Saturday, August 31, 2013

Turkey Meatloaf

So dinner tonight was quick and simple to prepare.

I found the recipe at Mum in Bloom and the "meatloaf seasoning" is from scratch.

2 tsp. dried mustard 
2 tsp. paprika 
1 1/2 tsp. salt 
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (I accidentally used 2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp. basil 
1 tsp. black pepper 
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. onion powder 

Combine dry spices and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar). Measure all into a ziploc bag, seal & shake to combine. Pour into a spice jar or bottle. 

I just put each of the seasonings in the bowl with the turkey. 

1 package Meat Loaf Seasoning Mix
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
(I used 1.25 pounds)
2 eggs (1 egg)
1/2 cup milk (eye-balled it, probably a little less)
2 slices bread, finely crumbled or 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I mixed regular, plain breadcrumbs with panko bread crumbs. Again, I eye-balled it for the proper consistency)
1/2 cup ketchup (eye-balled it - I used organic ketchup)

Mix Seasoning Mix, ground beef or turkey, eggs, milk and bread crumbs in large bowl (I also add the ketchup in this step). Shape into a loaf. Place loaf in a shallow baking pan or 9x5-inch loaf pan.
Spread ketchup over top of loaf.

Bake in preheated 375F oven 1 hour or until cooked through.  Makes 10 servings, approx 3oz each

Kids' Reaction:

Little Sis was at grandma's, so she didn't get the pleasure. 

Big Sis, on the other hand, LOVED it and asked for seconds. I think there was only one small piece left. She asked me to make it "more often." YAY!

I served it with mashed potatoes mixed with organic corn. Any veggie will taste great with this.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Developing My Own Recipes

I am not creative. I can't draw or paint, and my imagination just isn't great. This can be a drawback when working with kids, but they don't seem to care that my horses look like dogs or that I draw the same landscape with a hill and a tree.

However, I'm working on developing my own recipe based on what my kids like. I'm tired of the same boxed, processed stuff every week. When I try new things on Pinterest, I'm batting .500 on whether they like it or not.

With that being said, here's my idea.

I posted previously about a vegetarian chili I made for a Chili Cook-off. I also have a recipe for Chicken Taco Chili, made in a crock pot. But we were supposed to have tacos on Tuesday and it didn't happen. I had pulled the ground turkey out of the freezer, and I know I can't put it back, and I also know it'll go bad before we actually have tacos.

I cooked the meat today, seasoning it with all my taco flavors. I decided that we're going to have "Traveling Tacos" (also known as Frito Pie). At school, the kids get a small container of Fritos or a bag of Tostitos (depending if it's at the Elementary or Middle School) and a scoop of chili. I have to admit, it's kind of gross looking. I had real Frito Pie once in Texas. It was so good, but a can of chili just isn't good enough.


I'm going to develop my own Frito Pie chili recipe. I have cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, different kinds of beans, and so much more. I will just throw things in the crock pot (probably with minimal chunks of tomatoes) and let you know how it goes. It's on the menu for Tuesday night. Come back to read how the kiddos liked it.

Do you have a good recipe I can work from? Suggestions on kinds of beans? Ways to hide veggies? I'll be working with a 2 Quart Crock Pot, since it's just the kids and me.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken & First Day of School!!


First day of school is over! What a DAY!

I went back to work last week, but there were no students. This morning was our first run where I had to drop off Little Sis first, then get to work (I work at Big Sis' school).

Dropping off Little Sis was quick. We left early, so I actually dropped her off before 8:15 (the earliest there is supervision). No tears, lots of smiles and quick "Good-bye Mom!"

Here she is, on her way to 4th grade! (Notice the Easy LunchBox Cooler bag! This was left from last year, it still has some life in it!)

I got to Big Sis' school at 8:20-ish. We have worked it out that I will actually drop her off down the street before I park in the lot. But not today! She wouldn't let me take her picture up on the sidewalk, so I took what I could get.

Big Sis, 7th grade.

All in all, the girls had a great day. I have a feeling I'm going to L-O-V-E Little Sis' teacher. I'll get to meet her on Thursday. I met a few of Big Sis' teachers already last week, but Back to School night is in a couple weeks, so I'll get to meet them officially then.

On to dinner!!

Another new recipe which was put in the crock pot this morning. I got it from Half My Size

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I actually only used 2 small-ish frozen breasts in my small 2 quart Crock Pot.)
2 Tablespoons light margarine, melted
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce (regular, not Buffalo)
1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
ground black pepper, to taste

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine margarine, vinegar, hot sauce, celery seeds and black pepper. Pour over chicken in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.

This was actually on low in the Crock Pot for about 10 hours, but I did start with frozen chicken. It shredded very easily, so I decided to serve it in flour tortillas, like a chicken soft taco. I didn't add anything else to it, but it would taste good with some cheese and/or sour cream. I was thinking it could also be used to top tostadas with some refried beans. 

It wasn't too spicy, either. Big Sis does NOT like spicy foods (she won't even touch Tapatio).

Kids' Reactions:

Big Sis liked it. She says "it's a little too much on the spicy side for someone who really doesn't like spicy." But she did eat it, and told me she would have seconds and wants me to make it again.

Little Sis liked it, too. She says, "it was a little bit less spicy than I was expecting it to be." 

I enjoyed it very much. In fact, I'm getting ready to go make another taco as soon as I publish this!

So there you have it. The amount of sauce wasn't enough to top the chicken all the way, so if you're using a big crock pot with more chicken, I would double the recipe. If you're using a small amount of chicken (like I did with only 2), the amount this recipe makes is perfect. It also doesn't create too much juice for a taco.

Another score!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

It's rare my children will ask for seconds of a brand new dish. This was a huge hit, being touted as better than Panda Express, Dragon Express, and Pick Up Stix.

I got the original recipe from The Comfort of Cooking. I made a few changes, based on the tastes of my family. This recipe below includes my changes, but I will make a note of what I've changed.


6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
minced dried onion (original calls for 1/2 cup diced onion)
minced dried garlic (original calls for 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce (original calls for 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (I added this)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds
3 scallions, chopped

Place chicken in Crock Pot and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oil, ginger and red pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or high for 2 hours.

Remove chicken to a cutting board, leaving sauce. Shred or cube chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside. 

In a small bowl, dissolve 4 teaspoons cornstarch in 1/3 cup water; add to crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Cover and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add chicken to sauce, which will continue to thicken slightly. (Original didn't call to add chicken back to sauce, but I was still waiting for my rice to finish cooking, so I added it back to keep it warm.)

Serve with rice or noodles, adding chicken and sauce to the top. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and chopped scallions. (Original called for instant rice. I have an awesome rice cooker, so I used that. This would also be great over some Asian noodles.)


Kids' reaction:

Little Sis loved it! She asked for seconds and ate nearly every little piece of rice.

Big Sis enjoyed it, but didn't ask for seconds. She also didn't want the chicken on the rice, since she puts ketchup on her rice.

My friend and I both enjoyed it, both going back for seconds. I'm bummed there isn't more left over for lunch on Monday. 

In my Cozi Calendar, this has been listed as "Family Favorite" and "Kids Love." I have a feeling I'll be making this again before the month is over!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Well, I go back to work tomorrow. The girls go back to school on Monday. Time to start planning meals and school lunches!

Tonight, dinner was Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese from 101 Cooking For Two. I found it on --where else? -- Pinterest.

(I need to remember to take pictures while I'm preparing the meal!!!)


  • 8oz (by weight - or half a 1 lb bag/box) Macaroni (I used medium shells)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used my Sea Salt Grinder and did a few turns)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (I left this out because I didn't have any)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (again, I used my grinder for a few turns on coarse)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 cup cheese of your choice (I used mild cheddar)

  1. Pour milk, macaroni, and seasonings into a small crock pot (original post says 3.5 quart, I used a 2 quart). Mix well.
  2. Cook on low. Stir well after 1 hour. Cook another hour or so until the pasta is al dente (original post says to not go by time, but rather by doneness of pasta).
  3. When the pasta is al dente, drain any extra liquid, add 1 cup of shredded cheese. Mix well.
  4. Continue on low until cooked to your taste (about 5-15 minutes).
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Approx. 2 hours 20 minutes
Total time: Approx. 2 hours 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (or 2 large servings)

Kids' reactions:

Big Sis took a bite and made a face before I dished it. I asked her if she wanted some with her hot dogs, and she said no.

Little Sis took a bite and spit it out into the trash can.

I love it. I am upset the kids didn't approach dinner with an open mind. I am struggling to get the processed junk out of the house and make more meals with real ingredients. Any suggestions?

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