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From Our Kitchen

Easy No Bake Chocolate Lasagna

Easy No Bake Chocolate Lasagna

Looking for an easy crowd pleasing dessert? This one pan No Bake Chocolate Lasagna is always a hit at both summer and winter gatherings!

This easy one pan no bake chocolate lasagna is great for any gathering. Winter or summer it's a fan favorite dessert! A recipe from Starts At Eight

No Bake Chocolate Lasagna

Ingredients

This easy one pan no bake chocolate lasagna is great for any gathering. Winter or summer it's a fan favorite dessert! A recipe from Starts At Eight
  • 36 regular Oreo cookies (1 package) Do not remove cream centers.
  • 6 Tablespoons butter melted
  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temp
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip non-fat, 2 (8-oz) containers
  • 7.8 ounces instant chocolate pudding 2 (3.9 oz) boxes UNPREPARED
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

Directions

This easy one pan no bake chocolate lasagna is great for any gathering. Winter or summer it's a fan favorite dessert! A recipe from Starts At Eight

Crush the Oreos into fine crumbs. Either use a mixer or a zip-lock bag and rolling pin. (we have also used a meat tenderizer to smash them up in a zip-lock bag)

Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium sized bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Pour into a 9X13 baking dish. (We often use a foil pan when making it to take because you can leave the leftovers and not worry about the pan.)Use a hard spatula to spread evenly across the bottom.

Now combine the cream cheese and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. Then add in the 2 tablespoons of milk and sugar, mixing well.

Fold 8oz of Cool Whip into the mixture.

Spread this mixture over the Oreo crust and pop into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

While that is hardening, add the pudding mixes and 2 3/4 cups milk. Beat until the mixture thickens.

Remove pan from refrigerator, spread the pudding mixture over the cream cheese layer. Return to refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Gently spread the other 8oz of Cool Wuip over the top and sprinkle with mini chips.

Cover and let chill for 4-6 in the refrigerator, or 1hr 30 minutes in the freezer.

Extra Tips for a Flawless No Bake Chocolate Lasagna

  • Use regular Oreos, not Double Stuff. Don’t remove the cream centers from the cookies. 36 cookies = 3 cups of crumbs.
  • Use 2 boxes of instant pudding, not Cook n Serve.
  • I highly recommend popping the dessert into the freezer after each step. It makes it easier to spread each layer.

More Dessert Recipes You Might Like

Gluten-free Avocado Chicken Salad

Gluten-free Avocado Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is a classic summer dish, but it usually comes with lots of calories and a distinct lack of nutrition. This Avocado Chicken Salad is a modern twist on the classic summer staple and is packed with nutrition and flavor. It’s also easy to make, gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo friendly and versatile. What else could you want from a dish?

Gluten-free Avocado Chicken Salad from Starts At Eight. This Avocado Chicken Salad recipe is a modern twist on the classic summer staple and is packed with nutrition and flavor. It's also easy to make, gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo friendly and versatile!

Gluten-free Avocado Chicken Salad

Unlike a traditional chicken salad, avocado chicken salad cuts out the mayo, miracle whip, or sour cream that is typically used. Instead, the avocado serves as a creamy base. This cuts out a ton of calories and makes it a much healthier dish!

Taking out the traditional creamy base also has a downside. Avocado doesn’t contain a lot of the seasoning and flavor that the other bases boast. To make up for the lack of seasoning, this recipe uses lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a couple of herbs to kick the flavor up a notch.

If you’re ready to give the avocado chicken salad a try, check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or chopped
  • 2 large avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 6 oz turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white or red onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro (or basil) chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place chicken, avocado, bacon, onion, and cilantro or basil into a large mixing bowl
  2. Mix thoroughly. Be a little rough with the avocados. The more you are able to mash them up, the creamier your chicken salad will be! Keep mixing until you get the consistency you like.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the chicken salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Mix the salad a little more to incorporate the lemon and olive oil.
  5. Make it a wrap, sandwich, or dish of its own and enjoy!

If you have any leftovers, they will make an awesome next-day lunch. Use it to make a wrap, a sandwich, or just eat it as-is. To keep the flavor fresh, just make sure you store your leftovers and your lunch creations in a lidded container in your refrigerator until you’re ready to dig in.

Depending on your preferences, you can use rotisserie chicken, baked chicken, boiled chicken, or even canned chicken. You can also use regular bacon if you’re not into turkey bacon.

Author Bio: Victoria is a home cooking mom. She loves to share her recipes and culinary tips from her diversified experience of multi-culture. She’s most interested in cooking and creating authentic and original taste from traditional recipes. Check out her latest recipes at How Daily.

More Great Recipes

Italian Wedding Soup from Starts At EightSlow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup from Starts At EightHot Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Starts At EightVegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Starts At Eight

Be sure to check out all the recipes FROM OUR KITCHEN

 

Deer in the Headlights Family Dinner & Game Night

Deer in the Headlights Family Dinner & Game Night

We are big on playing board and card type games in our house. Throughout the years we have found many off the beaten path but loads of fun games. Today I would like to share with you a filling family dinner recipe and the game, Deer in the Headlights.

Deer in the Headlights - Family Game Night and Dinner Plans from Starts At Eight includes an unusual and fun games as well as a dinner recipe to go along with it!

Deer in the Headlights – Family Dinner & Game Night

I know, the title threw me a little off too! What kind of game are you going to get with the image that comes to mind with the words Deer in the Headlights? A fun one!

Deer in the Headlights Game

Deer in the Headlights is a combination of cards and special dice.

We seem to have recently come upon a few family dice based games that we are just loving, and this is one of them! You can see more of our favorite dice based games in my post Fun Family Dice Games.

Deer in the Headlights comes with two decks of cards and 3 different colored dice.

There are 3 special symbols contained on the dice: a “Deer in the Headlights”, a running deer, and a car. These symbols coupled with the numbers and and letters corresponding to the cards make up the object of the game.

On your turn you roll the 3 dice and based on what comes up, you take your turn accordingly. You want to be the player with the least amount, if not zero cards in your hand at the end of each round.

The games ends when someone reaches 150 points. At that time the person with the lowest score wins the game.

Be careful! If you get caught rolling the “Deer in the Headlights” you get stuck with all the cards in the discard pile! That is a lot of points that you don’t want to have!

All in all this is a fun and easy game to play for young and old alike! If your kids know their numbers to 10, and K,Q,J for King, Queen, and Jack then they can learn to play.

Buy Deer in the Headlights

If you decide you like Deer in the Headlights, you might also like my 20 picks for Fun And Educational Games To Play With Your Kids!

Calico Beans Recipe

Of course Family Dinner and a Game Night must have a dinner so I thought I would share a recipe with you that lends itself well to using venison (or deer meat) in keeping with the theme of Deer in the Headlights.

Directions:

  • 1/2 lb. venison (you can use ground beef or ground turkey if you prefer)
  • 1/4 lb. Bacon (diced)
  • 1 small Onion (chopped)

Brown and drain the venison, bacon, and onion.

Then Add:

  • 1 can Kidney Beans (drained)
  • 1 can Butter Beans (drained)
  • 1 can Baked Beans (drained)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. Vinegar

Mix well, simmer, and serve with bread like a stew.

Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup

Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup

If you haven’t tried cooking in an Instant Pot you have been missing out! It is easy to make great tasting soups in your Instant Pot. This Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe is super easy to make.

Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe from Starts At Eight. This Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup is easy to make & great for whole food lovers. You can also easily add chicken or rice for a more hearty meal!

With an Instant Pot you can put together a delicious hot soup that tastes like you cooked all day! This Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup is a light and hearty soup that is perfect for folks that want to eat a high protein meal with vegetables. So if you are a whole 30 person this recipe is for you!

Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped onion (we puree ours because hubby doesn’t like the texture)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 32 ounces low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli

** If you want to add some noodles or rice to this recipe you could do that as well.

Directions:

  1. Set the Instant pot to saute.
  2. Add vegetable oil and allow it to heat up and saute the onions and garlic. Saute onions and garlic until it was translucent. Turn off saute feature.
  3. Add the chicken breast, low sodium chicken breast, and bay leaves. Place the lid on the Instant Pot.
  4. Select manual pressure for 15 minutes on high. When the Instant Pot is done, do a quick release on the pot.
  5. Add in the vegetables, and set the Instant Pot on a high manual setting for five minutes. When the second cooking is done release the Instant Pot.
  6. Taste, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if desired.

More Soup Recipes:

Italian Wedding Soup from Starts At EightSlow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup from Starts At EightSmokey Corn and Potato Chowder from Starts At EightBeef Barley Soup from Starts At Eight

Author Bio: Stephanie Manley writes for CopyKat Recipes, if you enjoy a particular dish in a restaurant, you can get the recipe to make it at home. You may want to try her recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew.

Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks – 5 Unique & Fun Recipes

Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks – 5 Unique & Fun Recipes

Halloween is quickly approaching, and that means getting prepared for all the hungry children that are about to come your way! When you are hosting a party for your child and their friends or need something to take to a party you are attending, these Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks are sure to be some unique and interesting treats that kids will absolutely love!

Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks - 5 Unique & Fun Recipes from Starts At Eight. These Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks are sure to be unique & interesting treats that kids will absolutely love! Get your kids in the kitchen and get cooking!

5 Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks

So stir up some fun with your kids in the kitchen this Halloween and try out these Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks!  These things are sure to be a young crowd pleaser, and these fun recipes will give you some quality time in the kitchen with your kiddos!

1. White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels5 Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks from Starts At Eight. These Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks are sure to be unique & interesting treats that kids will absolutely love! Get your kids in the kitchen and get cooking!

Photo Credit: Lyubomira L via pinterest

These goofy mummy pretzels are sure to be a favorite among any kid that tries them. Not to mention, they are extremely easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • bag of small pretzel twists
  • 16 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • small candy eyes

Directions:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in intervals of 30 seconds. After each thirty second period, stir the chocolate. Do this until the chocolate is completely melted. (I recommend either finding colored white chocolate wafers or using food coloring to create the fun colors!)

Dip the pretzels in the chocolate, making sure they get completely covered.

Then, lay them to dry on a flat surface covered in foil or wax paper.

After all pretzels have been dipped, use the remaining chocolate (as well as some brown chocolate that you melt in the same manner you did the white) to drizzle on the pretzels to make the mummy “wrappings”.

While the chocolate drizzle is still wet, stick on the candy eyeballs.

2. Roast Green Pea Snacks (aka Mummy Eyeballs!)

5 Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks from Starts At Eight. These Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks are sure to be unique & interesting treats that kids will absolutely love! Get your kids in the kitchen and get cooking!

Photo Credit: Prash@YummilyYours via pinterest

This snack is crunchy, delicious, and very healthy. Kids will be eating them by the handful!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of green peas, either fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

If the peas are frozen, thaw and let them sit on a paper towel for 10-15 minutes.

If peas are fresh, boil them for 2-3 minutes, and then drain and immerse them in cold water. Then set them on a paper towel for 10-15 minutes.

Mix peas together with salt, paprika, and oil.

Place them on a baking sheet lined with foil.

Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350°F.

Every 10 minutes, lightly shake the pan to get an even roast.

Allow to cool before storing in a tight container.

3. Fruit & Nut Snack Bars (aka. Bones in the Dirt!)

5 Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks from Starts At Eight. These Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks are sure to be unique & interesting treats that kids will absolutely love! Get your kids in the kitchen and get cooking!

Photo Credit: greenkitchenstories.com via pinterest

This is an easy to make recipe that is also very healthy. These bars are very similar to what you’ll find in a grocery store, but are so much healthier and tastier.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup of dried apricots
  • 1 1/2 cups of crispy rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup of almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1/2 cup of cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Directions:

These bars are no-bake!

Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, thoroughly combining everything.

Push the mixture into a lined rectangular cake pan.

After the mixture has set, cut into the shape of bars.

4. Monster Cookie Bites

5 Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks from Starts At Eight. These Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks are sure to be unique & interesting treats that kids will absolutely love! Get your kids in the kitchen and get cooking!

Photo Credit: Sweetest Menu via pinterest

These cookies are very simple to make and are NO Bake as well! They are packed with some healthy ingredients that naturally give energy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup of ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup of mini M&M

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients together completely in a large mixing bowl.

On a covered baking sheet, drop the batter into round, bite-sized dollops and then push them down with the backside of a spoon to make them the shape of a small cookie.

Allow the batter several minutes to set.

You can refrigerate for a more solid cookie, but it is not necessary.

5. Pumpkin Colored Popcorn Balls

5 Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks from Starts At Eight. These Kid Friendly Halloween Snacks are sure to be unique & interesting treats that kids will absolutely love! Get your kids in the kitchen and get cooking!

Photo Credit:  Christina {Oven Adventures} via pinterest

These tasty snacks are a delicious crowd favorite, and your kid will really enjoy making them.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of milk chocolate jumbo raisins
  • 3/4 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup of margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 quarts of popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup of miniature pretzels
  • 3/4 cups of orange jelly beans
  • 2 teaspoons of water

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine corn syrup, cold water, margarine and confectioner’s sugar.

Heat and stir until mixture comes to a boil.

Pour mixture onto popped popcorn in large mixing bowl and coat.

Carefully mix in jelly beans, pretzels and chocolate covered raisins.

Before the mixture cools, shape the mixture into balls and set on covered pan. Refrigerate until the balls have cooled completely.

Other Halloween Fun

Our Favorite Pumpkin Books for Kids from Starts At EightHalloween Fall Pumpkin Oil Pastel Resistant Art Project from StartsAtEight3 Halloween Myths & What To Look For from Starts At Eight

Author Bio: Riya is a content writer based in Australia. She currently writes for Majans Bhuja, a healthy snack with combination of wholesome ingredients blended in a secret recipe of all natural spices. Riya enjoys decorating her home, crafting, trying new recipes. She is also a runner who likes to enjoy the morning breeze. Her Twitter, @sanderriya.

Cooking Chinese Food at Home ~ 101 Delicious Recipes from Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook

Cooking Chinese Food at Home ~ 101 Delicious Recipes from Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook

We love Chinese food in our house. The problem is we live on a limited budget and thus don’t eat out very often. For many months (maybe even years now) we have been saying we need to learn to make some of the Chinese dishes at home. Cooking Chinese food at home would allow us to have the food we love, on a more affordable budget!

Cooking Chinese Food at Home ~ 101 Delicious Recipes from Katie Chin's Everyday Chinese Cookbook from Starts At Eight

Here’s the thing, cooking Chinese food seems hard! Especially for this girl who doesn’t exactly love to cook! The good news is that I have stumbled upon a cookbook that is making it easier for all of us to cook Chinese food at home!

In walks, Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen.

{Disclosure: I was given a copy of Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook for review.  While I received this book free of charge in exchange for my review, my opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way. Your experience may vary. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Cooking Chinese Food at Home

Katie Chin's Everyday Chinese Cookbook

Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook has it all! It really does. Check out what is contained in the Table of Contents:

  • Sauces
  • Starters and Dim Sum
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Poultry
  • Beef, Pork, and Lamb
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables and Tofu
  • Noodles and Rice
  • Drinks and Desserts

Orange Chicken

For our first go around we decided to try Orange Chicken. As you can see from the sample page below this cookbook contains very clear instructions with pictures to help you along the way.

Katie Chin's Orange Chicken

I love that many of the sauces used Katie gives you instruction on making your own or tells you to buy one. It makes it ok to buy some things instead of doing everything from scratch!

While the Orange Chicken took a bit of time to prepare, the steps were easy to follow.

And the end result? The Orange Chicken was killer! All 3 of my children loved it! (Which never happens!)

Orange Chicken

We doubled the recipe to make enough for the 5 of us and have some left over. (By the way, it was just as awesome leftover!) To round out the meal we added stir fry veggies and white rice.

For our next meal we are going to try a Stir Fry Beef!

Quick & Easy Vitamin Rich Breakfast Ideas For Kids

Quick & Easy Vitamin Rich Breakfast Ideas For Kids

I know being a good parent is not easy. In today’s world, everything is fast paced. It seems like we are always hurrying to get somewhere. What hasn’t changed over the years is the need to start the day out right with a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day, thus we want to make it with as much of a punch as possible!

Vitamin Rich Breakfast Ideas For Kids

Quick & Easy Vitamin Rich Breakfast Ideas for Kids from Starts At Eight

While the idea of a vitamin rich breakfast every morning is great, we don’t always have time to prepare an elaborate breakfast for our kids. They do need it, though. It is difficult to focus in school when your stomach is growling. Breakfast is what grounds us and jump starts the day for learning!

To me breakfast is like the American Express card… you should never leave home without it. When you have discriminating children, such as mine, it can be challenging coming up with nutritious recipe ideas that the kids will eat. If you are in need of some creative ideas that meet nutritional standards, check out a few of my kid’s favorite recipes here.

1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

chocolate penut butter oatmeal

Who doesn’t love the taste of peanut butter? It’s hard to find one child that doesn’t. So, with that in mind, this recipe was invented. It’s great to have if you are headed to school, work or to play. As a parent who wants the best, you will be pleased to know that this is a square meal for both the child and adult.

For my own purposes, I used the Ultra-shakes to cook with, however, you may substitute it with another protein shake. All the same, you should know that with the Ultra-shakes, you and your child will receive 23 kinds of vitamins, 19 amino acids and tons of protein (25 grams).

Ingredients

  • 1 serving of Chocolate Peanut Butter protein shake mix (a mix of your choice)
  • 3 scoops of oats
  • 7 almond slices
  • ¼ of a banana

Instructions

First, you need to fill the Ultra-shake with cold water and shake it up about 29 times. Prepare the oats as you would any other day, but instead of using milk or water, pour in the Chocolate Peanut Butter Ultra-shake.

When done, move the oatmeal into the serving bowl. Take the almond slices and the banana and stir into the oatmeal. This delicious meal takes up less than 15 minutes of your day, but the effects will stay with your child for hours to come.

2. Breakfast Mini Pizzas

Breakfast Mini Pizzas

A kid’s favorite meal has to be pizza! Pizza is good seven days a week, so says the child who has no clue or concern for calories or nutrition. So can you imagine your child’s face when you say that you’re having pizza for breakfast? With instant success, you’ll be the coolest parent ever. To collect your cool points, try this recipe on the pizza lover.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg (large, beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh marinara sauce
  • 1 split and toasted whole-wheat English muffin
  • 2 tablespoons Italian shredded cheese
  • 2 pepperoni slices (or preferred meat)

Instructions

Preheat your toaster oven or oven on broil. Spray or coat a nonstick skillet with Pam or its equivalent and heat using medium to high setting.

Add in the egg and cook, but stir often or until it sets into soft curds, which will take a couple of minutes or less.

Spread the marinara sauce on each of the muffin halves and sprinkle with cheese, meat and the scramble egg.

Broil for one to three minutes or until the cheese melts. Make as many as you’d like. They are small in size, but they have plenty of calcium, fiber, protein and potassium benefits.

3. French Toast Waffles

French Toast Waffles

Keeping with the line of eating healthy, breakfast is the perfect start. You want your children to be full, but just not on doughnuts. I mean, it’s hard to turn down a warm, creamy, sensational doughnut that melts in your mouth. Somehow, I find the strength to just say ‘no’ but, I don’t like the look of disappointment on my kid’s faces. I had to come up with a sweet solution to make us all happy.

As an alternative to doughnuts, we indulge the taste of waffles and French toast. Most of the time, the twins want one of each. I certainly don’t have the time to prepare specialized meals during the week and who’s getting up at 5 in the morning like the doughnut maker? Not me!

I thought about what happens when you put waffles and French toast together? You get French toast waffles! Luckily for me, both kids are happy.

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 measuring cups of  2% milk
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of nutmeg
  • 16 huge slices of Texas toast
  • Maple syrup

Instructions

Pre-heat your waffle iron.

Grab you a large mixing bowl and whisk the top six ingredients until they are nice and blended.

Dip the Texas toast in the mix so that it coats both sides. Place in hot waffle iron and bake them for about 4 or 5 minutes.

When they have reached a nice golden brown, cut and serve.

I don’t like to serve cold syrup on hot foods so I heat the syrup as well before topping.

If you have more than you and your children can eat, simply put in zip-lock bags and freeze for later. The recipe should make at least 8 servings.

I hope you find these recipes helpful and deserving of your table. Each have nutritional value to help your child be the best they can be by starting their day off on the right foot with a vitamin rich breakfast!

Author Bio: Andreea Dalena is a dedicated mom that is currently following her passion for cooking and blogging. As a former quality assurance manager she also blogs about gadgets that will make life easier in the kitchen. You can find her work on Chop Chop Labz.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup

Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup

Every winter we make a batch of soups. Chicken noodle, Italian Wedding, and Beef Barley are the usual staples. After running out of frozen soups we decided to try a couple of crockpot soups. Since my husband loves Stuffed Peppers we decided to try a soup variation in the slow cooker as it is just dump everything in and let it go!

Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup from Starts At Eight

Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of ground beef (could substitute with ground turkey)
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced (we actually used one green and one red)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced (we make both the onion and garlic into a puree because some of us don’t like onion chunks but we still want to have the flavor)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (23 oz) jar of sauce (we used Ragu)
  • 32 oz beef broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups of cooked rice (we used a wild rice mix)

Instructions

  1. Brown and drain grease from the ground beef. Place ground beef in the slow cooker.
  2. Add everything but the rice to the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. With about 30 minutes left add in your cooked rice, recover and continue cooking the final 30 minutes.
Lemon Spinach Chicken

Lemon Spinach Chicken

Lemon Spinach Chicken from Starts At Eight

This is a new recipe for me. As with all the things we try, we find recipes we like, mix recipes together, and change them as we make them to be more of what we want. This is a fabulously creamy dish. I was super surprised by how much flavor the spinach soaks up from the sauce. Fancy restaurant quality food right here! LOL!

Lemon Spinach Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 6 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 cup chicken broth
  • 1.5 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Juice of 3 lemons (just over 1/2 cup)
  • 8 cups baby spinach, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Cut each chicken breast into 2 or 3 smaller pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with paprika.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add chicken. Sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside in a 13×9 baking pan.
  5. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until starting to brown.
  6. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, Parmesan, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium.
  7. Stir in spinach and simmer until the spinach has reduced in size and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. (Be sure the sauce has thickened enough as this is an important step!) Pour mixture over the chicken in the baking pan.
  8. Place into the oven and roast until completely cooked through.  (about 25-30 minutes)

We served this over wide noodles. I have seen people serve it over mashed potatoes. My plan is to try it over rice.

Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids

Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids

Smoothies are a great breakfast or anytime idea for kids. If you make healthy smoothie recipes for kids, their special nutritional needs are easily taken care of since smoothies are easy to make and even easier to drink! They can be colorful and flavorful and you can easily incorporate a host of ingredients in kid-friendly smoothies, including fruits and veggies they may not otherwise eat.

Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids from Starts At Eight

Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids

Smoothies contain yogurt, which is easy to digest and has many nutritional benefits. You can substitute yogurt with milk or soy milk or even tofu too. All these provide the protein that children need. When you serve smoothies in fancy glasses and garnish them, they look even more appealing and they taste great, too.

Berry Smoothie

Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids - Berry Smoothie from Starts At Eight

  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana

Hull berries and put in blender along with yogurt and banana that has been peeled and sliced. Blitz till smooth, adding ice cubes or cold water for a thinner consistency.

Health Benefits:

Berries are full of antioxidants that boost brain power and bananas are high in complex carbohydrates and potassium, so offer high satiety value and increase energy levels.

Green Smoothie

Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids for Kids - Green Smoothie from Starts At Eight

  • ¼ cup chopped broccoli
  • ¼ cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup green grapes
  • 1 green apple, chopped
  • 1 cup vanilla or mixed fruit yogurt

Put broccoli, spinach, grapes, apple and yogurt in blender and blitz till smooth, adding ice cubes to thin and chill the smoothie.

Health Benefits:

The green vegetables have antioxidants that combat free radicals, iron to build the blood and fiber that helps with digestion. Grapes and apple are full of vitamins and minerals and yoghurt has the protein that growing children need.

Carrot and Apricot Smoothie

  • 1 carrot, scraped and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped apricot
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup yogurt or milk

Put carrot, apricot and orange juice along with yogurt in blender and blitz till smooth.

Health Benefits:

Carrots contain carotenoids that help with eyesight as well as fiber, apricots are full of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, orange juice provides Vitamin C that boosts immunity and yogurt or milk provide calcium and protein.

Pineapple Mango Smoothie

  • ½ cup chopped pineapple
  • ½ cup chopped mango
  • 1 cup vanilla or mixed fruit yogurt

Blend the fruit and yogurt together till smooth and serve.

Health Benefits:

Pineapple contains a lot of Vitamin C and other nutrients that improve immunity. Mango is rich in iron that helps increase hemoglobin and Vitamin A that helps with vision. These fruits also contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that provide needed nutrients.

Watermelon and Peach Smoothie

Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids - Watermelon Smoothie from Starts At Eight

  • 1 cup watermelon cubes
  • ½ cup peach slices
  • 1 cup yogurt or milk

Blend all together till smooth. The peach adds bulk to the smoothie otherwise watermelon yields a thinner yield.

Health Benefits:

Watermelon is cooling and refreshing, ideal for summer since it provides food hydration because of its electrolytes and natural sugars. It also boosts immunity and digestion. Peach is rich in carotenoids and flavonoids that help with eye health and also immunity.

The best thing about smoothie recipes for kids is that you can add different kinds of fruits and vegetables for taste and color. Smoothies can be had at breakfast time or anytime along with or instead of a snack.  When you experiment, you will know what your kids like and you can also sneak in fruits and veggies that they may not knowingly eat, improving their nutritional intake and their health.

This article is written by Jarin Mariea from Best Food Processor Guide

Meal Planning for the Homeschool Family

Meal Planning for the Homeschool Family

Meal Planning can be a great way to save both time and money. Specifically for the homeschool family whose needs are 3 meals a day for everyone in the house.

Meal Planning for the Homeschool Family from Starts At Eight includes money and time saving tips for planning your meals.

 

Years ago we found that meal planning (albeit somewhat annoying when you have to create the plan) was an option our house couldn’t do without.

In our house we plan for 2 weeks at a time. You could really set up any variation that works for you. That could be one week at a time, two weeks at a time, and even a month or more!

While we like to plan out our own meal schedule, you can also find many sites with free meal plans for you to use such as Enchanted Homeschooling Moms Monthly Free Meal Plans and resources.

Using a crockpot can be a huge help in meal planning and cooking for your family. You can find Weekly Crockpot Menu Plans and more at Stockpiling Moms. Also here are a few of our favorite Crockpot Meals.

Time Saving Tips

  • Shop for longer periods at one time.
  • Cook large quantities at once and freeze multiple meals – we do this with soups, lasagna, past sauce, and more.
  • Cook enough for two meals at once. Have one that day and save the other for a couple of days later.
  • Prepare food ahead. We will cook chicken for things like pot pies, tacos, and Broccoli Chicken Alfredo all at once. Then either freeze quantities or put in refrigerator if being used quickly.


Money Saving Tips

  • Buy in bulk.
  • Look for specials on meat when they are getting close to their sell by dates.
  • Shop at a discount store like Aldi, or Shop Rite.
  • Coupon
  • Buy in large quantities when something you use often is on a good sale.

Meal Planning for the Homeschool Family G+ Hangout

  • What is meal planning?
  • What does it look like for you?
  • Hoe does it help you?
  • How does it differ for large or small families?
  • How does meal planning save you money?
  • What about freezer meals?

Other Posts About Meal Planning

  1. Saving $’s and lbs. ~ Biweekly Meal Planning
  2. How Meal Planning Saves Money
  3. 25 Freezer Meals That Don’t Require Any Cooking Ahead of Time
  4. 31 Things You Can Freeze To Save Time & Money
  5. 20+ Frugal Recipes, Tips, & Meal Plans
  6. 2 Favorite Meal Planning Meal Planning Tools (and a video tutorial)
Healthy Appetizers for Healthy Living!

Healthy Appetizers for Healthy Living!

Appetizers are an entertainer’s staple! Almost any gathering requires the host to provide some type of food and beverage. In a society where obesity and weight related issues are on the rise, why not try creating healthy appetizers to offer your party guests? Whether as the sole course or to truly be the first course before the meal, and even just as snacks in your home, preparing healthy appetizers is a healthy living option that is easier than you think to prepare, and certainly easier on your waistline!

Healthy Appetizers for Healthy Living from Starts At Eight

In full course meals, the first type of food provided is the appetizer. This is provided to stimulate people’s appetite before the main dish is presented. They are usually finger-foods and thus silverware is no not required when having appetizers. Although there are many types of appetizers, it’s better if you select healthy appetizers. Individuals who plan to slim down will certainly appreciate you for this! Consuming such food items clearly helps the body to remain healthy.

Healthy appetizers, much like every other appetizer, come in many different flavors. This is exactly where your personal choice will be challenged. There are those that are salty, sweet, sour, or a mix of flavors.  Appetizers made of fruits like apricot and also avocado are best for people who need to have sweet appetizers. There are also appetizers made of vegetables, seafood, and many others if you wish it to be somewhat savory.

It’s easier than you think to prepare healthy appetizers. Using a recipe book for guidance, preparing any form of appetizer shouldn’t take you more than an hour or so. Also, the Internet is a great place for you to look for tips and unique recipes to try. Because the web is a great source of recipes, finding something to suit your needs is easier than ever. Furthermore, if you don’t have a lot of experience in cooking, you can watch video demonstrations. This way, you’ll get to see the step-by-step method of making your meals.

The advantage of watching a video demonstration of recipes is that you will see how to execute the steps accurately. Adding to that, the person in the video can also provide a few guidelines while they are demonstrating the steps. You will also minimize on the  headaches in making healthy appetizers because the steps involved are done right before your eyes. All you have to do is to mix or toss the ingredients. Select the ingredients carefully in order to make certain that they’re fresh. The majority of ingredients in healthy appetizers are great sources of minerals and vitamins. This means that you’re enjoying a yummy meal without compromising your well being.

Even if you are fond of having sugary and fatty foods such as ice creams, and burgers, you might be interested to try some healthy appetizers for a change.  Food items like this are great to nibble during snack breaks as an alternative to your high calorie,  high sugar snacks. Even children tend to like eating appetizers due to their tiny size and added fun of using your fingers. Furthermore, this is great strategy to add veggies in their diet.

Looking at which kind of ingredients to put in your healthy appetizers  is essential before trying them out at home. In doing so, you’ll be able to determine if the recipe has ingredients that one of your loved ones is allergic to, as well as to ensure you choose things that have ingredients your family members and guests actually like. In addition to that, checking out your nutritional needs is also important as it will help you identify the foods that you should and shouldn’t be eating.

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