Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Pasta

I’m going to apologize in advance for this terrible picture below. It is one I snapped quickly for Instagram, and I meant to take a more stylish picture for the blog, but it slipped my mind. Oh well. I will win no Pinterest awards. I am working on improving my food photography though!

I really love buffalo anything, so Buffalo Chicken Pasta is right up my alley. I love that you can make this in the crockpot, and it is truly a quick and easy meal! The buffalo flavor of this pasta is super mild, so even my children gobbled this up. Mom tip: use rotini or bow tie noodles – I find that they are easier for my children to pick up with a fork, and it ultimately makes less of a mess than spaghetti or fettuccine noodles.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 box chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s wing sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 envelope ranch dressing mix
  • Noodles of your choice, 1 pound

Directions:

  • Pour the chicken broth into the crockpot. Whisk in the ranch dressing mix and buffalo sauce. Place the three chicken breasts on the bottom of the crockpot. Cook on low for 4 hours or until it easily shreds.
  • Shred the chicken. Add in the cream cheese and let it melt. This usually takes about 30 minutes.
  • While the cream cheese is melting, cook your noodles until al dente.
  • Drain off the water and add noodles to the crockpot. Stir so that everything is well combined.
  • I let this sit for 20 minutes or so on low. The starch from the noodles will thicken the sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Copycat Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup

I know, I know. You are thinking “another soup recipe?!” I love making soup during the fall! I can make a giant pot that guarantees at least two meals and a few lunches. WIN.

I love Chili’s. I don’t actually love the food itself at Chili’s – I more love the side dishes and appetizers. I could eat queso, chips, and salsa all the day long. I usually will order a queso and then for my “meal” just order a bowl of the Chicken Enchilada Soup. SO GOOD.

I wanted to try my hand at making this soup at home, and this is what I came up with. I started out by reading this recipe and going through all the recommendations in the comments. I took the advice of some of the reviewers, and I think it turned out pretty great!

 

Copycat Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (or 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)
  • 1 box chicken broth
  • 1 cup masa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cans red enchilada sauce (I used mild)
  • 16 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can Rotel (do not drain)
  • 1 small can diced green chilis (do not drain)
  • 1 package taco seasoning

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in pan. Add onions and cook until soft.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (2 minutes).
  3. In a large measuring cup, add the box of chicken broth and one cup masa harina. Whisk very well.
  4. Add to pot.
  5. Add water, enchilada sauce, Velveeta, black beans, chili beans, corn, Rotel, and green chilis.
  6. Add taco seasoning.
  7. Stir until cheese melts.
  8. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  9. Add chicken.
  10. Simmer 20-30 minutes.
  11. Serve with avocado, sour cream, and cheese for garnishing.

Note: Masa Harina can be located on the international foods aisle, or it may be with the enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, etc. It will say MASA on the front and it looks like a package of flour.

Buffalo Chicken Chili & Pumpkin Muffins

Have fun with that title, SEO. 🙂 (I am the WORST at the technical side of blogging, friends. If you consider yourself an expert and you want to mentor me, I would LOVE you forever.)

I mentioned last week that the cooler temps of fall immediately make me start to crave soup. I think you are either a soup person or you’re not, and I’m definitely a soup person. There is something so comforting about the hot bowl of yummy goodness, preferably eaten in a comfy chair in front of a good show or movie. #sorrykids #youeatatthetable #iputastrawintheirbowls #momhack

Chili is a fall staple at our house, and a few years ago I stumbled upon a recipe on Plain Chicken for Buffalo Chicken Chili. I love the buffalo wing sauce flavor, so this has become a huge hit at our house. As with everything else, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, and my changes are noted below. You can visit HERE for the original recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 cans chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 box of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 cups water

Notes: You can absolutely use ground chicken in this recipe. In fact, that’s what the original recipe calls for. However, our local grocery store rarely has it, so I often sub for ground turkey. In addition, 1 cup of buffalo sauce is HOT. If you aren’t a super spicy person, just use 1/2 cup buffalo sauce. Lastly, I like this particular chili recipe to be soup-y instead of thick. If you like thicker chili, omit the water listed at the bottom of the ingredients list and use less chicken broth.

I’ve been told it is hard to find chili beans up North. The brand I purchase is Bush’s Chili Beans. Chili beans are just pinto beans in a flavorful sauce – they are GREAT in chili recipes. You can sub out for plain pinto beans if you can’t find chili beans.

Directions:

  1. Cook your ground turkey. I use a non-stick skillet and don’t find it necessary to use olive oil or spray, but you certainly can if you like. Drain off any excess water or oil after the meat is fully cooked.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes for flavors to combine.

I serve the chili with a dab of sour cream and diced colby jack cheese on top. This is so good, and the recipe listed as above fills a large dutch oven. It’s easily enough for 3 dinners for 4-6 people.

I usually serve chili with Mexican cornbread, but I wanted to try something different. I’ve made pumpkin cornbread in the past, but it was basically just cornbread with a can of pumpkin, and my family was not a fan. I started searching for another recipe, and I came across this recipe from Once Upon a Chef. What makes these muffins different is that they truly taste like a cross between pumpkin bread and cornbread. Served with butter, they do something incredible to the chili. I confess I ate about 4 muffins, steadily dipping them into the juice of the chili. SO SO GOOD.

I made a few very small changes – you can visit HERE for the original recipe.

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (sub with ground cloves or extra cinnamon if you don’t have this)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, milk, honey, sugar, and eggs together in a bowl. No need to use your mixer – a bowl and a whisk will work for this recipe.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients and spices. Fluff together ingredients with a fork.
  4. Melt butter on stovetop or in microwave.
  5. Add wet and dry ingredients to the same bowl. Add melted butter. Lightly mix, just until ingredients are combined.
  6. Pour into a greased muffin tin. Fill the batter to the top of the individual tins. This makes enough batter to fill all tins.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
  9. Serve!

If you try this, please let me know how you like it!

Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice

This is a post I originally published in 2016. I am re-posting with a homemade syrup recipe option if you don’t wish to purchase the Starbucks syrup!

One of my very favorite fall drinks at Starbucks is the Caramel Apple Spice. I’m not a huge Pumpkin Spice Latte fan – but a Caramel Apple Spice? Yes please. Something about this amazing blend of warm apple juice, caramel, and spicy goodness is heaven in a cup.

img_6759Here’s what you will need:

I purchased my Cinnamon Dolce Syrup at Starbucks for $13. You can walk into any store and they will sell you syrup if they have it on hand (they keep it in the back and not on the shelves). Here it is on Amazon but this is a liter and it costs $31. Unless you just love Cinnamon Dolce Syrup and will use up that giant bottle, I recommend buying in store. If you don’t have a Starbucks nearby, you can try Torani Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup, which is cheaper and is also available on Amazon. I’ve seen Torani at my local grocery store.

 

Another option is to make your own homemade syrup!

Homemade Cinnamon Dolce Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Add water and brown sugar to saucepan.
  2. Break up the cinnamon sticks into small pieces.
  3. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer. Continue to stir until water is no longer boiling.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until water has thickened into a syrup consistency.
  6. Store in a mason jar or other airtight container in the fridge.

So, what do you do with whatever syrup you use decide to use?

Instructions:

  1. Pour entire jug of apple juice or cider into the crockpot.
  2. Add 1 cup of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce syrup.
  3. Cook on low for several hours.
  4. When you are ready to serve, pour in glass and top with whipped cream and caramel sauce!

Now you can certainly make this easier and heat mug by mug in the microwave. I recommend 2-3 tablespoons of syrup per large mug.

This really couldn’t be easier and it would be PERFECT for a fall gathering or party.

Let me know what you think if you make it!

Spooky Halloween Dinner

Y’all who know me know that I love any excuse to celebrate. I also love traditions. I love the looks on my children’s faces when I take the time to elevate a seemingly normal day into something special. It’s my hope that one day, when they recount their childhoods, they will look back and remember these days with fondness. I hope they continue these traditions with their children… and if not, no worries. Grandma will have it covered. Ha!

Every fall we have a Spooky Halloween Dinner.

I set the table with “spooky” decorations. I’ve got quite the stash going by now, so I don’t really *need* to buy anything, but my go-to spots for holiday decorations on the cheap at the Target Dollar Spot, the Christmas Tree Shop, the Dollar Tree, and Walmart.

I plan a menu. For the kids, simple is always best. Typically I include mummy dogs, zombie brains, pumpkins, jack o’lanterns, and some sweet treats.

Mummy Dogs

You will need a pack of hot dogs, ketchup, and a tube of crescent rolls. If you can find the sheet of crescent rolls, that will make less work for you. Simply roll out the crescent rolls and pinch two together to make a rectangle. Cut into strips (I use a pizza cutter). Then wrap the strips haphazardly around your (uncooked) hot dogs. Don’t be neat – loop over and around just like mummy wrappings. Place the hot dogs on a cookie sheet and cook according to the directions for the crescent rolls. Make eyes with ketchup.

Zombie Brains

These are cut frozen meatballs that I cook in the crockpot. The sauce is a jar of grape jelly and a bottle of chili sauce. (Don’t be scared of the chili sauce – it isn’t hot at all.) If you can’t find chili sauce or you don’t wish to use it, you can sub with a bottle of red BBQ sauce.

Jack O’Lanterns

I mean, this couldn’t be easier. I used boxed macaroni and cheese, served it in clear cups, and drew a jack o’lantern face on the front.

Pumpkins

The pumpkins are mandarin oranges, peeled, with a small piece of celery used as the stem.

Ghosts

I don’t have a picture of the ghosts, but you can make these by peeling bananas and creating eyes and a mouth by sticking the pointed end of a chocolate chip into the banana.

Mummy pizzas are also an October stable in our house! You can customize the pizzas with whatever toppings you want, and you just create the mummy effect with mozzarella cheese cut into strips.

Mummy Pizzas

I use french bread as the base. Cut into half length-wise and cover with pizza sauce. Use whatever toppings you desire. You will need to use sliced mozzarella cheese that has been cut into strips. I alternate directions and place them diagonally on the bread. The eyes are just sliced olives. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes – make sure to watch these so they don’t burn.

My kids love tombstone puddings! I don’t make these every year, but I do when I can find the tombstones. They are just peeps! If you can’t find peeps, I’ve also used milano cookies and written on the cookies with icing.

Tombstone Pudding Cups

Use a clear cup, and fill with prepared pudding (either homemade or buy pre-made to make it even easier!). Crush up oreo cookies to use as dirt and place on top of the pudding. The tombstone is a Halloween peep I found at Target in the Halloween food section. Gummy worms provide a spooky finishing touch!

Our Spooky Halloween Dinner is typically when we carve pumpkins and/or decorate our Halloween gingerbread house. We actually haven’t yet had our Spooky Halloween dinner, but its on the schedule for this week. I’ll be sure to post pictures of this year’s dinner once we have it.

Tell me – do you have any Halloween traditions? I’d love to see your pictures if you decide to have a Spooky Halloween Dinner of your own!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Hey friends! I have another yummy recipe for you today. It’s been in the 90s still here in Georgia, but this week we are having a bit of a cold snap and these 70 degree temps feel positively cold in comparison. Whenever the temperature drops the slightest bit, I want to make some soup. It just signifies fall to me!

On the way home from our Charleston trip, we stopped in Columbia so I could go to Trader Joe’s. (Our closest Trader Joe’s is an hour away, boo!) They had butternut squash on sale so I picked up two medium size squash, having no idea what I would cook with them. Well, a lady from my church sent me her recipe for butternut squash soup, and I combined a bit of it with another recipe I had found on Pinterest. The result was a rich, creamy soup that is absolutely perfect for these fall nights.

Recipe adapted from Mrs. Nancy Wall and Damn Delicious

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

Butternut Puree:

  • 4 pounds butternut squash soup, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soup:

  • Butternut puree
  • 4 slices of bacon (for garnishing the soup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • I box chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base
  • 1 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • Goat cheese, crumbled (for garnishing the soup)

Directions:

  1. First prepare your butternut squash. Cut into half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Discard. Then peel off the outer layer of squash. Cut the squash into cubes.
  2. Cut up the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic.
  3. Use kitchen shears to cut up the bacon into small pieces.
  4. Spread squash on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Add the carrots, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and bacon. Spread across the pan evenly.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  7. I also prepare the bacon that will be used for garnishing in the oven. I cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and I use whatever is left of the package of bacon (around here, it will get eaten!). I lay out the bacon on the pan and place it in the over with the butternut squash. Cook 15 minutes and remove. Drain the excess fat and flip over the bacon. Place it back into the oven and cook another 15 minutes. It should come out perfectly crispy! Remove the bacon to a paper towel, let it drain, and crumble once it is cool.
  8. Once the squash is ready, transfer the entire pan to a dutch oven or large pot. Add the chicken stock and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. (If you do not have an immersion blender, you can transfer your ingredients to a blender.)
  9. Add the chicken base, thyme, and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
  10. Simmer for 20 minutes or until warm.
  11. Top your soup with bacon and goat cheese. Yum!

I’m always searching for ways to add calories to Cooper’s diet, so I used cream. Feel free to substitute with milk or half and half!

The addition of the goat cheese adds this bit of tang to the soup – it is SO good!

My husband and I loved this soup, and wonders of wonders, the kids did too! My kids are picky eaters and vegetables are impossible to sneak into their diet, but I think they were distracted enough by the bacon to give the soup a fair shot. Ha!

Please let me know if you make this!

Shepard’s Pie

Ok – before I even start this post I want to make it clear that I am not a food photographer. AT ALL. I realize this picture doesn’t make the food look that appetizing… I’m sorry! This was a more time intensive dish and there was no way I was remaking it to try and make it look prettier. As my grandmother always says “it doesn’t matter how it looks, it matters how it tastes!” Y’all, this tastes GOOD.

Shepard’s Pie is one of those dishes I’ve always eaten in restaurants but I’ve never actually made it myself because it seemed too complicated. Last week I got a hankering for Shepard’s Pie so I pursued Pinterest and ended up combining a few recipes to get the taste I was going for. I like for my Shepard’s Pie to have both cheesy mashed potatoes and a rich, gravy-ish meat mixture.

Am I making it sound delicious enough? LOL.

Shepard’s Pie

Ingredients for the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder, and onion powder for seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Ingredients for the Beef Mixture:

  • 4T butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 handfuls baby carrots, (1.5 cups diced)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1.5 cups beef broth
  • 1 package brown gravy mix
  • 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1T cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by peeling and dicing your potatoes. Place them in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes (or until soft).
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, start on your beef mixture. Heat 4T butter in a skillet and add onions and carrots. Cook approximately 8 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook until well done.
  4. Finish your mashed potatoes. Drain off the water and return potatoes to the pot. Add butter, sour cream, cream cheese, and milk. Beat with a mixer or mash. Add more milk if needed to get to your desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder to taste. Set the potatoes to the side.
  5. Drain the grease off the ground beef mixture and return to the pan.
  6. Add peas and heat while you are preparing for step 7.
  7. In a small bowl, add beef broth, Worcestershire, and brown gravy mix. Whisk to combine. Add one tablespoon cornstarch and whisk well.
  8. Add liquid to the skillet and bring to a rapid boil. Boil 2 minutes and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 5-10 minutes or until liquid has thickened.
  9. Pour beef mixture into a 9X13 pan.
  10. Top with mashed potatoes.
  11. Top with a generous layer of shredded cheddar cheese.
  12. Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

This makes an overflowing 9X13 pan, and it was much more than my family could eat, even with days of leftovers. In the future, I think I will separate and cook in two 8X8 pans and either freeze the second pan or use it as a gift to a new mom or someone who is in need of a meal.

Let me know if you try this!

Instant Pot Low Country Boil


There is just something about Low Country Boil that screams “summer dinner” to me. I have such great memories of family trips to the beach, where we would make huge pots of Low Country Boil and eat them at the kitchen table. It’s no longer summer, but I think Low Country Boil is a great Saturday night dinner, particularly if you are entertaining. It’s easy to make and it feeds a crowd.

I’ve always made it in a huge pot on the stove, but I was intrigued at the idea of cooking it in the Instant Pot. I did tweak the recipe some by cooking just the shrimp on the stove. I like to cook my shrimp in a mixture of beer and Old Bay, and I was worried the shrimp would turn rubbery in the Instant Pot. I’ll also include instructions on how to cook the entire meal on the stove if you do not have an Instant Pot.

The sauce is what really makes this dish so good. Serve with bread and sop up all that garlic-y, buttery goodness.

Ingredients:

  • One package smoked sausage
  • One package frozen sweet corn on the cob (I like using the ones that are cut into smaller pieces because they fit in the Instant Pot better)
  • 4 large red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2-4 tablespoons Old Bay Crab Boil (I have a generous hand with spices, but definitely use 2 tablespoons if you do not)

 

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • One large bottle of beer (cheap beer is fine!)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning

 

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3-5 shakes of hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut up the sausage – I like cutting it up into smaller pieces because its easier for my kids to eat, but use your discretion.
  2. Add the sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes to your Instant Pot.
  3. Sprinkle the Old Bay over the top of the ingredients. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, and lock the lid.
  4. Set your Instant Pot for 6 minutes.
  5. While that is cooking, place a large pot on the stove and fill with the beer, Old Bay seasoning, and a lemon, halved. Pour enough water in the pot to reach halfway. I set this to medium high and let it heat up while everything else is cooking.
  6. Now you can work on the sauce. Add the butter, garlic, cajun seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, hot sauce, and lemon pepper to the pan. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the lemon juice and bring to a boil.
  7. Turn heat to low and whisk until the mixture stops bubbling. Keep warm on low until your other ingredients are ready.
  8. Once your Instant Pot completes its cooking cycle, it will beep. Do a quick release and remove the lid.
  9. At this point, you can turn your your heat to high and bring the water/beer mixture to a boil. Once the water is boiling, throw in your shrimp for 3 minutes. I throw them in frozen and wait for them to turn pink. As soon as they turn pink, remove them from the water so they don’t become watery.
  10. Drain the shrimp and the potato/sausage/corn mixture. I like to pour everything on a large sheet pan.
  11. Pour the butter mixture over the other ingredients and shake the pan to combine.

We aren’t fancy around here – I set out paper plate and napkins, and let everyone serve themselves directly from the pan. Y’all, that butter mixture is DIVINE. It really makes the dish.

Stove Top Directions:

Bring water/Old Bay mixture to a boil and add in the potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes. Add in the corn and cook for 5 additional minutes. Add in the shrimp and leave in the pot for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink. Drain immediately and serve.

Don’t have an Instant Pot? Want one? Click HERE.

This post contains an affiliate link, which means I will receive a small percentage of the sale if you choose to purchase the item I have linked.

A Tale of an Instant Pot

I’m always late to the party.

I mean that figuratively, although I am also often literally late. If there is something new or “hot”, I don’t often jump on the bandwagon until the fervor had died down a bit. I will hem and haw and convince myself I don’t need something or that it isn’t as great as the hype makes it out to be. Quite often, whatever the “thing” is transforms my life and leaves me wondering why I didn’t buy it sooner.

Case in point: Instant Pot.

I was quick to tell myself I didn’t need an Instant Pot. After all, I had a crock pot, and why in the world would I need something that did exactly what a crockpot could do? I sat through endless Instastories featuring the awesomeness of the IP. I watched as friend after friend raved about how it had changed their ability to get dinner on the table for their families. My friend Diana asked me countless times “so, have you bought an Instant Pot yet?

The answer was always no.

Until last April. I succumbed to peer pressure, and I started to read the reviews. I began to look at recipes. Hmm… maybe it would change my life. Maybe I do need another appliance. Maybe Diana is right.

So I placed my order. And then the box sat in my dining room for another 2 months.

Diana’s “have you bought an Instant Pot yet?” became “have you used your Instant Pot yet?”

I was scared! I had seen all the memes of pressure cookers blowing up people’s kitchens. Trust me, if something bad is going to happen, it is going to happen to me.

One day in late June, I decided to pull the Instant Pot out and try my hand at macaroni and cheese. I had everything I needed in my fridge and pantry, and it was time. Or so Jason House said repeatedly, every time he passed the boxed in the dining room.

Y’all, it did change my life. I’m not kidding. This thing is awesome. Read it again: AWESOME.

Yes, it can do everything a crockpot will do (and I love my crockpot, no shade Bessie) (Bessie is my crockpot) {quietly so Bessie doesn’t hear} it does it better.

I still haven’t really scratched the surface of everything it can do, but I am using it multiple times a week.

What I Love:

  • It has solved my “but I didn’t defrost any meat” dinner dilemma. This thing handles frozen chicken like a boss. I take 3 large chicken breasts, some sort of marinade or chicken broth, and cook for 25-30 minutes. It shreds like butter. You can cook hamburger meat, roasts, pork tenderloin, etc all from frozen! (Of course you can also cook defrosted meat, and it will shorten the cook time considerably).
  • Most of my meals have now become one pot meals or easy cook dinners. At least once a week I cook chicken that is used for buffalo chicken sandwiches, wraps, or salads. Another favorite is greek chicken – I shred and use on pita bread, salads, wraps, and more. Our favorite family recipe is sausage macaroni and cheese: I just brown the sausage on the Saute setting, then add the macaroni and cheese ingredients and cook.
  • The Instant Pot makes the best hard boiled eggs! We go through 12-18 hard boiled eggs per week. Jason loves to take them to work for breakfast, and the kids eat them as snacks or with their lunches. You can stack the eggs in the Instant Pot and truly – I have never had eggs peel easier than they do with the Instant Pot. The entire peel just slips right off.

I haven’t really found any downsides to the Instant Pot yet. My only complaint is that depending on what you cook, the plastic inner ring of the pot can retain the smell. That sucker reeked of onions after an attempt at Instant Pot salisbury steak. However, you can pop it out and put it in the dishwasher and I found that helped tremendously.

Stayed tuned for more Instant Pot recipes – they are coming!

Anyway, I write all this because I was on Amazon (as you do, some people like to browse news stories in the morning – I like to browse Amazon) and I saw the Instant Pot was on super sale. I paid $80 for my 6 quart Instant Pot and it does not have a yogurt setting. This Instant Pot is also 6 quarts and it has more settings than mine does. It is on sale right now for $69.99 – that’s the lowest I’ve ever seen the price go, including Black Friday and Prime Day.

Instant Pot DUO60 6 QT 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Coker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker and Warmer

 

You can either click the link directly or click the box above to purchase. This is an affiliate link, meaning if you purchase by clicking the link I will get a small percentage of the sale. If you are not comfortable with that, please feel free to search directly on Amazon. This is a daily deal, meaning the price will only be active for today only.

If you already have an Instant Pot, please share your favorite recipes!

I would be remiss if I posted this blog without mentioning the tragedy in Las Vegas. I woke up to news of the massacre, and my heart is so heavy. I pray for all the victims, the survivors, and all the loved ones who are mourning and standing strong today. Jesus, please be near to those who are hurting and scared. There doesn’t seem to be adequate words in a time like this, so I will pray, and I hope you will as well. 

Grits and Greens Casserole

I’ve posted this recipe on the blog before, but I snapped some better pictures tonight and wanted to repost. I found this recipe in a book by my favorite author, Mary Kay Andrews. Each of her books talks about a recipe, and she includes the recipe at the back of the book. I was really intrigued as I read about this casserole, and I decided to try it out. It has become a family favorite! I make it for all of our holiday gatherings, and I also take it to potlucks and church gatherings.

I can’t tell you how many people have been adamant that they would not like this, but once they tried it they ended up asking for the recipe. I’ve had many people tell me “but I don’t like collards” or “but I don’t eat grits.” That’s OK! Something about this combination together appeals even to the non-Southerners.

The best part? It uses canned collards. Real talk: Glory brand makes far better seasoned collards than I can, and that’s a-ok with me.

I do have to acknowledge this isn’t the healthiest dish. Let me know if you decide to attempt to lighten it up, and how it turns out.

Grits and Greens Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups quick cooking grits (not instant)
  • 2 large cans Glory brand canned collards (Margaret Holmes is a good substitute if you cannot find Glory brand)
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2.5 cups parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add 2 cups heavy whipping cream and 6 cups of chicken broth to a large stock pan. Bring to a boil and then add grits, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn heat to low. Continue to stir until grits stop bubbling.
  4. Simmer grits for 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Add butter, black pepper, and parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Drain collards in a colander and then add to dish.
  7. Pour grits into a greased 13X9 casserole dish.
  8. Top with crumbled bacon.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This makes two 9×13 pans. This recipe freezes beautifully! I usually make one pan and pop the other in the freezer for another day.