Category Archives: Recipe

Easiest Dinner Ever – Pizza Meatballs in the Crockpot

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slow cooker meal, meatballs in the slow cooker, easy dinner in the crockpot

Do you ever have one of those mornings where you’re about 10 minutes late on everything? You finally get the baby up, breakfast in his belly and your face put on just to realize your evening is going to be just as crazy. You need to go ahead and plan dinner – if you have dinner ready before you even get home from work that’s bonus points.

I have the easiest dinner ever for you. Pizza Meatball Subs. Watch the video below to see just how simple this family-loved dinner is. You can use the meatballs in spaghetti, make sub sandwiches, put on top of a pizza, or eat just as they are.

easy dinner, easiest dinner ever, slow cooker recipe, easy crockpot recipe, meatballs in the crockpot

All you need is a bag of frozen meatballs, jar of pizza sauce or pasta sauce, extra spices and a slow cooker.  Here’s the slow cooker (it’s even on sale!) I use and talk about in the video.  I love the fact it has a timer that kicks off the cook feature and automatically turns on the keep warm capability. 

Easy Clean Up Tip

If you haven’t seen these slow cooker liners then you’re missing out! You can get them on Amazon (because Amazon is Mom’s best friend!) for pretty cheap. I won’t use my slow cooker without them because clean up is a breeze. Just grab the bag and throw away the mess. No washing, no scrubbing!

There you have it, friends the easiest dinner ever! 

No lie!  I like simple, mistake-proof dishes that take little time to prep and even less time to clean up.  These pizza meatball are so versatile and if you don’t want pizza flavored then you can use pasta sauce or make your own tomato sauce with some yummy spices.  Really the variations are endless.  You can even make meatballs using BBQ sauce and grape jelly.

 

How to Make a Healthy Baby Smoothie

healthy baby smoothie

Our little guy went for his 9 month check up not too long ago.  We were almost a month late on his wellness appointment thanks to scheduling issues and a double ear infection.  Anyway, we go there and our little guy is growing so good!  He’s still a small guy compared to some of our friends’ and family’s babies, but I think he’s perfect.  The doctor said he’s right on track with everything he needs to be then she started talking about his feeding. I realized that we need to up our game when it game to solids.  We needed to make sure he was snacking and getting the right nutrients each day.  

Now I know that for at least the first year most of his nutrients will come from his formula, but it doesn’t hurt to up our game in the solids department.  Honestly, I was terrified (and still am) about choking.  I hate the thought of him not eating something perfectly pureed, but I know he needs to learn about textures and how to eat on his own.  I’ve started to work past my fear and give him more and more finger foods.  

So far he has really enjoyed these baby cookies I made the other day.  I love them because there isn’t any added sugar, he loves them because of the taste and the fact he can feed himself.  We’ve also given him some lentils and beans that were a huge hit.  Literally… he would hit his trays and beans would go flying! HA!

how to make a smoothie for your baby

healthy smoothie for baby

Let’s see… we’ve also given him some pieces of fruit like pears and mangos…. and a few more.  I just make sure to cut them into smaller pieces so he can pick up and stick in his mouth.  He loves avocados and bananas that are smashed a bit.  Those are the messy dinners!

Since he doesn’t have the greatest hand-eye coordination yet, I want to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients through out the day.  I found this post about a baby smoothie and fell in love with the idea.  Something he could carry around, drink on through out the day and fill his tummy with nutritious foods.  I used what I had on hand to make one and he loved it.  At first he wasn’t so sure, but then he was spinning around backwards in his walker drinking it up!

snacks for baby

Here’s what you need for the perfect baby smoothie:

1/2 package of veggie filled baby food
1/2 package of fruit filled baby food
1 T. baby cereal (more or less)
1/2 juice from a fruit cup (packed in 100% juice)
1/2 banana, mashed
1/2 pieces of fruit from fruit cup
water, as needed

Add all of the ingredients into your magic bullet or blender, blend until combined.  Add water (make sure it’s drinkable for baby!) and keep blending until the desired consistency is reached.  You want it to be easily drinkable from a sippy cup.  

baby smoothie

Now these ingredients for this baby smoothie are interchangeable.  Use what you have on hand.  If you make your own baby food, like I do sometimes then use that!  Whatever works.  The banana and added fruit help take away from the veggie taste of the baby food so it’s more desirable to your little one.  The first time I made this I didn’t have any baby cereal on hand so I left it out.  It still worked great.  Super easy!

Oatmeal Banana Baby Cookies {recipe}

oatmeal banana cookies for baby

Do you ever get in one of those moods where you need to stay busy all day long. Like sitting down would be the worst possible thing to do? No, just me? Seriously! Well it happens. Right now I’m working 6 days a week so Sundays are my typical lazy day. I change out of my pajamas just to shower and put a clean pair right back on. I usually get J to run any errands or pick up take out because the thought of cooking leaves me numb. Like, I cooked and cleaned all week, and I know I have to start over tomorrow so today I’m doing nothing!

Well the other weekend I was in a mood. J was out of town and the baby didn’t sleep all that great the night before. We were up and moving before 6 am. By 8 I was bored. I needed to run some errands so I figured early Sunday morning would probably be the quickest. I got the baby dressed and threw on a baseball cap.

FYI if you never wear caps and then suddenly appear with one on, your baby may not recognize you. Then when he does realize who you are, he will be mesmerized by the cap the rest of the day.

We were home from the store a little after 9 and I spent the next 4 hours in the kitchen. I didn’t sit down once and even had to run back to the store a second time. The baby was playing with my list and I guess I forgot a few things… oops!

I really wanted to meal prep a few things to get ready for the next week. With our daily schedules being so crazy lately, I figured I could use all the help I could get. sugarless oatmeal banana cookies for baby  

First up was these cookies for our Baby Boy. I’ve been trying to make sure the food he’s consuming is healthy without a lot of added junk. I love the teething wafers, but sometimes he likes to take off more than he can handle. Then he starts choking and I start panicking. So I don’t give him those too often. We’ve working on his motor skills and I like giving him foods that he can pick up and feed himself with. Usually he ends up feeding the dogs about half of the food, but it’s a learning process.

I scoured Pinterest for a few snack ideas to give to baby. I came across a recipe for baby cookies and decided to adapt it a bit for my little boy. I haven’t actually tasted these to know if they’re good or not, but he seems to really enjoy them! Now in the mornings I can plop him in his highchair, tear apart a cookie for him to enjoy while I pack my lunch and get bottles ready.

What I liked best about these cookies compared to other ones I saw was that the ingredients are pureed pretty good before baking. So there’s less of a chance for him to get choked up. Plus, they’re pretty soft so his little gums can easily mash them down before swallowing. But I have to say my favorite part about these cookies is the fact that there is no added sugar. That’s a huge win for me! All of the sweet comes from the banana.

snacks for toddler
snacks baby can feed themself
healthy snack for baby

Oatmeal Banana Cookies
Serves 18
A delicious sugarless oatmeal banana cookie for your little one. This cookie is soft and chewy, so it's easily ate by your baby.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 c. quick oats, ground in a food processor
  2. 1/4 c. + 1 T. milk
  3. 1/4 t. vanilla extract
  4. 1 banana, mashed
  5. 3 T. butter
  6. 1/4 c. flour (AP or whole-wheat)
Instructions
  1. Grind the oats in a food processor, blender or magic bullet.
  2. Add milk and vanilla, mix again.
  3. Pour ingredients into a bowl with the mashed banana.
  4. Mix together.
  5. Add butter and flour.
  6. Mix to combine.
  7. Scoop onto pan, using the palm of your hand you can smash the cookie to be flat.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. Let cool completely before serving to your little one.
  2. You can easily break these into smaller pieces for easier eating.
Adapted from Food.com
Adapted from Food.com
merelynne http://merelynne.com/

Easy Breakfast Cookies {recipe}

breakfast cookies recipe

Mornings are not my thing.  I can be honest with you right?  At 30 years old I still struggle to get out of bed each morning.   Maybe it’s because my mind races for the first hour or two every night, so I feel like I get cheated out of the full 8 hours of sleep I tell myself I deserve.  Maybe it’s because I toss and turn constantly, checking the baby monitor trying to make sure Baby Boy is okay.  Perhaps it’s waking up with Tiny’s paw dug into my back and Bud taking over my pillow.  I don’t know what it is, but I am not a morning person.

I don’t even set my alarm because I know I won’t wake up to it.  J wakes me up.  I prefer him to wake me up before he gets in the shower, but there are mornings that I can’t get out of bed until he’s walking out the door.  It helps on the mornings our little guy wakes up about 6:30 because then I have to get up too.  But if he sleeps in, I’ve lost.

J on the other hand… total morning person.  Ugh!  He’s up with the first sound of his alarm.  He’s off to shower and get dressed.  Most mornings he even has time to make breakfast.  I have no idea who I married!

I have to make sure everything for me and the baby is perfectly laid out the night before otherwise I’ll be late to work.  Like I have a mental list.  Is the car seat on the table ready to go?  Check.  Bottles filled and in the diaper bag?  Check.  Wipes and extra clothes packed? Check.  Gym bag packed?  Check.  Breakfast ready?  Check.  Clothes laid out?  Check.

Most nights I shower right before bed so I can have an extra 10 minutes of sleep.  And if I have to wash my hair then I better do it before bed otherwise, it’s not happening.

healthy breakfast cookies

grab and go breakfast

I’ve gotten good at prepping our breakfast the night before.  I usually make J some egg cups for him to heat up, but I’m not a huge egg fan so I need something different.  I found a recipe for some breakfast cookies and decided to give it a whirl.  

They are good.  Like really good.  Taste similar to a no-bake oatmeal cookie, but they are baked and have less sugar.  

easy breakfast cookies

Now I can grab two of these breakfast cookies each morning and I’m out the door.  Plus, the best part?  They keep me filled until lunch.  The version I make creates 21 cookies, so I have enough for a full week and then some.  I even take an extra one as an afternoon snack before I go work out to give me a little extra energy boost.

What are your go-to breakfast recipes?

Breakfast Cookies
Serves 21
A delicious grab-and-go breakfast cookie recipe.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  2. 1 cup AP Flour (or whole-wheat)
  3. 2 t. cinnamon
  4. 1 t. baking soda
  5. 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  6. 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  7. 1/3 c. unsweetened apple sauce
  8. 1/4 c. reduced syrup
  9. 1 large egg
  10. 3 T. brown sugar
Instructions
  1. In one bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and chocolate chips.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter, apple sauce, syrup, egg and brown sugar.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir to combine.
  4. Scoop onto parchment paper lined baking pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes
Notes
  1. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
Adapted from Chef Savvy
Adapted from Chef Savvy
merelynne http://merelynne.com/

Egg Roll in a Bowl {recipe}

egg roll in a bowl recipe
If I had to pick one type of food to eat every day for the rest of my life it would be Chinese. Hands down. No questions asked. No take-backs. I love Chinese food. J knows that he can always get me to vary from our meal plan if he offers to pick up Chinese food.

I’m also a pretty picky Chinese food junkie. I’m specific on what I want my beef and broccoli to taste like. There’s one restaurant in town and their beef and broccoli is the worst. Do you remember the frozen meals with salisbury steak? Yep, that’s what their meal taste like. Awful!

So if he’s going to bribe me with Chinese food then it has to be from my favorite place who’s beef and broccoli is amazing. Also, their crab rangoons taste like actually crab rangoons.

One of my favorite items to get is the egg roll. But again, I’m picking. I don’t want it dripping with grease and I want to be able to taste the meat inside. And if I bite into it and all of the stuffing comes out then I’m pretty bummed.  Usually I get tired of the fired shell, so I cut open my egg rolls in dump them in a bowl.  I know, I know, I’m crazy!  Egg roll in a bowl?  But it’s so good!

Now J and I have been trying to eat healthier, and Chinese food isn’t really the best thing to get for that. So I’ve been having withdrawals. I need my fix.

I found a couple different versions of an egg roll in a bowl on Pinterest and it sparked my interest. I wanted to keep it healthy, light on fat and Carbs so I went with my own version.
egg roll in a bowl
easy lunch idea

I have to say it’s amazing. So so good! I even boxed up my leftovers and am having them for my lunch the next few days. Want to know the best part of this recipe? It’s super easy to prepare. No frying, no wonton wrappers, nothing.

Everything is prepared in one pan, too. So minimal cleanup, which is my favorite.
egg roll in a bowl for lunch
meal prep ideas

I swapped out sausage for lean ground turkey from the original recipes. There is a little different taste, but I still love it. To me, it feels healthier.

What’s your favorite type of food? 

 

For more easy recipes, check out my recipe page.

 

Egg Roll in a Bowl
Serves 4
A healthier version of an egg roll
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lbs. lean ground turkey
  2. 1 package dry coleslaw mix
  3. 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  4. 1 t. ginger
  5. 1 1/2 t. garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Brown turkey and drain off any grease.
  2. Mix soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder together.
  3. Add coleslaw mix to skillet with turkey.
  4. Pour soy sauce mix over skillet.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom
merelynne http://merelynne.com/

 

Freezer Lemon Pepper Chicken for the Slow Cooker

*Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link.

slow cooker lemon pepper chicken, freezer meal, freezer friendly

I’m not sure about your family, but we get in a dinner rut a lot around here. I feel like I make the same 5 dishes over and over again Sometimes it’s with chicken, hamburger or turkey meat, but overall it’s the same meal. I know why I always tend to make them too…

They’re easy to prepare.
They don’t require a ton of different ingredients.

I wanted to break out of our shell. Try something new for a change, but it had to fit my criteria for an easy dinner.

On Wednesdays we drive 30 minutes one-way to go bowling every week. We have to leave the house no later than 5:45 to make it there on time. So I prefer a slow cooker meal those nights. I pop the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and then J can finish up when he gets home a little before 5. That way when I walk in the door I’m not rushing around making dinner.

I hate feeling rushed!

I always get flustered and end of forgetting something.

With a little prep time I pulled together an easy slow cooker meal for this week. On Sunday I prepped a freezer bag full of chicken and a few ingredients, popped it in the freezer then the night before I pulled it out to place in the fridge. That’s all it took for a freezer lemon pepper chicken meal. Simple.

Remember my criteria for a good weeknight dinner?  This one fits them all!

It’s easy to prepare.

It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.

I also love my slow cooker.  I got as a gift a few years ago and it has earned every penny it costs!  I love that it has a timer, so I can set it to low for 6 hours and then it automatically switched to the keep warm setting.  No more burnt or overcooked dinners!  Here is a Hamilton Beach slow cooker similar to the one I have.  This one is great because it has a strap to seal the lid when traveling.   

freezer lemon pepper chicken slow cooker

Freezer Lemon Pepper Chicken
Serves 2
An easy freezer meal that can be popped into the slow cooker.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 chicken breasts
  2. 1 T. lemon juice
  3. 1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
  4. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the ingredients into a freezer storage bag
  2. Seal, pressing out any air
  3. Freeze.
  4. The day before preparing, place in the fridge to thaw.
  5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
merelynne http://merelynne.com/

Easy Slow Cooker Ravioli

Easy Slow Cooker Ravioli Recipe

On a night that I know I’m going to be late, I always turn to my trusty slow cooker.  The other night I had a hair appointment that I desperately needed.  It may have been close to a year since my last haircut. A year, people!  That’s bad.  One of my favorite go-to slow cooker recipes are the ones that don’t take 8 hours to cook.

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I do love an all day recipe.  The house always smells delicious and dinner is always perfect.  But sometimes it’s hard to remember to start dinner in the morning.  With being pregnant, my mind is falling apart.  I need a little help every once in awhile.  When I forget about having a long night then I need a dinner I can start on my lunch break.

I have discovered gold. Seriously! This is one of the best dinner recipes I have come across in a very, very long time.

I adapted this slow cooker ravioli recipe from The Country Cook.

I made it a little easier for me by making it only need 2 ingredients.

You can stick with the original, which is very good. I’ve made it before and we liked it, but I’m lazy and like to make it less work for me.

Here’s what you need for the easiest slow cooker ravioli recipe:

1) one bag of frozen ravioli (either cheese or beef will do – you could mix by doing 1/2 beef and 1/2 cheese)
2) 1 jar of pasta sauce
optional: garlic powder and pepper

You can use either white or red sauce with this recipe. It’s whatever your family prefers. I like lots of garlic flavoring, so I usually add about 1/4 teaspoon to my sauce along with some extra pepper.

Really the options are endless, you could add red pepper flakes, too. I’ve done that and it was still amazing.

Here’s how to prepare:

Put a Reynolds slow cooker liner in the crockpot

slow cooker ravioli
Place frozen ravioli in the slow cooker

crockpot ravioli
Add sauce and extra seasonings

slow cooker ravioli recipe
Stir to cover ravioli with sauce
Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours

That’s it. Super simple!

I usually serve mine with a little Italian bread and salad or extra veggies.

I don’t get paid to promote the slow cooker liners, but if you aren’t using them already, you have to start! They are lifesavers! Clean-up is so much easier with them.

I bought a dishwasher safe slow cooker so the pot could be washed, but by the time you add it in the dishwasher you don’t have room for anything else. So now with these liners I save my space in the dishwasher and don’t have to wash by hand.

Crescent Roll Pizza Recipe

Crescent Roll Pizzas

The other night on my way home I called J to see about what time he was going to be getting off work.  He sounded frantic and mad on the phone.  He had stopped at a gas station to fill up and now his truck wouldn’t start.  I rushed to him thinking that I could help, but in reality, knowing there was nothing I could do.  

After about 10 minutes of messing with it after I arrived, I’m still not sure how long he was trying to get it started before I arrived, the truck started.  Then died.  Then started again.  After a few minutes of idling we were able to pull away.  He drove two doors down to our local mechanic, who luckily was still open … for about 5 minutes.

We told them what happened, left his keys and then headed out the door.  At this point, I was starving. So was J.  I asked him about dinner and we decided on pizza.  You see…

…J and I both love pizza.  Him a little more than me, but it’s always one of our go-to dinner ideas.  Usually we would just call a pizza place and place an order for delivery, but lately we’ve been more mindful of our budget.  We headed home to try to put together a dinner that would hit the spot.  I had all of the fixings for pizza, except the crust and I was NOT about to make a homemade pizza crust.

Crescent Roll Pizzas Recipe

I found a package of crescent rolls in the fridge and the next thing I know we were eating delicious crescent roll pizza.

They were delicious!

We used ground turkey and sausage in ours, but the stuffings are limitless with these little bad boys.  You could use pepperoni, green peppers, tomatoes, ham, only cheese… whatever. The sky’s the limit!

Here’s what you need for these super easy crescent roll pizza:

1 package of crescent rolls
shredded cheese – any will do, we used mozzarella and sharp cheddar
toppings – you can use anything really, we had ground turkey and sausage –  make sure it’s cooked through
pizza sauce
butter, melted
garlic bread topping
Italian seasoning
Oregano

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  On a prep surface, I used a cutting board.  Unroll your crescent rolls.  Pile some cheese inside, about 1-2 Tablespoons per roll, but you can use as much as you want.  Top with your meat or toppings of choice.  Roll up and pinch the dough to seal any openings. You don’t want any cheese or toppings to fall out!

Crescent Roll Pizza Recipe

pinwheel pizza

Melt your butter and brush on top of the rolls.  Sprinkle garlic bread topping and your other seasonings on top.  Bake for 10 minutes.  

Crescent Pizza Recipe

Heat up your pizza sauce and pour into a little serving dish.  Enjoy!

J smothered his with pizza sauce, while I dipped mine.  It’s whatever you want.  By the time I finished snapping pictures of the final product, J had already devoured two of these!  I just kept hearing him go on and on about how good they were.  Of course I was busy trying to get a good shot so my mouth was watering by the time I sat down.

Crescent Roll Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Manicotti Recipe

stuffed chicken manicotti recipe

O.M.G. This Buffalo Chicken Manicotti has to be one of J and mine favorite meal.

It’s sooo good.  I mean, seriously, it’s that good.  I love pasta and J doesn’t so for me to get my pasta fix I usually have to find a way to add some kick to it.  Then he’ll be happy.

I made a buffalo chicken lasagna roll-up not too long ago and it’s a very similar recipe, just different noodle.  I have to get creative to get pasta!  I’ll have to share that one with you at some point.  I used Simply Gloria’s recipe as a starting point and made my own tweaks to it.  I am not a big fan of having to purchase a ton of ingredients or having to spend too much time in the kitchen.  I actually made the recipe just as Gloria does and it’s delicious.  But this time around, I took a few shortcuts.  It was still just as good and J couldn’t tell the difference.

I am not a big fan of anything spicy, so I usually start out making a normal dish then divide it in 2.  I add buffalo sauce to J’s portion and keep mine as is.  They are both delicious – well J thinks the buffalo chicken manicotti is amazing and I think my regular chicken manicotti is to die for.  So at the end we’re both happy – he gets a kick and I get my carbs!

The other night I went to make some buffalo chicken lasagna, but I of course did not have the right pasta noodles.  I did, however, have some manicotti shells leftover from another dish.  So I had my bright light bulb moment and this recipe was born.

buffalo chicken manicotti

I start by poaching chicken and then shredding it using my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment.  It’s so much easier and faster then trying to shred by hand using two forks.  I usually end up giving up after a few seconds and burn my hands to use my fingers.  So this way, I don’t burn myself and don’t have to have a lot of patience to get the job done.

I purchased jar Alfredo sauce (gasp! I know).  It was a lot easier and quicker to use then having to mess with making my own cream sauce.  I just heated the sauce on the stove and added in a bit more of pepper to taste.

Combine the shredded chicken, cream cheese, and mozzarella.  Once it’s mixed well divide the mixture into two.

buffalo chicken manicotti

In the second bowl add the buffalo sauce and stir well.  If you want the whole recipe to have buffalo sauce then go ahead and keep it all in one bowl.

Cook the manicotti noodles for about 5 minutes because it will finish cooking in the oven.  Drain and set on paper towels to remove any excess water.
buffalo chicken manicotti

This is the fun part!  A little messy, but so fun!  You want to take a spoonful of the chicken mixture and start stuffing into the manicotti shells.  You want to make sure they are stuffed to the brim.  Any excess pasta showing on the inside will just harden in the oven.  Do this with both the regular chicken mixture and the buffalo chicken mixture.
buffalo chicken stuffed manicotti, pan

Take a little of the Alfredo sauce and cover the baking pan.  Lay the stuffed noodles in the pan.  Once they are all placed, take the remaining Alfredo sauce and cover the pasta noodles.  You want to make sure everything is nice and covered to prevent them from hardening in the oven.  Plus the liquid will help the noodles finish cooking while it’s baking.

buffalo chicken manicotti

For the buffalo stuffed ones, I drizzle a little extra buffalo sauce on top before baking.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

buffalo chicken manicotti

Ingredients for stuffed buffalo chicken manicotti:

12 manicotti noodles, cooked and drained
2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
1/4 cup buffalo sauce (can add more or less to your taste)
1 jar of Alfredo Sauce
1/2 package (4 oz.) package cream cheese, divided
2 cups shredded mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Add manicotti pasta to large pot of boiling water, let cook for 5 minutes and then drain.  Place noodles on paper towels to remove any excess water.
  2. Heat Alfredo sauce on stove on medium heat.
  3. In large mixing bowl, add shredded chicken, cream cheese and mozzarella cheese.  Mix well
  4. Divide chicken mixture in half and place second half in another bowl.  Add buffalo sauce and mix well to combine.
  5. Put a spoonful of Alfredo sauce on bottom of baking pan and spread to cover.
  6. Stuff manicotti noodles with chicken mixture – half with buffalo chicken mixture and the other half with the regular chicken mixture.
  7. Spread remaining Alfredo sauce on top.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

crockpot meatballs – only 3 ingredients

3 ingredient crockpot meatballs

For Christmas this year we spent it with J’s family in St. Louis.  We had a blast!  I might have mentioned this before, but luckily my family and J’s family are both easy going.  So we switch holidays each year.  This year was Thanksgiving with mine and Christmas with his.  Next year, we’ll switch.  I love not having to drive across the state on Christmas morning.  It’ll make life so much easier when we have our little boy.

The weekend before Christmas is when we got together with my family.  My cousins came into town and we all headed over to my Grandma’s.  We had a huge, HUGE feast.  Everyone brought at least one dish to contribute, which made it a lot easier.  This year I brought my go-to meatballs.

Whenever we have a family gathering or a get-together with friends I always volunteer to bring meatballs.  I have two reasons for my go-to appetizer. First, they are always, always a hit!  Everyone loves them and they usually disappear within minutes.  Second, they are the easiest appetizer to make.

For Christmas with my family, I of course volunteered to bring meatballs.  I mean, why wouldn’t I bring the best dish there?!  I started them a few hours before we left for Grandma’s and didn’t even have to think about them once while they were cooking.  That’s my kind of dish.

crock pot meatballs, 3 ingredient meatballs

3 ingredient, crockpot meatballs:

1 – 2lb bag of frozen meatballs

1 – 18oz. bottle of BBQ sauce

1 – 18oz. jar of grape jelly

Place all ingredients in the crockpot, stir well to mix and then cover.  Cook on high for 3 hours then switch to the ‘keep warm’ selection for serving.

Like I told you, these crockpot meatballs are the easiest dish to prepare and are a huge crowd pleaser.

I use the KitchenAid 6 quart slow cooker.  It makes cooking a breeze!  I set a timer for how long I want to cook the meatballs and then when time is up and automatically turns to the warm position so nothing overcooks and the meatballs don’t get cold.  It’s perfect.