What We’re Eating: BLT Salad

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We are still LOVING Plan to Eat. That 5 ‘o clock hour is so much better since I can link our meal planner to my Google Calendar, which sends me my Daily Agenda every morning at 5 a.m. When I wake up, I know exactly what my plan is for the day. (Implementing aforementioned plan is a different story.) Love it! If you want to sign up for a PTE trial and take my friend Kat’s Meal Planning Boot Camp, you’ve got nothing to lose but stress! (Note: Excuse the non-pro pics. Camera phone is the quickest to capture these pics.)

Changes and Suggestions
I love trying new recipes, but don’t like to spend too much time on prep. Trader Joe’s bagged greens that are already chopped is a time-saver. We love bacon, but don’t eat much of it, and especially don’t always have it at hand, so the sub for that is bacon bits. (If you leave the bacon out, it would technically be a LT salad instead of BLT salad.) I know, it’s not the same, stop yelling at me. :p Instead of doubling the feta to 8 oz, I just used 6 oz since that is how much is in the TJ’s container. Canned corn would work if you don’t have fresh corn on the cob.

Do not just make the 2 servings that is in the original recipe (I changed it to 4 servings down below). You might not want to put all the extra avocados in if you’re making more, only because you don’t want to eat brown avos in your salad. Go big and make a ton of this salad because there are quite a bit of ingredients to prep, so you want to make the most of your time in the kitchen. Plus, everyone loves it and will want more anyhow. I found that 1 pint of tomatoes for the 2 servings was a bit too much, so even having 1 pint for the 4 servings would be sufficient, unless you LOVE grape tomatoes, than go for it!

Verdict
Happy bellies all around!

On this particular evening, we had guests over for dinner AND I was bringing a meal for another family of six (one is a baby), so if you are looking for something literally to “throw together”, this would be the recipe!! We also had baked potatoes and chicken tacos from TJs.

– Joyce

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Inspiration
BLT CHOPPED SALAD WITH CORN, FETA + AVOCADO recipe from How Sweet Eats

Total time: < 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups butter lettuce, chopped
  • 4 cups arugula, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss it all around.

*Younger kids can definitely help out with making this salad, especially if the bacon is already prepared ahead of time so no frying involved.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

What We’re Eating: Cobb Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

We’ve been using Plan to Eat to do our meal planning recently. It has been awesome! My favorite thing is that I can see which recipes are frequently used, so I know everyone likes it. It is super easy to input recipes, too. My friend Kat has a Meal Planning Boot Camp which will help you avoid stress when anyone asks, “What’s for dinner?” Norm put cobb salad on the plan yesterday. Sure, you just cut up stuff and put it on the plate, but I would usually just put all the ingredients into bowls and then toss. Inspired by Pioneer Woman’s blog post with her cobb salad, I did this…

20150127_180656Changes
I only had 2 greens on hand, no chives or green onions around, and I used prepared chicken strips instead of making my own. I added olives at the end. I don’t know many people who like blue cheese, so of course, the girls got shredded cheese and dressing of their choice – ranch dressing for Emily and poppy seed dressing for Melody.

Suggestions
Norm found a good way to remember what ingredients goes in a cobb salad.

EAT COBB
E = eggs
A = avocados
T = tomatoes

C = chicken
O = olives
B = bacon
B = blue cheese

Probably a given, but this is a recipe that is super easy to prep ahead of time if you don’t have a lot of time to prep before the meal.

Verdict
Thumbs up all around!

– Joyce

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Inspiration
COBB SALAD recipe from Pioneer Woman with changes

Total time: It took me about an hour only because I kept stopping to reply to emails. That, and I was trying to figure out if I wanted to try making blue cheese dressing. :p
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • Grilled chicken strips, diced (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Butter lettuce, chopped
  • Plus other lettuce of your choice (we only had the above 2 kinds on hand)
  • 6 whole hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound thin bacon, fried until crisp
  • 8 oz red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, removed from skin and diced
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Blue cheese dressing, or any dressing
Directions:
  1. Prepare all ingredients above as instructed.
  2. Arrange the three types of greens in a large bowl or on a large platter in three separate sections.
  3. Arrange eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and avocados in different piles.
  4. Pile the blue cheese crumbles in the center and sprinkle the whole salad with a little black pepper.
  5. Serve with blue cheese dressing!

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING recipe from Pioneer Woman with changes

Total time: 5 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup homemade buttermilk*
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Directions:
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, and Worcestershire until smooth.
  2. Stir in blue cheese crumbles, salt, and pepper. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Flavors deepen as it chills!

20150127_182934*I didn’t have buttermilk on hand, so I used 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 tablespoon vinegar. I later realized that I did have some cream from when I made broccoli cheese soup last week. It still turned out decent, but a little milky.
*Bold instructions can be done by younger kids.

Here’s how my salad compared to Ree’s. I still need to work on presentation and photography. Any food bloggers reading this? :p

IMG_20150127_191623Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

What We’re Eating: Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

For those who don’t know, I am the Publicity Coordinator for our local MOPS group. I get to put together a monthly newsletter filled with all sorts of stuff for moms. This year I am featuring easy, no-fuss recipes that moms can do. A friend submitted this breakfast casserole. I know I should make use of our crockpot more, but I don’t.

Kids in the Kitchen
I was going to try to make this recipe quickly while the girls got ready for bed, but they caught me and wanted to help out too. I can’t resist teaching life skills, so they came and lent a hand.

Whenever I start cooking, I have the girls get the ingredients and tools we need that they can reach (and won’t break).

Super glad I measured the cheese because the recipe called for 3 cups. The package said 2 cups. I was going to dump one and a half package in, but the first package looked like a lot already. Upon measuring, I found that said package with 2 cups was actually 3 cups. Go figure. 1 dozen eggs + 1 cup milk + 2 lbs of hash brown potatoes + 1 lb of ham (diced) + 1/2 cup onions (diced) + 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese + 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard + 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder + 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp of pepper

And then, I put them to work. A dozen egg, well-beaten, and 1 cup of milk

Plus some salt, pepper, dry mustard, and garlic powder…whisk

Lightly grease crockpot and layer 1/3 of frozen hash brown, season with salt and pepper

1/3 of the diced ham

1/3 of the shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 of the onions, and then 2 more layers, pour egg mixture over everything. Cook on low for 7-8 hours for thawed hash browns and 8-9 hours for frozen hash browns.

Ta-da! It smelled like breakfast casserole in the morning. 🙂

Changes
Instead of bacon, I used ham.

Suggestions
You can try different ingredients for the breakfast meat. You can use bacon, sausage, ham, or sub in different veggies, like peppers or mushrooms.

Verdict
It was a hit. Well, I don’t know if it was hit, but when I returned to the brunch spread, the crockpot was empty, so at least everyone gave it a try. 🙂

– Joyce

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Pinspiration
CROCKPOT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE recipe from Family Fresh Meals
Originally pinned HERE

Total time: It took me about 45 minutes with the kids helping out.
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 lbs hash brown potatoes (frozen hash browns, cook 8-9 hours, instead of the 7-8)
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked, drained and cut into pieces. (feel free to substitute with your favorite breakfast meat..sausage, ham, etc)
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp of pepper (add pinch of s&p for each layer of hash browns)
Directions: 
  1. Beat 12 eggs until well blended.
  2. Beat in milk and garlic powder, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Layer potatoes, add a small pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle 1/3 of the onions.
  5. Sprinkle 1/3 of breakfast meat, or substitute.
  6. Top with 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Repeating this layering 2 more times to have a total of 3 layers, ending with cheese.
  8. Take your egg mixture, and pour over layers. For refrigerated hash browns, cook for 6-7 hours on low. For frozen hash browns, cook for 7-8 hours on low or until eggs are set.

*Bold instructions can be done by younger kids.

pinterest-to-real-life-2014-buttonSince I’m all about putting my goals to action this year, my friend Nicole’s monthly link-up, Pinterest to Real Life, is a perfect way to keep accountable to that! I have pinned lots of stuff with every good intention of baking/cooking/crafting/etc. It usually doesn’t happen because life happens. I would love to move toward “getting it together” this year, sooo…here we go…. If you want to join in, it’s easy. Choose something you’ve pinned, do it, share about it. That’s it!

What We’re Eating: Tortilla Rollups

We have been in a food slump lately (and a blogging slump, I know, I know). It was time to take the Pin It and Do It Challenge. Norm, the best grocery-shopping hubby ever!, looked at our “Recipes to Try” board and decided on Tortilla Rollups by the Pioneer Woman.

tortillarollupsStory about the image above: I don’t know how all the creative lunch-making mamas out there do it, but I’m not creative and I don’t really make lunch. There is usually enough leftovers from dinner to re-heat for the next day’s lunch. This took all my brainpower. We did make it prior to this particular morning, but the girls made those. The photo quality is bad because it was not sunny outside, and our house has bad lighting (anyone want to help with that?), so I just snapped this shot quickly with my phone before packing them up for homeschool group.

This is a safe recipe since we can pretty much shove anything into a tortilla and the girls will eat it. I didn’t try the exact recipe in the link, but it’s another one of those recipes that you can change to your own likes and tastes.

CHANGES
You can make it with various ingredients.

SUGGESTIONS
Try different ingredients to see what you and/or your kiddo(s)/hubby/in-laws/neighbors/friends, etc. like.

VERDICT
Yay! Everyone in the house was a fan of this one!

– Joyce

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TORTILLA ROLLUPS recipe from The Pioneer Woman:

Total time: <20 minutes
Serves: 1 serving per tortilla

Ingredients:

  • Cream cheese
  • Taco-sized flour tortillas
  • Ham/turkey slices
  • Cheese slices
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Cucumbers, julienned
  • Avocados, sliced
Instructions
  1. Spread cream cheese in a thin layer over the tortillas. (Younger kids can use plastic knife.)
  2. Lay ingredients down the middle of the tortilla.
  3. Roll up the tortillas as tightly as they’ll go. PW suggest using plastic wrap and refrigerating for an hour so that things stay together.
  4. Slice into fourths.

What would you add to your tortilla rollups?

*Bold instructions can be done by younger kids.

What We’re Eating: Banana “Ice Cream”

raspberrybananaStory about the image above: I set out some raspberries for the girls to eat during breakfast. Emily was not paying attention and Melody ate the last of the raspberries. The only raspberries left were the ones I put into the freezer. Being too impatient (me, not the girls) to thaw the raspberries, I just made some “ice cream” for breakfast. (I woke up with a headache so ice cream sounded like a good way to start the day. ;p Don’t worry, they also had some raisin bread, too.)

This BANANA “ICE CREAM” recipe has been on my “Recipes to Try” pinboard since last September when the post came out. The girls LOVE bananas, so they always eat them all up before I can even attempt to make this. We’ve been on a smoothie kick lately, so I had some banana slices in the freezer already. We have tried it in various ways, but mostly plain-ish, so I haven’t actually done the exact recipe linked above. It’s a recipe that you can change to your own liking.

My first try was with our hand blender since we don’t have a food processor. It worked, but it was quite a workout. We got a Philips Hand Blender & Chopper collection (with beaker and whisk) as a wedding gift (I can’t remember who it’s from, so if it’s from you, let us know so we can give you a shoutout!). We love it! I seriously use it all the time. The next time I made the ‘ice cream’ I used the chopper, and it worked great!

CHANGES
You can make it with various ingredients.

SUGGESTIONS
Try different ingredients to see what you and/or your kiddo(s)/hubby/in-laws/neighbors/friends, etc. like.

VERDICT
EVERYONE LOVES BANANA ‘ICE CREAM’!!! I’m not a huge fan of bananas (another story for another day), but I have to say that it does feed that ice cream monster without all the added stuff that some ice creams have, although I’m not complaining about the added stuff because ice cream is ice cream. 😉 Yum!

– Joyce

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PLAIN BANANA RECIPE:

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1 serving per 1/2-1 banana?? <– just making this up

We’ve done it different ways, so I don’t have a set recipe. But…it goes something like this…

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe bananas, cut into chunks
  • A little milk or yogurt
Instructions
  1. Cut bananas into 1-2″ pieces. (Younger kids can use plastic knife.)
  2. Freeze until stiff. (I lay it out on a wax paper lined baking sheet.)
  3. Put frozen banana slices into processor (I used a chopper since we don’t own a food processor) with a little milk or yogurt, and blend until creamy.
  4. Serve immediately. If it starts getting melty (<–take note of this technical cooking term ;p haha) you can simple put it back in the freezer for a little bit until it is firm.

Note: If you don’t have a food processor or a chopper, you can even thaw the banana slices a little and mash up with a fork and blend it that way.

Variations: banana raspberry (pictured above, or use any kind of berry), chocolate banana, will add to this list as we try them out…

What flavor would you try?

*Bold instructions can be done by younger kids.