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10.27.2013

31 Days: The Crock Pot is My BFF

I really wanted to write for the entire thirty one days. But this last week has been tough! I am aiming to finish strong though. After this post, there will be just four more left! If I can do that, I'm going to be very excited. I have a couple more serious posts coming up. Therefore, I'm keeping things light with this one. 

One of the most challenging parts of motherhood for me is cooking and feeding my family. This is a vital part of it so I just have to figure it out. But I struggle! I want to feed my family healthy dinners. We have a budget to stick to every month. Then there's the issue of time and feeling like I have none of it! Not to mention that we live in the basement of our friend's house. So cooking in the kitchen upstairs is tricky! What's a girl to do?

Enter Crock Pot. 

I love this handy kitchen appliance. Quite a lot actually. I shared back in April how I made some freezer meals before Elsie was born. Most of them were crock pot friendly. You can actually check out that experience here at this post. There are a couple other recipes I want to share because I love my crock pot and how easy it has made my life. I guarantee you will love your crock pot more after this. If you don't have a crock pot, get one yesterday. Listen, I don't cook fancy or anything. I go for simplicity. Change these recipes up to fit your needs. Do what you need to. Just make sure you try them! 

I don't follow this one to a T. You can visit the website for the exact recipe. If you keep reading, it's just my account of how I cook this up. Honest moment: I don't follow many recipes to a T. They're more like guidelines for me. Except for baking. Ok sorry, here's the recipe...

Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts

For topping after cooked:
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • avocado
  • sour cream
Instructions:
Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the chicken broth and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Pour into crock pot.

To the crock pot, add drained beans, diced tomatoes, chopped pepper, corn, cumin, and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. {I usually do 4 hours on high and it's perfect-o}

Remove chicken and shred. Add chicken back into the soup. We serve it in bowls with lots of cheese on top. I love to add sour cream and avocado. Chips on the side is yummy, too. Sometimes I dip, sometimes I crunch them on top. 

At the very least, this feeds our eating family {2 adults and a toddler} two dinners and two lunches for Danny.

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken
You can Google this and find a million different variations. I have no idea where I saw it for the first time. Here's my awesome recipe! 

Ingredients: 
2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts {I've used bone-in before and it worked just as well}
1 packet of Italian salad dressing mix
1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
Pasta or rice
Bread
Veggies

Instructions: 
Put chicken, cream of chicken soup, and Italian seasonings into crock pot. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. 

Thirty minutes before you plan on serving dinner, shred the chicken breasts and put the brick of cream cheese into the crock pot. Let it soften. During the last thirty minutes of cooking, prepare pasta or rice. We also serve it with a veggie and some garlic bread. It goes really great with broccoli! After thirty minutes, mix the cream cheese in very well. 

Serve the creamy chicken over the pasta or rice. Dip your bread into the mixture. Eat half a loaf of bread. Or don't and just judge my massive carb obsession. And don't forget the broccoli. Duh.

At the very least, this also feeds us two dinners and two lunches for Danny. Or you can just invite people over! We do that sometimes and it's really fun. 

Mamas, we do have to feed our families. And we should probably feed them in a somewhat healthy manner. But it doesn't have to be hard. I hope these recipes are ones that you can use for your family and that they enjoy them! 

What are your favorite, easy meals to cook for your family? Do you enjoy cooking or not so much? What are some helpful tips that you have to make meal prep less stressful?

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