Ultimate Party Meatballs are a Big Hit at Crafty Dad’s House

Disclosure:  I received Heinz®, Johnsonville®, and Ocean Spray® products in exchange for sharing this recipe.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

Ultimate Part Meatballs1

Party Time!

Okay, so it wasn’t really a party.  But, sometimes when you find a new recipe and you really enjoy it, that is something to celebrate!

That was the case today.

My good friends at Child’s Play Communications offered me the opportunity to try out the some Ultimate Party Meatballs.  The recipe calls for the Johnsonville Classic Italian Style meatballs .  (They also come in Homestyle and Three Cheese flavors.)  They contain no MSG, artificial flavors or colors.

Print Click here for a full-size infographic.

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Making “Faux-ghetti” (Zucchini Noodles)

Finally!  As promised!

Here’s the video that my youngest son and I put together that shows you how I make zucchini noodles (faux-ghetti).  It only takes a minute to make a large amount of noodles.

Zucchini Noodles

It’s a ‘silent picture’ until you get to the end and hear me tell Matt, “Okay, you can shut it off now.” Feel free to ignore that, okay?  We’re novices at video.  But we’re gonna get better!

If you’re into the Paleo diet, you NEED one of these kitchen gadgets.  You will use it every week to make pasta-alternative noodles from zucchini.

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Recipe: Microwave Egg Creation

Microwave Egg Creation

I’ve recently become a big fan of Instagram and have met a lot of great people there.

I posted this picture this morning and promised everyone I’d post the recipe on the blog.  So…making good on that promise:  here you go!

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Busy Days and Nights Call for Make-Ahead Meals

Hotdog stew collage

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve made hotdog stew.  And while it may not sound very appetizing, it’s really quite tasty.  Matt, my soon-to-be 13 year old loves the stuff.  So tonight, after dinner, I made a big pot of Hotdog Stew.  For tomorrow night’s dinner.

We’ve had a lot going on the past few weeks.  Seems that end of the school year time is ultra-hectic.

Make-ahead dinners are a very good thing.

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Back on the Paleo Plan

paleo breakfast salad

I’m overweight.

There.  I said it.  No sense trying to skirt around the issue.

I’m fifty-one years old.  My thyroid has been broken for many, many years.  (I take medicine, don’t worry.)

I have a beer belly.   But I don’t drink beer. 

The Paleo Plan works for me.  When I follow it.   Pretty much ANY diet (or lifestyle change) works if you follow the rules.  Life is like that too.  It works…when you follow the rules.

But that’s a subject for a whole new post.  For another day, perhaps. J

I’ve done the Paleo thing before and was very successful.  I lost about 35 pounds and felt really, really good.  I was running several days a week, too.  In fact,  I had to buy new pants.  I went down three waist sizes!

And then.  I let life get in the way and I went back to my old (bad) habits.  I ate too much of the wrong things. I became a couch potato.

I’m not looking for sympathy.  Just telling you like it was.

My wife, bless her heart, has been on my butt about my overweight condition.  She says she doesn’t want to be a b—- about it, but she’s concerned.  I love her for that.

Oh, and my dad had quintuple bypass surgery when he was fifty-five.  Uggh.

Last night (at dinner of all places) my oldest son (Nate – 18) starts asking me about the Paleo diet.  I tell him it’s based on the premise that humans were built to eat the same foods that cavemen ate.

The plan allows you to eat lean meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruit (in moderation).  However:  No bread.  No pasta. No rice.  No legumes (beans + peanuts).  No dairy products. No sugar.  No artificial this or artificial that.

Yes, it’s a bit restrictive.  Buy hey!  It works for me.  And that’s a big deal.

Nate remembered that I had great success so he was thinking about jumping on the Paleo bandwagon.

I’m going to share a ride with him. 

Nate and I are officially on the Paleo Plan.  I’ll be documenting our successes and failures here on the blog.

This morning’s BIG breakfast is shown above.  (It’s really enough for two servings.)

Here is what’s in the bowl:

  • About ¼ head of (boring) Iceberg lettuce*torn into pieces
  • ½ a Roma tomato, sliced
  • 1/3 cup of fresh, sliced mushrooms
  • ½ a cucumber, sliced
  • ½ cup of shredded pork roast
  • Coarsely-ground black pepper
  • My homemade oil + vinegar dressing (recipe will be shared soon)

*A head of Iceberg lettuce was all we had in the fridge today.  I try to have Romaine or a spring mix of fresh greens, like this.  I eat a LOT of salads on the plan, so I make them as interesting (and tasty) as possible!

I am really excited that Nate and I are going to be doing this together.  It’s going to be a fun ride!

If you have ANY questions on the Paleo diet, please:  leave a comment or send me an email.  I am not a nutrition expert; HOWEVER, I have been-there-and-done-this.  I will be happy to help you in any way I can.

Stay tuned for recipes, food photos and progress reports.

Mother’s Day — Some Food for Thought and Thoughts on Food!

 

Sunday is Mother’s Day.

 

Today is Saturday.  Doing the math, that only gives you a few hours to get something nice for your mom.

 

And for the dads out there:  You need to move quickly if you’re going to find a gift (and a greeting card) so your kids can give your wife something sweet for her special day.

 

As a side note:  Moms are special people.  It’s a shame that only one day is set aside as “her” day.

 

Being the professional procrastinator that I am, I have been in this tight spot many times.  And every year I swear I’m not going to wait until the last minute to find a gift for my wife.  And some super-nice cards.  You see, it’s not just that I want to get her something, but my boys depend on me for ideas.  And for picking out the cards. And the gift(s).

 

Oh, the pressure mounts.

 

Last weekend, my wife and I went flower shopping.  It’s an annual tradition where she and I (mostly she) pick out all the flowers and spikes and vines that will make up her beautiful array of flower pots.  Those flower pots are HER’S.

Stay away from them.  She waters them.  She pinches off the dead blooms.  She fertilizes them.  They are her babies.  Please — stay away.

 

So, what are you going to give Mom on Sunday?

 

According to a survey* of over 2,000 U.S. mothers with kids under the age of 18, 14.6% of moms prefer handmade gives, followed very-closely by 13.6% who prefer a day off.

 

Mom needs a break.  And what better way to give her what she needs than by treating her to a delicious (and nutritious) homemade breakfast in bed?

 

Produce for Kids is an organization that encourages healthy eating among families.  They provide simple, healthy meal solutions and resources for parents while raising funds for local children’s non-profit organizations.

 

So come on Dads, you and the kids will not only enjoy making these recipes, but they are meals that mom can feel good about eating.  That’s a win-win in my book!

Check out these options:

Scrambled Waffle-wich

Scrambled Waffle-wich

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup cauliflower and broccoli, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 4 premade whole wheat waffles
Directions:

1. Crack eggs in mixing bowl, scramble with fork.
2. Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat, add broccoli, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes, cook 2 minutes.
3. Add eggs, stir and cook 2-3 minutes or until firm and not clear.  Mix in cheese.
4. Toast waffles, top with egg/vegetable mixture. Fold waffle in half to make sandwich

 

Rise ‘n Shine Oatmeal

Rise 'n Shine Oatmeal

 

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup strawberries, sliced
  • ⅔ cup mango, peeled, pitted, sliced
  • ⅔ cup apple, cored, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. pistachios
  • Honey, to taste
  • 4 eggs
Directions:

1. In small saucepan, bring 2 cups water and oats to boil, add cinnamon.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until thickened and tender.
2. Top oatmeal with strawberries, mango, apple, pistachios and honey, if desired.

Hard Cooked Eggs

1. Place eggs in saucepan, cover with cold water. Heat to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Once eggs are cooked, chill in cold water.

 

Florentine Egg Muffins

 

Florentine Egg Muffins

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, seeded, diced
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1½ cups grated potatoes, cooked
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tender and water evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Lightly beat eggs in large mixing bowl. Mix in cooked vegetables, potatoes and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Line large muffin tin with 8 greased foil cups. Portion ½ cup mixture into each cup.
5. Bake in oven for 10-20 minutes, or until eggs puff and are firm.

So rather than a quick trip to the store for a box of chocolate, or some foo-foo hand cream, perhaps it’s time to whip up a good breakfast.  One that Mom will remember for a long time.

Now THAT is the perfect gift!

Happy Mother’s Day!

*Survey was conducted by the research firm NPD Group for Child’s Play Communications.

Photos courtesy of Produce for Kids ©2012

Making Chili — At 9PM on a Monday Night? You Betcha!

Chili in CrockPot

A Weekly Food Plan is a smart way to reduce the “What’s for dinner?” dilemma.

I promised my wife that the boys and I would take of the weekly food plan this week.

To make good on that, I made chili tonight.  I multi-tasked.  I prepped the chili while watching the Notre Dame vs. UConn women’s basketball game.  And WOW!  What a game.

We’re in triple overtime as I’m typing this.  It’s exciting  And it’s tough to make chili with all the nail-biting going on.  Geez!

Here’s the recipe for my wife’s CrockPot Chili.  It went in the slow-cooker at 9:15PM and (on low) will stay there until the alarm clock goes off at 4:30AM.  Yes, you read that right — 4:30AM is when the iPhone starts playing that cool marimba tune.  To get everybody up and ready for school (which includes showers, ironing clothes, breakfast for everyone) we have to be ready to start the day early.  Really early.

In a large slow-cooker add:

  • 1 lb of browned, lean ground beef
  • 1 46oz can of tomato juice
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (including liquid)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of kidney beans (no need to rinse, just add them to the pot)
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/4 t. coarse, black pepper

Cook on low for about eight hours.

What did we make over the weekend?

Chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes and sweet corn.  We have leftovers.

Hamburger + Potato casserole.  We ate that tonight and still have leftovers.

Chicken salad (we added Paprika this time — EXCELLENT addition).  Nate took some in his lunch and made a sandwich at school. We still have some for lunches tomorrow.

I had some chicken salad tonight — atop a salad of lettuce, red peppers, Roma tomato and chopped onions.  Finished off with oil + vinegar salad dressing.

Devil’s Food cake.  It’s going fast.

Go Irish!

Time for bed.  Notre Dame beat UConn.  Woo Hoo!  It’s always good to end the day on a positive note.

Hope your Monday was a good one.

Ciao!

 

 

 

Easy Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing Mix Casserole

a new recipe box

My family is always on the lookout for new (and easy) recipes to try.  We get tired of eating the same old things every week.

A recent web-surfing session landed on a on site that (for the life of me I can’t remember).  Ever have that happen to you?  Ha!  I’m sure you have.

As soon as I figure out where I got this, I will give proper credit.  I promise.

But for now, add this to your arsenal of food planning tools.  It’s easy, and really, really good.

We added sweet corn and a make-it-yourself salad as side dishes tonight.  The boys both said they liked it — a lot.  That is a HUGE compliment to the creator of this tasty dish. :-)

Try it and let me know what you think!

Here are the details:

Easy Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

Easy Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing Casserole Recipe
Dinner, American, Chicken, Stuffing mix, Cream of chicken soup, Sour cream
Cooks in    Serves 4 +
Ingredients
  • 4 thawed skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 oz package of Stove Top Stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup water
Directions
  • Place chicken breasts in slow cooker.
  • Pour the packet of stuffing mix over the chicken.
  • In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, soup and 1/4 cup water.
  • Pour soup mixture evenly over the stuffing.
  • Cook on LOW for 4 hours.
  • Fluff stuffing and shred chicken.
  • Enjoy!

Crafty Dad Cooks :: Low-Carb Chicken and Veggie Soup

IMAG1345.jpg
I’m trying to lose some extra pounds and the best plan that works for me is the ultra-low-carbohydrate diet.  As long as I stick to the program, I can lose weight and feel really good.

I found this recipe the other day and wanted to give it a try.  It is REALLY good.  I get tired of salads and hard-boiled eggs, so this was a tasty new alternative.

The recipe is super-easy, but do yourself a favor:  use low-sodium chicken broth.  I used the regular version and it’s way too salty.  Too much salt = water retention.  (Yes, men retain water too!).  Since there’s a tablespoon of soy sauce in the soup, I really think the low-sodium broth is a better way to go.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

P.S.  The only change I made was this:  I used three chicken breasts instead of the two that the recipe calls for.

 

Recipe Source: The Belly Fat Cure Fast Track: Discover the Ultimate Carb Swap and Drop Up to 14 lbs. the First 14 Days

Crafty Dad Cooking :: Pork Roast

Center Cut Boneless Pork Roast in the CrockPot Slow Cooker

Trying to stay on my high-protein, low-carb diet, pork roast is one of my very favorite foods.

I have it for breakfast (mixed salad greens + pork roast + 1/2 a tomato + a hard-boiled egg) in a salad.  Add some Italian dressing and I’m good to go.  (As long as I have a cup of coffee to go along with it!)

I take it to work and either re-heat it in the microwave or eat it cold.  Matters not to me.  It’s easy to pack in my lunch bag and makes for a tasty lunch-time treat.

The rest of my family likes it too.  They may have a slice or chunk of it along with a baked potato or some cheesy potatoes.  I might have it along with some steamed green beans or California-blend veggies.

Here’s the super-simple recipe:

Add a center-cut, boneless pork roast to your slow cooker.  Chunk up two onions.  Add to cooker.  Sprinkle all with 4-5 shakes of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute.  Add a big pinch of freshly-ground pepper.  Add one cup of water to the cooker.  Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours or until meat thermometer reads at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (as recommended by the USDA).

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