7 Family Friendly Recipes for Busy Parents

In a world where we are rushing from one activity to the next making homemade/healthy meals seems next to impossible! Finding recipes isn’t the problem. We love pinning those yummy looking recipes on Pinterest but the problem is finding time to try them in the middle of our chaotic schedules! I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite go to meals. These are tried and true and are consistently made at our house. I hope you and your family enjoy them!

A lot of these recipes make a pretty good bit. I love to freeze the extras so on those crazy nights when I don’t have time to cook, all I have to do is set it out to thaw in the morning and then heat it up that night. Remember to always store extras in an air tight container!

Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/slow-cooker-hearty-beef-chili-111270.aspx

Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

How We Roll: We use 1 can of light and 1 can of dark Kidney beans. (Look for low sodium or no salt

added). We aren’t onion people so I only chop ½ an onion. Add a can of Diced Tomatoes (no-salt added). Add 2 cloves minced garlic for additional taste. Use whatever cheese you have on hand. This goes great with Fritos! You can easily double this recipe for a crowd or for freeze ahead meals.

Sloppy Joes

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/04/sloppy-joes/

How We Roll: We add an entire “small” can of no salt added Tomato Paste and only ½ cup Ketchup. Omit Red Pepper Flakes. Add about ¼ tsp of salt and pepper. Add a can of diced tomatoes (no salt added). Sounds weird I know but it adds flavor plus tomatoes are healthy for you! This recipe makes a ton so we divide what we won’t eat within 2-3 meals and freeze the rest in air tight containers.

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Chicken Tortilla Soup

http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/slow-cooker-chicken-tortilla-soup/

Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

We LOVE this recipe. Although it’s a soup, it’s not as heavy as chili or Taco Soup so we sometimes make this in the summer.

How We Roll: Use a 16 oz bag of frozen corn (thawed or unthawed – doesn’t matter), 2 cans of no salt added basil and oregano diced Tomatos. I omit serrano pepper and use closer to 3 cloves of minced garlic. Shred whatever cheese you have on hand and we just use regular tortilla chips and crush them over the top. This makes a lot so we freeze the extra for a later meal.

Buffalo Pork Chops

http://www.allisonskinnyjeans.com/2013/08/buffalo-pork-chops.html

How We Roll: Season both sides with salt, pepper, Garlic Powder, and

Onion Powder. Let them sit there for about 10 minutes like that. I completely cover my chops with thick slices of mozzarella! These are also good reheated! Just cover with Aluminum Foil and reheat in the oven!

Buffalo Pork Chops

Buffalo Pork Chops

Crockpot Jambalaya

http://redbeansanderic.com/?p=2791

Crockpot Jambalaya

Crockpot Jambalaya

How We Roll: We have made this with or without chicken and a separate time without shrimp. If you are

adding chicken and you have a stand mixer, use the mixer to shred your chicken! We add a can of diced tomatoes and okra to it. I love that this is made in the crockpot! It makes a ton and can easily be frozen for future meals!

Chicken Nacho Bake

This is probably an all-time favorite in my household and one that we probably cook at least once sometimes twice a month!

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/chicken-nacho-bake-108694.aspx

How We Roll: I usually cut the chicken breasts in ½ because they are

Chicken Nacho Bake

Chicken Nacho Bake

large. We always buy enough chicken to have leftovers. If you ½ the chicken then just cut one strip down the center. We use ¾ cup salsa and a HEAPPING 1/4 cup sour cream. Mix the two together and sprinkle in some minced garlic or garlic powder and pepper. Pour over the top of the chicken. Follow the rest of the original recipe.

Homemade Krystal Burgers

http://www.betterrecipes.com/blogs/daily-dish/2013/05/29/easy-cheeseburger-sliders/

How We Roll: Add garlic powder to the mixture. A little tip – the level of fat % will determine how much the meat will shrink. Example: 75% meat will be A LOT smaller than 85% meat once it has cooked. The hardest part of this meal is getting the giant meat patty out without breaking it and draining the grease. I also use paper towels to squish the remaining grease from the giant patty. Wrap leftover meat patty in foil for easy reheating!

Homemade Krystal Burgers

Homemade Krystal Burgers

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Homemade Granola

This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law.  The first time we tried it, it was good but wasn’t sweet enough so I made a few tweaks and now it’s perfect! I eat it as a cereal every morning while some in the family prefer to eat it sprinkled over yogurt. While it is more time consuming than buying a box of cereal, it is completely homemade which mean less of the processed foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce!

Tip: Buy local honey!  We’ve heard that it helps with seasonal allergies.

What you need:

EAT ME!!!!!!

EAT ME!!!!!!

7 cups Oatmeal (Regular or Quick Oats)

1 small pkg sliced almonds or walnuts (2.25 oz)

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup light brown sugar (Opt.)

1/2 cup Canola Oil

1/2 cup LOCAL Honey (+ 1 TBSP for added sweetness – Opt.)

1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 cup – 1 cup raisins and/or cranraisians (opt)

Mix Dry Ingredients First
Mix Dry Ingredients First

How To Do It:

In a LARGE bowl, mix oats, wheat germ and almonds. Add brown sugar for added sweetness (opt). Mix together well breaking up any lumps.

Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.

Add oil, vanilla, and mix.  Next, add honey. Mix well.

Pour into a lightly sprayed 9×13 pan.

Ready to Bake!

Ready to Bake!

Spread mixture evenly in the pan.

Cook for 20 minutes; stir.  Cook an additional 15 minutes; stir.  Cook another 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

You have to stir between the cooking periods so that it can evenly crisp. Be careful when stirring because it’s easy to fling granola out of the pan….not that I would know! 😉

Remove from Oven.  Stir.

Add raisins (we added just under 1 cup) and stir. Allow to cool.

After it has cooled some, place granola into airtight containers. Do not seal until granola has completely cooled. Granola does not have to be refrigerated. It’s good for 2 weeks but it rarely lasts that long at our house! 🙂

Pour milk over a bowl of granola for Cereal or sprinkle granola over yogurt for a parfait!

Tip: Granola is also a great on the go snack. Store in small snack size food containers for a quick grab! It’s loaded with protein and potassium! ENJOY!

Cooking a Whole Chicken

whole-chickenI didn’t realize until recently how easy it was to cook a chicken and you know the best part ?    =-) You can make homemade chicken broth while doing it! That’s like killing two birds with one stone! Heheheh (I know bad joke!)  Maybe I should already know how to do this and I’m just really behind the power curve, but I thought I’d share with others in case you’re like me!

*Money Saving Tip* First off, buy a whole fryer chicken when it goes on sale. Cook it or freeze until you need it!

When you are ready to cook, make sure it is thawed out.  You will cook with the skin on.

1. Take out of package while it’s sitting in your sink. Pull out “insides”, either set aside to use in a giblet gravy or discard.  Cut off tail and discard. Rinse it well (inside and out).

2. Put in a BIG pot and season with salt, pepper, 2 tsp minced garlic, dashes of oregano, and basil.  Fill with water but not to the point it will over boil.

Shredded-chicken3. Boil the chicken until it “falls apart.” This can take up to a couple of hours depending on size of chicken.

4. Carefully take out chicken and de-bone it (should be easy as it will “fall off the bone.” Discard bones and skin. Chicken is now ready to use, or freeze for later.

5. The broth that was made from boiling the chicken can be used immediately or put in a air-tight container and frozen.broth

This is both healthy and economical! You are making your chicken and broth from scratch – no additives or chemicals you can’t pronounce! It’s economical because you are cooking your chicken and making broth at the same time! We have used part of the cooked chicken to make Taquitos, as well as a making mixing it in with cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving. The possibilities are endless!

Rice Krispie Treats

Only 4 ingredients!!!!

Only 4 ingredients!!!!

Don’t you just LOVE Rice Krispies? They are just a gooey yummy mess! Did you know that they are SUPER easy to make? YUP!

What You Need:

1/4 cup of butter

1 (10 oz) package regular size marshmallows

5 cups Rice Krispies

Variations:

Peanut Butter – 1/4 cup – stir into marshmallow mixture BEFORE adding Rice Krispies

Chocolate Chip – 6 oz – stir in after Rice Krispies have been added.

Coco – Substitute Coco Krispies for Regular Krispies

1.  Melt Butter in Large pot over low heat. While that’s melting take additional butter and lightly run it across the pan you’ll be pouring them into. (9×13 for thinner ones/smaller pan for thicker ones) .

FullSizeRender_12. Once butter is melted, stir in marshmallows. Stir well until marshmallows are melted.

3.  Add Cereal and stir until it is all mixed together.

4. Pour into pre-buttered pan and using a spatula (coat in butter so it won’t stick – I use a metal spatula) spread out and press down until even across pan.

Our favorite way to make these are with Peanut Butter. Try using Coco Krispies AND Peanut Butter – It will blow your mind and taste buds!!! =-)

FullSizeRender_3

EAT ME!!!!

Homemade Seasoning Mixes

There are so many recipes out there that call for various different store bought seasoning packets. Have you seen what they put in those things??? Not to mention the sodium content in them!! I set out on a mission to change from using store bought packets to making my own. I searched around on Pinterest and other websites for the ones we use the most. As with any recipe, there are always different variations so after comparing a few I settled on the recipe I liked for each mix and tested them out. They have all turned out great and in some recipes, my family said some tasted better with the homemade seasoning!!!
My goal is to continue updating and adding to this post as I try more seasoning mixes. Here are the links to the ones that I have tried and liked so far.

Taco Seasoning – This is a bulk recipe that will last between 4-6 months.

Fajita Seasoning – This recipe only lasted me about 2 meals however, it would be a good one to test out to see if you like the mix.

Bulk Fajita Seasoning – I took the above recipe and tripled the ingredients so it would last much longer.

Ranch Seasoning – There are two different versions of this recipe. A smaller batch and a bulk batch. This link will take you to the smaller one…..from there you can find the bulk version if you want to make that one.

Italian Seasoning – I’ve used these mix in several recipes. Really good!

Lipton Onion Soup Seasoning –  I mix these up in Ziploc snack size bags and label them. This recipe is the equivalent to 1 Lipton Onion Soup Mix.

Easy Enchiladas

enchilada 3My family loves Mexican dishes! I love easy, healthy, and tasty dishes! This recipe gets checks in all the right boxes! It’s easy and you make your own enchilada sauce which cuts down on the processed foods.  I looked at several different recipes before I settled on this one. I was concerned that it might be a little bland so I of course tweaked it to fit our taste….I tweaked it a little too spicy so I’ll tone it down next time. For the original recipe, go here.

What you Need:

  • 10 taco size soft flour tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded (or finely chopped), cooked chicken
  • 3 cups cheese – shredded (we just Colby-Jack)
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Optional Ingredients:

  • 4oz medium can diced green chillies (optional)
  • 1 can Rotel (well drained)
  • dash of cilantro
  • dash of cumin
  • dash of chilli powder
  • dash of parsley flakes
  • 1.5 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1/4 of onion diced
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

TIME SAVER: Stop by the store and pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken!

1. Spray skillet with non-stick spray. Dice chicken and onion and place in skillet. Cook chicken until done….set to the side.

2. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.enchilada 5

4. Whisk flour into butter and cook for 1 minute over heat.

5. Add broth and whisk together. Add in garlic, and spices.  Cook over heat until it’s thick and bubbles.

6. While that’s cooking and getting bubbly – combine chicken (if you cooked it, then finely chop it before this step), Rotel, and 1ish cup of cheese. We always add more cheese than the recipe calls for. =-)

7. Take sauce off heat and let it start cooling off a bit.enchilada 6

8. Fill tortillas with the mixture above and roll each one and place them seam down in a greased 9×13 pan.

9 Whisk sour cream and chilies into the sauce. (be careful it’s not too hot or the sour cream will curdle).

10. Pour over enchiladas.

11. Bake in oven for 20 minutes then take out and add the rest of the cheese. Bake an additional 5ish minutes until nice and bubbly. Then broil until cheese browns just a little.

enchiladas 2ENJOY!

Taco Soup

This is probably my favorite thing to eat (PERIOD!). Seriously when asked what I want for my “birthday dinner” I usually request Taco Soup! One good thing about this recipe is that it makes a TON! I use the biggest pot I have for and it is usually filled to the top. After cooked, I pour this into several bowls and jars of different sizes. I refrigerate what we want to eat for a few days and the rest, I label and freeze. You can take a bowl/jar out in the morning and it will be thawed out in time to heat up for super that night!

What You Need:

2 lbs of ground chuck (can substitute ground turkey or a mix of beef & turkey)

2-3 onions (diced)

2 cans pinto beans (no salt or low sodium)

2 cans ranch style beans

2 cans corn (we use a 16oz bag of frozen corn – less preservatives & sodium)

2 cans rotel

3 cans stewed tomatoes (no salt added)

2 large cans tomato sauce (no salt added)

3 packages of taco seasoning (or use your homemade taco seasoning – click here for the recipe)

3 packages of ranch dressing mix

1 med size jar of mild picante sauce

1 can of water

Optional Ingredients for Toppings: Fritos (our favorite), shredded cheese, sour cream, tortillas

Brown meat and onions together; drain well.

Meanwhile in a LARGE pot, add ingredients and once meat is drained add it as well. I usually let it simmer for 30 mins or so to let everything “marry” together.

A few notes:

~ If using homemade taco seasoning or ranch dressing mix start with 3 TBSP – then after it simmers, taste the soup. If it’s not spicy enough add more. If it’s too spicy add water. Always remember you can add more spices but you can’t take them out!!

~ If the soup seems to thick, add a little water until it’s at the desired consistency.

~ To divide the soup -get a bunch of bowls and/or jars and fill them with soup. For the ones going into the freezer make sure to leave room at the tops of the bowls/jar for the soup to expand while it’s freezing. I usually dish all the bowls/jars up and then set my timer for 30 mins to allow them time to cool off. Once they have cooled, they are ready to store in the fridge or freezer.

This is such a great recipe and one that is loved by my family. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!