Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer from *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

Gluten-free and game day parties? Oof. Not fun, friends, not fun at all! I have learned a lot about social engagements like this though and know the best defense to any social gathering is to carry around my own dishes and drinks so I never go hungry or thirsty again. You will rarely see this girl without her own food!

Game day food is delightfully rich and comforting which is why I love it so darn much.  Today I wanted to create an appetizer that echoed those feelings of comfort and what could be more comforting than a pile of homemade meatballs? This meatball sub appetizer is gluten-free, but I promise you would never know it. It’s got everything I love in a meatball sub simply minus the bread.

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer from

I’ve made meatballs a lot over the years (here is one of our favorite dinner dishes that we created together using my standard meatball recipe), but this was my first time trying to create a meatball without the addition of breadcrumbs or panko. With a blend of turkey sausage and ground turkey, I then mixed in fresh parsley, parmesan cheese, a little tomato sauce, and two eggs to bind it all together. I have a cookie dough scoop that I used to make sure all the meatballs were roughly the same size (and so they would fit on my toothpick).

These meatballs are a little more delicate without the breadcrumb binder so I baked them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet so that they would lift easily and not fall apart. Not only does this help the meatball hold its shape, but it also helps cut down your kitchen clean-up time. I would call that a game day win!

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer from

Canned crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt, and a dash of sugar yield a vibrant sauce to nestle this appetizer in. I have tried a million different brands of canned crushed tomatoes over the years and I swear by the Great Value brand ones at Walmart. I don’t know why, but it always yields the best pizza sauce for me! I try not to use anything else.

What’s Your Favorite Game Time Recipe?

Are you feeling inspired? Do you have an incredible dish that everyone looks forward to on game days? Walmart happens to be running a GameTime Recipe contest and would love for you to post a photo of your favorite game time recipe on Instagram or Twitter using #WalmartMVPContest. By doing this, you will be entered to win a trip to LA to go to the YouTube studios to have a pre-Superbowl party and create content with some big YouTube stars. How cool is that? Read here for all the official rules! Need some inspiration? Check out all of the great GameTime Recipes that have been posted!
In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this gluten-free game time creation I have created for you!
Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer from

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer from

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer from

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Game Day Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 33 meatballs
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound Italian turkey sausage
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 packages baby mozzarella balls (over in the specialty cheese cooler by the deli)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • toothpicks
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the ground turkey, parsley, eggs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt & pepper, and tomato sauce. Stir gently to combine.
  2. Make your meatballs the standard size and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes (this size took 12 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, in a pot heat olive oil and add your minced garlic, cooking for just one minute.
  5. Add your crushed tomatoes, the remainder of your small can of tomato sauce, sugar, and salt. Allow this to simmer for ten minutes.
  6. Once the meatballs are done, ladle the sauce into a deep dish or bowl. Skewer one mozzarella ball and one meatball on a toothpick and nestle in the sauce. Serve hot.

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week from

If I had to point a finger at where I began to realize the beauty in make-ahead meals, I would point it to my bag of chicken I cook each week for our family.  This small kitchen tip truly takes just a few moments of effort to have a container full of prepared meat for sandwiches, wraps, or to be eaten on it’s own with veggies and fruit to round out the meal. The best part is that with my easy technique, you can prepare chicken in bulk for your week right from it’s frozen state.

For our family of four, I prepare three pounds of chicken each week (one frozen bag of chicken breasts from ALDI, to be exact!) and we usually plow through these three pounds by Wednesday or Thursday of the week. I never have any leftover because it is my go-to for making wraps for my husband to take for his lunch and it is the go-to for my kid’s busy activity nights. I started making a habit of taking the chicken out first when I brought in my groceries and getting it roasting as I put the rest of the food away. For five minutes of prep work, it has saved us at least a hundred bucks a month if I had went with my impulse to just run out and grab something at Panera instead of preparing a meal at home.

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week from

My secret ingredient (and this is no endorsement- just a HUGE fan!) is this Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning mix. The picture is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. I found it in the spice aisle and it makes such a fantastic dry rub on the chicken that it tastes as good as anything you would get in a restaurant. Since it is salt-free, I layer on the salt just the way I like and this helps to enhance the flavor of the chicken.

Now that you know the secret, I encourage you to try this technique as your first baby step towards the make-ahead meal life.

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week from Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
An easy way to prepare frozen chicken in bulk for salads, wraps, and as the main attraction for your family's week.
  • 3 pounds frozen chicken breasts
  • Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Seasoning
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven for 375 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the frozen chicken breasts out over one or two cookie sheets.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken breasts and then sprinkle liberally with the seasoning mix, kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Allow the chicken to rest ten to fifteen minutes (to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat). Dice or shred for your recipes for the week.


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Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Have you tried making oatmeal in your slow cooker overnight? We have made it many times since discovering this foolproof technique, and adding apples is such a good addition! I thought this would be a perfect recipe to publish again (originally from October 2013) for you to go along with our M Challenge Focus on Better Mornings – what could be better than waking up to breakfast all ready to go?

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from

Apple season is one of my favorite produce seasons and one of my favorite snacks. Today I am sharing a recipe for slow cooked honeycrisp apple oatmeal that you are going to love for a warm and satisfying breakfast on chilly fall mornings.  The best part about all of this though, is my incredible tip for getting creamy oats that won’t burn or stick to your slow cooker.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from

While shopping for apples at Walmart, I noticed these tags on each bin of apples that share exactly what each variety of apple is perfect for- whether it be salads, baking, or just eaten fresh. I found it really helpful when choosing which apples to use in my recipes and it can be a great way to experiment with a new variety of apple you haven’t tried before.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from

Often when it comes to baking, I reach for a Granny Smith apple. When researching different varieties of apples that are best to bake with, I discovered that the Honeycrisp Apple and the McIntosh apple were both great varieties to choose when baking. I decided to put the Honeycrisp Apple to work in an overnight oatmeal recipe.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from admit that I have never had good success with overnight oats. The oats were usually burnt or overcooked and I always had a hard time getting my slow cooker clean after a batch.

That is why I am so excited to share with you this easy technique to create a double boiler right in your slow cooker:

  • Find a oven-proof dish that you can place inside of your slow cooker and spray it well with a little cooking spray.
  • Place your oatmeal ingredients right inside of the the dish and then, using a liquid measuring cup, pour water around the dish to create a water bath. It doesn’t need to be really full, just an inch or so.
  • Set your slow cooker to LOW and you will have perfectly creamy oatmeal with no burnt spots every single time.

I can’t wait for you to try this recipe in your kitchen!

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This recipe can be personalized according to your family's dietary needs or what variety of apple is on sale at the grocery store. I loved preparing this one with almond milk! Try my technique for creating your own double-boiler to get a creamier oatmeal!
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (NO substitutions)
  • 3½ cups milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the steel cut oats, milk, honeycrisp apple, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract into a slow cooker, and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.
  2. Cover the cooker, set to Low, and allow to cook 6 to 7 hours (for firm oats) or 8 hours (for softer texture).

Looking for more apple recipes? Try my Baked Apple Pie Doughnuts, my oh-so-famous Cheddar Apple Pie Dip,  add some googly eyes to them for a fun Halloween treat, or try these Simply Delicious Apple Pork Chops for an easy weeknight meal!


The MomAdvice Make Ahead (Week 2)

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The MomAdvice Make Ahead Meal Ideas

The first week of my make-ahead feasting went so well that we didn’t even eat out once last week despite a grueling activity schedule! I will be sharing make-ahead tutorials as I have lots of techniques to share with you about how we are accomplishing our make-ahead feasts! Today you can catch my tips for hard boiled eggs in the oven!

Since we have another crazy week (who doesn’t it?), I wanted to share what is in our fridge this week.  I hope this can help inspire you for making ahead a few dishes for your week too.

The MomAdvice Make-Ahead

Fresh Berries (Strawberries & Blueberries)

Chopped Broccoli (to be made into this easy Microwave Lemon Broccoli  for a side)

2 Pounds Taco Meat

4 Cups Brown Rice (for taco bowls)

Chopped Lettuce (for tacos/taco bowls)

2 Italian Meatloaves (Prepared minus the breadcrumbs to make it gluten free. I popped one in the freezer for another week!)

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken (I cooked the chicken and have the sauce set aside in a separate container for warming)

3 pounds Roasted Chicken, sliced (for wraps & salads this week)

2 dozen Hard-Boiled Eggs Prepared in the Oven

Chopped Carrots & Celery (I store these in water)

Green Smoothie Packets (I use this recipe and froze the strawberries, bananas, and spinach in packets for the morning)

The MomAdvice Make Ahead Meal Ideas

No more cooking for this girl ALL WEEK- YAY!! Happy Monday, friends!! xo

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Bake Hard Boiled Eggs

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Bake Hard Boiled Eggs from

Have you ever prepared hard boiled eggs in the oven? I had seen the tutorials floating around Pinterest, but we never really ate hard boiled eggs in our house.  Recently though, my daughter and I have both discovered how much we love these  for an afternoon snack or for a quick lunch with chopped veggies so I thought I would prepare these for our week.

It seems kind of crazy to bake your eggs, but this is a great way to make a lot of eggs for your week. This week I made two dozen since we went through a single dozen so quickly in our house. Although egg prices are high right now, this is still a really affordable snack and a great source of protein.

Here is the thing, results seem to vary on success with baking your hard boiled eggs in the oven and it’s a good idea to give these a test run in your oven with just a couple of eggs rather than wasting an entire dozen. 

What Can Improve My Experience Baking Hard Boiled Eggs?

Get an Oven Thermometer- I am telling you that one of the best gadgets you can buy if you are not getting consistently good results with baking in your oven is an inexpensive oven thermometer. I have had ovens in homes that were fifty degrees off or more and I could have saved myself a lot of tears and burnt dishes if I would have known that this cheap little gadget could improve the results in my cooking in a dramatic way.

Try Different Temperatures- Once you know that your oven temperature is correct (or how to gauge it if isn’t) try baking the eggs at 325 degrees first. If your eggs are not to your liking, increase the temperature to 350 degrees.

Stop the Brown Spots- Brown spots can develop on your egg from resting in the muffin tins, particularly with a dark muffin tin like the one I am showing in this picture. Although the spots don’t really bug me, you can prevent them by using a silicone muffin pan, baking in a mini muffin tin, or lining your muffin tin with liners, tin foil, or I have even heard that cotton pads/balls can offer a buffer between your egg and the bottom of the pan. Alton Brown actually recommends placing the eggs directly on your oven racks and skipping the muffin tin altogether. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that one!

Make Peeling Easier- Fresh eggs can actually be more difficult to peel, as we have discovered,  so it’s best to use older eggs for an easier peeling process (one week or more old).

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Bake Hard Boiled Eggs from

How Should I Store My Eggs?

Once you have your week’s worth of eggs, how the heck do you store them? I read a lot of advice on this one when we prepared our eggs! Ideally, you want to keep these in their shell since it acts a barrier to bacteria and it helps them last longer too. Within the shell, you can eat these safely for up to seven days (although they never last that long in our house!!).  Peeled hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator in a bowl of cold water to cover for about five days (change the water daily)  or in a sealed container without water (cover the eggs with damp paper towels) for the same length of time.

We store ours in their shell since I am worried about the bacteria factor!

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Bake Hard Boiled Eggs from

Bake Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
A quick method for big-batch make-ahead preparation of hard boiled eggs. Be sure to read the post for additional tips for success.
  • 1 dozen eggs (or more!)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Put 1 egg in each of 12 muffin cups.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Plunge baked eggs in a large bowl filled with ice water until cooled completely, about 10 minutes.


 *This post contains affiliate links! I only recommend what I love! xo

Have you tried this method before? Any tips or tricks that have worked for you

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Friday, September 11th, 2015

In honor of our Focus on Better Mornings M Challenge, I’m republishing one of our favorite breakfasts that helps our mornings run smoother – easy burritos that can be pulled from the freezer whenever you need them. It doesn’t hurt that they’re delicious and customizable, too!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Back-to-School requires a lot of planning and getting back on track with a healthy breakfast is one thing I want to work on this year. Today I wanted to show you a recipe for Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos that can be made ahead and also created for your gluten-free or dairy-free family members.  One batch of these freezer breakfast burritos can yield 15-18 burritos, depending on how you stuff  ‘em, and they are filled with everything your kids need to start their day on the right foot. I am partnering with Walmart on this back-to-school idea today so you can snag all the supplies you need right at their store.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

What I love about these burritos is that they are not only filled with fresh whole foods, but also that they are inexpensive to create. With kitchen staples like eggs, cheese, potatoes, and tortillas, it is likely you already have a few things on hand for this back-to-school breakfast. Create an assembly line of ingredients in the kitchen and have your kids jump in on the fun.

The potatoes are tossed in paprika and garlic powder for a tasty topping to the eggs. I love a little Italian turkey sausage, red peppers, and cheddar or colby cheese for these burritos. You can create your own flavor combinations or consider clearing out items from the fridge and making a unique combination all your own.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Be careful to not overstuff the burritos so they can be wrapped easily and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to place in the freezer until frozen. Once these are frozen you can tuck them in a freezer bag and just grab them when you need them. Do you know how to wrap a burrito?  If not, I love this tutorial for perfectly wrapped breakfast burritos!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

With one kid in middle school (GASP!) and a daughter who prefers not to eat in the morning, I am hoping that these burritos will be the perfect way to get them motivated to eat a healthy breakfast. Just grab one from the freezer and wrap it in a dampened paper towel  for the microwave for three minutes (flip it halfway through). Wrap in foil and let them eat them on the way to the bus or in route to school.  These also make a great after school snack,  after sports activities, or an impromptu dinner with their pals while doing homework.

To make them dairy-free substitute the cream with almond milk (which is what we did) and add a vegan cheese to them or leave them cheeseless. For a gluten-free burritos, Walmart offers this option in their stores.

We hope you love this delicious breakfast as much as we did. We have already started raiding our make-ahead breakfast burritos for quick lunches this week. I am shocked how beautifully these reheat and taste. There are no excuses why you can’t tackle a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check out my recipe for Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal for another fun breakfast treat!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
A make-ahead breakfast burrito that you can tuck in your freezer for a healthy breakfast, snack or meal.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream (or milk substitute)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • ½ pound cheese of your choice (or vegan cheese)
  • 18 tortillas, soft-taco size (8-inch), whole-wheat, flour, or gluten-free tortillas
  1. To roast potatoes, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle diced potatoes with oil and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Toss the potatoes together to evenly coat in oil and seasonings, and spread out into a single layer on the parchment. Roast until browned on the bottom and tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Brown your sausage. Once it is cooked through, set aside in a large bowl, leaving about a 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan for the eggs.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream (or milk substitute) and pour into the sausage skillet. Cook over medium heat until just set, stirring as needed. season with salt and pepper and stir to combine, and transfer to the bowl with sausage.
  4. In the same skillet, cook your red peppers over medium heat until fragrant and softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Make an assembly line- tortilla, cheese, followed by a small handful of potatoes and a scoop of the egg/sausage mixture. Roll the tortilla up.
  6. For freezing, place burritos on a wax- or parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until firm, at least an hour. Transfer to large freezer bags and keep frozen for up to one month.
  7. For reheating, place a frozen burrito in a dampened paper towel and microwave for three minutes, turning halfway through.

Recipe Adapted From: Dinners For Winners


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5 Quick Fix Dinner Ideas with Jessica Fisher

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Jessica Fisher is the force behind both Life As Mom and Good Cheap Eats, where she shares budget-friendly, family-centered recipes and ideas. She has been a friend of mine for many years and I so admire all the work she does to create family meals on a budget! I’m so excited to have her contribute to our Meal Planning M Challenge with some great dinner ideas straight from her new cookbook!

5 Quick Fix Dinner Ideas from Jessica Fisher on

What to Do When You Don’t Know What’s for Dinner?

It’s happened to all of us: 5 pm rolls around, tummies start to rumble, and you find yourself staring into the vast cavern of your refrigerator, wondering what’s for dinner. Your impulse might be to say, “There’s nothing to eat. Let’s go out.”

For most of us, this isn’t entirely true. There’s nothing easy to make to eat, but there’s probably actual food in the house. So, what do you do? Do you give in to the impulse and pay for overpriced burgers and fries? Or do you exert yourself, as Jane Austen would say, and cook something up?

I’m going to make the case for the latter and go so far as to say, “Suck it up, Buttercup. You can do this in 30 minutes or less.”

Dinner doesn’t have to be complicated — or longer than your favorite TV show. If Agent Coulson and his team can catch the bad guys and acquire major super powers in 60 minutes, you can make dinner in half that time.

Consider these 5 quick fix dinner ideas that taste great and won’t break the bank:

Beans and rice – A rice cooker can produce perfect rice in 20 minutes. Opening a couple cans of beans, shredding cheese, and mixing up some salsa might take you another ten. Between the two of you, you’ve got the makings for a great supper that’s filling as well as economical. This Chicken-Cilantro mixture will be the piece de resistance.

Lotsa pasta – Pasta is the go-to choice at my house. My kids can smell boiling noodles from a mile away. They’d be satisfied with butter and parmesan, but in just a few minutes, I can whip up a broccoli cream sauce that they gobble down with gusto.

French Bread Pizza from Good Cheap Eats

Piece’a pizza – It might take an hour or two to proof traditional pizza dough, but we can have a great pizza dinner without the wait. Using French bread, pita bread, lavash, or tortillas for the base, I can create custom pies in just a few minutes.

Wrap it up – Keep tortillas on hand for quick sandwiches and burritos. Frozen chicken tenders cook quickly; just pull as many as you need from the bag. Throw on some shredded cheese and vegetables, and drizzle with your favorite sauces. Or go meatless with something like these Green Chile Burritos.

Cobb Salad from Good Cheap Eats

Salad’s on – I’ve got an 11-year old boy who will eat Caesar Salad until the cows come home. If I keep those ingredients on hand, I’ve always got a dinner he loves. Explore the world of salads and find those that really make your heart happy. Cobb? Tostada? Pasta? Cole slaw? Use those as your go-to’s, stocking those ingredients as pantry staples. Add a cooked meat for the carnivores in your midst. You’ll eat fresh in no time at all.

Need more inspiration for a quick fix?

Good Cheap Eats by Jessica Fisher

I spent a year researching how to make dinner quick, easy, and healthy. My findings are stuffed into Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes (or Less!).

My new cookbook provides over 200 recipes that feature real food, real quick. With over 100 time-saving tips, you’ll eat for a day (or a month), as well as learn how to adapt your own kitchen skills to economizing time and money.

Dinner time doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or stressful. You’ve got the skills; you just need to know how to use them to your advantage. You can totally do this!

What’s YOUR favorite quick fix?


*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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21 Easy Slow Cooker Meals

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Slow cooker meals are always a cornerstone of our family’s meal plans since it’s so convenient to have dinner cooking while you’re away (or breakfast cooking while you sleep!). Which makes it perfect to republish this article full of slow cooker meal ideas for our Focus on Meal Planning M Challenge. I hope you enjoy seeing these recipes again!

21 Easy Slow Cooker Meals from

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to my slow cooker! And so I’m sharing 21 of our favorite slow-cooker meal recipes that you can create and enjoy all month long. These recipes are a few of our tried and trues over the years on MomAdvice and will make your week go oh-so-much smoother!

I believe that the slow cooker can be every mother’s (or father’s!) best friend. What could be easier than throwing in a few ingredients, plugging it in, and then going about your day, without the worries of needing to figure out what everyone is going to eat for dinner?

Ninja Cooker

Truth be told, I have moved up in the slow cooking world and am now madly in love with my Ninja Cooker. I use it almost daily and love that I don’t have to dirty my stove or skillets to brown my meat anymore. I would definitely add that one to your next holiday wish list! You can read more of my thoughts on that over here.

In honor of this kitchen gadget, I have put together a month’s worth of meals using your slow cooker. Each of these meals will have a recipe and tips for making your dinner hour go more smoothly. Keep in mind that many of the recipes accommodate six to eight people so you may be able to cover (at least) a month’s worth of meals.

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Wings


Side Ideas- Fresh veggies & blue cheese dressing for dipping, steamed broccoli, and fresh fruit.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Side Ideas- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins & Salad

 Sticky Chicken Recipe

1 tbsp salt

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp dried oregano leaves

2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic salt

3 lb roasting chicken

1 cup chopped onion

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken and onion. Rub herb mixture inside and outside of chicken. Place in food storage bag; seal bag. Refrigerate overnight. Remove chicken from bag; stuff with onion. Place in crockpot on low 6-8 hours; high 2-4 hours. Chicken juices should run clear and chicken reaches 180*. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Side Ideas- Mashed Potatoes & Corn

Pot Roast Italiano

Pot Roast Italiano


Side Ideas- Roasted Green Beans & Orzo Pasta
Tortellini & Turkey Divine

 Tortellini & Turkey Divine

1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage turkey

2 clove garlic– minced

2 small onions– chopped

2 cans whole peeled tomatoes- 16 ounce cans

1 1/4 cups dry red wine

5 cups beef broth

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 zucchini- sliced

1 green bell pepper- chopped

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 package cheese-filled tortellini


In a large pot, cook sausage over medium heat until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Drain fat from pan, reserving 3 tablespoons. Cook garlic and onion in reserved fat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, wine, broth, basil, and oregano. Transfer to a slow cooker, and stir in sausage, zucchini, bell pepper, and parsley. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain water, and add pasta to the slow cooker. Simmer for a few minutes, and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Side Ideas- Salad & Fresh Fruit

Slow Cooked Italian Beef

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Side Ideas- Oven Fries & Apple Slices

Sloppy Joes

 Side Ideas- Tortilla Chips & Carrot Sticks

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

Side Ideas- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins & Fresh Fruit

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat – cubed

2.5 cups carrots

2.5 cups potatoes

1 cup celery

1 can diced tomatoes – with the juice poured in

1 can beef broth

1 cup water

1 tsp ground mustard

3 sprigs rosemary

Put beef in a zipper bag with a 1/4 cup of flour and toss to coat. Brown the meat in a skillet and place on the bottom of the crock pot. Coarsely chop vegetables and place on top of the meat. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes with juice, can of beef broth, water, and ground mustard. Place sprigs of rosemary on top and cook on high for four hours or on low for six to eight hours.

Side Ideas-  Make your own salad bar!

Slow Cooked Apple Oatmeal

Slow Cooked Honeycrisp Apple Oatmeal


Side Ideas-  Create your own oatmeal toppings bar and serve with green smoothies.

3-Ingredient Chicken Tacos

3-Ingredient Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 cup chicken broth

1 pound chicken breasts – boneless & skinless frozen chicken breasts

Dissolve taco seasoning into chicken broth. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour broth over them. Cook on LOW for 5 hours. With two forks, shred the chicken meat into bite-size pieces. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.

Side Ideas- Roasted Corn Salsa With Tortilla Chips

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

1 package Italian Turkey Sausage – mild

2 cans crushed tomatoes

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

½ cup beef broth

Brown the turkey sausage in a large skillet. Place cooked sausage in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour over the sausage all of the other ingredients, including any of your own Italian seasonings. Cook sauce on low for six hours or on high for three to four hours. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Side Ideas- Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad & Carrot Sticks

Mongolian Beef

 Mongolian Beef 


Note- to make this in your slow cooker, brown the beef and then heat all the ingredients together on LOW for four hours.

Side Ideas- Brown Rice & Steamed Broccoli

Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ Sandwiches


Side Ideas- Shoestring Oven Fries & Carrot Sticks

Taco Soup

1 pound ground turkey

1 can chili beans with liquid

1 can kidney beans with liquid

1 can whole kernel corn with liquid

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

2 cups water

1 package taco seasoning mix

In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain & set aside. Place the ground beef, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, & taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend and cook on Low setting for eight hours.

Side Ideas-  Roasted Corn Salsa With Tortilla Chips

Chicken Italiano

Chicken Italiano


Side Ideas- Spaghetti & a DIY Salad Bar

 Breakfast Casserole

Note- I recommend doing this one using this technique to prevent burning and even cooking.

1 pound turkey sausage – sweet or spicy

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

6 slices white bread – toasted and cut into cubes

8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Crumble sausage and cook thoroughly. Drain meat. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together evenly. Place the casserole in the fridge overnight. In the morning put in the slow cooker for four hours on high or six hours on low.

Side Ideas- Fresh Fruit & Grapefruit Halves

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken


Note to make this in your slow cooker, brown the chicken and then heat all the ingredients together on LOW for two-four hours.

Side Ideas- Brown Rice & Steamed Broccoli

Chicken Lasagna Florentine

2 cans cream of chicken soup – (10-3/4-oz) reduced-fat, reduced-sodium, undiluted

1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry (10 ounces)

9 oz chicken – diced cooked chicken (two small or one large boneless skinless chicken breast)

8 oz sour cream – low-fat

1 cup milk

2 oz grated parmesan – (1/2 cup)

1/3 cup onion – chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

9 uncooked lasagna noodles

1 cup mozzarella cheese – (4 oz) shredded part-skim

Combine first 10 ingredients in large bowl.

Spread about 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Add 3 uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking noodles in half as necessary to fit slow cooker. Spread one-third of chicken mixture over noodles, sprinkle with 1/3 cup mozzarella. Layer 3 more noodles, half of remaining chicken mixture, and 1/3 cup mozzarella. Top with remaining noodles and chicken mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.

Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting; cook 5 hours or until pasta is done.

Side Ideas- Roasted Green Beans & Grapes


Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

3 pound chicken – whole or pieces

1 tsp dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried rosemary

garlic cloves – minced

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup sherry wine or chicken broth

¼ cup lemon juice

Wash chicken; pat dry; season chicken generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle half of oregano, rosemary and garlic inside cavity of chicken; melt butter in frying pan and brown chicken; transfer to slow cooker or crockpot; sprinkle with remaining oregano, rosemary and garlic; add sherry to frying pan and stir to loosen brown bits; pour into slow cooker. Cover, cook on low for 7 hours; add lemon juice and cook 1 more hour (total of 8); transfer chicken to cutting board; skim fat from juices and serve over chicken.

Side Ideas- Have two slow cookers? Try our easy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes!

Feel free to share your favorite slow cooker recipes below! I’d love to add them to our list!

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16 Ideas for Quick Weeknight Dinners

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Originally published in 2011, this remains one of our site’s most-searched articles so I’ve updated it with a Pinterest-friendly header to go along with this month’s M Challenge Focus on Meal Planning. These dinner ideas are perfect for those busy school nights ahead!

16 Ideas for Quick Weeknight Dinners

The school year is upon us and along with that comes the chaos of planning what to make for dinner each night so I’m sharing 16 easy weeknight dinners that are perfect to share with your family around the dinner table. These can be made very quickly or can be thrown in your slow cooker for those busy nights full of activities after the school day has ended. I’m also including ideas for side dishes that are just as easy. They happen to be our family favorites and I know that they can be your family’s favorite too!

Don’t forget that you can use our free printable meal planner or use the menu planner in our Home Management Binder to get your dinners organized! 

1. Grilled Ground Beef Gyros 

Skip heading out to your local gyro joint and enjoy a gyro at home with this handy recipe. The toppings and sauce can be prepared the night before and keep a package of store-bought pitas in your freezer just for this easy weeknight meal. This one is ready in about twenty minutes. Serve this delicious dinner treat with baby carrots.

2. Rosemary Chicken

Rosemary Chicken is my go-to dish that can be made with a couple of ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. If you do not have fresh rosemary on hand, you can substitute with dried rosemary instead. This quick chicken dish makes for fantastic leftovers that you can put in tortilla wraps to send to school with your children or can make a fantastic addition to a delicious salad. Serve this easy and elegant chicken dish with a side of pesto rice and microwave lemon broccoli for a quick dinner that the whole family will love.

3. Salmon Patties

Even if you have never been a fan of salmon patties before, I believe this recipe can convert anyone over to this easy and frugal weeknight dish. These patties are filled with a little lemon zest within the patty and a baked potato to stretch the salmon The breadcrumb coating made with Italian breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan makes these taste like something served at a fancy seafood restaurant and a little squirt of fresh lemon juice turns boring cans of salmon into something spectacular!  Serve these wallet-friendly wonders with my easy perfect baked potato and lemon roasted green beans.

4. Perfectly Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork Sandwiches not only make the perfect slow cooker dish for busy weeknight activities, but they just so happen to make the world’s greatest leftover sandwiches for other nights too. This pulled pork can be simmering away in its root beer bath while you tackle all of the rest of the day’s activities. Serve these sandwiches on whole wheat buns with corn on the cob or a bag of frozen corn.

5. Chicken Italiano

Fewer dishes are loved more by me than this simple dish that can be created out of frozen chicken when you (whoops) forget to thaw your chicken for the evening’s meal or that can be popped in the slow cooker when your family feels swamped with activities. I love to serve this dish over spaghetti noodles or baked brown rice with a simple salad.

6. Baked Ziti With Turkey Meatballs

Entertaining your child’s entire football team? Have company coming on a school night? This is your dish because it is made with store-bought meatballs, can easily be doubled, and can be prepared the night before so it is ready to go. This isn’t your typical dried out ziti thanks to the addition of chicken broth to the sauce, which really coats the noodles well and adds a depth of flavor to the dish. Serve this with some easy Portuguese White Bread (made in your bread machine, of course) and a spinach salad.

7. Braised Balsamic Chicken

This braised balsamic chicken comes together in a mere twenty minutes, but tastes like it has been cooking all day long. The balsamic vinegar compliments the diced tomatoes perfectly and the addition of these spices makes this dish a true winner in our home.  Serve this braised balsamic chicken over angel hair pasta and with your favorite side salad.

8.  Skillet Penne & Sausage Supper

You want simple, easy, and less dishes? Skillet suppers are the way to go and this one is packed with veggies and flavor. This dish has all the ease of Hamburger Helper, but without the sodium and preservatives that you really don’t want your kids to be eating. Serve this simple supper with bowls of applesauce on the side and prop those feet up thanks to a night free from a kitchen full of dishes.

9. Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli

This is another night for embracing your vegetables and not embracing dishes. This Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli can easily be personalized with fresh diced tomatoes on top for the tomato lover’s in the family. To make this dish vegetarian, just omit the chicken and up the veggie quotient. With the sprinkle of tomatoes or a handful of sundried tomatoes and spinach, it could make this a veggie packed dish worth repeating. Serve this fun dish with your favorite fruit and slices of whole grain bread with butter.

10. Panko Crusted Tilapia Nuggets

While breading fish can be a bit labor intensive, this dish can easily be done in stages for quick assembly in the evening and is truly a dish that the whole family will love. These tilapia nuggets can replace your kid’s adoration for those fried chicken nuggets and offer a fun & healthy choice in their place. Serve the nuggets with lemon rice pilaf and steamed edamame. I love to make these sides in my rice cooker, for a fun meal that is ready in under thirty minutes.

11. Bow Ties With Tomatoes, Sausage, & Cream

This delicious dish is the one that I go to whenever we have unexpected company or when I am looking to make a dish that I can serve as an elegant lunch the next day. This dish restaurant-worthy and can easily be doubled when running a meal to someone else.   Once you try this one, I promise that it will go into your regular rotation forever. Serve this dish with lemon roasted green beans.

12. Pot Roast Italiano

My Pot Roast Italiano is guaranteed to knock your socks off and will change any feelings you previously had about roast forever.  This roast simmers away in the slow cooker all day and at the end of the cooking,  a can of tomato paste is whisked in to finish off the delicious gravy. I served the roast over cheesy orzo pasta and with a simple side salad. Leftover meat can be placed into slider rolls for Italian beef sliders the next night served with tortilla chips and carrot sticks.

13. To Die For Pot Roast Sandwiches

You will notice that few of our recipes have convenience foods or mixes in them, but this roast is my one exception to the rule since it relies upon three packaged mixes to create.   Do your best to look for low-sodium mixes though and avoid adding any salt to this recipe. These three little mixes and some water make the most flavorful roast. Not a hint of dryness in this roast and the leftovers heat up perfectly for a special lunch. Serve these easy sandwiches on whole wheat buns (homemade or store-bought) with fresh apple slices and glasses of milk.

14. Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders

Made from ingredients that are likely already in your refrigerator and pantry right now, these simple ingredients are exceptionally delicious and create a flavorful & juicy chicken tender that you will absolutely love. This recipe yields a pound’s worth of tenders. I triple the batch for salad topping and grilled chicken wraps that make easy weekday lunches or a busy weeknight dinner for another night in our house. Serve these with baked brown rice and baby peas.

15. Presto Pesto Pasta Con Pollo

This dish replicates the flavors from my favorite meal at a local Italian restaurant. With the simple addition of sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes, it takes this easy dish to an elegant level with minimal effort. Of course, no dish is complete without my signature addition of lemon zest and a squirt of lemon juice to freshen and lighten the flavors. The best part about this dish, in my opinion, is that it incorporates items that I already have in the pantry and can easily be pulled together with leftovers in the fridge. Leftover chicken, vegetables, and any type of pasta can be pulled together for a dinner that is worthy of an evening gathered with friends and family around the dinner table. Serve this elegant dish with my easy pumpkin cornbread muffins.

16. Italian Turkey Sliders

Sliders are a new addition to our family’s meal rotation and I guarantee if you try these that they will go into your rotation too! These Italian Turkey Sliders not only are quick to prepare and easy to bake, but thanks to their tiny size, these pint-sized sliders are ready in only fifteen short minutes. Sliders are not only highly fashionable for entertaining, but they also are super fun for little ones who will appreciate your small burger efforts as a way to make the dinner hour more fun. Serve these with homemade oven fries for a fun dinner at home.

What meal always makes it into rotation at your house? Have you tried a meal from this list? Please share your thoughts on the dishes you have tried from MomAdvice. We would love to know what dishes have graced your menu planners!

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How to Make a DIY Salad Bar for Your Fridge

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Originally published in 2012 as a summer salad option, we’ve found having DIY salad bar ingredients in our fridge is great for quick, healthy dinners and lunches all year long, making it a perfect addition to our August M Challenge Focus on Meal Planning. I hope you are inspired by this idea to eat healthy any time of the year!

DIY Salad Bar- a healthy dinner ready to go in the fridge

Healthy eating should always be a priority, but making it a priority has gotten to be more challenging because we seem to always be eating on the go, no matter what the season. Enter an easy DIY salad bar that you can quickly prepare on your grocery day to enjoy all week long! This DIY salad bar can be kept on hand in your fridge so that it’s always easy to put together healthy salads for lunches, picnics, and quick dinners.

All of the supplies can be found at basic stores- you will need a fridge/freezer storage basket, three plastic 5 cup lidded containers, and 1 larger 12.5 cups container. Chop up your favorite salad ingredients and organize them in your containers like shown. The largest container does not sit firmly flat, but it still wedges in there nicely so that you can place all of these neatly in this wire organizer.

I love having such fresh ingredients on hand to choose form and creating a salad bar couldn’t be easier with the fantastic selection we have of fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m showcasing just a few of the basics we love in our salads. You could definitely fill your produce drawer up with a few other great salad add-ins!

Ingredient Ideas for a Great Salad Bar

Bell pepper
Sunflower Seeds
Corn Kernels
Onions (none for me please!)
Artichoke Hearts
Homemade Dressings

One ingredient I always have on hand in the summer for quick summer salads and wraps is roasted chicken. I don’t keep a lot of fresh chicken around and prefer to buy the frozen chicken breasts instead. There is money to be saved in buying and preparing whole chickens, but my family only likes white meat  so for convenience sake (and to get them to eat it), we stick to the chicken breasts.

I buy the 3 pound bag of chicken  cook and slice all of the chicken for the week. The chicken is then ready to go to be made into wrap sandwiches, fast paninis, a protein addition to my salads for lunch, and it helps me save a step for our dinners for the week. Here is how I batch-cook our chicken:

Roasted Chicken Breasts for Bulk Cooking

Preheat the oven for 375 degrees. Spread the frozen chicken breasts out over one or two cookie sheets. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken breasts and then sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest ten to fifteen minutes (to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat). Dice, slice, or shred for your recipes for the week.

Here is my beautiful salad bar on full display! Isn’t she pretty? It makes me really happy to have all of our fruit and vegetables chopped and ready to go for our week, making it easier to eat healthy.

Since we are a family on the go, I wanted to show you a fun way to enjoy your salads while you are out and about:

I picked up a collapsible basket and packed it with our outdoor blanket, salads (and fun bowls with forks included), fresh cut fruit, and homemade iced tea for an afternoon picnic to encourage healthy eating wherever we might be!


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