Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

Monday, July 31, 2017

This is one  of those go-to recipes I use when I really do not want to cook, but  I know that I will be  even more inclined not to cook as the day goes on. Every now and then I am a total sucker for convenience foods. In fact, I always make sure I have packets of italian salad dressing mix and a can or two of Healthy Choice reduced fat cream of chicken soup on hand so I can make this meal on days like today.  I first had this chicken stroganoff almost 12   years ago when our youngest child was born. A friend from our church brought us over   chicken stroganoff ,and my  husband and older sons loved it. So it became a favorite meal very quickly. I love that it is so versatile.You can add mushrooms ,onions,  or even broccoli florets.You could also use sour cream instead of the cream cheese. Or use  both to make it super rich. It can easily be doubled for a larger family. I use reduced  fat  cream of chicken soup  and cream cheese. Who doesn't love a tasty, kid friendly meal that cooks in the crock pot all day?

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed

 2 T butter

1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

1 (8 ounce) package  reduced fat cream cheese (or you can use sour cream)

1 (10.75 ounce) can reduced fat condensed cream of chicken soup


Put chicken, butter and dressing mix in slow cooker; mix together and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.

In a bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and soup. Pour over the chicken and cook on high for another 1/2 hour or until heated through and warm.

Serve  with rice ,egg noodles or  pasta of your choice.

Smokey Paprika Roasted Potatoes

Monday, July 24, 2017


Easy Weeknight Korean Beef

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This is a tried and true recipe that everyone in my household loves. Korean Beef. This is not authentic korean beef. But the flavors are close , even with it being Americanized. Sweet, spicy carmelized ground beef over steamed rice. So good. And it is so quick to put together and inexpensive to make. You can always add steamed veggies to the meat to make it more substantial. If I have fresh broccoli or cauliflower , I will usually serve it on the side. But it is just as good without the veggies. 1/4 c of brown sugar is enough for us ( and a scant one at that) , but you can add up to 1/2 c if you like the meat a bit sweeter. You can sub  the Sriracha sauce for crushed red pepper. I usually use the crushed red pepper, but my husband prefers the Sriracha. There are never any leftovers with this one.

Weeknight Korean Beef
1 lb lean ground beef
1 T vegetable oil
3 T brown sugar
1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper (or Sriracha sauce,to taste)
1 bunch green onions

1.Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and garlic. Brown an drain off the fat.
2.Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, black pepper and crushed red pepper ( or sriracha sauce). Simmer for a few minutes to heat through, stirring well.
3. Serve overrice and top with sliced green onions.


Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Florentine Pasta Sauce

Monday, July 17, 2017

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Ladies and gentlemen, you have been warned! This is a recipe that you will go back to and make for years to come! I have a few spaghetti sauces in my arsenal, like this one that my nana made in humongous batches when I was growing up. I make both of these sauces quite frequently , but this one is a quick, no fuss recipe that is perfect for weeknight meals. It is just that easy to whip up and not have to worry about dinner.Just brown the sausage and dump the ingredients into a slow cooker to simmer all day. Add it to your favorite pasta, pop in a loaf of garlic bread to crisp up in the oven and toss a quick salad and dinner is done.  The spinach in it is awesome! And...if you have picky eaters who eat by sight and you think that the spinach with deter them.... it cooks down and turns dark , so it blends in with the sausage and the tomato sauce. They won't be able to pick out the green stuff! Score one for mom !!!! Woot woot! (Just don't let them watch you drain the spinach and put it in the pot. ;) * You can sub the hot italian sausage with sweet sausage or a milder version. We like the hot variety. Whatever works for you. Happy Eating!!!!~Liz

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Florentine Pasta
2 lbs ground hot italian sausage
2 jars your favorite pasta sauce ( I use Classico brand  )
1 10oz frozen package spinach, thawed,drained and squeezed dry
1 box pasta , cooked al dente
grated parmesan cheese , optional
In a medium skillet, cook the sausage until cooked through and crumbly (drain fat if needed
Place cooked sausage in the slow cooker and add the two jars of pasta sauce.
After you thaw the spinach, squeeze it a few times to drain the juice and then place between paper towels to dry it out. Then add the spinach to the sauce and meat in the slow cooker.
Stir well to combine and cook on low 5-6 hours or high 2-4.
Spoon sauce over cooked pasta and sprinkle on grated parmesan cheese. (optional)
Serve immediately.

Smokey Mountain Chicken

This is one of those oh so easy chicken recipes that my family loves. Gooey cheese, barbecue sauce and spices...who wouldn't love it! The chicken comes out moist and flavorful every time. You can use any barbecue sauce , we prefer Sweet Baby Ray's. And I have used thick sliced colby jack and sharp cheddar and they both are awesome. I actually prefer the sharp cheddar, but the kids prefer the colby jack. Easy weeknight meal that is good enough to serve guests.  *note- the recipe calls for chopped tomato as well as green onion for garnish. I forgot to buy a fresh tomato for this meal, so I skipped it. But on any other day, it would be on top!

Smokey Mountain Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian-style seasoning
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
12 slices bacon
4 slices Colby Jack cheese
1/8 cup chopped green onion for topping
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Season with pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning to taste. Bake seasoned chicken in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through and juices run clear.
3. When chicken is done, remove from oven and pour on barbecue sauce. Layer each breast with 3 slices of bacon  , then a slice of cheese. Return to oven and continue to bake for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and top with chopped green onions and tomatoes.

{ Summer Squash Bread }

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

 I  made 6 loaves of this yummy bread to freeze and two to eat for the next few days. I love this bread. Very like zucchini bread, but so pretty with yellow specks throughout! It freezes so well and is good toasted and buttered for breakfast. Great way  to use yellow squash!

Summer Squash Bread
2 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups yellow summer squash, peeled and grated
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans.In a large bowl, beat the eggs well.Add the oil, sugar, squash and vanilla. Cream all together until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat until well blended. Pour batter into two loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 1 hour, or until the center comes out clean with a toothpick.

Grilled Sausage & Shrimp Foil Packets

Monday, July 10, 2017

It has been so hot in the afternoons here in WV . Summer is definitely in full swing. Yesterday was one of those lazy days when all my husband wanted to do was lay around, catch up on sleep and not even worry about dinner. He suggested we make these foil packets for the grill so we wouldn't have to heat up the kitchen. We make these often , but usually just with salt and pepper for seasoning. He added creole seasoning before we closed up the packets for grilling, and they were perfect. And the cleanup, super easy. My kind of dinner.

                                         Grilled Sausage & Shrimp Foil Packets

4 corn on the cob, each cut into thirds
8 -10 potatoes, washed and cut into fourths
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb andouille sausage , cut into 1" rounds
1/4 c chicken broth
4 T butter, divided
creole seasoning , to taste ( I used Zatarin's brand)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat grill.
2. cut 4 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil into 12"x 18" and lay each on a flat surface.
3. Evenly distribute the corn, potatoes, shrimp and sausage between the 4 squares. Dot each packet with 1 T butter , a drizzle or two of chicken broth, and salt, pepper and creole seasoning to taste.
4. Tightly fold up and seal the packets.
5. Grill for about 30-35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the sausage and shrimp are cooked through.
* Be careful opening the packets. steam will escape and it will be very hot!

Chicken with Broccoli & Mushrooms

Friday, July 7, 2017

I try to make my weekly dinner menu a bit diverse so that we don't get bored with the same dozen or so meals over and over. My kids , thankfully, are open to new foods , so I try to mix it up for us a few times a month. One of our favorites is Chinese food. We do not have a very good choice of Chinese take out in the town where we live, so I make as many dishes as I can at home to satisfy our cravings. This Chicken with Broccoli and Mushrooms is a great meal that tastes great and is kid friendly. No strong flavors  to weird them out. I always make rice ahead of time and prep the ingredients and the sauce before I start cooking, and it is really easy to put together and get on the table. As always, I double the recipe to feed my house of boys.

                                                 Chicken with Broccoli & Mushrooms

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into chunks
2 T canola oil, divided
2 c broccoli, cut up
1 c mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 c hoisin sauce
1/4 c chicken broth
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 c water
salt and pepper to taste


1.In a large saute pan, add 1 T canola ( or vegetable) oil and heat to medium high.
2.Add broccoli and mushrooms and cook in the oil for about 4 to 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Transfer to a bowl.
3.Add the second T of oil to the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Add the vegetables back to the pan and cook for an additional two minutes.
4.In a bowl, whisk together ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, chicken broth, sugar , sesame oil and soy sauce. In a separate bowl, mix together the water and cornstarch until smooth.
5. Add the hoisin sauce mixture to the pan and cook on medium high for about 2 minutes, stirring. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil. Cook  and stir frequently until the sauce thickens, about  1 minute.
6. Serve hot over rice.

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I am forever  looking for creative recipes using ground beef. Especially when it is on sale . Usually, ground beef recipes are a life saver for me on busy weeknights. It doesn't take long to cook and you can add so many different sauces to make pasta, casseroles or sloppy joes. My kids love sloppy joes. I make them often, knowing they will be eaten with happy faces around the dinner table . You can check out my Homemade Sloppy Joes recipe HERE and Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes HERE . These sloppy joes are reminiscent of Philly cheesesteaks, although I do not use provolone cheese . I know, I know. Everyone knows philly cheesesteaks use provolone. But after making these for many years and trial and error. I like the combo of mozzarella and gouda. And I even used mozzarella and parmesan once when that was all I had and it worked beautifully. Basically,  use any cheese that you  want. This recipe makes a bunch. But I have a houseful of teenage boys, so I make huge amounts of food anyway. So cut the recipe in half if you have a smaller family to feed. 

Philly Cheesecake Sloppy Joes

2 lbs ground beef
4 T butter
1 yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
4 oz white mushrooms, minced
4 T ketchup
2 T worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 T plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 c beef broth
2 slices gouda cheese, diced small
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8-12 buns

1. In a medium to large skillet, brown the ground beef until cooked through. Remove beef to a bowl and keep warm.
2.In the same skillet, add the butter, onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Cook on medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 2 minutes.
3. Add beef back to the skillet. Stir.
4. In a measuring cup add the beef broth and cornstarch and stir until you have a light brown slurry.
5. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and beef broth/cornstarch mixture.
6. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced and the sloppy joes thicken up a bit.
7. Turn off the heat and add the gouda and mozzarella cheese. Stir well until all of the cheese is melted .
8. Serve hot on buns.

Blueberry Sweet Corn Salad

I get so excited when I think I am being creative in my food. Like I am on to the next big thing. Well, last night I had a bit of everything in the refrigerator, yet not enough of any of it to make a complete meal. I had half a pint of blueberries, a bag of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers. I made a tomato cucumber salad.That was a given. What to do with the blueberries and corn? While my husband was grilling chipotle chicken , I got a hairbrained idea to add the corn and blueberries together. I added fresh basil, salt , pepper, olive oil, a pinch of garlic salt and a bit of white wine vinegar. No measuring, just threw it together. I let it sit in the fridge for a bit to meld the flavors.My husband and kids looked at it when I put it on the dinner table and turned their noses up. But I made each of them , (hubby too) try it. And they all said it was good. And ate it all. I have to admit the flavors really did go great together. The slight tartness of the blueberries, the sweet corn, the basil. I loved it and instantly wished I had made more. So I snapped a pic and had these huge plans to reveal my great recipe to the masses this morning. But I googled. And quickly realized I was not on to anything . It has been done before. Sure, some corn blueberry salads have more ingredients. Some not. Some use roasted corn, some use small Maine blueberries. But, all in all I am not original....this time. But here is my version of the salad, nonetheless. Oh, and I learned something else last night. After so many years of marriage, I found out my husband does not like raw blueberries. In muffins, cakes and sweets, they are ok. But just popped in a salad or eaten from the fridge, not so much. Huh? Why has he never said anything? Men. But he ate the salad . And said it was good. I like to think he wouldn't tell a little white lie to make me happy. Or would he? ;)

Blueberry Corn Basil Salad

2 cups corn
1 cup blueberries
4-6 leaves of basil, cut into thin strips
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of garlic salt
2 T olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together . Refrigerate to meld flavors. Serve cold.

Grilled BBQ Bacon Chicken Kabobs

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

We do a lot of grilling in the summer  months. For obvious reasons. Quick, easy meals that do not heat up the house. This particular chicken recipe was a huge hit with my husband and my boys. There was not a single piece left and they all said I can make this again and soon. My husband wants to try to rub on pork next time he uses his smoker. All you do is make the rub in a food processor and coat the chicken , thread them on skewers and grill. The fat from the bacon in the rub keeps it moist. Seriously good ! I was going to baste the chicken with bbq sauce at the end of the cooking time, but one of my kids would not eat it with the sauce , so I decided to serve the sauce on the side, for dipping.  I used Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. For the bacon. I used the prepackaged ready made bacon .  It is already cooked and it makes the rub perfect!  These would be good as appetizers too. Yum!

Grilled BBQ Bacon Chicken Kabobs

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cubed for kabobs
3 T brown sugar
2 T smoked paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
6 pieces ready cooked bacon 
1 cup bbq sauce, for serving

1. Preheat grill.
2. In a food processor , add the brown sugar, paprika, salt,pepper ,garlic powder, onion powder and  ready cooked bacon . Pulse all ingredients until you have a rub. about 15 seconds.
3. Place the rub in a bowl and dredge each piece of chicken in the rub, then thread on skewers.
4. Grill until the chicken is cooked, about 4 -5 minutes on each side.
5. Serve with bbq sauce for dipping.

I am linking up this week to The Dedicated House and Stone Gable Blog  and  Eighteen25  and  A Stroll Through Life and   My Uncommon Life in Suburbia    linky parties. Head on over to see some great ideas !

Summer Avocado Corn Salad

Saturday, July 1, 2017

This salad has become a staple on our summer dinner table. It is one of those salads that are super quick to put together and the longer it sits the better it gets. And you really can add or delete the ingredients to your liking. You can add fresh sweet tomatoes , jalapeno pepper instead of the poblano. Even give it a mexican twist by adding diced jicama and black beans. See, it is a great recipe! I use fresh corn, but you can definitely use canned corn in this when fresh is not available. Canned sweet white corn is my favorite in a pinch.

Summer Avocado Corn Salad


2 cups fresh corn kernels

1 poblano pepper, small dice

2 avocados, diced

1/2 cup purple onion, diced

1 T sugar

1 T white balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper


In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to meld the flavors.