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Rice Cooker Mac n Cheese

4 Jan
Easy Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Easy Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

My hubby LOVES macaroni & cheese.  Really I think he is just a big kid at heart!  We are spoiled rotten in the fact that we get to have lunch together almost every day!  Macaroni & cheese is probably his most requested meal.  We do occasionally eat boxed mac & cheese but I try to make this simple recipe instead.   There are no preservatives and I can tweak the ingredients to make them even healthier.  You actually cook the macaroni in a rice cooker!  It is beyond easy and contains only 4 ingredients.  😉

In a rice cooker combine:

  • 1 cup Chicken Broth (I use 1 cup water and 2 t. chicken broth powder)
  • 1 c. uncooked pasta.  It doesn’t even have to be macaroni!

Turn on the rice cooker and allow this to cook.  It usually takes my rice cooker about 20 minutes which is the perfect amount of time for lunch preparations.  🙂  (Be careful not to leave the cooked macaroni sitting for a long time or it might burn on the bottom.)

After the macaroni is cooked add 1/4 cup milk and 1 cup shredded cheese.  Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes and serve.  I like to place the lid back on so that the cheese can melt quickly.  Enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

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Homemade Peanut Butter Popcorn

26 Nov

We love peanut butter popcorn at our house!

We have just wrapped up a wonderful family evening trimming our Christmas tree and spending time together.  I’m a bit old-fashioned and always enjoy stringing some popcorn up as a decoration too.  I refuse to buy microwave popcorn it tastes disgusting compared to the real thing.  😉  It’s also SO much more fun to watch and a lot cheaper.  Elijah stood in his learning tower the whole time it was cooking watching it just pop away.  We had a great time making (and eating) our peanut butter popcorn.  Hope you enjoy it too!

Peanut Butter Popcorn:

Pop enough popcorn to make 8 cups popped.  Let cool.

In a saucepan combine 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. honey (or corn syrup-I use honey).  Heat until it comes to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat and add 1/2 c. peanut butter (I use smooth) and 1/2 t. vanilla.  Pour over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.  Enjoy!

 

CopyCat Auntie Anne Pretzels

9 May

Although they are not quite as pretty as Auntie Anne’s they tasted just as good.

I came across a recipe for Auntie Anne Pretzels on Pintrest a while back and knew Eli and I just had to try our hand at making them.  Although they were a bit time-consuming we both had a great time making them.  Click here for the recipe.  (I did cut the butter in half and they were still excellent.)

Eli LOVES to bake!

I try to do a special or new activity with Elijah each week.  Making pretzels was such a fun memory.  Who knows maybe it will be his first?  (I was 2 when I had my first memory.)   I’m also quite proud to say that I can make pretzels that taste just as good as Auntie Anne’s!  (I will NEVER get them to look that pretty though.)  😉

The Learning Tower is still such a blessing and worth every inch of space it takes up in our kitchen.

To say that Eli enjoyed making pretzels is in fact an understatement.  I guess for Eli it was like play-doh but better.  🙂

You do need a large workspace for rolling out the pretzels.  I rolled the pretzels out on our table since our counterspace is limited.

Eli trying his best to roll out a “snake”.

I also sprinkled real pretzel salt on top of each pretzel that I had purchased at a Mennonite Bulk Foods store.  (If you are a local friend I”d be more than happy to share.)  The pretzel salt really made the pretzels seem authentic.

Yummy! 

This was such a fun recipe to make.  Next time I think I will try rolling them in cinnamon and sugar.  I also wonder if the pretzel dough could be used to make pretzel rolls or buns for sandwiches?  What do you think?

CrockPot 40 Clove Chicken a.k.a. World’s Best Chicken

26 Apr

Eight to ten hours later dinner is served!

A couple of years ago I made a profound discovery in the kitchen.  Meat cooked with the bone still intact tastes 100 times better than regular chicken breasts.  (It’s also MUCH MUCH cheaper!)  If you don’t believe me just try this easy peasy 40 Clove Chicken in the Crockpot.  🙂  (These days we hardly EVER bake regular boneless chicken breasts as we prefer baked chicken.)

Rinse chicken and pat dry. (I recommend using paper towels and disinfecting counter and sink afterwards.)

Spray CrockPot with non-stick spray. Chop 2 stalks of celery and place in bottom of slow cooker.

If you have a favorite poultry seasoning feel free to use it in place of mine.  Here is what I usually use.  Combine: 1 t. salt, 1 t. dried sage, 1 t. dried thyme, 1/2 t. dried rosemary, 1/2 t. pepper.

Since we do not usually eat the skin on our chicken I like to place the spices directly under the skin.

I usually use a small spoon to place the spices deep inside under the skin on the chicken breast.

Slice a lemon and place deep inside the cavity. This gives the chicken a wonderful flavor! 🙂

Rub chicken with olive oil and place in slow cooker. Add remaining spices to the chicken and rub in.

Add 1 c. of chicken broth around chicken. Separate 3 heads of garlic into individual cloves (do not peel). Place around chicken. Cover and cook about 10 hours or until chicken is done.

Remove chicken and place on a serving platter.  Allow chicken to cool slightly.  Serve with toasted French bread or Italian Bread.  We like to squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins and spread on the bread.  Around our house we also like to call this Point Chicken.  We have such fond memories of enjoying it with friends from our former church (The Point).  🙂

 

20 Mar

Menu Plan March 19-25

Spring is here!  Although I was really hoping for at least one good snow this winter I”ve decided to just enjoy the glorious weather we have been given.  (I’m still not convinced we won’t have snow on Easter though.)  After making dinner tonight (in a house without air conditioning) I think we will be focusing on lots of CrockPot or stove-top meals.  🙂       

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Applesauce Spice Muffins, Milk
  • Lunch: Leftovers from my birthday. 🙂
  • Dinner:  Baked Cod, Sweet Potato Fries (oven baked), Salad

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Yogurt with Homemade Granola
  • Lunch: Sneaky Potato Soup, Salad
  • Dinner: CrockPot Beef Enchiladas-our favorite crockpot meal!

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Sausage Breakfast Casserole, Toast
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner:  Spaghetti with Sesame Italian Bread
  • Snack: Popcorn

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Homemade Granola Bars made from the Homemade Granola earlier in the week, Fruit
  • Lunch: Chicken Salad Sandwiches on the road
  • Dinner: on the road.  I am going on a road trip this weekend to see a friend, details to follow next week.  Can’t wait!  I’m planning on taking a medium sized cooler full of snacks for Eli and myself.  🙂

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: Granola Bars, hard boiled eggs, bananas.
  • Lunch: on the road
  • Dinner:  Chicken Veggie Casserole

Confessions of a Non-Menu Planner

17 Feb

Menu planning blesses your whole family.

 

I have a confession.  I didn’t plan my menu this week.  Horrifying isn’t it?  I mean I even taught a class at a college last semester about menu planning!  To my credit I did think about planning a menu for a little while earlier in the week and for some reason I just brushed it off.  Usually I sit down at the beginning of every week (or two) and jot down a quick list of what we will be eating that week.  (I also usually make my grocery list at the same time.)  For info on planning a menu see here.

So I guess that is how I found myself at 7:00 tonight trying to whip up a quick batch of Chicken Tetrazzini only to find that there was not a single piece of cheese anywhere in our house!  We were also out of just about everything else you can be out of.  (Doesn’t that always happen at once?)  Since I have been cooking regularly for a few years I am usually able to come up with something else that will work fairly quickly.  Tonight however was another story.  I gazed in sadness at my pantry and fridge.  For a slight moment I thought I might really cry.  Ridiculous that such a small thing could frustrate me to the point of almost tears. 

My wonderful let’s solve the problem hubby loaded Eli up in the car and off to the market we went.  An hour and fifty dollars later we came home with the block of cheese.  I did manage to get dinner made eventually but the joy was gone.  That’s not the type of wife I want to be.  That’s why I won’t soon forget to plan my menu next week.  🙂    Won’t you join me in planning your meals next week?

Menu Plan Jan. 2-8

3 Jan

We were blessed to celebrate a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s.   Hope you and your families had a blessed Christmas.  We are settling in well to our new home and welcomed our first real snow today!  Hooray!  I’m sure lots of sledding is in our future this week so we will be keeping the menu fairly simple.            

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Sunshine Muffins (Carrot-Raisin Muffins), Milk
  • Lunch: Out with friends to a chili parlor
  • Dinner:  Chicken Noodle Casserole with Mixed Vegetables

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Yogurt and Leftover Muffins
  • Lunch: Zuppa Toscana Soup (just like Olive Garden), Grilled Hummus & Cheese
  • Dinner: We call it the Moe’s Meal: Chicken, Rice, Salsa, Beans, Cheese
  • To Do: Make Homemade Bread

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal with Apples
  • Lunch: Lentils and Rice with Cheese
  • Dinner: Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Homemade Bread

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Sausage, Pancakes, Eggs
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: @ Church
  • Snack: Crockpot Mexican Dip and Chips

Sunday: