Featured

Back to School Freezer Meals

Hey strangers! Sorry for the long pause. It is back to school for me and my babies, which means that things here are nonstop and this mama is in bed by 8:30 with the kiddos!

As part of my back to school prep, I always try to make some freezer meals that I can just pop in the crock pot on a morning I know we will be running late or needing food ready when we get home. Freezer meals are a perfect fit for me. I can make a bunch at once, then put them in the freezer and have them as needed. This week, I bought an extra big pack of chicken breasts and used them to make 3 easy meals. Sometimes I do the meal prep beforehand, but this year I am at a new school and have more prep to do there. With that in mind, I prepped these while I cooked a simple oven sheet pan dinner for me and the kids (more of those to come later ;).

Today, I am doing 3 meals in 1. You will see one combined shopping list, because many of the ingredients are overlapping and I can usually get things cheaper in bigger packs. The 3 meals are:

  1. Creamy salsa chicken
  2. Chicken Alfredo
  3. Chicken fajitas

I will walk you through what goes in each bag, but first, the shopping list:

Meat department:

  • 1 large pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (aim for 6-7)

Produce department

  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion

Frozen foods

  • 1 bag broccoli
  • 1 bag corn

Canned goods

  • 1 container of your favorite salsa
  • 1 can black beans, low salt
  • 1 can gluten free cream of chicken soup
  • 2 jars garlic Alfredo sauce
  • 4 oz can diced tomatoes

Seasoning

  • Taco seasoning (2 baggies or 6 oz)
  • 2 bay leaves

When I make the meals, I get each bag ready and labeled with the meal description and the date. Most freezer meals with chicken last 4-6 months. I prep all my veggies first, then put in my meat, and finally add the seasonings and sauces on top. Here is each bag:

  1. Creamy salsa chicken

1/2 onion, diced

1 bag corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 container of salsa

1 pack taco seasoning (about 3-4 oz)

1 can cream of chicken soup (GF version)

2-3 chicken breasts

2. Chicken Alfredo

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 bag frozen broccoli

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

2 jars Alfredo sauce

2-3 chicken breasts

3. Chicken fajitas

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

1/2 onion sliced

1 red pepper sliced

1 pack taco seasoning (3-4 oz)

2-3 chicken breasts

When you put your meals in the freezer, make sure that there is no air in the bag and that you lay each meal flat. Squish them around a bit to make sure the chicken is covered in liquid (it acts like a marinade once it is cooking). I put one frozen meal in the crock pot on low for 8-10 hours. When ready to eat, shred the chicken in the crock pot and serve. I usually pair the Alfredo with gluten free noodles, and the fajitas and the salsa chicken over rice.

A little prep beforehand (20 minutes for all 3 meals) gets 3 ready to go meals later! Perfect for a busy time like back to school! Wish me luck on a new school year with new students!

Featured

Jalapeno Poppers

Tonight’s recipe is a crowd favorite. Whether it is for a few friends when you are hosting a dinner, a pot luck, or just a fun appetizer, it is always a hit!

To be honest, who does not love poppers? The simplicity in making these is well worth the many compliments I receive. The trick is in a balance of flavors and a well cooked pepper.

For this instance, I am making poppers for my Bunco group. A few years ago, a friend asked me to go play Bunco with her. I had no idea what this game was, but I said yes. My littlest guy was 3 months old, and I told her that I would jump out of a plane if it got me out of the house for some grown up time! Two years later, we still play almost every month. If you have never played before, Bunco is a great ladies night! You need 12 players, 3 tables, 12 dice and the ability to count to 21! So easy and yet so fun, this group has saved my sanity more than once.

In our group, we have the same setup each month: one person hosts, everyone brings a dish and their own drinks šŸ·. I brought these poppers on my second visit and was moved from the sub list to a regular! The only disappointment was for my poor hubby who was hoping for leftovers šŸ˜‰

Easy Jalapeno Poppers

  • 12 large jalapenos
  • 2 blocks of regular cream cheese, softened
  • 2 chives
  • 2 T bacon bits

Preheat oven to 375* F.

In a medium glass bowl, soften cream cheese in the microwave for 1 minute on 50% power. Slice chives into rounds and add to cream cheese along with bacon bits. Stir together with a spoon until blended.

Lily (4yo) did the filling mixing while I cut the peppers!

Cut jalapenos lengthwise and take out ribs and seeds as desired for spiciness (the more you remove, the milder the flavor). Place each half onto a baking sheet. Add a spoonful of filling to each pepper and spread out into the entire shell. Wash your hands VERY WELL after this step and be careful not to touch your face. Take it from experience- it will hurt!

Bake peppers for 15-20 minutes, until peppers have softened and have a little bit of brown on the bottom. Ready to serve for up to 3 hours.

To all of you, good night and good luck! In Bunco and in life, it can all change with one roll of the dice!

Shrimp and Grits

Tonight I am giving a nod to my friends in Louisiana. I spent four exciting years in Lake Charles, Louisiana for college (Geaux Pokes!) and there is no food like Cajun food! Thankfully, I didn’t have my gluten sensitivity yet, so I was able to enjoy all these amazing flavors. Once I found out I couldn’t have gluten, almost all restaurant Cajun food was on the no no list because of the reaux (flour and butter mixture that makes the base of most of these recipes). Thankfully, through recipes I found online and alot of experimenting, I have perfected my shrimp and grits recipe so I can still enjoy the luscious, silky flavors!

Youth! Dorm life in Louisiana for me šŸ™‚

Today, my favorite way to make this recipe is in my crock pot. It lets the flavors really meld together without me having to sit and watch it forever. The only caveat to this is that it is not an all day recipe- it only needs 4 hours in the crock pot on low- so plan for a weekend afternoon. On a weeknight, you can use the same ingredients on the stove, and it will take you a total of about 30-45 minutes. When you buy shrimp at the grocery store, you can get them peeled and deveined if you are in a hurry, but you can save money by peeling your own.

Now, to my featured ingredient (shameless plug) in this dish. Every region of Louisiana has their preferred brand of spices, but I always use Tony’s. It is like that commercial- I put that s*** on everything! It is my go to for any recipe, even non-Cajun dishes. It is even good on popcorn! I buy the salt free, and then add salt if needed.

Kid tips

  1. I cut up all the veggies and the kids like to taste a few to see what they like raw. Then they get to put everything in the crock pot (before you turn it on).
  2. My 4 year old likes to help measure, so she measures out the ingredients for the grits. Yes, it is messier, but it is a great skill!
  3. Make sure your kids know that even when they are helping you, they should NEVER touch the outside of a crock pot. They don’t know if it is on, and the outside of those things get HOT!!!

Little hands that help to cook are more likely to eat!

Also, if you are not using a crock pot liner, you need to run out and buy them right now! Makes clean up so much easier, and any leftovers lift right out into tupperware!

Slow Cooked Shrimp and Grits

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 green bell pepper

3 green onions

1 stalk celery

4 T butter

2 T+ 1T Creole Seasoning (Tony’s!)- added separately

1-2 lbs raw shrimp- the bigger the better

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 c heavy cream

Quick grits

  1. Dice bell peppers, celery and onion and put into the bottom of your crock pot.
  2. Cube butter into small chunks and put in crockpot. Add 2T creole seasoning.
  3. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.
  4. Rinse and drain shrimp, especially if purchased frozen. Season with 1T Tony’s and add to the crock pot. Turn the heat to high. Cook shrimp for 15 minutes.
  5. While shrimp is cooking, make quick grits on the stove according the box directions. Stir every 1-2 minutes to ensure you don’t have lumps!
  6. After 15 minutes, add cream and cheese to the crock pot and stir everything together. Put lid on and cook for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  7. Put grits in bottom of the bowl, then ladle shrimp and cheese sauce onto the top liberally.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this dish! Thanks for reading my blog. To my friends in Louisiana now, stay dry and safe from Tropical Storm Barry!

Mini Cheesecakes

Since this is a cooking blog, I guess it is time to share some food, right? This past week was the 4th of July, and we were off to a friend’s house for a BBQ and fireworks party. The food was pot luck, and my friend asked me to bring a dessert. So for this special occasion, I updated one of my favorite, super simple dessert recipes- mini cheesecakes- into a red, white and blue treat!

This recipe was originally from my mom’s recipe cards. It is so handy for parties to make cupcakes because they are single serve! No muss, no serving and cutting and trying to get the right amount of topping per piece. For this recipe, I HIGHLY recommend using the muffin liners that have the foil on the inside- otherwise you lose a lot of yummy cheesecake on the wrapper!

My personal favorite part of this recipe is the crust. When my mom made these growing up, we always used a vanilla wafer. When I started the gluten free life, I put this recipe in the back of the cabinet with all of the other wonderful childhood recipes I thought were gone forever. I tried to do it crust free, with different gluten free cookies until I found my favorite, but you can sub in any cookie at the bottom.

I personally like the chocolate ones, but have used the vanilla cream as well.

The other great thing about this recipe is that it is SUPER easy to make. My 4 year old loves to bake with me, and this is one we can create quickly and easily. Everything goes into the stand mixer and then into the muffin tins!

Like I said before, there are ways to make this your own recipe. I already mentioned the crust, but you can also change up your toppings to your favorite cheesecake topping! Any fruit is delicious on here, which is why I added the blueberries to make it more patriotic!

Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

24 cupcake liners (with foil inside)

24 cookies (I use Glutino sandwich cookies)

2 packs of 8 oz cream cheese softened (the softer, the better)

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (20 oz) cherry pie filling with extra cherries

24 blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 375* F
  2. Line muffin tin with liners. Place one cookie in the bottom of each liner. (Kid job, and we count them out together!)
  3. In stand mixer bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla until fluffy and light.
  4. Fill liners 3/4 full with mix
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheesecake has set and does not jiggle. Cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Top with a spoonful of pie filling. Add one blueberry to the center of each cupcake.
  7. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving

And there you have it! Delicious and patriotic cheesecakes!

Who am I?

Mom, wife, school teacher, and home cook.

Hi there! My name is Meagan, and I live in Georgia with my husband and 2 kids. Like many moms today, I have a LOT going on each week. Between work life and home life, it is so easy to get stressed out! Cooking is something that has always helped me feel happy, especially on a rough day. After years of friends asking for my recipes, I decided to start this blog! Thanks for checking it out!

What kind of food will you find on my blog?

  • Family friendly- like the name says, I have my 2 kids in the kitchen with me while I cook. Sometimes they will sit and play nearby, but most of the time they are right in there cooking with me!
  • Quick and easy- most of my weeknight meals are ready in less than 30 minutes after walking in the door.
  • Gluten free- I was diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity in 2012, and cannot tolerate it at all. Over the years I have adapted and updated most of my recipes to be completely gluten free!

Feel free to comment or ask questions! I would love to hear from you!