Cooking for a family, while making family time

Blog

Classic Potato Salad

Classic Potato Salad

Do you ever find you only make certain dishes seasonally? Potato salad is one of those items for me. It just screams BBQ and warm weather. I make potato salad every spring for Easter with my family, my Dad always loves it and says it […]

Favorite Disney Eats

Favorite Disney Eats

We took our first Disney vacation as a family last fall and it was just as magical as I had hoped it would be. I did so much research and planning it felt like my head was spinning with Disney knowledge. I figured I might […]

Meal Prep 101

Meal Prep 101

Why cook one dinner when you can cook 4? With snow in our forecast and school already cancelled tomorrow, I know my days will be long and I’m probably not going to feel like making big meals. So tonight while making dinner I prepared 3 others to make this weeks dinners go smoother.

Dinners:
Sloppy Joes
Tacos
Chili
Goulash

Ingredients:

1.5lb lean hamburger meat
1.5lb lean ground turkey
3 small yellow onions
4 garlic cloves
2 bell peppers (red or orange)
1 carrot
1 cup frozen corn
Array of dried spices

Tonight’s dinner was sloppy joes, I took half of my hamburger meat and browned that with 1 onion, 1 bell pepper, 1 garlic clove and 1 carrot. Then I made my sloppy joe sauce, stirred it in to combine, then covered and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

During that 20 minutes I got out 2 more frying pans, 1 small and 1 large. In the small frying pan I browned the remaining hamburger meat with Italian spices and 1 garlic clove. This will be the base for my goulash. In my large frying pan I cooked all of my ground turkey with my remaining 2 yellow onions, 1 bell pepper, 1 cup frozen corn and 2 garlic cloves. I seasoned the turkey with salt, cumin and chili powder. This will be the base for my chili and my tacos. Once cooked through I let both of my meat mixtures cool while we ate dinner. After dinner I got out 3 Tupperware containers, divided my turkey mixture in half evenly between 2 of the containers and my goulash meat mixture went into the 3rd. I labeled each and into the fridge they went.

By having already cooked your protein, dinners will come together in a flash. You can even just dump it all the crock pot for a true crock pot meal with zero prep! That’s what I plan to do for the chili tomorrow. Into the crock pot I’ll dump my prepared meat and veggie mixture with more spices, tomato sauce, beans, canned tomatoes and chili’s and chicken stock. Come dinner time you’ll just need to ladle and top your bowls with whatever you please. Same goes for taco night, into the crock pot with a packet of taco seasoning, beans, rice, tomato sauce and chicken stock. Come dinner time, pour over a salad or into tortillas or taco shells and your done! Goulash night will be different because pasta in the crock pot can be tricky but even so, dinner will be a breeze just warming up your sauce and cooking your pasta.

Now the key to meal prepping is menu planning. You cannot have one without the other. Preparing dinner with similar ingredients and flavor profiles is a great way to start and to also keep this budget friendly. I love prepping meals with ground meats because they’re such an easy protein to stretch, another bonus for the budget. By adding pasta, beans, rice or rolls, you’re bulking up the meal to be sure everyone is still satisfied while also not breaking the bank. Now I do make smaller portion sizes because with how often I cook we hardly ever eat leftovers. I would rather make something new, but that’s not for everyone. Some people like to eat the same thing all week, especially kids with limited taste palettes. If that sounds more like your family then adjust accordingly and double things you know you all will eat.

Citrus Soy Marinade

Citrus Soy Marinade

Where are my fellow meat lovers at? I grew up with a Dad who cooked a mean steak and we ate them quite often. I then went on to work at popular steakhouse chain restaurant all throughout college and into my early twenties. I actually […]

Valentine’s Day Double Danish

Valentine’s Day Double Danish

Back at Christmas time I was working hard on candy cane danishes and a friend of mine mentioned using Nutella as the filling. That was all I needed, the light bulb went off and here we have our double danish, which just so happens to […]

Spinach Artichoke Roll Ups

Spinach Artichoke Roll Ups

One of my favorite things about making spinach and artichoke dip is the leftover dip! I turn it into these super yummy, freezer friendly roll ups. Perfect for a snack or appetizer for your next get together.

Ingredients:

1 tube Crescent dough sheet
3/4 cup leftover spinach and artichoke dip
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Additional tools needed:
Pizza cuter
Parchment paper

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, unroll your crescent dough sheet on top of a large cutting board and cut into 10 even strips horizontally. On each dough strip spread 1 tablespoon leftover spinach and artichoke dip evenly, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese. Gently roll from one end to the other, making a pinwheel shape. Place upright on your baking sheet. Repeat method with the next 9 dough strips. Next, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of all 10 roll ups and place into the oven to cook. Bake 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Enjoy warm, or flash freeze in the freezer by placing baking sheet directly in the freezer. Once frozen, place into a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until warmed through.

 

You can see I made these on greased foil, and mine stuck a good bit so I strongly recommend using parchment paper. Now if you like, feel free to serve these with a dipping sauce, pizza or marinara sauce will work, as well as a ranch or taziki. Whatever you prefer, or no sauce at all as these are creamy and flavorful enough on their own.

 

Football Deviled Eggs

Football Deviled Eggs

These are a classic Super Bowl staple in our house. I feel as if deviled eggs are almost a seasonal appetizer. I make them pretty regularly in the spring and summer time for BBQ’s and get-together’s, but not often in the winter. I use my […]

Homemade Coffee Creamer

Homemade Coffee Creamer

My love for coffee started in college and has only gotten stronger over the years as my family grew. It’s how we start every morning, and if I’m honest I usually have a second cup most afternoons. I take my coffee with both sweetener and […]

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Is there a more classic party dip than spinach and artichoke? Cheesy enough to make a good spread, and loaded with enough veggies to not feel guilty about eating so much of it. It’s the perfect combo! I’ve lightened my version up a good bit from your classic spinach and artichoke dip recipe. No mayonnaise or sour cream in this dip, and it is totally Keto friendly!

Ingredients:

1 6oz bag fresh baby spinach
1 14oz can artichoke hearts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 a small white onion
1/2 cup plain cream cheese
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and crushed red pepper

Additional equipment needed:

Food processor

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Open and drain your artichoke hearts, then dump them into the food processor. Add in half a small onion and 2 garlic cloves. Pulse 5-10 times until desired consistency is reached. If you prefer a finer dip, run food processor on high for 1 minute instead of pulsing. Next dump your artichoke mixture into a large mixing bowl. Back in your food processor dump your entire bag of spinach and pulse until all the spinach is broken up evenly. Combine spinach with artichoke mixture and stir to incorporate. You’ll be left with a really bright green mixture. To your spinach and artichoke mixture dump in your cream cheese, greek yogurt, 1/4 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan and a healthy pinch of salt. Mix until everything is fully combined. Pour into an oven safe glass dish, top with remaining cheeses and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, then serve hot with crackers, veggies, bread or pita chips.

 

If you prefer you can dump your final mixture into a small slow cooker instead. It will take longer to heat up, I usually start with an hour on high and then adjust from there. By using fresh spinach in this dip recipe you save a lot of time by not having to thaw and drain frozen spinach. If you’re anything like me, I never had the patience for all that and would usually end up with a watery dip instead. That’s why I decided to try using fresh spinach and it works beautifully while also cutting down your prep time.

Letter Pancakes

Letter Pancakes

Another snow day tomorrow here on the east coast. Our family started this really silly tradition of having letter pancakes on snow days. This came about when my oldest was first learning to spell her name. I thought it would be a cute fun way […]