Crockpot Recipe Roundup

I love my crockpot. There. I said it. What's not to love? In a perfect world I would be in the kitchen cooking a delectable dinner from scratch every night, however, in reality I need all the help I can get and the crockpot is a lifesaver! Plus, one pot to clean? -- I'm all for that! To be honest, I am very picky about what I cook in the crockpot and I'm the first to admit there have been a few terrible crockpot experiences in our house (as in straight-into-the-garbage experiences .. blech!) -- so I promise I will only share the best here. These recipes are tried and true, made on a regular basis in my house and loved by many. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Looking for an easy clean-eating recipe chock full of veggies, flavor, and delicious for days in the fridge? Here you have it -- my Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. I based it off an orzo salad I have been making forever. It is a favorite with many of my friends and one of my go-to recipes for potlucks, but I wanted to go the gluten-free route, so I decided to mix it with quinoa instead of orzo. Just as delicious and so filling. I use it as a side-dish with dinner, but bring leftovers for a complete vegetarian lunch. Yum, yum, yum!

Meal Plan of the Week September 14th-20th

Super excited to report I am finally feeling back in the swing of things! Last week's meal plan went off without a hitch and we stayed on track. Aaaahhh - as much as I love summer, I have welcomed the routine of fall with open arms. Are you guys meal planning?

This week's CSA Delivery was full of organic, yummy goodness including this pink watermelon. Ev declared it "the best watermelon ever!", but then again he rarely meets a watermelon he doesn't like. Since it was organic, it did have seeds, but a few seeds never hurt anyone and it was soooo sweet and juicy. Special items like this make me so thankful I belong to a local CSA. You won't find these at the grocery store!

Parmesan Roasted Fall Veggies

This recipe is dedicated to all the home cooks out there who are intimidated by fall/root vegetables. When I tell people I do a year-round CSA, they always ask what I get in the fall/winter time and often comment that they don't know what to do with the cooler weather veggies. As you know, my favorite method of cooking most veggies is to throw them on a baking sheet and roast away...Once again, I use this basic method to enhance the flavors of these fall veggies. The cauliflower gains a nutty edge, the radishes and kohlrabi sweeten up, and don't even get me started on the fennel --Soooo delicious!  Throw the Parmesan on there and it is just a party in your mouth.
These veggies make a great side dish or topping for salads. So, if you are stumped by kohlrabi, radishes, cauliflower, and fennel - give this recipe a try and make sure to use a good quality Parmesan, no Kraft in a shaker, please!!!!! 

Broiled Honey Peaches and the Reluctant Hockey Mom

Summer is officially over -- school is in full swing (homework has begun!) and the fall sports are keeping us busy after school and on the weekends. Most days you can find me either on the soccer field or the hockey rink. If you had told me a couple years ago I would be a "Hockey Mom", I would have said you were NUTS! However, nothing like being a mom to make you eat your words and prove you don't know as much as you think you did. When we first knew we were having boys, of course the hub immediately started dreaming of throwing around the ball and teaching them all the sports he loves. I immediately said "no hockey, no football!" -- which wasn't a problem for the hub since he was a soccer and baseball guy. Even before I met them, I had preconceived notions of how I would keep them safe in the world.

Meal Plan of the Week September 7-13th

They're baaaa-aaaack!!! And by them, I mean meal plans! It is high time I finally got my butt in gear and started posting meal plans again. Now that the kid's activities and my work schedule are finalized, I feel like I can actually take control over my week. Hockey and soccer are in full swing and with 5 practices between the two boys (some overlapping) and only one weeknight without an activity, this fall is sure to be challenging. Having all lunches, dinners, and snacks planned out and ready to go will be a huge part in maintaining my sanity! Here is this week's dinner plan:

Swiss Chard Mango Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

These days you can find pears year-round, but nothing beats the flavor of fresh in-season pears. My kids fight over who gets the pears from our CSA box because they are so sweet and flavorful! Usually pears don't last long enough to make it into any recipes, but I grabbed a couple little ones and reserved them for this recipe. A truly delightful dressing for any salad! So if you are looking for something a little different than the standard vinaigrette and have some tasty pears, give this a try.

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