May 23, 2016

Crock Pot Chicken Alfredo Lasagna


 I just love a good crock pot meal and this was another one of those super easy to prepare meals, cooks away for 5 hours on low while you do the rest of your day.  I have an asterisk next to the word flavorful because there's one thing I forgot to do and it's just to give you a heads up.  This recipe calls for 3 cups Alfredo sauce with 1 cup water.  I only had one jar .  This means not much extra sauce at all so I'll be honest and say after a few bites, it was a tad dry.

Easy fix, though!  You can also make homemade Alfredo sauce with just some skim milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese all brought to a boil.  I plan on doing that when we have leftovers.  Besides this not having as much sauce, it's a really tasty meal!

Crock pot Chicken Alfredo Lasagna
Recipe adapted from the kitchen magpie


-2 tbsp. olive oil
-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I decided to leave mine whole because I like the idea of shredded chicken but this recipe mentions chopped in cubes).
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 medium red onion, diced
-About 14 whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
-3 cups Alfredo sauce
-1 cup water
-1 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese ( I used part skim)
-2 eggs
-1 tbsp. oregano
-1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
-salt and pepper
-3 cups shredded part skim mozzarella
-1 can of mushrooms *optional ( I didn't use mushrooms)
-cooking spray


1. Soak the noodles in warm water in a 9x13 pan while prepping the chicken.
2. Cook the chicken all the way through until golden brown , along with the onions and garlic. Set aside.
3. In large measuring cup, mix the water and Alfredo sauce together.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pepper, salt and oregano.
5. Spray the bottom and sides of the crock pot with cooking spray.
6. Pour 1 cup of the Alfredo mixture into the bottom of the crock pot.
7. Place 3-4 noodles on top of the sauce for bottom layer. You'll need to break them in half and make them fit like puzzle pieces a little bit. ( It's fun. sort of).
8. Place 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles then place chicken on top. If you have cubed the chicken, it'll be more of a mixture that you can layer.
9. Next, sprinkle 1/3 of shredded mozzarella on top.

10. Take 3-4 noodles again and place on top.
11. Pour another cup of the sauce mixture on top.
12. Repeat with chicken mixture and then ricotta mixture on top.
13. Top with another layer of noodles.
14. Add another cup of sauce.
15. Top with remaining chicken and/or ricotta mixture.
16. Finish topping with noodles.
17. Top with remaining sauce and more mozzarella cheese
18. Cook on LOW for 5 hours MAX.  


May 19, 2016

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

Slightly sweet from banana.
Peanut Buttery.
Easy to put together.
Crazy good.



How can you go wrong with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate?  You can't. And the fact that these cookies are vegan, (I still can't get over that one).  You will keep going back for seconds and thirds. 

I had one small really ripe banana left that I wanted to use up and then I came across the recipe for these cookies.  Done deal.  And I'm so glad I chose to use it.

Best part?  You can actually eat and enjoy this cookie dough! VEGAN.  I almost didn't make the cookies.  Almost.

*My subs for this recipe were brown sugar for coconut sugar because I didn't have any and I had a bag untouched of Almond Meal and I thought that would be yummy so I did 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of almond meal.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
Recipe adapted from Amy's Healthy Baking.


-2 cups whole wheat flour or almond meal
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 small/medium banana, mashed
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
-2 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 tbsp. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 cup light brown sugar
-1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
-2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips

How to make the cookies:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350* F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours ( if you do two like I did, whole wheat and almond meal), baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, mix the mashed banana, vanilla, peanut butter and milk together.  Now add in the sugar and stir well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well.
3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Roll about a tbsp. of cookie dough with your hands and shape into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with your hand or spatula.  Bake for 10 minutes ( 10 minutes seemed like the perfect timing for mine).  Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes and if you'd like, transfer to a wire rack.



May 17, 2016

Crockpot Pineapple Salsa Pulled Pork

Just enough heat.
Tons of leftovers.

Crock Pot Pineapple Salsa Pulled Pork


-2 pork tenderloins or 3-4 lb. pork butt
-1 jar spicy salsa
-2 tbsp. low-sodium taco seasoning
-1 tbsp. garlic powder
-salt and pepper
-1 medium red onion, sliced
-2 small cans of pineapple chunks
-Juice of 1 lime
-chopped fresh cilantro ( optional)

How to make it:

1. Slice the onion and scatter on the bottom of the crock pot.
2. Briefly rinse the tenderloins and pat dry with a paper towel.
3. Rub garlic powder, salt, pepper and taco seasoning all over the tenderloins and place them on top of the onions.
4. Pour the salsa on the tenderloins and then with the pineapple chunks.
5. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top.
6. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 6 hours. 

*Serve with warm tortillas. 
Topping ideas: avocado, guacamole, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese's.   Garnish with fresh cilantro.

May 3, 2016

Weekly Meals: 5/2-5/6

Each week I know two things.  A)  I need to make a trip to the food store either on Saturday or Sunday for our weekly meals. And B) I want to cook something that will make great leftovers and that can be freezable and then I think, I want to get creative and inspired and cook something different.  Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't. 


I just know something else:  cooking at home is healthier, saves money, and we enjoy it.  We also love eating together at the dinner table as a family.  We began doing this since Claire  was around 6 months old.  Again, some days are different than others and that doesn't always occur, but we try.

Most nights out of the week, whatever we eat, Claire has a little bit as well.  So I know it's healthy and tasty. With a fruit and veggie on the side for good measure. As my husband has quite the picky palate, meaning that I rarely make meals that have asparagus in them, or butternut squash, carrots or mushrooms ( I love all of those veggies)! I do appreciate his simple and classic tastes like chicken parmesan, roasted or grilled chicken, potatoes, Spaghetti and meatballs, grilled steak (he's the griller of the family) and of course mac and cheese casseroles and ground turkey( or any kid of) taco night. I'm thankful that he at least loves all peppers, cucumbers and some spicy food along with most of my desserts!  I did mention I prefer cooking to baking, right?

Here is this weeks meal plan:

( cute whiteboard/magnetic daily planner from target; $1 bin)!
Monday: We had Leftover Santa Fe Chicken casserole that I made Saturday night.  Recipe here


Tuesday:  Monday night I prepared Crockpot Turkey Lasagna before bed.  The hubs is working from home so he'll turn it on at Noon to cook on low for 6 hours. ( with left instructions of course). ha!  This recipe is a bit healthier too with ground turkey, low-sugar pasta sauce and cottage cheese in place of ricotta.  We've eaten this before and it is GOOD!  it also makes  a lot so plenty of leftovers and freezable!
Wednesday: I'm taking my mom out for dinner for Mother's Day since I won't see her on actual Mother's Day. !  So the hubs can eat whatever he wants ( hopefully leftover lasagna though).
Thursday: Leftovers or take out.  We'll see what hubs ate on Wednesday and go from there.  ha.
Friday:  Grilled salmon with a side salad. 

*Saturday and Sunday are always bound to change* 
Sometimes after I write out the weekly menu, it doesn't always match up. We may have pizza on a night I was going to make a casserole. It depends on the day and how we feel but I think it's helpful to plan it out and have a guide to use.
Do you plan your meals for the week?
What do you think about leftovers?
How often do you do take out and what do you choose?


April 28, 2016

Love your Leftovers: Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

I swear I enjoy meatless dinners too sometimes.  This recipe is just another one of those meals that's a staple.  It's perfect for a crowd during a BBQ or simply dinner for two.  It's a win-win because your house will smell amazing and it's insanely tasty!  I have to also add that this recipe is probably one of the best recipes for pulled pork I have ever tried.

And of course, what to do with leftover shredded pork...oh the possibilities!

Recipe: Crockpot BBQ pulled pork
-1 3-4 lb pork butt or shoulder OR two 2 lb pork tenderloins; which I’ve been using.
-1 tbsp. black pepper
-1 tbsp. kosher salt
-1 tbsp. paprika
-1 tbsp. garlic powder
-1/2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce  (I love Stubb's Original)
-1 medium red or yellow onion, sliced
To make the pork:
1.      Slice the onion and scatter in the bottom of your slow cooker.
2.      Rinse the tenderloin with cool water and pat dry with a paper towel.
3.      Combine all the spices together in a small bowl and rub well over the pork.
4.      Place the pork in the crock pot/ on top of the onions.
5.       In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar and BBQ sauce; pour over the pork and onions.
6.      Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  * 8 hours was plenty enough time for the meat to shred easily and become super tender.  Also, your entire house will smell incredible!

Serve on your favorite bun with a pickle or tomato or cheese or coleslaw...really, the toppings are endless!  We love these with some melted cheddar cheese!

Leftover meal ideas:

Meal: Pulled Pork sandwiches.
Leftover meal #1:  Pulled pork enchiladas

Leftover meal #2 : Pulled pork cheesy nacho bake

Tip:  Break these meals up on a different week.  Freeze any meat you know you won’t use for more than a week.  Thaw in the fridge the night before you know you’ll use it.