Blog Archives

Sloppy Joes ~ Freezer and/or Camp Meal

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Want to know something… I LOVE sloppy joes! I don’t know what it is about them, but there is something so comforting and hearty and delicious about the beefy, saucy, yummy meat…. Whether you toast a roll or serve them on super soft hamburger buns (our favorite way)… I can never pass one up!

These are great with tator tots, fries or chips and/or sliced up fresh fruit AND we always like fresh veggies as a side for these sloppy joes!

This is a tried and true “gramma” recipe so you know it’s good…. Each batch makes about 6+ decent sandwiches so I often double the recipe so I can freeze half for a quick easy meal another night. This recipe is perfect for heating in the crock for a few hours and is always a favorite to come home to after a game night!

Also a favorite “CAMP” meal because the crock can sit and sammies can be made as wanted!

• As with many of “MY” recipes – this is a variation of a cook book recipe found online… Also, as usual, I tripled the original recipe and then cut in ½… because 1 lb of burger just can’t feed my brood – but a pound and a ½ is perfect!

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SLOPPY JOES –

1 and ½ lbs. ground beef
¾ cup diced onion
¾ cup diced green pepper
½ cup water
1 and ½ cups Ketchup
1 TBS beef bouillon
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS brown sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp mustard

Dice your peppers and onions… as big or as little as you want… feel free to throw other diced veggies in too – sometimes I add zucchini and/or squash and even carrots if I have some extra… I just like the ratio of 1.5 cups diced veggies to 1.5 lbs ground beef and the veggie mix has to include peppers and onions for the flavor!

Brown the beef with the peppers and onions… drain off the fat.

Add the water, ketchup, beef bouillon, Worcestershire, brown sugar and mustard – mix well.

(FREEZE to use later – thaw overnight)

Heat in Frying pan – then once hot – simmer for 20 minutes… or heat in a crock for a few hours!

Serve on buns – either crispy toasted or super soft…. No in between! ENJOY!!!!

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Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Another week down… HOW ARE YOU?? Even amongst a crazy busy weekend, I still managed to make a few treats and to prep a few meals for the week… Biggest hit this weekend was my Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries! I am still fine tuning the presentation and may play with the delicious center but I basically made a chocolate cheesecake filling from melted chocolate chips (with a bit of butter) and cream cheese and sugar and then filled some hollowed out strawberries. Easy, delicious and a huge hit with kids and adults alike!

cookie tray

I also made a cookie platter featuring my famous “Peanut Butter No-Bakes” (HERE) and the MONSTER COOKIES that I will share the recipe of this week…. Just say finding peanut butter M&Ms was a wonderful surprise!!

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Today, after taking my oldest shoe shopping – OMG – who knew the 14 year BOY would be so much trouble/drama… although we really did have some GREAT quality time together which does not happen near enough because he is a 14 year old boy! Back home, I started by making a batch of “SAUCE” (HERE) and then we grilled a bunch of chicken breast and dinner was BBQ chicken (grilled with garlic powder and season salt – then basted with a honey BBQ sauce) and a large salad. We had a rousing game of whiffle ball and Nestle Drumsticks for dessert! WHY does the weekend ever have to end??? Wasn’t it just Friday?? It was like a Countrytime Commercial kind of afternoon/evening!

Also noting that after not being able to put my pre-grilled chicken away tonight because my fridge is too full and thereby cleaning out all the previous leftovers and having a sink full of dirty dishes at 11 pm… I realize I either cook too much or too often and we need to be better about using what we have… anyone else have this problem? Such a waste – UGH!!!

So – our week ahead entails a softball party, week long football camp, baseball practices, 1 game, a year end – and FINAL- Girl Scout party, and then for me, a lunch with some amazing blogging buddies! Needless to say the food needs to be ready and easy!

So this week I pulled a couple freezer meals and with the extra grilled chicken and the premade “sauce”, our weekly dinners include:

  • Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry (using the grilled chicken we premade, a bag of stir fry veggies and a bottle of stir fry sauce…. Easy, quick and YUMMMM)

 

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs (SSSHHHH – I bought a big bag of frozen meatballs…. I am POSITIVE the convenience will be worth it here!)

 

  • Balsamic Pork Roast – a freezer meal, perfect for the crockpot

 

  • Dorito Taco Salad – just a make your own taco on top of doritos (taco meat already premade)

Angel Chicken - MY Kicken' Chicken!!

 

So – what are you eating this week? DO TELL!!!

 

BOURBAN Chicken… in a Bourban Bowl, from a FREEZER MEAL!

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So I am venturing through some ‘hoarded’ recipes… I want to develop a list of PERFECT FOR THE GRILL (but can be cooked many other ways) freezer meals for a summer MEAL APEAL workshop. Last weekend I played with this BOURBAN marinade and also THIS – CHICKEN SOUVLAKI and TZATZIKI SAUCE (HERE) recipe.

I love days when I can just mess around in my kitchen – and they are so few and far between right now… It makes me wonder why I can’t find the perfect job where all I do is shop for groceries and prepare meals for people (with NO clean up) AND to be paid BIG bucks to do so…. Is that too much to ask??

Well at Chez Kelsey, I sometimes get paid in love and kisses – after all I do have 2 doggies that appreciate my skills!! My husband loves all these great dishes but he would be happy with a bologna sandwich and these kids of mine…. They’re all like – aww Mom, can’t we have cereal?!! They just don’t know how lucky they are – oh but I tell them… EVERY SINGLE DAY!!

Seriously though – first the SOUVLAKI (HERE) then this BOURBAN CHICKEN…. Oh me oh my…. BOTH are absolutely AMAZING and have risen to the very top of my recipe file! Both are awesome because you can essentially dump all the ingredients into/onto the chicken and either throw it in the freezer for later, or make it right then.

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Here is the Bourbon marinade – I used on 2.5 lbs of chicken breast:

 

1 small onion, chopped

1 c honey

½ c soy sauce

¼ c ketchup

1 TBS veg oil

1 tsp minced garlic

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ c Bourbon – optional

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So easy… dump everything on the chicken and then you can grill it, or crockpot it or even throw it in a skillet with some flour to thicken… I chose the skillet and the thickening… then served over mixed stir fry veggies and rice…

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ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!!

Tasty Tuesday ~ THE Orange Chicken

Orange

THE Orange Chicken

We are still laughing over the fact that I became so obsessed with making a delicious Orange Chicken that I pulled out my tri-crock and actually made 3 different sauce combos at one time to see which we preferred… as we tasted and discussed the sauces we realized that no one in my family had ever actually had Orange Chicken so we are not even sure what it is supposed to taste like… but we did make a variation of sauce that was so refreshing, a bit tangy, a bit sweet and A LOT delicious – and we all agreed and couldn’t wait to make it a meal!

3 crock

HERE it is… throw it all in the crock pot, or in a freezer bag to cook later.

I cooked mine in the crock on low for about 6 hours… then I actually threw it all in a skillet and ‘stir fried’ it for a few minutes to get the sauce to thicken… an unnecessary step but made for some amazing carrots I’ll tell you!

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The more chicken you use, obviously the more you could feed….

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We served this over rice… SCRUMPTIOUS!!!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 lbs Chicken, Large (or bite) size chunks
  • 2 cups carrots (I used 1 bag)
  • 2 Cup diced (large chunk) peppers
  • 2 TBSP minced Garlic
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Orange Juice (prepared – not concentrate)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • PINCH of Red Pepper Flakes

Orange

 

Kicken’ Chicken ~ My version of ANGEL Chicken

Angel Chicken - MY Kicken' Chicken!!

Kick’en Chicken (Slow Cooker Angel Chicken)

Okay I started with your standard Angel Chicken recipe… it was really kind of bland – even for me… I am learning to love the red pepper flakes and garlic powder, but that still wasn’t enough… AND my sauce was so thick that even with my addition of milk, it still needed something… BAM (I said to myself – on the cooking show in my head)…. ZESTY Italian Dressing!! The ZESTY took it right where it needed to be… creating a sauce I could have drank (drunk? – maybe with some VODKA… OMG – why didn’t I try that??) right from the pot and saved myself the carbs of the pasta… but I used Angel hair pasta and there is no room for carbs in those tiny, thin noodles – right? RIGHT??!!

So at this point – starting with the original recipe and all of my additions, I ended up with enough sauce for 4 complete meals… I quickly bagged up chicken breasts in 2lb bags and added 2 heaping cups of sauce to each one… NICE – 3 extra freezer meals ready to go!

Then with pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it may be… GAWD why aren’t a poet??) I “fixed” the recipe to make it ‘normal’ meal size. AND I renamed the recipe – because now it is a “KICKED UP” version of Angel Chicken!

BUT – This is still a BIG meal – using 4lbs (or 1 big pack of breasts) so either serve it for company, or know you will have left-overs, or plan and set aside ½ the chicken making yourself a complete freezer meal – ready to go for another day! *Truthfully you could ½ all the ingredients, but who wants a ½ packet of dressing or ½ can of soup left laying around…

 

Here are the Ingredients ~

  • 1/4 cup Butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 packet Italian Dressing Mix Powder (0.7 ounces each)
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth (I made mine with a bouillon cube)
  • 1 cans golden mushroom soup
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 brick)
  • 1/2 Bottle ZESTY Italian Dressing
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBSP Red Pepper Flakes

 

  • 4 lbs (+) chicken breast

 

  • 16 ounce box angel hair pasta (or 2 if you are making this all now, or another box for later when you pull the freezer meal out) Some have even mentioned preferring RICE

Angel Chicken

Instructions ~

 

  • Okay – if you are making all of the chicken at once, simply place the chicken (I cut my breasts in ½ width wise then again length wise… creating ‘chicken strips’) in your crockpot.

(If you are making 1 meal now and 1 for the freezer, place ½ the chicken in the crock and ½ in a freezer bag… If you are spontaneous or just CRAZY like me, you can then eyeball all of the sauce ingredients and place ½ of each on each chicken meal… or you can mix the sauce ingredients all in a bowl and then put ½ on each… your call… your circus! – Oh wait, that’s a whole ‘nother show in my head!!)

Angel Chicken Freezer Meal

  • Add all of the sauce ingredients on top of the chicken, give it a good stir…
  • Turn crock pot on low for 6-8 hours
  • When ready for dinner, prepare the pasta according to box, stir the chicken mixture again – shredding up some of the larger chunks if you prefer…. And serve it over a heaping plate of pasta!

 

SERIOUSLY – this may have become my new all-time favorite meal… give it a try!!

 

 

 

Chicken Fried Rice

chicken fried rice

Hearty, delicious and QUICK – now this is a keeper!!

I was thinking of a meal… that would be resemble “comfort food”… I could make it with ingredients on hand, and it would be QUICK and DELICIOUS!

I always have cooked – cubed chicken, cooked rice and veggies on hand, so after punching my ingredients into good ole’ google and perusing a few recipes; my own CHICKEN FRIED RICE was created!

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 TBS oil (Sesame is best for this, but any will do)

1 regular onion – diced

1 TBS minced garlic

3 eggs – scrambled

3 cups vegetables (I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables)

2 cups of cooked, cubed chicken

4 cups of cooked rice

1 cup STIR FRY sauce

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil… then fry the onion until translucent and add the garlic.
  • Add the eggs to the onion and scramble quickly.
  • Add vegetables and toss until cooked through and tender.
  • Add chicken, stirring to combine and then rice.
  • Continue stirring, until all is heated though, and add stir fry sauce – tossing to coat.

 

BONUS – the leftovers freeze beautifully and can be heated through on stovetop or in the micro.!!

Making “SAUCE” 101

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Looking back through and ‘attempting’ to organize my notes from this week, I realize I talk a lot about “making sauce” and thankfully with no true ITALIAN in my blood there will be no relatives rolling over in their grave as I share this recipe…  My SECRET Sauce!

MAKING SAUCE 101

INGREDIENTS:

  •          4 jars (oh yes – premade, bought in the store, jars) of sauce…  we really LOVE the Rinaldi!  But any ole’ sauce will do!
  •          1 can stewed tomatoes – or equivalent frozen if you were “homemaker-y” once and actually stewed and froze some tomatoes this summer… YEAH me!!
  •          1 tsp. red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
  •          1/2 cup sugar – we prefer brown sugar
  •          1 lb. ground beef
  •          1 lb. ground sausage – we like the maple flavored
  •          1 small onion
  •          1 green pepper
  •          1 tsp. garlic
  •          2 TBSP. butter

 

DIRECTIONS:

Dice your onion and pepper, then fry them in the butter until limp and add garlic.

Add both meats to the pan and continue frying until cooked through.

Drain meat mixture on paper towels and return all to a large pot.   Add tomatoes and stir through.  Pour all 4 jars of sauce in, rinsing jars with water and adding approximately 1 cup of water (1/4 cup in each jar) to mix.

Sprinkle with sugar and red pepper flakes.  Stir often – and all the way to the bottom, while heating on high, until very hot – just starting to boil, then turn on low to simmer…all day!  Make sure you keep stirring it.  * You can also do this final step in a crock pot!

You have to taste the sauce often and decide what you want to add… a little more heat?  A little more sweet?  Perhaps some salt?  Maybe malt??  MALT – ?? LOL – I’m just kidding – checking to make sure you were still paying attention!!  Another pat of butter?  Remember to thank your Mother!  On a roll here – I know!!

Anyhow – that’s it… my “homemade” sauce…  I usually make it on a day we need it for a meal…  plain spaghetti, maybe some riggies… a lasagna or raviolis… throw in THESE (click HERE) delicious meatballs, or make a goulash.  You can use it as a base for soups, stews or chilis… pizza sauce – anything!  There is more than enough to eat well, make extra and freeze tons!

So tell me… what are your SAUCE secrets??