Tag Archives: crock pot

Organizing Your Meals {Blog Hop}

meals

I used to dread dinnertime. For me, around 4pm is the hour that I want to throw in the towel and just quit being a mom.  Unfortunately, it’s also the time my kids start asking for dinner.  Why do they want dinner every.single.night? So, like all good moms, I check Facebook and see all the great dinners that all those “other” moms are making for their families.  And then, I feel inadequate.  Can you relate?

dinner

Lucky for my family, I’ve become a huge fan of slow cooking.  I use it all summer, too, for things like pulled pork and slow cooked mac-n-cheese.   I’m not much for menu planning but I will say this: when I do it, I’m so glad!  It makes my life so much easier!  Menus really only take about half and hour to put together, and VOILA! Your brain is free to do other things, like remember to take the toddler to the bathroom on the hour.

So, here are my three top tips for organizing your meals:

  1. Have a plan.
  2. Use your slow cooker.
  3. Enlist your children to help.  (See my chores post from yesterday.)

A few of my favorite recipes for slow cooked meals are:

Chalupa
Chicken Curry (Made Simple!)
15 Bean Soup (pressure cooker version)
Split Pea Soup

LUNCH:

If your kids are home for lunch like mine are, keep simple things around to make simple, healthy lunches.  We almost always have leftover dinner for lunch, so I like to make sure we have extra at dinnertime. Here are some ideas for easy lunches:

  • Quesadillas
  • Sandwiches
  • Grilled cheese and canned tomato soup
  • Leftovers!
  • Mini-pizzas on english muffins (a favorite at our house)
  • Anything pre-made from Costco (our kids like corn-dogs, which are not very healthy but great in a hurry)

Try making a menu and see if it makes a difference in your stress level.  Need a menu planner?  Download mine if you’d like and remember, keep it simple!  Find a few meals that you enjoy making and use them frequently if you’d like.  If you can make it and the family enjoys it, who cares if every Tuesday is TACO TUESDAY?

MenuPlanner

Download your free printable menu below—be patient, it might take a minute to load 🙂

tbm-mug-button-download

 

You’ve Got This,
signature-heidi

 

Read all of the posts “Organizing Your Spiritual Life Posts” on these blogs! And read all about the Blog Hop going on HERE!

deliveringgrace   lisa_blog hop piccie  raisingarrows    raisingmightyarrows   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Heidi St John Guide to Daylight

Fast, Healthy, YUMMY – {15 Bean Soup}

15_Bean_Soup1
All ingredients except the optional ham hock and pork shoulder.

I’m a soupie.  Is that a word?  Well nevermind. It should be.

I’m finally getting around to posting my favorite bean soup recipe.

Why?

Because I was late yesterday, that’s why.  You know, school, dishes, laundry, toddler—broken down car.  These things can make a girl go half-crazy in the dinner making department.

{enter pressure cooker}

“Welcome, highly-favored kitchen appliance!”

Electric pressure cookers save time and money!
Electric pressure cookers save time and money!

I.love.my.pressure.cooker.  Period.  And it got me out of a jam last night. At 4:4o I arrived home from the mechanic shop, tired and frustrated.  {yes, you heard me right.} I looked in my pantry.  BEHOLD! A bag of beans.  Fifteen different kinds of beans to be exact.  Dinner!  By 4:55 I had all the ingredients in my pressure cooker and by 6:15 we were eating yummy, healthy soup.

YES it works in a crock pot too. Just put this same recipe in your slow cooker and give it 6-8 hours on low.

The magic is found in the spices so here you are:

15 Bean Soup

9 cups chicken broth
15 bean soup mix (1 lb) – this mix is in most grocery stores. It’s about $3.20/bag.
1 large onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
4 stalks diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tsp diced garlic (from a jar is fine)
1 T thyme and rosemary
1.5 T parsely
1 tsp ham base if you don’t have a ham hock, or leave it out.  It’s good with or without.
Black pepper to tasteham_base
Alternative:
If you’re in the mood for a more meaty bean soup, add about a pound of pork shoulder, diced into bite-sized pieces. I didn’t use it this time. When using ham base, I LOVE Penzey’s.  Here’s a picture … a little goes a long way!

Directions:

Place all this stuff in your pressure cooker. Set it to “soup” and set your timer for 35 minutes. When it’s done, allow the pressure to go down on it’s own. This will add about 15 more minutes to your total time.

When you’re ready to serve, take out the ham hock and the bay leaves. Voila!  No more waiting all day for your beans to cook.  Pressure cooking is a busy moms best friend.  Give it a try!

15_bean_finished

 

 

Healthy, Yummy, Split-Pea Soup

Mmmmm.  Split-pea soup. It’s one of my favorite ways to make our Christmas ham last through the new year.

Normally, I use my crock pot. But this year, I used my pressure cooker—just to see how it would turn out.  I warned my family in advance that it might not be amazing but I decided to give it a try anyway. Hey, what are they gonna do?  They’re stuck with my kitchen adventuring ways!

Wouldn’t you know it?  It turns out that using my pressure cooker turned out the creamiest, yummiest split-pea soup I’ve ever made.  I was able to serve it straight out of the pot, without adding anything to thicken it.

If you like this yummy soup, give this recipe a try.  And let me know how it turns out!  I’ll also post the slow cooker version at the bottom for those of you who like slow cookers.

Split Pea Soup {pressure cooker version}

Serves 6-9

6 cups of water or broth (I used ham broth, but you can use chicken broth, too.)
Ham bone if you have it
2 1/4 cups split peas, rinsed
2 cups chopped celery

1 whole onion, chopped

Delicious and nutritious!

4 cloves of garlic, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 tablespoons organic, no-salt seasoning (from Costco if you have it)
pepper
2 bay leaves

—ham—  as much as you like.  But do not add until the soup is finished in the pressure cooker.

Instructions:

Put all in ingredients except ham into pressure cooker.  Set timer for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to come down on it’s own. This will take another 15 minutes or so.

When pressure is released, remove bay leaves and stir.  Add ham if you are so inclined. (I am always inclined this way if I have ham in the house!)
Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with corn bread or salad.  Enjoy!

 

{slow cooker version}

as above, except: cook on low for 6-8 hours
Remove bay leaves
Add ham

Stir.  To thicken, I usually add a mixture of milk and flour that I’ve prepared in my salad dressing shaker).  I don’t honestly know how much I use.  I would guess it’s about 1/2 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of flour mixed very well. You can also thicken with instant potato flakes, or cornstarch and water.  Be sure to mix the cornstarch well, one part starch to two parts COLD water.

Enjoy!

heidi