Crock Pot Lasagna Recipe

 

 

We wanted to re-post this recipe from Valentine’s – because it’s also a great way to keep from using your oven on hot days!

If you happen to be staying in on Valentine’s Day and are looking for an easy Valentine’s Day dinner, Crock Pot Lasagna is a fabulous option!

Several years ago, I found this recipe for Crock Pot Lasagna and fell in love.  I use a bottled spaghetti sauce but add additional spices to give it a homemade taste.  If you keep browned ground beef in the freezer (read more here), it will cut your preparation time dramatically.  After the recipe, scroll down as I have also included a couple of pics to answer any questions you might have.

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Easy Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe

easy-kentucky-derby-pie-recipe

Easy Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe

Jamie here! Might I suggest this delicious pie for your Easter table??

Kentucky Derby Pie is a beautiful beast of a pie.  Simply put, it’s pecan pie with chocolate chips. But that is not what your mouth will tell you. Your mouth will tell you “OHMYGAH- thank you for this chocolatey, nutty, gooey, flaky, beast!”  It’s just so darn good your mouth will probably need another piece or two to do it justice.  You’d best bake a double batch…. (I do!)

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How to Make S’mores (A Girl Scout’s Guide)

how to make smores

How to Make S’Mores

S’mores are part of summer in my mind – starry nights, campfire light, marshmallow-ey bites….  They just go together!

If you’ve never made S’mores, it’s a fun way to pass the time around the campfire with your kid – but there’s also an art to it, in my opinion.  As a long time Girl Scout and former camp counselor – I would like to offer my S’mores expertise for any newbies out there looking to go create some memories this summer!

What you need:

  • Graham crackers
  • Jumbo marshmallows
  • Hershey’s chocolate *I’ve tried cheaper, generic chocolate and it’s NOT the same….  Stick with the Hershey’s- trust me on this one.

How to Make S’Mores:

  1. Toast a marshmallow over the fire until golden brown – although if you burn it that’s just fine too.  The main thing you want it to be is HOT – so it can melt chocolate!
  2. With the marshmallow still on the roasting stick, break a graham cracker in half.    Hold one cracker on either side of the marshmallow and use them to slide the mallow off the roasting stick.  That way you don’t get sticky OR burn yourself.  You’re welcome!
  3. Lift up the top cracker and add chocolate
  4. Squeeze your grahams gently together to melt your chocolate against the hot marshmallow.  Hold for about 15 seconds. (The more – the meltier!)  Bite.  Bite.  Bite.  Bite.  You just made a memory.
  5. Repeat steps 1, 2, 3, 4.  :)

The BEST chocolate ratio for a S’More is:  2 Graham Cracker Halves + 1 Hot Marshmallow + 3  Hershey’s Chocolate Rectangles

*If you’re short on chocolate – 2 Rectangles is acceptable.  There are 12 per Hershey Bar.

If you don’t have a roasting stick on hand -you can make a S’more roaster.

Nature’s Roaster: Use a pocket-knife to scrape the bark off the end of a long stick and point the tip a little (You’ll want to clean about a 5″ length).  Some people put the mallow right on the stick – but that means you’ll be eating bits of bark, moss, or poison ivy residue – no thnaks! As good as S’mores are – they’re not good enough to risk whatever you didn’t see on your stick in the dark entering your mouth.  (Ewwww!)

Closet Roaster: Your other option is a coat hanger.  Bend it straight, then hold it over the fire to burn all the varnish off the end.  That stuff is probably poisonous or something.   Best to take no chances.

skillet smores smores-party-mix

Of course, if you’re short on campfire opportunities - you can make Skillet Smores with delicious results.  Or whip up this yummy S’Mores Party Mix for a sleepover or party!

 

Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

cake-mix-oatmeal-cookies

I was rooting around in my pantry, looking for something yummy to make the boys  for their 3-day weekend and I came up with these Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies.  Guys, these are honest-to-goodness SCRUMP-TIOUS.  My 13 year old promptly pronounced them his favorite cookie EVER.  Using a cake mix makes them super so easy too!

UPDATE: I’ve altered this recipe just a teensy bit to include 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal instead of just 2 because I believe I was a little heavy handed in the oats department the first go around ;)  And after trial and error – make sure to use the regular oats to get chubby cookies, and the quick oats if you don’t mind them flat :)

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I’ve make this previous cake mix cookie bars recipe plenty of times and was excited to to see how the extra oatmeal texture would work out – I feel like it adds major bonus points to the cookie!  Some people like thin crispy oatmeal cookies – and there’s something to be said for a crispy cookie….  But these aren’t it.  I like my oatmeal cookies LUMPY.  These are soft and lumpy and crispy and chewy all at the same time – PERFECT.

cookiecloseup

Gather the following – and cut yourself some slack if you don’t have the yellow cake mix – really, any vanilla-ish flavored cake mix will work about the same in this recipe.

  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 1/2 Cups Regular Oats (I don’t think Quick-Cooking work as well)
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Oil + 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Get your oven preheating to **350** and spray down a couple cookie sheets with baking spray (I love-love-love the kind with flour in it – I use Pam baking spray and it even smells like vanilla!)

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil and water and vanilla together and add to the dry ingredients.  Stir in about a cup of chocolate chips.  I used Semi-Sweet knowing that this was likely going to turn out pretty sweet already (Cake Mix + Sugar = Plenty of Sugar!) and I was 100% right on that score -the semi sweet chocolate was the PERFECT contrast.

Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop onto the baking sheet in rounded spoon-fulls.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen medium cookies, but if you made them smaller they’d make about 4 1/2 dozen.

Cook for 12 minutes - or until the edges are golden brown.

These cake mix oatmeal cookies are just a mouthful of love when you add a glass of milk – my kids have been giving me adoring glances all weekend because of them. :)

Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
Dessert
Cuisine: casual
3-4 Dozen
 
This cake mix oatmeal cookies recipes makes cookies that are lumpy, chunky, and chocolate-chippy - plus a cake mix really makes things come together in a seconds!
Ingredients
  • Box of Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Cups Oats (Quick-Cooking work as well)
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ Cup Oil + ¼ Cup Water
  • 1½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray down a couple cookie sheets with baking spray
  2. Mix the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and water together.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour in the vanilla extract and about a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop onto the baking sheet in rounded spoon-fulls.
  7. Cook for 12 minutes - or until the edges are golden brown.

 

DIY Brown Sugar Face & Body Scrubs

diy sugar scrubs

Spring is upon us and it’s time to scrub the dry, flaky patches of wintertime skin away for good – with a DIY Sugar Scrub!  I rarely splurge on body scrubs, because my FAVORITE way to exfoliate is already sitting in my kitchen cabinet.   Today I’ll tell you a few recipes for sugar scrubs that really work – and take very little effort to make or use.

Also check out this Face & Lip Scrub & Homemade Brown Sugar Scrub with Coffee Grounds & Essential Oils.

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Cheater’s Peanut Butter Fudge Icing

peanut butter fudge icing

Cheater’s Peanut Butter Fudge Icing

Jamie here! I’m going to let you in on a little secret….  although I LOVE to make crazy birthday cakes, and pull out my Wilton toolbox to decorate them with homemade buttercream icing (recipe in this post) that I’ve whipped into a rainbow of colors – I definitely will take a shortcut when I’m not in the mood.

I’m not in the mood a lot of the time, actually…

But just because I don’t feel like making homemade icing every time, doesn’t mean I don’t add my special mom touch to the store-bought can.  One of my kids favorite cupcake toppers is what we call “Peanut Butter Fudge Icing”.  I LOOOOVE peanut butter fudge – I could eat a whole pan in an evening and tell myself I was just protein-loading, for all that bodybuilding I do. (hehe)

Here’s how to bring the fattening joy of peanut-butter fudge to the already-fattening joy of a cupcake:

Take a can of vanilla icing and mix in 4-6 BIG tablespoons of peanut butter (you’ll just have to taste as you go here, to see when it gets to your desired peanut-butteriness) – VOILA!  Peanut butter fudge icing!

I think it tastes extra “fudgey” if you use the chunky peanut butter – it’s a little drier and thicker that way.

P B & J Icing?

Another cool take on this would be to make PB&J Icing.  I haven’t tried this, but I bet if you iced your cupcakes with peanut butter fudge icing, and then put a small plop of jelly in the middle, and then swirled it into the icing with the tip of a knife or toothpick – you’d end up with a cool treat!

Or Strawberry cupcakes with peanut butter icing?  So many fun possibilities!

peanut-butter-no-bake-cookies-recipe

If you’re a peanut butter fudge fanatic – you will most DEFINITELY want to hop on over to check out my favorite Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies Recipe as well!

peanutbutterbrowniecookies

 

And don’t miss these Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies for that chocolate + peanut Butter combo goodness!

*EASY* White Chicken Chili Recipe

white-chicken-chili-recipe

Cool or rainy days are perfect opportunities to make this EASY White Chicken Chili Recipe.  If you’re looking for a good and healthy dinner option –  here it is!  It’s nothing fancy or difficult (which is why I love it) – but it does require a McCormick White Chicken Chili seasoning packet.    This is one of my Top 10 Favorite recipes because it’s cheap, easy, filling, and the whole family loves it.

NOTE: Chicken can be substituted with ground turkey for another healthy option. See the pic above!

White Chicken Chili:

  • McCormick White Chicken Chili Packet
  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Can of Great Northern Beans
  • Can of Corn, drained (Optional)
  • Can of Ro-tel or salsa(Optional)
  • Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, cilantro, other fancy stuff
  • Water Note: If you add the rotel/salsa, you won’t need a full cup of water – because of the extra liquid.  Just start with a 1/2 cup!

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in BIG skillet just until no longer pink.  (Make sure you start with a BIG skillet, because this meal is really going to get a lot larger)  Stir in seasoning packet, water and beans.   If you want to add the rotel and corn option, now’s the time to do that too!

Bring to a boil, then cover.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally – let it thicken up the way you want it.

Total Cooking Time: About 15 – 20 Minutes.  Serves 4, or 6 if you add in the extra ingredients.

BIG FAMILY OPTION:

My family of 6 eats this stuff like it’s going out of style.  Adjustments I make to it go further:  I use (2) cans of beans, 1 1/2 packets of seasoning and a little more chicken.  I also serve ours with tortillas and shredded cheese and other taco fixings, to help fill everyone up even more. Keep in mind that you’ll need even LESS liquid if you plan to spoon onto tortillas.

If I serve this in a bowl, like traditional chili, I make sure to buy Ritz crackers, as they add some nice sweetness to an otherwise spicy dish.

My husband likes it as leftovers with tortilla chips while he watches football – so you might just want to make enough to have extras for the weekend!

Do you have a White Chicken Chili recipe you like?  Please share it with us in the comments!

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Recipe

 

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Jamie here! I really, really love barbecue and if given the choice – would eat it a couple times a week.  But my husband is not a big fan, so I don’t make it very often.  However today he ate a big lunch out, and that means he won’t want any dinner, and therefore friends – it’s Barbecue Night!

The kids and I have a really hectic day ahead of us – so this is going to be a perfect night for my crockpot barbecue chicken – this slow cooker recipe is easy and delicious!

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need!

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Bottle of BBQ Sauce (I've got KC Masterpiece here, since it was in my stockpile)
  • 1/2 cup Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper (or a generic brand is fine)
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion flakes

Instructions

  1. Put the chicken breasts in the crockpot for 4-6 hours on Low. Shred about an hour before it's finished and put it back in. Sooooo good!
http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/crockpot-barbecue-chicken-recipe/

Normally I add vinegar and some brown sugar when I cook BBQ in the crockpot – but when I got out my bottle of vinegar it looked like this:

And that’s when I noticed it had expired in Feb. of 2012  (It’s now October).  Since Vinegar’s job is to break down the meat and make it more tender and easier to shred – I went for the next best meat-breaker-downer – Coke.  Actually – nix that – I didn’t have Coke either.  Pepsi will do in a pinch, although it’s less acidic and therefor a little less effective for our purposes.

And since Pepsi is full of sugar – we can leave out the brown sugar as well!  We killed two birds with one stone there!

So put the chicken breasts in the bottom of your crockpot and turn it on low.  Pour in 1/2 cup soda, 1 bottle of sauce*, then sprinkle the red pepper and onion on top.  Let cook for about 4-6 hours on Low.  Near the end, shred the chicken and return it to the crockpot until it’s finished.
*If you don’t like your BBQ very saucy, only put in half the bottle of sauce and reserve the rest for the end so you can eyeball it to perfection.

Now – when I run in the door tonight at 5 and have to turn around and leave again at 5:30 – all we’ll do is spoon BBQ Chicken onto our buns right out of the crockpot with a side of quickly microwaved corn and baked beans and voila!  Dinner is served!  Check out that yummy, saucy chicken….