Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

PostHeaderIcon Oven Pot Roast Ideas

Pot Roast


I absolutely love the smell of a pot roast in the oven. It give your home that comfortable, warm, and inviting smell. Not to mention with an easy pot roast recipe you can make a meal for your family and have left overs for a week in just a few simple steps. Personally, I prefer to use the oven when cooking pot roasts, but you can use a crockpot for any of the ideas you see below. I won’t hold it against you if you decide to use a crockpot!

There’s probably hundreds of different ways to cook a pot roast in the oven. Just like pasta, it’s one of the most versatile foods outs there. While the directions of my oven pot roasts are always the same, the ingredients sometimes change. Below you’ll find two different ingredients I use for cooking a pot roast in the oven. Again, you could use a crockpot, but my instructions are for the oven, so do be sure you plan accordingly if you do not use the oven. There are a few additional recipes on this page that DO use a crockpot, if that is what you prefer.

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PostHeaderIcon 3 Ideas for Roasted Red Bell Peppers

I absolutely love red bell peppers in any form. Unfortunately, no one else in my family shares the love of the vegetable with me. I have, however, figured out ways to slip the delightful flavor into my portions, which I plan to share with you today.

Stir Fry
This meal idea is the most difficult to work in the roasted red bell peppers on the side, but it can still be done. All you need to do is make 2 separate dishes, one at a time, in the same pan. Fry up your families choice of vegetables (or lack of), and add your pasta. Set aside in a bowl, then fry up your choice of vegetables (bell peppers included) and add your pasta.

This is my favorite use for roasted red bell peppers, and also happens to be my favorite pizza topping. Since everyone’s taste in pizza seems to be sprouting off into different directions, we’ve made a point to do personalized pizzas more often. If you make your own dough, this isn’t really extra work at all.

While roasted red bell peppers aren’t a normal topping for bruschetta, it can still be done. It’s also the easiest use, since traditional bruschetta is individual servings.

I hope this helps those of you who love roasted red bell peppers as much as I do!

PostHeaderIcon 25 Family Meal Ideas

Sometimes all you need for supper is an idea, instead of a full recipe. Instead of sifting through endless pages on recipe sites, why not just scan through this quick list for a few tasty suggestions? This list is composed of our family favorites, and foods we make on a regular basis. No actual recipes are included in this list, so as to leave room for variations and for you to use your favorite recipes for each of the ideas.

1. Cheeseburgers
Probably one of the easiest meals you can make for your family. All you need is hamburger, cheese, and buns. Condiments are optional, and everyone can add their own depending on preference.

2. Tacos
Similar to the cheeseburgers, but replace taco shells of some sort for the buns, and add seasoning to your meat.

3. Pizza
Here you can get creative, and make homemade pizza in any way you’d like. You can choose to make your own pizza dough, or use store bought crust. Any toppings you like can be added, and you can even try making a few different types of pizzas at the same time to see which one becomes your personal family favorite.

4. Chicken Strips
Making chicken strips at home isn’t difficult at all. Breading is optional, but you have quite a few options if you decide to bread and fry them. You can also grill them if you have a stove-top grill.

5. Roast
If you have a little time earlier in the day, toss a roast in the oven and let it cook all day. Add your desired vegetables, cook, and enjoy!

6. Biscuits and gravy
Not just for breakfast! These can be made any time of the day for an easy family meal. You can make your own biscuits from scratch if you are ambitious enough, or buy them in the store. Gravy can also be made from scratch or purchased.

7. Quesadillas
If you own a griddle, a few quesadillas can make an entire meal. Be sure to offer sour cream or salsa on the side.

8. Spaghetti
This is fantastically easy meal if you use sauce bought at the store. Making it at home is an option, too!

9. Burritos
Do you have taco leftovers? If so, make some burritos! Fried or baked, these are delicious.

10. Meatloaf
It may have a bad rep, but did you know meatloaf can be made with just about anything? Crackers, bread crumbs, cereal, and even potato chips can be added to ground hamburger and baked. For less greasy meatloaf, use a higher percentage of hamburger (such as 90% or higher).

11. Crab Cakes
We refer to these as “Krabby Patties” around our house. If you have younger children and want them to experience new foods, gift this one a shot with the more appealing name.

12. Pork Chops
Simple, yet can be cooked in a variety of different ways. Generally we purchase thicker cuts, fry them until browned, and bake.

13. Fettuccini Alfredo
Like spaghetti, you can “cheat” by purchasing the jars of Alfredo sauce and adding it to pasta.

14. Steak & Mashed Potatoes
You’d be surprised how many kids actually enjoy a nicely cooked steak and homemade mashed potatoes. It may not be something you can cook every night, but for special occasions or just once in a while, this makes a great meal.

15. Cheeseburger Casserole
There are multiple recipes floating around on the ‘net for this one. Basically you need hamburger, cheese, and Bisquick.

16. Beef Stroganoff
A simple meal made with hamburger, egg noodles, and sour cream. Other versions of this recipe use specific cuts of meat instead of hamburger, although we like it just fine the “poor man” way.

17. Chicken Noodle Casserole
Perfect for the crockpot, and easy to make! Add chicken, cream of cheese soup, cream of chicken soup, and egg noodles.

18. Pigs in a Blanket
Depending on what you are hungry for, these can be made with hot dogs or sausage, wrapped in a crescent roll or pancake of some sorts.

19. Beef Stew
This is similar to roast, but with a few added vegetables, and in stew form. Great if you have some time to cook or at least prepare ahead of time.

20. Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast, etc.)
Who says breakfast foods can only be served in the morning? Treat your family to a “breakfast night”, where you cook all those foods typically eaten in the morning.

21. Homemade Mac & Cheese
It may be easy to just grab a box of mac & cheese at the store, but why not challenge yourself to make it from scratch? There are dozens of unique recipes on the internet for this one dish.

22. Fried Chicken
Egg, flour, and chicken pieces are basically all you need. Fry them all up in a pan, or bake if you want them a little bit more healthy.

23. Chili
Everyone has a unique chili recipe. Start with chili beans and hamburger, adding ingredients according to taste.

24. BBQ Pork Sandwiches
A great meal for the slow cooker! Add a pork roast and barbeque sauce, let cook, and enjoy.

25. Lasagna
If your family doesn’t much care for lasagna, try leaving out the “odd” cheese. We use lasagna pasta, hamburger, spaghetti sauce, and shredded cheese. Fantastic!

This list should give you a starting point for some ideas for dinner!

PostHeaderIcon How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin

Cooking Pie PumpkinDuring the month of October there are tons of recipes floating around Pinterest for all things pumpkin. So you went to the pumpkin patch with the kids, picked out a pie pumpkin with the promise of making treats. Now that you are home and ready to try out all those pumpkin recipes, you are left with one important question…. How do I cook a pumpkin?

It really isn’t as difficult as it seems. All you need is:

Large baking dish/pan (we use a 11 x 14 glass casserole dish)
Pie pumpkin (NOT a carving pumpkin – pie pumpkins are much smaller)

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PostHeaderIcon Need Recipes by Ingredient?

Here’s another little gem of a site I found on Stumble a few weeks back. It’s a recipe search engine so to speak, but set up where you can put in 1 to 5 ingredients, or the recipe name itself. Talk about a simple way to find a recipe! Google couldn’t have done it better.

I popped in a few ingredients and came up with several thousand recipes, broken down by type (appetizer, main dish, etc). So you know the database is HUGE and worth a serious look.

Check out Ideas 4 Recipe – I have it bookmarked now!

PostHeaderIcon Meal Planning Tips for Stay At Home Moms

Just because we’re home all day doesn’t mean we aren’t short on time. We all need help from time to time scheduling our days out so everything gets done. Planning a meal is no exception.

Here’s some quick tips to help you manage supper time a little better:

– If you can get into the habit, try planning for supper the night before. While it’s alright to thaw meat in the sink, it’s best if thawed in the fridge. Planning the night ahead also gives you time to make slow-cooker meals.

– If you absolutely can’t plan the night before, make lunch time your dinner planning time. If you are like me, your freezer is usually stocked with meat or other “need to be thawed before cooking” items. Pull those items out of the fridge and put in the sink, so they’ll be ready to cook later.

– Plan to start supper after school. Usually kids get out of school around 3-3:30. By the time you get them home, search bags for important notes, and discuss the day quickly it will be time to cook. I try my hardest to only find recipes that take an hour or less. So if I start at 4pm, dinner is done by 5 or 5:30pm at the latest.

– Learn to use your crockpot on the busy days. Sports and other after school activities can have you running from 3pm until bedtime. If you’ve only got a small window to eat, cooking for an hour might not be an option. I’m not in love with my crockpot, but I’ve adjusted. Try your hardest to avoid fast foods!

Got the meat and can’t decide what to add with it? Pick up some Ideas for Meals at Idea Queen. Recipes are broken down by main ingredient, so it’s very easy to add or subtract additional ingredients.


PostHeaderIcon Easy Dinner Ideas for Kids

Kids aren’t the easiest critics to please, that’s for sure. So if you need some ideas for easy dinner ideas for kids that they’ll actually EAT, we’ve put together a list for ya. We didn’t just go by what the Idea Queen children said, but asked around a bit for some more kid-friendly meals others would enjoy as well.

So here it is, the top 4 easy dinner ideas for kids:

1. Pizza

And I don’t mean ordering it! No, homemade pizza isn’t as hard as you think, especially when you stick to one topping. Pepperoni is usually safe, and lucky for us moms, a super easy topping.  Premade pizza crust in a bag, easy squeezable sauce, and a package of pepperoni and shredded cheese. Hey, I said easy, not completely healthy.

2. Tacos
Maybe a little more effort than the pizza, but still pretty easy. Fix up some taco meat real quick and lay out the toppings. Let the kids have at it. Or maybe give them a hand if you don’t want “Easy dinner” to turn into “big after meal cleanup”.

3. Chili
So maybe I cheat a little here, but I don’t plan on entering a chili contest any time soon. 2 cans of beans (different kinds), 1 can of Italian diced tomatoes, and a pound of ground hamburger cooked. I’ll throw in some spices if I feel ambitious. Since kids usually eat hamburger regardless of what you do to it, chili works well.

Yes you heard me correctly. Believe it or not, some kids actually do like steak. Not recommended for the younger ones as it may be hard for them to chew if not cooked just right, but older ones might actually enjoy it more than you know. My daughter (age 7) absolutely loves it, and apparently so do others (See this post at Mommy’s Helper Community)

Have some more ideas? Please feel free to share!

PostHeaderIcon 3 Easy Dinner Ideas for Two

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, it was time to add some easy dinner ideas for two. We figured some of you lucky people might be getting the chance to spend a romantic evening at home without the kids (oh how I envy you, but that is a completely different post). Don’t worry, I do remember how to cook for just two. I think…. Let’s find out!

1. Angel hair pasta

Pretty simple. If you can boil water, I think you’ll do just fine. If not, well, not sure you should be attempting a romantic meal for two in the first place. Just add butter and garlic, it doesn’t need to be fancy. Frozen breadsticks tossed in the oven work with this dish too, unless you own a bread machine and feel ambitious.

2. Steak and Potatoes

Steak isn’t as complicated as you may think, and you don’t even need a grill. It can easily be fried in a pan and still be delicious. The potatoes? Toss those in the microwave for 8-10mins. If you really want to be fancy, you can wrap them in foil and bake them in the oven. If you do this option though, remember to put them in there long before you start the steak. At least a half hour or so.

3. Fried Pork Chops

You’ll need thin cut pork chops for this, but just two of them since you aren’t feeding a heard. From here you’ll have 2 options – cream of mushroom soup or white wine. Of course there’s more options, but these are my two favorite options I’ve made quite a bit.

With the cream of mushroom soup you’ll want to brown the chops a little before you add it (medium high heat), and then turn the heat down so it simmers. Basically heating up the soup and cooking the middle of the chops.

If you go with white wine, you can add this from the start. I also add fennel seeds with white wine, but you can add any kind of spices you want. Medium heat works for this from start to finish.

So there you go – three very easy dinner ideas for two. Be sure to enjoy the alone time!

PostHeaderIcon Why You Need a Bread Machine

So if you haven’t gotten the hint already, I love my bread machine. LOVE IT. And I have loved it for quite a few years. I don’t know what we ever did without it, and sometimes I think I use it more than the microwave.

Just in case you aren’t sure if you need one or not, let me give you a run down of some of the things we’ve made in the last few months alone.

1. Bread
Duh, right? Yes, we make bread in the bread machine. But we make lots of it on a regular basis. While sometimes we use the bread machine to actually bake the bread, most of the time we use it to take all the hard work out of making the dough. Being concerned with nasty preservatives in store bought bread is a thing of the past with us. All our bread products come straight from our kitchen using whole ingredients.

2. Bread Sticks
You know, the tasty little things that go good with pasta. Yup, we make those in a bread machine, or at least, the dough. We see frozen dough or pre-cooked bread sticks in the store all the time for a pretty penny. Since you still have to bake them, why not stick on the additives and just make the dough yourself?

3. Cinnamon Rolls
Same as the bread sticks – they are made with the dough cycle. Super easy and a lot less hassle. This one is a family favorite but a bit on the messy side. It’s completely worth it, though, as you’ve never had a REAL cinnamon roll until you’ve had one fresh out of the oven. The difference will make you never want a non-homemade cinnamon roll again.

4. Pizza Dough
There’s quite a few different recipes for pizza dough lurking around the internet, and all of them work quite nicely with the bread machine.  The bread machine takes all the hassle out of really good homemade dough that can be topped with all your favorite goodies. No powdered packets required.

5. Jelly & Jam
I’ve become quite fond of homemade jams, and it is SO EASY with the bread machine. There is no watching and stirring for an hour or more – just dump the ingredients in and walk away. Homemade jam spread on homemade bread doesn’t get any better.

6. Buns/Rolls
Ever since we latched on to the awesome roll recipe, its been used just about every time we have sandwiches or a family gathering. Currently we make sandwiches at least once a week, cutting this recipe in half for 5 average sized buns. Sometimes we make the full recipe, saving the leftover buns for lunch. This one simple recipe also works in place of anything requiring refrigerated biscuits or crescent rolls.

So there you go – six different types of foods, one machine. Pretty handy, eh? If you don’t have one, I highly recommend the Sunbeam Bread Machine. It’s the only bread machine I’ve used for over a decade now, although feel free to shop around for the machine that will work for you. Amazon has a huge stock of various brands, sizes, and styles to pick from.

Have fun!