Cooking a whole chicken is economical, easy, and delicious. Once you decide to give up conventional, factory-farmed meat (that’s oftentimes laced with antibiotics and synthetic hormones) and switch to the humanely-raised, organic variety instead, it’s no secret that the price goes up. To offset this increase in cost you can do two things – select cuts of meat that are less expensive per pound (like a whole chicken) and/or eat less meat all together. For all those who have never cooked a whole chicken before…have no fear because it’s easy to do! And this even applies to people like me who don’t like to actually handle or touch whole, raw chickens. I normally cook whole chickens in my slow cooker, but have recently become fond of roasting chicken as well (details below).
These biscuits might be my family’s new obsession…they are so tasty good! They are almost like a much better (and better for you) version of those Red Lobster biscuits everyone has probably had at one time or another. And they are so quick and easy to make as well. What’s not to love!?
I also want to make sure you know about one of the newest “real food” cookbooks that just hit the shelves last week (pictured below). It’s from our meal planning sponsor – The Fresh 20! Their new book contains over 125 recipes that are organized into seasonal, weekly meal plans, and each week comes with it’s very own corresponding shopping list. Every recipe comes with a beautiful picture, and there are lots of prep-ahead tips throughout. Following wholesome and realistic meal plans like these can be a big time saver for busy parents. Has anyone made anything from the new The Fresh 20 cookbook yet? If so, please share the details below! Continue Reading »
Making macaroni and cheese from scratch is almost as easy as the boxed stuff. In fact, I had a reader tell me that she and her husband decided to race against each other – one making homemade mac and cheese and the other making it out of a box – and it took them the same amount of time! And as an added bonus the homemade version tastes SO MUCH better (at least in my opinion). To be honest, I can’t even hardly eat the boxed stuff anymore because the taste of the powdered cheese just doesn’t cut it for me like it did in the old days.
I’ve shared a mac and cheese recipe on the blog before, but recently discovered a different way to make it (below). One night I was actually making Fettuccine Alfredo as a side dish, but I didn’t have any fettuccine on hand so I used macaroni noodles instead. My younger daughter said “Oh mommy, thank you for making macaroni and cheese.” (one of her favorites), and I said “Well, this isn’t exactly ‘macaroni’ babe.” But that gave me an idea. Instead of starting with a roux (butter and flour) to make macaroni maybe I could alter my Alfredo recipe and use less cream and lots more cheese for a new, creamy version of macaroni and cheese. And voila! Here you have it below…
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I may be late to the party, but I am just now discovering how incredibly convenient frozen vegetables are. My default has always been fresh veggies, but, according to Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food, “Freezing does not significantly diminish the nutritional value of produce” [like canning does] because the crops are picked and frozen at the peak of freshness. So in some cases – if you are comparing, let’s say, fresh blueberries flown in from another continent to local organic blueberries that you froze yourself at the height of the season – the frozen berries could possibly even be the better (i.e. more nutritious and certainly less-traveled) option out of those two choices.
So in an effort to save time I decided to try out a bag of frozen, pre-cut, mixed veggies to make a super quick and easy weeknight dinner. And let me tell you what – not having to wash, peel, and chop (and even select at the store) all the different fresh veggies in this meal was definitely a time saver – without sacrificing too much in the way of taste. When there are a lot of flavors going on, like this fried rice recipe, I find it harder to detect the difference between fresh and frozen. I will continue buying fresh veggies for simpler meals and side dishes, but it’s nice to know that frozen is a decent option when you are in a pinch!
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Inspired by my friend Amy Bishop with Greenbrier Farms (an organically run farm in S.C.), I am excited to share this tasty curry chicken salad recipe with you today. Chicken salad is traditionally made with mayo and unfortunately mayonnaise isn’t exactly a real food. The store bought versions are typically made with refined oils and also contain more than 5 ingredients. The homemade versions are more “real food approved” but oftentimes call for raw eggs, which I am on the fence about, plus we eat mayo so infrequently I don’t feel (for me personally) it’s worth the time to make it from scratch. So I’ve tried substituting plain yogurt in dishes like chicken salad, egg salad, and deviled eggs without much success because, frankly, I think plain yogurt is rather plain tasting and the flavor – or lack thereof – was a little too overwhelming in these dishes. So I was thrilled to be introduced to the idea of adding curry to chicken salad, because curry has such a wonderful flavor it totally makes up for what the yogurt is missing.
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A couple months ago I shared a fellow blogger’s From Your Freezer To Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes eCookbook and I am not going to lie…many of you went a little crazy over this book! In reality, the concept behind this e-cookbook is a great idea. You spend one afternoon chopping, assembling and freezing “meal packs,” and then on any given day you pop one into your slow cooker and voila! – dinner is done.
Many of you had questions about how this method of cooking works exactly, so today I invited the author, Stephanie, to share all of the details with us so you can create your own “Freezer to Slow Cooker” recipes at home. Or better yet you could just pick up a copy of her book if you’d rather someone else do all the work for you!
Guest post by Stephanie Brandt Cornais
Hiya! My name is Stephanie and I am the Founder of MamaAndBabyLove.com. I am dedicated to helping women heal, nourish and love themselves so they can nourish and love their families and live their best life.
I have been on a personal journey to learn how to be healthy and cook for over ten years now, and it’s been a loooong and arduous process. I used to watch The Food Network and get inspired to get off the couch and try a recipe, but the end result was usually something my dog wouldn’t even eat. Then about six years ago I bought a slow cooker and it changed. my. life.
Later when my daughter was born, time was of the essence so I therefore needed a really efficient way to make lots of slow cooker meals at one time. So I combined my old love of slow cooking and my new love of freezer cooking into something that was incredibly time saving, manageable and most importantly, healthy.
In about 2 hours or less, I chop all my meat and vegetables and put them in Ziploc freezer bags. Then I add my spice combinations and mix it up a bit. I get all the air out of the bag and lay it flat like a brick so that it doesn’t take up a lot of space in my freezer. Then the morning I want a home cooked, healthy meal, I take a bag out of my freezer and dump it into my slow cooker, totally frozen. By dinner time I have a real, healthy and nourishing meal awaiting my family and me. Continue Reading »