Veggie ‘Mac’ and Cheese Casserole

Since switching to a low carb lifestyle my husband and I have more energy and generally feel better throughout the day, less crashing when the carbs have been used up. But there are some dishes that you just can’t really have with this lifestyle and Mac and Chesse is one of them. I love good ole homemade mac and cheese and we have a pretty good recipe, but can’t really make with noodles. So my husband went in search of more low carb meals and came across this one. Now I have never been very keen about cauliflower but I love broccoli so we compromised and made it with a mix and we both enjoyed it. But felt it was lacking something that would really make this a hearty meal. So we decided to add shredded chicken to the mix and that really kicked it up a notch. Then I made it with carrots and that really made this into one of my favorite dishes.

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Veggie ‘Mac’ and Cheese casserole (adapted from the Food Network)

  • 16 oz bag of frozen veggie mix containing: cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots (if using fresh roughly 4 cups of veggies)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded chicken (optional) I usually cook about 3 small chicken breasts in a crock pot with tomatoes for 6 hours on low/or you could use  a store bought rositarrie chicken.
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded medium Cheddar cheese (reserve ~1/2 cup for topping casserole)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Pre-heat oven to 375. Steam veggie mix. You can cook your veggies in boiling water but I prefer to steam my veggies in a stove top steamer. Cook them until they are fork tender. Spray a 9×13 dish with spray. Once your veggie mix is cooked/steamed transfer to the your dish along with the shredded chicken. While your veggies are cooking bring the cream to a simmer in a medium pot, then whisk in the cream cheese and mustard. Mix until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and whisk until the cheese melts. Remove the cheese mixture from the heat and pour over the veggie and chicken, stir to combine. Top with remaining cheese and bake until the cheese has melted and it bubbly hot, about 15 minutes.

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Mexican Stuffed Peppers

We I first started making this recipe I made it just like the original recipe, Mexican Stuffed Shells. The first time I made it I was a little hesitant since I made it for my hubby and younger brother. But I need not worry, this recipe was an instant success!

Then in January 2013 I decided to go on a low to no carb diet with my hubby. Of course this meant that this recipe was one that we really shouldn’t have as often as I would like. So I wanted to try it as a stuffed pepper recipe. Now my hubby was hesitant about stuffed peppers, but I have slowly been working on him to enjoy peppers in other foods. But when I made, he loved it and we have been perfecting the recipe every since.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers (adapted from The Way to His Heart)

  • 3 bell peppers (I prefer to use orange since they have a sweeter taste) cut in half and seeds removed.
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning (or 2 TBSP of homemade)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa
  • taco sauce
  •  shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350. Slice peppers in half and remove seeds. Place them in a 9×13 foil lined baking dish. Brown the ground beef, drain then add taco seasoning. Then on low heat add the cream cheese and mix well. Once the cream cheese has melted and is mixed with the ground beef remove from heat then add the salsa.

Add the ground beef mixture into the pepper halves. Top the peppers with the taco sauce (to your liking). Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil, add shredded cheddar cheese and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Then enjoy!

We ate two before I remembered to take a picture.

We ate two before I remembered to take a picture.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

As I’m still banning myself from my beloved coffee as Nora becomes rather fussy when I have even decaf, my choice warm beverage in the morning has become a nice cup of hot chocolate.

I can’t stand store bought hot chocolate mix, it is never chocolaty or creamy enough. So I had a recipe that I grew up but knew it could use some tweaking. So the hubby and I started looking for other recipes to help improve our base recipe. After some experimentation with a few different recipes we finally landing on a combination of our old recipe and Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s recipe.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix (adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

  • 5 quarts dry milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli white chips)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a food processor combine 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and the white chocolate chips. Blend until no large chunks of chips. Combine this and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Store in an air tight container and enjoy. Yields roughly 25-30 servings.

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Fill your mug with 1/3 cup of hot chocolate mix and stir in roughly 1 cup of hot water (depending on the size of your mug you may need more or less mix and water) top with real whipped topping and enjoy.

{Pinterest Adventure} I’ve finished some!

Looking through my pin boards this weekend, I discovered that I have actually done some of my pins, YAY!

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I LOVE my unpaper towels. In an effort to go green in the kitchen, we no longer using paper towels in the kitchen. But I still need something other than regular kitchen towels for little spills/napkins and this fit the bill perfectly. I created my with my MSU flannel fabric I had and picked up some birdseye fabric, they are sew simple to create!

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My crockpot and I have a wonderful relationship. It allows me and my hubby to make dinner with ever little effort on our part, which is good since I generally don’t enjoy cooking after work. This crockpot chicken taco soup is just yummy and perfect for quick meal to get started before leaving for the day. I don’t really consider it a soup, more like a chicken chili, has plenty of spice and other yummy additions. A new favorite crockpot recipe for this house.

I’m working on a few new ones and will share them once I finally have them finished. I still can’t believe that it is November, were did the time go. Soon Christmas will be here, yikes, time to start crafting Christmas gifts.

{Crock pot Cookin’} Chicken Enchiladas

I LOVE, LOVE my crock pot. I love crock pot cooking I have 2 different sizes, which is a must. And with the air getting that distinctive chill in the air, it is high time to bust out the crock pot and start cooking up a storm this fall.

Now my husband and I love eating at this little Mexican restaurant called El Rancho here in Holland {there are a few restaurants located throughout Michigan}. I absolutely adore their chicken enchiladas, they are just so yummy!

So last winter we were experimenting with some of our crock pot recipes and decided to try making chicken enchiladas. If you need shredded chicken for any recipe or just want moist chicken, then throw your chicken breasts in the crock pot with a can of diced tomatoes and you will end up with moist chicken {much better than oven baked chicken}. Plus the best part you can get your chicken started in the morning before you head off to work or take kids to school. Then just let it cook all day.

Then about 40 minutes before you want to serve dinner, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and shred your chicken. Pull your chicken from the crock pot and place on a plate to be shredded.

Next add some of your enchilada sauce and a little taco sauce to the mixture {to your taste}. Finally, pile into your tortilla shells, top with the rest of your enchilada sauce and freshly shredded cheese.

Crock pot Chicken Enchiladas

makes enough enchiladas for 4 people

  • 2-3 chicken breasts {I use frozen chicken breasts, just throw them into the crock pot with out defrosting them} Perfect when you forgot to get something out of the freezer the night before {Like I’ve never done that before}
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of enchilada sauce
  • cheddar cheese
  • tortillas
  1. Place your frozen chicken breasts into your crock pot {I like to use a smaller size}
  2. Cover your chicken with the can of diced tomatoes. Make sure your chicken is completely covered, if not add a 1/4 can of water.
  3. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours.
  4. 40 minutes before serving, preheat your oven to 350.
  5. Pull chicken from crock pot and shred, add a half can of enchilada sauce and taco sauce {to your liking, roughly a few tablespoons}
  6. Scoop into your tortillas and top with the rest of the enchilada sauce and shredded cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  8. Enjoy!

You could also add onions and peppers while cooking in the crock pot to add additional flavor. Just a quick and simple meal for those days/nights you just don’t want to put a lot of effort into your cooking.

{Cooking from Pinterest} Homemade Pizza

I love Pinterest, I could spend hours browsing through the various boards. So I’ve started creating items from my Pinterest boards and it has been a blast.

I think finally after 3 years of marriage my husband and I are building up a nice collection of easy to make, yummy recipes. We are definitely starting to branch out with our cooking and learning a few tricks along the way.

I have found some wonderful inspiration from Pinterest when it comes to recipes.

I love pizza, my husband loves pizza, but we have not been able to perfect the homemade pizza just yet.

Until now.

We finally decided that we need to start making our own crust, so where did I look for inspiration {Pinterest} and I found a great pizza dough recipe that I just had to try.

Click on the picture to Annie's Eats

So last weekend we decided to finally try this pizza dough recipe from Annie’s Eats and boy was it yummy! In the blog post Annie gives some tricks and tips for making homemade pizza as well as the recipe.

One trick that we have started using is preheating our pizza stone with the oven. Why did I not think of this before, it sure made the pizza just yummy and plus then you don’t have to get your stone up to temp, since it is already there and you are less likely to over cook your pizza {Yuck!}.

Now I’m just waiting for fall to try out more recipes discovered on Pinterest!