Monday, June 3, 2024

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

 With a new baby at home, I am currently all about the crockpot meals. Lots are make ahead and freeze friendly. As I try them I want to share what worked well and what I plan to improve on next time. With any luck I'll remember to come back and share how those modifications went. ;) 

If you are new to freezer meals or batch prepping them I highly recommend the blog that this recipe came from, The Family Freezer. I learned so much from their site and they have some really great PDFs with lots of meals already grouped with shopping lists included. I will not step on their toes by trying to mimic - this is purely so I can remember what I liked to use it again. 

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

from: The Family Freezer

  • 1 pound of chicken breast
  • 16oz bag of frozen fajita veggies (bell pepper and onions usually, I could only find ~14oz bags)
  • fajita seasoning packet (I used this recipe and only did a tbsp - I will increase the amount next time)
Combine all ingredients either directly in your crockpot or in a freezer bag to store for later. Cook on low for 4-7 hours (4 is plenty, but I was cooking from frozen and started it when I had a calm and happy baby so it spent longer in the crockpot. 😂) 
If freezing: label the bag with what it is, how long to cook it, and what day you store it. Use it within three months for best results (not freezer-burned!)

I served this with tortillas, sour cream, and a side of beans. 
Next time I will double the seasoning and the veggies. We usually hold back on "whole packet of seasoning" directions but it really would have been more appropriate at this scale. Oops! 

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Overnight Oats

 I've been making overnight oats a lot lately. With a baby at home, I need easy ways to make sure I'm feeding myself. Anyone who has breastfed will tell you that the constant refrain we hear is "EAT MORE OATS." The good news is this doesn't have to be boring, and these overnight oats recipes from Lemons + Zest have been amazing. 

So why am I sharing them here if they are so great? Well... a few reasons. 1) I want to list the ingredients in the order I find it makes sense to add them (based on what measuring spoons you have active). 2) I find a few of these need a little extra liquid, so I want to record my preferences. 3) I've had a few beloved recipes disappear when blogs get abandoned, so I don't want to risk losing these recipes I've been making multiple times a week. 😅

My method; I set out four mason jars and line up the ingredients. Add all ingredients to each jar, stir well, seal (I got plastic lids that are so convenient), stick in the fridge for at least 8 hours (but up to 5 days depending on ingredients... any fruit or veggie inclusions shorten this time), and enjoy hot or cold! I find that a 1/4 cup works best for me with the size of my mason jars... so I just do two of those to make the 1/2 cup of oats and milk. Recipes like the blueberry muffin oats call for a 1/4 cup of berries so that's a bonus one less thing to wash.

Below are my favorites, from best (I make this every week) to yeah ok (I rotate these through between the cold brew one 😜). 

Vanilla Cold Brew Overnight Oats

5 stars, I make this every week. Hands down my favorite and the recipe that made my husband go "oh wow, these are like REALLY good" - he eats oats 4-6 times a week now too. 

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use oat milk)
  • 2 Tbsp cold brewed coffee (I use Bizzy, but making a shot of espresso works great too)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1-2 tsp peanut butter (I scoop using the tsp and don't worry if it's mounded. Whatever goes in the jar goes in.) (The original calls for vanilla almond butter but I'm not buying any more variations.😜)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey (I go maple.)
  • dash of sea salt

4.75 stars, I love these but they are heavy on the sugar so I don't do as often. 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use oat milk)
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla greek yogurt (I use nondairy vanilla yogurt.. I've done both the 3 tbsp as written and just used two cartons for the four jars, splitting one carton between two jars. Both turned out great.)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds 
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (I do 1 tsp, since that measuring spoon is already out 😜)
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar (or maple syrup, but brown sugar is really more authentically cinnamon roll flavor)
  • dash of sea salt
I never noticed the cinnamon drizzle and icing drizzle options she includes... those sound really decadent and I might try the icing next time. 😂
    Cinnamon drizzle: Whisk together 1 Tbsp maple syrup and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Drizzle over top of oats.
    Icing drizzle: whisk 3 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp melted butter, a drop of vanilla, and milk (add 1 tsp at a time until desired thickness). Drizzle over top of oats. 

4.75 stars, rounding out my top 3. 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup milk of choice (I do just under 3/4 cup oat milk)
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (The original calls for cashew butter but I'm not buying any more variations... I have been loving honey-roasted peanut butter in this.) (I scoop a rounded tbsp and don't worry about it being perfect.) 
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (original calls for 1 tbsp ground flax - optional)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey (I do maple)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (I use frozen - it takes a little longer to heat in the morning, but otherwise no issues with this substitution. Cheaper, easier to have on hand!)
  • dash of sea salt

4.75 stars, tied with Blueberry, so still in my top 3? XD After discovering this one I hardly make the cinnamon roll ones anymore. 
  • 1/2 c rolled oats, regular or gluten free
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, or milk of choice (I do oat milk)
  • 2-3 Tbsp vanilla or peach yogurt (I do nondairy vanilla)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional if not on hand)
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup diced peaches, fresh or frozen (I do frozen, same reasons as blueberries above. Sometimes the frozen are a little crunchy, fresh would undoubtedly be superior, but I never seem to have access. ;P)
  • dash of sea salt

4 stars. Good alternate, not my top 3, but solid option
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use oat milk)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tsp peanut butter (I scoop using the tsp and don't worry if it's mounded. Whatever goes in the jar goes in.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey (I use maple.) 
  • dash of sea salt

3.5 stars. Good, but I would have preferred only having one of these prepped. Multiple in a row was too much. If I make it again, I will just do two jars. Also, my husband doesn't like the texture of coconut so I leave that out of his. 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (regular or gluten-free) 
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk or milk of choice (I had almost enough in the can to do four jars - I put 1/3 cup in each jar, then filled the 1/3 cup measuring spoon halfway with coconut milk and topped it with oat milk. Anything to not open a second can. 😜)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flavored yogurt (I used two cartons of coconut milk coconut flavored yogurt.) 
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (I might just use 1 tsp next time, like all the other recipes do.) 
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of sea salt

3.5 stars. Doesn't last as long in the fridge as some of the others. I would probably only make two if I make it again. Again, I leave the coconut out of my husband's jars. 
  • ½ cup rolled oats (regular or gluten-free)
  • ⅔ cup milk of choice
  • ½ large carrot, shredded (I used about 1/4 cup preshredded)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp coconut shredded or flaked
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp raisins
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp maple
  • dash of sea salt

Pina Colada

3 stars. I didn't plan to make these again so I closed the tab and now I can't find this recipe. (It was from a different blogger.) 

My husband's ranking; cold brew, blueberry muffin, cinnamon roll, peach pie, chocolate peanut butter, carrot cake, pina colada, coconut cream pie. 


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