The Simple Meals Our Family Has Been Eating This Week, Part 2

I’m assuming you downloaded your FREE Simple Meals Planning Packet this week? It is free, after all. Go get yours!

I posted earlier this week about how I’ve been using this week’s Simple Meals menu to easily get food on the table for my family. As it turns out, I used half the plan last week and am finishing it up this week. (Perks of being the one who creates the menu plans – I got to start using it ahead of time!) If you missed it, check out this post which shares pictures of the first few meals in the plan.

Here we go with Days 5 and 6 of following the Simple Meals plan!

Day 5: Crock Pot NightSimple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast

To kick-start a new week, on Sunday night, right before I headed to bed, I put together the Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast. For the record, if you forget to start that recipe at night before bed (because at the end of the day, some of us who shall remain nameless might be too tired to remember to execute good plans like this), you can always start it early in the morning to have it ready in the evening in time for dinner.

I was very proud of myself for remembering to start the roast on Sunday night, and woke up the next morning to the delicious smell of our lunch. I turned the crock pot to “keep warm” setting and at lunch time I stir-fried some veggies to go with our meal. (We have been having our main meals at lunchtime lately because it’s working better with our busy evening activities schedule.)

sm feb6

I got this fun note from Susan last week about the Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast recipe and wanted to share!

Thank you so much for sharing this common recipe. I mean, who hasn’t already made a roast in the crockpot before? But your tips were amazing. And I didn’t know I could put it in the crock without first browning it in a pan (this always felt like so much trouble, and would discourage me from making this dish when I was in a hurry). And Frozen!  Are you kidding me? Well – I did it – just like you suggested. Cooked on low for 12 hours, and it was the best tasting, most tender roast beef I’ve ever made. Oh, and I cooked carrots in the bottom, and their flavor was wonderful. Thank you again.

Fun, huh? Thanks, Susan. This is what Simple Meals is all about!

Day 6: No Trouble NightSimple Pizza Chicken Bake

The final meal on this week’s Simple Meals menu was Simple Pizza Chicken Bake. I could go on and on about how easy this recipe is to make and how very delicious it is to eat. I served it with green beans and tossed salad, so as always, this went on the table very quickly.

sm feb 7

Hopefully you enjoyed the free Simple Meals Planning Packet!

I’d love all of you to take advantage of the Simple Meals Subscription offer! Just think. A complete menu plan and grocery list will land in your inbox every single week, along with a bunch of bonus tips and recipes. Your small investment (which we promise to make very, very worth it) will save you so much time, energy, and money every week! You won’t have to think about what to cook. Bliss. And the meal suggestions are incredibly simple, yet detailed to make everything easy for you.

Don’t forget there’s a $10 off coupon waiting for you here, plus over $60 worth of freebies that are yours after your purchase. That means you get more in freebies than the cost of your entire yearly subscription. Score!

Simple Meals is a ridiculously good offer. (We made it super affordable for all! Less than $1 per week!) Can’t wait to have you join us!

Join Simple Meals Here.

The Simple Meals Our Family Has Been Eating This Week, Part 1

Ready to see how our family has been using Simple Meals this week to eat well and save time?

I’m pretty sure that when you look at these pictures of our meals, you’ll say, “Hm. That’s it?” and the answer is, “Yep. Pretty much.” (That’s why it’s called simple.)

So first things first, did you download your FREE Simple Meals Planning Packet this week? I’m throwing them out to everyone, just this once. Go get yours and use it to put great, real food meals on the table while enjoying more family time!

I cheated just a little bit and started using this menu plan last week. That has made it a little easier to pictures to share with you this week. So once I had the entire packet completed and ready to send to our Simple Meals subscribers, I printed off the Simple Meal Plan page.

smfaeb3

I looked at the menu options, I looked at my calendar, and I started to figure out which meal would be best for each day of the week. I know the picture of the document is a little hard to see, so let me type out the headings on the plan. This is what every Simple Meals plan includes, and it is my favorite feature!!

  • No Thaw Night
  • Crock Pot Night
  • Make-Ahead Night
  • No Trouble Night
  • Build it Yourself Night
  • Savor it Night

See why I love this? I can look ahead at my week and see the days I will likely be very limited on time. I’ll select those days for the “No Thaw” or “No Trouble” option. We only had one day we were planning to be home all day, so I chose that day for our “Savor it” meal.

Two Things:

  1. I needed to keep the meal plan flexible, so I only penciled in a day of the week for each meal so I could switch it out if I needed to.
  2. I made most of these meals at lunchtime instead of in the evening. We had a busier-than-normal week, and all of our evenings were spent away from home. Therefore, I made our main meals at lunchtime; then at dinner time we warmed up leftovers or threw together something fast before running out the door (and usually ate more late at night when we got home, because we eat all the live-long day.)

Here’s what I’ve captured on camera so far. I’ll share about the other two meals later this week!

Day 1: Make-Ahead Night: Taco Rice Dinner

I doubled this recipe, and while I hadn’t had time to make it ahead, I did make it in the morning while we were eating breakfast. That way all I had to do at meal time was rewarm it. As you can see, I cut up a cantaloupe and threw out our containers of spinach and mixed greens, along with a jar of Homemade Ranch Dressing. Boom. The meal is served.

P.S. I followed the advice in the Simple Meals Bonus Tips section which suggested that while I cooked the ground beef for this meal I should also cook the ground beef for Simple Skillet Taco Pasta. That worked great, and I transferred that cooked meat to the fridge for our “Savor It” day.

simple meals feb1

Day 2: No Thaw Night: Last Minute Lentil Chili

The following day, we had plans to help our disabled friend move across town to a different apartment. Plus we had basketball games that evening. Knowing we would be gone most of the day, I made a pot of Last Minute Lentil Chili in the morning before we left. I was SO glad I did! We weren’t able to stop for a lunch break until almost 2:00 and we didn’t have much time to eat. We ran home for a quick bite, inviting our new friends we’d met who were also helping with the move. I warmed up the chili and yesterday’s Taco Rice Dinner leftovers (since we had extras to feed). We quickly opened a can of chilled pineapple and a can of olives and called it a meal. It wasn’t fancy, but we were too hungry to care. :)

simple meals feb 2

Day 3: Savor It Night: Simple Skillet Taco Pasta

How fun that I ended up making this the day Asa, our college son, showed up at the house needing to pick up a few things! He hadn’t eaten yet, so he got to sit down with us and “savor” the meal. Of course, we got to savor time with him, a win-win.

This meal was very easy to put together because I’d already cooked the meat earlier in the week when I’d made the Taco Rice Dinner. I steamed some green beans, then washed and capped some strawberries. Simple and delicious!

P.S. Had I known Asa was going to come for lunch, I would have doubled this. ;) As it turned out, I just skipped it and ate something else so there would be plenty for the fam. I don’t eat much pasta anyway. :)

simple meals feb3

Day 4: Build it Yourself Night: Chef Salads

This is the day we were getting our house ready to host a bunch of teenage boys over the weekend for our annual church youth rally. I didn’t have time to cook, but I did want to get some good nourishment in all of us as I knew we’d be eating a lot of compromise food over the weekend. It was the perfect day for everyone to build their own chef salads!

Thankfully, I already had some bacon bits made and cheese shredded. I got out the mixed greens and spinach, sliced some red pepper, washed tomatoes, and got out the Ranch Dressing (then made more since I saw we were almost out!). I washed and capped some strawberries and called everyone in to build a salad for lunch. Easy, delicious, nourishing, simple!

simple meals feb4

 

Stay tuned for how I used the rest of the Simple Meals plan. Be sure to get your FREE plan here!

Did you download yours? How’s it been going as you put it to use?

A Year of Simple Breakfasts

In case the title made you think I have 365 Simple Breakfast ideas to share with you, I have to apologize and let you know that while I do have many simple breakfast recipes, I do not have one for every day of the year. (After all, we do eat eggs pretty regularly at our house.) Rather, this post will share how I’m planning to keep our breakfasts as simple as possible this year! I bet the ideas shared here WILL get you through an entire year, with plenty of variety, and all kinds of simplicity!

Take, for example, the breakfast shown in this picture.

a-year-of-simple-breakfasts

One morning last week, I made and served Giant Breakfast Cookies, Bacon, and Strawberry Parfaits. Sounds involved right? Not at all simple! Complicated and time consuming, even!

But it wasn’t! It was so simple! Here’s how I did it:

  1. I had pre-made Breakfast Cookie dough balls in the freezer. (Read the details on how to do that here.) I simply pulled some out, put them on a baking sheet, and slid them into the oven to bake while I continued my morning Bible reading time.
  2. I had pre-made Bacon. (Read the details on how to do that here.) Just after I woke the boys, I threw some bacon in a skillet to reheat and crisp up. It took 30 seconds, no joke.
  3. I had already made the Cream Cheese Parfait filling for another meal a few days before. I pulled out what was left, washed and sliced some berries, and put them on the table.

The boys LOVED this breakfast (who wouldn’t?) and I loved having such a great meal to serve. What I loved more than anything is how simple it was to put on the table.

But what about taking all that time to prepare simple breakfasts ahead of time?

Sounds like the before-hand prep can negate the “simple” in all of this, huh? Sure, it’s easy to put it on the table if you’ve done all the work ahead of time – but who has time to do all that work ahead of time?

I get it. I don’t always have the time to get ahead either. But I’ve found that if take an hour or two in the kitchen sometime during the week – whenever I can find the spare hour or two – I can knock out quite a bit of cooking which saves me all kinds of time and energy later.

And…while I could fall back on boxed breakfast food if I really wanted to keep it simple, I don’t like doing that unless I’m desperate or especially over-scheduled. We love homemade food. We love a hot breakfast. There really are great ways to keep it simple!

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven, Freeze, and Warm Up Fast

oven-bacon-2

When to find a spare hour or two for cooking ahead?

It varies, and will be different for all of us depending on our work and family situation. Here are some time slots that sometimes (but not always) work for me:

  • In the morning after breakfast after I’ve gotten my kids going on their school work. This only works on mornings I don’t have any pressing blog work needs or deadlines. And it only works if my youngest is sitting at the kitchen table doing his work so I can bounce back and forth between cooking and helping to keep him on task.
  • In the late afternoon or early evening while I’m cooking dinner. After all, I’m in the kitchen then anyway. If the dinner meal is simple enough (and at this point, all my meals are kept simple) – I can sometimes stir up something for the freezer or put something into the oven to help me get ahead for another day.
  • Anytime I’m cooking something for today, I consider if I can double or triple up so I can have extra for another time. I do this with almost everything.

These “cooking ahead” methods work for any meal, but here are some specific breakfast ideas for getting ahead that help keep our morning meal times super simple!

1. Cook several pounds of Bacon Bits ahead of time.

I freeze these to pull out as needed. For a simple breakfast, pull out a scoop to quickly make Scrambled Bacon Cheesy Eggs.

How to Make Bacon Bits and Why You Should Make Them

2. Make 5-Minute Stove-Top Granola. 

Store it in a jar. Save it for a morning you have no time to cook. Serve it with a variety of your family’s favorite stir-in options.

5-Minute Stove-Top Granola

3. Make Dark Chocolate Almond Granola.

Use the 5-minute stove-top method if you like! This is our favorite granola and making it at home saves quite a bit of money compared to buying it at the store.

Dark Chocolate Almond Granola - A Great Make-Ahead Meal

4. Make Homemade Grape Nut Cereal.

This is super tasty and super easy! I typically double this recipe and keep it in big jars so we can have it on busy “no time to cook” mornings.

Homemade Grape Nuts

5. Make Homemade Cracklin’ Oat Bran.

This is our favorite of the homemade cereal options! It’s also super easy to make and stores great in jars in the pantry.

Make Your Own Cracklin' Oat Bran

Wait! Do I ever buy cereal at the store and serve cereal out of a box?!?

Of course. Remember this post? Just because I can, doesn’t mean I always do. Store bought cereal saves my neck some days. No guilt. ;) Now back to the Simple Homemade Breakfast ideas…

6. Make Breakfast Cookie Balls for the freezer.

As mentioned above, these are awesome to have in the freezer. I usually double the recipe, and freeze the dough in balls so I can pull out just enough for one meal. These can be frozen after you bake them too, but we like eating them fresh out of the oven!

Here’s our White Chocolate Cranberry Breakfast Cookie recipe too. :)

Breakfast Cookies for the Freezer

7. Make Homemade Poptarts for the Freezer.

Like the Breakfast Cookies, we like eating these right out of the oven. Again, I usually double the recipe, then freeze them and pull out just enough for one meal. They bake easily from their frozen state. I can throw them in the oven while I’m reading my Bible in the morning. So simple!

homemade-poptarts-for-the-freezer

8. Make muffins ahead of time and freeze them before baking.

This idea is my favorite. I often mix up several different batches of our favorite muffins, freeze the batter, then quickly bake them as needed!

silicone muffins 1

9. Make Stir-and-Pour Bread.

If I have this bread on hand (usually I make it the day before instead of the morning of) – we can make Peanut Butter Honey Toast or Scrambled Egg Sandwiches.

stir and pour bread loaf 5

10. Have cheese shredded to make it easy to make Scrambled Cheesy Eggs.

We love melted cheese on our eggs. If I have some shredded already, this makes breakfast so much simpler!

TIP: We use our Food Processor to shred cheese. I LOVE THIS!!! We can shred a huge 5-pound block of cheese in about two minutes. It’s worth owning a food processor just for the cheese shredding capability! (We have one like this.)

grated cheese

11. Make any of these 49 Breakfast Freezer Food ideas.

Frozen breakfasts are awesome to have on hand for simple meals!

49 Breakfast Freezer Foods

12. Make big batches of Turkey Sausage

I almost always make 12 pounds at once (the entire case of ground turkey I get in my Azure Standard order!). I bag it up in 1-pound bags. Since it’s precooked and crumbled, I can throw it in scrambled eggs or make a quick batch of Sausage Gravy.

Homemade Turkey Sausage

 

I would love to hear your ideas for Simple Breakfasts at your house!

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Last Day for Simple Meals Discount!

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Remember, Monday, January 16 is the last day you can get $12 off your Simple Meals subscription! Get all the details about Simple Meals here. You’ll LOVE all that is included!

Simple Meals will save you so much time and energy, giving you more time to enjoy your family!

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Last Minute Creamy Bacon Spaghetti

Well, hi! Did you have a nice Christmas?

I’m assuming you’d like to stay in “vacation mode” for just a few more days. Perhaps you’re planning to hit the stores and grab some 75% off sales. (Get me some wrapping paper and multi-colored tree lights while you’re there, will you?)

Today I’ve got a fun new Simple Meal to share with you. This one is a bit different from those I’ve shared recently. You’ll be happy to learn that it includes bacon. And cream cheese. It’s like I’m giving you a late Christmas present. Best of all, this meal can be thrown together at the last minute with no prior planning!

Here’s how this Creamy Bacon Spaghetti can be considered a “last minute meal” even if you didn’t thaw bacon in preparation: Bacon will thaw quickly when placed in a pan of hot water. In just a few minutes, you can cook it and stir it into your pasta.

Easy, peasy, bacon, cheesy.

bacon-spaghetti

Here’s another great bacon tip for you: Cut it into pieces with kitchen shears, like this…

bacon bits 1

While your bacon pieces are cooking, you can boil your spaghetti. When both are finished, you stir them together with cream cheese, Italian dressing, and parmesan. A couple minutes later, your meal is served.

Last Minute Creamy Bacon SpaghettiYum

5.0 from 3 reviews
Last Minute Creamy Bacon Spaghetti
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces whole grain spaghetti
  • 1 pound uncooked bacon, but into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup Italian dressing*
  • 4 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. In the meantime, cook bacon in a skillet.
  3. Drain grease from bacon.
  4. Drain water from spaghetti.
  5. Immediately pour hot spaghetti into the skillet with cooked bacon.
  6. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until cream cheese is melted and dish is well combined.
  7. Serve right away.

*Here’s my Italian Dressing recipe if you like!

simple-last-minute-creamy-bacon-spaghetti

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

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!

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Simple Pizza Chicken Bake

Once again, a Simple Recipe saves the day. Three cheers for Simple Pizza Chicken Bake! (Hip, hip…okay, let’s just get to the recipe.)

pizza-chicken-bake

Truth: I have been too busy to cook lately. Why? Well, for one thing, I’ve been quite occupied by writing about how to put simple meals on the table.

Do not miss the irony of this.

Oh my dears. We hosted people for Thanksgiving, then turned right around and traveled to Kansas. We arrived home a few days later happy and tired, and very behind on all of our work. We began to play catch up while getting ready for Christmas and finishing up our kids’ semester of school work. Our youngest has been in our big downtown Christmas play, so we’ve been running to practices and performances and hosting family who came into town to watch. We hosted Christmas parties for two groups of college students, and enjoyed a big basketball triangular in town with the team our two middle boys are involved with.

Did I mention we’re getting ready to drive to California to see family at Christmastime?

All this fun in the midst of trying to keep up with everyday life has threatened to push me into the next level of crazy-head. (No one wants to see what that looks like.) So when Matt got home from his current job site one day last week and asked how he could help with dinner, I looked up from my computer (where I was editing a post about keeping dinner simple) and said, “I’ve been too busy writing about how to put food on the table easily to actually get food on the table. I love you. I’m hungry. Malachi needs to leave for practice in 15 minutes.”

Fun times. I have no recollection of what we actually ate that night. But no one starved, and I think I’m back on track this week to at least have the brain power to throw something in the crock pot or oven at a reasonable time.

Keep this new Simple Recipe in your back pocket. It truly is a no-brainer, and maybe it’s just me, but I think we can all use no-brainer recipes this time of year and always.

Simple Pizza Chicken BakeYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Pizza Chicken Bake
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 14 ounces pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 ounces sliced pepperoni
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into thin strips and spread them into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Spread pizza sauce over the chicken.
  3. Sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Top with pepperoni.
  5. Bake, uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

simple-pizza-chicken-bake

I’m happy to report that the work I was behind on is almost caught up, and the work I’m trying to get ahead on is coming along at a nice pace. I got to a good enough point a few days ago that I told Matt, “Hey, I think I’ll be able to go to California with you for Christmas after all.” Now here’s hoping he gets all his work done so he can go too.

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals, we invite you to come aboard! 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!

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Simple Taco Rice Dinner (with a dairy free option)

You know the tried and true recipes you always fall back on? Those are the best, right? Those are the dishes you can make without even thinking. Those are the recipes you always have ingredients on hand for. Those are the recipes that keep us sane and our families fed.

Suddenly I’m finding that my list of such go-to recipes is growing! I love it that there are so many recipes that don’t require much thought or effort to put together. I love it that my family keeps raving about all of these.

And I love it that I’m not compromising one bit with these recipes when it comes to nutrition. I’m certainly not compromising on taste, and not even on the budget. These are happy, happy, happy simple recipes!

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

Today’s Simple Recipe is Taco Rice Dinner. This goes together very quickly, can be tweaked according to your preferences and food sensitivities. Plus it is absolutely yummy. (My kids don’t care much about the rest of it, as long as it tastes great!) We all love the flavor of this dish.

taco-rice-dinner

Simple Taco Rice DinnerYum

Simple Taco Rice Dinner
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 15-ounces (give or take) salsa
  • 15-ounces cooked black beans
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Boil two cups of water, add rice, turn down to very low heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes until rice is cooked.
  2. In the meantime, brown ground beef in a separate skillet until no longer pink.
  3. Add chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  4. Stir together cooked rice, cooked meat, salsa, and black beans.
  5. Serve as-is if you need to avoid dairy. Or sprinkle cheese on top and serve!

simple-taco-rice-dinner

Just like with all the other Simple Recipes, all you have to do is throw out salad fixin’s and some fruit to go with this dish.

TIP: If you didn’t plan ahead to thaw hamburger meat (story of my life!) just do this. It’ll quickly thaw you’re meat and you’ll be on your way!

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Join the fun! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

You will love this!

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Simple Meals Are Great, But What About Simple Snacks? [32 Recipes!]

Many are enjoying our new Simple Meals plans, but as we all know:

Man shall not live on dinner alone. Sometimes he needs a snack.

simplemeals300

Every once in a while, I hear a mom say, “Oh snacks? My kids don’t eat snacks. They just eat big meals.”

I have no idea what to do with that. No snacks? Just big meals? I definitely know that could work for some, but this is not the case for my family. We eat big meals and we still need snacks.

You know it’s not just my kids that need snacks. I’m the mom and I need snacks frequently. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with snacking, though I do believe snacks should be just as nourishing as a meal – not just empty calories to fill a hole.

My current favorite nourishing snack:

fat-bombs-easy-and-delicious

 

These are amazing for energy and brain function. I like brain function.

Today let’s talk about Simple Snacking options. I’ve made it my goal to provide incredibly simple recipe options for all Simple Meals plans. So in keeping with the theme of simple recipes, here is a list of my easiest snack recipes that will keep your family fed but will not keep you in the kitchen very long!

Simple Snacks RecipesYum

That list contains 32 real food, Simple Snack Recipes that you can feel good about feeding your family!

32-real-food-simple-snack-recipes

Don’t forget the obvious – good ol’ fruits and veggies!

februaryfruitsm

The more you get to know me, the more you’ll find that I think healthy eating is important. But I think family time is more important. As I said recently in an email:

I want to be with my husband and kids more than I’m with my pots and pans.

I love to cook. I love playing with recipes and making great food for people to eat. But I love my family more, and stress in the kitchen makes me fight being a grumpy wife/mom/friend.

That’s why I’m sharing all these Simple Snacks today. That’s most definitely why I created Simple Meals. I want to make life in the kitchen simple for everyone so family time can be a higher priority.

So, look through the snack list above, and spend a few minutes making one or two. And check this out!

more-snack-ideas-and-recipes

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You get $56 worth of free eBooks with your Simple Meals subscription, and those freebies include a bunch more snack ideas and recipes.

Go Join Simple Meals!!

Share with me. Can your family stay full between meals or do you often need to provide snacks to keep everyone going?

P.S. Sometimes I get out fresh spinach and eat it as a snack straight out of the container. My 16-year old loves to tease me about my weird spinach snacking habit. I don’t even have a come back. It is weird and I admit it.

Related Posts:

Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs

Everybody come get yourselves some Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs.

sweet-and-sour-chicken

A meal like this is one of my favorite to prepare. It goes something like this:

  1. Plop some chicken in a dish.
  2. Mix up 5 ingredients to spread over chicken.
  3. Put the chicken in the oven and walk away.
  4. Just before dinnertime, throw frozen veggies in a pot to steam.
  5. Get out salad stuff.
  6. Ring the cow bell.

If you don’t have a cow bell, I guess you can still make this chicken.

Ringing the cow bell (to alert the men in the field that dinner was ready) was one of my favorite things to do at Grandma’s house. I’ve decided that I need one for my house. My men aren’t out in the field, but they are often wearing headphones. Perhaps they could hear a cow bell better than they hear my sweet (but wimpy) voice calling them for dinner?

Either way, check out how easy this new recipe is:

Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken LegsYum

Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds chicken legs (other pieces work fine too but may require more baking time)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Lay chicken legs in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix honey, soy sauce, ketchup, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat briefly to melt honey and to make sure ingredients are well combined.
  3. Spread mixture over chicken legs.
  4. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn chicken over in the sauce, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more.

Be sure the soy sauce is gluten free if this is a need for you!

simple-sweet-and-sour-baked-chicken-legs

You will love this simple main dish!

Don’t miss our other Simple Recipe ideas shared here so far:

It’s here! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

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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 Low Sugar Orange Melt-Away Cookies

orange sugar cookies

In case by now you’re wondering if I’m obsessed with creating these Low Sugar Melt-Away Cookie varieties, the answer is obvious that of course I am obsessed. After two attempts at creating this here orange flavored variety, I have definitely decided that of all the flavors – orange is my new favorite.

Why two attempts, you ask? Oh well. I just burned the first batch, that’s all. Guys, it is so weird what happens to cookies when you put them in the oven, walk away, and then forget that there is actual life going on outside your office door. So weird. Someone should have warned me about this. We can’t even leave cookies unattended in a 350° oven for 27 minutes. Did you know that???

Set a timer much, Laura?

You know what? Just…I know, okay? I should have set a timer. I used to have one of those clicky, clicky, clicky timers but it got dropped four too many times so its spinner stopped spinning. Then Matt got me a digital timer that was persnickety and sometimes decided to shut itself off because it was selfish and couldn’t care less about the company coming over to eat in exactly 52 minutes. After a few months of this behavior, I declared it to be faulty and went to the store to purchase another one just like it. It, however, had the same exact issues as its brother and that is what tipped me off that maybe that brand couldn’t be trusted.

After that, I decided I could just use the timer app on my phone. This is a great idea except that it takes so many difficult and tedious steps to get to the point of actually setting the timer (find phone, turn phone on, unlock screen, find timer app, open timer app, think about how much time has elapsed since I started this whole process so I can figure out how long to set the timer at this point, so on and so forth). Also, I really hate to touch my phone when I have egg white on my fingers.

I think you can all see now how challenging it has been to accurately time my baked goods. I have mostly resorted to trusting my nose to be my timer. Typically, cookies and casseroles smell “just right” when they are ready to come out of the oven. What more do I need?

Oh yeah, just someone to remind me that I am actually baking cookies in the first place.

So the first batch burned. They were edible, just really, really crispy and not at all picture worthy. Over the weekend, I tried again. Oh my goodness, I will (go to the trouble to) set a timer from now on. It is worth it to pull the perfect cookies out of the oven when they are perfectly perfect in every way.

Easy Low Sugar Orange Melt-Away Cookies

Easy Low Sugar Orange Melt-Away Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ½ cup sucanat or raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • The juice of one medium-sized orange
  • grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (give or take)
Instructions
  1. Stir together melted butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, orange juice, and baking powder.
  3. Grate orange rind into the mix for extra flavor.
  4. Stir in flour until a solid ball of dough forms.
  5. Drop teaspoon-sized balls of dough onto a cookie sheet, about an inch apart.
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

grate orange rind

In other scatterbrained related news – the second time I made these cookies, I was talking to a friend and didn’t realize until later (like 9 hours later) that I hadn’t put eggs into the mixing bowl. These still turned out to be my favorite cookies. So eggs in this recipe? Take ’em or leave ’em. These turn out fine either way. This is further proof that I can’t talk and cook at the same time. Like you needed more proof.

Low Sugar Orange Melt-Away Cookies

Want to try the other varieties of these cookies?

Hey, just curious. What kind of timer do you use??

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Pyrex Storage Set Deal Alert!!

Christine emailed to tell me of this great deal on a 10-Piece Pyrex Storage Set. Get the entire set right now for just $12.63. No guarantees on how long this price will last. I have these, love them, and use them all the time!!


pyrex