Crock Pot Shepherd’s Pie

My (step)daughter LOVES Shepherd’s Pie! And although a little too bland for my taste, I must admit that there is something about meat and potatoes that I can’t deny. I found this recipe over the weekend on Recipes That cROCK! and modified it to meet our needs. WARNING: it tastes better the next day when the juices have been absorbed, but still yummy the evening of. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  •  1/4 onion chopped
  •  4 Russet potatoes boiled and mashed with a splash of milk and approx. 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 .87oz brown gravy packet mixes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 12 oz frozen carrots (I could only find raw and they took until the next day to soften, so highly recommend the frozen!)
  • 12 oz frozen peas (my (step)daughter requested less peas next time…)
  • 10.5 oz cream of mushroom soup

Directions

1.     Boil potatoes, add milk and butter then mash until desired texture. Set aside

2.     Spray crock pot with cooking spray

3.     Brown beef and onion in skillet over med-high. Drain and put in crock pot

4.     Add brown gravy packets, onion powder, garlic powder, carrots, peas, and cream of mushroom soup in the crockpot with the beef. Mix well

5.     Spoon mashed potatoes on top and spread evenly

6.     Cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours

Like I said, we all thought it tasted better after sitting in its juices overnight, but it was heart & filling and perfect for a winter night!

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

The holiday season brings with it presents, potlucks, and parties! My go-to dessert to bring is Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes. They are delicious and always a hit! Here is the recipe I use:

Ingredients:

  • 21 Oreo cookies. 15 left whole and 6 chopped into small pieces
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line muffin tin with paper liners
  3. Place 1 whole Oreo in the bottom of each cup
  4. Place cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth
  5. Mix in sugar, eggs, sour cream, and salt
  6. Add in chopped Oreos
  7. Fill lined cups almost to the top (will not rise)
  8. Cook for 22 minutes
  9. Place entire muffin tin on wire rack o cool. DO NOT REMOVE CUPS FROM TIN UNTIL COMPLETEY COOL! Removing beforehand will alter the shape of the cupcakes.
  10. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight
  11. Enjoy!

15 Minute “Doctored-Up” Dirty Rice with Chicken

Dirty rice is one of my favorite meals to make – I love the flavor mix of spice and veggies, rice, and chicken. It reminds me of my time spent living in the South, which is where my love for all things Creole blossomed. I don’t always have time to boil rice and add all the spices and ingredients from scratch, so I came up with a conglomeration of store-bought ingredients  that when cooked together, create a similar taste.

Here is what I used, along with some pre-seasoned chicken my fiancé picked up at the store one day (tasted like it had a BBQ dry rub on it. flavor wasn’t super strong but just enough to compliment the other flavors).

My chicken was already thawed, but if yours isn’t, add an extra 15 minutes to your prep time for approximately 1 lb of chicken to defrost in the microwave. I then sliced my chicken into small, bite size pieces and placed them in a pre-heated skillet with about 1/4 cup cooking oil in it. I covered the skillet and occasionally stirred the meat to ensure it was cooked al the way through.

I added 2 cups water and 1 tbsp. cooking oil to a microwavable dish and microwaved it for 8 minutes (box says 12 but we live at a high altitude so things cook faster) and microwaved the veggies for 4 minutes (again, quicker cooking time).

I strained the chicken and placed it on a paper towel lined plate to soak up some of the oil, and then mixed all the ingredients together in a larger bowl and served it to a very hungry family.

Bon appetite!

Sunday Brunch French Toast

One of my go-to Sunday breakfast/brunch meals is French Toast. And not to toot my own horn, but I make a pretty darn good French Toast (toot toot)! Here is my simple and delicious recipe that I’m sure your family will love the same as mine does!

Start with your normal ingredients: Bread (we use white, but Texas Toast would also be a tasty option), eggs (1 per slice), and milk. Mix eggs and milk together in a bowl. Then comes the magic… add a splash of vanilla extract (I don’t measure but it’s literally just a little splash since it is strong) and a few shakes of cinnamon.

Saturate each slice by flipping it several times. Place bread on a butter-greased frying pan or skillet. Add a pinch a sugar on each side before you flip, letting each side cook to a golden brown.

Place on plate and serve with topping of choice!

While it may not seem like much, the vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar made a huge difference to your taste buds!

 

4 Ingredient Crockpot Buffalo Chicken

I don’t know about you, but my crockpot is probably my favorite kitchen item. It just makes cooking SO EASY! Here is one of the easiest recipes in my arsenal of crockpot recipes,

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs frozen chicken breasts
  • 12 oz hot wing sauce (I like Frank’s, but any brand will do)
  • 1 package rank dip mix
  • 2 tbsp. butter (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Place frozen chicken, hot sauce, and rank dip mix in crockpot
  2. Cook on low 6 hours
  3. Using 2 forks, shred chicken (I took the chicken out of the crockpot to do this for easier logistics).
  4. Return to crockpot, add butter, and simmer cook another hour on low
  5. Place on buns and add cheese if desired

And that’s it! An easy, delicious dinner that’s prepared in a few simple steps.

 

 

Easy Crepes

(forgot to snap a pic of Hazel’s creation, so borrowing this one from Bit of the Good Stuff – check out her vegan recipe here)

 

Happy Sunday Morning! Chef Boy-At-Hazel was at it again this morning with her version of crepes. Inspired by a recipe she found on Facebook (I tracked down the original recipe here)

She didn’t make chocolate ones but instead melted some milk chocolate and spread that along with cinnamon on this morning’s breakfast. She has also used fresh fruit in the past, preferably strawberries, but we were out this morning 🙁

Crepes are easy, delicious, and kid-friendly and I highly recommend them as for a morning treat!

Bacon, Cream Cheese, Cheddar Chicken

(photo cred: Julia’s Album)

So, my 12-year-old (step)daughter is a budding chef. She has taken an active interest in scouring Pinterest for recipes and putting her own twist on things. I received this text from her earlier this week:

“hi. I’m makin dinner tonight”

“cool. whatcha making?”

“its a surprise! can you pick up cream cheese on your way home?”

Now, I don’t know about you, but when my child uses the word “surprise”, I get nervous. I get more nervous when she requests a random item like cream cheese. But I am being supportive of her budding culinary career, so I stopped and got the cream cheese, not knowing what I was going home to.

I was pleasantly surprised (and so was her dad) when we finally got to enjoy her finished product! Hazel found this Bacon, Cream Cheese, Cheddar Chicken recipe on Julia’s Album. Instead of cheddar, she used American (her fav) and it still turned out yummy. I would highly recommend this easy & delicious weeknight meal!