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Hey Siri, cook dinner

Let's face it, after a long day of work or cleaning and re-cleaning the house while trying to keep the tiny humans alive, cooking dinner can be the least favorite thing on our never ending to-do lists. Who doesn't love ordering out or sitting at your favorite restaurant? Delicious food, someone to get the drink refills, bring the 4th side of ketchup your kid is asking for, AND no dishes?! I am sold, even if my bank account might not be.


But in all seriousness, eating out frequently as a family of 4 certainly adds up. And it adds up fast. All it took was me going through one month of our bank statements totaling up any food or beverage purchases (aside from groceries) to realize we needed to pull the reins in and crack down on homemade cookin'! Here are few tips on the changes we made along with a few of our favorite, affordable and tasty recipes!



I always saw Ads for Hello Fresh or Home Chef and thought "I am way too picky for these fancy meals and it must be really expensive!" But after seeing the amount we spent on take out, I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try - and I am SO thankful that we did. We started back in February, just before the pandemic hit and it could not have been better timing. Having meals delivered right to our door, limiting the amount we had to deal with the crazy grocery stores, saved a lot of added stress and still does 8 months later. Deciding what works best for your family is important : from meal sizes, to what meals you want, to how frequently they come. We have received over 90 meals and I haven't been a fan of maybe 4 of them which is WILD if you knew how picky I am. It has expanded my taste and love for all different kinds of foods that our girls love too! Hello Fresh has not only saved us money, but has made cooking so much more fun. All 4 of us look forward to our box arriving and the nights when we all prepare a new dinner together! It keeps the kiddos involved and excited to eat dinner that they helped create from scratch. If meal delivery services aren't for you, crock-pot dinners are just as great to still save on time and money while whipping up a delicious meal!


'TIS THE SEASON FOR CROCK POT MEALS


Am I the only one who uses my crock-pot more-so in the cooler months? Summer time, we practically live outdoors and our grill gets plenty of use. But there is nothing like prepping a meal to toss in the crock-pot to cook on low and slow alllll day long while staying cozy inside enjoying the smell that quickly fills the entire house.


Dinner planning for the week is a great way to not only budget your shopping trip but to have a game plan on what to cook and when. This sounds like it can be time consuming but as a stay-at-home-mom during the day, working full time at night, attending college full time online, if I can do it, anyone can do it! Give it a try and see the difference throughout the week, you can thank me later..


Let Pinterest become your bestfriend - Create a board for dinner ideas to save as you go. Searching "simple dinner ideas" "cheap dinners" "crock-pot meals" will give you plenty of ideas to save and go back to. I (try) to always check the cabinets to see what we may need for specific meals and to see what we already have too much of (like the 4 unopened boxes of oatmeal or 3 unopened bottles of ketchup.) I make my list, head to the store and try to get in and out as soon as possible. Once I'm home and the groceries are put away, I go through and write down all the "use by" or "sell by" dates on my meats and vegetables. This helps me arrange what nights we will eat what meals, to make sure nothing goes bad and goes to waste! Doing these few steps can help save so much time and stress, especially after a long day. I promise it's worth giving a shot!


Now for the moment you have been waiting for, drum roll please...……...


The Moulton Family Favorites:

From Our Family Cookbook to Yours

(Click on the photo to view/save the recipe)


Courtesy of : Shugary Sweets

Prep Time: 10 minutes - Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup diced onions (yellow or white)

  • 1 cup shredded carrots

  • 2 1/2-3 cups broccoli florets, chopped small

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (if heat is desired)

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium/high heat, melt butter. Add in onions, carrots and broccoli. Cook to soften about 5 minutes.

  2. Slowly add in broth, milk, and cream. Sprinkle with flour and add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Continue stirring and heating over medium heat until thickened. About 10-15 minutes.

  3. Once thick, add cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Serve & enjoy!


Courtesy of : LIFE IN THE Lofthouse

Prep Time : Varies depending on frozen or fresh meats

Ingredients


  • 6 breaded chicken tenders

  • Preferred lettuce rinsed, dried then chopped

  • 6 slices bacon cooked then chopped

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half

  • 1 cup croutons

  • Dressing of your choice

Instructions

  1. If using frozen chicken tenders, cook in oven according to package directions. Fresh boneless chicken breast coated in your favorite breading mixture or grilled cooked until it reaches internal temperature of 165.

  2. Cook bacon

  3. Place chopped lettuce in a large bowl. Top lettuce with chopped chicken, bacon, tomatoes and croutons. Top with your favorite dressing (avoid tossing entire salad in dressing to enjoy longer throughout the week)

  4. Serve and enjoy!


Courtesy of : Cincy Shopper

Prep Time: 15 minutes - Crock-Pot Cook Time: 5 hrs on high ; 10 hrs on low


Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb Beef Roast

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1 tbsp Salt

  • 2 tsp Pepper

  • 1 packet of McCormick Pot Roast Spice

  • 2 tsp minced Garlic

  • 1 lb Carrots

  • 2 lb Potatoes

  • 1 large Onion

  • 32 oz Beef Stock

Instructions

  • Peel and cut carrots into 1-3" pieces.

  • Peel and cut onions into 1-3" pieces.

  • Wash and cut potatoes into 1-3" pieces.

  • Mix together salt, pepper, thyme, McCormick spice packet

  • Rub roast with olive oil and cover with about 2/3 of spice mix.

  • Heat skillet over medium high heat and brown on all sides.

  • Transfer roast to slow cooker.

  • Lightly coat vegetables in olive oil and season with remaining spice mix.

  • Transfer vegetables to slow cooker.

  • Add stock to slow cooker.

  • Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 10 hours until vegetables are tender and meat pulls apart easily.

  • Transfer meat and vegetables to dish.

  • Serve remaining sauce over meat and vegetables.


Courtesy of : Persnickety Plates

Prep Time: 10 minutes - Crock-Pot Cook Time: 5 hrs on low

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened & cubed

  • 2 cans "cream of" soup I use Cream of Chicken

  • 1 packet Ranch seasoning mix

  • 6 oz noodles

Instructions

  1. Trim your chicken breasts and lay into the slow cooker.

  2. Cover the chicken with two cans of soup and ranch seasoning mix. Place your cubed cream cheese on top.

  3. Cover and cook on low for approximately 5 hours, stirring occasionally. You may break up the chicken as it cooks.

  4. Cook whatever noodles you like and pour them into the chicken mixture. Or keep them separate and ladle the chicken mixture over noodles.

  5. Optional* Top with a shredded Italian cheese blend and black pepper.

  6. Serve & Enjoy!


Courtsey of : Dinner then Dessert

Prep Time: 10 minutes - Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground beef

  • 29 ounces canned tomato sauce

  • 29 ounces canned kidney beans not drained

  • 29 ounces canned pinto beans not drained

  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes chopped

  • 1 yellow onion diced

  • 1 diced jalapeno de-seeded and de-veined **optional

  • 2 stalks celery chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper chopped

  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder

  • 1/4 cup chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1/2 packet of McCormick Chili Spice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, brown the ground beef.

  2. Drain the fat.

  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the butter) and bring to a boil.

  4. Lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 2 hours stirring occasionally.

  5. Add in the butter and stir until melted.

  6. Optional* store bought or homemade cornbread muffins

  7. Serve & Enjoy

Courtesy of : Whole Lotta Yum

Prep Time: 10 min - Crock-pot Cook Time: 3-4 hrs on High // or 6-7 hrs on Low

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Italian sausages (sweet or spicy) (5)

  • 1 red pepper, sliced

  • 1 green pepper, sliced

  • 2 cups onion, sliced

  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt

  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1 cup chunky marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat a  skillet on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

  2. Sear the Italian sausages 2-3 mins on each side until starting to brown. You aren't trying to cook them all the way through, you're just browning the outside a bit which always increases the flavor while slow cooking.

  3. Lay the seared Italian sausages in the bottom of a crock-pot.

  4. Add the uncooked sliced onions and peppers on top of the sausages.

  5. Sprinkle the garlic salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning over the top.

  6. Spread the marinara sauce over the onion and pepper mixture.

  7. Carefully mix sauce and peppers with the seasoning but leave the sausage undisturbed on the bottom. Honestly, you could probably skip mixing the peppers together with the sauce as long as you try to evenly distribute the sauce over the top of the vegetable mix.

  8. Cook the crock pot sausage and peppers recipe on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours until the peppers are soft and the Italian sausage is cook through.

  9. Serve with garlic bread or salad and enjoy!



Courtesy of : Isabel Eats

Prep Time: 10 mins - Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken

  • 2 cups enchilada sauce

  • 8 flour tortillas

  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • optional toppings: diced onions, chopped cilantro, sour cream, or shredded lettuce.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, 1/4 cup enchilada sauce and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together and taste. Season with more salt and pepper as needed.

  2. Microwave the tortillas on a plate for 1 minute, flipping them halfway through until all of them are warm and pliable.

  3. Assemble the enchiladas by filling each tortilla evenly with the shredded chicken mixture and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas tightly to close and place in large baking dish seam side down.

  4. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas, top with the remaining shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

  5. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!



I could write a book with all of our favorite meals but for the sake of this post, we narrowed it down to a handful. We always love trying out new recipes- Click the Chat button to send along some of your favs for us to try!






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