Crock Pot Goodness

IMG_3033I LOVE recipes. I am not a chef that can just toss things together. I like knowing that if I follow steps, the dinner will taste good (well – most of the time!).

I put this together this week because I had some chicken breast in the fridge and wanted to use them before they went bad. I bought some pesto and had a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry – super easy, pretty quick and my kids LOVED it!

4 chicken breasts


4 tbsp of pesto (This just needs to cover each chicken breast so you can use a little more or a little less pending the size of the chicken breast)

1 can of diced tomatoes (28oz is what I had on hand)

Place the chicken in the crock pot and put 1 tbsp of pesto on each chicken breast, then cover with the can of diced tomatoes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Once you’ve cooked it – sprinkle a little bit of shredded mozzarella on top and then allow it to melt.

We shredded the chicken and served it with long grain, wild rice and green beans.

Update: We turned the above into tacos & then I made it for a second time. Instead of using the pesto I chose diced tomatoes with green chilies in them. Another quick and easy dinner! 



Life Hack & the Herb Pesto Salmon

I was going through Publix and in the mood for Salmon. They had giant long fillets for sale as well as the usual individual portions. I inquired about ways to make salmon when it’s on a long fillet. The gentleman behind the counter went on and on about cedar planks and grilling. I did not have time to grill or feel the desire to find a cedar plank…it was Friday evening after all and I was ready to be home, with the kids, eating and drinking  a glass of wine!

Lucky for me, the conversation continued by leading me to a free booklet which held salmon recipes perfect for my oven!


I flipped through the pamphlet and while there were several that sounded delicious, the one that stood out was the Herb Pesto Salmon due to the fact that I had a bottle of pesto at home. The remaining ingredient list was quick (and would allow me to make it AGAIN withOUT purchasing anything) so I went with it!

Kellen, my 6 year old, LOVES food. And when I say LOVES I mean LOVES!!! He is continually asking us when the next meal is and by reminding us that there are more meals left to be had in the day. A perfect example is today – we had lunch at home (sandwiches); we then went to a shower where there was food. He ate a lot. Then we came home and he kindly reminded me that the food at the shower was a snack so we still needed to have dinner. As a toddler I would find boxes of (unopened) food and cans under his bed….

So Kellen opted in to helping mom cook! First I had him juice the lemon. I helped a little bit, but he did the bulk of the work. His little hands had trouble at first making the handles pull together, but with a little help from mom we did it!


Next I had him scoop out the Dijon Mustard and the Pesto together and mix it with the lemon juice. They we added a little salt and pepper.

He was pretty impressed with the size of the salmon and made me flip it over so he could see the scales. The recipe called for skin off, but the butcher told me he thought salmon with skin on was better (and I agree).

Now for the life hack!

I was out of baking sheets – which means the only one I have was dirty:) I scrounged around the kitchen to figure out what I could use. Normally, I would pull out my stone to cook on, but the salmon was too big (and I didn’t want to cut it!).

I looked under the counter and found a cookie cooling wrap…I then remembered that I had aluminum foil (which I was supposed to put on the baking sheet) and presto! I wrapped the aluminum foil around the cooling rack and the salmon fit perfectly!


So hack finished, I then let Kellen put the pesto mixture on the salmon and then I put it in the oven.

Literally 15 minutes later it was done! I added green beans and Long Grain Wild Rice to it and suddenly we had a meal!

A seriously long piece of salmon!

The kids and hubby gave it 2 thumbs up (and Tim might have dug a piece of salmon off the sheet before I had a chance to get a good pic:) and even better news – there was plenty for leftovers too!

Yet another reason I LOVE Publix!

Nonstick aluminum foil
1 lemon, for juice
3 tbps basil pesto sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 salmon fillets (about 1 1/2lbs)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 375F, line baking sheet (or cookie sheet!) with foil.
Squeeze lemon for juice (1 tsp).
Check fish for bones (or have the butcher do that for you!).

1. Combine pesto, mustard, and lemon juice. Season fish with salt and pepper; place on baking sheet.

2. Top each fillet evenly with pesto mixture; bake 14-16 minutes or until 145F (or opaque and separates easily). Serve.


*This is not a promotional post – I did not get any type of monetary contribution for this – I just love Publix THAT much…and the meal was pretty awesome too:)


Meal Plan: 1/3/16-1/9/16


So for this week’s meal plan I went to Clean Eating Magazine’s website. They have some pre-planned meal plans, but regardless of the magazine or website, I can never find one that has a full week of meals I actually want to eat. So instead, I pick and choose meals I want to eat and that I think my family will enjoy. This week’s plan will have some that I know Lincoln will balk at…but I think I can win him over!

A few things to note:

I attempted Aldi. I LOVED the amount of organic products I could get and the prices I could get them at…con – I definitely got there AFTER everyone had picked through the items so there was not a ton of fresh produce available. Lesson learned. It did free up cash to purchase higher-quality items at Publix later that evening (I toyed at going to another Aldi, but since we went to the evening service I didn’t have a lot of time…so I opted for Publix instead).

Saffron – it’s expensive…I’ll let you know if I could see a difference in taste profile – I bought the strands and then used a stone grinder to grind the strands.

Some of the spices were hard to find in my Publix and at Aldi…my advice – play with what you have available. If you can find the right ones (and the price is right), grab them – if not, use what you have and see how it works!

Happy Cooking!

Mediterranean Chicken Pitas with Roasted Red Peppers
*Update* This was SO easy to make and tasty too! I packed them for our lunches this week and Tim taste tested it, giving it 2 thumbs up:) I did by some spring mix to add to the pita to try and give a little more filling, but that’s just me.

Three-Cheese Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Peppers


So good! A bit on the spicy side so I opted out on the jalepenos, but I did add in some mild chili peppers. The boys liked it…but were wary of the green bell peppers. Kellen DID like helping to stuff the peppers though! Tim thought it was delicious so we are packing up the remainders as lunches for the week!

**I had a lot of stuffing leftover from this meal because I didn’t have giant (or overstuffed) peppers – I added some Cote du Rhone wine (red) and added some veggie spaghetti and voila – another meal!**
Chicken Puttanesca