Recipes

Gruyere/Swiss Grilled Cheese

Yes, it’s another grilled sandwich post, but I just tried a new cheese blend from Trader Joe’s and feel the need to tell everyone how great it is 😂

This cheese is amazing! Sharp, creamy, and great for grilled cheese or melting into your homemade macaroni and cheese. The best part: it’s only $4.99 at my Trader Joe’s!

The how-to is as simple as just making grilled cheese how your normally make it, but some of my suggestions for success are below:

• Prepare your pan – either with butter or your favorite oil non-stick spray
• Use good bread: I used the Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian bread – works perfectly!
• Prepare your bread: always butter the outside of your bread! It makes for a nice, golden brown crust
• Let the cheese start melting on the bottom halves before adding the tops and flipping (otherwise you’ll have shredded cheese everywhere!

Enjoy! 🧀

Recipes

Summer Black Bean Salad

This refreshing salad makes a great side for any summer meal – from sandwiches and burgers to tacos and fish – this recipe can be completely customized to your liking and it never disappoints!

Things to keep in mind: if using avocado, always add it just before serving to avoid browning. Also, this salad is great when made ahead and chilled, so make it the night before (or a few hours before) your meal and the flavors will really pop when it has time to sit and marinate.

The basics: black beans, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, red onion, limes, and garlic.

Summer Black Bean Salad (serves 4-6)

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tomatoes (I used Roma), chopped
  • 2 ears fresh corn, removed from cob – feel free to replace with frozen corn or canned (drained)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 fresh peppers (I used a combo of red and orange, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon if you’re using pre-minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • fresh cilantro, to taste
Chop and dump!

How to – the easy chop and dump method!

  • Rinse and drain black beans, put in a large bowl.
  • Remove corn from cob and add to bowl.
  • Chop all vegetables and add to beans.
  • Add garlic, olive oil, lime juice, and cilantro if using, and stir to combine.
  • When ready to serve, chop avocado and add to salad. Mix again and serve. Store leftovers in a sealed container.
The delicious end result!
Recipes

Bakin’ Bacon

If you’re in the market for flat, crispy bacon – you’ve found the right post!

Baking bacon in the oven is quick, easy, and surprisingly mess-free! I was terrified that I’d set my oven on fire, imagining bacon grease splattering everywhere, but I’m happy to report that didn’t happen at all.

Crispy, and flat! Great for piling on sandwiches 🥓

How to: simply preheat your oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Line bacon on top of foil (slightly overlapping is ok) and bake for 20-25 mins (or until done to your desired crispness).

Clean up is easy: remove bacon slices and drain on a paper towel. Allow sheet pan to cool and remove foil with drippings.

Recipes

30 Minute Main: Instant Pot Chicken Legs

Got 30 minutes? Then you can make some really great chicken legs for dinner! These easy chicken legs start out in your Instant Pot and finish off under the broiler (or in a super hot oven) for an end result that’s moist and tender inside, and crispy outside. Starting off in the Instant Pot simply speeds up the cooking process (and retains those juices!), so you’ll have dinner on the table in no time at all. Tip: at the 15-minute mark, make your sides so that your complete meal is done all at once!

This recipe is just three easy steps:

  1. Season your chicken legs
  2. Place into your Instant Pot (on top of the trivet to prevent burning)
  3. When done, finish off in a hot oven or broiler to crisp up the skin

My all-time favorite flavor booster is Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. I literally use it every day! From chicken to steak to roasted veggies and eggs, it adds that perfect little bit of flavor and tastes great on everything. In this recipe, I mixed up my dry rub and ground a hefty amount of this into the mix.


Instant Pot Chicken Legs
Serves 4
Total Time 30 mins


You’ll Need:

  • 3-4lbs Chicken Legs
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper (and if using, Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning)
  • 1 Cup water or chicken broth
  • Your favorite BBQ Sauce (I love Sweet Baby Ray’s)

How to:

  1. Combine all of your spices in a bowl and rub all over chicken legs.
  2. Place trivet inside the Instant Pot and add 1 Cup of water (or broth) to the pot.
  3. Pile up your chicken legs on top of the trivet.
  4. Close lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes (turn off Keep Warm feature).
  5. While cooking, preheat oven to 500 degrees F and make your sides.
  6. When done, quick release your pot and allow the steam to fully exit. Once pressure sensor drops and all steam has been released, set a timer for 5 minutes and let it sit.
  7. Once finished, your chicken legs are cooked! You can eat them as is, or if you prefer a crispy skin, line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Then, coat legs with your favorite barbecue sauce and place in the 500 degree oven for 10-15 mins.

Recipes

Brunch, anyone?

Wikipedia says: “Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, and regularly has some form of alcoholic drink served with it. It is usually served anytime before 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The word is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch.”

I’ll just say that a weekend brunch is one of my favorite things to do. It’s fun to mix it up a bit and get family and friends together to enjoy a meal during the day, rather than a later dinner.

This recipe is my version of a pretty basic breakfast casserole that my Mom used to make. It’s eggy, bready, cheesy and the best part is, you can pretty much throw as many add-ins as you want and it still turns out delicious!

Breakfast Casserole | Serves 6

Start to finish: about an hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf white bread, chopped
  • 9 large eggs
  • 6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 3 Cups milk (I used 1%)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 package frozen Brown & Serve breakfast sausages
  • Additional add-ins (if desired): frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry), cooked sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, or cooked chopped bacon or ham.
  • Serve with maple syrup or ketchup.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Mix up eggs, milk, salt, pepper and melted butter in a bowl.
  3. Place a layer of chopped bread into your baking dish. Top with meat and cheese, repeat until your ingredients are used up and your casserole is piled high.
  4. Gently pour egg mixture over bread/cheese/meat. Let sit 15 mins to soak in.
  5. Bake for 45-55 mins or until casserole is golden brown and puffed.
  6. Top with maple syrup or ketchup and serve.

Recipes

Crispy Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Getting right to the recipe with this one because you need to add these drumsticks to your meal rotation stat! Super easy, and all done in about 30 mins. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside!

Crispy Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Serves: 3-4

Start to finish: 35 mins

What you’ll need:

  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • Seasoning of choice (I use Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning on everything)
  • Nonstick spray

How to:

  1. Spray fryer basket with nonstick spray.
  2. Place chicken in basket, season, and cook at 400°F for 15 minutes (I also hit the chicken button on my Cosori air fryer).
  3. Flip and cook another 15 minutes or until crispy and internal temp reaches 165°F.
  4. Remove at coat with with your favorite sauce – we did buffalo and bbq!

Recipes

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This is literally a “set it and forget it” meal! What’s better than cooking an entire meal all at once and having it ready before you even get home??

The best part about beef stew in the slow cooker is that it’s very forgiving. You can add more or less of the meat and veggies, and even throw in some extras like mushrooms or celery. Follow my steps below for a great beef stew.

This little packet is my go-to secret when I make beef stew or pot roast. I use the same flavor pack for both because the pot roast version just has a great meaty, savory flavor that I haven’t been able to replicate with my own blend of herbs and broth, so don’t judge! 

Prep veggies and place into the pot. Add the meat and mix together. Then, pour seasoning mix over the top – that’s seriously it!

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Serves 4-6 (more if you serve a side like egg noodles or bread. To make less, just cut down on the quantity of ingredients, same cooking time).

Start to Finish: 8.5 hours

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 lbs stew beef
  • 2 large russet potatoes (or 3-4 red potatoes), chopped into even chunks
  • 3-4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • Crock Pot seasoning (or herbs/spices of choice)

How to:

  1. Clean and prep veggies, place in empty slow cooker.
  2. Add stew meat to the slow cooker.
  3. Pour water/herb/spice mixture over meat and veggies, stir well.
  4. Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low and give it a good stir when done. Enjoy!

Recipes

And now for something completely different…

Who says crock pot cookery has to be savory all the time? Not me! I found this sweet treat on Pinterest and thought I would give it a shot. While you’re there, be sure to follow my crock pot board for even more recipes I’m finding and trying out.

Introducing… Warm Chocolate Chip Brownie Cake

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Woo hoo! Only 4 ingredients:

1 box of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix
½ C unsalted melted butter
4 eggs
1 pouch of Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Note: This recipe is adapted from BettyCrocker.com, and is intended for a 4.5qt cooker. I made it in my 6qt cooker and checked it occasionally after about an hour and a half. Total cook time was approximately 2hrs 15 mins. Photo courtesy of MyFavoriteThings-Miranda.blogspot.com.

How To:

1. Spray inside of slow cooker with baking spray with flour.
2. In large bowl, mix brownie mix with 1/4 cup of the melted butter and 2 of the eggs.
3. In another large bowl, mix chocolate chip cookie mix, remaining 1/4 cup melted butter and remaining 2 eggs.
4. Drop alternate spoonfuls of the brownie and chocolate chip cookie batters into slow cooker.
5. Cover and cook on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours or until cake is set in center.

To serve, spoon cake from slow cooker and top with ice cream.

Recipes

Back with Two Recipes!

I’ve been away for a while, busy at my day job and even fitting in a much-needed (and well-deserved) vacation. But now that things have settled down at home, it’s back to cooking in my crock pot! Over the last few weeks, I’ve made two really yummy things.

First up, BRISKET!

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Super simple and easy, the flavor is a cross between a Swiss steak and a beef stew. Very tomatoey and sweet, yet savory. You can easily shred this for sandwiches- I sliced mine into thin strips and served over plain white rice with a simple veggie.

You will need:
1 3-4lb brisket (I eyeballed the size based on the size of my crock pot)
2 24oz cans crushed tomatoes (with liquid)
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 head of garlic (open and peel each clove – you’ll need about 8)
Salt and pepper

How to: Salt and pepper all sides of brisket. With a paring knife, cut 8 small slits into the beef and insert one whole clove of garlic into each.In the crock pot, add one can crushed tomatoes + tomato paste and stir until paste dissolves. Insert brisket into pot and pour remaining can of crushed tomatoes over it. Liquid should almost cover the beef. Cook on low for 10 hours. Remove beef when done, slice or shred and pour liquid over the top to keep moist.

Recipe #2: PULLED PORK!
A complete cheat, but who cares, really. Look at those shreds!

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I have never, ever been a fan of the other white meat, but at a family gathering, I tasted what I thought was beef and fell in love. Once I got over the “OMG I just ate PORK?” phase, I investigated ways to make this myself, and in a way to incorporate this healthier-than-beef alternative into my weekly dinner rotation. Admittedly, I completely cheated and this recipe contains only TWO ingredients.

You will need:
1 jar of your most favorite BBQ Sauce
2-3lb pork butt roast

How to: I know, I know… is it really a “recipe” if I use a JAR of someone else’s sauce? Probably not, but I for one do not have time to sit and create my own masterful sauce. As a working, single mom and one who’s always trying to find new things for my child to eat (and enjoy), I think using a jar of sauce that you (and the kid) really, really like is just as good as making your own. With less time wasted tweaking flavors, consistency, blah blah blah. Long story short, use a sauce you like and it’ll taste even better slow cooking over a pork butt for 10 hours on low. We ate this 3lb roast for about 3 days on nice potato rolls with a side of coleslaw. Comfort food at its best.

ENJOY!