Simple Overnight Melt-in-your-Mouth Beef Roast

Remember the Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken recipe I shared? That’s becoming one of my new go-to recipes to help me feed my family on busy days. This, of course, led me to experiment more with the idea. What else, I wondered, could be cooked in the crock pot overnight to make my day simpler tomorrow? Well. One result this Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast.

Simple Overnight Beef Roast

Just like the chicken, you can put your roast into your crock pot directly from the freezer. It thaws and cooks overnight. The next day, the meat will fall apart and melt in your mouth!

Why would we want to cook meat in our crock pots overnight? Let me count the ways:

  • When we wake up to cooked meat, we have something good to pack for lunches if that is a need.
  • We can turn the crock pot to the “keep warm” setting and have meat waiting for us later at lunch time at home.
  • We can turn off the crock pot and cool the meat to eat in big chef salads at lunch time.
  • We can put the meat in the fridge to pull out any time we need it during the next few days.

The concept is so simple, and it presents so many easy meal options!

Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast

Simple Overnight Melt-in-your-Mouth Beef Roast
Serves: 4-6
  • 3-4 pound beef roast
  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix (recipe below)
  • ½ cup water
  1. Put roast in the bottom of a crock pot. (Roast can be frozen or thawed.)
  2. Pour Worcestershire sauce, Onion Soup Mix, and water over the roast.
  3. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Here’s my Onion Soup Mix recipe.

Simple Overnight Melt in your Mouth Beef Roast

This roast is delicious no matter if you serve it with mashed potatoes and veggies or if you serve it in a chef salad. The flavor is incredible!!

Have you tried cooking meat in a crock pot overnight? What has your experience been like?

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

It’s recipes like this that makes Simple Meals such a life saver for families. We’ll provide the plans. We’ll provide the recipes. We’ll provide the grocery list. All you have to do is take a deep breath and enjoy how simple your life in the kitchen has become! Join Simple Meals!


How to Make Healthier Corndogs for the Freezer

Of all the recipes I share, this one is not the healthiest. Just whatever though, because corndogs taste amazing. (With a salad. And fruit. And digestive enzymes.) I’m providing a homemade option so that at least we’ll know these are better than store-bought.

Homemade Corndogs

First – try to find hotdogs that are nitrite free. Also, beef. Always beef hotdogs. Fine, turkey is okay too. Just try to avoid the hotdogs that are only pretending to be meat. I can’t even believe I’m still trying to convince myself that any form of a hotdog is healthy. But for real, at least try to find some that aren’t terrible. Why I like hotdogs is beyond me.

Now that we’ve covered the sacred topic of the hotdogs, allow me to share another compromise I make. This. We bought this fun corndog maker for one of our sons a few years ago as a gift because he is the ultimate corndog lover. (I have no idea where he gets this.) I think having dozens of appliances that only do one task each is fairly ridiculous. But shucks if having a corndog maker isn’t a lot of fun, so there. We’ve used it for more than just corndogs (like muffins and cookies – who knew?!) so hallelujah for an appliance that is actually multi-functional.

I will tell you that this machine makes the effort of creating homemade corndogs so easy and mess free that a few days ago, I made 48 corndogs in less than an hour – while I was making tomato sauce, French toast, and frozen yogurt. The corndog maker allows me to multitask while making food for my freezer. And here you thought that appliance was pointless.


The long and short of making homemade corndogs is that you simply use your favorite cornbread recipe, add a bit of extra milk so the batter will coat the dogs, then you either fry them in oil or bake them in the above mentioned corndog maker.

What about sticks?

Life is too short to poke sticks into hotdogs. Do the stick poking if you must, but as for me and my house, we will skip the sticks and just eat the dogs.

How to Make Healthier Corndogs (in Bulk) for the Freezer

How to Make Healthier Corndogs for the Freezer
Serves: 24-48
  • 2⅔ cup Homemade Jiffy Cornbread Mix*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 24 hot dogs
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together cornbread mix, eggs, milk, and butter.
  2. If using a corndog maker, cut hotdogs in half.
  3. Dip hotdogs in batter to coat thoroughly.
  4. Fry until golden brown, or cook in a Corndog Maker**
  5. Serve right away, or cool and freeze in freezer bags.
  6. Rewarm corndogs by placing them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

*Homemade Jiffy Cornbread Mix recipe

I put these homemade cornbread mixes together and have them on hand for convenience. I highly recommend this!

** I cut my hotdogs in half, then cook my corndogs in this fun Corndog Maker. It saves a lot of time and mess!

Homemade Corndogs for the Freezer

If you make these to freeze, all you have to do at mealtime is pull them out and warm them up while you’re getting out all the actual nutritious parts of the meal (fruits, veggies, and more veggies with a side of another vegetable).

‘Fess up. Do ya like hotdogs?

Simple No-Bake Granola Bar Bites

No-Bake Granola Bites
This is a non-recipe recipe. This means that you can sub out ingredient for ingredient as you have preferences, allergies, and stock piles. Love flax seeds? Throw ’em in. Can’t have peanut butter? Use the nut butter you like. Prefer maple syrup? Use it instead of honey. Running low on raisins? Oh well. Don’t like chocolate chips?

Wait. Who doesn’t like chocolate chips??

Here’s how this non-recipe works:

  1. Plop 1/2 cup peanut butter (or whatever butter) and 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup) into a bowl. I really do mean plop. Just eye-ball it. An exact 1/2 cup of peanut butter is not necessary here.
  2. Stir in 1 1/3 cups total of whatever dry ingredients you want. Oats, flax, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, anything else you like.
  3. Scoop the mixture into balls and enjoy.
  4. Store them in the refrigerator.

Here’s the printable version:

Simple No-Bake Granola Bar Bites

5.0 from 2 reviews
Simple No-Bake Granola Bar Bites
Serves: 16
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • ¼ cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1⅓ cups total dry ingredients of your choice (oats, flax, seeds, raisins, chocolate chips)
  1. Plop ½ cup peanut butter (or whatever butter) and ¼ cup honey (or maple syrup) into a bowl.
  2. Stir in 1⅓ total cups of whatever dry ingredients you want. Oats, flax, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, anything else you want.
  3. Scoop the mixture into balls and enjoy.
  4. Store them in the refrigerator.

Simple No-Bake Granola Bar Bites

As you can see, these Granola Bites are easy to put together in just a few minutes. They are great to take on the road or pack in a lunch. Of course, if you just want to sit right down at your kitchen table and eat them, that’s okay too. You could even make them at night and eat them for breakfast the next morning. Basically, this is one of the most versatile recipes in your whole wide kitchen. Everyone wins!

My Favorite Cheesecake Factory Salad Makeover

Who loves a Cheesecake Factory BLT Chopped Salad more than cheesecake???? This girl. I’ve only been there a few times, but I found a salad there that I love soooo much. This begs the question: A salad? At cheesecake factory? Why?

See, here’s the thing. When one goes to the Cheesecake Factory, one wants to enjoy the cheesecake right? Therefore, eating a salad as a meal preceding the cheesecake makes perfect sense. One must save room for the cheesecake! That is how I discovered this salad. Or a salad much like this.

I believe the salad I ordered at Cheesecake Factory had chopped apples and some chicken in it too (but it’s been about a year since I’ve been there so I can’t remember all the specifics). Add those to this if you like. All I know is that this salad is so good that our family devoured a huge bowl of it – two days in a row. And I want to make it again tomorrow.

Helpful hint: Want to get your kids to like salad? Add BACON.

BLT Chopped Salad with Feta Cheese

BLT Chopped Salad with Feta CheeseYum

My Favorite Cheesecake Factory Salad Makeover
Serves: 6-8
  • 6 cups chopped mixed greens, lettuce, or spinach (any combination you like)
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • ½ pound bacon, cut into bites, cooked, and drained
  • 1-2 cups sweet corn, cooked and cooled
  • 1-2 chopped avocado
  • 4 ounces feta cheese crumbles
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I put in a few shakes of each)
  1. Toss salad ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. In a small jar, shake together dressing ingredients.
  3. Pour over salad and toss.
  4. Serve right away!

This is a perfect spring or summertime meal. I think I could eat this every day. And believe it or not, I don’t even have to have cheesecake afterward. :)

I can’t tell you how delicious and flavorful this is. You MUST try it. Every bite is delicious.

What’s your favorite thing to get at Cheesecake Factory?

Easy Ham and Egg Breakfast Bowls – a Quick and Filling Breakfast To-Go!

Oh man (lady – whatever).  You are going to love this idea!  Unless you don’t like eggs.  But for those of you who love eggs, and for everyone who wants an easy, real food meal that will pack a punch with nutrition and keep you full until the next meal…

Please allow me to introduce you to these delightful little Ham and Egg Breakfast Bowls:

ham and egg cups1

See that?  The ham is the bowl.  Isn’t that clever?  I didn’t think of this myself, but was enlightened by my friend who was excited to tell me about her fun breakfast of the day.  She knew I’d need to know about this idea.  She knows me (and my hungry crew) well, don’t you think?

Everyone get out your muffin tins and get ready to have some fun.

How to make Ham and Egg Breakfast BowlsYum

You will need:

Muffin Tins
Thin Slices of Ham
Shredded Cheese
Sea Salt
Garnish like Fresh Spinach, Green Chilies, Mushrooms, Peppers, Onion, Broccoli, or Salsa

Push a piece of thinly sliced ham down into each muffin cup.

ham and egg bowls 4

Crack an egg into each “ham bowl.”  Poke each egg yolk with a fork and carefully scrambled it around inside the bowl.  Sprinkle with salt, top with cheese, and garnish however you like.  Bake in a 350° oven  for 10-20 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through.

You can make these ahead of time, then rewarm them for a quick, ready-made breakfast or lunch!  (That’s my favorite part, of course.)

You can also scrambled up your eggs in a dish, and then scoop some out into each ham bowl if you prefer.  My kids like the texture of these better if I do it that way.

Easy Ham and Egg Breakfast Bowls - a Quick and Filling Breakfast To-Go!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • Muffin Tins
  • Thin Slices of Ham
  • Eggs
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Sea Salt
  • Garnish like Fresh Spinach, Green Chilies, Mushrooms, Peppers, Onion, Broccoli, or Salsa
  1. Push a piece of thinly sliced ham down into each muffin cup.
  2. Crack an egg into each "ham bowl."
  3. Poke each egg yolk with a fork and carefully scrambled it around inside the bowl.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, top with cheese, and garnish however you like.
  5. Bake in a 350° oven for 10-20 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through.


Easy Ham and Egg Breakfast Bowls

Is this idea genius, or what?  You must try this! :)

Beef Summer Sausage Recipe

Summer Sausage has always been a favorite finger food of mine during the holiday season. I’ve tinkered with recipes before, but haven’t felt like I’ve nailed them – until now.

Folks, we can now eat Summer Sausage – worry free. High fives all around!  No MSG, no nitrites, no preservatives. Actually, salt is a natural preservative, so I guess I can’t say “no preservatives.”  But the least of my worries is sea salt, especially when I use Redmond. That means that “summer sausage” and “good for you” can be used in the same sentence. Yay!!!

I think you’ll be as excited about this recipe as I am. It’s homemade beef summer sausage!!  You will not believe how crazy easy this is to make.

Homemade Beef Summer Sausage - Easy and Healthy!

Homemade Beef Summer SausageYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Beef Summer Sausage Recipe
Serves: 2 sausages
  • 2½ pounds hamburger meat
  • 2½ Tablespoons liquid smoke (I prefer Wright's Brand)
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt (I prefer Redmond brand)
  • 1 teaspoon sucanat
  • 1 Tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, squishing with your hands until everything is well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Knead meat mixture, then shape into 2 logs, about 13x2 inches each. (I found that rolling them in parchment paper helped form a nice, round shape.)
  3. Place logs in baking dishes such as Pyrex 9x13 inch pans (so fat drippings will not spill over into the oven).
  4. Bake in a 300° oven for 2½ - 3 hours.

To freeze Summer Sausage:  Allow baked summer sausage to cool completely. Wrap in parchment paper, then with plastic wrap. Place in a freezer bag, storing in freezer for up to 2 months.

As if it wasn’t already wonderful news that we can enjoy healthy summer sausage – it’s even better news that this will be perfect for your Make-Ahead Lunch Box. I’ll be packing this for road trips, for sure.

Share with us! What’s your favorite holiday finger food?

27 Recipes You Can Make Ahead for Your Lunch Box, Plus Easy Fruit and Veggie Add-Ons

Before we talk about your lunch box, let me just ask:

Do you ever get sick of hearing me talk about eating more and more and more fruits and vegetables?  I am…not even sorry.  I believe in the Great Pumpkin (eating it, of course), and all the other Great Fruits and Vegetables our bodies are screaming for.  I believe in this even more than I believe in eating real butter, and I believe you and I both know how misty-eyed I get over a stick of butter.  Now let’s all grab a cucumber with a little homemade ranch and keep chatting, shall we?

love and butter

Several of you have seen this card and thought of me.  Yes, yes, and yes.

Packing a lunch can become a little boring day after day, right?  A sandwich, chips, maybe carrots or an apple…ho hum.  I like that combo every once in a while, but I have some exciting news for you:  Packing a clementine and some sweet peppers is just as easy as packing an apple and carrots.  Walk around the produce department a few minutes and just see what all you can find to liven up your lunches (whether you pack them to-go or not).

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Since beginning our Make-Ahead Lunch Box series, I’ve shared 12 fun recipes.

That’s a dozen new lunch box ideas that do not involve a package of lunch meat or a carrot stick.

Now, here are 15 more recipe ideas you should look through.

These have been on my website for quite some time.  All of the ideas will work great to make ahead, then pull out to pack for a lunch:

Don’t forget our newest challenge: Add Spinach to Everything!  With many of the 27 recipes listed above, you can add spinach for extra nutrients.

27 Real Food Make-Ahead Lunch Box Recipes

Now let’s look at good fruit and veggie add-ons.  I listed apples and carrots first, because those are a given.  But wait till you see all the other fun options to give your lunch box some life!

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Clementines
  • Oranges
  • Applesauce
  • Peach Cups (100% juice)
  • Grapes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Side Salad
  • Blueberries
  • Sliced Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Pears

That’s 20 yummy possiblities.  I’m sure you have thought of others I didn’t mention.

This has been on my mind lately as basketball season is starting up again at our house.  This means that many weekends now through March, we will be on the road.  We don’t mind eating out here and there, but to save money and to pack in the nutrition, I’ve been brainstorming options for food we can pack to-go.

Hearing your ideas always inspires me – so leave comments to share how you pack a healthy lunch box.  Also, fill in the blank:  There is little in life that could not benefit from a little love, a little time and _____________________________.  How would you finish that phrase?! :)

Cream Cheese BLT – The Best Sandwich You’ll Ever Eat

We had decided to go on an unplanned road trip. I was determined to avoid the grocery store and instead work with the abundance of food we had on hand to put together a meal we could take along with us and eat in the van. However, I had no bread, no lunch meat, no tortillas, and no cheese. It was time to get creative.

I quickly made a batch of One Hour Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls. Seriously, these rolls practically make themselves. (Although they are terrible about washing their own dishes.)  I almost always have a supply of bacon and cream cheese on hand because those are staple foods at the Coppinger house, along with butter and cocoa, of course. Therefore, I decided to take my BLT Wrap idea and turn them into sandwiches.

What makes a BLT even better? Cream cheese, of course. This “to-go” meal was a hit, though the sandwiches were a tiny bit messy. Eh, that’s what napkins are for, right?

Cream Cheese BLT

Cream Cheese BLT SandwichesYum

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
Tomato slices

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in bacon crumbles. Spread mixture on bread or buns and top with lettuce and tomatoes. Delicious!! This mixture makes enough for 10-12 sandwiches.

The best news of all is that you can add this Cream Cheese BLT Sandwich idea to your Make-Ahead Lunch Box list. Simply make the bacon/cream cheese/mayo mixture ahead of time, prep your lettuce and tomatoes, and put it all together on bread, buns, or tortillas when packing your lunch box. It’s a great change of pace from a regular ol’ sandwich.

You’ll definitely want to check out the inspiring idea behind this recipe:  BLT Wraps. Whether in a tortilla, on a bun, or even simply wrapped in lettuce – these are truly amazing.

BLT Wraps

Need more Make-Ahead Lunch Box ideas? Look through all these posts of yumminess.

These BLT Wraps and Cream Cheese BLT Sandwiches rich and filling, so the sides you’ll want to go alongside these need to be simple and light. Our favorites are:

  • Carrot sticks
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Pears
  • Applesauce

Now go get out your cream cheese and bacon. Wait. You do have these staples on hand, right?! :)

Whole Wheat Zucchini Carrot Bread & Natural Value Foods 25% off Plus 20% off at Amazon

The more nutrients you can stuff into one recipe, the better, right? My friend Emily tried this idea of adding shredded carrots into zucchini bread, then let me know that I should try it. Great idea. Mmmmm, so good!

Zucchini Carrot BreadYum

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt, nutmeg and baking powder. Stir in honey, zucchini, carrots, eggs, and melted butter. Mix ingredients until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into two well buttered loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

zucchini carrot bread

Slices of this Zucchini Carrot Bread would be perfect in your Make-Ahead Lunch Box! Simply allow the bread to cool, slice, wrap individually, then freeze. Pull a wrapped slice of bread out of the freezer, then toss it into your lunch box for a dessert or snack!

What other veggie combinations have you thrown together in quick breads?

While I’ve got you, I wanted you to know about these ROCKIN’ coupons at Amazon. Natural Value brand is already lower in price than many organic foods. Right now, they are offering 25% off coupons at Amazon on many of their great items! Plus, if you have Amazon Prime/Mom and order at least 5 subscribe and save items, you’ll get an additional 20% off too! I grabbed six cases of Natural Value items we use frequently for great deals. Here’s what I got:

Natural Value Coupons at Amazon

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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.