Mac and cheese= kid favorite, adult favorite, crowdy pleaser. Unless you are lactose intolerant, I’m guessing mac and cheese is a staple in your diet and probably gives you warm fuzzies of memories as a kid. Whether you liked the stove top blue box, orange carton that went in the oven or something homemade with buttery crumbles on top, cheese and noodles are a great combination.
Noodles are a challenge for the crock pot, however. I would recommend cooking the noodles in advance. I know it makes TWO pots to clean instead of just one, but it’s the best way. You can reuse the pot to make the sauce before pouring it into the crock pot. You may be saying, but then isn’t this a stove top recipe and not a crock pot recipe? But by adding these things together into the crock pot, you are actually working to increase the creaminess, less the seasoning melt together and ultimately have dinner ready when you get home.
I also would recommend shredding the block of cheese by hand instead of buying preshredded cheese. It makes it a little creamier, although I’m not quite sure why. But if you cook the noodles in advance and shred the cheese too, you are eliminating some of the prep time to make it easier to start this dish over breakfast and then enjoy it at dinner time.
Once this becomes one of your favorite dishes, there are lots of ways to add variety: add 1/2 c salsa or 4 strips of crumbled bacon or freshly snipped chives or some steamed vegetables like broccoli or peas. If you want more protein in the dish, add a packet of drained tuna fish or some fajita-style chicken strips. If you are serving this to adults and want to make it more grown up, Read more
My 93-year-old grandmother-in-law was visiting last week and the woman is amazing. She is clear minded and sound of body. She might not win the race, but she will definitely reach the finish line. She loves her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and hates to be idle. So when she was here visiting and offered to help in the kitchen, I was pleased to have her assistance.
My least favorite food prep is cutting onions. Let’s be honest– I’m a big baby about it. My eyes first burn and tingle, then water profusely and run all down my face. I look like I’m in a bad soap opera by the time that innocent white bulb is finally all chopped up. So, I politely asked my ”sous-chef” to complete this task and she diced enough onions to fill half of a gallon-sized freezer bag full!
Now I needed to figure out what to do with all these onions. I thought about a side dish of creamed onions or maybe crisping them up with some garlic to start a nice curry dish, but decided instead that it would only be appropriate to make my mother-in-law’s recipe for for potato soup and to use the onions that her own mama chopped up. My M-I-L didn’t make this dish in the crock pot, but Read more
If you could smell my house right now, it is sweet and a little spicy with a creaminess swirling around with every breath. Somehow, it is like a combination of slow Sunday mornings and early weekday diner breakfasts. If you are preparing your house for the Jewish holiday of Passover– this is the ultimate way of using up the last of your chametz (leavened bread). You can use any combination of plain breads, but I’d recommend using white, wheat, french, italian… even leftover hamburger or hot dog buns if you’ve got them. Honestly, this might be for dessert, but if I had more bread to use, I would totally make it again for breakfast.
As this time of year seems to fill with baby and wedding showers in preparation for summer celebrations, I would also absolutely recommend making this to share at a brunch. Since it only takes three hours, you can start it when you wake up and be ready to entertain guests with ease. For my male readers and/or sports fanatics– you might be spending too many nights staying up and watching March Madness basketball games; start the following day with this hearty dish to help wake you up and fill you up (and maybe even absorb that last bit of “adult beverage” festering in your belly).
So no matter what catagory you might fit into from this post, I think you all will fall in love with this sweet dish. Enjoy!
6 c. cubed bread
8 eggs, beaten Read more
My husband’s family use to have this amazing tradition; every Wednesday night we would all go to his grandmother’s house for dinner. Gaga’s recipes usually start with butter or oil and a little salt and pepper and from there, it could be chicken or beef or vegetables or any number of simply wonderful simple dishes. But one of my favorites is Gaga’s cabbage casserole.
Every time Gaga made this, I knew that the kitchen would be uncomfortably warm from the oven being on and that it would taste so good that there would rarely be leftovers. This dish doesn’t even taste like cabbage, it tastes like fluffy goodness that you can say is actually good for you. Save yourself the perspiration and make this dish in your crock pot instead. If you want to finish the casserole off, remove the crock and place it under the broiler for a couple minutes, just so the top layer crisps.
This dish is simple and the salt and pepper really give it most of its flavor, so it’s great to make as a complement to pretty much any meat. It’s not a main dish, but it will probably be a favorite! I wouldn’t recommend freezing this casserole, but refrigerating it and reheating it is fine.
1/2 head cabbage
1 sleeve of saltine crackers (if you want it to taste more buttery, use a Ritz style cracker instead)
3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
Shred the cabbage, the smaller the pieces, the better. Put the crackers in a zipper bag and smash them till they are itty bitty, but not powder. Layer the cabbage and then the cracker crumbs in the crock pot; in between layers drizzle about 1 T. of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. When all of the cabbage, crackers, seasonings and oil have been layered, pour milk into the crock pot until it almost reaches the top layer, but not quite. It usually takes about 4 cups of milk. Cook on high for 3 hours. There shouldn’t be much liquid left when the casserole is done– the crackers absorb most of it, but make sure that your cabbage is soft, it shouldn’t be crunchy at all.
Enjoy this with pretty much anything. Gaga would be proud if you made this on a Wednesday night at your house, too.
This oatmeal is an easy way to invite your senses to wake up and start the day. I love the surprise of removing the crock pot lid and seeing a beautiful bright purple, smelling the sweet steam and seeing the little bubbles around the edges on this thick and smooth oatmeal.
This would be a great holiday dish, easy to serve to overnight guests and would even be great for a morning meeting at work. Seriously, they make portable crock pots for a reason! Enjoy this sweet treat for breakfast tomorrow. If you spend the rest of the day humming “Purple Rain” or singing “Flying Purple People Eater” to your kids, you can thank me later.
2 c. quick oats
2. c. water
1 c. milk
1 T. vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling
1 c. frozen blueberries
Put everything in the crockpot, stir gently and cook on “keep warm” for 8 hours over night. When you mix this in the morning, stir gently so you don’t make the blueberries fall apart— they will be juicy and ready to explode.
A friend of mine wants to use her crock pot more, but has an allergy to tomatoes. After doing a little research, I agreed with her– most crock pot recipes seem to have some sort of tomato or tomato-based product in them! It is an injustice that my friend should not be able to embrace easy crock pot cooking more often. So, my next few recipes will definitely not be red. And if it’s just that you don’t like tomatoes, these might just become some of your new favorites too.
This is an easy potato casserole that gets jazzed up by the cheese and chips. Since the french word for potato is “pomme de terre”, I am honoring my friend Tara with this recipe for “Pomme de Tara”. Enjoy!
(Is there a recipe you’d like to see or an ingredient you’d like to avoid?? Click on my contact page and send me a note– I’m happy to post something just for YOU!)
6-8 potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 T. butter, melted
1 c. milk Read more
Growing up, my dad really liked tapioca pudding and I could never understand why he enjoyed eating eyeballs. They looks gooey and slimey and smelled like playdough. I also remember seeing vats of it at chinese buffet restaurants and was again reminded of things like eyeballs and fish eggs.
Then I discovered that with a little love, it could actually be a delicious treat. The addition of vanilla and cinnamon make this more of a dessert, but I wouldn’t be opposed to eating it for breakfast. As an additional note—tapioca pearls are also a great way to thicken up desserts, stews and sauces, but use the small pearls in those instances.
Try serving this dish with vanilla wafers or a few little chocolate cookies that might be “thin” and “minty”. If you eat it warm, you might also like it with some pound cake and fresh fruit.
4 cups milk
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. tapioca Read more
It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to enjoy a side dish that can be a year round favorite. I like to go to restaurants and just order an array of side dishes as my meal— green bean casserole, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and scalloped apples are some of my favorites. Let’s be honest, it’s a good thing Cracker Barrel doesn’t have a buffet.
Side dishes can be dangerous though. All these creamy, cheesy, salty tastes can be brief in moments, but high in fat and calories. This crockpot version of green been cassarole saves some calories by Read more
Good morning, friends! While this is technically breakfast and not dinner, I figured a nice, warm meal would be a good way to start Monday morning. After reading pages of posts online, I decided that the only way to figure this recipe out would just be to avoid all the major complaints that people had about the other recipes. So, to save you the time of researching everyone else’s negativity, here is the insight and recipe that I have to share with you.
1. Cook time: I suggest 8 hours on the “keep warm” setting. Everyone else said to cook the oatmeal for 4 hours on low, but who wants to get up in the middle of the night to start breakfast?! Cooking on “keep warm” means you can Read more