Category Archives: food

Dinner Disappointment: Crock Pot Mongolian Beef

For the last four weeks I’ve had the same dish on my meal plan…each week something has come up and I haven’t been able to make it. I came across the recipe on Pinterest nearly 2 months ago when I was searching for a steak recipe. I pinned it knowing for sure it’d be a hit for the family. Today was the day. I made sure I had meat out of the freezer and by 1:30 I had everything in the crock pot ready to go. That should have been my first clue…the crock pot.

I got everyone’s plates ready to go. Andy sat down and started to feed Reese. I came over to the table just as he was taking a little taster of the meat. He kind of made a funny face. That was my second clue. I asked if it was ok…he said he thought so.

As we all settled in at the table and started to eat it became very apparent that this was definitely not a hit. It was…gross to say the least. All we could taste was salt. I covered my plate in ground pepper and was able to eat it as long as I didn’t stop. Andy couldn’t even finish half of it.

After dinner was all cleaned up, I reviewed the recipe to see where I went wrong. I followed it to a “T”…needless to say I won’t be trying that one again.

So, here’s my public service announcement/good deed for the day: do not…I repeat do not try this crock pot Mongolian beef recipe.

Ya welcome.

Taco Tuesday Remix: Pillsbury Taco Melts

It hasn’t exactly been a secret that our {read: my} transition from summer to school year has been…rough. Things seem to be settling into a groove now. I think. I hope. It gets easier right?

Through this transition, I’ve found that there are just some things that are out of my control. Like how long Reese naps at daycare, for example. But other things, I have complete control over. If you’ve been around these parts for long, you know I’m a huge advocate for meal planning. These last couple of weeks I’ve added another aspect of meal planning to my arsenal: pre-prep. Anything that can be prepped the night before, once the kids are in bed, is automatically at the top of my list of recipes to try.

When I was perusing the different recipes on Pillsbury’s website, I had specific criteria in mind. It had to be easy, quick, something that could be pre-prepped and I wanted to have the ingredients on hand {sponsored post aside, we almost always have a can of Pillsbury biscuits in our fridge}. When I found the recipe for Taco Melts, I knew I’d found the winner. Anything that incorporates Taco Tuesday is a always going to be a hit in my house.


Anytime Rylee gets to use the rolling pin she’s all about helping with dinner prep! Plus it frees up my arms to hold a certain fussy one-year-old.DSC_0717

Since we eat dinner as a family 99% of the time, Ry & I were able to prep this meal as soon as we got home and then wait until Andy was close before we put them in the oven. Then we were sitting down for dinner just minutes after he walked in the door!


In addition to the taco melts, I also warmed up some refried beans and opened up a bag of pre-made salad mix. Doesn’t get much easier than that!


While I didn’t follow the recipe to a T {get it? T for taco!?}, I didn’t make many changes. The main thing I did was melt the cheese in with the meat and seasoning instead of sprinkling it on top of the meat before crimping them closed. I’ve found the melty cheese works well as a binder and makes them less messy for me to assemble. I also set aside some of the meat without the salsa to make melts for the girls since they aren’t so much into spicy things.

Overall, this recipe was great. Like I said, it was easy to prepare, it got Rylee involved and the whole family loved it {I totally ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning}. Win-win-win.

I’m already thinking of ways I can incorporate this style of recipe into more of my meals…next up? Ham & Egg melts. Who doesn’t love brinner? YUMM! For more ideas, they’ve even put together a free downloadable recipe book!

Thanks to Pillsbury for helping make my transition back to school a little bit easier!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.

Recipe Review: Ranch Pork Chops

I found this recipe originally on Budget Bytes. Some pretty good recipes on that site…I’ve got a couple more reviews from there coming up. Andy LOVES breaded pork chops and I don’t make them very often so when I saw this recipe, I decided to give it a try.


Level of Difficulty: Pretty easy. The “work” for this recipe is pretty front loaded. Very hands on the first 10 minutes or so, then the rest of the time can be spent prepping sides.

What I did Differently: The recipe calls for buttermilk. I never buy buttermilk, and if I did, I wouldn’t use it before it went bad. So, I used the milk & lemon juice trick to make my own. I also didn’t use as much oil for the frying. And speaking of frying, I used EVOO instead of vegetable oil.

Serving Suggestions: I served this with steamed veggies and some pasta. It’d also be good with rice or mashed potatoes. Or even just a big salad.

PROS: Well, first of all, it was super good. Second, I was able to pre-prep a lot of it the night before…I let the pork chops marinate in the buttermilk overnight and throughout the next day. I also mixed the panko & seasonings up the night before and had them all ready to go in the same dish I used for dredging.

CONS: It wasn’t as “ranchy” as I was expecting. The two-step process of pan-frying then finishing in the oven some people may find annoying.

Would I Make it Again?: Absolutely. The whole family loved them!

Any thoughts on what you’d like me to review next? I’ve got Chicken in Peanut Sauce, Chicken Enchilada Pasta or Southwest Chicken Wraps we’ve recently tried. Wow…I’m thinking I really need to find some new beef recipes to try out.

Recipe Review: Coconut Lime Chicken

I think I’m on to something here….sharing my recipe reviews on a Friday…just before you {I} do my weekly meal planning and shopping over the weekend!


Level of Difficulty: Pretty simple, really…mix up some sauce, marinate your chicken in it, cook chicken, boil sauce for serving over rice. Doesn’t get a whole lot simpler than that.

What I did Differently: I did a few things differently. First, I used already thin chicken breasts, cutting out the step of flattening {what a pain!}. I also marinated overnight because that’s what works best for my schedule…no way I’m putting this together in the morning before work. Cooking wise, I broiled it instead of pan frying it…I also think it’d be great on the grill. Instead of the chili pepper it called for, I used red pepper flakes…mostly because I forgot to pick up a pepper at the grocery store.

Serving Suggestions: I served this with jasmine rice and bell peppers I broiled alongside the chicken.

PROS: Easy to put together, the meat is thin enough it cooks pretty quickly. It’s a great weeknight meal that’s got loads of flavor and tastes like you spent hours preparing it!

CONS: It did have a bit of a kick to it…not bad for us, but some may not care for that.

Would I Make it Again?: Oh yes. Last time I made this, Andy was out with some friend for the evening. I know this is a dish he’d really enjoy. As a matter of fact…I’m going to put this on the meal plan for next week!

Recipe Review: Oven Fajitas

In the last two weeks, I’ve tried a handful of new recipes. I’m always on the lookout for easy, tasty and healthy-ish recipes that my family loves…and I figured, hey maybe you are too! And if you’re like me, you’ve got a bunch of great looking recipes pinned on your food board on Pinterest, but you never get any further than that. Trying new recipes is scary…what if the whole family hates it…what if it takes way longer to cook then anticipated…etc, etc. So I figured when I try a new recipe, I’ll do us all a favor a write up a quick recipe review! I did this a while back with a few recipes and I’ve already looked back on it and thought,”oh yea, I forgot how good and easy that recipe was”.

This week? Oven Fajitas.


Level of Difficulty: Um, you guys? To quote Geico…it’s so easy, a caveman could do it. I’m not even kidding. I prepped this dish the night before, including the seasonings. Tossed everything in a 9×13 baking dish, covered it in foil and put it in the fridge. When I got home from work the next day, I preheated the oven (400 F), removed the foil and popped it in the oven. I stirred once halfway through and 20 minutes later, dinner was done!

What I did Differently: Confession time…while I pinned what I can assume is an official recipe for this, I never actually looked at a recipe. I just used the picture on Pinterest as a starting point. The picture showed chicken being used, I used steak.

Serving Suggestions: While the fajitas were baking I heated up some black beans and made some guacamole. Then served it traditional fajita-style with tortillas, cheese and sour cream. Then next day for lunch, I had leftovers of steak, peppers and black beans…healthy and hearty.

PROS: I mentioned this to a couple of coworkers, I will never make fajitas any other way. Seriously…it was just too easy. It was also really good. The peppers didn’t get mushy. In fact, since it was cooked uncovered under high heat, they even got a little browned. And, it was a great way to “spice up” our Taco Tuesdays while still sticking with the general theme. Oh and double bonus? Anytime I made fajitas on the stove there were pans that had to be hand washed. Making them in the oven means less work during cleanup!

CONS: There really weren’t any. Unless you count the fact that Rylee didn’t eat them. But she’s kinda picky and I wasn’t expecting her to in the first place.

Would I make it again: ummm…YES! Absolutely. One hundred and eleventy percent. Probably sooner as opposed to later.

Now…Go forth…enjoy the revolution of oven fajitas! You’re welcome in advance.

Reviews to come: chicken enchilada pasta, peanut sauce chicken, coconut lime chicken and ranch chops.