Dinner in a Bag

We’ve fallen into a nice dinner routine.  Mondays is something just for me (the BOY has class), Tuesday is crockpot in a bag, Wednesday the BOY grills, and Thursdays he’s back in class and I fend for myself.  It makes meal planning super easy, but of course all of this will change when he finally finishes his law masters in December.

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When I was planning this week, I asked the BOY if he liked Chicken Cacciatore, which made us both realize that we didn’t actually know what that was.  He thought cream sauce and I had no clue.  But this recipe looked easy and tasty and the only substitution I made was taking out the zucchini (the BOY won’t eat it) and adding in the green beans (they work well).

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Yesterday, I combined the ingredients into a bag and today the BOY threw everything into the new crockpot.  Neither of us were sure how long it would take.  The chicken was cooked to perfection, so I asked the BOY.  He said he cooked it on low for 5 1/2 hours.

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We topped our chicken with parm cheese and a side of PumKing (yum!!) and dinner was super easy, healthy, and delicious!

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This website has a few other dinners in a bag and Pinterest is full of them.  Do you ever make dinner ahead of time in a bag?

 

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

From Six Sisters Stuff

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breasts

1 (26 oz) jar of chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce (I went for a low sodium option)

1/2 bag frozen chopped green beans (peas could work too)

1 green pepper, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and mix together.  Store in fridge for 24 hours or freezer. 

If in fridge, cook on low for 5.5 hours until chicken is tender but not over cooked.

If frozen, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Garnish with cheese, olives, or serve over pasta.

House Cleaning Weekend Part I

The BOY and I set a big goal to get some much needed cleaning, purging, and organizing accomplished this weekend.  Saturday had us rearranging furniture and making some tough decisions about what we need and what we’ve outgrown.  Cooper got right in on the action, loving the new location of this tree…ripe for climbing!

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By Sunday afternoon, we had a clean and fresh looking dining room.  I also completely reorganized our crawl space…flash light and all, I found the BOY’s college television.  Obviously, we don’t need to keep that!  I created some extra shoe space in the closet and created enough space to store my new/old china.  My grandmother passed many years ago and I am getting her china set.  Perfect timing for Thanksgiving hosting!

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Today was the most spectacular fall day!  The leaves were so gorgeous, even the BOY pulled out his phone to take pictures.

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I started my day at the gym and then the BOY and I ran a few errands.  Including a trip to Goodwill where we donated a trunk full of goodies.  After the last few busy weekends, it was nice to have a quiet Monday.  I got to watch a little on the DVR, clean a bit more, and cook. 

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With my new CROCKPOT!  Isn’t it lovely?!

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I made an easy Taco Soup as my first dish, thinking it will make a delicious and heart lunch this week.  It was also smart to start slowly as I feel out the timing of this updated model.  We picked up some fish at the store, and the BOY is in charge of tonight’s dinner.  I also whipped up Tuesdays dinner.  I was such a fan of this make ahead technique that every week I’ve been putting crockpot dinners in a bag for the BOY to make while I’m at work.  I know you can freeze them too, so I need to try that!

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Right before I called it a day and went to relax (and blog) with Cooper on the couch, I threw in a loaf of Pumpkin Bread.  There hasn’t been nearly enough seasonal baking this fall!  My house smells amazing…recipe to come!

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Next weekend is scheduled for House Cleaning Part II (the upstairs).  There is much work to do in our closets and the office needs an entire week of work : )

Meal Planning 10/20/14

Monday: Roast Cod and Veggies

Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Sausage

Thursday: TBD

Lunch: Crockpot Taco Soup (recipe below)

 

Hope you had a Souper Monday!

Crockpot Taco Soup

Adapted from The Taylor House

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 cup onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Package taco seasoning

2-28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes

2-15 oz. can Pinto Beans, rinsed

1 Cup Water

Toppings: Doritos, cheese, avocado, scallions, sour cream, etc.

Directions

In a large pan brown your turkey with onion and garlic.  Place your meat in the bottom of the slow cooker, sprayed with cooking spray.  Add the taco seasoning, tomatoes, rinsed beans, and water to the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve with toppings.

Six for Saturday

I think that I wrote a post about my meals and recipes this week, but never posted it.  Ah…another one of those weeks!  Fall is officially here, and I love the vibrant colors of the leaves.  It was a fairly busy week, and I missed my Friday post too (worst blogger ever!), so thought I could push it off to Saturday with an extra something to add.

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1. We saw Gone Girl with a few friends last night and it was fantastic!  Even the BOY liked it…

2. We did a huge house clean today, and our house is looking really good.  We still have a lot more cleaning to do, but I can definitely see us hosting our first Thanksgiving here this November.

3. Finally, we are catching up on the latest season of Downton Abby.  I forgot how much I like this show!

4. I had my wedding make up trial today.  Love the dramatic effect but just a bit sad that it was wasted on a Saturday night in eating Thai, watching Downton and drinking Sonoma Wine.  Ya’ll will have to wait until next October to see it : )

5. Speaking of wine, look who decided that our wine boxes were the best toy in town this week?!

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6. And the BOY and I decided that Sonoma wine is the best thing in town tonight!  Which is why I am signing off to have another glass…

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Happy Saturday Night!

{Chicago+Wedding} Weekend Recap

This past week, I found my way back into the groove.  After being sick, I was able to get back to eating on a normal schedule and worked out a whole bunch.  Saturday morning, I set my alarm for a 5 mile run.  The weather was PERFECT!  Then I quickly packed up a weekend bag and the BOY and I drove into the city to meet with a photographer (who we loved!).  Afterwards, I met my mom at the yoga studio in Lakeview for a Heart and Hip Opener Workshop.

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The teacher was knowledgeable and incredible!  The class flowed smoothly as we were gently encouraged into positions our bodies weren’t meant to attain and I’m not sure that my hips and shoulders have ever felt so alive!  After the class, we got dressed and ready for dinner and the theater.

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A big group of us went to see Avenue Q…which is absolutely hilarious by the way!  As long as you’re not offended by the puppet nudity that is!

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I went to bed immediately after we got back to our friends because my mom and I were up bright and early (actually it was still dark) to volunteer at the St. Jude tent for the Chicago Marathon.

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It was a chilly start to the day but it ended up being ideal running weather.  After we sent the St. Jude runners on their way, my mom and I grabbed signs and a cow bell and made our way along the course cheering on all the St. Jude heroes and thousands of other people tackling 26.2.

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We continued to walk along the course and by the time we realized we were close to where we were staying, we’d walked close to 8 miles.  In the end, we walked over 10 miles along the course and I was ready for lunch and a nap.  When I woke up, our city fun still had a few more stops in the form of white dresses!

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We had a successful trip to BHLDN (It might be my new favorite store and it’s not just because they serve bubbles)!

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I finally made my way back home a little before 8pm exhausted and exhilarated after our crazy weekend!

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I was greeted enthusiastically by Cooper and these still blooming gorgeous flowers!

I’m super excited to have made so much progress on our wedding (no…I didn’t buy a dress yet but I think I’m close) and loved spending the weekend with the BOY, my family, and our close friends laughing, eating, and cheering!

How was your weekend?  Are you still recovering?

The Return of MM

Not Marvelous Monday (although today was pretty awesome)…but, Meatless Monday!

I woke up early yesterday morning and got my meals all planned out for the week.  With the chill in the air, I was ready for some autumn recipes!

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My meals have been lacking in the greens and veggies this past week, so I stocked up!

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This morning, I headed to the gym for a workout.  My trainer actually got a promotion so I started with a new trainer today.  It was a good workout, but I could definitely tell that I am not fully recovered from last week’s illness.  Even more reason to be eating lots of vitamins and veggies!

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After my workout, I swung by Whole Foods to pick up a probiotic (Good Belly is my favorite and I am hoping that it will get my stomach back under control).  My store just opened a smoothie bar and I happily sucked down a Caribbean Green post-workout drink on my way back home.

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While the BOY clicked away on his computer, I got started on fall soup.   It was exciting to pull out my soup pot again!

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This recipe is chock full of veggies, beans, and lentils complete with kale and cabbage.

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Perfect to keep you warm on those chilly fall days!

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Unfortunately, this pictures doesn’t do the soup justice because we rushed out of the house this afternoon to head downtown to meet with a photographer for our wedding.  I am confident that his photos will be much better looking than mine : )

Combined with this Autumn Chopped Salad, it’s going to be an exciting week of fall eats!

What is your favorite soup recipe?

What do you eat for Meatless Monday?

 

Meal Planning 10/05/14

Sunday: Buffalo Turkey Chili

Monday: Out to Eat

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Bar (with chicken and broccoli)

Wednesday: BBQ Pork and Veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Lentil, Bean, and Kale Soup (aka Autumn Soup)

Slightly adapted from Glow Kitchen

Ingredients

1 bunch kale leaves

1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black eyed peas, rinsed

¼ cup red lentils

¼ cup green lentils

1 medium onion, diced

3 small carrots, diced

1/2 cabbage, chopped

2 garlic cloves, whole (or chopped)

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

28 ounces canned crushed tomato

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 -3 cups water (or veggie stock)

Directions

Sauté the diced onions, carrots, cabbage, and red pepper with garlic cloves in olive oil until they start becoming soft. Chop kale leaves and add them to the pan. Sauté another 5 minutes. The kale leaves will lose their volume. Next add tomato paste, mashing it with a spatula to disperse throughout. Once evenly combined, add the crushed tomatoes, lentils, and beans. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cumin, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce.

Add water/veggie stock so that there is a 2-inch difference between the top of the water and the top of the mixture. Bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer cooking for 50-60 minutes until carrot and kale leafs are soft enough to eat.

Serve warm with crusty bread or freeze for later.

Autumn Chopped Salad

It was an interesting week here as we moved from 80 degree summer weather straight to talks of snow.  Ugh!  I was home sick on Thursday with a stomach bug and spent much of the day like this…

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Except for when I was drinking ginger ale and eating soup. Cooper didn’t seem to mind and was more than happy to soak up the extra love and attention.  Friday it was back to work and then straight home for Friday night services.  The BOY and I spent Saturday together with his family celebrating the end of the high holidays.  I slept a good 10 hours Friday night and the BOY and I took a 90 minute nap on Saturday.  The extra sleep helped and I felt better each day.  I woke up this morning ready for Sunday Funday with our friends.

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One thing is for sure, autumn is in the air!  When I offered to bring a salad to our friends house, I searched Pinterest for some fall salad inspiration.  I came across a few simple recipes, which always remind me how easy it is to throw together a unique and tasty salad.  I decided on one and since I was going to the grocery store, I had my entire week long meal plan and grocery list figured out before 9am.

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When I returned from the store, I got to chopping…

All of the fruits for this gorgeous salad and veggies for Buffalo Turkey Chili.  Which went into the crockpot for tonight’s dinner!

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The Bear’s game ended in a bad last minute loss, but our lunch complete with this salad was fantastic!  I shared the leftovers with my friend for her lunch tomorrow and I have plenty of ingredients left to make another salad later in the week.  It was a super Sunday Funday catching up with our friends, talking wedding and reading stories to their adorable 1 year old daughter.  Better luck next week Bears…

What is your favorite fall salad?

Autumn Chopped Salad

Adapted Slightly From Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 pear, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Poppy Seed Salad Dressing (or more or less)
2 Tablespoons (fig) balsamic vinegar (or more or less)

Directions

Add romaine lettuce, pear, apple, almonds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese into a very large bowl, then add salad dressing and balsamic vinegar to taste. Toss well then serve immediately.