Lunch Warmer Crockpot

I mentioned this little crockpot last week and I received it on Saturday. I am working from home today and decided to try it to see how it worked before taking it in the car with me. I am absolutely in love with this thing. I want to say that I am NOT getting paid by this company to endorse it. I had a neighbor recommend it to me and it is fantastic. It is not meant to cook your food. It is meant to be used with leftovers and it will heat them to a perfect temperature in about 3-4 hours. Let me show you how it works.

To purchase this little food warmer- go here. 20 ounce crockpot lunch pot

It has this great little handle which is perfect for carrying from your home to the car.

IMAG3170

The cord wraps around the bottom and snaps into place underneath it.

IMAG3171

The little dishwasher safe container has a lid that snaps on.I filled this last night and sat it in my fridge. This morning I dropped it into my container and screwed on the lid and plugged it into the outlet.

IMAG3172IMAG3173

At noon my chili was warm. The outside of the crockpot was barely warm to the touch. No danger of burning from the outside if you touch it. The cheese began to melt the second that it touched the chili. It holds 20 ounces of food. I am so excited about this little container. I will finally have hot food in my car as I bought an inverter to plug it into the car with. To buy the inverter to use in the car go here. Inverter

IMAG3176

Slow Cooker Chili

I tried another freezer meal and I love it. The recipe called for it to be done in a slow cooker but I cooked it in a pot on the stove instead. I fell down my stairs 10 weeks ago and hurt my hip. Since I keep my slow cooker in a crawl space and getting into it right now isn’t exactly comfortable for me I won’t be using it much for a bit. I am sure it would be just as good prepared in a slow cooker. I only made a couple of changes to it. I added an extra teaspoon of chili powder as I felt that it needed a bit more punch. I also used a chili mix bean instead of kidney beans. While it was cooking I at first thought it was a bit thin but I let it cook down a bit and it was okay. I may add a bit of tomato paste next time to make it a bit richer. This recipe was still a complete success as being a freezer meal.

You can get the original recipe here. Passion For Saving Freezer Meals

IMAG3169

I spent my morning working on the yearly training and testing for my license for my job. Bucca was my  friend and stayed in a box a couple of feet away. I am so glad that I got this cat to live with me. He is such a sweetheart.

IMAG3167

Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients for freezer pack:

2 Cups Cooked Ground Beef

1 Cup of Onion, diced

2 Cans Diced Tomatoes

1 Can of Tomato Sauce

1 Can of Water (I use the Diced Tomatoes Can)

1 Can Dark Red Kidney Beans (I used a 15 ounce can of chili mix- pinto beans with a light tomato sauce and spices)

1 Packet Chili Seasoning Mix

1 teaspoon chili powder (This was my addition)

3 Stalks Celery, chopped

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. Sugar (I omitted entirely. You could substitute for any diet sweetener of your choice)

Directions: Cook Ground Beef and Onion. Combine all ingredients in a Freezer Gallon Size Bag. Freeze until Needed. Remove from Freezer and Thaw Overnight in Fridge. Place contents of bag in Slow Cooker and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours Serve with Fritos (omit for low carb) and Shredded Cheese (I used Mexican blend of cheese).

 

Keeping My Lunch Warm

Since changing jobs four years ago I now work out of my car 3-4 days a week and that has made eating lunches a bit difficult and staying on track. My wonderful neighbor Andrea found this 20 ounce crock pot that would be perfect for my lunch. At first I didn’t understand how it would work since it needs to be plugged into a wall but Andrea showed me these cute little inverters that convert the plug to be used in the car.

20 ounce Crockpot <- click here to purchase.

Inverter <–Click here to purchase

51dtpawjfll-_sl1024_

61s9nq0c5bl-_sl1000_

I bought the red one! I am very excited about using my frozen meals in my new little crockpot. This is going to be great!! These little crockpots work great in an office too.

White Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This recipe is another of the recipes that I made last Saturday with Donna for my freezer meals. I put this into quart baggies so that I could spread it out and not get bored with eating leftovers of the same thing as often. I tried it tonight for dinner and it is fabulous so I am sharing it with you.

IMAG3159

IMAG3157

I got the recipe here. Passion For Saving

I didn’t change anything to make this. I did eat it topped with about 5 tortilla chips for crunch and found that it added 5 carbs to the count for me. I also ate it with salsa and next time I plan to add avocado as well. This recipe is a keeper.

White Chicken Enchilada Bake Ingredient for Meal Pack:

4 Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup

1 can of Diced Green Chilies

1 container Sour Cream

½ Cup Onion, finely diced

1/2 cup Milk

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt

¼ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Pepper

Ingredients for Assembly:

1 (10 oz.) package tortilla chips

1 16 oz. Bag of Mexican Blended Cheese (Cheddar & Monterrey Jack)

Directions: Cook Chicken before Assembly Combine Diced Chicken, Cream of Chicken Soup, Chilies, Sour Cream, Onion, Milk, Garlic Salt, Salt & Pepper in a Large Gallon Size Ziploc Bag. Freeze Until Needed (Note: You may assemble in a Lasagna pan before freezing but the chips tend to be a little soggy using that method so I prefer to assemble before baking) Remove from Freezer and Thaw overnight in the Fridge Layer Chips & Chicken Sauce in a 9×13 Baking Dish, Top with all of the Cheese Bake for 30 Minutes on 350 Degrees! Serve with lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado, hot sauce, etc.

Baked “Ziti” with Cabbage

I promised to share the recipes with you as I try them if I like them. I do love this one and will make it as a freezer meal often. I divided it into two baking dishes since I am single. Each recipe was supposed to make four servings but I can already tell that I will get more than that from this dish.

Several years ago I read that if you boiled cabbage in water with heavy whipping cream that it would remove the strong flavor of cabbage and you could use it instead of lasagna noodles. I had never tried it until now and it was fabulous. I didn’t add a lot of the cabbage but I honestly didn’t taste the cabbage flavor. The flavor of the sauce and cheeses was just a pleasant Italian recipe experience.

IMAG3147

IMAG3145

I found the recipe here- A Passion For Saving

Baked “Ziti” with Cabbage-  Ingredients for Freezer Meal:

1/2 head of cabbage cut into bite size pieces and single layers

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ Cup of onion, chopped finely

2 Cups of Ground Beef Cooked (approx. 1 lb.)

2 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce

6 Slices Provolone Cheese

1 Cup sour cream- I omitted because I am not a fan of sour cream.

8 oz. Bag of Mozzarella cheese

Directions for Assembly: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cabbage and heavy whipping cream, and cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes; drain. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray 2 8×8 inch pans with non-stick cooking spray. Layer as follows in each pan: 1/4 of the ziti, 1/4 of the sauce, 4 slices of Provolone cheese, 1/2 of sour cream, 1/4 of cabbage, 1/4 mozzarella cheese and 1/4 of sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake covered for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

 

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

This book was amazing. I read 2-4 books each week and I only share the ones that take my breath away and this one does just that. I love to use Good Reads to keep track of the books that I read and they also like to recommend books to me based on how well I liked similar books. This book was recommended to me by them. This is one of those books that I would love to own. I think it would make a wonderful movie as well.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom– purchase on Amazon

the-kitchen-house-9781439153666_hr

This description is by Good Reads

“When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while on board ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.”

Once a Week Cooking

Donna and I have been talking about doing the once a month cooking for a long time now and this morning we did it for the first time. We decided to just do enough for a week to try the new recipes. We made five new recipes that are main entrees and one new recipe for a side dish. As I try them I will update if we liked them or not. I only had to make small changes to two of them to make them low carb.

We started working on this at 10:15 and we were finished by 12:30. We were able to make 10 meals that serve 4 people each within that time. I bought most of the items for the recipes at Aldi and we kept the receipts to tally how much we spent. I want to do this to start eating healthier and to save money. We spent $58 each. Her meals will last them about 1-2 weeks and I figure that mine will last me 2-3 weeks since I am single. This is what we had we finished.

weekly meal

I put mine in smaller baggies whenever possible so as not to cook a huge amount and then bore with it before it goes bad. The tortillas are low carb and came from Kroger.

The meals that we made were:

Chili- This will fill a large pot.

White Enchilada Chicken Casserole

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli

Baked Ziti- I made some alterations to this. I did not use pasta. I am hoping to have this for dinner tomorrow so I will let you know if I like it and what my changes were. You might be surprised for what I used instead of pasta.

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Black Beans- This one has a bit higher carb count but it is still doable. Many people are able to eat black beans without them spiking their glucose. I will let you know if I am one of those people. I did make another change to it to lower the carbs. I will share my changes after I have had time to try this one.

We found the original recipes from this site. She does an excellent job of making the grocery list for you and providing directions for how to do them.

A Passion for Savings

We learned that we need to make a few changes to how we do this next time. I will bake the chicken instead of cooking it in a skillet to cut down on time.

Write on the ziplock bags before you put the ingredients into the bag.

Have cookie sheets to freeze the bags flat on inside your freezer.

Make each recipe once before creating multiples of it. You don’t need to follow the recipes exactly. For instance I am not a big fan of sour cream unless it is mixed well into a sauce. I did not layer it in the Baked Ziti recipe.

Donna and I will do this again soon and as we do I will share these recipes here too.