Monday, January 14, 2013


I'm all about making things simpler. Preparing, cooking and serving good food is a priority, but I am always on the look out for a way to do so without sacrificing healthy, yummy foods for quick processed junk. So the last two months I've been doing "once-a-month" cooking and I have to tell you, I absolutely love it. There's some things I've learned to do and not to do and I thought that I might share my how-to's for my January menu. 
FIRST, let me start by saying, you'll only be successful at this if you plan. And by plan I mean literally write out your grocery list in detail and take account of your pantry supplies and plan a day to shop, chop, cook and load up freezer bags. From start to finish, this takes me about a 9am-5pm work time. {Please note, I have a nursing babe, so breaks to nurse, cuddle and coddle :) are needed} 

Second, you kinda just have to wing it. I have 3 people in my family to prepare foods for and most of the time Riley doesn't eat as much as Tyler and I do, but I also like to have leftovers for Tyler's lunches. Therefore I try to prepare a meal that would feed about 4 adults one serving, that way if Ri decides to be in midst a growth spurt, I still have leftovers :) 

Third, I don't measure things a whole lot {oops, I told you I cut corners I'm simple} so my menu may not be the exact proportions of things you'd like. Give or take a little here and there and I'm sure it will work out just fine. If your meal seems to need more liquid when you get ready to cook it up {in crock-pot or stove-top}, then by all meals, add some water, or chicken broth, etc. you make the call. 

Fourth, HAVE FUN! My mom and I did this together this month and it was fun cutting and chopping and adding. She made 12 meals and I ended up with 18 meals for the month, I don't make 30 because I like to have the flexibility to go out cook fish, or fresh meats too! Sure its an entire day of cooking, but I would trade that for little to no prep time for cooking for 18 dinners, wouldn't you?!

Fifth, these meals are rather versatile! I put lots of veggies in most of my meals. If you don't like that, take them out, or if you do, add more?! I used fresh veggies, so these are healthy and delicious, easy and quick...can we say hallelujah?! Basically, you add your meal to a freezer bag and take it out, throw it {frozen solid} in the crockpot {I've also cooked some meals on the stove-top}, and prepare your sides when you're ready to eat and BAM! you're done!

Without further adieu, here's what's cooking up at the Grove house this month;

Pork and Green Chile Stew
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Garlic Pesto Chicken
Applesauce BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Pulled Pork
Mongolian Beef
Chicken Cacciatore 
Beef Stew
Chicken Fajitas
Beef Fajitas
Orange Chicken
Italian Sausage and Peppers
Terriyaki Chicken
Beefs Tips with Gravy
Pepper Steak {2 bags}
Taco Soup {2 bags} 
 Fruit and Veggie Smoothie Starters

Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chile Stew

1 lbs boneless pork loin roast cut in chunks and browned
3/4 cup diced onion
1 can (4.25 oz each) whole green chiles, sliced into thick rounds
1 tbsp chopped jalapeƱo, or more to taste
2 cups frozen {or fresh} corn 
5 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Ro*Tel Mild)

1/4 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp minced garlic 

*cook low for 6 hours serve with rice

    Cilantro Lime Chicken with black beans and corn
    2 chicken breasts
    1 Tbs olive oil
    1 limes, juiced
    1 cups cilantro
    1/2 large bag of frozen corn
    2 minced garlic cloves
    1/2 finely chopped red onion
    1 cans of black beans, rinsed
    1 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
    salt/pepper to taste
    * cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, serve with tortillas or chips. Dress with sour cream, guacamole, and/or cheese

    Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Cream Penne
    1/2 bottle of lawrys Herb and Garlic Marinade
    2 large spoonfuls of Pesto
    2 boneless chicken breasts
    2 tablespoons of olive oil
    3 cloves of garlic
    2 spoonfuls of pesto
    1/2 cup of chicken broth
    8 ounces of tomato sauce
    *cook low 6 hrs, right before serving
    add 1 cup of half and half and heat on high just until warm, serve over noodles
Applesauce BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chunky applesauce
1/2 cup spicy barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
    *Cook on low 6 hrs, serve on buns

Beyond Easy Pulled Pork
1 lb pork roast
1 yellow onions, sliced
Dry Rub : 1 1/2 tbsps chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsps cumin
1 tsps onion powder
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley and salt to taste
*Rub roast with dry rub and add onions to bottom of bag, cook low 8 hrs, serve on buns

Easy Crockpot Mongolian Beef
1 lb. stew meat
2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion{ish}, thickly sliced
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce 
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
*Cook low 6 hrs, serve over rice

Chicken Tacos
{didn't make this yet, just have the recipe} 
3 chicken breasts
one container of fresh pico
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup water
3 tbls taco seasoning
*Cook low 6 hours, serve with chips or tortillas and fixins

Island Chicken
{didn't make this yet, just have the recipe}½ cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1½ tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts
*cook low for 6 hrs, serve with veggie and rice side

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
4 chicken thighs, with the bone, skin removed
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
1-2 Bay leaves
salt and fresh pepper to taste
*cook low 6-8 hrs, serve over spaghetti noodles and top with Parmesan cheese

Hearty Beef Stew
1 lb stewing beef
4 cups beef stock
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook low 8 hrs, serve with rolls

Chicken Fajitas
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chili powder
2 tbls taco seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I use half a green and half a red)
*cook low 6 hrs, serve with tortillas and Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and guacamole

Beef Fajitas
1 pound beef cut into strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chili powder
2 tbls taco seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I use half a green and half a red)
*cook low 6 hrs, serve with tortillas and Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and guacamole

Orange Chicken
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast(cut into bite size pieces)
3 T vegetable oil
juice of 2 oranges*
zest from 1 orange
1 t ginger
3 T soy sauce
1 t sriracha
*cook low 6 hrs serve over rice

Italian Sausage and Peppers
3 sausages cut into slices and browned
1 green pepper
½ red pepper
½ onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1 can 15 oz diced tomatoes
2 tbls italian seasoning
*add drizzle of olive oil, cook low 6 hrs, serve with penne pasta

Terriyaki Chicken
2 cups carrots
½ red onion sliced
1 lrg can pineapple (undrained)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 lrg chicken breast
½ c terriyaki sauce
*add ¼ c. terriyaki sauce, cook low 6 hours, serve with rice 

Slow Cooker Beef Tips with Gravy

1 cubed beef stew meat
1 package of dry Onion Soup Mix
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 ½ cup Beef Broth
*Cook on low 8hrs Give everything a good stir before serving, Serve on top of mashed potatoes

Pepper Steak (2 bags)
2lb beef cut into strips
2 cans diced Italian tomatoes 
2 Green Peppers sliced
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 lrg onion sliced
2 tbls minced garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
{Split between two bags}
*cook on low for 5-6 hrs, serve over rice

Taco Soup (2 bags)

2lbs ground turkey {or beef}, browned and drained
2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles
1 16 oz bag frozen corn
2 cans black beans
2 can kidney beans
1 lrg onion, chopped
taco seasoning to taste
{Split between two bags}
*Add 1 cup water, cook on love 4-6 hrs. Serve with tortilla chips, sour-cream, shredded cheese and avocado

Smoothie Starters
¼ banana thinly sliced
¾ C. berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc)
1 & 1/2 C. fresh spinach
¼ C. sliced peaches
*Add all ingredients to small bag, and freeze
When ready to eat, empty bag into blender add ¾ C. {or so} vanilla yogurt and milk or OJ, blend until creamy. 


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