Favorite Thing Friday: Best Ever Chicken and Rice Soup!

Standard

My crock pot and I continue to be the best of friends. With the weather finally getting colder, there’s nothing quite as wonderful as some comfort food to warm up my evening.

As I write this, the heavenly smell of Chicken and Rice soup is wafting through my house. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it has quickly turned into one of my favorite meals.  It’s a snap to make – all it takes is about 15 minutes to chop a few veggies and throw them into the pot along with chicken, rice, broth, and a few seasonings.

Follow the pin for the recipe:

ed44d09ee29fc8bfdaf83374efd3f127

Click the image for the recipe.

 

I only slightly modified the recipe. It calls for a 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes, but I only put in a pinch. The recipe calls for 4 cups of broth, but I’ve found adding an extra 1/2 cup keeps it from getting too thick. I made things easier on myself by buying pre-sliced carrots and I had my husband chop the onion, (I did not feel like fighting “onion tears” before having to go to work!).

If you’re in the mood for some warm and cozy food, this might be something worth trying!

– – –

What’s your favorite thing this week?

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Easy Crock Pot Recipes

Standard

I am not a cook, but recent recipe finds on Pinterest have allowed me to serve hot and yummy meals. The best part is all of them require very little effort.

For years, my crock pot sat useless on my counter. This is mainly because everything that came out of it sucked. I had pretty much given up on the thing, until Pinterest came to the rescue. After finding a number of crock pot recipes in the Food & Drink section, I followed the image links and read what people had to say about each recipe. Thanks to blogs and comment sections, I learned what was worth trying and what to leave alone. Plus, I learned a lot about how to cook in a crock pot.

As someone with a stressful, full-time job, the ability to toss a few things in a pot and come home to a warm meal is pure gold. Having tested almost a dozen recipes, these are my Top 5 favorite crock pot recipes (so far).

1. Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Four ingredients are all you need for this recipe. It’s so simple, it’s almost unbelievable how good it tastes!

fee6aec87150be7860e568b2d646a50d

Click on the image for the recipe!

I highly recommend using Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.

2. Crock Pot Italian Chicken

Follow the recipe on the pin description, rather than the link. I’ve made this a few times and it’s fantastic every single time. The only tricky part is making sure the cream cheese is soft enough to blend into the other ingredients, (microwaving it is okay!).

7886a54257044bebc5bd922f66813ed9

Click on the image to see the pin.

Rich and creamy, this simple meal is tasty over pasta or rice.

3. Slow Cooker Red Beans and Sausage

I was intrigued by using sausage in a chili-esque dish instead of beef or chicken. Sausage offers a new take on an old dish and I really like it!

7cf944421986ea5097249de03c97feac

Click on the image for the recipe.

I made a few adjustments to this recipe in that I cut down the amount of beans and added chili flavored tomatoes instead of garlic roasted. The recipe calls to serve it over rice, but I decided to serve it with soft tortillas instead.  This chili wraps up nicely into a little burrito.

4. Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

I will never go back to boxed Mac ‘n Cheese after trying this recipe. What’s not to love about creamy, tasty, and easy?!

mac-cheese-crockpot

Click on the image for the recipe.

The only modification I made was adding chunks of cooked kielbasa sausage. The result is a hearty, home-cooked meal.

5. Crock Pot Chicken and Potatoes

Simple, simple, simple! Three ingredients and some water pulls together a filling and flavorful meal.

4d718b0a28d196ba73966dd2681fd6d9

Click on the image for the recipe.

I used baby red potatoes as they are my favorite. I also adjusted the layering suggested in the recipe. To keep the chicken moist, I added a bit more water and buried the chicken within the potatoes instead of on top.

Happy eating!

– – –

What’s your favorite thing this week?

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Cooking From Pinterest

Standard

Cooking has never been my thing, but every once in a while I get the itch to make something tasty. When my summer vacation began, I felt an enormous urge to hang out in the kitchen and make dinners and desserts, (easily my favorite part of eating). Part of this impulse can be blamed on a year’s worth of collecting “recipes” on Pinterest.

My Cooking and Baking board started as a place to collect yummy looking treats like Snickers brownies and cheesecake slices. Then, I started finding super easy recipes for actual meals. I’m no chef, so any pin with the words, “simple” or “fast” got my attention. Once my summer hiatus from teaching began, I decided I’d try to make something from my board at least once a week. Little did I know just how much fun that would be! Not to mention mouthwateringly good!

The first adventure started with two pasta salads I pulled from one pin:

2b65b3ca95f063d16beb7df590906312

Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad – This is one I’ll be making again with some minor adjustments. It’s a good recipe, but it needs a little more kick in terms of spices.

Peas and Ham Pasta Salda – Overall, a very good salad that is easy to make. While the ham gave it a nice salty taste (which compliments the hardboiled eggs nicely), I’m wondering how it would taste with grilled chicken cubes.

Then, I made a Broccoli Quinoa casserole, which is quite possibly the best casserole to ever come out of my oven:

ef777b24a94505bf618e5fb4cc60c8db

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

I followed the recipe, but I also made some adjustments. Instead of plain quinoa I used a fire roasted red pepper and basil flavored quinoa blend. Then, I added some pre-cooked chicken chunks.  Absolutely amazing!

One of the quicker meals, turned out to be an instant new favorite. I’m a fan of any meal that can be made all in one pot, so a pin for a Black Bean-Zucchini-Rice Skillet instantly spoke to me:

e01b27cc01601e8546d07e17c85bfde3

Black Bean-Zucchini-Rice Skillet

It’s ready in under 20 minutes and is jammed packed with flavor. This is one I’ll definitely make again, especially when I go back to work in the fall.

On the dessert end of things, I found a recipe so good I can’t wait to make it again. This No Bake Cheesecake is so quick and easy, I can’t believe it turned out so yummy!

4f522858036c3badef531a85f03872c1

4 Ingredient No Bake Cheesecake

With only four ingredients and a pre-made pie crust, this recipe is a snap. It was so easy, I was starting to think it was too good to be true, but the first response out everyone who got a piece was “Mmmmmmmm.” Enough said.

I’ve got another round of Pinterest recipes planned for next week and hopefully they will be just as good!

– – –

What’s your favorite thing this week?

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Wreck This Journal: Eat Your Fruit!

Standard

While some pages in Wreck This Journal invite serious destruction or thought provoking creativity, others are just funny. One page in particular gives directions to collect fruit stickers. I don’t know why, but I found this pretty amusing as fruit stickers are usually a nuisance instead of an item worth collecting. Leave it to Keri Smith to make fruit stickers fun!

As somebody who eats fruit for lunch every day, I filled up my page pretty quickly. The organic apples I eat actually have two stickers – the typical round one with a bar code, number code, and name of apple and a long yellow sticker labeling it as organic.  Apples are my favorite, (Gala and Fujis in particular) so naturally most of my stickers comes from apples! However, I do have a couple of oranges mixed in there, too. I suppose one of my great faults is not eating enough fruit, but it’s not because my grandma didn’t tell me to.

100_4228

Apples, apples, and more apples!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2014

Grandma’s page is filled with a wide variety of fruit stickers. She’s got everything from bananas, strawberries, apples, and oranges.  Grandma always had a piece of fruit with  her meals – breakfast in particular. At night she’d snack on bananas. She always offered me some, but I could never get her to understand that I don’t really like bananas!

When I was a kid, she would slice up an apple and put it out as a snack while my sister and I were playing. To this day, I’ll only slice up an apple when I want a treat (usually I just bite into a whole apple). It still feels special to eat an apple in slices because that’s the way she made it.

100_4230

Apples, oranges, and berries, oh my!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2014

Grandma broke the rules a little bit and collected stickers for vegetables, too. Her green pepper sticker really gets my memory going. She had a great recipe for stuffed green peppers and they were delicious! I’ve made them a couple of times, but they’ve never turned out quite as good as hers. When she made meatloaf, she always put a couple “rings” of green pepper on the top. Grandpa always scooped them off as soon as the meatloaf hit the table. Like her stuffed peppers, Grandma’s meatloaf was magnificent. I miss it like you wouldn’t believe!

I always promised Grandma I’d eat more fruit, but then I see chocolate. Sorry, Grandma, I’ll keep trying!

– – –

c.b.w. 2014