Pasta Alfredo in the Slow Cooker

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Last week I tried a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese in the slow cooker. It was very easy to put together.  All the ingredients were simply placed in the slow cooker, including uncooked pasta.  This got me to thinking about the alfredo my kids love.  If mac and cheese can be made in the slow cooker with uncooked pasta, maybe pasta alfredo could be as well.  I often use penne or spiral pasta with alfredo sauce anyway; it is easier for the kids to eat. I tried making it today using extra cream cheese and extra milk.  The pasta was cooked all the way, but the sauce was VERY thick (there was almost no sauce left at all).  If I make it this way again, I will try adding more liquid so the pasta does not absorb all the sauce.  It still tasted great so the recipe just needs to be tweaked a little. I will update the post the when I have adjusted the recipe to our satisfaction.

Pasta Alfredo in the Crock Pot

2/3 cup margarine or butter
2 pkg cream cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
4 cups milk
6 oz grated parmesan cheese
dash of pepper

I heated the margarine and cream cheese in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. I stirred with a whisk until it was smooth. Heat it a little longer in the microwave if necessary.

I added the garlic powder and milk. Again stirring until there were no lumps.

Next, I added the parmesan cheese and dash of pepper.

Last I added the pasta and sauce to the slow cooker. I cooked it for 4 hours on low.

Coleslaw Dressing

Broccoli Slaw

I usually make my cole slaw dressing without using a recipe – just make it to taste. But a friend asked me for my recipe so I wrote this one down one day. It is sweet and tangy and my kids love my broccoli slaw! I put this on the menu when we need a quick supper. Today we had brats, broccoli slaw and green peppers. It took us about 5 minutes to prepare! Gotta love that when we get home from volleyball practice at supper time!

Slaw Dressing

3/4 c. Miracle whip (I use Aldi brand)
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar (Balsamic works well, also)
1/4 c. sugar
2 TBS milk
Celery seed (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients and stir until smooth. Add shredded cabbage or broccoli. Sprinkle some celery seed on if desired.

Using Essential Oils to help adjust to the time change

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My kids have been having a hard to going to sleep since the time change Saturday night. Now it is still daylight when they go to bed. My 10-year-old son has been affected the most. Today I decided to use some EOs to see if they could get to sleep a little better. I diffused lavender for about 30 minutes before bedtime. I also put Peace and Calming on their feet before they went to bed.

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My new diffuser came today. It is smaller than I anticipated, but will be perfect for their bedrooms and for the camper this summer. They will love that it has 4 different light colors. It will also serve as their nightlight! It can also be used without the light for those who like their bedroom dark (that would be none of my kids!) It is super quiet. I think we will be satisfied with it (as long as it lasts a while!).

Pre-Packing Snacks

granola bars

My kids have to take their lunch to school every day. One of the hardest parts of making lunches for me is packing snacks. That’s why I like to get snacks ready for the whole week at once. This week I made granola bars. Once they had cooled I packed them into snack sized bags so all I would have to do is grab them in the morning. They can do the same when they get home from school.

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I also like to cut cheese in chunks at the beginning of the week. Again, I pack them into small snack sized bags so they are easy to grab when needed.

bagged popcorn

Sometimes my husband pops a BIG batch of popcorn on Sunday evenings. This also is bagged for snacks later in the week – either at home after school, or for their lunch boxes.

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Dried fruit, trail mix, crackers, raisins, grapes, etc… All get packed at the beginning of the week. My mornings go so much smoother when all this prep is done ahead of time.

Spaghizza!

I came across this recipe today from Money Saving Mom and decided it was perfect for our supper tonight. I had to change it up a bit because I realized after the spaghetti was cooking that I don’t have an egg in the house! I used ground flaxseed in water as a substitute. Below is the original recipe.

Spaghizza

Ingredients

8 ounces spaghetti noodles
3 eggs
¼ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 ½ cups spaghetti sauce (one 23.5 ounce jar)
8-12 ounces (2-3 cups) shredded cheese (all mozzarella, or a mixture of your favorite pizza-friendly cheeses)
3.5 ounce package sliced pepperoni or any of your favorite pizza toppings

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Rinse immediately in cold water until cool and drain well.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add parmesan cheese and seasonings.

Toss in spaghetti noodles and transfer to a greased 9×13 pan (you can also use 2 8×8 pans, if you want to freeze one for later).

Pour the spaghetti sauce on top of noodles. Top with approximately half of the pepperoni. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the pepperoni and top with remaining pepperoni. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

This recipe is very versatile. I used whole wheat pizza. My kids don’t like pepperoni, so I use ham and mushrooms (their favorite pizza toppings. Also, I put all the ham and mushrooms on before the cheese, just like I do when I make pizza. This was a BIG hit with my kids. They said they like it as well as fettuccini alfredo which is one of their favorite meals. After cooking the spaghetti I realized I had cooked a whole box of spaghetti (13.5 oz), so I doubled everything else, wrapped it up good and put it in the freezer for another meal. It was almost as easy to make as bubble pizza. We will definitely make again!

Smoothies

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Meijer has strawberries on sale this week. It’s bananas on sale at Aldi. I stopped at both places and stocked up. Now we have lots of great stuff in the freezer to make smoothies.

I washed and hulled strawberries and froze in quart sized bags. After the bananas had fully ripened, I peeled the and broke them into chunks. Then froze them also. Now it is all ready to make smoothies (no ice necessary).

Today I grabbed out some frozen bananas, a package of frozen strawberries and one of frozen blueberries from last August. I place it all in my ninja, added some milk & a splash of honey. Delicious smoothies were ready in no time. The kids are going to love me when they get off the bus in a few minutes!

Hawaiian Wraps

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These wraps have become a favorite at our house. And they’re packed with great stuff: Broccoli slaw, pineapple, spinach, chicken, sunflower seeds. They’re a nice change from ordinary sandwiches. They also make a great cool meal on those hot summer days still to come.

Here’s how I made them:

1 package broccoli slaw (12 oz)
1 can crushed pineapple – drained well
3-4 cups diced chicken breasts
1 cup chopped spinach
poppy-seed dressing
sunflower seeds
whole wheat tortilla shells

I mix the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add as much poppy-seed dressing as you like. I add 1/2 – 1 cup. I like to make it the day before & refrigerate overnight. I sprinkle some sunflower seeds on as I load the shells – they stay crunchy this way. Fold wraps and enjoy. My kids & I love these!

Note: Slivered almonds are great in these as well. Also, I don’t always have spinach on hand, so sometimes I just leave it out.