October 1, 2016

Roast two chickens at once – save time, energy, dishes

I love saving time and energy – both seem to be in short supply these days. When I figured out that I could roast two chickens at once – doubling the output (and meals) with minimal extra work it was a serious “aha” moment!

The follow-up meals that can be built from the extra chicken are endless – sandwiches, salads, tacos, soups, casseroles, etc. It’s like killing two birds with one  . . .you get the point. The thing that pleases me most is the whole “production” only has to happen once – but you can use it for many other meals.

I realize if you have a large family (or teenagers) you might already roast two chickens at a time. Forgive me for just realizing this was a possibility!

Here is my recipe as we’ve always used for roasting chicken – I just modified it for two birds.


2 whole chickens (4-5 pounds each) – as close to the same size as possible so they cook at same rate

5-7 medium potatoes, quartered – whatever kind you like, I had Yukon Gold leftover from our Clam Chowder

6-8 carrots, peeled

6-8 celery stalks, quartered

4-5 medium onions, quartered

4-5 garlic cloves

1-2 lemons

Olive oil



Sweet basil


Kosher salt and pepper


Large roasting pan – At least 12 x 16 inches. Advice from the peanut gallery (take it for what it’s worth) – Invest in a good roasting pan. I had one for under $20 that started chipping and flaking within a year. Not good for your food and super frustrating. I ended up buying a Pampered Chef one (LOVE) and it looks brand new to this day – it’s at least three years old and has roasted a lot of chickens and turkeys. Not to mention it heats evenly, cleans up like a charm and won’t leech “non-stick” stuff on my food. You are probably looking at spending $100 or so on a pan – for a good one – but you’ll likely only buy one in your lifetime.

Something like this (has good ratings) over on Amazon: Calphalon LRS1805P Contemporary Stainless Special-Value 16-Inch Roaster with Nonstick Roasting Rack or Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Roaster with Rack, Baster, Injector, and Lifters

Meat thermometer – A valuable and handy tool to have around when cooking. . .well, um, meats! You can buy them with alarms that go off when the meat has reached a certain temperature. We have something like this from Amazon: Taylor 1470 Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer and it sits outside with the oven, but has a probe that goes into meat.


  1. Remove giblets and insides from chickens.
  2. Wash chickens well (do not use soap, haha) and make sure all feathers are removed. Dry very well with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Prep vegetables – quarter the potatoes, peel the carrots, quarter the celery stalks, peel and quarter the onions, quarter the lemons
  4. Spread out all vegetables in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Add a few whole garlic cloves to the vegetables mix (or if you’re ambitious – mince garlic and mix it in). Reserve 1/2 onion, 1/2 lemon and two garlic cloves for chicken.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables, sprinkle with rosemary and sweet basil. We also had fresh parsley in the fridge, so we added that.
  6. It’s probably about time to preheat oven to 425 degrees
  7. Now back to the chicken – put a quarter of a lemon, quarter of an onion and a whole garlic clove in each chicken.
  8. Truss chickens with kitchen twine. This is to keep the legs in close to the body to keep them from burning. (Alton Brown does a great video tutorial on trussing turkey – same concept.)
  9. Put both chickens on top of vegetables in roasting pan.
  10. Drizzle olive oil over chickens, sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage and sweet basil on top. I also rub on minced garlic, but that’s because we LOVE garlic. If you don’t have a seasoning or don’t like one – leave it out, it won’t make too much of a difference.
  11. Pop in the oven at 425 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes (mine took exactly 75 minutes) – basically internal temperature of chicken breasts should read 180 degrees. Rotate pan half way through to help chickens cook evenly. If you need, you can also stir around veggies – but I usually just leave mine alone and they are delish.
  12. When your chickens have reached 180 internal degrees (as taken in the breast) – take chickens out of oven and if you can stand it, let them rest about 10 minutes before cutting (it will keep them more moist).
  13. Enjoy!

Use leftover chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock (stove top) or Chicken stock in the slow cooker – and leftover chicken can be used for all kinds of meals.

Here are some chicken recipes you could try: 

How do you roast your chickens? Do you have a favorite recipe or technique?

March 16, 2015

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup recipe (leftover pot roast)

Slow-Cooker-Beef-Barley-StewFind this Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Stew on my Slow Cooker Pinterest board

Slow Cooker Beef & Barley soup

We had a pot roast for dinner last night. It turned out delightful. I’ll tell you more about that soon, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about this Slow Cooker Beef and Barley soup that I made today with the leftover pot roast! Next time you have leftover pot roast – give this recipe a try – I think you’ll love it!

This recipe calls for leftover cooked pot roast – but if you buy raw stew beef – just dice into 1/2 squares and throw it into a large skillet with a little oil and onions – and cook it up before throwing it into the crockpot.

Oh I’m a certified member of the I love chunky soup club – so if you prefer your soup a little less full of stuff,  just use 1 cup each of the carrots, celery and mushrooms (instead of suggested 2 cups each).


1 to 2 pounds of leftover pot roast, diced small
Or cooked stew meat

7 cups beef broth
If you have Au Jus from the pot roast, you could sub 1-2 cups of broth with Au Ju, but you don’t want it too greasy – so consider cooling the Au Jus overnight in the fridge and removing the hardened fat from the top, using the less fatty, liquid Au Jus for the soup. 

2 cups carrots, sliced thinly

2 cups celery, sliced thinly

2 cups mushrooms, sliced thinly

1/2 – 1 cup dried pearl barley

1 can of stewed or diced tomatoes (14.5 oz can)

1 can of sweet corn, drained (15 oz can)

1 onion, diced finely

1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon pepper

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March 15, 2015

Crockpot Corned Beef and Guinness recipe

Crockpot Corned Beef with Guinness recipeCheck out this recipe, and other Slow Cooker recipes, on my Slow Cookers Pinterest board

Crockpot Corned Beef and Guinness

I didn’t grow up eating corned beef – the first time I made it was a few years ago in the crockpot. This recipe for Corned Beef and Guinness in the crockpot is so incredibly easy and super delicious. I won’t pretend to be a corned beef expert – but this recipe sure seems to get the job done.

If you have other corned beef recipes or cooking methods – I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment on this post!


Here’s how I made Crockpot Corned Beef and Guinness . . . 

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January 5, 2015

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe

Spaghetti-Sauce-Homemade-recipeHomemade spaghetti sauce on Pinterest

Homemade spaghetti sauce recipe

Homemade spaghetti sauce is really the only way to go if you want flavor, freshness and frugality. It’s so incredibly easy and makes a world of difference compared to the store-bought-jarred-or-canned-stuff.  I whipped up a batch of this homemade spaghetti sauce last night and I think it’s one of my best batches yet.

This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe could be made in the slow cooker, but you’ll still want to cook up the garlic, onions and beef before you toss it into the slow cooker. I used a Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-Quart Oval French Oven, Cherry (Amazon) – but any large pan will do.


Olive oil – 2 Tablespoons

Ground beef or turkey – about 2 pounds
I am an Alaskan girl, so I used moose meat 🙂

1 large onion – diced finely

Garlic cloves – 5 cloves, peeled and minced

Tomato sauce – 3 cans, 15 oz each

Diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano – 3 cans, 15 oz each

Tomato paste – 1 can, 12 oz

Brown sugar – 2 Tablespoons

Dried Oregano (or Italian seasoning mix) – 1 heaping Tablespoon

Dried Sweet Basil – 1 heaping Tablespoon

Bay leaves – two whole leaves (remove when done cooking)

Optional: Sliced fresh mushrooms (probably 12 – 16 oz), diced fresh red or yellow peppers, parmesan cheese


1.) In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, add your olive oil. After it’s hot, toss in your diced onions and minced garlic. Cook until softened and slightly browned. Be careful, the garlic can burn if you’re not careful.

2.) Once your onions are cooked, toss in your ground beef (or turkey). Cook until it’s no longer pink. Drain any excess fat. (If the pan is hard to drain, use a turkey baster to remove grease.)


3.) Once your meat is no longer pink and the grease drained – toss in all the tomatoes, brown sugar and spices!

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August 15, 2014

Roasted Marinara Sauce Recipe – Easy, homemade, fresh

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Originally shared in 2013, this recipe is a FAVORITE and now is the perfect time of year to make up a batch! I hope you love it! 

Roasted Marinara Sauce Recipe

This roasted marinara recipe could not be any easier and it beats jarred or canned sauce by a landslide. I admittedly tried to make a homemade marinara sauce in the crockpot last fall and it was a MAJOR fail. I don’t know why, but it just tasted bitter and blah.  But this, this is how you make marinara sauce – roasted.

The measurements in this recipe are just a suggestion. It’s what I ended up putting into my marinara sauce, but add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. I’m fairly certain you can’t mess this up.



Tomatoes – About 5 pounds
I used a combination of roma, cherry, and glacier – some from my garden, some store bought. Dice large ones and leave cherry tomatoes whole. Remove stems.

Fresh Basil – Cup (packed) with fresh basil leaves, washed (whole leaves), stems removed

Fresh Garlic – Whole cloves, about 10 or 1/4 Cup
I like garlic, use less if this sounds like too much

Zucchini – 1 – 2 zucchinis, diced in 1/2″ thick slices

Onions – Two medium onions, quartered
I used a red onion and a Walla Walla Sweet onion (from my garden)

Olive oil – About 2 Tablespoons

Balsamic Vinegar – 1 Tablespoon (optional)

Salt – 3/4 Tablespoon

Italian Seasoning – 1 Tablespoon

Ground Pepper – To taste



1.) Preheat oven to 400 degree F

2.) Wash and chop all your vegetables. If you have large tomatoes, quarter them. Basically you want everything about the same size when you chop it up – so it all cooks at the same rate.


3.) Once all your vegetables are chopped, toss them into a roasting pan or glass pyrex pan. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over vegetables. Add salt, italian seasoning and ground pepper to taste.

4.) Pop in the oven. Cook 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees. You can take the pan out about half way through and give it a good stir. If you have enough for multiple pans, rotate them on the shelves so they cook evenly.

4.) Remove from oven. Allow to cool.


5.) Once cool to touch, use a slotted spoon to scoop vegetables into a food processor, blender or Blendtec/Vitamix. I recommend a slotted spoon because I found I had a lot of liquid from my tomatoes – leave the juice in the pan, you can add more later.


6.) Puree your vegetables. The longer you puree, the smoother the sauce. If you had very seedy tomatoes, puree a bit longer to help break those up. Scoop in liquid from your roasting pan to get it to the consistency you would like. You can always freeze this liquid for tomato soups or to add to sauce at a later time (I didn’t want to throw mine away!). If it’s not thick enough for you, try adding some tomato paste.

7.) Freeze in Ziploc bags or freezer bags. Or if you’re up for it, can it!


I knew the recipe was a keeper when my daughter sat down, right there on the kitchen floor and ate a bowl of it, without noodles, without cheese. She loved it! So it’s kid-approved, in case you’re wondering.

I’d love to hear what you think about this recipe! I’m excited to get more tomatoes and try some different variations. I might try to add the basil in fresh to the food processor – I bet that would give it a vibrant color and possibly a stronger flavor.



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February 7, 2014

Broccoli and Sausage Stir Fry Recipe


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Broccoli and Sausage Stir Fry

This recipe for Broccoli and Sausage Stir Fry is one of my favorite all-time family recipes. It’s a recipe I’ve modified that my mother makes and I serve it as least twice a month, if not more. It’s incredibly easy to make – you can have it done and on the table in about the time it takes to boil your water and cook your pasta.



Fresh broccoli, 1 pound – Cut to small florets

Sausages, 3-4 – I prefer chicken sausage, like Aidell’s, whereas my mom makes it with Polska Kielbasa sausage
For this recipe I used Sabahno’s Smoke Mozzarella with Artichokes and Garlic Chicken sausage from Costco

Fresh Mushrooms, 1 pound – I prefer crimini, sliced

Onion, 1 medium – Diced finely

Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, 1 Cup – Finely grated

Pasta, one pound – I prefer Wacky Mac or Ronzoni Garden Delight, but used regular bow tie today.

Garlic, 2-3 cloves, minced

Oregano – 2 to 4 Tablespoons
Start with less – you can always add more.

Olive oil, Tablespoon

Salt, just a dash

These measurements are exact. You can add as much or as little of any ingredient and I think it still will turn out delicious.

Costco has all these ingredients at a great price. I usually buy the pre-cut broccoli florets at Costco, the crimini mushrooms, oregano (or italian seasoning mix), the sausages and the parmesan. The packages from Costco will easily get you two meals of this (and you’ll still have sausage and parmesan left over).


1.) Start the process by getting a big pot of water on the stove for your noodles.

2.) While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prep your other ingredients. Mince you garlic, dice your onions, slice your mushrooms, wash/cut your broccoli, grate your parmesan

3.) By this point my water is usually boiling – dump in your noodles, cook according to directions on package.

4.) While noodles are boiling, get a large skillet (with a lid to use toward the end) and put over medium-heat on the stove top. Everything will end up in this skillet (except the noodles), so make sure it’s a big size. I use this one (Amazon: Cuisinart CSK-250 GreenGourmet 14-Inch Nonstick Electric Skillet) Add your olive oil to your skillet.


5.) Once your olive oil is hot, add your onions, garlic and a dash of salt. Cook down the onions (2-3 minutes) over medium heat.


6.) Once onions have started to soften, add mushrooms, cook down 2-3 minutes


7.) Once mushrooms are softening, add sausage and oregano, cook for 2-3 minutes



8.) Once everything is hot and steamy – add your broccoli, don’t stir, just COVER for about 3 minutes until your broccoli has turned a vibrant green and is steamed but still crunchy.


9.) Serve over a scoop of pasta and add your parmesan cheese! It reheats great the next day – in fact, I think I even like it more as leftovers!



Let me know what you think! I hope you like it as much as we do! Here’s a photo from when I posted back in 2011. This has always been one of my kid’s favorite meals. My son is showing off his muscles – since he’s eating broccoli and my daughter is still in her high chair. They were such babies! Time is going way too fast. . .

October 20, 2013

Slow cooker crockpot country style pork ribs recipe

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Crockpot Country-Style Pork Ribs

Country-style pork ribs are one of the most frugal meats you can buy. This Slow Cooker Country-Style Pork Rib recipe is simple and so easy. It’s a fantastically simple base recipe that you can add to or serve with a variety of sauces.


About 5 – 7 pounds of country-style pork ribs

Water, 1 Cup

Sherry, 1/2 Cup

Barbecue sauce, 1/4 Cup

Worcestershire sauce, a few shakes

Garlic salt and pepper to taste


1.) Season country-style ribs with garlic salt and pepper, to your liking.

2.) Put ribs into slow cooker. Whisk together water, sherry and barbecue sauce and pour over the ribs in the slow cooker

3.) Shake worcestershire sauce over the top of it. I did a few shakes.

4.) Cook on low for 8 hours. Don’t stir too much, just leave it be, with the lid on. Over stirring will break apart the ribs.

5.) Remove with tongs and serve with your favorite toppings. We served with barbecue sauce!



It’s Crock-toberAs part of this month-long series I’ll be featuring slow cooker and crockpot recipes that are easy and inexpensive!  This recipe was sent in by Alexia as part of our Crock-tober series – so she’ll get a $10 Amazon gift card! Send in your recipe and if I feature your recipe on the blog you’ll get a $10 Amazon gift card!

Here are some of the slow cooker recipes we’ve featured this month:

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May 13, 2013

Crockpot Corn Chowder recipe


Crockpot Corn Chowder recipe

After a weeklong hot spell the weather in the Northwest cooled down quite a bit today. So I threw together some Crockpot Corn Chowder – it hit the spot and it was just the thing to use up the gobs of frozen corn I have in the freezer. My husband raved about it, so I think I’ll be making it again real soon.


Potatoes, peeled and cubed, about 5 Cups (5-6 potatoes)

Corn, I used frozen, 5 Cups

Chicken broth, 4 Cups

3 Carrots, peeled and diced

3 Celery stalks, diced

1/2 Onion diced and sautéed in olive oil

5-6 slices of cooked bacon

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon Thyme
Don’t leave this out, I think it really adds to the flavor.

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Or you could probably use fresh garlic, I was out. Maybe 1 -2 cloves, minced.

1 Cup Heavy Cream (I used whipping cream because it’s what I had)
1 Cup regular milk (I used 1% milk)
Or I think you could just substitute 2 Cups heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings: Shredded cheddar cheese and diced bacon if you like



1.) Throw potatoes, corn, chicken broth, carrots, celery, onion, bacon, butter, thyme and garlic powder into crockpot (basically everything BUT the milk).

2.) Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10 hours. Since the bacon and onions are pre-cooked you really only need to get the potatoes soft, the smaller you dice those, the quicker that happens.

3.) About 30 minutes before you serve, add your milk or heavy cream or whipping cream. Whatever you have to make it creamy.

4.) You can used an immersion blender if you wanted to thicken it up by pureeing some of the potatoes (be careful if it’s hot). I tried this, but frankly, I like it chunky so I didn’t mind.

5.) Serve with shredded cheese and bacon bits for toppings.


My kids aren’t really soup eaters. They never have been, unless it’s Miso soup, then they love it (strange huh?). Usually what we do is use a slotted spoon and serve them the soup without the broth. We don’t even tell them it’s soup, it’s veggies and cheese or whatever it happens to be.


I served this with warm batch of my Grandma’s homemade rolls. I hope you enjoy!

What are your favorite things to add to chowder? Do you make chowder in the crockpot or stove top?


If you like this recipe, you might also like these recipes:

And more crockpot recipes here:

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