Friday, January 22, 2016

Kielbasa and White Bean Stew {Slow-cooker}

For lunch, I all too often end up eating some of the quick kid favorites I keep on hand for lunches at school and home.  I decided I needed some quick, healthier options for myself.  I was on the look out for some kind of soup that would freeze well.  I found this one on Pinterest.  It is easy to prepare.  You just toss it all in the slow-cooker with very little prep work.  Then I split it up into individual freezer containers.  It thaws well in the microwave and is quite filling.  This is a great lunch for a cold winter day.  This recipe is a keeper!

Notes:  I made this with turkey sausage, as suggested.  For dairy-free, omit Parmesan cheese.  For gluten-free, make sure your sausage and chicken broth are gluten-free.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bolognese Sauce {Slow-cooker}

This is delicious!  It is perfect for a cool January day.  This recipe as a little more prep work than most of my other slow-cooker recipes.  So, I did all of the prep at night and let it cook all night.  The next morning, I put it in the fridge.  At dinner time, I cooked up some pasta and just reheated the sauce at dinner time.  So good!

Slow-Cooked Bolognese Sauce - Click to link to recipe.

Gluten-free notes:  Make sure the tomato paste you use is gluten-free.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I have been making these granola bars for my kid's lunches.  I make them into a 9x13 pan, cut them into about 24 bars, put them into individual baggies and put them in the freezer.  I always pack lunches the night before.  The frozen granola bar is thawed in plenty of time for lunch.  They actually thaw in about 10 minutes.  Sometimes, I put some out before I run out to pick up the kids and they are thawed in time for lunch.  My kids love these granola bars.  I think they have less sugar and far less additives than the grocery store varieties.  Enjoy!!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

4 c old fashioned oats* 
½ c unsalted butter
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
2/3 c honey
1 t vanilla* 
4 cups puffed rice cereal* 
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350o.  Spread out the old fashioned oats on a baking sheet.  Toast the oats in the preheated oven for 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant to enhance the flavor. 
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.  Using the parchment paper will make them easier to remove and cut into bars later. 

In a sauce pan, melt butter, brown sugar, and honey over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a slight simmer for a 1-2 minutes.   Remove from heat, cooling slightly.  Then mix in vanilla.  In a large bowl, combine the toasted oats and puffed rice cereal.  Pour the slightly cooled honey mixture over the oat mixture, stirring to coat.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing firmly.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and press into granola slightly.  Chill for about one hour prior to cutting.  Put each cut granola bars into individual small baggies.  Put the individual bags into a large freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.  Set out for about 10 minutes before eating. 

*Gluten-free notes:
– Oats are often processed on the same equipment as wheat and other gluten.  You can buy certified gluten-free oats. 
– Vanilla can contain gluten.  I use McCormick pure vanilla extract.
– Rice Krispie has a gluten-free option, as do some other brands.