Thursday, December 31, 2015

Slow Cooker Brisket with Brown Gravy

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Pardon the picture (getting dark at 4:30pm does NOTHING for my dinner pictures), but I just had to share this recipe with you. I love simple slow cooker recipes that taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. The hardest part of this recipe was spending 10 minutes searing the beef (if you even count that hard). Other than that, you basically throw everything in the slow cooker and a few hours later you get tender brisket and vegetables with an incredibly flavorful gravy. Ideal for these chilly winter nights. Enjoy! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Printable Recipe


  • Canola oil, for searing
  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3 lb.) brisket
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch parsley, stems reserved and leaves chopped
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 (.87 oz.) packet slow cooker pot roast seasoning
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 (8 oz.) packages sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 (.87-ounce) packet brown gravy mix
  • 1 cup cold water
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Season the brisket on both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Sear the brisket in the hot pan until browned, about 4 minutes per side.

To the slow cooker, add the parsley stems, celery and bay leaf. Put the seared brisket on top of the vegetables. In a large bowl whisk together the broth, wine, tomato paste, and pot roast seasoning. Pour the mixture over the brisket, top with onions, and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Halfway into cooking, add the carrots. One hour before the brisket is done, add the mushrooms.

Remove the meat, onions, carrots, and mushrooms from the slow cooker and set aside. Strain the liquid into a medium pan over medium-high heat. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the gravy mix with 1 cup of cold water. Turn the heat to medium and whisk the gravy mixture into the brisket liquid. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Skim any fat off of the top.

Slice the brisket and arrange it on a serving platter. Serve it with the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and gravy. Garnish with the reserved chopped parsley leaves and serve.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Okay, so we definitely have a new favorite soup..and it's made in the slow cooker! All of the ingredients are pretty much pantry staples. I was able to make this super last minute because I just happened to have everything on hand. And thank goodness I did because it's SO so good. Using salsa in the recipe gives it a ton of flavor without needing too many extra ingredients. My boys and I loved this. Plus it made enough so that I could freeze half and defrost it when I don't feel like making dinner. We're all looking forward to that night :) Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb. frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
Optional Toppings:
  • Sour cream
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Lettuce
  • Diced avocado
  • Crushed corn chips
Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, salsa, corn, black beans, water, cumin, and cilantro. Pour over the top of chicken.

Cook on LOW 4-6 hours. Remove the chicken and chop into bite-size pieces. Place back into the slow cooker and add shredded cheese. Continue cooking until cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. 

Serve with your favorite toppings.

Source: Adapted from The Recipe Critic

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Favorite Chocolate Cream Pie

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This is our new go-to Chocolate Cream Pie. It's rich and creamy because of the sweetened condensed milk, which also gives it a sweet, rich flavor. I could eat it straight from the can, so you know I was all about putting it in this pie! It takes 10 minutes to make, so if you need a last minute dessert for your Christmas table definitely whip this up. Merry Christmas!!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 2⁄3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1(14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 (9-inch) baked Oreo crust
  • Whipped cream, for serving
  • Semi-sweet chocolate, grated, for serving 
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk water, cornstarch and cocoa until smooth. Continue to whisk until thickened and just begins to bubble. 

Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk well. 

In a small bowl, add egg yolks. Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the egg yolks and stir quickly. Then add the egg yolk mixture to the hot saucepan mixture.

Continue to whisk until thickened.

Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter is melted. 

Pour into the baked crust. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the top of the pie and place in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or until cooled. 

Serve with whipped cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Source: Adapted from

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Festive Roasted Vegetables (Gluten-Free)

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Not only do I love this recipe because it's really easy (my two-year-old helped with almost every step) and spiced perfectly, but it's a perfect make-ahead dish. It's great both fresh out of the oven or at room temperature, so you can make it earlier in the day and just let it sit out until you're ready to serve it…totally ideal for Christmas day! The mix of vegetables will satisfy everyone, plus it's gluten-free! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 (8 oz.) packaged sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, ends removed, halved and outer leaves removed
  • 4 cups red potatoes, cut into quarters (about 1 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add all vegetables into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper, salt, oregano, thyme and basil and stir so evenly coated. Pour vegetables into an even layer on two baking sheets.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Source: Adapted from Love Grows Wild

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal

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Bradley likes a lot of things, but he goes weeks at a time where he prefers one particular thing more than other things. The past few weeks he's been asking for oatmeal for breakfast, and while I usually give him a low sugar oatmeal that's filled with fruit, once in a while I like to give him something special. Making this sweetened version was partly for him, and partly for his pregnant mom. It's not something we will eat all the time, but definitely something to keep on hand when we want a treat for breakfast. Or when we want a fun Christmas breakfast :) Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. milk
  • 5 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

​For the oats: In a medium saucepan over high medium, bring milk to a boil. Stir in sugars, vanilla and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Add oats and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until oats are tender and creamy, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 

For the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients.

Serve oatmeal in a bowl drizzled with glaze and sprinkled with remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Source: SK Original

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jalapeño Roasted Chicken with Broccolini

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I know ham is the traditional protein served on Christmas day, but if you want to switch things up a bit I suggest trying out roasted chicken! It's super moist and delicious, not to mention it is extremely easy to make. This version is a little spicy from the jalapeño (but not too bad since the seeds are removed) and it's paired with deliciously moist roasted broccolini. The pan juices are a perfect sauce to accompany the chicken. Everyone will be fighting over the crispy, blistered parts. They're the best. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


Jalapeno paste:

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh oregano leaves or 1/3 cup dried oregano
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
  • tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 (5 1/2 lb.) roasting chicken
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 lbs. baby broccoli (broccolini)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Jalapeno paste: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the oregano, shallot, garlic, butter, 2 tbsp. olive oil, the jalapeno, salt and pepper and process to form a coarse paste.

Chicken: Pat the chicken dry and then put it, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the chicken breast, legs, and thighs without detaching it. Spread half of the jalapeno paste under the skin. Put the rosemary and the shallots in the cavity of the chicken. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen twine. Spread the remaining jalapeno paste all over the exterior of the chicken. Pour the chicken broth and wine into the roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes, adding more broth to the pan if it begins to dry out.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Arrange the baby broccoli snugly around the chicken on the rack. Drizzle the olive oil over the florets and season them with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast the chicken with the baby broccoli, basting occasionally with the pan juices (adding more broth to the pan if necessary), until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the chicken thigh, without touching the bone, registers 160 degrees F, about 30 minutes. Remove the roast chicken from the oven, tent it in foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Arrange the chicken on a platter, and surround it with the broccoli. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Thursday, December 10, 2015


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I'm currently at the hospital getting induced and getting ready to meet our little girl!! YAY! I've set up some posts for you all until I get back at it, but until then…ENJOY AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

I never knew such a simple cookie could taste so good. Snickerdoodles really just consist of all your standard cookie ingredients (sugar, flour, vanilla, etc.), but then they're rolled in a cinnamon-sugar combination for a sweet crust. These are fluffy and light with a perfect amount of sweetness. My husband took some to some of his friends and a few proclaimed they were the best snickerdoodles they've ever tasted. I'll count that as a win. And they're an excellent choice for the Christmas dessert table. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cheesy Veggie-Packed Baked Farfalle

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The past few months I have been stocking up our freezer in anticipation of baby girl's arrival, and that usually means doubling what we're eating for dinner and freezing half of it. Pasta dishes and casseroles work great when freezing, and this recipe fits both criteria. It contains a lot of vegetables, and I opted for turkey sausage instead of pork sausage to save some calories. Plus it allowed me to put some extra cheese on top :) Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 box (16 oz.) dried farfalle pasta
  • 1 lb. uncooked ground Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 cup eggplant, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cups reduced-fat Italian blend cheese, shredded, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting any salt or oil. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a very large skillet cook sausage, eggplant, mushrooms, sweet pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until sausage is browned and vegetables are just tender, stirring to break up sausage as it cooks. Drain off any fat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

In a very large bowl stir together the pasta and sausage mixture. Stir in 1 cup of the Italian blend cheese. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.

Bake, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Italian blend cheese. Bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Source: SK Original

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Crockpot Bourbon Chicken

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No, you didn't misread the ingredient list. There really is no bourbon in this bourbon chicken recipe. I chose to exclude it because honestly…I don't love the taste, and most of the other "Bourbon Chicken" recipes I looked at didn't contain bourbon in them either. So weird. But whatever you want to call this chicken, it's just plain delicious. Chicken thighs get so tender, especially when slow cooked, and the combination sweet/savory sauce is amazing. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch
  • Rice, cooked, for serving
Place the chicken in a slow cooker.

In a small bowl, mix the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, apple juice, honey, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water and soy sauce. Pour sauce over chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW 6-7 hours or on HIGH 3 hours.

When done, remove chicken from the crockpot. If desired, cut into bite-size pieces or you can keep them whole.

Meanwhile, put the cornstarch in a small bowl. Remove about 1/4 cup of liquid from the slow cooker and add it to the cornstarch. Stir very well. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the remaining liquid in the crockpot and stir to combine. Add the chicken back into the crockpot and stir to combine. 

Serve over rice.

Source: Adapted from Spend with Pennies

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fall Baked Acorn Squash

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My friend, Christy, posted this recipe on her Instagram page one day, and I couldn't get it out of my head! As soon as I found some acorn squash in the store, I bought them and needed to replicate the recipe. I added my own twist by adding some stuffing to make the filling heartier, but you can totally leave that out and double the rest of the filling ingredients if you want! We really enjoyed the filling with the flavorful stuffing, though. Perfect for this time of year. And it paired so well with the tender acorn squash! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 (6 oz. box) savory herb flavored Stove Top stuffing mix
  • 4 links apple flavored chicken sausages, casings removed
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the guts. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sea salt. Bake for 40 minutes and remove from oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, cook the stuffing according to the package directions and set aside in a large bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken sausage, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is browned and vegetables are tender, breaking up the chicken into small pieces. Add to the bowl with the stuffing mixture.

Add apple and Parmesan cheese to the stuffing mixture and stir to combine. Divide the stuffing mixture equally among the four acorn squash halves. 

Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the tops begin to slightly brown. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from my friend Christy