Monday, November 6, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

Is there anything more fall than a piping hot bowl of chili that was slow cooked  all day? Um yes, as a matter of fact there is....and that is a bowl of piping hot PUMPKIN chili that was slow cooked in the crock pot all day. This stuff was awesome. The kids really loved it too, which always always bumps it up to a make again meal for me.

Side note, a couple of year my sister gifted me a bottle of this "dry hot sauce" for Christmas and since then its become my favorite way to spice up soup, since I tend to have to make them fairly mild for the kids these days. We have the "hot" version.

Highly recommended for this fall!

Find the recipe here

and check out more kid friendly delicious recipes here

MealPlanFamily - Buttermilk Waffles

"We are so lucky that our kids aren't affected by the time change", said naive me the night before a so far unknown amount of 4am wake ups. The time change never did a thing to my daughter, but just another fun reminder that you can never assume kids are going to be the same.

Anyway, since I was up at 4am on Sunday morning, I figured it would be a good day to make our favorite waffles! After you mix up the ingredients they need about 30 minutes to sit before making the a day that you are up a little (or a lot) early is a good day to make them.

Tip: we NEVER have buttermilk if you mix a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per one cup of milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes, you get the equivalent of buttermilk. I always double this waffle recipe whenever I make it because the leftovers freeze and toast up awesome during the week.

This is the waffle maker we have, but I'm sure any waffle maker would work!

I've tried a decent amount of waffle recipes but so far this one is my very favorite.

Everyday Annie's Waffles of Insane Greatness


and check out more delicious and kid friendly recipes here

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Boneless Pork Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

I got another giant pork loin on sale at Kroger the other day...whenever I see these for so cheap... I can't help but buy one (or a few!) I'm always looking for new and different ways to cook them.

Yesterday, was a use what you have in the house type of dinner and I happened to have a bag of carrots and half a bag of potatoes so I decided to try this dish. It has lots of spices, tons of garlic and was just about the most tender pork I've ever tasted. 2.5 hours on low meant my whole house smelled like roasting pork and garlic for hours which made eating that much more exciting when we finally got to dig in. Maybe the best part is that I used the drippings and poured them into a sauce pan to make a quick pan gravy while the pork rested. Oh Em Gee. If you make this make that gravy.... it made the whole thing feel very "special occasion"..... Also the recipe said you "must" use beef broth, but I only had chicken broth in my house so that's what I used and it still turned out perfectly.

Look how gorgeous this looks even before it's cooked!

and after with that delicious gravy poured all over the entire thing......

Juicy, tender and can cut this guy with a butter knife no problem.
Make it today!


Click here for more meal plan family recipes

Thursday, September 28, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Instant Pot Chicken Faux Pho

Even though the temperatures here have been nothing close to fall evidenced by a picture of my kids from last weekend:

It's still officially fall and I still wanted some delicious soup. Pho is a personal favorite of mine, but since we are on whole 30 I figured I'd have to wait until afterwards....but then I found this recipe which uses spiralized veggies as the noodles... DUH! YES!

I sent my husband and daughter to Findlay Market to pick up some chicken and hit up the asian market for the packet of pho spices (makes life so much easier)....

For whatever reason he couldn't find a daikon I told him just to get parsnips and we would work with that. The broth was KILLER.....and while I won't say that I didn't miss the delicious skinny silky rice noodles that usually come in pho....this was a good substitute for the time being.

I love this pho recipe...basically dump everything in the Instant Pot....cover with water and let it do its thing....

Find the recipe here and if the weather actually ever does cool sure to make it! :)

Want more recipes, including whole 30 and instant pot recipes? Visit the recipe page here!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry with Coconut Milk & Spinach

Yum. That's what I have to say about this one. My sister shared this recipe with me from when she did the whole 30 a couple of months ago and said it was on of her definitely did not disappoint. I will continue to make this dish for sure whether I am on the Whole 30 or not. Creamy, flavorful and came together So fast. If you like Indian food you should definitely try this delicious dish.

I will not and yesterday has not been all roses and sunshine on the whole 30. Apparently these days are called the "kill all the things" days and I would not disagree. My head hurts, I'm exhausted and I'm cranky. Apparently my body is going through withdrawl from sugar....and I'm not even much of a sugar eater...but all those pretzels, bread and rice are being processed in my body as sugar and my body isn't pleased with me right now that it's not getting that quick and easy energy....

I'm powering's supposed to get better soon.

Find the recipe here
We added a little cayenne for some heat :)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup

This was one of those recipes that came together quick and easy with cheap and minimal I figured it would be fine. Not great, not bad.... I was pleasantly surprised.. this soup was awesome! We really enjoyed it. Full of flavor. While the recipe title says sausage, its actually just ground pork with sausage spices mixed in.....very clever!

So excited to add some of these awesome recipes into my post whole 30 life.

The recipe is from the Whole 30 Cookbook and the recipe can be found online here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Crockpot Cherry Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes

Another simple and delicious meal. I thought this would turn out too sweet because of the cherries and the sweet potatoes but it wasn't sweet at all.

I used pork tenderloin (because it was buy one get one free at Kroger!) and cooked it on high for 4 hours because that is all the time I had until dinner :) I loved that the shorting cooking time left the meat tender but not shredded.....also even though I put absolutely no liquid in, there ended up being an awesome sauce formed from everything cooking together.

Find the recipe here


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Pork Roast with Cauliflower Mushroom Gravy

Well we finally decided to take the plunge and start a whole 30. Today is day 2 and so far so good...besides the fact that I really want a huge bowl of popcorn with butter on it and maybe a nice cold glass of sav blanc to sip on while I watch last night's bachelor in paradise.....but I's been going well....

Let me back up for anyone who doesn't know what the Whole 30 is.

For one month, it completely strips away "hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups," considered to be grains, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and legumes. Equally as important as eliminating these groups is not to be tempted to "junkify" their old favorites — for example, a meaty "Paleo pizza" or "coconut-flour pancakes" are off-limits. For Whole30 participants, it's not about stretching the rules of the diet to their furthest limits. It's about learning to enjoy whole, clean, simple foods that fuel your body.

So you can read more about it in the link above if you are so inclined, but basically no sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol or legumes for 30 days.

You can follow along with some of our meals on my instagram page .... but if things have more of a recipe involved (and not just me throwing random things together) I will post it here.

Tonight we had this pork roast in the instant pot...for some reason this pork roast keeps being on a super ridiculous sale at Kroger so I keep buying it and finding new things to make with it....

This meal was SO good. It basically involves using Cauliflower in the place of milk/cream to make a gravy....I used a bag of frozen cauliflower which made it even easier.. Who knew that cauliflower was such a versatile ingredient..Oh, and it was made in the Instant Pot! Even better.
 I served it with roasted butternut squash and a boiled potato with gravy poured all over 1.5 year old literally ate half the sheet pan of butternut squash...can't say I blame him.

Get the recipe for the pork with mushroom cauliflower gravy here.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Instant Pot Beginner Recipes

Hi Friends-
As promised to those of you who I convinced to get an Instant Pot on Prime are some beginner recipes that I consider tried and true (and super easy).

First to answer the questions I get most often...

How is it different than a slow cooker?
This is an electric pressure cooker. It can do almost anything a slow cooker can do (and even has a slow cooker setting) but it can also do it pressurized in about 1/10 of the time. It can also make rice and yogurt and you can saute things right in it so you are actually making "one pot" meals rather than needing to brown or sear meat or vegetables in a separate pan.

That being said, I won't get rid of my slow cooker because I still use that too! Mine specifically is a different shape which is sometimes helpful and there are certain things that I choose to make in that instead of my Instant Pot. I will say that the more I experiment with and become comfortable with my Instant Pot, the more I reach for that instead of the slow cooker.

What do you use it for?
One of my favorite things about it is for the days that I realized I didn't take any meat out to thaw for dinner until around 3pm. It does such a great job even with frozen food. One of the recipes I will share below was literally frozen pork chops with applesauce dumped in it and my family went crazy for it. Sometimes when I have a pretty bare fridge I just like to google random ingredients I have to see if I can find any ideas of recipes I can fiddle with to make...those usually turn out to be some of our favorite meals :) It can also make totally dried beans (without soaking) in less than an that is impressive. I'm just going to share a few recipes I've used and if you are an IP user and have some favorite please share them too!

One thing takes a while for the pressure cooker to get up to if a recipe calls for 25 minutes on high won't have dinner on the table in 25 can take up to 10-15 minutes for the pot to build up the amount of pressure it needs to start the countdown (depending on how much liquid, etc) just add that to your plan!

All in One Pot Chicken & Brown Rice
I love this recipe so much because it's literally all in one pot and all done at the same time. I can turn it on....take my kids on a walk, come back and the entire meal is totally done. Make sure you try her homemade cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup to go in it. Easy and so delicious.

I used to cook ribs for hours and hours in the oven...but now they spend about 25 minutes in the instant pot and another 10-15 in the oven (to bake on the sauce) and they are fall off the bone delicious every single time! Recipe here

Pork Chops & Applesauce
I WANTED to make this recipe where you make pork chops and a delicious homemade gala apple cinnamon applesauce with whole apples right in the pot.

But alas we had no fresh apples in the house but we did have a half empty container of applesauce so we ended up making this...not nearly as pretty...but delicious!

This Spanish brown rice is a must have for taco night or to make ridiculously flavorful taco bowls with. Also, if you are not in the mood for Spanish rice...this is a perfect recipe for plain brown rice, just don't add the flavorings...

Pot Roast
The pressure cooker really shines on any kind of tough/cheap cut of meat that you want to make delicious. I love this pot roast recipe that suggests that you cook the vegetables first and then add them back in at the end so they don't get totally disintegrated.

Beef Stroganoff
Speaking of turning tough cuts of meat into pure deliciousness...this is a family favorite too. Like any good German Family we love us some stroganoff. You will never have meat as tender and delicious as when made in your pressure cooker! Recipe here

Indian Food
Indian food is sooooo good in the pressure cooker. Basically you get the idea of slow all day cooked stews in minutes. This Instant Pot Butter Chicken was a big hit with our family.

Chicken Broth
We used to make our chicken broth in the slow cooker overnight. Basically whenever I made a roast chicken I would put the bones in the slow cooker with some onion, carrots, celery and herbs, fill it up with cold water to the top and let it cook all night in the slow cooker. While it works out perfectly fine, it fills the house with very powerful smells all night which wasn't my favorite thing when I was trying to sleep. Making it in the instant pot yields the same results in less than an hour. A good recipe is here

My daughter eats yogurt every morning for breakfast so I'm embarrassed to say we haven't tried yogurt making yet....but this is the recipe I have bookmarked for when I finally decide to take the plunge!

Alright, well I hope I gave all of you IP virgins at least some first dishes to try! Once you start experimenting and playing with it...I'm confident you will love it too!

Happy Instant Pot'ing!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Prime Day Instant Pot!

So you still don't have an instant pot??
Today is the day my friends! The deal isn't as insane as it was last year....but it's still a pretty darn good deal. We use ours at least 1-2x a either a pressure cooker or a rice cooker...and it comes especially in handy for those days when you realize at like 3pm that all your meat is frozen or all your beans are dried...

Get the 8 Quart on sale for $90!

Happy Instant Potting!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Chicken Broccoli Fettuccini Alfredo

The other day Costco had some fettucine on a ridiculous clearance (something like 97 cents for 3 boxes) so obviously I had to buy a few of them.....and then the idea of alfredo was officially stuck in my head. This is maybe not the most authentic alfredo (it's an Olive Garden copycat), but it was fast, easy and my husband who claims to "not like white sauce" ate two bowls of give it a try!

I used this recipe for the sauce and then grilled up some chicken and threw the broccoli in the last few minutes with the pasta to keep it super easy.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Instant Pot Pot Roast

People always ask me to share my favorite Instant Pot Meals, especially the kid friendly ones. Last week while wondering the aisles of Kroger I saw some meat on sale that I bought and figured I would figure out what to do with it later and now I'm kicking myself for not buying a couple of them!

There are a ton of Instant Pot pot roast recipes out there, but this one grabbed my attention because the vegetables are sauteed separately and then added back in for a few minutes at the end so they don't get totally disintegrated. I added mushrooms because, well mushrooms...and served it with mashed potatoes on the side. After the pot roast was done, I took out the meat and vegetables and then made a slurry with a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch and some of the hot broth, then added it back and put the IP on saute to thicken up the sauce to use as a gravy for the potatoes and meat. Let's just say this meal was a big hit with the whole family. Graham (17 months) was literally double fisting the food into his mouth. This is a definite make again meal. If you are new to the Instant Pot this would be a great first dish!


Check out more Meal Plan Family Recipes Here
Check out my instagram page Here

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Quinoa Huevos Rancheros Bowls

This week for a little meatless monday treat we decided to try some Huevos Rancheros Bowls. Mexican is such a good choice for meatless many different textures and flavors. These were seriously delicious. Quinoa, black beans (dressed up from out of a can), avocado and a drippy egg....with all of your favorite toppings....cilantro, salsa verde, sour cream, hot sauce and queso fresco. These bowls are also packed with protein, healthy fats and flavor. I did a more "decontructed" version for the kids and they gobbled everything up. The baby especially loved the black beans.
Try these asap!

Find the recipe here

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Meal Plan Family- Chicken Quesadillas

On days when I have no idea what to make for dinner...this is always a sure fire way to get a delicious dinner on the table...even if when you think about your lack of prepping for dinner the meat you want to use is still frozen. Today around 2 I put half frozen chicken thighs, a can of black beans and some taco seasoning in my mini crockpot on dinner time I stirred it up and had a topping for rice or a filling for tacos...or in our case a filling for quesadillas...

Sauteed in an oiled skillet between two tortillas with a little cheese and boom you got yourself a little fiesta! it with hot sauce, avocado, sour cream, salsa...basically whatever you got.
Make a double batch and have the leftovers in a different way the next night!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Instant Pot Beef Strogonaff

I was trying to get ideas of different foods to cook in my Instant Pot, so I asked my grandma what she used to cook in her old school pressure cooker when she used to cook all the time. She told me "beef stroganoff"... "ok cool what else?", I asked her. She looked at me like I was nuts. Apparently it was more of a beef stroganoff machine for her, haha. So beef stroganoff it is! (If you type stroganoff enough times you really start to doubt if you are spelling it right!)

Anyway, I tried this recipe last night to rave reviews from the family. I added two containers of baby portobello mushrooms because that's kind of our favorite part. It was delicious and enough for (at least) two nights of dinners.


The Hungry Housewife: Pressure Cooker Beef Strogonaff

Thursday, February 16, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken

General Tso's Chicken is Rob's favorite chinese take out dish which was my inspiration to try and find a good one that we could make at home. Bonus points because it's in the slow cooker! I would say it tastes fairly close to the real thing! This isn't just a dump in the slow cooker and start it dish though. You have to cut up the chicken, dredge it in cornstarch and give it a little pan fry to give it that "deep fried" texture that general tso's chicken has. The sauce is sticky and sweet and the kids gobbled it up. After helping me make the sauce Hannah exclaimed, "I LOVE hoison sauce!"  If you feel like making some takeout at home...definitely give this a try.

Find the recipe here

I served it over white rice which I made using my instant pot (which is also a rice cooker!) using  this recipe.


Friday, January 27, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice

The quest to continue to experiment with my Instant Pot continues!
This isn't the most beautiful dish to photograph but it was delicious and really easy....the kids each had seconds, which doesn't always happen. It was basically a one pot meal (with the exception of the homemade cream of chicken soup that I made for could use canned....but why would you want to??) Next time I will stir in a bag of frozen peas when it's done to add a little texture and color to the final dish. But yeah, a one pot meal meaning I basically dumped in the ingredients including the raw brown rice and chicken into the instant pot, set it and played with my kids until it was ready to eat. When you stirred it at the end the chicken basically just shredded itself with the wooden spoon. The texture of the brown rice was spot on. This is definitely a make again meal.

Check out the recipe from Super Healthy Kids Here and be sure to make your own cream of chicken (or cream of mushroom) soup using her recipe here


Thursday, January 26, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

This is one of my favorite crockpot recipes. It is delicious and also just one of those recipes that just involves opening cans and dumping things in. My tip for this one is if you're going to make one, make two. Throw one in the crockpot and the other in a gallon ziplock bag to freeze for another week. Two week from now you will totally thank you when you don't feel like cooking!

Find the recipe here ( I always use chicken thighs instead of breasts in this)
Serve with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Zoodles and Meat Sauce

Feels silly to post a recipe for this one since there isn't much of a recipe.
I made some zucchini noodles with my spiralizer and whipped up this basic meat sauce.
You can saute the zoodles for a few minutes in a skillet if you want or have them raw (my preference)
Graham LOVES raw zucchini noodles. He can hear that spiralizer spinning from a mile away and comes in wanting some. Healthy, easy and tasty!

MealPlanFamily - Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

I'm really trying to use my Instant Pot more in 2017. I'm a major texture person and I don't always love the soft and shredded meat that often comes out of the crock pot or pressure cooker. I usually cook baby back ribs low and slow for hours in the oven...but decided to try to do a mix of the pressure cooker to cook the ribs until they were tender and then throw them in the oven to caramelize the sauce onto them. So easy and so delicious. I paired it with some roasted potatoes and roasted carrots. This is  definitely a make again.

Here is what you need:
Baby Back Ribs
Salt and Pepper
BBQ Sauce (I used Montgomery Inn)


  • Remove the membrane from the ribs
  • Season the ribs with salt and pepper
  • Add 1 cup of water and a trivet to the instant pot (I used a steamer basket) and place the ribs on top of the steamer basket. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Let the steam release naturally.
  • Put the ribs on a baking sheet with your bbq sauce of choice and cook at 450 for about 10 minutes.

MealPlanFamily - Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite things....make it once and eat it for days! It's one of the few leftovers I can actually eat for multiple meals a day and not get sick of it. Everyone has a certain way to make it...I like to make mine with cottage cheese vs. ricotta because I love the way it just spills all over the plate......eating it with garlic bread is a must. Below is the recipe I've been using for simple yet so perfect.

My Lasagne Recipe:

1 package lasagna noodles

1 lb ground beef
8 oz can tomato sauce
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup diced onion
1.5 tsp dried basil

Cheese Mixture:
1lb small curd cottage cheese
3 eggs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
black pepper
1 lb mozzarella cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
  2. Place onions and garlic in a large, deep skillet and cook until soft. Add ground beef and Cock over medium high heat until evenly brown. Stir in tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil and salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
  4. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, place 2 layers of noodles on the bottom of dish; layer 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 of the sauce; repeat layers.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes; let stand for 10 minutes before cutting; serve.
  6. ENJOY! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MealPlanFamily - Chicken Zoodle Lo Mein

Last night we made Lo Mein using Zucchini noodles instead of regular noodles. An issue I sometimes have with vegetable noodles (zucchini noodles especially) is that they put off so much water when you cook them that they make the sauce all watery. This recipe deliberately has the sauce recipe be super tight and thick so that the water from the zucchini purposely waters down the sauce. So smart. So delicious.

We loved this meal. Hannah loved helping make (and eat) the zoodles and and everyone loved the final dish. Hannah especially loves when we eat anything with chopsticks :) Rob and I added a little srirach in our bowls at the end for a little heat.

As I've mentioned before, we have the kitchenaid spiralizer which is awesome. I have friends who have and love this less expensive one and it has great reviews on Amazon.
You can watch a video of ours in action here.

Click here to get the recipe for Chicken Zoodle Lo Mein which definitely gets our family's approval!