Food

How We’ve Expanded our Taste Buds and Simplified our Pantry

posted by Andrea | 02/23/2017 | 13 comments

While I don’t think I’m completely “stuck in a rut” when it comes to trying new recipes, I will admit to usually making recipes with “normal” ingredients I already have in the house — because I hate buying specific spices, oils, vinegars, or sauces just for one recipe (especially if I’m not even sure we’ll like the recipe).

Today I’m sharing how the Blue Apron meal delivery service has completely expanded our taste buds while simplifying our pantry… plus, I have 3 FREE meals for anyone who wants to try Blue Apron!

5 Ways We Simplify Mealtime with Young Children

posted by Andrea | 02/17/2017 | 15 comments

Mealtimes are some of the craziest, busiest, loudest, messiest times for our family — and they happen 3-5 time a day (if you include snacks).

However, there are a few things we do that seem to significantly simplify our crazy mealtimes… I’m sharing 5 of them today!

An Easier Twist on Our Favorite “Chicken Packets”

posted by Andrea | 02/15/2017 | 10 comments

Almost FIVE years ago, I shared one of our family’s favorite quick, simple, weeknight meals — Creamy Chicken Packets. However, since then, I’ve simplified this recipe even more… and can now have it oven-ready in about 10 minutes!

If you’re looking for a super quick weeknight meal your whole family will love, then give this cream chicken casserole a try!

Freezing, Defrosting, and Refreezing Meat (Safely)

posted by Andrea | 02/7/2017 | 11 comments

Over the past several years, I’ve shared much of my freezer-cooking journey here on my blog… and every time I do, I get countless questions about how to safely freeze (and refreeze) meat.

While I don’t claim to be an expert, I have done some research, and today I’m sharing MY answers to these “how to freeze meat” questions!

Back to Basics: Meal Planning For Beginners

posted by Andrea | 02/2/2017 | 51 comments

I fully understand how overwhelming meal planning can seem if you’ve never done it before, if you’re not a natural planner, if you don’t particularly love cooking, if you’ve tried before and failed, if you have allergies or other picky eaters, if your spouse isn’t appreciative of your efforts, or if you are a perfectionist.

With that said, I hope today’s post will simplify the process SO much that anyone who has ever wanted to meal plan will be encouraged and motivated to try it… even if it’s just for one week!

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes With Ham

posted by Andrea | 01/26/2017 | 11 comments

One of the things I love most about scalloped potatoes is that it’s a delicious MAKE-AHEAD side dish that can instantly be transformed into a MAKE-AHEAD main dish with the addition of some chopped ham!

If you’re looking for a hearty winter meal (or yummy potato side dish) this is the recipe for you!

Why I Have ZERO Meals In My Freezer!

posted by Andrea | 01/12/2017 | 26 comments

Freezer cooking has been a crucial part of my efforts to simplify my life for over 10 years now. I have saved myself countless hours in the kitchen, thousands of dollars at the grocery store, and bucket loads of stress due to planning ahead and having ready-made meals in the freezer ALL THE TIME.

However, aside from some leftover soup, we currently have ZERO full meals in our deep freezer right now! Today, I’m sharing why…

Kids In The Kitchen: Pretzel Candy Bites

posted by Andrea | 12/21/2016 | 12 comments

If you’re looking for an extremely simple, super delicious treat to bring to a holiday party, or just something fun to do with your children or grandchildren over Christmas break, I don’t think you can go wrong with these yummy pretzel candy bites!

The gooey caramel + crunchy pretzel + sweet chocolate + salty pretzel is one of the best combos I’ve had in a bite-sized snack in a long time!

A Simple Twist on the Classic Cheesburger

posted by Andrea | 12/12/2016 | 6 comments

One food our entire family devours without a single complaint is cheeseburgers — even better when they are accompanied by Culver’s fries or our favorite baked herbed potato wedges!

Today I’m sharing one very simple tweak that adds lots of flavor and a sort-of grownup gourmet taste to our homemade burgers!

Easy Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

posted by Andrea | 11/29/2016 | 9 comments

These EASY Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes are pretty much the perfect dessert for any meal, any time of day, all year long (at least in my cheesecake-loving opinion!)

They are also a simple, make-ahead dessert that travels well and will be a welcome addition to all your holiday parties!

50+ Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas

posted by Andrea | 11/23/2016 | 6 comments

While I’m not trying to rush my most favorite holiday away, I also know that by tomorrow evening, some of you might be stranded in your kitchen with piles and piles of delicious Thanksgiving leftovers — and no desire to spend hours in the kitchen dealing with them all.

Today, I’m sharing a bunch of simple recipes and ideas I use to repurpose our Thanksgiving leftovers!

The “Secret” to No-Boil Lasagna Noodles

posted by Andrea | 11/16/2016 | 31 comments

After tweaking my favorite lasagna recipe a few different times, I landed on a very simple “secret” that easily cuts 15 minutes (and lots of frustration) off my lasagna prep time!

If you hate boiling lasagna noodles, you’ll want to read today’s post 🙂

My Free Grocery List Printable

posted by Andrea | 11/11/2016 | 15 comments

Over the past 12+ years of grocery shopping “on my own”, I estimate that I’ve been to the grocery store at least 6000 times!! Thankfully, I have a grocery list cheat-sheet that allows me to quickly and easily make my grocery list based on my store’s layout and saves me oodles of time at the store each week!

Today, I’m sharing that grocery list with anyone who wants it — totally editable and printable!

Why I Don’t Do Massive Freezer Cooking Days

posted by Andrea | 11/9/2016 | 30 comments

This time of year, everyone is eager to fill their freezers with delicious meals and yummy baked goods… and because of that, I get at least one email or message every single day asking for tips, advice, blog post links, or information about planning and executing a massive freezer cooking day.

Today, I’m sharing why I do NOT do massive freezer cooking days — as well as what I do to keep my freezer stocked with as little time and effort as possible.

Why I Don’t Can Applesauce Until Winter

posted by Andrea | 11/3/2016 | 16 comments

Although I normally don’t encourage procrastination, when it comes to canning applesauce, I almost always push it off until winter when I’m cooped up inside and don’t have nearly as many to-do’s on my list.

If you want to can applesauce but just don’t know when you’ll fit it into your busy Fall schedule, push it off a couple months and try canning it in the winter!

How to Quickly Soften Butter (without melting it)

posted by Andrea | 10/26/2016 | 29 comments

Have you ever grabbed a slice of homemade bread, only to realize you had no softened butter? Or what about when you’re in the middle of baking your favorite cookies and you realize you need “softened, but not melted, butter”?

Today I’m sharing a super simple quick tip (sent to me from a reader a few months ago) that will give you perfectly softened butter in just minutes!

Amazing Steak Rub

posted by Andrea | 10/19/2016 | 9 comments

After trying a bunch of different spice combinations in attempts to find a delicious steak rub, I landed on the recipe I’m sharing in today’s post.

The very first time I used this “amazing steak rub” on our steaks, I knew this would be my go-to dry rub for steaks and other meats!

Protein Packed, Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

posted by Andrea | 10/12/2016 | 18 comments

If you’re looking for a really delicious, super easy, one-bowl muffin recipe that is also very high protein, very filling, and a fantastic way to use up overripe bananas… this recipe should work for you!

My family LOVES these double-chocolate banana muffins… I love that they are easy to make and full of protein to keep my kiddos full longer!