Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Happy Earth Day!!!  I know it's a day late, but here's the recipe I teased earlier.  I love this one because most of the prep work can be done the night before. It makes the morning that much easier. I also like this sweet and sour sauce because I have texture issues.

Yes, I am a strange food texture phobic person. I don't like anything slimy, gloopy (yes that is a word), mealy, mushy, and the list goes on.  So the typical sweet and sour sauce falls into the gloopy category.....yuck!  Now that is my personal opinion.  This sauce is thinner and just coats everything nicely without congealing.

As I mentioned before, I do the bulk of the work the night before.  That consists of browning the chicken, slicing the vegetables, and making the sauce.  The next morning, dump in the slower cooker, open a few cans, and turn it on.  Voila!!!


1 lb. diced chicken, I used a combination of skinless thighs and breasts
1 medium green pepper
3 large carrots
1/4 c. sliced onion, or 1 tbsp. minced dried onion flakes
1 small can water chestnuts
1 small can pineapple chunks, with juice
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. corn starch

The night before in a large skillet, sprinkle with salt & pepper and brown the diced chicken.  Do not cook through, just brown on all sides (takes about 3 minutes or so).  Set aside to cool.

Peel and slice the carrots, pepper, and onion. Put in an airtight container. 

In a large measuring cup, combine brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper.  Cover with plastic wrap.

Ok, the prep work is done, cover everything, and refrigerate until morning.

In the morning, dump the chicken and prepared veggies in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the cornstarch and toss to coat.  Add the pineapple with juice to the measuring cup and combine to finish the sauce.  Pour over the chicken and vegetables.  Set the slow cooker to low for 6 hours.

An hour before the chicken is done, add the drained water chestnuts. Serve over rice.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What Could This Be?

I have a busy week coming up, and the last thing I want to think about is dinner.  Unfortunately my family is in the habit of eating it....hmmm.  I had a few extra minutes today, so I decided to prep a crock pot meal.

What could it be??  Here's a picture of the main ingredients.  Care to venture a guess? Check back on Tuesday to find out!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

4 Ingredient Chili

Even though the weather will start to turn warm, chili is one of those dishes I make all year.  It freezes beautifully, stretches the budget, and is very versatile.  You can eat it in a bowl topped with cheese, crackers, sour cream, etc.  Chili can be ladled over hotdogs in the summertime.  Chili also makes a yummy topping for nachos. 

Today I am home bound with my oldest having round two of strep throat.  When I was shopping yesterday, I found ground beef on sale.  While at the store I believed I had all the rest of the ingredients at home to make my classic chili recipe.  So, this morning when I went to the pantry to gather the ingredients, I realized I am out of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, and onion. 

Ok, so what do I have??? I had one can of stewed tomatoes, one can of chili beans, and left over pasta sauce. I always have minced dried onion in my spices, so I knew I could swap that for fresh onion.  I was back in business.

Now I have listed this as four ingredients because I am not technically counting the spices.  Spices are staples for a lot of us.  However, if you want to get picky you I guess it would be considered eight ingredients if  you count the four spices ;)


2 lbs. ground beef (ground chicken or turkey work well too)
2 c. pasta sauce (jarred or home made)
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 can Bush's chili beans

1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. dried onion
2 tbsp. chili powder

In a large stock pot or deep fry pan (like a chicken fryer), brown meat with onion in about 2 tsp. oil. Once all the meat is browned, drain any excess grease.  Add the salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Cook the meat for another two to three minutes to allow the spices to develop. 

Add the tomatoes (breaking them up a bit), pasta sauce, and chili beans.  Combine and cover.  Simmer on low for about 30 minutes. 

That's it!  You are done. It's easy, delicious, and is a staple in our home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Dinner Date

I have been neglectful to my blog, my health, and my happiness.  That is a big statement, but true on all accounts.  I have become very complacent over the last few months, and have been trying to just get along.  Are there reasons for this? Absolutely.  Are these reasons excuses?  No, and nor should they be. I need to own it and change it.

So what brought about this epiphany?  A little visit from on old friend.  I was very blessed yesterday, when my dear friend traveled over 300 miles with a bad back to have dinner with me.  While we keep in touch through messaging, we haven't seen each other in about eighteen months.  She is moving on to a new chapter of her journey, but she took time out to have dinner with me.

We used to have lunch dates weekly when I lived in Oneonta (sometimes twice in one week).  During those lunch dates our friendship blossomed, and I knew I had a friend for life.  Our conversations ranged from food, to children, to travel, and to our passions.  I was remembering today a conversation from a few years back, that had my friend telling me she was thinking about changing her career path.  I was excited for her and one of her biggest supporters. 

A lot of people want to change things in life and do nothing.  What was different about her statement was, she actually did it.  She gathered the knowledge, training, and experience she needed and embarked on a new adventure.  I have always been so proud of her!

While remembering that moment today, I decided I am taking charge of the things I want to change.  First, my poor neglected blog.  I promise to keep updating recipes, crafts, and posting about the changes in our lives.  Secondly, I have slacked on my exercise regime for the last six months.  That is done!  I am getting back on my routine and putting myself first.  Finally, my happiness.  That will be the hardest one to work on.  I am a people pleaser, so I tend to say yes and put off my own needs. Let's just say that will be a work in progress.

My dinner date and late night conversation was inspiring. Sometimes the kick in the pants comes at the most unexpected times.  The trick is to recognize it and use it! 

Tomorrow I will rekindle my interest in the quilt I started over the summer.  I will keep you posted on how it goes :)