” with you was super fun, so I’ll definitely be doing that more often. Please check it out and join us!

While I type, my favorite guy is going up and down the stairs to complete the transition from electric hook-up to gas. As soon as my pretty new dream oven is hooked up, I will be making a Peach Cobbler to reward Matt for all his hard work getting this set up for me! (To catch you up on the latest, on a whim we checked to see if Craigslist had anything for us. We didn’t have our hopes up. But would you believe, we found exactly one double oven and it is exactly what we want/need – except better?! And we got it for an amazing price!! So thankful!)

During the days I’ve been without an oven I’ve been using my crock potmy electric skilletmy cast iron griddlemy blender, and my waffle iron quite a bit. As you can see, being oven-less has not been the end of my world.

This Easy Salsa Chicken Salad recipe is actually just a simple variation of my Crock Pot Chicken Tacos. I made this last Sunday when we needed to leave for church in ten minutes but I hadn’t figured out lunch for the day. I got out frozen chicken, ran it under some hot water, plopped it into my crock pot, dumped in some salsa, and left for church.

I said, “Wow, easiest meal ever.” and my boys said, “Mom you say that every day.”

It’s true. I only make food that’s easy. Multi-step recipes are not for me. And yet here we are still eating a healthy, real food diet. Don’t forget how to put the easiest, healthiest side dishes on the table too. Fruits and veggies are the best convenience foods there are!

organic spring mix

Speaking of healthy convenience foods – big containers of Organic Mixed Greens are my favorite fast food to get at the grocery store! Instead of making my Salsa Chicken into a taco last Sunday, I dumped a big hand-full of mixed greens into a bowl, added my tasty chicken along with some tomatoes, black beans, and corn – and I had the best salad! I didn’t even need salad dressing. (Though you can take a look at the yummy options I have listed here.)

Easy Salsa Chicken SaladYum

Easy Salsa Chicken Salad Recipe (Less Than 5-Minutes of Work)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 cups salsa
  • Your choice of greens
  • Your choice of salad fixins (I like tomatoes, corn, and black beans for this salad)
Instructions
  1. Place fresh or frozen chicken in a crock pot.
  2. Dump salsa over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for about 4 hours.
  4. Shred the chicken and serve with your favorite salad fixins.

Easy Salsa Chicken Salad

A similar recipe to this Salsa Chicken idea is this Crock Pot Bbq Chicken Recipe. Dump it into the crock pot and go!

What are your favorite healthy convenience foods?

 

My Favorite Grilled Chicken Tip

Grilled chicken used to be so blah to me. This is because I find it difficult, when grilling boneless chicken breasts, to pull them off the grill at that magic moment that they are fully cooked but not overdone. Dry and tough and stringy – I’m just not a fan of boneless chicken breasts anymore.

A couple years ago, we discovered the secret. We didn’t realize this was a secret, we just happened upon it and loved our new chicken and never looked back. Last May during Asa’s graduation celebration week when we have a full house of people, one of the meals we served was Grilled Chicken. Everyone loved it and the question was asked, “Matt, what’s your secret to making such good chicken breasts on the grill?”

His reply? Don’t use chicken breasts. Use boneless chicken thighs instead.

Aha!! And here everyone thought we were serving them the perfect grilled, tender, juicy, flavorful chicken breast.

How to Make Perfect Grilled ChickenYum

  1. Use boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts. This makes all the difference.
  2. Marinate the thighs in something delicious before grilling (suggestions below)
  3. As you can see from the picture below, I blackened the chicken more than I meant to – and the meat still turned out juicy and flavorful! This is because chicken thighs have more fat than chicken breasts so they are much harder to ruin.
  4. We usually cook boneless thighs for 10-15 minutes on each side, turning it from time to time.

My Favorite Grilled Chicken Tip
Ever since I figured out this grilled chicken tip, I’ve started using boneless thighs just about anytime a recipe calls for boneless breasts – whether I’m grilling or not. The fat in chicken is a healthy fat – all the more reason to enjoy chicken that actually tastes good. Goodbye, boneless chicken breasts. I don’t miss you.

Obviously, bone-in chicken is also amazing on the grill. It takes longer to cook, but if you have the time – it’s worth it. In a pinch (often), I’ve found that cooking boneless chicken thighs on the grill makes for a super quick meal that has become a family favorite! I think we can all agree that super quick meals make us all happy.

An Easy, Complete Grilled Chicken Meal

Monday evening Matt, Elias, and Malachi had soccer practice, Justus had guitar lessons, and I had yoga class. Before leaving, I quickly grilled some chicken. We all met up at home later and got out the Homemade Ranch Dressing, some shredded cheese, and a container of mixed greens. We chopped up the chicken and drooled all over our amazing salads. See how easy that was?

grilled chicken2

Fresh tomatoes would have been amazing in this salad had I had some in the house.

Beyond cutting this chicken up in a salad, I’ve found that it’s super easy to steam a few different veggies while the chicken is grilling. Then we have a pretty fancy looking and tasting meal without any fuss at all. Bonus: it’s nourishing too! (Why would I be posting this otherwise??)

Make Enough So You’ll Have Leftover Grilled Chicken

We ate almost every piece of the three packages I grilled that night (it’s hard to have leftovers in this house). But if possible, I recommend grilling extra chicken if you can. The leftovers taste amazing cold or rewarmed. Eat it as is, in a tortilla wrap, or in a salad.

Marinade Ideas for Your Grilled Chicken

I’ve discovered that you don’t have to marinate your meat very long before you grill. Several hours is better than 5 minutes – but honestly sometimes I forget (how shocking) and just brush on some sauce or dressing before throwing the chicken on the grill. Grilled chicken thighs are very forgiving.

Sometimes we grill a couple different kinds so guests can have options. We make this chicken almost weekly from March to November.

Have you tried grilled chicken thighs? What are your favorite marinades?

P.S. While proofreading this, I occasionally read the word “children” instead of “chicken” in my sentences. This made me giggle-cringe and here I am telling you about it. This post is about chicken. CHICKEN. I need a nap.

Stir-and-Pour Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Remember the Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Bread recipe I shared a few months ago? Not too long after I shared that, a reader Shelby, and then others, emailed to let me know they’d been using that recipe to make pizza crust.

Stir and Pour Pizza

Bless you. Bless you all. Now our homemade pizza making lives are easier than ever! Mix the dough, let it sit, spread the dough on baking sheets, let it bake. Your hands won’t even get messy. 

It took a little tweaking for me to get this crust just right. The recipe is the same as the bread, but it took a few tries for me to learn how thick or thin to spread this dough. I’m not a big fan of a thick crust, but the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it as thin or thick as you like!

I spread the dough into two large pizzas and could probably spread it into three if I tried. This recipe goes a long way toward a big pizza meal!

Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Pizza CrustYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Stir-and-Pour Pizza Crust
 
Author:
Serves: 2 large pizzas
Ingredients
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons active rise yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sucanat or sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups warm water
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients together.
  2. Cover and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Spread dough on two *well-buttered* large pizza pans (three if you want a thinner crust)
  4. Bake in a 375° oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Pull partially baked crust out of the oven and top it however you like.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until cheese has melted and becomes bubbly.

Whole Wheat Stir and Pour Pizza Crust

I found that spreading the dough onto my baking pans with a rubber spatula worked best. I always use baking stones (like these) for pizza because I think they turn out the best crust. I’ve not tried them on metal baking sheets, so you may need to adjust the baking time if you don’t use stoneware.

You can definitely make these crusts ahead of time and freeze them until you are ready to bake pizza. This means that the easiness just gets easier. Amen and amen.

Have you tried the Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Bread recipe? How about Pizza Crust? Have you tried using it for pizza crust?

Just wait until later this week! I’ve got another great way to use this recipe that I’ll share with you!

Easy Crustless Pizza Pie

Without a doubt, this crustless pizza pie tastes as good as it looks. Better actually.

Malachi's Pizza Pie

This recipe is simple enough for my 11-year old to make by himself, and tasty enough that we all decided to add it to the menu frequently. The best part is: You can make this with any pizza toppings you like. Make it full of veggies, full of meat, or a combination of both.

I will say that we made one with hamburger and one with pepperoni and all of us enjoyed the hamburger pizza pie best. The day we made these for pictures, I had no peppers or mushrooms in the house. Boo. We made them with sauce, meat, and cheese and served olives and tossed salad on the side.

See how Malachi is using one of our DIY Recipe Card Holders to hold up his recipe? Here he is, measuring the ingredients for the Cream Cheese Layer of the Pizza Pie.

malachi pizza pie1

I promise he owns other shirts. Somehow, every time we took
pictures of him cooking, he was wearing the same thing! #ipromiseitsclean

Once the Cream Cheese Layer was in the oven, Malachi browned the hamburger meat – while standing on the AlienBoard. Is there any other way to do it? I promise you will not catch me multi-tasking in this way. But yay for the 11-year old!

malachi pizza pie2

Here is the easy-to-make, very tasty recipe for your family to enjoy. MAKE THIS WITH YOUR KIDS. But that was a given, right?

Easy Crustless Pizza Pie

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Crustless Pizza Pie
 
Author:
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella, cheddar, or colby jack cheese
  • Any meat or veggie toppings you like
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl mix cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese until creamy.
  2. Spread mixture into a pie dish.
  3. Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, prepare pizza toppings.
  5. Spread pizza sauce over hot cream cheese layer.
  6. Top with any meat, veggies, and cheese you like.
  7. Bake in a 350° oven for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Easy Crustless Pizza Pie

 

Simple Taco Soup

taco soup 1

I can’t get a good picture of this soup. This is so easy to make and it’s amazing to eat and the picture looks like eh, whatever. So just glance over the picture and know that you need to make this soup.

Here’s my happy little soup secret: This Taco Soup is made with none other than this Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel Recipe. See, you make that recipe and you double or triple it because it just makes sense because it is so delicious. You eat it with chips, or you boil some pasta and make it into Spicy Mac and Cheese. Or if you’re feeling soupy, you stir in some chicken or beef broth and top it with crunched chips. It becomes Taco Soup and you love it so much you can’t even stand it. Or maybe it’s just me.

Simple Taco Soup

Simple Taco Soup
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • 2-4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • 2-3 cups chicken or beef broth
Instructions
  1. Brown the hamburger meat in a large pot.
  2. Add butter to the meat, melting it throughout the pot.
  3. Sprinkle in corn starch, coating the meat.
  4. Pour in water, chili powder, and salt.
  5. Turn heat up and stir until the mixture thickens.
  6. Add cream, continuing to stir as the mixture thickens. (This all happens quickly in my experience.)
  7. Stir in Rotel and broth, heating for about 5 more minutes.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Add shredded cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted and the dip is smooth.
  10. Serve with tortilla chips.

I know I’ve said it before, but I really, really love making triple batches of Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel. It’s super easy and it is so versatile! Every few weeks I make it and store it in my fridge to pull out for easy meals. Now we use it to make soup too!

Here are some pictures of your options to entice you:

Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel, served as a dip:

Real Food Velveeta and Rotel Dip

The very same dip, stirred into boiled pasta and served as Spicy Mac and Cheese: 

Spicy Mac and Cheese

Same dip again, with broth stirred in, served as Taco Soup:

Simple Taco Soup

Do you see why I make big batches of this?? 

If you’d like to take a look at my favorite way to make nourishing broth for soups like this, check out this post:

How I Make Veggie-Packed Chicken Broth and Beef Broth

Have you made the Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel recipe? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

Easy Chicken With Cream Cheese Sauce

I have a wonderful chicken recipe to share with you. But first, a story.

Cream Cheese Chicken

Once upon a time, I was dating my husband. I mean, my boyfriend. I mean, we weren’t married yet when we were dating but then we did get married and all of that barely has anything to do with this recipe.

But back in the days of our dating, engagement, and early marriage we drove an hour away from our college town each Sunday morning to a small church with a sweet youth group. Matt was their youth leader, teaching Bible classes and forming relationships with the teens. These dear ones became our church family, worshiping with us, throwing us a wedding shower, celebrating our marriage, being a part of our first pregnancy, and welcoming Baby #1 into the world with us.

Some of our fondest memories of those years are looking back to the Sunday afternoons in the homes of various church family members. They took turns signing up to feed us after church. Those meals!!! Talk about a church full of good cooks. The fellowship was precious and I can remember in detail many of the ladies’ specialties. We were very well taken care of, that is for sure.

Well, one of these ladies frequently made chicken that was slathered in the most delicious cream sauce. When we knew Carlene had signed up to feed us, I’d always say to Matt, “Ooooh, I hope she made that chicken this time!” Anytime she did make it and we sat there gushing over the meal, she’d always shake her head at us and say, “Oh. It’s just food.”

Right. Just food. Just the best chicken I’ve ever eaten!!!

Since that time, I’ve always regretted that I never got her recipe. I’m not even kidding you that 20 years later I still get hungry for that meal. Finally about a month ago I thought to myself, “Laura, are you or are you not the lady who invents recipes? For Pete’s sake, woman. Go to the kitchen and figure out how to make Carlene’s chicken.”

You’d think I would have considered this option before.

Well, my friends. I now present to you Not-Quite-Carlene’s Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce. Make this.

Easy Chicken with Cream Cheese SauceYum

Easy Chicken With Cream Cheese Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat flour
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup palm shortening or other oil for frying
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, salt, and pepper.
  2. Dip chicken in egg, then coat in flour mixture.
  3. Fry in oil for just a few minutes on each side. (Do not over cook or the chicken will become dry.)
  4. Remove chicken from pan.
  5. Pour chicken broth into the pan, scraping up the chicken drippings.
  6. Add softened cream cheese, stirring until smooth.
  7. Place cooked chicken back into the pan, coating on both sides with sauce.
  8. Serve with rice or pasta.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Prepare and fry meat as directed. Allow it to cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. Prepare sauce as directed and stir in the chicken, heating through.

Freezer Instructions

Prepare and fry meat as directed. Allow it to cool. Freeze in a well-sealed freezer bag for up to three months. To serve, thaw cooked meat. Prepare sauce as directed and stir in the chicken, heating through.

Easy Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce Recipe

I can’t think of a brilliant way to end this post. Go make this chicken! There. That oughta do it.

Make-Ahead Turkey ~ Yes You Can!

There are people who wake up in the middle of the night to begin cooking their turkey for a holiday meal. There are people who baste and stuff and rub down their bird. These people are so very nice and dedicated to poultry perfection.

And then there’s me.

huge turkey 1

That is one huge bird.
Read the whole tale here.

I cannot find it within myself to do any of this to my turkey. I’m just not as devoted of a holiday baker as some. I’m a plop the bird in a pan, add nothing to it, cover it, put it in the oven, and take it out a few hours later kind of girl.

And…my favorite turkey baking tip of all: I cook my bird before the holiday. Like, two days before, usually.

I bake it, de-bone it, prepare all the broth, dispose of the carcass – basically I do all the messy, tedious, laborious turkey work ahead of time. Then on the day of the holiday feast, I take out my big dish of cooked meat, pour on a little broth, cover it, rewarm it, and we eat it. This is stress-free turkey baking.

My turkey always still tastes delicious.

That’s why I keep doing it this way.

No, our table doesn’t hold a big un-carved turkey. There is no turkey carving tradition at our house. For those who love traditions like this, I say go for it! Baste and carve and enjoy that special tradition.

But for those who find the turkey to be tedious, you might instead consider making it ahead of time.

But won’t the meat be dry?

Not if you don’t over-bake it in the first place.

The trick is to drizzle broth over your cooked, de-boned meat (I’d say one-two cups of broth per 9×13 inch dish full of meat), then cover the dish well. I warm it on Thanksgiving day for 30-45 minutes in a 300-350° oven along with other dishes that are baking. I pull it out and have a steaming, moist, delicious pan of turkey.

Make-Ahead Turkey

Yum

4.7 from 3 reviews
Make-Ahead Turkey
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 Turkey
  • 1 Large Roasting Pan
  • Foil if necessary
Instructions
  1. Place the turkey in the refrigerator for 3-4 days until thawed.
  2. Remove the bag of giblets from the inside of the turkey.
  3. Empty the giblets into your roasting pan as they help make a good, rich broth.
  4. Place the bird, breast side up, into a large baking pan or roaster.
  5. Cover with foil or with your roaster lid.
  6. Cook at 325° for 15-20 minutes per pound.
  7. You know your turkey is done cooking when the red thing pops up, or when the legs start to pull away from the body. It should be golden brown and slightly crisp looking.
  8. Be sure to save the broth that formed naturally!
  9. Allow the turkey to cool, then de-bone completely. Store meat in baggies or in covered pyrex dishes in the refrigerator.
  10. Save turkey carcass to make another round of broth for gravy, soup, and other nourishing meals.
  11. On serving day, drizzle a liberal amount of broth (one-two cups per 9x13 inch pan of meat) over turkey, cover and warm in 300°-350° oven for 30-45 minutes or until meat is hot and steamy.
  12. Serve right away.

Simple Make-Ahead Turkey ~ Easy, Moist, Delicious

Additional Turkey Tips:

  • Adding a few onions to the turkey while baking is an effortless way to add more flavor.
  • Be sure to save the broth that forms naturally while your bird bakes.
  • Do not wait until your turkey is cold to take the meat off the bones. This makes the job much harder!
  • After you’ve taken all the meat off the bones, save the bones and put them into a stock pot. Fill the pot with water, carrots, onions, and any other veggies you like. Salt liberally. Cook on low for 4-6 hours to create a wonderful broth. Strain out bones. Blend the veggies until smooth and stir them back into the broth for added richness.
  • Use turkey broth for gravy. Use it to make Turkey and Noodles a few days after Thanksgiving. Use it for any soup or recipe that calls for chicken broth.
  • While making your turkey ahead of time is wonderfully helpful in cutting down work on your holiday meal serving day, you don’t want to make it too far in advance! I recommend making it on Tuesday or Wednesday, then serving it on Thanksgiving Thursday.

What’s your turkey tradition? To carve, or not to carve? To baste, or not to baste? Ever made a turkey ahead of time?

Getting Ahead for the Holidays

Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole

Bacon Hashbrown Casserole

A friend had just stopped by when I was pulling this dish out of the oven for lunch earlier this week. It smelled quite amazing. She asked what it was, so I went down the list of ingredients our lunch included, “bacon, ranch dressing, sour cream, cheese…” Then this is when she said,

“Bacon? Ranch? Cheese? With all that in it, you know it’s going to be good!”

Yep, pretty much.  What’s not to love?

You might also love knowing how easy this is to make. Cook the bacon, stir in the other ingredients, spread it all in a cooking dish, put it into the oven. Easy. It does help if you have premade frozen hashbrowns and a jar of homemade ranch dressing mix ready to go. Just please put the lid on your ranch dressing before you shake it up. Please. I’m only here to help.

A big thanks to Plain Chicken for the idea for this recipe! I’m excited to think about possibilities of ways to continue tweaking this. Maybe add some cooked chicken to the mix? What else can you think of to add to this dish?

Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 bag of frozen shredded hashbrowns (about 8 potatoes worth of homemade)
Instructions
  1. Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook.
  2. Drain grease.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together cooked bacon, shredded cheese, sour cream, and ranch dressing mix.
  4. Fold in frozen hashbrowns until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 45-60 minutes or until casserole is lightly browned and bubbly.

Some recipes you’ll need to go along with this one:

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

Homemade Hashbrowns

Lately I’ve been finding really great deals on packaged hashbrowns at the store, so I’ve picked up a few to save me some time. I much prefer homemade, but busyness doesn’t always allow me the luxury. It’s good to be relaxed and flexible about healthy eating, right? Right.

So far I’ve only served this casserole for lunch or dinner. But I also think it would be great for breakfast or brunch!

Want to make Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole ahead and freeze it for later? Here’s how:

Make the casserole as directed. Before baking, cover well and freeze for up to three months. To cook and serve – thaw and bake as directed. Or, cover frozen casserole and place it into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 225° and bake for 2-3 hours or until casserole has thawed, baked, and is heated through.

Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole - Easy!

Note: This recipe is naturally gluten free. Hold onto this one if you have to avoid gluten – or so that you can bless friends who eat gluten free!

I’ll definitely be making this casserole often! Since it’s freezer-friendly, I’ll likely be making two or three at once so I can have no-brainer meals on hand for busy nights. After all, why dirty up more dishes tomorrow when tomorrow will have enough dirty dishes of its own? Right??

Hamburger Pot Pie Recipe – Nourishing Comfort Food

Hamburger Pot Pie22

Oh comfort food. You are so…comforting.

If you love Chicken Pot Pie, you will love this Hamburger Pot Pie. I actually think I like this one even better. (No surprise there. I’m a beef-loving girl.) Pin this recipe so you can use it to keep yourself warm all winter long.

For the record, if you need to eat gluten free – or if you’re like me and you’re more into meat and veggies than bread – you can skip the topping on this and just eat it in a bowl like Hamburger Soup.

Hamburger Pot PieYum

4.0 from 1 reviews
Hamburger Pot Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup cold water
  • 2 Tablespoons organic corn starch, arrowroot powder, or wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower Mayonnaise)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground flour from hard white wheat)
Instructions
  1. In a large cooking pot, brown hamburger and onion together.
  2. Stir in broth and prepared veggies.
  3. Cook until veggies are tender.
  4. Mix cornstarch with water until smooth. Stir mixture into the broth/veggies, cooking for about one minute on the stove to help the mixture thicken.
  5. Pour contents into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir together milk, mayo, and flour.
  7. Spread mixture over the veggies in the baking dish.
  8. Bake in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

To save money and add nourishment, I recommend making your own broth for recipes like this one. Here’s How to Make Beef Broth. While we’re at it, here’s How to Make Chicken Broth. :)

Hamburger Pot Pie

What are your favorite winter comfort foods? Which do you typically enjoy more – hamburger or chicken?

How to Cook Beans in the Crock Pot

Cooking beans is crazy easy. It’s remembering to soak them the night before that is the hard part.

My morning brain and my night brain are two completely different beasts. My morning brain is like, “Wooooo yeah! We gonna cook all day and do school work with the kids (let’s do art today!) and organize ourselves completely and make all the phone calls and make 20 quarts of applesauce and finish the laundry and write two blog posts! Let’s do this!”

As the days wears on, I knock out about three of my twenty lofty goals (because my time and energy always run out before my to-do list ends –  and also because I hate making phone calls). After a full day of thinking hard and working hard and loving hard, my night brain is like, “I’m not speaking to you right now.”

This is why it is hard to soak beans.

The irony is that I never forget to grind coffee beans at night to put into my coffee pot for easy coffee making the next morning. Obviously, I have my priorities. Perhaps my two bean worlds could collide and I could let my coffee beans trigger a reminder about my pintos? It only makes sense.

On the rare occasion I do remember to soak beans, I feel so accomplished when I get into bed at night. Forget all the other stuff I did for 15 hours all day long. I totally put my beans in a pot with water! I am so very amazing!

Once the beans have been soaked, we can put them into a crock pot to cook all day for our dinner that night.

How to Cook Beans in a Crock Pot

How to Cook Beans in a Crock PotYum

1. At night before bed, put about 4 cups of any variety of beans into a pot with 6-8 cups of water.

2. Splash in a little vinegar. It’s supposed to help with the toots. I offer no guarantees.

making beans1

3. Let the beans soak overnight.

4. Strain and rinse them in the morning. Put them into a crock pot and cover them with fresh water.

5. Add a couple of chopped onions to the post for flavor. This is optional but yummy and recommended.

6. Cover and cook the beans on low for 8-10 hours or until they are tender.

multitasking 5

At this point, you can enjoy your beans in any way you enjoy beans. Our favorites are:

What are your favorite ways to eat beans? Please tell me about your morning brain vs. your night brain. Which works better for you?