I’m tired of making the same food over and over
I know there are an infinite of meals to be made, so why do I always make the same five things? Cooking isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I do enjoy eating a good meal. It’s time to figure out how to make some tastier things that make me want to cook.
I decided to talk to my friend Leanna Myers over at http://thehungrywaitress.com/ and get some advice. She has a beautiful foodie blog with delicious recipes (some are below) that I highly recommend. All of the pictures on this post are Leanna’s from her blog, aren’t they gorgeous? She is a FABULOUS cook! (And photographer) She also had some good tips for the kitchen. Here they are:
Leanna’s tips for Simplifying the Kitchen–
- Use your pantry! Some of my favorite meals come from my pantry staples. Add some beans to salads. One of my favorite pantry recipe is beans and rice. Check out my Loaded Vegetable Beans and Rice or my Crockpot Vegan Green Chili Soup.
- Clear out the gadgets. Don’t buy that boiled egg/avocado slicer you see on the infomercials. Just use your knife! Speaking of knifes, invest in a good Chef’s knife. I use my Chef knife the most out of any other kitchen tool. Keep your cooking space clean organized by clearing out those unnecessary gadgets.
- Make a double batch. When I cook chicken, I make extra to throw in my salads for the rest of the week. If I am making enchiladas, lasagna, or any type of casserole I make a double batch and freeze it! That way you are ready to go on those extra busy weeks. Just pull the ready-made casserole out of the freezer, bake, and dinner is served. It’s just like those frozen Stouffer’s dinners, but way healthier! I love freezing my recipe’s for The Best Meatballs or Baked Spaghetti Pie!
Here are my (Jen’s) tips
Plan meals in advance. At the beginning of the week, I check the sales at the local grocery store on my app, and plan meals around that. I don’t like that panicky feeling at four o’clock when everyone’s thinking about dinner and I have no idea what we’re going to eat. I write what dinner we’ll be having on the bottom of each day on the calendar and just check it each morning. Then I can prep, or throw things in the crock pot, and I’m much more relaxed later!
Let your kids help cook. Here is a link for some great save knives for kids. They cut everything but skin, so they’re safe, and I love sharing the chopping job with the kiddos. They love it, and it saves me work! I let the little ones do everything except work with heat. Stay safe out there!
Got picky eaters? Make meals fun. It’s amazing what we can get our kids to eat if we just arrange the food in the shape of a face on the plate! Also, food on a stick (toothpicks) make it much more fun, especially with something to dip the food in (especially works well with bite size meats and veggies)
Tiffany (more about her below) told me that you can actually put uncooked food for crock-pot meals into a freezer bag and freeze them, then put the whole, frozen thing (not the bag of course) into a Crock Pot for the easiest meal! I never knew that! I can’t WAIT to get started prepping several things on the weekend and having NO STRESS dinners! That’s exactly the kind of cooking I need when I don’t feel well.
Looking for some new recipe ideas?
Leanna also gave me some links to some of her favorite recipes:
Loaded Vegetable Beans and Rice: http://thehungrywaitress.com/loaded-vegatable-beans-and-rice/
Crockpot Vegan Green Chili Soup: http://thehungrywaitress.com/crockpot-vegan-green-chili-soup/
The Best Meatballs: http://thehungrywaitress.com/the-best-meatballs-and-lighter-chicken-meatballs/
Spaghetti Pie: http://thehungrywaitress.com/spaghetti-pie/
My friend, Tiffany Moody, has also given some super-simple recipes. You can find Tiffany here: https://www.facebook.com/TiffanyMoodyVA/ She is an AMAZING virtual assistant! Go check out the link if you’re looking for an assistant, you will be very impressed.
Here are Tiffany’s Crock Pot recipes:
Crock Pot Salsa Fiesta Chicken (feeds 4)
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 large jars of salsa ~ any flavor, I buy the chunky kind
1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
Before you eat it, shred the chicken and mix it all back together.
You can put this over rice or chips or use it as a taco salad topping. It’s great with cheese added on top too.
Easiest Chicken & Biscuits Crock Pot Recipe
Put the following ingredients into a freezer bag and freeze. When preparing, add one cup of water, and put in crock pot on low when ready to cook it and cook all day. Make a pan of biscuits and put the recipe over biscuits. Tastes like chicken pot pie.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1 large bag of frozen mixed vegetables
No need to freeze before hand.
1 to 2 pounds of dried beans of choice ~ blackeye peas, black beans, butter beans, pinto beans. Or a combo of all of those together.
1 or more pounds of ham pieces (Walmart sells packs of spiral sliced ham pieces and can be found in the meat section)
OR if you prefer, 1 or more pounds of smoked sausage (cut up into bite size pieces.
Add beans, ham, and/or sausage to crock pot. I put approximately 4-6 cups of water in with it. Salt and pepper to taste. (If I used the ham pieces it usually seasons it perfect with out adding anything else). Cook on low 4-6 hours, depending on how many beans you are cooking. I usually cook two pounds of beans at a time and freeze any leftovers. When you want to eat it again, put it in the crockpot frozen on low until it’s completely heated up. You can put the beans over rice or cornbread or eat alone. Very filling.
Tiffany says you can find a TON of free crockpot and freezer recipes on Pinterest as well. Simply search crock pot freezer recipes.
YOUR CHALLENGE FOR TODAY: Try one (or more) of the tips above. Try at least one of the recipes this week. Let me know how it turned out in the comments below.