But because it was, in fact, the height, of football season, I sorta didn't try any recipes. Oh, I looked it over at practice, when I was stuck in the suburban during a rain storm, waiting for a game to begin....
The boys went through and chose a few recipes (aka, full page pictures) they thought they would like to eat.
Since then I have made the oatmeal recipes and one potato recipe and one dessert from this crock-pot cookbook.
How sad is that?
Well, lately we have been in this terrible rut for dinners. It goes something like lasagna, tacos, pizza, roast or chicken and potatoes, shepherds pie, chili or goulash, grilling.
When my dear friend (who happens to be my boss) said she was taking the week off of work (as she well deserved) I knew I was going to have to get creative with dinner since I would be working every day. As I have mentioned before, the boys have to know what they are having for dinner when I drop them off at school. If I am not sure, they get a panicked look in their eyes.
What if, what if I forget to FEED them?
So I picked out three recipes and picked two other days to make a "normal" meal. I thought that would be a good balance.
I told my friends what I was doing and promised I would give them the boys ratings. And here I am, doing just as I promised.
The first day I made this Beef Stroganoff.
I cannot spell stroganoff to save my hide, just so you know.
I was pretty sure this would be everyone's favorite. My husband thought it tasted like hamburger helper, and he has a thing against hamburger helper because we lived on hamburger helper our first year of marriage and if you talk to him for any length of time he will tell you this.
I made it up the night before and stuck the entire crock-pot in the outdoor fridge of which I do not speak of. It is currently not filled with worms (everyone is now clicking the link in the highlighted words to read of the worm fridge now....I just know it) so the entire crock-pot fit right in there which was amazingly handy in the morning to just pull it out of the fridge and plug it in the kitchen.
Do not tell my husband this - that the fridge on the porch could have been a brilliant idea. He doesn't need to know this, I am still thinking bitter thoughts about him telling everyone how much he hates hamburger helper.
The meal turned out perfectly.
It got so so reviews. Jake, as I said, didn't like it much. Not that it was bad, it was just bland.
And it was bland. But the boys all said they would eat it again so I consider that a win.
Please notice S2's hat. We had to wait on this photo just so he could have his hat on.
After dinner I made up the meal I was a little worried about. Again, we stuck the whole crock-pot in the fridge and when I got home with the boys at the end of the day, dinner was ready.
You just can't beat that.
It looked a little iffy, I stirred it and it looked delicious.
My husband absolutely raves about this Cheddar Vegetable Sausage Casserole.
S1 didn't like it but the other's seemed to like it quite well. They said I could make it again. (It should be noted S1 does not like vegetables...which is tricky when your family is vegetable farmers.) I had this the next day at lunch, it was even better the next day. I doubled the recipe and I am so glad I did.
Because I was using crock-pot liners, clean up the crock-pot simple easy and I got the next meal ready to go.
By now the boys were thinking I may be using "new" meals as a form of punishment. "What's wrong with the food we like?" they whined when I told them it would be a new chicken dish for dinner.
This recipe, Golden Mushroom Chicken, is in the book but I cannot find it on the Crockin' Girls site. If you have the cookbook, it is on page 261. I could not find golden mushroom soup so I just used cream of mushroom soup. This recipe I doubled as well and then crossed my fingers and hoped it would be good.
They nearly licked the pot clean.
Well, except for S3 who had had it with new food and refused to eat anything but cereal and pretzel sticks.
Normally, that would bother me but this was sooooo good we didn't care.
I made up two packages of Knorr creamy chicken rice and I should have made three bags of it. Jake said it was good and I could make it again but the polish sausage dish was still his favorite.
But anyway you look at it, I have THREE new dishes to put into rotation at our home.
And they are all so super easy I could make them at night when I was tired from work and not even stress it.
Feeling rather confident in my cooking skills, I decided to try another new recipe on our taco dinner night.
During the week, I had gotten an invite to All Recipes magazine and was about to toss the offer when I noticed they included recipes in their request. And one of those recipes was for lemon bars. And lemon is the color of sunshine and I miss sunshine and I happen to love lemon bars.
So I made these Lemon Pie Bars.
They were just cool enough to eat when the boys arrived home from school. S1 was upstairs in his room doing school work and his nose led him downstairs just before they arrived home and he gobbled up three of them.
I wasn't sure if the boys would like them.
Think they did?
They were amazingly simple to make so I may have to make up a whole new pan of them.
Seriously, even I who make (I think) good food but not pretty food noticed they looked rather sunshiny pretty....
And they made a full 9x13 pan...a must in our household, obviously.
So what will I be making next week?
I think I will torture the boys and try a few new recipes again. :) It was such a nice change!
And...get this...my husband actually THANKED ME for making dinner.
Okay, maybe I am not as bitter about his hamburger helper stories......
The Crockin' Girls have no idea I am writing this post. I bought the cookbook out of football mom desperation and I am thinking it was a brilliant move on my part. Check out their website to learn more, follow them on facebook and twitter or their blog to get new recipes. They seem so chatty and sweet and real on twitter, I am sure you will enjoy following them too!