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Monday, December 21, 2015

Recipe Review from 12/14/2015

The big news from this past week is our new fridge arrived!  The delivery guys were awesome about getting that behemoth (it's by no means the largest fridge out there, just big to me) into our small house. New fridge looks absolutely fantastic, I love the side by side and water/ice dispenser, and it really pulls the whole remodel together.  I'd post a picture, but my phone doesn't seem to want to talk to my computer. (Now posted below!! 12/23/15)

The other big news, but not picture worthy is the new washer was delivered the same day.  Our former washer decided to stop working Thanksgiving weekend, a repair woman inspected the machine a week later and gave it last rites.  I went back to the same place I got the refrigerator, ordered a wash machine, and arranged delivery for the same day.  After three weeks of hitting the laundromat or borrowing the Folks machine it was super nice to have access to my own washer again.

And in between that excitement, I made a few meals:

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L)  Slow Cook Chicken and Stuffing  (S)  Butternut Alfredo Pasta
Mon (yoga)  leftovers
Tues (fridge/washer) leftovers
Wed - Slow cooked Sausage and Bean Soup
Thurs (yoga) - leftovers
Fri - leftovers
Sat - Christmas with the Family

Lunches - sandwiches, crackers, fruit, yogurt, luna bars...the usual

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing  (The Cozy Cook via Pinterest)
After being overly ambitious the week before in my meal planning, I wanted some simple dishes.  The chop, plop, and walk away kind.  This fit the bill...mostly.  I struggled with the cream-of-soup, and after reading through some of the comments, I subbed a can of mushroom gravy.  Not sure if I traded one "evil" for another... 

I also used one smaller pkg of chicken thighs (only 4/pk, not the usual 6/pkg).

photo from The Cozy Cook blog
  • 1(10.5) ounce can of cream of chicken soup (or use cream of mushroom soup, it’s less salty)
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 (6 oz.) box Stove Top stuffing mix*
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen green beans
  • 3-4 large chicken breasts, salted and peppered if desired.

Place the chicken on the bottom of the crock pot.

Mix together the soup, sour cream, stuffing, half of the water, and place over the chicken.

Place the string beans either on one side of the crock pot or over the stuffing. You'll want to mix the stuffing periodically if possible- I don't mind mixing the string beans in with the stuffing but if you'd prefer that they remain separate, place the string beans more to the side.

Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-7.

*No need to cook the stuffing mix prior to adding to crock pot

Author notes:
I like to try to mix the stuffing periodically if I can, just to keep it blended and to mix the moisture around. If the stuffing seems too moist for your liking, leave the lid off the crock pot for the last 30-40 minutes of cooking, or until your desired consistency is achieved.

I love adding diced sausage, onions, and celery to my stuffing- even dried cranberries are delicious! You can also add onion tops toward the end of the cooking process- (YUM.)

This meal is delicious with some whipped potatoes prepared on the stovetop! 

Butternut Alfredo Pasta  (Joyful Healthy Eats via Pinterest)  gluten free and vegetarian option
This came together fairly quickly - helped along because my squash was already pre-cut and just needed to be pulled out of the freezer.

Just a couple of noteables - I chopped and fried the bacon first, removed from pan and set aside.  Then I sauted the onion in 1 tsp-ish of the rendered bacon fat (having drained off any excess) and proceeded from there.  Seemed silly to dirty another pan when I could use the bacon for some flavoring.  I also used 1 lb of regular pasta - in fact, I used 1/2 lb of elbows and 1/2 lb of rotini.  A bit of pantry reduction.  Worked just fine.

This turns out creamy, savory, and darn delicious!  Made enough for two meals for two of us.  
  • 4 strips of applewood bacon**  (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
    Photo from Joyful Healthy Eats blog
  • 1 cup diced red onion (I used regular)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 cups butternut squash cubes
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1½ tablespoon diced fresh sage (I used 1 tsp dried)
  • 1½ tablespoon diced fresh thyme (I used 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • salt to taste
  • 2 lb. gluten free pasta (author used quinoa pasta)  (I used 1 lb regular pasta)

In a large skillet add the butter and red onion. Saute until slightly soft, about 1-2 minutes.

Next add in the garlic, saute for 30 seconds, stir and add the butternut squash, chicken stock, sage, and thyme. Stir and cover. Cook until the butternut squash is fork tender, about 8-10 minutes.

When the squash is tender, add the squash to a food processor along with the milk and salt to taste. Puree until smooth.

In the meantime heat a small skillet to medium high heat, add the diced bacon to the pan and saute until the bacon is crispy. About 4-5 minutes. When the bacon is done, place it on a paper towel lined plate to let the grease drain.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add gluten free pasta, cook according to directions, (6-8 minutes) do not overcook.

Drain pasta and add butternut squash sauce to the pasta, gently toss together and top with crispy bacon. Serve!

Slow Cooked Sausage and Bean Soup (Betty Crocker via Pinterest)   gluten free
This is super easy and hits the spot on a damp, cold, Fall or Winter day.   Easy enough that it could be assembled in the morning before heading out for work - assuming you're an early riser.  Otherwise, make the night before and toss into the fridge before you head out for the day.  Nicely flavored, good balance between meat, beans and veggies.  Good with a bit of crusty bread to sop up last bit of soup in bowl.

Made enough for four meals for two people. 

Photo from
  • 1 lb small red potatoes, each cut into 8 pieces (about 3 cups) 
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
  • 1 medium stalk celery, sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) navy or cannellini beans, drained, rinsed (I used two 16oz can beans)
  • 1 carton (32 oz) Progresso™ chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1lb fully cooked kielbasa sausage, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, mix all ingredients except sausage and parsley.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.
Stir in sausage and parsley. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 30 minutes longer or until sausage is hot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the new appliances.

Steve and I are considering downsizing when he retires. I said I didn't care where. I didn't much care what, but it MUST, MUST, MUST have a washer and dryer. I will give up a dishwasher, but I am NOT going OUT to clean my clothes! LOL

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