Friday, July 31, 2015

Fair Trade Friday

Not very long ago did I ever take the time to really think about where the items I purchase come from. Food, of course. In the past several years I've become a big advocate for eating locally and supporting our local farms and businesses.  Clothes,  jewelry, shoes,handbags; not so much.

My eyes have opened in the last eighteen months or so to what fair trade really means. It means that the people producing our goods or even picking our produce, are given fair wage, working in fair environments and for a fair amount of hours. Not half of their day for literally pennies in awful conditions. And unfortunately,  we all know it happens across our world.

I've been a big fan of Kristen Welch for awhile now, fell in love with her blog and quickly devoured her book when it came out. I fell in love with her story and mission behind the Mercy House. In a nutshell, they help rescue pregnant girls (many younger than my 15-year-old) off the street and help rehabilitate their lives, care for their babies before and after birth and even educate them on how to be a good parent and provide for their children. You can learn more about Mercy House here.

You know, I don't get a chance to talk much about this stuff on a food blog,  but I have a huge desire to travel one day to do a little missionary work, specifically in Africa. I love reading about others' work in those areas and each time feel a tugging in my heart to do something similar.  God willing, maybe those dreams will come true in the near future.

For now though, I can help support these women and their families buy purchasing their beautiful artwork. I was sent a box of goodies at the beginning of summer from Fair Trade Friday, everything is just gorgeous.  I love reading the names of who stitched my scarf, I mean come on, where else can you find products like this? Not very many. The club sells over 700 boxes each month, with each box supporting 4-7 women.

You can help too and receive beautiful items each month. As moms we don't make a point to pamper ourselves enough. Help a mother support her family at the same time! Or give a subscription to a friend, what a great birthday or Christmas present.

Here's how to join:

Join the club-  Receive a monthly box containing three-four handcrafted items. {$31.99/month}

One time box- Just like I received, a one time box containing 3-4 items {$35.00}

Earring of the Month Club- Receive a new pair of earrings each month {$11.99/month}

*If there's not currently an opening for next month's club, you can join the waiting list!

So each month you'll receive a box containing 3-4 items. Items will vary, but you can expect accessories such as jewelry and handbags, organic soaps, coffee, journals and note cards. All items are handmade and all proceeds go directly to the artisans. You'll also receive gift tags in your box each month, maybe you don't quite think that new necklace will look good on you or you don't drink coffee; no worries, you can pass it onto a friend or family member instead!

There is so much good to come out of this ministry and I am honored to be apart of it. I know you'll love your products just as much as I have.

*Disclosure: I received products in this post for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own and I was not paid for this post. All profits go straight to the artisans, I will not earn any sort of commission if you make a purchase. 

Wrapping up 31 Days of Family Meals

What a busy month! While it's been a ton of fun creating new dishes and sharing some of my family's favorite meals with you, let's be honest here, I am beat! Regardless, I am so happy I decided to do this series and hope I've armed you with tons of fresh new ideas for your own family.

I know our family enjoyed trying new dishes each night. We've got some new favorites to last us through the weeks and I'm excited to keep them going in our rotation. Below you'll find listed each and every single post from the month, all in one easy location for you to browse through. That way when you're planning your weekly menus, you can find them all in one spot.

Thank you for following along, it was a pleasure! I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did. Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to take a bit of a break this weekend!

Breakfast for Dinner:
Wonton breakfast cups
Bacon,egg and tomato sandwich
Barbecue breakfast kabobs

No-cook Meals:
Egg salad
Ham salad

Veggie pesto penne
Bruschetta pizza
Spaghetti w/simple tomato sauce
Stovetop macaroni and cheese

Slow Cooker:
Buffalo chicken flautas
Slow cooker pulled pork
Crock pot beer brats
Beef tostadas

Zesty grilled chicken
Grilled chicken and veggie kabobs
Italian burgers
Hobos {Foil packet dinner}
Grilled steak cobb salad
Spicy grilled chicken
Chicago dogs w/cucumber relish

Recipe round ups:
Iowa bloggers' favorite summer meals
5 All-time favorite summertime meals

Summer chili
Unstuffed cabbage rolls w/yellow squash
Broccoli and chicken stir-fry
Chicken bacon ranch quesadilla
Shrimp and veggie skillet

Chicken parmesan bake
Jamaican jerk nachos
Barbecue chicken pizza

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Chicago Dogs w/Cucumber Relish

I've never honestly had a Chicago dog, but when I seen some featured on a magazine cover I knew we had to give them a try. From what I've read they are essentially hot dogs on poppy seed buns, topped with tomato, pickle spears, onion and mustard. A pretty filling hot dog if you ask me.

Now we rarely eat hot dogs, just the small bit that we get in our hog purchase each year. I don't like the way traditional hot dogs taste. But these I genuinely enjoy, they're almost like a beef stick in flavor and even texture. Plus they come from the animal I am purchasing, raised in a way I want and I don't have to worry about tons of additives.

I made a simple cucumber and pepper relish to top these with. It was really delicious! All flavors complimented each other and I was even surprised by how well I loved a loaded dog like this.  I didn't worry about the poppy seed buns to be honest, but you can certainly make your own by brushing buns with egg white and then adding poppy seeds. Toast in the oven for a few minutes and you're ready to go.

Make sure to add these to your menu before summer's end!

Chicago Dogs w/Cucumber Relish

1 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
8 hot dogs
sliced tomato
pickle spears

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add mustard seeds to pan. Let cook until seeds start to pop, about one minute. Add ginger and turmeric, saute for about a minute then add vinegar and sugar. Let simmer for another minute. Add the cucumber and pepper and then remove from heat. Set aside.

Grill hot dogs for about six minutes, turning occasionally.  Remove from grill and place on a platter.

Place a hot dog in each bun and top with tomato slices, a pickle spear, cucumber relish and mustard. Makes enough for 8 hot dogs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Spicy Grilled Chicken

So the hubby made dinner last night and it was fabulous. He can be a pretty good cook when he wants to and actually is pretty creative. He loves his hot sauce though and likes to experiment with new concoctions. Last night it was grilled chicken.

Everyone in our family likes to eat buffalo wings so that was the goal in flavor for these drumsticks.  The kids got a more mild version, but for ours he really kicked up the heat. They turned out really well, full of buffalo flavor and I made sure to have a drink nearby during our meal.

We rounded out our plates with grilled squash and pan fried potatoes. It was a nice way to end our day.

Spicy Grilled Chicken

12 chicken drumsticks
8 oz. buffalo sauce
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 small jalapenos, diced finely

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except chicken. Simmer over low heat for five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add chicken to a preheated grill. Cook over low heat for 25 minutes. Then using a basting brush, begin coating chicken in hot sauce. Cook for at least 20 more minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Continue to baste chicken while cooking if desired.

Remove from grill and serve immediately with desired sides.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Iowa Bloggers' Favorite Summer Meals

Earlier in the series I shared with you a handful of my own personal favorite meals featured on the blog. This time I've enlisted the help of some other Iowa bloggers, they're sharing main dish recipes screaming for you to make yet this summer! Nothing short of drool worthy, I know you'll find at least one new favorite.

Let's see what we've got on tap!

I'm especially excited to try the french onion pork burgers and Hawaiian barbecue chicken. Which one will you try first?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Grilled Steak Cobb Salad

Sunday, my favorite day of the week. A day of relaxation after a busy week. A day of slowing down. Yesterday we spent some time at the in law's for lunch and then back home for my freezer swap. More on this very soon!

I had also been craving a good salad for dinner. One filled with garden fresh veggies, maybe a little bit of hard boiled egg and grilled meat. So steak it was! Our steak supply from our beef purchase is quite depleted so we don't eat it too often lately.

But I love a good meal like this. I can feel satisfied but yet eat lighter all at the same time. Add any of your favorite veggies, really that bed of lettuce is a blank canvas. We had some fresh corn on the cob so that was definitely being added in. And you can certainly use chicken instead of steak or omit meat all together. Whatever your little heart desires!

Grilled Steak Cobb Salad

1-2 good sized steaks
one bunch leaf lettuce
pint of cherry tomatoes
1 green pepper
2 ears cooked corn, cut off the cob
4 hard boiled eggs
choice of dressing

Place steaks on grill and cook for five minutes until charred and browned, then flip over and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes until medium. Remove from grill and let stand.

Meanwhile, chop all veggies and eggs. Place lettuce onto a platter. Add each prepared veggie in their own little row.

Slice steak thinly and place strips down middle of salad. Divide between plates for each family member or they can each make their own smaller version. Drizzle choice of salad dressing over top.

Makes enough for 5-6 people

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Friday pizza night is always a favorite in our house, it doesn't happen every week but often enough. We used to order out pizza a lot more before we had the kids. Now, I can make a batch of dough and stretch it into three pizzas. Plenty for our family, plus usually leftovers for lunch the next day.

This also means variety. Each family member can have their favorite toppings. Buffalo chicken for the hubby and all meat for the girls. That leaves one for mom to possibly experiment with. This time is was barbecue chicken.

And it was a delicious experiment! We had some leftover cooked chicken in the fridge so that made for an easy start. Mixed with barbecue sauce and topped with onion, peppers, cheese and cilantro. Very fresh tasting and so good. Now anytime we have extra barbecue chicken on hand I'm going to think of this pizza.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

1 prepared pizza crust
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
1/4 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
mozzarella cheese
chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pizza dough out onto a pizza pan.

Top dough with 1/4 cup of barbecue and spread evenly. Mix chicken with remaining sauce and spread over crust. Sprinkle onion, pepper and cheese over top. Bake in oven for 17-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with cilantro. Cut into slices and serve.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ham Salad

Throughout this series I've really enjoyed reminiscing over old family meals we ate growing up. This sandwich spread is one I remember my grandma and mom making all the time.

I've changed the recipe a bit from the original, mainly because I don't think I could stomach bologna anymore ha! My grandma had a meat grinder and we would use that to chop up the meat. I figured my food processor would do a fine job so that's what I used. I bet even a blender could work if that's all you have.

These are great to enjoy for a no cook meal or to take along on a picnic. I see lots of stores selling their own versions of this sandwich spread, when it's so easy to make your own I just don't see the point in purchasing it. This way you at least know what ingredients are going in. That gives me piece of mind right there.

Ham Salad

1/2 lb good quality sliced ham
2 tbsp dill relish
1/2 cup mayonnaise

In a food processor, pulse ham until in little bits. Remove and dump into a small bowl. Mix in relish and mayonnaise until well combined.

Serve on buns with lettuce. Store remaining spread in the fridge. Keeps for about one week.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jamaican Jerk Nachos

Some nights, especially when it's hot, I don't feel very hungry. Anybody else relate? And there are just times when snacky foods are simply fun to have for dinner. That's exactly what I was thinking last night and boy did nachos sound good.

I made my own Jamaican jerk seasoning, I used to buy one through Pampered Chef, but this tastes exactly how I remember. A little sweet, yet a spicy hint and so good over chicken. You'll only need a little bit of this mixture, leaving plenty for another meal.

To save time, I baked up the chicken ahead of time and I was able to have our dinner ready very quickly. We served these up with fresh tomato, salsa and sour cream. You could add avocado or even a queso dip.  This made for a fun meal that I'm sure we'll make again when we're craving nachos.

Jamaican Jerk Nachos

1-2 boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
Tortilla chips
1 bell pepper, diced
8 oz cheddar cheese, grated
1 tomato, diced
sour cream

To make jerk seasoning:
1 Tbsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for jerk seasoning and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread tortilla chips in a large cookie sheet. Top with shredded chicken. Sprinkle peppers and cheese over top. Add 2 tsp of seasoning over top of mixture. Bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes, just to melt cheese.

Remove from oven. Top with tomato. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Chili

Chili is one of those things I like to enjoy year round. I know it's hot right now, but come on, there are plenty of days in the summer when the weather isn't the best. You know the days, where it's rainy and even a little cold. That's when a warm bowl of chili is perfect.

This time around we incorporated some different veggies in there. We don't get a chance to enjoy summer squashes year round, so I figured why not add a zucchini to the pot? Afterwards, I wish I would've thrown a little fresh corn from the cob in as well.

Most everyone likes a good bowl of chili so why not take advantage of adding some extra nutrients.  For kids and even adults that turn their noses up, try dicing your veggies a little more. Perhaps they'll willingly eat a bowl full without even hesitating!

Summer Chili

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. mild sausage
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
15 oz. kidney beans, drained
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, with juices
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

In a skillet, brown meat on stove until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.

In a stock pot, heat oil and garlic together. Let garlic cook for one minute. Add in zucchini and peppers, let cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes.

Add in beans, tomatoes, sauce and cooked meat. Stir to combine. Sprinkle in all seasonings, taste and adjust if needed.Let simmer until ready to serve, at least 15 minutes.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, cilantro or avocado if desired.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

I'm not typically a huge mac and cheese eater, but I will enjoy a little bit on occasion.  If I had my choice, I'd eat this version every other week. The hubby on the other hand, loves it. Anytime we get to go out to eat, if given the choice he usually goes for mac and cheese as a side dish, besides fries of course.

I absolutely despise the blue box variety and I'm sorry if you happen to like it, no judging here. There's just nothing about it I like, from the taste to the unnecessary ingredients they use. In an attempt to make a delicious homemade version, I have tried several recipes over the years. Mostly baked in the oven and most of them not very good.

I'm confident I have finally discovered my go-to recipe, with a little help from Cook's Illustrated. I can always count on their recipes when I need some help. This particular version cooked up very quickly and I love that! We had ham steak with this the other night and it was really good all mixed together. I also can't wait to experiment with other varieties of cheese, maybe a little pepper jack for a kick.

What do you think, what's your favorite cheese to add in macaroni?

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz. elbow macaroni
2 eggs
12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 tbsp butter
12 oz. grated cheese (I used a medium cheddar)

Bring a large pot of water to boil, cook macaroni until al dente.

While that's cooking, combine eggs, 1 cup of the milk and hot sauce. Set aside.

Drain pasta when done and return back to pot. Add in butter and toss together until melted. Pour in egg mixture along with 3/4 of the cheese. Stir well until cheese melts. Add in salt, pepper,remaining milk and cheese and let cook on low for five more minutes, until cheese is melted. Season with additional salt or pepper if needed.

Serve while warm.

Adapted from: Cook's Illustrated

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls w/Yellow Squash

I remember my mom making cabbage rolls at my grandmother's house, it was a dish my grandma enjoyed very much. In fact, I think many love this old-fashioned favorite. It can be quite time consuming to make but I know much worth the effort.

When creating my list of meals for this series, cabbage rolls came to mind. But in the end I decided to go a different route. One that would help me get dinner on the table quickly. I have come across other versions of unstuffed cabbage rolls and decided it was time to create my own.

If you've never had the chance to eat cabbage rolls, I think the flavors might remind you of a comforting spaghetti or Italian dish. That's what I thought of last night as we ate dinner.  I added the summer squash for good measure, just because we had some in the fridge and I figured, why not?

The cabbage cooks down nicely and you're left with a hearty dish that is good for you. You can serve over rice, but I was personally full without it. In fact, I am so looking forward to have leftovers for lunch today!

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls w/Yellow Squash

1 lb. ground pork
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 head of cabbage, chopped
15 oz. can tomato sauce
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes w/garlic and onion
1 yellow squash, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, brown ground pork until no longer pink. Drain and return to pan.

Add in all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover with lid and let cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until cabbage and squash are tender.

Serve over prepared rice, if desired.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Barbecue Breakfast Kabobs

We had a really good Sunday surrounded by family and the warm sunshine.  The hubby's grandparents have been in town from Missouri so we've been trying to spend much of our time with them. In the morning we all joined at the in-law's house for brunch, there was quite the spread, including these grilled kabobs.

Now we had these for brunch, but you could most definitely add some additional veggies and serve them up for lunch or dinner. The sauce is great, it's actually just a combo of barbecue sauce and raspberry jam. My mother-in-law prepped these the night before so all we had to do was heat on the grill. Easy peasy!

Barbecue Breakfast Kabobs

1 fully cooked ham steak
1 beef sausage ring
1 bell pepper
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

In a small bowl, combine jam and barbecue sauce. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Set aside.

Cut ham steak, sausage and bell pepper into chunks. Thread onto skewers. Brush sauce over kabobs.

When ready to heat, grill for about 15 minutes, rotating the skewers. These will just need to be heated through. You can also heat in oven if you'd rather go that route.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hobos {Foil Packet Dinner}

Growing up, I remember my parents making these little foil packet dinners. We grilled them outside, cooked them in the oven during the winter time and I'm pretty sure even made them while camping.

I decided to make them for my own family this past week and they sure brought back many memories. It's crazy how food can do that. I also forgot how good something so simple can be.

I love how everything is all together in one piece of foil. Your whole meal, all together. You can try adding in some other veggies, but there's something about hamburger, potatoes and carrots that is comforting.


1 lb ground beef
4 potatoes
2-3 carrots
salt and pepper
garlic powder

You'll need four to five large pieces of foil, set those aside.

Divide ground beef into four or five patties. Place in center of each piece of foil. Peel and cut potatoes and carrots into small chunks. Divide between each foil packet. Season well with salt, pepper and garlic.

Wrap each packet up and cook on grill for 30 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and veggies are tender. Remove from grill and serve. Serves 4-5

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Five All-time Favorite Summer Meals

I've made some pretty good meals here on the blog before. Ones that we still like to incorporate into our meal plan. Today I've rounded up five of my favorites, meals that are perfect for the summer months. Maybe you'll find some new inspiration in these?

Chicken pasta primavera- I created this dish a couple years ago when we had tons of produce from our CSA to use up. It's light, yet filling and a fairly healthy meal too. You can omit the chicken for a meatless main and use any veggies you have on hand.

Grilled bacon caprese sandwich- I was never a big fan of grilled cheese growing up, until I experimented with different cheeses. This is one of my favorites, and it couldn't be any easier to make. Even the kiddos could help with assembling these.

Italian shredded beef- On hot days put the crock pot to use. These sandwiches require minimal work on your part. The beef is incredibly tender and flavorful after cooking all day long.

Tomato basil chicken- I think of this as sort of grown up chicken strips with a twist. The panko crumbs help create a nice crunch. Then topped with mozzarella, tomato and basil; it's quite delicious!

Stuffed pepper bake- Stuffed peppers are a favorite in the summer, but this casserole bake is a much easier way to enjoy this favorite.

Well there ya have it, hopefully you're able to add a little more inspiration to your menu plan!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bacon, Egg and Tomato Sandwich

For the past seven weeks or so, I've been taking an continuing ed class at our local community college.  My other classes were always later in the evening, giving me ample time to prepare dinner. Now we're finding ourselves getting home from dance practice at 5 or after and seriously rushing to get dinner on the table so I can leave and be in class by 6:00.

If it weren't for simple meals and the help from each family member, we probably wouldn't be able to make this work so well. Or else we'd be tempted to eat out those two nights each week. This season in life is crazy busy but hey, we're making the best of it. I'm sure so many of you can relate all too well.

So these happened to be dinner last night. Ridiculously simple, yet so good! I hope you're realizing good food doesn't always have to be time consuming and complicated.

I quickly pan fried a few small potatoes from the farmers market in a tiny bit of bacon grease and they made for a delicious side. The girls of course added some fresh blueberries to their plate.  These made for a great dinner when we're craving hearty breakfast food. You can certainly keep these in mind for your breakfast during the week or on the weekend.

Bacon, Egg and Tomato Sandwich

1 lb bacon
Sliced tomato
Cheese, if desired
Ciabatta buns

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Prepare eggs in another small skillet, fry in a bit of bacon grease if desired.

While eggs are cooking, start toasting buns. When eggs are ready, layer each toasted bun with an egg, bacon and tomato. Add cheese if desired.

Serve with pan fried potatoes and fresh fruit.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Italian Burgers

Everyday at summer school when we take the kiddos outside I love to peek at the raised garden beds. They are filled with lettuce, spinach, peppers, tomatoes and tons of herbs. The basil plant is full of luscious leaves, far better looking than my own at home. I picked a small handful to bring home, with these burgers in mind.

Some of my favorite summer flavors shine through in this sandwich. I can't get enough of the basil and those juicy, ripe tomatoes make for a great topper. I kept this on the simple side, you can certainly mix up a fancy sauce or butter to slather on top. But I think good ol' ketchup is enough...or leave it off if you're not a fan.

Serve these burgers on toasted buns hot off the grill. Your family will thank you, and your stomach too! Enjoy!

Italian Burgers

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 basil leaves, finely diced
6 slices mozzarella cheese
6 buns,toasted
sliced tomato
additional basil leaves, if desired

In a large bowl, mix in Italian seasoning, pepper and basil into ground beef. Form six patties out of the meat and set aside.

Cook patties on grill for about 10 minutes each side, or to the doneness of your liking. Right before removing from grill, add a slice of cheese to each burger. Let cook just until cheese is melted and then remove from grill.

Serve burgers on toasted buns with lettuce, tomato, additional basil leaves if desired and any other toppings you like. Makes 6 burgers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beef Tostadas

I know, some of you have probably been muttering under your breath, where's the beef lady? I realized, unintentionally of course, I failed to plan any beef dishes lately.  You'll have to forgive me and I think this dish should make up for it. Plus it's another slow cooker meal!

We have some roasts in our deep freeze from our beef purchase and I'm always trying to come up with new ways in which to prepare them. The hubby doesn't like a traditional pot roast meal much and to be honest, I would tire of that quickly too.

But tacos, and Mexican food in general, everyone loves that! Tostadas are so similar to tacos and let's face it, a fun way to change up the meal plan. By letting the meat slow cook all day, you're left with the most tender and flavorful filling for your shells.

I used some of my favorite enchilada sauce from the freezer to cook the beef in, but any store brand will do the trick. And now that peppers and tomatoes are popping out of the garden, they deserve a chance to be piled high on top of these tostadas!

Beef Tostadas

2 lb. beef roast
2 cups enchilada sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Corn tortillas
desired toppings

In a bowl, mix together enchilada sauce and salsa and set aside. Season roast with garlic powder, cumin and chili powder.

Place roast in a crock pot. Pour sauce mixture over top. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove roast from crock pot and shred meat using two forks.

Serve meat over corn tortillas. Top with desired tostada toppings such as: lettuce, tomato, peppers, avocado, cheese, sour cream and additional salsa.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Crock Pot Beer Brats

Yesterday it was too hot to cook, even for the grill. It would have been cruel and unusual punishment to make the hubby stand outside in this heat and humidity.  So the crock pot it was, even for brats.

This was our first experience using the slow cook method for brats. But it worked pretty well. I loved being able to leave dinner to cook all day and not have to worry about any prep work. For more of an authentic grill look, you could definitely brown them a bit before or after cooking, in a skillet or indoor grill pan.

Since I have onion haters in my family, I left those out. Otherwise, they would be a great flavor enhancer to the dish. Same with sauerkraut.

Oh and do you see that bright colored piece of sweet corn on my plate? Yeah, it's a pretty big deal around these parts. I think we all look forward to those first ears of corn, fresh from the farm. I'll be busy soon adding some bags of corn fresh off the cob to our freezer. It's what summer is all about!

Crock Pot Beer Brats

8 fresh brats
12 oz. beer of your choice
Buns, to serve on
Desired toppings

Place brats in crock pot and pour beer over top. Cover and let cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Remove brats from crock pot and place onto a large plate. Serve on buns with desired toppings.

Ideas for side dishes to serve alongside:
Grilled veggies
Kale-broccoli slaw
Potato salad
Twice-baked potatoes

Monday, July 13, 2015

Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fry

It's suddenly turned extremely hot here in the Midwest.  Humid and just darn right uncomfortable to be outside, unless you're in the pool. I foresee many crock pot or no-cook meals in our future this week.

Today's dish was one we tried in early June, in effort to use up some leftover chicken. The hubby doesn't like stir frys much but they really are a great way to use up leftover veggies and meat.

The girls and I really enjoyed it though. I loved the little bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. With the weather being so warm right now, you could certainly serve this cold and it would still taste just as good!

Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fry

2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 cup broccoli florets
2 cups chopped bok choy
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of ground ginger
prepared rice, for serving

Combine garlic, red pepper, olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat on stove, combine chicken and sauce in the skillet. Let cook for a few minutes, then add in broccoli and bok choy. Continue to let cook until bok choy cooks down, about five minutes.

Remove from heat. Serve over prepared rice.

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