Posted in Granola, Ingredients, Recipes

Basic Granola Recipe with 5 Variations (DF,V, GF)

One breakfast/snack item you can meal prep is my fruit on the bottom yogurt cup. I love to top my yogurt cups with granola. 

You can buy granola from the store or you can make your own. When you make your own, you can control the ingredients in your granola. You can also control how much sweetener you put in your granola.

This granola is a great one because it is very versatile. I have given you 5 different flavor combinations that are all very tasty. 

I portion out the granola for the week. If you get the 4 ounce Mason jars and fill it up to the lip, that is the perfect amount of granola.

What you need for this recipe:

  • Oats
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Your favorite nuts or seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
  • Dried or freeze-dried fruit
  • Spices
  • Salt
  • Butter, coconut oil, canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Vanilla or almond extract

Basic Loose Granola Recipe 

Stars of the recipe:

Dry Ingredients: 

  • 4 c. old fashioned oats 
  • 1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes or additional nuts 
  • 1 c. nuts or seeds 
  • 1 c. dried or freeze-dried fruit – add after baking 
  • 2 tsp. spices – cinnamon, pumpkin spice, gingerbread spice 
  • 1 tsp. salt 

Wet Ingredients: 

  • 1/3 c. melted butter, melted coconut oil, canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil 
  • 1/3 c. honey or maple syrup 
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla or almond extract 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients except for the fruit in a large bowl. Stir 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Stir. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir until all of the ingredients are coated. 
  5. Spread onto a cookie sheet that has either been sprayed down with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. 
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. 
  7. Take out of the oven. Allow cooling time before adding the fruit. 
  8. Enjoy with your favorite dairy or nondairy milk or yogurt. 
  9. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. 

Ideas for granola: 

Nuts and seeds: 

  • Cashews 
  • Pecans  
  • Walnuts 
  • Macadamia Nuts 
  • Almonds – Slivers or slices 
  • Pistachios 
  • Pumpkin Seeds 
  • Sunflower Seeds 

Dried Fruit or Freeze-Dried Fruit: 

  • Apples 
  • Blueberries 
  • Cranberries 
  • Cherries – usually more expensive 
  • Raspberries 
  • Freeze-dried honey crisp apples from Trader Joe’s 
  • Freeze-dried grapes from Trader Joe’s 
  • Apricots 
  • Raisins 

Combinations for granola: 

Apple crisp 

Nuts – Walnuts and pumpkin seeds 

Fruit – Used dried apples – I like dried apples in my apple crisp granola. 

Spice – Apple pie spice which is 3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. allspice combined in a small Mason jar. Use 1 to 2 Tbsp. of the apple pie spice blend.  


Cranberry pecan 

Nuts – Pecans and pumpkin seeds – Don’t use coconut flakes. 

Fruit – Dried cranberries. 

Spice – Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. 


Almond Joy  

Nuts – Slivered or sliced almonds 

Fruit – Don’t use any. 

Spice – Cinnamon 

Extract – Almond 


Apricot almond 

Nuts – Slivered or sliced almonds 

Fruit – Diced dried apricots 

Spice – Cinnamon 


Pumpkin spice 

Nuts – Walnuts and pumpkin seeds 

Fruit – dried cranberries or raisins 

Spice – pumpkin spice 

Extra – Add ¼ c. of pumpkin puree to the wet ingredients. 

Printable Recipe

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Family Recipe, ground beef, Ingredients, onions, Pasta, pasta, Recipes

Johnny Marzetti – Updated

One of my mom’s favorite meals was Johnny Marzetti. When I was Googling the history of the name of Johnny Marzetti, I noticed a lot of the recipes bake it. The difference with my recipe is that I don’t. My recipe is more of an American goulash.

It was named after a restaurant in Columbus that shut down in 1972 when the owner died.

When I made it this week, I modernized or added some depth to the spaghetti sauce that I used in the dish. I added a splash of dry red wine while the sauce was simmering. So delicious!

It’s a simple pantry item dish. Here’s what you need to make the dish.

  1. ground beef – I know the price for ground beef has increased. I get the frozen ground beef at this current time because it is cheaper.
  2. spaghetti sauce – I used a simple spaghetti sauce from Aldi. Less than a dollar for the jar.
  3. dry red wine – Doesn’t need to be expensive. Or use beef broth for a deeper flavor.
  4. onions
  5. elbow macaroni – Aldi has 3 pound boxes for less than $1.50
  6. shredded cheddar cheese
  7. Spices: Dried oregano and Italian seasoning – Salt and pepper to taste
  8. optional: mushrooms and green peppers

Johnny Marzetti

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped or 1/2 of a medium or large onion, chopped
  • 1 (24 to 26 oz) jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. dry red wine or beef broth
  • 1 lb or 2 c. dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: 1/4 c. white or Bella mushroom, chopped
  • Optional: 1/2 green pepper chopped

Steps:

  1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a medium sized pot on medium heat. Drain and remove from pan. Set aside.
  3. Add the onions, mushroom (if using), and green pepper (if using) to the pan. Add some oil to the pan if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the cooked ground beef, spaghetti sauce, and red wine to the onions. Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta and shredded cheddar cheese to the pot. Stir to combine.
  6. Enjoy with garlic bread and a salad.

You can leave the wine out if don’t want to use wine. I just used it to add some depth to the dish.

Printable Recipe

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Sweet Potatoes Tacos (V, GF)

I’ve began to get Misfit Market veggies and fruits during the Quarantine. It was easier to make sure I had fresh veggies and fruit. This past week I received about 6 sweet potatoes, so I decided to make a roasted sweet potato taco for lunch.

If you want to make this Gluten-Free, you can use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. It’s your choice which type of tortilla you want to use for your taco. This recipe is easily vegan if you don’t use any cheese or sour cream on the taco. Instead use avocado for the creaminess of cheese or make cashew sour cream to put on the taco.

This recipe is easily adaptable for what you like.

What you need to make the recipe:

  • sweet potatoes
  • avocado or extra virgin olive oil
  • taco seasoning – Homemade or storebought
  • tortillas – corn or flour
  • refried beans – The one from Trader Joes is vegan.
  • Optional toppings: lime, sour cream, avocado, cheese (Cotija or Feta), cilantro, salsa

When I made mine, I topped it with lime, Feta cheese, salsa, and cilantro.

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, cubed into 1 to 1.5-inch sized pieces (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning – Homemade or storebought
  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. refried beans warmed
  • tortillas
  • toppings

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cube the sweet potato. Place the sweet potato into a large bowl and drizzle the oil on the sweet potato cubes.
  3. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the sweet potatoes. Stir until all the pieces are coated with the seasoning.
  4. Place on a lined cookie sheet in a single layer.
  5. Roast for 25 to 35 minutes.
  6. Warm up the beans in the microwave or on the stove. Spread on the tortilla.
  7. Top with sweet potato and your favorite toppings.
  8. Enjoy!

Other taco recipes:

Printable Recipe

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in freezer, Menu planning, Recipes, slow cooker

Slow Cooker Freezer Kits – Reposted June 8, 2020

July 29th, 2019 – Update: The grocery list is incorrect. You need 2 bags of peppers and onions and only 1 bag of mixed veggies.

So what are slow cooker freezer kits?  Basically you have everything you need to fix a meal in the slow cooker ready to go in the freezer.  There might be a few items that you might need to add to the slow cooker on the day you cook the meal.  Other than that, everything else is ready to go.

Continue reading “Slow Cooker Freezer Kits – Reposted June 8, 2020”
Posted in Recipes

Philly Cheese Steak

I left this blog back in November. It had been a month and a half after my mom passed away. Since then, we’ve had quarantine and my mom’s estate is out of probate. Yeah!

Right before the quarantine, Hubby and I had decided to get new appliances. That was put on pause until stores were allowed to deliver the appliances. (No way we could have done it ourselves.)

Continue reading “Philly Cheese Steak”
Posted in Menu planning, Recipes

Favorite Meals 2019

Updated August 31, 2019 – Original Post

A piece of advice for planning out your meals is to create a list of your family’s favorite meals. That way when you get stuck on creating a menu, you can refer back to the list.

Not only will it help you menu plan, you can also make certain you have the ingredients for some of the meals on hand if what you had planned for dinner does not pan out.  I know there are days I don’t feel like cooking. If I had meals ready to go, I would less likely stop at a fast food restaurant on the way home from work.

I’m going to share my list of 20 meals that my hungry boys and Hubby enjoy eating.  Some of my meals can be frozen or portions can be frozen ahead of time which helps.

The ideas in bold print can be made from items that can be stocked up in the freezer, fridge, or pantry.

  1.  tacos – Make ahead and freeze.You’ll only need to get items to top the tacos. (The Youngest’s favorite meal)
  2. sausage and mac & cheese – A very inexpensive meal and one I can keep on hand. (It’s a family favorite meal.)
  3. chicken nuggets and French fries – If I get both of those items at Aldi’s, it’s a budget friendly meal.  I can keep the food on hand. I priced it out at about $3 for a meal if you use half of each bag at a time.
  4. Quesadillas – These are quick meals to eat on busy nights. Both boys love basic cheese quesadillas.
  5. Hamburgers or hot dogs – The Imaginative One loves hamburgers. – Get the 12 frozen hamburgers from Aldi. They are about $9 to $10. Those last for at least 2 to 3 meals. It takes about 5 minutes to cook on my indoor grill.
  6. Grilled cheese – I only like American cheese on grilled cheese sandwiches.
  7. Spaghetti
  8. Soy Sauce Pork Chops – Marinade them while at work – Cook them on the indoor grill in the evening. Get them when they are on sale.
  9. Steak – A very rare occurrence do I serve them steak.
  10. Roast and then hash – Roast would be more for Sunday dinner.  Hash would be later in the week.
  11. Breakfast for dinner – We don’t eat a lot of breakfast foods in the mornings.  We prefer it in the evening.
  12. Meatloaf or meatloaf muffins
  13. Sloppy Joes – Make ahead and freeze. Such an easy meal. Serve with French fries or chips and a raw veggie or a fruit.
  14. Brown sugar ham – The boys absolutely love this dinner.
  15. Ravioli
  16. Roast chicken in the slow cooker or rotisserie chicken
  17. Chicken noodle soup
  18. Potato Soup
  19. Chili
  20. Pizza
  21. Pulled Pork – Make ahead and freeze for a busy evening.
  22. Pork Roast

Here is a form that will help you make a list of family favorite meals. The form is very simple and allows for 10 meals to be listed. There is also an area for 5 meals that can be easily frozen.

Happy eating and meal planning,
Traci

Posted in menu plan monday, Menu planning, Recipes

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – September 2019

Jump to meals

School has begun for everyone in my house. I’ve been back at work for 3.5 weeks. The boys and Hubby went back almost 2 weeks ago.

Life has changed a little bit at our house. Hubby has class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Tuesdays and Wednesday’s are his longest evenings. I’ve begun making slow cooker meals on Tuesday nights, so I can leave the meal in the slow cooker on warm. He will eat some sort of snackish meal before leaving for his 4 o’clock meal and then eat his dinner when he gets home.

In order to make it a little easier to put food in the slow cooker, I have been making freezer kits. I spend a few hours on the weekend putting together some of the kits. I use my own list and also some recipes from The Family Freezer. Pull them out the night before, place them in the freezer, and then dump into the slow cooker. Add any additional ingredients, set the timer, and walk away. Makes my life easier.

Another thing that has worked recently for me is to create a monthly meal plan. I’ve done it in the past and am attempting it again. I hope to keep the momentum throughout the year. It’s so much easier to look at the meal plan and make a grocery list.

My plan is to make a list of favorite family meals so that it’s easier to meal plan for the month.

As you see, I never plan for the weekend. It’s a more flexible time in the week. Check out my August meals to see some ideas for Sunday meals.

Now onto this month’s meal plan:

Week 1 – September 1 – September 6
  • Monday– Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and slaw
  • Tuesday – Beef and Lime Chili- Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Sweet and Sour Pork – Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • Friday – Roast from Trader Joe’s – Sides to be determined
Week 2 – September 7 – September 13
  • Monday– Breakfast for dinner
  • Tuesday – Italian Wedding Soup – Slow Cooker
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Chicken Fajitas – Slow Cooker
  • Friday – Pulled Chicken from Trader Joe’s
Week 3 – September 14 – September 21
  • MondaySloppy Joes from freezer
  • Tuesday – Italian Sausage Rigatoni – Freezer – Stove top
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Chicken and Pepper Stir Fry – Freezer – Stove top
  • Friday – Steak – Hubby’s Birthday!
Week 4 – September 22 – September 29
  • MondayMeatloaf Muffins from freezer
  • Tuesday – Cilantro Lime Chicken – Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Tuscan Steak and Green Peppers – Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • FridayOrange Chicken

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Electric Pressure Cooker, Hamburger, Ingredients, Pasta, pasta, Recipes

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti (DF)

Jump ahead to the recipe

The boys do not like when Hubby makes pasta dishes because he doesn’t always drain the pasta. He’ll rather use a slotted spoon to get out the pasta. Needless to say, it becomes very mushy.

So whenever we do have any pasta dishes, I’m the only one who cooks or if he cooks the pasta, he needs to be reminded to drain the pasta. I know us bugging him drives him crazy.

Making the spaghetti in the pressure cooker eliminates the need to drain the pasta because all of it is made in one pot.


Youngest is not always the best eater. He doesn’t always eat a lot of food at meals. When he ate 2 servings of the spaghetti, I knew this recipe was a keeper.

Hubby doesn’t always want to eat leftovers even though I plan for them during the week. He actually volunteered to eat the leftovers the next day. This also told me that this recipe was a keeper.

What you need for the recipe
  1. spaghetti noodles
  2. ground beef
  3. jar of spaghetti sauce
  4. water
  5. Italian seasoning
  6. optional: diced onions

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: extremely easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 0.5 pound of spaghetti noodles
  • 0.5 pound of ground beef
  • 1 (26 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (26 oz.) jar full of water plus about 2 to 3 Tbsp. more of water
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, diced – optional
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil – optional

Directions

  1. Set your electric pressure cooker to saute.
  2. If you are going to add onions to your spaghetti, add the oil and then the onions. Cook the onions for 4 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Remove from the pot.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pot. Cook until no longer pink. Make sure you break up the ground beef so the pieces are equal pieces. (About 5 minutes) Drain the fat from the ground beef.
  4. Add the spaghetti sauce, water, Italian seasoning, and onions, if using them. Stir.
  5. Add the spaghetti noddles. (Break them in half.) Make sure the noodles are covered with sauce and water. Add a little more water, if needed.
  6. Set the pressure cooker to manual 8 minutes. Put the lid on the pressure cooker making sure the valve is set to seal.
  7. When it’s done cooking, quick release the valve.
  8. Stir the spaghetti.
  9. Enjoy with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes:

  1. You can use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  2. If you want to make it vegetarian, you can use the beefless beef from Trader Joe’s. Just start with step 4 unless you are adding the onions.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in menu plan monday, Menu planning, Recipes

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – August 2019

Finally A Menu

If you would like to skip the introduction and go onto the menu, please click here.

I go back to work on either the 7th or the 8th. Technically I’m supposed to be going back to work on the 8th. However, some of the administrators have decided we need to have an extra day so that we can team build. I don’t know if they are actually going to have the team building day on the 7th.

Continue reading “Mom, What’s For Dinner? – August 2019”