Slow Cooker Rigatoni

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Here’s just about the easiest slow cooker recipe I’ve ever made. 

 

(Well, maybe not.

 

This one and this one are pretty easy too ~ maybe all things in the slow cooker are just easy?) 😉 

 

This one though is perfect if you have a pasta loving family, and a great way to get dinner done quick for a busy weeknight. 

 

Here’s what you’ll need to get started . . .

 

 

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Ingredients

  • 28 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 12 oz rigatoni pasta, cooked to al dente
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or ground sausage, cooked and drained
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • pepperoni (optional)
  • sliced mushrooms, black olives, or onion (optional)

Instructions

  1. Layer half of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Then add half the pasta, half the ground beef, and half of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Layer pepperoni, mushrooms or black olives (optional.)
  4. Add another layer of all the ingredients.
  5. Cook on low 3-4 hours.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Be sure to download your free Crocktober grocery list, menu plan and cookbook over HERE too while you’re at it!

 

Looking for more slow cooker recipes?

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One Pot Corn Chowder

Oh my goodness.

 

If you need a simple easy recipe to warm you up on a cool night, this one’s for you. 

 

It’s from my friend Tiffany’s Eat at Home Menu Plans (I LOVE THESE!), and was so good that I could have devoured the whole pot.

 

 

(I didn’t, but I considered it.)

 

My husband loved it, 2 of my 3 kids didn’t turn up their nose, so that’s called success in my book. 😉

 

 

If you’re looking for a so-good-and-oh-so-simple recipe for just an easy meal, this one’s for you.

Feeds: 4

Total Cook/Hands on Time: 30-40 Minutes

Instant Pot Hands On Time: 15 Minutes Instant Pot Cook Time: 15 Minutes

  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 2 cups unpeeled, diced potatoes
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1⁄2 bag frozen corn
  • 1 can cream corn
  • salt and pepper

Simmer until hot and season with salt and pepper.

Instant Pot Instructions:

Hit the sauté button. Melt butter than cook onion in the butter until translucent. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth until well combined and stir in potatoes and bay leaf. Cover and set to cook for 15 minutes on high pressure. Do a quick pressure release. Stir in half and half and corn and continue to cook on saute setting until heated through. Be careful to not boil the soup. Season with salt and pepper.

Serving Suggestion:  Whole Wheat Rolls, Side Salad

 

Do you need some encouragement to get dinner done? Check out my friend Tiffany’s menu plans over HERE ~ I promise they’ve changed the way dinner gets done in our home! And, be sure to join our free Dinner’s Done Facebook Group for so many more great meal ideas.

Looking for more simple recipes?  Here you go:

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30 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

30 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes Round Up

If you have an Instant Pot, then you already know that it can make your life SO much easier ~ I’ve just started using mine but so far I’m in love!

If you don’t own one yet, today only at Target.com you can get the Instant Pot for 25% OFF with code KITCHEN!  You can also currently get a good deal on the IP-LUX60 (New Model) and the IP-DUO60 over on Amazon!

instant pot chicken recipes

Among other things, I love that I can cook meats quickly (even straight from frozen!) that are super flavorful, tender and taste like they cooked all day. One of the most popular meats by far to cook in the Instant Pot is chicken.

Here’s a roundup of 30 awesome instant pot chicken recipes to give you plenty of things to try in your Instant Pot!

 

  1. Pressure cooker salsa chicken burrito– I was born to cook
  2. Instant pot orange chicken– Living Sweet Moments
  3. Instant pot no washing up Mediterranean chicken wings– Recipe This
  4. Instant pot cheesy chicken and pasta– Food N Service
  5. Pressure cooker low-carb buffalo chicken tacos with blue cheese coleslaw– Kalyn’s Kitchen
  6. Green chile chicken stew– Mooshu Jenne
  7. Instant pot chicken tortellini soup-Real Mom Reviews
  8. 3 ingredients crockpot BBQ chicken wings-Intelligent Domestications
  9. Chicken paprika stew– Mooshu Jenne
  10. Instant pot peanut free Thai chicken satay-Recipe This
  11. 10-minute pesto chicken pasta– ABC’s and Garden Peas
  12. Instant pot recipe- Pomegranate Molasses Chicken– Little Family Adventure
  13. Instant pot chicken parmigiana-Food N Service
  14. Asian sesame instant pot chicken– Living Sweet Moments
  15. Pressure cooker chicken breast-Wholesome Yum
  16. Instant pot no washing up chicken tikka bites– Recipe This
  17. Pressure cooker chicken puttanesca– Gluten Free Pressure Cooker
  18. Pressure cooker chicken paprikash recipe– Gluten Free Pressure Cooker
  19. Incredible instant pot ginger garlic drumsticks-Living Sweet Moments
  20. How to cook a whole chicken in your instant pot– Recipe this
  21. Instant pot pulled chicken tacos– Mom N Mom’s
  22. Instant pot double cheese chicken rigatoni bake-Recipe this
  23. The best instant pot chicken noodle soup– Sidewalk Shoes
  24. Chicken enchilada soup in the pressure cooker-Life is Sweeter by Design
  25. Instant pot garlic coconut butter chicken & potatoes– Recipe This
  26. Frozen chicken breasts in an instant pot– Sidewalk Shoes
  27. Instant pot chicken taco bowls-Wonder Mom Wannabe
  28. Instant pot buffalo chicken wings– Mom N Mom’s
  29. Instant pot honey balsamic drumsticks– Living Sweet Moments
  30. Instant pot Cajun chicken pasta– Recipe This

What is an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that takes the “scary” factor out of pressure cooking and makes the job of cooking fast and easy!  It speeds up cooking by 2~6 times using up to 70% less energy, and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion.

If you need a support group for getting dinner on the table (especially using our Slow cookers and Instant Pots!) – come by and join our Dinner’s Done Facebook Group ~ so much great wisdom and encouragement there!

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4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

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Oh my. 

 

I was so excited to find a 21 Day Fix recipe that also works in Mrs. Potts.

 

WOO-stinkin’-HOOO!

 

(I know, I know, that’s a little too much excitement, but cooking in Mrs. Potts makes me happy, and there aren’t all that many 21 Day Fix recipes that work well in my crockpot!)

 

But this one does. 

 

It’s simple.

 

(Really simple.)

 

And, you can cook up a ton of chicken breast like I did if you like, bake some for dinner tonight, then leave the rest in the slow cooker to cook a wee bit longer and shred it up for nachos.

 

If you’re 21 day fixin’, you can use the meat for Mexican lettuce wraps or taco salad. You’re welcome. 🙂  

Let’s get started. 

 

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Dump your chicken in Mrs. Potts.

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Pour on some taco seasoning (if you’re doing the 21 Day Fix perfectly, pick up low sodium taco seasoning – this is what I had in my pantry, so I decided to work with it!)

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Pour on a jar of salsa.

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Let Mrs. Potts do the cooking for about 2 hours on high. (Don’t let her cook longer than that or the meat will shred up and you won’t be able to bake it.

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Once meat has cooked, transfer to baking dish.

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Top with some shredded cheese.

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Bake for 15 more minutes . . .

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And top with a little extra salsa.

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Perfection!

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4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

PRINT RECIPERecipe adapted from jocooks.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 jar mild salsa (about 2 cups – low sugar salsa is best on 21 Day Fix)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (low sodium taco seasoning is best on 21 Day Fix)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, Mexican blend

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour the salsa to cover them. Cook between 1½ to 2 hours on high, don’t cook longer because it will start to fall apart.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  3. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or grease and carefully place the chicken in the dish. Spoon the leftover salsa/sauce (from the slow cooker) over the chicken and sprinkle with the cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until it’s nice and golden brown, and you see the sauce and cheese bubbling.

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Note: I baked all 10 chicken breasts that I had, but only pulled out 4 to bake for dinner. I left the rest in Mrs. Potts to cook for another hour, then shredded it to use for tacos, nachos, and taco salads (I even froze some for a quick dinner in a pinch.) Love that!

21 Day Fix Counts

  • 1 red container
  • 1/2 green container
  • 1 blue container for cheese (use less if you’d rather it count for less!)

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Zucchini Lasagna

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I have to tell you, I loved this recipe. 

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But in the interest of full disclosure,

my family,

ummmm….

did not. 

 

zucchinilasagna1They tried it, ate a bit, and weren’t completely opposed, 

 

but, there were no second scoops, and the leftovers went uneaten. 🙁

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Honestly? They just want their big ole’ white lasagna noodles, however I’m determined to keep at it and show them just how yummy fresh veggies can be.

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It’s a work in progress around here. 

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I did use this super-fancy-cool-amazing veggies slicer that came with this spiralizer, and I loved how easy it made the process. If you’re hoping to sneak in a few veggies on your family too, it’s definitely worth checking out.

 

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Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

2 large zucchini
1 tbsp salt
1 lb ground turkey or ground beef (we used ground turkey)
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup tomato paste
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
hot water as needed
1 egg
1 (15 ounce) container low-fat ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices using a peeler. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt and set aside in a colander to pull the moisture out of the zucchini.
  3. Cook the ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add in the green pepper and onion; cook until meat is done. Stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano, adding a small amount of hot water if the sauce is too thick. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. In another bowl stir egg, ricotta, and parsley together.
  5. Assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 of the meat sauce into the bottom of a greased pan. Next layer 1/2 the zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, all of the spinach, followed by all of the mushrooms, and 1/2 the mozzarella cheese. Repeat by layering the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Spread Parmesan cheese evenly over the top and cover with foil.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), for an additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.

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5 Ingredient EASY Homemade Pizza Dough

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Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

There is no reason on the planet to ever pay for pizza dough. 

 

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Not a single one.

 

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It is so simple to make at home, crazy penny pinched, and your kids will love getting in and playing with the dough themselves. 🙂

 

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So gather up your ingredients and get ready to mix up some dough.

 

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Perfection.

 

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5 Ingredient EASY Homemade Pizza Dough

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Ingredients

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast and brown sugar in the warm water, and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in salt and oil, then mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
  3. Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let dough rise until it’s double in size (about 1 hour.) Note – I like to leave it somewhere warm to rise – this weekend when we made it I actually covered it and set it outside on the back porch.
  4. Punch dough down and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to rest for a minute before rolling out.  Now you can use it for your favorite pizza recipe.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If using a pizza stone, you can put your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
  6. Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, around 15 to 20 minutes.

PRINT RECIPE

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This dough recipe makes enough for two medium sized pizzas at our house, so we made one traditional pizza and one barbecue chicken pizza.

 

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Once dough is rolled out, top with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, pre-cooked grilled chicken and green onions (or other toppings.)

 

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Enjoy! 

Recipe Adapted from AllRecipes.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

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Tamale Pie

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Looking for a new recipe to spice up plain old Taco Tuesday? This one’s for you. 😉

 

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Tamale Pie

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • 1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or Rotel do not drain
  • 3 cups French’s fried onions
  • 1-2 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until done. Drain
  3. Stir in taco seasoning, corn (drained), canned tomatoes or Rotel (not drained) and French fried onions. Spread into the bottom of a 2 1/2 Quart size dish or a 9X13 dish.
  4. Prepare muffin mix according to package directions (if you use a 9X13 you may need 2 boxes of Jiffy). Spread the muffin mix on top of the beef mixture to cover it. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cornbread is golden on top.  Top with cheese and remaining French fried onions.  Return to oven until cheese is melted about 2 – 3 minutes. Serve with sour cream. 🙂

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Recipe adapted from Southern Plate

Love Mexican? Try out a few more of my favorites:

 

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Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps

You’re going to love this. 🙂

 

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You know how we’re working really hard to eat healthier this year?  Well, we stumbled upon this recipe and have added it to our rotation because EVERYONE loves it (and you know that doesn’t happen . . .  like EVER!)

 

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Here’s how to get started:

 

First, mix all the sauces in a bowl and set that aside for later.

 

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Next pop those mushrooms into a food processor.  (I use this one.)  Now . . . my kids are not really mushroom fans at all but these chop up so small that they won’t even know they’re in there.  And, adding in the mushrooms will REALLY help you stretch that budget leaving lots of leftovers.

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Do the same with the bell pepper and cucumbers.  Oodles of veggies in one meal and the kids have no idea.  Success!

 

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Put all the veggies in a bowl to add in later.

Now, heat up sesame oil in a skillet until hot, and add the grated ginger until fragrant (yum!)

 

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Next add the turkey (or pork, or chicken) until brown and then add all the vegetables until combined.  Once you have that all mixed in add the sauce and let simmer for about 2 mins.

 

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Load up those lettuce leaves, top with sriracha and/or hoisin and enjoy . . . you’re welcome! 🙂

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PRINT RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tbsp ginger root, grated
  • 1 lb uncooked ground turkey (or pork or chicken)
  • 1 small container of white mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber peeled and seeded (diced)
  • 12 leaves of butter lettuce (or bibb lettuce)

Directions

  1.  In a small bowl mix the hoisin, sriracha and soy sauces – set aside.
  2. Using a food processor chop the mushrooms, bell pepper, and cucumber – put in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the sesame oil in a skillet until hot, add grated ginger until fragrant.
  4. Add ground turkey (or pork/chicken) and cook until brown.
  5. Add the vegetables to the turkey in the skillet until combined (about 1 to 2 mins), then add in the sauce until it’s all good and mixed in.
  6. Put turkey mixture in a bowl and serve in butter lettuce leaves, top with sriracha or hoisin and enjoy!

 

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Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry


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Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

I’ve been looking for a healthier stir fry option, and this recipe was delicious! This summer I have so struggled with taking time to make a menu plan each week, but when I noticed pre-cut stir fry veggies marked down to $1.49, I couldn’t pass them by.

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We used low sodium soy sauce along with a few other ingredients we had in the pantry, and this turned out perfectly.

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 If you need a yummy alternative to takeout when you don’t have much time to prep, this one’s for you! 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 
stir fry veggies – we used carrots, broccoli and snap peas

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Directions

  1. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, and corn starch in a small bowl and set aside.  Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper into the sauce.  Marinate the chicken in the sauce and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in your skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir carrots, broccoli, and snap peas just until tender (about 5 minutes). Remove vegetables from skillet and keep warm.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade, reserving liquid. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until slightly pink on the inside (about 2 minutes per side); add in the vegetables and reserved marinade. Bring to this all to a boil; cook and stir until chicken is done and vegetables are tender (about 5 to 7 minutes). Serve over rice (optional).

 

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Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

 

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Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi

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Note from Laurie ~ Shannon made this recipe and it looks delicious! I *love* being able to save by making restaurant-type meals at home, so this one’s definitely a winner.  

 

Publix had shrimp on sale Buy One Get One Free last week, so I decided to splurge and make this meal for Father’s Day.

 

The best part? 

 

It tastes just like Red Lobster’s Shrimp Scampi!  

 

Make it for a fraction of the cost of heading out to eat ~ well worth the effort.

 

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The first time I made this dish I purchased shrimp from Earthfare when it was on sale for $5 a pound.  I had never prepared shrimp before, so I knew nothing about it, and didn’t know to check for veined vs. deveined and peeled vs. not peeled.  So I had to call my best friend who makes shrimp all the time to ask her how to make it.

 

After a lot of stress and many photo swaps later, I managed to take care of it (and was so proud of myself!)  I learned a very important lesson . . . ALWAYS buy the deveined and peeled shrimp.  I told my husband it was so much easier to make this time. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

 

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 6 – 8 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon juice only (of use 1/2 cup of lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb of pasta

Directions

  1. Add olive oil to your skillet or sauté pan.
  2. Once the olive oil is warm, add shrimp and cook until tender (about 10 – 15 min). Reduce heat and remove shrimp and set aside (I just put mine in a bowl).
  3. In the same skillet add garlic, chicken broth and lemon, cooking on medium heat. Meanwhile, start cooking the pasta in a separate pot.
  4. Cook until broth is reduced by half. (around 10 – 15 minutes – but I am horrible at this part).
  5. Add Italian seasoning.
  6. Reduce heat to low and add butter.
  7. Add shrimp to the sauce then top with parsley and Parmesan cheese.
  8. Drain the pasta and top with the sauce. Yummy!
  9. Enjoy 🙂

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You may want to try Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits to go along with this dish!

 

 

Recipe adapted from BoymeetsBowl.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

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Ready for another slow cooker recipe? If you’d like ribs but don’t want to fire up the grill, these are a simple way to make them inside. So good, and you only need five ingredients . . . love that!

 

I think I’ve finally figured out ribs in the slow cooker (WOOHOO!)  After reading through a few suggestions on how to cook ribs in the crockpot, I made these today and they were perfect. 

 

And EASY. 

 

What more could a girl ask for? 🙂

 

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Here’s the trick:  do NOT just put the ribs in the slow cooker.

 

(I know, I know . . . that takes a little of the fun out of slow cooking, but I promise spending a few minutes to prepare those ribs in the morning will reward you with some fall-apart-heavenly ribs!) 

 

Allow just thirty minutes in the morning to pre-bake them in the oven, and then let your slow cooker to the rest of the cooking for you.  These were so good that my family declared them better than Logan’s Roadhouse, and liked them as much as our favorite rib recipe for the grill.

 

 

Yup, I was a rockstar at our house this week. 

 

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to be a rockstar today too. 🙂 

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Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Barbecue Sauce (we used Sweet Baby Rays)
  • 3-4 lbs. Pork Long Country Style Ribs, or Pork Sirloin Chops

Instructions

  1. Season ribs with salt, pepper and garlic salt.
  2. Bake at 350 in oven for 15 minutes, then turn ribs over and bake another 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer ribs to slow cooker (you may need to cut them to fit into Mrs. Potts!) 🙂
  4. Pour bottle of barbecue sauce over top of the ribs.
  5. Cook for 6-7 hours on low.
  6. Serve along with extra barbecue sauce (optional).

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Looking for more slow cooker recipes to add to your menu plan this week? Here you go . . .

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Greek Chicken Pasta

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So, this was my first attempt at a Mediterranean recipe (following the craziness we had two weeks ago ~ read more HERE.) I absolutely loved it, my kids didn’t love it so they stuck with pasta and grilled chicken, and my husband survived it but said it wasn’t all that bad.

 

 

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Not gonna lie ~ he’d choose Paula Deen’s fried chicken over Mediterranean Greek chicken any day.

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I thought it was fantastic though, so I’m sharing it. 🙂 It does have a lot of ingredients and isn’t the most penny pinched meal, but if you’re looking for a healthy option on the Mediterranean Diet, this one’s fantastic!

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Honestly the more I’m looking at recipes to try I think we’ll be sticking more and more to just whole foods eating (more fish, whole chicken, whole veggies, whole fruits ~ fewer carbs, and nothing processed), but I’m going to keep watching for Mediterranean recipes that look great along the way. I’m pretty convinced whole foods are the way to go (especially after following the 21 Day Fix for a few months), but always love trying new recipes out.

 

 

Greek Chicken Pasta

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  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lemons, wedged, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (boil for about 8-10 mins) and drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear (about 5 to 6 mins).
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low ~ add artichoke hearts, tomato, feta cheese, parsley, lemon juice, oregano, and cooked pasta. Cook and stir until heated through (about 2 to 3 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon wedges (optional) and enjoy!

 

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Looking for more chicken recipes?

 

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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21 Day Fix Chicken

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As many of you all know I’ve started a new round of the 21 Day Fix this week. And I’m thrilled that we have over 100 ladies joining us this time around. (I love that!)

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What I love about the 21 Day Fix is that the recipes are pretty simple, but doing a little prep work makes everything go so much easier, so making up a big batch of this 21 Day Fix chicken at the beginning of the week is a necessity around here.

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So on Monday nights I usually make a big batch of this chicken to serve for dinner (my family all loves it), then I refrigerate the chicken to use throughout the week. 

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Easy!

 

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Here’s the recipe so you can get 21-Day-Fixin’ too . . . 

21 Day Fix Chicken

PRINT RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
  • cooking spray
  • seasoning salt (Lawry’s is my favorite)

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Instructions

  1. Set oven to broil.
  2. Place chicken breast on broiling pan.
  3. Lightly (LIGHTLY) sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  4. Spray with cooking spray.
  5. Broil in oven for 4 minutes.
  6. Turn chicken tenderloins over.
  7. Sprinkle again very lightly with seasoning salt.
  8. Spray with cooking spray.
  9. Broil on high another 3-4 minutes, until cooked through.
  10. Once cooled, store refrigerated to have ready for salads throughout the week.

 

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21 Day Fix Counts

  • 1 red container

PRINT RECIPE

 

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Looking for more chicken recipes?

pppbruschettachickena

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Want to learn more about the 21 Day Fix? Go HERE to learn more about what we’re up to.

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Baked Chimichangas

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Here’s an easy recipe if your family loves Mexican like mine does!  This is what you’ll need . . .

 

 

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First, sauté the garlic, onions and pepper in a greased skillet over medium heat.

 

Then add in your turkey and spices until completely cooked.  Drain any excess fat from the pan and add in the tomato sauce and let simmer so all the flavors come together.

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Next, spoon the turkey mixture onto your tortilla, add some cheese and roll it up.

 

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Then start by folding in the sides and then roll away, place them seam side down on a greased baking sheet.

 

 

Spray them quickly with cooking spray or olive oil (to make the crisp up) and pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 mins.

 

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Yum!

 

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PRINT RECIPE

Baked Chimichangas

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Spray a pan with cooking spray (or use some olive oil) and add in the garlic, onions and peppers.
  2. Add the turkey or ground beef, chili powder, oregano, and cumin
  3. Break up the turkey or ground beef until browned and drain.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, bringing to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors are blended and the mixture thickens.
  6. Spoon the meat mixture onto each tortilla and top with the cheddar cheese.
  7. Fold in the sides and then roll to enclose the filling.
  8. Place the chimichangas seam-side down on a greased baking sheet.
  9. Lightly spray the tops of the tortillas with nonstick spray or olive oil.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees until golden , about 20 minutes and enjoy!

PRINT RECIPE

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Recipe adapted from Kitch Me. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

Looking for more Mexican inspired dishes?  Try these:

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Skinny Zucchini Quiche

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pppskinnyzucchiniquiche

Looking for a light side dish and/or main dish to add to your menu?  You’ve got to try this skinny zucchini quiche!  I was looking for something a little “lighter” to serve while my family was in town, and this worked perfectly.

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I am so. so. SO. glad I made it . . . because it was delicious.

and . . . 

 

it’s good for you too!

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The best part? 

 

Since it’s a meatless meal, not only will you skimp on calories, you’ll also skimp on price without sacrificing taste at all.

 

I love that. 🙂 

 

Here’s how to get started: 

 

Shred zucchini (I used three good sized zucchinis as I was making two quiches.) Since I was pressed for time, I just popped them in my Black & Decker Chopper (I love this thing!)

 

Squeeze as much water out of the zucchini as you can (I used my salad spinner which worked great!)

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Put all the ingredients except the eggs and zucchini in a bowl – then add the zucchini and pour the slightly beaten eggs on top.

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Mix it up until combined and pour that into a greased pie plate and pop it in the oven.

 

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. . . and you’re done!

 

Skinny Zucchini Quiche

PRINT RECIPERecipe adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients

  • 10 oz shredded zucchini (about 2 medium sized zucchinis – with as much liquid squeezed out as you can get)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup fat free milk
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in one large bowl.
  2. Add both cheeses, onions, chives, olive oil and zucchini to the dry mixture.
  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and pour on top of the ingredients.
  4. Mix well and pour into a greased pie plate.
  5. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes and let stand 5 minutes before serving ~ Enjoy!

PRINT RECIPE
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Looking for more recipes? Here are a few of our favorites:

Green Bean Casserole

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21 Day Fix Bruschetta Chicken

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Oh my word. 

This is some must-make-chicken.

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So. so. good. 

And?

It’s good for you too. 

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You’re welcome. 🙂 

One of the sweet girls that joined our 21 Day Fix group shared it from Fit Mom Angel D, and I was honestly so surprised that it was so yummy. (If you’re interested in joining the group, we’ll start a new round in mid-April.) It was absolutely fantastic, and just got added to our regular menu rotation even when we’re not 21-day-fixin’.

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(In fact, my 15 year old got home late from rugby practice and ooh’ed and aah’ed over the leftovers. Success!)

So, pull out your sharpest knife (I’ve heard rave reviews on these), and get ready to chop up some fresh tomatoes. You’ll be so glad you did!

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21 Day Fix Bruschetta Chicken

PRINT RECIPERecipe adapted from Fitmomangelad.

Ingredients

Bruschetta Topping

  • 6 medium roma tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2  1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese (I used about 1/4 cup – use more or less depending on your personal preference ~ I like the DiGiorno Parmesan cheese or Kroger Private Selection found in the dairy case best)

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Instructions

  1. Mix together bruschetta ingredients in bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Place chicken in gallon bag.
  3. Mix together remaining ingredients for chicken and pour over chicken.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, longer if you have time (overnight is best, but I only had one hour and it was still delicious!)
  5. Let chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat oven to 350.
  7. Place chicken in baking dish, discard marinade.
  8. Cook 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. (Can also grill chicken on grill if you prefer, 5  minutes per side.
  9. Serve bruschetta on top of chicken, garnish with a little extra Parmesan if desired. Can also serve over pasta.

21 Day Fix Counts

  • 4 oz chicken toped with 1/2 – 1 cup bruschetta salsa = 1 red, 1/2 green, 1/2 blue, and 1 tsp

 PRINT RECIPE

 

pppbruschettachickena

 

 

chili

Looking for more 21 Day Fix Recipes? Try out this 21 Day Fix Approved Black Bean Chili. 

 

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Black Bean Chili – 21 Day Fix Approved

chili
Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

We’re 3 days into the 21 Day Fix (I’m loving the group that’s joined me there!), and had to share a quick recipe we tried earlier this week!

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My husband loves chili, so I was determined to find a lightened up recipe that he would like. This was perfect (really, so good), and the best part was that we have leftovers to pack for lunches this week.

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Here’s how to get started . . . 

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Chili (makes 8 servings)

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PRINT RECIPE

 

21 DAY FIX SERVINGS: 1/2 green, 1 red, 1/2 yellow for 1 cup serving

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs raw 93% lean, ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green (or red) bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans (can also used pinto beans), drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can all-natural diced tomatoes, no sugar added (do not drain)
  • 1 (12 oz) can rotel (do not drain)
  • 12 fresh cilantro sprigs, finely chopped (optional, for garnish)
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Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and turkey and cook over medium high heat until turkey is cooked through and veggies are tender.
  3. Next, add cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper to saucepan.
  4. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add drained beans, Rotel and canned tomatoes with liquid.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  8. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Enjoy!

PRINT RECIPE

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Recipe adapted from Super NoVA Mom. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

Try more chili recipes here:

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Chili Colorado Burritos

 

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PF Changs Copykat Recipe: Mongolian Beef

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You. guys.

 

You have got to make this. 

 

Oh my word.

 

So, so good. 

 

I decided to try it out Saturday after hunting down a decent recipe, and I could have licked up the skillet (if I wasn’t still 21 Day Fixin’ most of the time!)

 

Hands down the best skillet recipe I’ve ever tried.

You’re welcome. 🙂 

 

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Here we go . . .

PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef Copykat Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium orange pepper, cut in 2″ long strips

 

Directions

  1. Cut beef into thin strips.
  2. In bowl, mix together cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, and sugar. 
  3. Over high heat in skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir fry beef until browned in 2 batches, remove beef from skillet.
  4. Add tablespoon olive oil to skillet and add in cabbage or broccoli slaw, peppers, and green onions.
  5. Stir fry veggies over medium heat until tender-crisp, remove from skillet and set aside. 
  6. Add in cornstarch mixture and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly.
  7. Return meat, and veggies to skillet or wok and heat through.
  8. Serve with rice & enjoy!

PRINT RECIPE

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Adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

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Skinny 7 Layer Dip

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You guys.

 

This is for you.

 

With Super Bowl Sunday right around the corner, I knew I needed to find a yummy appetizer on a skinny-slimmed up diet.
(Still working on the 21 Day Fix over here!)

 

It’s so simple, pretty penny pinched, and yummy too.

 

Honestly, the bulk of your calories on a dip come from the chips, so if you can serve it with celery you’ll skip a few calories too.

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Skinny 7 Layer Dip

PRINT RECIPEskinny7layerdip1

Ingredients:

8 oz container fat-free sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional ~ I did not include cilatro)
1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning
5 dashes hot pepper sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 cups shredded lettuce or broccoli slaw (I used broccoli slaw to add in a little better veggies)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (11 ounce) cans Mexican-style corn, drained
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 Roma (plum) tomato, chopped

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Directions:

  • In small bowl, mix sour cream, garlic, cilantro, taco seasoning, hot pepper sauce and half of the lemon juice until blended
  • Spread shredded lettuce or broccoli slaw over a 12-inch serving platter.
  • Next layer on black beans
  • Top with can of drained Mexican-style corn
  • Then top with sour cream mixture
  • Layer salsa on top of the sour cream mixture
  • Top with Mexican cheese, black olives, green onions, and tomato.
  • Serve cold with chips.

PRINT RECIPE

Super bowlsplurges (1)

Take a look at these 12 lightened up Super Bowl Splurges.

 

And, if you’re looking for a few more Super Bowl favorites that aren’t quite so healthy, 🙂 here you go . . .

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders

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I was completely scared off the first time I made these after reading through the ingredients, however since our pantry always has a few bottles of Frank’s Hot Sauce (because my hubby is addicted to Buffalo Chicken Dip), I decided to try them out a few years ago, and now they’re on our regular dinner rotation.

Here’s a quick warning though:  this recipe is just a wee bit on the spicy side (obviously!), so if you tend to shy away from spicy foods try out these yummy-slow-cooker-not-spicy-at-all barbecue sandwiches. 😉

To pinch those pennies on dry ranch packets, we use this homemade mix.

I’m super excited because not only is this good for you, you can seriously pinch some pennies on this recipe this week. Check this out:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast $1.67/lb this week at Fresh Thyme or Sprouts
  • $.50/1 Frank’s Red Hot Sauce coupon should make it around 9¢ if your store doubles, 59¢ without coupon doubles
  • Watch for rolls on clearance ~ I lucked into those whole wheat dinner rolls at Kroger for just $.88 and they were perfect

 

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders

PRINT RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 10 oz. Frank’s Hot Sauce (use $.50/1 Frank’s Hot Sauce coupon)
  • 1 dry ranch dressing packet
  • 1 package dinner Rolls (our favorite are King’s Hawaiian Rolls)
  • ranch dressing for topping

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in crockpot.
  2. Mix together ranch seasoning and hot sauce, pour over the meat.
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  4. Shred chicken, and slice buns in half.
  5. Add chicken to buns, drizzle with ranch dressing.
  6. Enjoy!

 PRINT RECIPE

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Need a slow cooker to get started? Here are a few decent deals on Amazon:

 

See more Slow Cooker recipes HERE.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE, and don’t miss this penny-pinched collection of Slow Cooker Recipes!

 

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Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore

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Looking for a twist on plain old chicken cacciatore? Here you go!

 

After scoring a great price on pork chops last week at Fresh Thyme, I had to come up with something to actually do with them.

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And while normally I’d grill them or bake them, I came across this recipe and decided to try it out. (My husband loves any type of spaghetti and I haven’t made it in ages.)

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This was so good, and easy. I did brown the pork chops ahead of time but several commenters shared that they skipped that step and it worked out fine too ~ easy way to make a different meal and have it all ready early in the day for a busy weeknight!

 

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Here’s how to get started . . . 

 

Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 18 oz jar pasta sauce
  • 18 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced (I omitted them because I didn’t have any, but they would have been so good!)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese (substituted with shredded Mozzarella)

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Directions

  1. Lightly brown pork chops in olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Place pork chops in slow cooker.
  3. Cook onion same pan over medium heat until browned.
  4. Add in mushrooms and bell pepper, cook until these vegetables are tender.
  5. Add in pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, and white wine or chicken broth.
  6. Season with Italian seasoning, basil, and garlic.
  7. Cover pork chops with tomato sauce.
  8. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  9. Serve over cooked pasta, and top with mozzarella cheese. Enjoy!

 

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Love slow cooker recipes? Here are 5 reasons you need to use your slow cooker every single week + 17 recipes to help you get started. 

 

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And if you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, this one has fantastic reviews!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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6 Can Chicken Tortilla Soup

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You guys.


 

I LOVED this recipe.

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And, since I’m doing the 21 Day Fix right now (so far, so good!), I’m even more excited because it’s (for the most part) 21 Day Fix approved!

 

YUM.

 

I pre-cooked a ton of chicken that I got last week on sale (y’all, making it myself saved me a bundle), but you can use canned chicken or make it yourself too. Super simple, and if you want to make it a little more “man” approved, add some sour cream and tortilla chips.

 

Perfection!

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Easy Peasy Chicken Tortilla (6 Can) Soup

Ingredients

 

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Directions

  • Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies.
  • Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.
  • Or, pour it all in slow cooker and cook on low for a few hours.
  • Enjoy!

21 Day Fix equivalents – makes 4-6 servings, 1 serving = 1/2 purple, 1 yellow, 1 red (make sure to use enough to chicken to count as a full serving of chicken

 

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Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

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slowcookerwhitechickenchili

I love me some white chicken chili.

 

Like really, L.O.V.E. it. 

 

And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, you can easily swap out leftover turkey with chicken too.  I made up this pot last week for dinner, and loved that we had plenty for leftovers for dinner, plus I ate it for lunch all week too. Yum!

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Here’s how to get started . . . 

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili (makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz can chicken broth
  • 14 oz can navy beans
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • (2) 14 oz. cans white corn
  • (2) 4 oz cans cohpped green chiles
  • (4) 14 oz cans navy beans, rinsed & drained
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Directions

  1. Add chicken to slow cooker.
  2. Cover with remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook on low 7-8 hours.
  4. Remove chicken and shred.
  5. Return chicken to slow cooker.
  6. Cook an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
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5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Love slow cooker recipes? Here are 5 reasons you need to use your slow cooker every single week + 17 recipes to help you get started. 

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.54.40 AM

 

And if you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, this one has fantastic reviews!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

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This is one of those meals we hardly ever have at our house, but it’s my husband’s favorite so I  made it this week. (Honestly, he likes this one even better but using my slow cooker once a week is oh-so-worth it so I decided to make the slow cooker version instead.)

If you need a super easy meal mixed up in 5 minutes, this one’s for you. Such a great way to get dinner done in a pinch!

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken & Dressing

Ingredients

  1. 1 can cream of chicken soup (reduced fat is fine)
  2. 4 – 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 4 the last time and for our family of 5 that wasn’t nearly enough – will definitely add in 6 next time!)
  3. 1 1/4 cup water
  4. 1/4 cup margarine, melted (I’m betting you could use just a tablespoon if you’d like to reduce the calories)
  5. 6 oz. package dressing

Directions

  1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of the crockpot (frozen chicken breast is fine also, you may just want to add a little extra cooking time but I think it makes the meat more tender)
  2. Pour soup on top of the chicken breast.
  3. Mix together melted margarine and water.  Stir in dressing.
  4. Pour dressing mixture over the chicken and soup.
  5. Cook on low for four hours in the crockpot.
  6. Serve.

 

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Love slow cooker recipes? Here are 5 reasons you need to use your slow cooker every single week + 17 recipes to help you get started. 

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

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chicken-fajitas

Like I shared Monday, I love my slow cooker. Mrs. Potts requires me to plan ahead, and guarantees that we have something yummy for dinner on the nights when I’m willing to pull her out of her cupboard. 🙂

 

And having dinner done in less than 10 minutes is such a gift around here. If you need a night off from really cooking, this recipe’s for you. The best part is that it makes a bunch, so odds are you can serve it as fajitas one night, then hang onto the leftovers to make Chicken Nachos later in the week (that’s our plan for tomorrow night.) Love that! Here’s the recipe so you can get slow cooking to . . .

slowcookerchickenfajitas

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 large peppers (I used 2 green and one red), cut into strips
  • 3/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 2 packages fajita seasoning mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 16 10-inch flour tortillas
  • fajita toppings – shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole

Directions

  1. Put chicken in slow cooker.
  2. Add onion and peppers.
  3. In bowl, mix salsa, fajita seasoning mix, and cayenne pepper. Pour over chicken.
  4. Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours.
  5. Shred chicken with a fork.
  6. Serve over tortillas and add toppings, then save leftovers for chicken nachos or taco salad. Enjoy!

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Looking for more reasons to use your slow cooker? Check out these 5 reasons to use your slow cooker every week, including 17 more recipes to get you started!

 Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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5 Reasons You Need to Use Your Slow Cooker Every Single Week

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

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Update: Today (8/26/16), Amazon has this Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker on sale for $39.99, which is the lowest price I’ve seen it at! Go HERE to check it out. 

I was just dumping dinner in Mrs. Potts (I love her . . . ) and was reminded once again of all the reasons I love slow cooking. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it completely limits your options to go over your budget.

 

Of course, because it seems like everything online has to start with a list these days (I’ll never understand why, but since it works I’m sticking with it. . .), here are my top 5 reasons to use my slow cooker every single week. (And why you should too!)

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1. It’s easy.

Most slow cooker recipes require 5-10 minutes of prep work, so you can get dinner started early in the day with just a few minutes of planning. I rarely (ever?) pre-cook my meat ahead of time, and it always turns out well!

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(Um, that may not be true. I sometimes cook ground beef ahead of time, unless I remember to use this slow cooker ground beef recipe the day before to cook the meat. It just depends on how much of a hurry I’m in!)

2. It’s cheap.

Most slow cooker recipes use inexpensive meats, and because you’re cooking them over the course of a day they have plenty of time to tenderize. My slow cooker recipes cost so much less than just about anything else I make, and we eat better than if we headed out to a restaurant.

 

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3. It forces me to plan ahead.

Using my slow cooker once a week forces me to plan my meals ahead so that I know what to dump in Mrs. Potts at least once a week. Because we have 3 or 4 favorite slow cooker recipes that require 5 or fewer ingredients, I always have the ingredient list for those items tucked away in my head and can easily run into the store and grab them. (In case I don’t already have them on hand in my kitchen . . . usually I try to keep those recipes stocked though!)

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4. It ensures that we skip the drive thru.

This is probably my absolute favorite reason to use the slow cooker, and I can’t stress to you the importance of this one enough. When 6 o’clock rolls around and my family is all begging for dinner, having a meal already cooking in Mrs. Potts easily keeps my budget in tact.

If dinnertime comes and I don’t have anything planned, the temptation to eat dinner out (or eat pb&j sandwiches for dinner . . . again . . . ) often takes over. But if my kitchen smells yummy and dinner’s already done, eating at home just becomes the easy choice.

 

ranch chicken tacos

5. It’s forgiving.

Probably more than any other method of cooking, slow cooker recipes are just forgiving. If I’m out of a certain seasoning or spice I can usually swap it out with something else or skip it entirely, and no one will ever know the difference.

 

UPDATE: Reason #6 🙂 It makes your home smell good, which makes you feel good too.

I love this. 🙂 Coming home to my home smelling yummy and dinner being done just makes me feel ahead of the game. In so many other areas I’m so not on top of things, that it just feels good to know I have it together in one small area of my life (and my family appreciates it too.)

 

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Curious what our family’s favorite slow cooker recipes are? Here you go:

  1. Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sliders
  2. Slow Cooked Chicken & Dumplings
  3. Slow Cooked Italian Beef
  4. Slow Cooked French Dip Sliders
  5. Slow Cooked Chicken Tortilla Soup
  6. Slow Cooked Creamy Italian Chicken
  7. Ranch House Slow Cooked Pork Chops
  8. Slow Cooked Chicken & Dressing
  9. Rotisserie Style Chicken
  10. Open Faced Sirloin Sandwich
  11. Perfect Slow Cooked Pot Roast
  12. Slow Cooker Chicken Minestrone Soup
  13. Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos
  14. Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
  15. Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup
  16. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili 
  17. Taco Meat in the Slow Cooker
  18. JUST ADDED: 6 Can 21 Day Fix Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

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And in case you’re wondering what slow cooker I use, I have this one (which honestly I wouldn’t recommend – it cooks very quickly and there are better prices on higher quality slow cookers out there.) Here are a few great slow cookers though that are priced reasonably right now:

 

Do you love using your slow cooker too? I’d love to hear your favorite slow cooker recipes in the comments – leave a comment to share!
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4 Ingredient Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Note – mine turned out very brown ~ I think because of the cinnamon? I did use lemon juice which should have kept it from browning, but added a little more cinnamon than some recipes called for because we love cinnamon at our house. Would love to hear if yours turns out that color or if it’s lighter!

 

I’m so excited about this! Over the weekend I shared over on Facebook that I was trying my hand at homemade apple sauce, and it worked. I’d tried to make it years ago (but it may have been apple butter that I tried to make? I’m old. I can’t remember. ahem.) But whatever it was, I burned it completely and just about chargrilled Mrs. Potts by baking her in blackened-apple-crusty-this-is-a-disaster-stuff.

 

But when I found apples for $.59/lb. last week, I decided to try it out again. I was thrilled with how yummy it turned out ~ served warm or cold it’s just the best.

 

(My family claimed it almost as good as Cracker Barrel ~ high praise around here.) 🙂

 

If you’re trying to determine a decent price on apples to make any apple recipes (like Apple Cake, Apple Dumplings, Skillet Apple Pie, Snickers Apple Saladwhatever), aim to pay less between $.50-$.80/lb. during the fall season. And if you’re lucky enough to live near an apple orchard (or have a friend who has an apple tree), this is a great time to stock up!

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Here’s how to get cooking . . .

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 4 Ingredient Homemade Slow Cooker ApplesauceIngredients

  • 4 lbs tart apples, peeled and cored (I use this peeler/corer – it makes this recipe so much easier!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

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Directions

  1. Mix apples, cinnamon, and sugar and place in the slow cooker.
  2. Add water and lemon juice.
  3. Cook on low 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and mashing with a fork depending on how “mashed” you want them to be. My slow cooker cooks very quickly and mine were just about ready at 3 hours, so I turned them to the “warming” option on my slow cooker and let them cook another 2 hours.
  4. Serve warm or cold – yum!

 

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Looking for a few apple recipes? Here are our favorites:

4ingredientapplesauce4

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The Simplest Way To Roast a Whole Chicken

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Okie dokie ladies (and whatever gents are awesome enough to read this slightly girlie site . . . ) 🙂

 

Today we’re going to roast a whole chicken.

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I know it’s gross. I know touching uncooked-chicken-skin is n.a.s.t.y. 

 

But, I have full confidence that you can do this.

 

(Because if I can do it? Anyone can. For real.)

 

It’s so not my favorite way to deal with meat. But it’s penny pinched. And relatively simple. And really, you are a seriously amazing chick.

 

You can do this.

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Let’s roast a chicken.

 

Ready? 🙂

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Here’s what you’ll need: 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 whole chicken (I usually look for the largest one I can find)

Directions

  1. In small bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry.
  3. Place whole chicken in slow cooker (be sure to remove the package of giblets from inside the bird prior to cooking)
  4. Rub seasoning mixture into chicken.
  5. Cook on low 5-8 hours, until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Remove from slow cooker.
  6. If you’d like to brown the skin a bit, cook under broiler in oven for about 5 minutes, until skin is golden brown.

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In case you’re wondering, my stock up price on whole chicken is $.99/lb ~ if I can’t find it at that price I’ll choose boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.99/lb because I feel like I get more meat that way. I typically make one or two whole chickens at a time (if I’m making two I use my larger slow cooker) then freeze the meat for casseroles, soups or stews. It really is simple, and the meat just tastes so. good.

You’ll never settle for a Costco, Publix, or Kroger Rotisserie chicken again.

You’re welcome. 😉

And if you have a little more energy and will be home all day, try out this fantastic recipe for roast sticky chicken in the oven too. You’ve got this!

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If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE.

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Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rollups

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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This is one of my family’s favorite recipes, and when a friend mentioned their family made it last week I couldn’t wait to get it back on the menu plan!

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It’s easy, quick, and perfect on a busy night. You can definitely skip the jarred alfredo sauce and make it from scratch, but we were in a hurry this week so I took advantage of the Kroger Mega Sale on Private Selection Products (and made my life a wee bit easier.) 🙂

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And on a totally random note, if you’re not following a menu plan, can I just encourage you to try? After just a few days of decent dinners at home because I spent 10 minutes planning our menu this Monday our home has almost instantly run smoother. Go HERE to see what we’re planning this week, and see dozens of menu planning lists that we’ve used before over HERE.



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Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rollups

Ingredients

  1. 12 lasagna noodles
  2. 2 jars alfredo sauce (or make from scratch ~ see recipe below)
  3. 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  4. oregano
  5. garlic salt
  6. 3 cups shredded mozzarella

 

Directions

  • Spray 9×12 pan with cooking spray and cover the bottom of the pan with 3/4 cup alfredo sauce.
  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, until al dente.
  • Drain & rinse noodles in cold water, then lay out noodles to fill.

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  1. Spread about 2 tbs. alfredo sauce on each noodle. Then sprinkle with a little garlic salt, oregano add shredded chicken, and about 3 tbs. of mozzarella.
  2. Carefully roll up lasagna starting at one end, and place in pan seam side down.  (This is a little messy, but you can do it!)

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  • Pour remaining alfredo sauce over the top, then add the rest of the cheese.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

 

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Homemade Garlic Alfredo Sauce (this recipe is just delicious!)Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 2 oz. cream cheese
  3. 2 cups heavy cream or half and half (we used half and half, which made the sauce a little bit thinner but was worth it to save the calories)
  4. 2 tsp. garlic powder
  5. 1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
  6. salt & pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 2/3 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

  1.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add fresh minced garlic, then cook for one minute.
  2. Add cream cheese & whisk until smooth and cream cheese has melted.
  3. Whisk in heavy cream.
  4. Season with garlic powder, salt & pepper, and bring sauce to a simmer while whisking frequently.
  5. Continue to heat and whisk sauce together until sauce thickets, which will take around 15 minutes.  (Mine never really thickened much while on the stove, but I used half and half, which might have been the problem!  It did thicken some once I removed it from the heat.)
  6. Stir in parmesan, then remove from heat to serve.

 

Recipe adapted from Mmm…cafe. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

 

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Quesadilla Casserole

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Oh my gracious.

 

This recipe was sooooo good.

 

Like, really, really delicious.

 

Honestly, when I pulled it out of the oven it didn’t look all that appetizing, but goodness gracious it was fantastic!

In fact, my husband was even highly impressed (and he’s always my toughest critic.) 

 

Here’s the recipe so you can impress your family too ~ yum! 😉

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Quesadilla Casserole

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef over medium high heat, drain fat from skillet.
  2. Add in tomato sauce, black beans, Rotel, corn, and green chiles. Then add in additional seasonings and cook on low 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup beef mixture to bottom of baking dish.
  4. Then layer 3 tortillas, spread another 1/2 cup beef mixture.
  5. Sprinkle cheese over beef.
  6. Add another layer of tortillas, another layer of beef mixture, and another layer of cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  8. Cool 5 minutes & enjoy!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Nacho Bake

I love a good crock pot recipe that doesn’t require any prep work . . . and try really hard to find those most  of the time, but sometimes that’s awfully hard to do with ground beef recipes!  However, I’ve found that during the school year my afternoons are the busiest part of my days,so I’m more than happy to do a little prep work in the morning if it saves me big work when the craziness hits around here.

 

So, while this isn’t the easiest slow cooker recipe ever, it requires less than 20 minutes of prep work, which can be done on your own schedule. If you don’t have time to brown the beef in the morning, just brown the beef the night before and then throw in the crockpot heading out in the morning.  And, enjoy a yummy plate of nachos when you get home!

 

Slow Cooker Nacho Bake

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
  2. 1 can refried beans (we were out of these, so I left them out!)
  3. 1 can red kidney beans, undrained
  4. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  5. 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  6. 1 cup salsa
  7. 1/2 cup water
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  10. tortilla chips 
  11. Shredded Cheese
  12. Extra toppings (we used lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green onions, salsa and sour cream)

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef in skillet on stove.  Drain off any grease.
  2. Add ground beef, refried beans, kidney beans, tomato paste, taco seasoning, water, and garlic powder to crockpot.
  3. Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Arrange chips in the bottom of a large baking sheet.
  6. Spoon meat mixture over tortilla chips.
  7. Top with cheese and tomato.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  9. Top with extra toppings, and enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted Full Bellies Happy Kids.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings
Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

 

Of all the recipes I’ve posted here on Passionate Penny Pincher, these Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings (and of course everyone’s favorite Italian Beef) are consistently the ones people mention to me, and I notice folks searching for them almost daily on PPP. My kids love them and would happily eat them once a week if I’d make them that often!

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These are just so easy, and while I love to make these homemade Chicken and Dumplings (so good too!), you can’t beat these for a busy weeknight. (You can also try out this Chicken & Dumpling Casserole  . . . can you tell we like some Chicken & Dumplings around here?) 😉

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If you have extra time you could make your own cream of chicken soup, and even use homemade biscuit doughThis recipe is super adaptable, and some yummy comfort food if your family loves chicken and dumplings like my bunch does. Here’s the recipe so you can get started . . .

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds chicken breast
  • 2 10 oz cans cream of chicken soup (can substitute with homemade cream of chicken soup)
  • 1 10 oz. can chicken broth (I use bouillon cubes ~ 1 small bouillon cube to 10 oz water)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 10 0z cans inexpensive biscuits cut in quarters

Directions

  1. Place chicken breast, soup, broth, water, salt, garlic powder, pepper & onion in crockpot.
  2. Cook on low six to seven hours.
  3. 1 hours before dinner time, add quartered biscuits to crockpot. (I use kitchen scissors to cut the biscuits.)
  4. Gently stir in biscuits so that they’re covered.
  5. Cook one more hours on low. Enjoy!

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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We made this recipe from Eat at Home Cooks two weeks ago and I loved it, so much so that while visiting my in-laws I made it for them again last night! It’s such an easy way to cook up a bunch of veggies, and since the sauce is gluten free (my mother-in-law eats a gluten free diet), we easily cooked up gluten free pasta to make a simple gluten free meal for her too.

 

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I’ve just about decided it’s my new go-to simple crockpot meal because it tastes great, and there’s just nothing like coming home to a home smelling like a yummy Italian meal. It’s an easy way to change out every day spaghetti, and we’ll definitely add it to our menu plan at least once a month!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore (adapted from Eat at Home Cooks)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds frozen chicken tenders
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 sliced green pepper
  • 1 sliced red pepper
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb cooked pasta

Directions

  1. Place frozen chicken in the bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Add sliced onion and green peppers on top of the chicken.
  3. Mixed together crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper, then pour sauce over chicken and veggies.
  4. Cook on low 7 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  5. Serve over pasta with fresh parmesan cheese and enjoy!

 

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze

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Oh my goodness this recipe is sooooo good and super easy!  This has quickly become one of my favorite meat dishes, and I don’t even like pork all that much. 🙂

 

 

This is great to throw in the crockpot on a busy day, then come home and finish up the glaze while getting ready for dinner. I’d love to hear if you try it, definitely a new favorite at our house!

 

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Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage or thyme (we used thyme)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Mix together the salt, pepper, garlic, and sage or thyme.
  2. Rub over tenderloin.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water to slow cooker, place tenderloin in slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. An hour before the roast is finished, mix together the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan.
  6. Cook over medium heat and stir about 4 minutes, until mixture thickens.
  7. Brush roast with the glaze sauce every 20 minutes for the last hour of cooking.
  8. Serve with remaining glaze on the side - enjoy!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2015/06/slow-cooker-brown-sugar-pork-tenderloin-with-balsamic-glaze/

 

Looking for more Slow Cooker Recipes? Here are a few more favorites . . .

Adapted from Laura Sweet Spot! If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Red Robin Whiskey River Barbecue Chicken Wrap

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Not sure this qualifies as real cooking, but if you’re in a hurry and need a quick meal this week, this recipe is perfect. My friend Shannon keeps reminding me about it, so I figured it was time to update the recipe and picture from when I originally posted it way back in 2012. 😉

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Grill the chicken yourself of make life easy on a busy night like I did and take advantage of pre-cooked chicken. Either way dinner will be done fast, and your family will love it! Here you go . . .

 

Mix together equal parts barbecue sauce and ranch dressing and warm chicken up in microwave.

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Add chicken to wrap.

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Then add lettuce,

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and onions (red onions are my favorite.)

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Sprinkle with cheese . . . img_2070

Top with tortilla chips or French’s onions.

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Drizzle with ranch dressing and barbecue sauce mixture,

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Wrap it all up . . .
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And enjoy!

Red Robin Whiskey River Barbecue Chicken Wrap

Ingredients

  • 1 package flour tortillas (we use the Mission Spinach variety)
  • 1 cup cooked and sliced chicken breast (to make life easy I used pre-cooked Tyson Grilled & Ready Strips, but you could easily make them yourself – try out this chicken marinade!)
  • 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 red onion
  • tortilla strips or French’s onions we used stockpiled French’s onions
  • bacon (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix together barbecue sauce and ranch dressing, set aside.
  2. Chop onion.
  3. Warm chicken according to package directions and cook bacon.
  4. Add lettuce, chicken, bacon, cheese, onion, and tortilla strips to wrap.
  5. Drizzle with barbecue sauce dressing mixture, and enjoy!

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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20 Slow Cooker Sandwich Recipes

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You all know I love (seriously, adore) Mrs. Potts (aka, my crockpot), so I thought it would be fun to share 10 slow cooker sandwich recipes to make cooking easy in the summertime!

 

While I love Mrs. Potts in the winter for roasts, soups, and stews, in the summertime it’s nice to have something simple cooking up to because we’re usually out and about, and it keeps us eating at home when dinner’s already cooking up throughout the day. Many of these can also be cooked and then served over a baked potato (one of our favorite ways to enjoy them) or even in a taco shell, so there are all kind of fun options out there!

 

If you’re looking for more recipes to try out in you crock pot, head on over HERE.

Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sliders

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

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Crock Pot Asian Sliders from Crock Pot Ladies

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Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Root Beer Barbecue

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French Dip  with Horeseradish White Cheddar from A Thrifty Mom

Crockpot Sloppy Joes

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

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Shredded  Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches from 5 Dollar Dinners

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

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Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches with Creamy Slaw from Eat at Home Cooks

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Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken Recipe from Time2Save Workshops

Slow Cooker Ham  Swiss Cheese Sandwiches

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Slow Cooker Meatball Subs from Sincerely Mindy

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Slow Cooker Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sliders

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Teriyaki Sliders from House of Yum

Slow Cooker Open Faced Sirloin Sandwich

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Crock Pot Pizza Burgers from Recipes that CrockScreen Shot 2015-05-13 at 9.45.00 AM

Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteaks from Mormon Time Out

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Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches from Valerie’s Kitchen

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Honey Hoisin Chicken Sandwiches from Pocket Change Gourmet

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 Crock Pot Grinders from Full Bellies Happy Kids

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Slow Cooker Beef Gyros from Eat at Home Cooks

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Do you have any other slow cooker sandwich recipes that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your ideas ~ leave a comment to share (I love hearing from you!)

 

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