I’m coming to you from Pampered Chef World inside my home! It is a wonderful place filled with children who know what a Mix ‘n Chop is. It is a place where simplicity is enabled in every dish made, every design, every event. My PC home is always looking for a new and easy (and cheap!) way to host a dinner party.
Talking with people, I have learned that many people have the same request. “How do I cook a good meal while a kiddo is around!? And What do I make!!??” I find there are several different ways to save time in the kitchen, and I’m here to share my ideas! PLAN AHEAD. Oh, easier said than done, you say? I agree! LOL! But when it comes down to it, it saves me so much stress, that I love it! You can plan after the kids are in bed, or during the day (tip….tell the kiddos you all are going to write in your journals…they get to color and “write” and you get to plan your meals!)
Make a list on Google docs. You can take it with you wherever you have your phone/ipad/computer.
MAKE ALL COOKED MEAT ON ONE DAY. I find it is easier to cook all my meat on one day for the whole week. Then you’ll have it for many different meals. See my examples below.
Example: On Monday, cook all your chicken in my favorite Rockcrok Dutch Oven and Slow Cooker set! Put it on in the morning before you take off for your day with a bit of water or broth. When you get home, or later in the day, take out most of it and place it in the fridge. With the remaining chicken, add some Jamaican Jerk Rub, set it on your stovetop to meld all the flavors together a bit! While that is cooking, toss some rice in your Rice Cooker in the microwave, and before you know it, dinner will be done!
Example: On Tuesday, take out a little more of you chicken from the fridge and warm it up in the microwave or stove with about 1-2 Tablespoons of Chipotle Rub. If you saute up some peppers and onions on the stove, or make a quick pico in your Manual Food Processor, you’ll have a fantastic Taco Tuesday!
Example: On Wednesday, take out some chicken, warm it up on your stovetop or in the microwave, shred it with your Salad Choppers and add your favorite BBQ sauce. Bamm! Quick, Easy, BBQ chicken sliders!
Example: On Thursday, cut up your chicken and add it to a lettuce salad 🙂 Salad is always better with stuff on it!
Example: On Friday, add your remaining chicken to the Rockcrok Dutch Oven, along with celery, carrots, onion and chicken broth to make an amazing soup! When it is nearly done, add in your noodles to make it a chicken noodle soup! NUM!!!
PREP FOR MORE THAN ONE DAY. This works for more than just chicken! Are you chopping onion for Taco Tuesday? Chop a bit more for your soup you’ll be making Friday!
PINTEREST…. ENOUGH SAID. Sometimes this is fabulous, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I get it. When I am on Pinterest, I love it for all the different and amazing recipes that people post. I get lost sometimes with it, though, when I don’t know if it will be good. But my thought is, try it. If the ingredients look like something you’ll eat, then go for it! And if you’re on Pinterest, pin your favorites, but also write them down on paper. If you have a journal, write them in that so you can jot down pros and cons of it, or any changes you made.
ASK YOUR FRIENDS. Your family and friends are your best bet for a great meal. Ask them for ideas. Post on your social media. Call one of them. Text someone. Ask them what’s for dinner this week. It will spark a thought, and get the ball rolling in that amazing brain of yours!
WHEN PLANNING A MEAL….SHOP YOUR PANTRY FIRST. Why spend more money than you have to! Take a look in your pantry and freezer. More often than not, you can play your own version of “Chopped” and make a fabulous meal! Even if you have to go to the store to get a few ingredients, that would be a whole lot better on the bank account than if you had to buy it all!
WRITE DOWN ALL YOUR FAMILY FAVES! You have the best ideas already in your head. Start writing. Make a chart, a list, a calendar, whatever you want, and list all your meals you love to eat. I like to start with either an ingredient (such as chicken) or a cuisine. It is easy to think of all the Mexican foods you love. Come on chips and salsa and of course guacamole!!! Am I right! Guess, what? You can make that at home too!
BABY FOOD? Is your baby ready to eat “real people food”? How about using what you’re making and puree it while you’re finishing your own meal? Or think about what her favorite food is, and make that for your dinner. Carrots? Sure, steam up some carrots in your Microcooker and at the dinner table, smoosh them up!
BABY CRYING? TAKE OUT THE FREEZER MEALS! Oh you don’t have them? Let’s make them now! I know it’ll take a few hours of your time, but it is oh sooooo worth it! When there is a time your baby can be taken care of by another adult or will be sleeping, get some freezer meals in the oven. I literally just did this for my own family, and I’m so happy I did. I did go on Pinterest, found some fabulous ideas, and cooked them up! There are freezer meals that are already partially made in a freezer pan (think disposible from the Dollar Tree!), covered in foil with the directions right on top. Then there are meals that are the dump in the crockpot or baking pan types! Sometimes those are easiest, because you don’t have to precook anything before going in the bag, and you don’t have to do anything except for dumping into a crockpot on the day you need it! Don’t forget to put those recipes somewhere you won’t lose them! I put mine in my bullet journal, and may get to transferring them to actual recipe cards….maybe.
BE OK WITH CEREAL. Hehehe! Sometimes as a mom, dad, grandparent, aunty or babysitter, it’s hard to get a good meal on the table at all times. I get that. I am that mom. Sometimes, cereal is the best choice for the family at that time. Sometimes, it’s cheapest to cook up a bunch of eggs, add a side of toast, and a piece of fruit.
Enjoy your day! I hope I helped save some time and sanity!
**Affiliate links will be found on this post—I get a small percentage with nothing added on your end! **
I am one who will ALWAYS love one pot meals! I will ALWAYS be an advocate of them! You may even read several posts from me all about how awesome they are. This post is no different. As I have started to look for meals that I can make from things already in my pantry/fridge/freezer, it is important to find new recipes.
This recipe I’m going to share today, is from http://www.smells-like-home.com/2015/02/one-pot-creamy-sausage-pasta/ . If you know me, I don’t follow recipes very well. It has to be forced upon me to follow exactly. LOL! This recipe is no different. I like this recipe, but I didn’t have ALL the stuff I needed. So I substitute! I feel, cooking is supposed to be fun right? If it is too stressful, all because you don’t have an ingredient, that’s not good. Lesson learned, have fun, try new recipes, sub out if you have to, and enjoy. If it tastes good, that’s what matters.
My version of the One Pot Creamy Sausage Pasta:
To start, dice up a medium onion. I used my Pampered chef 8″ Chef’s Knife to chop it up. In retrospect, I should have used my food chopper! Hello! But with this amazing knife, it was nothing to chop it up 🙂 Did you notice the lovely circle with PC on the blade? This is so you can put your fingers on there for the perfect grip! Pampered Chef has thought of everything huh?
Now, you’re going to saute these onions in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Please don’t measure this oil. WE are NOT that crazy!! Cook it until they are looking translucent (almost see through!).
Now ADD 4 cloves of garlic. Go real garlic on this one! There is nothing better than real garlic in a dish. Using my Pampered Chef Garlic Press makes it sooooo easy! Can you tell I also love my PC!!?? It is my second gig, but I’ve always had it in my house! LOVE!
I wish I could have smell-a-vision for you on this one….so good. You will want to cook this garlic with the onion for about a minute to get it cooked a bit……let that aroma come through! NUM! Now ADD your sausage! I didn’t have ground sausage this time, I had sliced chicken sausage. Like I said before, if I don’t have something, I make it work! Use what you’ve got!!!
Once the sausages were warmed (these were fully cooked sausages), I deglazed the bottom with about a 1/4c. of chicken broth. Recipe suggested wine, I didn’t have any on hand. Then, ADD in 16 oz. of your favorite spaghetti sauce, and 3 cups of water. I may have added another 1/4c of chicken broth just because, too! LOL! Like I said, I like to sub out stuff and make it work for what I have in the house!
Bring this to a BOIL. This means the water is bubbling, a lot!! We have to pretend that we will be boiling noodles the normal way….so don’t forget this step! Once it has started to boil, add in your noodles.
Now, set your timer for 15 minutes, and put your feet up! Well, first give it a stir, and put the cover on! Then put your feet up!
Give it a stir every 5 minutes or so, and if it needs more water, add it then.
When the noodles are done, stir in your cheese. As true Becky fashion, I didn’t have what was called for, so I added in about 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and stirred it in until the whole pot was creamy and thickened!
Stir and smell, and then, get a bowl and dig in! Serve with buns or bread of choice.
Was it easy to make? Yep! Was it delish? Yep! Did I get the approval from the family? Yep? I don’t know the Smells like home author personally, but I do like this recipe! Maybe next time, I’ll try to use all the suggested ingredients 🙂
***This post contains affiliate links. When you click and buy, I get a portion of the funds, with nothing extra added on your side.***
With a new year, I thought I would set a goal for myself to utilize what I have already in the pantry and freezer. I also wanted to create a better and cheaper way to cook for my family to help with the budget. I brainstormed. I “Pinterested”. I created. Some are healthy, some come straight from the freezer to the oven, and some have a combo of both.
Rules for this challenge for me, include: 1.) It must be easy to make (because I definitely am NOT a professional chef!) 2.) It must be budget friendly (AKA…most of stuff is found in pantry already or found on sale) and 3.) It must get the approval from my hubby and kids (ages 5 and 8)
Two days ago, I attempted the Crockpot Roast and Pinto Beans recipe (credit goes to fortheloveofcooking-vanessa.blogspot.com). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the roast very thawed, so it was not done. I adapted it a bit to fit what I had on hand. My version was this:
2cups of dried Pinto beans (I soaked them over night—caution, they will expand to twice their size)
1 can diced tomatoes,
about 2 tsp garlic salt,
about 1/2T of dried onion flakes,
1t. chili powder,
and a 3lb roast.
I put all of this into my Pampered Chef Rockcrok Dutch oven, and poured water in until it was half way up the roast and covering the beans completely. I did sprinkle a bit more salt on top of the roast along with a heavy sprinkle of Pampered Chef Chipotle rub. I put it on high for 10 hours (the time I would be at work). The Roast, being so frozen still, was not done. But an hour later it was, and it was fab!
Jump to yesterday….I took that cooked roast, shredded it, and warmed it up on the stove. I also took the cooked pinto beans and warmed them up as well. While that was all going on, I cooked 3 cups of Minute Rice White, 28 oz (something I had in the pantry, just like the pinto beans and roast). I turned these ingredients into a burrito station! My family could make their burritos with all of these ingredients or just one or two! It was a hit! We also had a bag of tortilla chips and salsa open and ready to eat, so that was on the side!
Now, you probably want to see a picture of my final plate that I created. Yeah…I ate it too fast before I remembered to take a pic! HahaHa!
If you take a look at the “calendar of ideas” you’ll notice I wrote “NUMMY” on a few items we’ve tried! One is the 3 ingredient orange chicken from www.craftymorning.com/3ingredient-orange-chicken-sauce-recipe/ …… it was definately approved by me and my family! What I thought was sooooo much food, ended up being all eaten!
Items needed for this recipe:
1c. Sweet baby rays BBQ sauce (I used the ALDI brand!)
1c. Smuckers brand Sweet Orange Marmelade
2T. Soysauce (I forgot to add this, and it was still fabulous!)
Bring these to a boil while the chicken is cooking.
For the chicken:
3-4 chicken breasts (I used a pack of tenders that were on sale at ALDI 🙂 )
1c. of flour
oil for frying
Dredge the chicken in egg, then flour (which I salted), and then fry in the oil. Place done chicken on a paper towel plate to drain.
Once the chicken is cooked and all done, toss with the sauce. Eat with rice 🙂 ENJOY!
Does this recipe fit my requirements? Sure! Chicken on sale, off brand of BBQ sauce, and flour/egg/oil already in pantry/fridge! My family and I love it! It was a bit putsy with the chicken frying, but really, it was easy!! Result….WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!!
Ok. Yes, I’m sure you also saw that Frozen Pizza was on the list. Sometimes schedules just are too busy to make a good meal. Oh I know there are crockpots (obviously!) but come on, when pizzas are on sale for cheap, buy a few for the freezer! They come in handy! Or as I told you before, when the roast doesn’t cook all the way in time for the family to eat, then pizza it is! I find that our local supermarket has good deals often, and I also like to go to ALDI for pizza too. Good deals, good pizzas! Got coupons? Even better. Watch your ads in the paper, sign up for coupons.com, or go to your store’s website to find store coupons. Some places you can double dip. This means you can use a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon. Sometimes, this gets you FREE products! Are you a Target Cartwheeler? Then you can do 3 types of deals in one!
Stay tuned for my next meal! Questions? Let me know in the comments below!
How many of you have a love of a refreshing drink in all seasons of the year!? I have an e-book created from some of the amazing Pampered Chef drink recipes ready to send you! It comes with several different types…..infused water, coffee ideas, adult only, and just fun!
CLICK HERE for an easy way to share your email so I can get you that e-book! It is in PDF format so it will be easy for you to view where ever you are!
I’m very excited for you to see this book I made! But remember, you can’t get it, until you fill out the form…easy peasy!
If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I do not consider myself a cook. But I do like cooking for others! I especially like to cook now that I’ve learned the phrase “I’m Pampered, Not Perfect!!” I learned that with the right tools in the kitchen, my life is easier when it comes to cooking for the fam! Last June, I bit the bullet and became a Pampered Chef Consultant. I did it at first because my hubby lost his job, and I felt like I needed a way to help out financially more than I already was. That’s when my friend (and director) asked me to coffee. I heard all the reasons of “Why not?” Why not bring in extra cash? Why not get great products free for your own kitchen? Why not help others fill their kitchens with great products for free? Why not? And here I am! I love this “job” of mine….if you can call it that! I go places, meet new people, cook great food, eat great food, and get cool products for FREE! What could be better than that!?
I have a degree in Elementary Education. I teach Preschool full time during the school year. I have 2 little kiddos and a wonderful hubby. I continued to sell PC even after my hubby got a job again. I continue to sell, because I love it! I love getting out of the house, chatting with others. I love to see others happy, getting together with their friends, learning new and fun recipes I share with them, and purchasing a tool I know will make their cooking experience better! My education background helps me so much when I get in front of the crowd…I have the words….I like the words! I know someone who prefers not to talk as much, and does so well….she does more station style shows, allowing the guests to try and play and learn together. I love this way as well!
Pampered Chef to me is finding the right tool for you. I have kids. So, I try to make those with kiddos see what tools work well with my kids and why. Moms and Dads, isn’t it nice not to have think about what will be best for your kids? Many times, we have no idea what will be best. But really, we do. We’re the mom and dad. We know what our kids need. We know what they can do. ***Now…let me help you find the right tools to go with what you know already! My little Miss A is dairy free. So I am always looking at the back of boxes to check to see if it has milk in the ingredients. Guess what? You can use PC tools and make your own crust free pocket sandwiches to fit your kiddos needs. You can fill the Leak proof containers with peanut free snacks/ Dairy free snacks/ gluten free snacks…etc. You can pack it with the foods you know your child will and can eat without the worry you missed something on the box!
I’m now always on a mission to search the Pampered chef recipe box online, and try something new to me. I love the tried and true recipes. I love to get recipes from others. Here is one that I made (before Miss A was found to be dairy free) that my family loved!! It was so easy in the Rockcrok Dutch Oven….One dish meals are amazing aren’t they!?
So remember the saying for today: “We’re Pampered, Not Perfect”. Enjoy your day!
I woke up this morning, happy to see the sun was up, it was after 7 (always a plus), and I had coffee downstairs ready to be brewed. I then thought of what I was going to have for breakfast. Should I have cereal, toast, eggs…. No not eggs, takes too long to cook…. Until I remembered my ceramic egg cooker was waiting to be used! I pondered the idea of an omelet or scrambled eggs, but I was feeling for a poached egg. Yep, I was going to make a poached egg in the microwave! 2T water and one egg, poke egg. Microwave for 45 seconds, remove and eat! I added mine to toast and a side of cantaloupe. Delish.
I love when I have products in my kitchen that make my life easier, don’t you!?
Tonight’s homework for you….. What will you make for breakfast tomorrow that will be quick, easy, and filling?! (Yes, I’m a teacher by day! )
OK all. . . . This is an awesome recipe you should try!!! You could make it completely vegetarian or add the chicken! Sometimes I want that basil and tomato flavor bruschetta on a little pieces of Nummy bread, but in a more healthy way! What I love best about this, it’s done in under 30 minutes, easy! Come on, using the pampered chef rockcrok allows me to cook this in the microwave and it tastes amazing!! Noodles in the microwave is a thing! Chicken in the microwave is a thing! And it’s great! So, I’m noticing I’m using a lot exclamation marks!! Lol. I’m really into this meal 😂
Tools used to make my life easier with this recipe:
rockcrok everyday pan
Veggie strip maker
Get yours today at www.pamperedchef.biz/beckyvanriper or click on each picture to be directed to that page on my website! 🙂
This Brownie Pan is my favorite pan in the kitchen to make brownies in! It makes the best brownies out there! For all of us who love the edges, you will be in heaven! For those who love the insides….you will love it too!! It just gives you the perfect individual size that can be customized to fit your guests’ needs!
Take a look at this picture above for a sec! The cook is pouring pancake batter into each well of the brownie pan! Why? So she doesn’t have to stand at the stove for half an hour or more flippin’ pancakes!!!! These will go into the oven for about 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown and pull away from the sides.
Last year, I had a large group stay over at my house. I panicked in the morning when I remember I didn’t plan for breakfast!! What was I going to do with 7 kiddos and 4 adults!? I quickly grabbed my pancake mix, 2 brownie pans, and through them into the oven! I luckily had some frozen fruit that I made into a fruit puree for a topping, maple syrup, and powdered sugar….walaa! The PERFECTLY QUICK BREAKFAST!! Made in the Perfect Pampered Chef Brownie Pan!
These my friends, are the Consultant Exclusive, Double Chocolate Cheesecake squares!! Also made in the Brownie pan!!!! OMG! Seriously…… Can you say num!!!!??? Striped cookies on the bottom for a crust, topped with a chocolaty cheesecake you can’t resist! I like to top my finished product with homemade whipped cream made in my whipped cream maker from Pampered Chef!! 30 seconds to fresh whipped cream….can’t beat it!
More things to do with this pan:
Baked Pancakes (aka…Puffins)
Sloppy Joes cups
and so much more!!
Schedule a House party with me, and I’ll bring the ingredients to make the Chocolate Cheesecake squares!!!!
When you stop drooling (or is that just me??) head on over to my Pampered Chef site and check out the Brownie Pan! I recommend getting 2!