Pork Tenderloin over Orzo

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Left out the cherry tomatoes and substituted onion powder for the sliced onions. Pork came out super tender and juicy.

I know I’ve had orzo before, but I’ve never actually purchased it myself. I first checked the pasta aisle, nope no orzo. Thought to myself, was I wrong? Is it a rice or other grain? So I checked the rice and specialty grain section…nope, not there either. Went back to the pasta section a second time, still not there. Maybe the health food market section has it? Yup, the organic, whole wheat kind. Well, at this point, guess beggars can’t be choosers.

Since I refrigerate my meals after cooking, I have started to store any liquid left in the slow cooker with the meat to help prevent it from getting dried out. For this meal, I divided the extra liquid between the meat and the orzo so they both would stay fresher. Really helped the orzo not be clumpy or super starchy and sticky when re-heated.

Penne with Gouda

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Got to use my food processor the grate cheese for the first time with this recipe. Cheese was a little soft, but it still did a great job.

Reminder that only the pasta and broth goes in the slow cooker to cook. Once the cooking is done you add the cream and cheese. I forgot to stir the pasta at the one hour mark and it still turned out fine. Texture was right on, no soggy or hard pasta.

I had some leftover bacon from the Hot Brown Sandwiches, so I got it super crisp and broke it into the pasta at the very end. Left out the vegetable saute and added a pretzel roll and some meatballs since my husband needs more protein in his meals. Really liked how the recipe turned out.

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Finished meal:

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Round 3: Hot Brown Sandwiches

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Using the last of our Greek-Style Turkey Breast meal for sandwiches. Recipe called for Welsh Rarebit? Never heard of this before. Looked in the frozen foods section since Stouffer’s supposedly makes it, but couldn’t find any in the store, so I got to make my own.

Found a good old Alton Brown recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/welsh-rarebit-recipe.html. Did not have porter beer or hot sauce on hand, so I just left those ingredients out. Still tasted fine to me.

Welsh Rarebit:

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 package shredded Cheddar cheese (about 1 3/4 cup)

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour in cream and whisk until well combined and smooth. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth; this will take 4 to 5 minutes.

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Round 2: Turkey Salad Sandwich

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Needed a quick lunch and an excuse to use my awesome new food processor. Decided to use some of the leftover turkey to make turkey-salad sandwiches. Found this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/turkey-salad/ and edited it to taste.

About 3/4 pound cooked turkey breast

About 1 1/2 cups celery

3 tbsp mayo

2 tbsp Dijon-mustard

1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1. Place cooked turkey meat and celery in a food processor. Finely chop using the pulse setting.

2. Add mayo, Dijon mustard, apple-cider vinegar, sugar and salt to food processor. Pulse a few more times to mix.

3. Best served cold after being mixed for several hours.

I used my Sara Lee 45 calorie bread. Tasted pretty good.

Greek-Style Turkey Breast

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Today we are having Greek turkey. I read the recipe wrong and got turkey tenderloins instead of turkey breasts, but it should turn out about the same. Using 3 lbs of turkey and 1.5x the seasoning and olive oil. Even after continuous stirring, the seasoning was still settling in the oil, so you may want to use a basting brush to make sure it is evenly spread.

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Time for a Restart

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So, the last month was really hectic for me. While I did continue to make my crock pot recipes, I lost the time to post them on my blog. These recipes have been really beneficial for my family as I have lost about 12 lbs and my husband has lost about 30 lbs since the beginning of the year. While the recipes might not be as healthy as I’d like, just the act of not eating out but once a week can make a huge difference. I have planned out my menu for April and hope to get back into my daily posting. Some recipes are repeats, but I need more time to accumulate new recipes which should be up in May.

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Pizzadillas

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Pizzadillas

Dinner on 2/2/14 was Pizzadillas.

Like I mentioned in my February menu post, I am going to start having some of our favorite recipes on Sundays to break up the slow cooker menu a bit. I’m sure this isn’t a totally original idea, but a while ago I was looking for something to cook for dinner and I was too lazy to do a real pizza and thought, why not pizza stuffed quesadillas?

Ingredients:
1 8-count package soft flour tortillas
Pizza sauce
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Shredded Cheese (Italian, Pizza, Mozzarella)
Topping of choice (We use pepperoni)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Take one tortilla and spread with sauce, be sure not to over sauce or it will all leak out when cutting. Then layer your toppings: mini pepperonis, shredded cheese, regular pepperonis, and Parmesan. Take a second tortilla and spread with sauce, place this on top of the other tortilla you were working on, sauce side down. Repeat this for your other four pizzadillas.

I don’t have a set cook time for these. I guess 5-10 minutes. Basically wait for the tortilla to start to get crispy and you can see the insides melting.

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Finished meal:

Pizzadillas

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Maple-Ginger Peach-Topped Waffles

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Maple-Ginger Peach-Topped Waffles

Dinner for 2/1/14 was Maple-Ginger Peach-Topped Waffles.

Kept this recipe the same, even with the bacon side. Only change, I got two boxes of waffles instead of one. So before making this recipe I went online to research frozen waffles. Let me tell you, not a big fan of Eggo’s and I wasn’t sure what else was out there. After a bit of research, the conclusion was that Van’s Belgian Waffles were the best taste and texture wise, so I figured we would try those. They were not in my store’s normal frozen section, but actually in the health foods section. As far as frozen waffles go, these were great. If you cook them till they are slightly crisp, they taste like the waffle cones use with ice cream. Super tasty.

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Finished meal:

Maple-Ginger Peach-Topped Waffles

Husband wound up not using any of the fruit topping…tasted too much like fruit for his taste. Oh well, more for me. Finished the stuff off a few days later with a large scoop of vanilla Greek yogurt. Also surprised at how the whipped cream came out. I’ve never had any luck making it before, but I did find my Kichenaid’s whisk beater which helped.

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February Menu

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February Menu

So, here is my menu for February. Still sticking with the crock-pot recipes for this month. Decided instead of using a crock-pot recipe on Sundays, I will be cooking one of our favorite recipes each week, so we don’t get bored with the menu or start craving things we used to eat. Thursdays will remain the one night a week we eat out for dinner. Planning on cooking for my husband’s birthday, though we will probably eat out on Valentine’s Day.

So far we are one month into the new year and our New Year’s resolutions. My husband had two sugar cheats (a slice of cake at a friend’s birthday party and a small milkshake) and I have three sugar cheats (a spoon of ice cream at a friend’s birthday party, a cupcake at work, and a small milkshake). To be fair, the milkshake was more of a reward than a cheat. I have lost my first 10 pounds since the new year and my husband is down 5 pounds. The combination of not eating sweets, taking a probiotic, not eating out but once a week and drinking a lot more water has not only helped us lose weight, but has mostly taken care of our IBS stomach problems.

Hope everyone else is finding the strength to stick with their resolutions.

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Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings

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Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings

Dinner on 1/31/14 was Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings.

So, I’m sure you can tell by now that we are not heavy vegetable eaters in this family. This recipe calls for chopped celery and carrots and my husband actually okay-ed them both. Substituted onion powder for the onions and used about 1.5 lbs of chicken thighs, but otherwise left the recipe the same.

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Finished meal:

Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings

Overall we both enjoyed the recipe. Husband said he couldn’t even tell there was celery in it and the carrots didn’t both him. I thought it could have used a bit more creaminess. Serving on the day it was cooked the biscuits puffed up nice and gave the meal a nice texture. By the time I finished the leftovers a few days later they had gotten quite soggy, though it didn’t make the meal taste bad. I would still recommend eating this fresh, instead of as leftovers.

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