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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Crockpot Indian Butter Chicken


This recipe is beyond easy and is A-MA-ZING!  I've made this a few times now and it's always a big hit, even with the kiddos (which is a huge plus).  I've tried a few different recipes, made some modifications, and I've done my very best to make this super simple - I am currently VERY pregnant so easy dinners are definitely the way to go!  I serve this dish with some of my garlic non-sticky rice, steamed veggies, and flatbread (see below for recipe).

Crockpot Indian Butter Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbsp butter
*Salt (1 tsp)
*Pepper (1/2-1 tsp)
*Onion powder (2 tsp)
*Ground ginger (1 tsp)
*Chili powder (1/2 - 1 tsp)
*Garam masala (2-3 tsp)
15oz can tomato sauce
6oz can tomato paste
2 C. plain yogurt (I use plain Greek yogurt)
3 bay leaves

1. Grease your crockpot with cooking spray, season both chicken breasts on both sides with spices - *I don't measure, I just eyeball it, the measurements above are guesses as to how much I use in total on the chicken and the in the sauce.  Place both chicken breasts in your crockpot and place the butter in between them.
2. In a separate bowl mix together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and yogurt until well blended.  Pour over chicken.  Add more seasoning to the top of the sauce, place bay leaves on top, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken with forks, remove bay leaves, and taste to adjust seasonings before serving.
-Serves 4-6




This flatbread is so easy to whip up and so very tasty!  I was able to make 10 (recipe says 8) and I didn't use the garlic butter when cooking them, just a bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan works perfectly for me! Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Homeless Care Kits


As my family and I watched our church's annual General Conference this past weekend I was particularly touched by 1 talk which focused on the refugee crisis and how each of us should be more like Christ and more willing to help those around us.  Our church even launched a new site geared towards helping not only the refugees but also those in our own communities who are struggling and need help.  I "got bit by the service bug" (as my husband calls it) and after doing much research decided that there is quite a bit our family can do to help our local community.  We live in an area with a higher poverty level (40+%) and there are many who need help.  I contacted our local homeless shelter and hospital and asked what needs they have and what donations they accept.  We decided that the first project we would do would be to put together hygiene/care kits for the homeless shelter, so, that is what I'm sharing with you today!  Below I will detail what we included in our kits along with other ideas.  We put together 10 bags in total and we plan to do more in future months.



Pictured above are our "boy kits" which included:
Shampoo
Conditioner
Soap
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Mini first aid kit
Razor
Shaving cream
Deodorant
Lotion
Granola bar




Pictured here is an example of our "girl kit" which included:
Shampoo
Conditioner
Soap
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Deodorant
Mini first aid kit
Razor
Granola bar
Feminine products

***Tips & Suggestions***
-We used 1 gallon freezer bags, they're a bit more durable and not too huge so they will be easy to carry/pack around
-You can buy packs of 10-12 bars of soap for much cheaper than buying them individually, the same goes for toothbrushes
-Buy travel-size items, they will fit much easier in the bags and will be easier for people to carry with them
-Budget and plan in advance! If you're buying travel-size items they will cost around $1 each, it adds up quickly.
-Always contact your local shelter, hospital, clinic, etc, first to know what they are most in need of, they always appreciate any help they get of course but it's best to donate what they really need.
-Involve the whole family!  My boys had so much fun picking out everything, putting items in the cart, and then packing the bags - I set everything out in piles on the floor, gave them each a bag, then they picked 1 item from each pile and loaded the bags, they had a blast doing it!


***Other Item Ideas***
Socks
Chapstick
Quarters (for laundry)
Small bottle of water
Comb/brush
Tissues
Wipes
Washcloth
Non-perishable snack foods (crackers, granola bars, etc)


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I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions if you've done something similar!



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Freezer Meals!


In my latest efforts to be ready for baby #3 to arrive I spent yesterday preparing some freezer meals and am going to share them with you!  I found all of these recipes on Pinterest (I made a few changes to most of them) and haven't tried them before so I will keep this post updated as we eat these meals just in case I have any tips or suggestions so stay tuned!

Tips:
-Use 1 gallon freezer bags
-Label and write instructions on bags before filling
-Chop all veggies first and place in designated bags before trimming/preparing meat (that way you only use 1 cutting board = less dishes!)
-Thaw meals in refrigerator overnight if possible, it will help when dumping meals into crockpot
-I also bought several other bags of frozen veggies to have on hand as sides
-Get a few bags of frozen dinner rolls too!
-Season everything with salt and pepper either as you fill the bags or when you cook each meal.
-When you make certain meals - such as spaghetti, enchiladas, chili - double the recipe and save half in the freezer, I've been doing this for a while and it is a lifesaver! Just thaw and reheat and you're good to go!

Shopping List:
1.5-2 lbs pork ribs
1 lb ground beef
14 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2-3 lbs beef stew meat
2 onions
2 limes
1 bulb garlic
1 lb baby carrots
Potatoes
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1 pkg taco seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 small can diced chilis
3 cans black beans
Dijon mustard
Ketchup
Beef bouillon cubes
2 cans pineapple chunks in juice
16 oz jar salsa
Brown sugar
Balsamic vinegar
White vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Rice wine vinegar
Soy sauce
Liquid smoke
Maple syrup
Honey
Olive oil
3 16oz bags frozen sweet corn
1 bag frozen peas
Salt
Pepper
Dried parsley
Dried rosemary
Seasoning salt
Chili powder


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BBQ Ribs
1.5-2 lbs pork ribs
1 1/2 C. ketchup
1 1/2 Tbsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. white vinegar

-Place ribs in bag, add remaining ingredients, seal bag
-Cook in crockpot on low heat 6-8 hours
-Serve with rolls, veggies, etc.

*****UPDATE*****
These turned out quite tasty and very tender.  If I make these again I will definitely be seasoning the meat first with salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and perhaps a pinch of cayenne - they just needed a bit more flavor.


Taco Soup
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced green chilis

-Brown meat with onion first (be sure to drain the grease), season with salt and pepper, and let cool before adding to bag.
-Add remaining ingredients to bag.
-Cook on low heat 3-4 hours (if thawed first - add an extra hour or 2 if frozen).
-Serve with your favorite toppings such as cheese, sour cream, sliced avocados, tortilla chips, etc.


Beef & Veggie Stew
1-2 lbs stew meat
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 - 1 bag baby carrots
2 large potatoes, cubed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 C. frozen peas
3 bouillon cubes

-Add all ingredients to bag.
-Add 2-3 cups water when cooking.
-Cook on low 8-10 hours.
-Serve with rolls or over rice/pasta.

*****UPDATE*****
This was pretty good but lacked quite a bit of flavor, definitely add seasonings and perhaps a few bay leaves while cooking.  If you want to thicken it up add a mixture of 1/3 C flour + 3/4 C water at the end and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so.


Beef Stroganoff
1-2 lbs stew meat
1 lb sliced mushrooms, washed/rinsed
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 bouillon cubes

-Add all to bag
-Cook on low 6-8 hours
-Add 1-2 cups water when cooking
-Add 1/2 cup sour cream just before serving
-Serve over egg noodles and with steamed veggies if desired.

*****UPDATE*****

This turned out quite good, I did add a mix of 1/3 C flour + 3/4 C water at the end to thicken it up because it was very watery.  Be sure to season with salt and pepper!



Maple Dijon Chicken
.  2 chicken breasts
1/2 C. dijon mustard
1/3 C. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

-Add everything to bag
-Cook on low 4-6 hours
-Serve over rice, with veggies, etc

*****UPDATE*****
This was good but not my favorite, I prefer the taste of honey with mustard.  As always, be sure to season with salt and pepper.


Mexican Lime Chicken
2 chicken breasts
Juice from 2 limes
1 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. chili powder

-Add all to bag
-Cook on low 6-8 hours
-Serve burrito-style, with chips, over rice, with favorite toppings, etc.

*****UPDATE*****

This recipe turned out pretty darn good, but it made a ton! We are just a family of 5 (1 being a baby) and we couldn't even eat half of this - which means there were A LOT of leftovers, I'll probably half it next time. I served this over my non-sticky garlic rice and topped it off with cheese, crushed tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream.



Hawaiian Chicken
2 chicken breasts
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. white vinegar
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 C. soy sauce
1 can pineapple chunks with juice

-Add all to bag
-Cook on low 5-6 hours
-Serve over rice and with steamed veggies


Teriyaki Chicken
2 chicken breasts
1/2 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. rice wine vinegar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 can pineapple chunks with juice

-Add all to bag
-Cook on low 5-6 hours
-Serve with rice and veggies

*****UPDATE*****
This turned out quite nicely, I do prefer to have cold, uncooked pineapple so I would probably only include the juice next time and save the pineapple chunks in the refrigerator for serving.  I would also suggest seasoning your chicken with salt, pepper, and perhaps some ground ginger, this recipe could use just a bit more flavor - a dash of hot sauce while cooking would be a great addition too.


Salsa Chicken
2 chicken breasts
16oz jar salsa
1 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

-Add all to bag
-Cook on low 5-6 hours
-Serve over rice, or burrito-style, top with your favorite things (cheese, avocado, sour cream, etc)

*****UPDATE*****
Pretty yummy!  I did add a decent amount of paprika and chili powder to give more flavor.  We ate this over rice and topped with cheese, sour cream, and sliced avocado.  I'll be making burritos with the leftovers.




Honey Rosemary Chicken
2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. honey
1/4 C. olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. rosemary

-Add all to bag
-Cook on low 5-6 hours
-Serve with rice, roasted veggies, rolls, etc.

*****UPDATE*****


Another yummy result, just be sure to season your chicken with salt and pepper.  I served this with some simple butter noodles, baby carrots, and grapes - it was a warm day and I wanted to keep things a bit lighter.



Rosemary Mustard Chicken
2 chicken breasts
2-3 potatoes, cubed
1/4 C. olive oil
1/4 C. mustard
1 Tbsp. rosemary

-Add all to bag
-Cook on low 6-8 hours
-Serve with rice, veggies, salad, rolls, etc.

*****UPDATE*****
So, I actually didn't really eat this, the potatoes had turned almost completely black in the freezer which was very unappealing, I recommend doing this with just the chicken in the freezer and adding the potatoes when you actually cook it up.


***Be sure to check back for more photos and tips!***