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Back To School Crockpot Meals

Ready, set, here we go!  Back to school means back to alarm clocks, homework and after school practices!  Some nights it’s hard to find time to fit in a home cooked meal for your hard working family.  Crockpot meals can be a real lifesaver!  Bridgette, from our iFamily Mom Squad, is here to share some of her favorites.  Take a look…

Back To School Crockpot Meals

Back to School Crockpot Meals

Yes, you read that correctly, everyone is getting ready to head back to school already!  I don’t know about you, but when we were in traditional school, that first week was so chaotic! Between getting up on time, making last minute triple checks and remembering what time the bus comes…. Dinner would be the absolute last thing on my mind. I couldn’t think about spending hours cooking subpar food that we had already had two days ago. Which is why I fell in love with crockpot meals, slow cooker meals, dump meals or whatever you want to call them. They truly make dinner time much easier and less of a hassle.

For those first two weeks back to school, consider dinner made! These 10 crockpot meals are delicious, easy and can feed a crowd or be packed for lunch!  Get out your notepad and start making your list!

Cheesesteak sandwiches

This easy recipe from Lauren Greutman is one of my favorites! I also substitute the beef for chicken at times. All the gooey cheese and veggies are seasoned to perfection and definitely make. Simply toss everything in before you head out to grab the kids and it will be ready right in time for dinner!

Ingredients:
2 green peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 – 2 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced steak (I used top round)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
6 slices of provolone cheese
6 hoagie rolls

Classic Pot Roast

The pot roast can be used in so many ways with so many different sides. You can make it into tacos, burrito bowls, roast sandwiches and more! This recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs is one of the best! I personally brown my roast before placing it into the crock pot. Place your roast in the pot in the morning… cook it on low for a meal that is sure to please everyone!

Ingredients:
1 chuck roast (3-4 lbs)
1 lb baby carrots (or carrots, cut to about 1″ pieces)
1½ lbs potatoes (any variety, cut into about 1″ pieces if necessary)
4 Tbsp homemade dry onion soup mix
1 batch homemade cream of mushroom soup

Chicken Fajitas

Tacos, fajitas and any TexMex really, are pretty much staples in my house lol. Chicken fajitas are one of the quickest to make in my opinion. These fajitas from Cooking Classy are great! ( I don’t use the honey in her receipe)

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red , orange and green bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow onion , halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic , minced
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

Over the past few years, my family and I have fallen in love with more dishes from India, the Middle East and Mediterranean. One our favorites is chicken tikka masala! It is cheap, can feed our whole family for practically two days lol! This recipe from Table For Two definitely takes the cake!

Ingredients:

8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.) – cut into 1.5″ cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1: 29- oz can of tomato puree
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Garam masala
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-3 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
2 leaves bay
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp cornstarch
Lemon juice from half a small lemon
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping

BBQ Chicken

Chicken is a go to meat in our house. It is can be used in just about anything! BBQ chicken is perfect for nights that you just want to chill out and not worry about who is getting messy when heading out to do family things. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals was one of the first BBQ chicken recipes I tried. Even my husband approved of it!

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
1 cup  BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Cheesy Chicken Penne

Two words, cheese and noodles! Do I need to say more? This recipe from The Slow Magical Cooker is the perfect dish for kiddos and cheese lovers!

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (10.5-oz) cans cream of chicken soup (don’t add water)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried leaf tarragon (can substitute oregano or thyme here)
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
Add at the end
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb. penne pasta (cooked according to package directions on the stove-top)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Nothing is better than getting a bowl of hot soup during the cold months! Chicken tortilla soup has been my favorite soup for years and I don’t see anything changing that lol. This recipe from Cooking Classy is definitely what you will see me eating once that frost kicks in! Don’t forget the sour cream and extra cilantro!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chicken Teriyaki

This is definitely my oldest favorite! Anytime I ask the kids what we should have for dinner, Phoenix is pretty much guaranteed to say Teriyaki chicken! This recipe from Rachel Cooks is probably the reason she loves it so much! I make this about once every 10 days… she can’t get enough! I love that it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds, or about 3 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
rice or quinoa, for serving
sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish

Beef and Potatoes Au Gratin

This is definitely a man’s meal lol. Meat and potatoes are a classic combo.  Add in cheese… well I mean it’s cheese! This recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker is actually on our menu for tomorrow!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (plus a touch of salt and pepper to season)
3 lbs. peeled russet potatoes, sliced a ¼ inch thick (about 7 cups total after being sliced)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
½ cup chicken broth (or beef broth

Chicken Cacciatore

Coming across this recipe, I was hesitant at first.  I’m not a huge pasta fan and my husband doesn’t always trust my Pinterest recipes ( I have failed a lot of them).  I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this one!  Once again, it’s noodles so the kids will love it. For mine, I make sure the veggies are chopped really small so my picky eaters won’t object. This recipe from Heather at Passion For Savings has my husband’s favorite pasta dish! Plus it doesn’t require a lot.

The best thing about these meals is that not only can you dump it and go, you can even make them in advance and freeze them! Whenever I am on my P’s & Q’s, I have a freezer stocked full of meals that I can dump in the crock pot and go on with my day.

As you get ready to head back to school, take a load off with these easy meals that will help you get into the swing of things!

 

From iFamily to Yours,



Super Foods: 7 Different Avocado and Banana Recipes for your Family

Hello, Kansas City! Did you know February is Avocado AND Banana month? My family and I love both of those foods a ton, and we’re so excited to try these 7 awesome recipes from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, to give a little umph to your banana and avocado tastes! Take a look…

Super Foods: 7 Different Avocado and Banana Recipes for your Family

 

Super Foods: 7 Different Avocado and Banana Recipes

for your Family

Although Valentine’s Day gets all the attention, February has a lot going on. National Nutella Day is February 6, National Pizza Day is February 9, National Margarita Day is February 22 and the entire month is dedicated to Avocados and Bananas. Can you handle all the deliciousness?
Bananas and Avocados are staples in our house, and I’m sure they are in many of your homes as well. Delicious and nutritious to eat as they are, I thought you all may appreciate a few recipes to perhaps shake up your menu options when it comes to this month’s favorite produce.

 

AVOCADOS

Avocados are a great source of healthy fats. One of our daughters had a low birth weight and still struggles to gain weight as she’s growing, so avocados are a great food for her. Our favorite use for avocados is on toast. Here’s some of our favorite spins on it.

#1 Avocado Toast, 4 Ways

P’s favorite:
White toast, buttered with mashed avocado on top. Place two slices of bacon on top of that.
E’s favorite:
White toast, almond butter, with mashed avocado on top
Dad’s favorite:
Wheat toast, mashed avocado, salt, pepper and a fried egg on top
Mom’s favorite:
Rye toast, mashed avocado with salt and pepper topped with tomato and bacon slices

We also love Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad, which is similar to guacamole, but no chips needed.

#2 Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad

1 English cucumber
4 Roma Tomatoes
3 Ripe Avocados
½ Red Onion
¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chop up all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and toss into bowl. Toss with olive oil, juice, salt and pepper. There’s a video of this recipe on Tasty.

My final recipe comes from my lovely sister. She made these for us once, and I crave these about once a month.

#3 Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas (makes 4 quesadillas)

8 Tortillas
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
2 Cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 Avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 Green onions, sliced
2 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. Butter
Heat skillet over medium high heat. Assemble Quesadillas by dividing the toppings (except butter) among 4 tortillas. Top with another tortilla. When skillet is hot, melt butter and then place 1 quesadilla onto skillet. Heat for a couple minutes, until cheese starts to melt. Flip and cook for a minute more, until tortilla is browned on both sides. Continue, one quesadilla at a time until all are cooked. Cut into slices and serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

BANANAS

Now for some fun banana recipes! Bananas work themselves easily into things like smoothies, Nutella on bread, crepes and on top of waffles. We make banana, flax seed bread often too. Here are just a few of our most used and beloved recipes.

 

#4 Mama’s Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup water
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana
Add all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.

 

#5 Frozen Honey Banana Pops

4 just ripe bananas, peeled
8 craft sticks
½ cup honey
About 1 cup of finely chopped nuts, coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit or graham cracker crumbs
Cut bananas in half cross-wise. Insert a craft stick into each cut end. Freeze for at least 30 minutes on wax paper lined tray. Spread desired toppings onto separate plates. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of honey over each banana. Roll banana in toppings. Press with fingers if necessary to adhere. Place back into freezer for about 10 minutes. Enjoy! (Parents- these are nice to eat outside. They can get messy and sticky quickly with little ones.)

We seem to always buy more bananas than we can reasonably eat before they start to brown. Here are two recipes that are perfect to use on those last couple bananas that are too ripe to eat on their own.

#6 Banana Pancakes

2 ripe Bananas, mashed
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, oil and bananas. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle or pan. Cook until pancakes begin to bubble and bottom is golden-brown. Flip and cook until golden-brown on both sides.

 

#7 Banana Ice Cream

Also, the healthiest and easiest ice cream known to man. Whenever you get to the point when you realize those bananas aren’t going to get eaten soon enough, peel them, slice them and toss into a freezer-friendly Ziploc bag. Just keep adding bananas until you get at least a cup’s worth. This was also great when the kids were young and didn’t always finish the banana. The leftovers can get tossed in the bag so you don’t just throw food out. Blend in your food processor until smooth. Scoop into bowls and top as you’d like to.

 

How do you like your avocados and/or bananas? Share in the comments

From iFamily to Yours,