Happy Winter everyone! These cold, snowy days have me craving all the comfort foods (or maybe it’s the pregnancy!). That in combination with not wanting to stand over the stove for more than 30 minutes has really made me hone in on quick and simple recipes like this one. Only one pan to wash (win!), no meat to cook (win!), and it is loaded with cheese (major win!). Plus my 18 month old ate about half of it (sort of win!).
My due date is in 6 weeks which is very very surreal to me. I feel like in some ways I have been pregnant for 125 years, and other times I feel like there’s no way it is already winding down. I knew that my second pregnancy would be different than my first, but I wasn’t expecting all of the new emotions you feel with round two. I go from super excited to grow to a family of 4 to a little bit sad thinking that I won’t be able to give all my attention to Rory anymore. I know he will adjust, as all first children do, but is it weird that I feel guilty for making him share everything including his parents?! I’m sure once the baby is here all will be right with the world, and my funny thoughts about having this second child will subside but for now, I’m over here feeling like I’m a string of happy-sad-happy-sad-happy-crying-laughing emojis. Ugh, hormones man.
Anyway, please enjoy this hearty, lazy meal and don’t feel guilty for making your significant other wash the dishes! (one dish! – and maybe a cutting board)
One Pot 30 Minute Taco Mac & Cheese
Everything gets thrown into one pot and is ready to serve 30 minutes later! Weeknight winner for sure.
Mince onion and place in a large stock pot or dutch oven with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add in 2 Tbsp of the taco seasoning and the green pepper. Saute for additional 2-3 minutes.
Add in tomatoes, beans, broth, pasta, and corn. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once pasta is done, add in the final 2 Tbsp of taco seasoning, 1 Tbsp chili powder, and the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and serve.
You can add chicken or ground beef to the first step if you would like additional protein.
Omit the chili powder if you are feeding sensitive palates (I dished some up for my son before I added the chili powder).
We like to top it with sour cream, but feel free to add any additional taco toppings you would like!
How’s everyone doing in 2018 so far? New Year’s resolutions going well? Keep at ’em, you can do it! I’ve learned that if I call them “goals” instead of “resolutions” I’m much more likely to succeed. There’s just something about being able to check off a goal as completed that makes me feel like the “throwing money in the air” meme. I’ve also started semi-bullet journaling this year – I call it semi because let’s be honest, I will never be as talented or artistic as the examples you see on Pinterest. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. Seriously, it’s impressive) So far it has been helpful, and not just for my yearly goals but for keeping track of how often you do certain things. For example, I’m trying to keep track of how often I change my contacts – if you’re an optometrist please don’t get mad – but I’m pretty sure I have been wearing this pair for > 6 months. No wonder I never run out.
On another note, how about that Superbowl? In full transparency, I didn’t watch much of it because we had some friends over who brought their 9 month old, and I spent most of my time trying to keep my kid from using his friend’s foot as a chew toy. What do I even do with a 7 month old who has 6 teeth? All of my pre-baby reading about “what to expect your first year” did not prepare me for this stage this early.
Speaking of biting and chewing, I made this amazing pulled pork for the big game, and it totally turned out better than I expected. I was literally eating it by the forkfuls cold this morning. The spicy coleslaw paired so well with it too. If you aren’t into breaking out of the traditional coleslaw mold, your good old-fashioned picnic slaw would be great also!
Just a little PSA prior to giving you the recipe: if you have time to toast your buns – do it. Buttery toasted Hawaiian rolls + saucy pulled pork + crisp, spicy slaw = Par-tay! You won’t regret it.
Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sliders with Spicy Feta Coleslaw
Tender, juicy pulled pork (that's also very versatile and freezer friendly) paired with crunchy spicy slaw will leave you wanting to make this every week
Thaw pork and trim of excess fat.
Slice onion and place in bottom of Crock Pot (I used a 6 qt).
Place roast on top of onion and pour 1/2 can pop over the meat.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until cooked through.
Remove meat from Crock Pot and shred. Remove all but 3/4-1 cup of liquid from Crock Pot and return shredded meat to it. Pour desired amount of BBQ sauce in, and mix well.
Cook on low for an additional 1-2 hours.
In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings. TASTE it at this point and adjust the seasoning for your dressing as desired!
Pour dressing over coleslaw mix and mix together. Fold in feta cheese. Let your coleslaw rest in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to combine the flavors.
To serve your sandwiches: bun + meat + coleslaw! Done!
This pulled pork is also wonderful on its own, on nachos, on pizza, etc! It is freezer friendly with appropriate storage in a container or Ziploc bag. I really wish I would've made this to throw in the freezer before my son was born!
Happy time change everyone! I was naive to think that my 4 month old would also understand the time change and adjust his sleeping habits accordingly (nope!). We survived though, and it was actually a great weekend for “falling back” because we had a bunch of family in town for my son’s baptism. Before we moved to Colorado last year, I took for granted how easy we had it in Iowa being able to see our family anytime we wanted (and within 2 hours). I still get teary-eyed every time we drive back through Des Moines, thinking “ugh, we could be home by now” instead of having another 10 hours on the road. Don’t mind me, I have small pity parties from time to time. I now know that the move was a blessing in disguise because not only does my husband love his career, but I appreciate my family so much more. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I both come from very close families, but now I count down the days to when we get to see them and cherish every moment.
I don’t normally publicize my religion because it is something I hold dear to my heart, and it’s a part of me that I would rather save for myself, my husband, and my family, but seeing my son getting baptized was one of those eye opening moments of my life. I knew I would get emotional about it (thanks new mom hormones), but as it was going on, I caught myself looking from my son to our family who traveled so far to be with us. I felt so incredibly grateful not only for having an amazing support system, but because we get to teach our son about God and introduce him to a faith that has gotten me through a lot of hard times. It’s a wonderful feeling.
That’s my small insight into my faith. Speaking of church, I’m sharing a recipe today that makes a perfect Sunday dinner. I love reminiscing about coming home from church on Sundays during my childhood and having a hearty Sunday dinner, or being at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house, eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes after church. (Sidenote: why can I still not make mashed potatoes as good as my Grandma’s?!)
You are going to love this version of chicken pot pie because 1 – it’s easy, 2 – it contains cheese, and 3 – it is topped with Red Lobster biscuits. I had no idea they sold Red Lobster biscuit mix in stores until we came across it in Costco. (Another sidenote: I feel like I can’t write a post without mentioning Costco – oops. My husband and I are the crazy people who go there every weekend, look at the same things, and have the same conversations about products. I can hear Nick now saying, “That three pack of scissors really is a great deal“.) I have also seen the mix in Target and our local grocery stores if you are having trouble locating it.
Enjoy! See below the recipe if you would like to make this without a cast iron skillet.
Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Pot Pie (with Red Lobster Biscuits)
Quickened version of chicken pot pie - in one pan! Definitely worth the effort 🙂
In cast iron skillet, melt 2 of the 4 Tbsp of butter. Add chicken pieces, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add chopped onion and garlic to skillet (add another Tbsp of butter if skillet too dry). Cook for 1 minute and then add frozen bag of vegetables (no need to thaw). Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently. Add thyme, salt, and pepper.
When vegetables are soft, melt remaining 2 Tbsp of butter in the skillet with the vegetables. Sprinkle the flour over the mix and stir around.
Pour in milk, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened to the consistency of a melted milkshake then turn off the heat.
Add the chicken back in the skillet along with the 3/4 cup cheese.
Mix biscuit mix according to package directions, and drop biscuits onto the filling mixture in the skillet.
Place cast iron skillet into oven, and cook according to biscuit package directions (14-16 minutes).
Remove from oven, melt 1/4 cup butter and mix in the biscuit seasoning packet. Spoon or brush the butter-seasoning mix over the hot biscuits.
If you do not have a cast iron skillet: make the filling as instructed above in a normal skillet (steps 1-6). Transfer the filling to an oven safe casserole dish then add the biscuit topping. Cook according to biscuit directions, remove from oven, and top with butter-seasoning mix as described above.