Healthy, Simple Family Friendly Meals: Meatloaf

One of my passions is cooking, I just love to be in the kitchen. Since I’ve had children though it’s not easy or practical to spend hours in the kitchen just to cook dinner. So, for this season of my life I’m focusing more on meals that are quick to prepare and are kid friendly. Raise your hand if you have a picky pre-schooler in the house? Anyone out there besides me? Finding things my three year old will willingly eat that are healthy is such a challenge. Today I’m going to share a meatloaf recipe that even he will eat {usually}.

{Side Note: Does anyone else think of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers yelling, “Maaa, the MEATLOAF!!” whenever they hear the word ‘meatloaf’?…Or is that just me? I’m not even a huge fan of that movie but every.single.time that quote pops in my head.}

Okay, back to the recipe. It’s simple, delicious and juicy. It DOES take a while to cook, but once it’s mixed up and in the oven it’s pretty hands off. Just add a couple of veggies and you’ve got an easy meal that’s healthy and yummy for your family. Some of my favorite vegetables that would work with this are sautéed zucchini and yellow squash. If your family is a ‘meat and potatoes’ type of family you could whip up some mashed potatoes or for a healthier spin cut up some baby red potatoes and sauté them in a little extra virgin olive oil. I usually season them with some black pepper and some rosemary.

Ingredients for the Meat Loaf:

  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 Cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
  • black pepper
  • ketchup

Some notes on the ingredients:

I highly encourage you to purchase organic, grass-fed beef when possible as it’s the healthiest option for your family. The majority of grocery stores are selling it now, my Kroger sells is for $7 a pound which I consider a great price.

You can make your breadcrumbs but usually I just use the store-bought breadcrumbs in a can. I don’t know about you but the time I’m cooking dinner always seems to be when the baby is clingy or the pre-schooler is grumpy so I look for as many ways as possible to shave off time spent in the kitchen. Buying the breadcrumbs pre-made is one of those time savers for me.

Did you know that black pepper is an antioxidant? It also has antibacterial effects and promotes digestive health. So, if your family enjoys the taste of black pepper there’s no need to hold back on it. Limiting salt intake is always wise but we don’t have to worry about if we add too much pepper.

Now for the steps:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Add the EVOO to a pan and heat over medium heat.

3. Finely chop the onion and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir occasionally while cooking and watch so the garlic does not burn.

4. Take the onion and garlic mixture off the heat and allow to cool some.

5. Mix the beef, milk, egg, salt and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Add the onion and garlic to it. *You can mix the meatloaf together with a spoon, but to be honest I’ve found that it gets better mixed by hand. That’s why you need the garlic and onion to cool a little first.

6. Form the meat mixture into a loaf and put in a lightly greased loaf pan. *I don’t cook mine on a baking sheet, I use the loaf pan because I feel that the meatloaf is more juicy this way.

6. Sprinkle the top with black pepper and put it in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes.

7. Remove it from the oven and lightly coat the top with ketchup.

8. Bake it for 15 more minutes. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving it.

Well, now you have another easy family-friendly recipe to add to your cooking repertoire. I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does. Bon appetit!

Do you have a kid friendly recipe you’d like to share with me? I’d love for you to include it in the comments.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

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Shabby Chic Baby Girl Shower

I realized today that I haven’t written a post since sometime in March!…it’s July! Spring and summer just seems to be such a busy time of the year. Although I’m leaving to go to the beach tomorrow and should be packing, I thought I’d do a post about the Shabby Chic Baby Girl Shower that I did in April…or was it May? I can’t remember!

This was such a fun shower to throw and gave me the perfect excuse to go antiquing for more milk glass! I LOVE milk glass and buy it whenever I find it. What about you? Do you have anything vintage that you collect?

For this shower I chose a color scheme of mostly pink and green and other gorgeous pastels. I made a wreath for the door and gave it to the mother-to-be to put on her front door when baby Brooklyn arrived. The letter “B” is just a wooden letter that I painted pink and sprinkled glitter on for a little bling.

I found the most perfect fabric at Hobby Lobby; it was a pack of 5 different fabrics that color coordinated but weren’t too “matchy-matchy”–I used them throughout the party and they really added to the shabby chic feeling I think. The pendants were cut out and glued on twine. The letters were stenciled on with brown paint. Overall I was pleased with how it turned out.

The baby’s nursery is decorated in pink and green owls so I was super excited when I found this cute owl box. At the shower I asked everyone to write a note to baby Brooklyn and put it in the box.

To decorate the room where the food was I made a garland out of strips of fabric; I simply tied them on and then added a little pink tutu and a couple of bibs.

The shower was a brunch so I served Preggo Mimosas which was just a mixture of orange juice and Sprite and in the South you simply can’t have a party without sweet tea!

I thought it would be darling for us to drink out of old fashioned milk bottles but I didn’t want to spend $4 per bottle…so I drank a bunch of Starbucks Frappuccinos (hmmm, is that spelled right?!) and used Goo Gone to get off the label. Then I tied a bit of lace and some twine around them and added a pink straw. So cute, cheap and reusable for another time too!

The menu for this brunch was inspired by Paula Deen. Most of the recipes were from her book, Paul Deen and Friends. I served Praline French Toast casserole, Garlic Cheese Grits casserole, Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes, Sausage Balls with Mustard Dip, Frozen Fruit Cups and a Doughnut Cake.

All of those items are yummy but you’ve just GOT to make the Praline French Toast–it’s amazing! Here’s a link to the recipe. I mean just look at it!

The Frozen Fruit Cups were served on cute little milk glass plates–so excited when I found a set of 5 of these pretties at Queen of Hearts antique store in Buford.

I added pink frosting and sparkly sprinkles to the dozen Krispy Kremes. What could be better than doughnuts with icing on them?

I made a mini version of the fireplace banner as a cake topper and used cute stickers to spell out the name.

Other elements that I feel added to the “shabby chicness” of the party was the burlap table runner and the “Plain & Simple” caddy I had the silverware in.

The favors were simple lollipops; typically I make cake pops as favors for parties but I was a little short on time so I purchased this kit at Party City.

This really was such a fun party to throw. Party planning and cooking are my passions so if you need help with the next shower or party that you’re hosting, please contact me as I would be happy to help. Of course, this only applies to the Greater Atlanta, Georgia area. Simply email me at AnneRains@gmail.com

Have a blessed day!

Cinnamon Crunch Cupcakes

Do y’all love cinnamon and sugar as much as I do? That sweet little combination is one of my favorite things…I love cinnamon toast, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon Toaster Strudel, you get the idea! When I found this recipe for Cinnamon Crunch cupcakes on Pinterest that is made with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal I knew that I had to make them! Luckily for me (and my waist, hips and booty) we had a dinner with friends coming up that I could make them for…wouldn’t want to have two dozen cupcakes just lying around the house, ya know!

Look at these…don’t they look divine?

These are so yummy and the cinnamon buttercream frosting is so tasty. I don’t like cream cheese usually but this icing is so delicious that if I hadn’t made it myself I wouldn’t have even noticed.

So I know that you’re going to want this recipe too…so scoot over to the Your Cup of Cake blog for a bit (sooo many fabulous cupcake recipes there!). Click here for the recipe: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes

*Just a quick tip, add the single cinnamon toast square to the top of the cupcake RIGHT before serving. I made the mistake of just putting it on when I decorated and by the time my friends ate them the cereal was a bit soggy.

Enjoy! Do you have a favorite cupcake recipe you’d like to share? Add it to the comments!

Vintage Tea Party Baby Shower

Throwing parties and showers is my kind of thing; I’m not trying to brag when I say it just comes naturally to me, so I get super excited when I have the opportunity to throw one…I just LOVE when friends and family get married or have babies!! I get excited about planning everything out…making lists–guest list, decorations list, food list, etc. And the implementation is the most fun part! When possible I do all the food myself because cooking and baking is my passion and I enjoy creating decorations too.

My best friend is having her second baby and this time around she’s having a boy. My friend, Laura Birney, and I had an awesome time hosting her shower. We chose to do sort of a Vintage Tea Party theme using a pink, gray and green color scheme with lace accents. And if I can say so, it turned out beautiful. I got to break out my platinum and white china and my crystal glasses. It had a very elegant look to it.

Classic tea party food was served for the most part, including chicken salad croissants, cheese straws and petit fores. Other items served were spinach and artichoke dip, raspberry jam straws and lemon cups. This was all washed down with pink lemonade with raspberry ice cubes.

The decorations included a banner I made from scrapbook paper that also had the cutest little home-made ruffled bloomers hanging on it (my mother-in-law makes them if you need some, just email me).

I also found a wreath on Pinterest that I duplicated–so cute and easy to do. Just get a styrofoam ring and lots of cute ribbons. Cut the ribbons in pieces and tie it on the ring until it’s fully covered. Paint a little wooden sign and include the baby’s name on; hang the sign in the middle of the wreath. We hung the wreath on the door and afterwards the mother-to-be took it home to put on her front door when the baby comes.

The table had a runner made out of ribbons and lace and was the perfect accent to all the gorgeous flowers. In addition to the main centerpiece arrangement, there were also sweet little arrangements sitting in tea cups scattered around the table. It was darling! Laura did the flowers and the table and she just did a fabulous job! She also created the most beautiful paper products, such as the invitations, the food labels, etc…contact her if you need any, she will create you beautiful ones.

Cake pops were the favors to take home; they were individually wrapped and tied with a pink ribbon. We also had a place for everyone to write a sweet little message to the baby. We played a fun game that involved matching up celebrities with their baby names…they sure do come up with the strangest names, don’t they?!

Most of my recipes came from the Paula Deen Celebrates! cookbook but here’s a link to the Raspberry Jam Straws recipe since I found it on Pinterest.

I hope this inspired you for the next shower or party you throw! Have to host one and don’t really have the time to plan it? Contact me if you’re in the Greater Atlanta area, I can help! Whether you need full party planning or just catering or cake pops, I’m here for you just email me at AnneRains@gmail.com.

Herbed Turkey Breast with Orange Sauce

I hope you’re not already all “turkeyed” out…even though Thanksgiving is a week away. Well even if you’re tired of turkey, dressing and sweet potatoes and the other yummy foods we stuff our faces with this time of the year, here’s a turkey recipe that’s a little different. This turkey recipe is definitely worth trying because it’s made in a crock pot and if you’ve been following me blog you know that I LOVE the crock pot!

The crock pot is currently my favorite kitchen appliance and is used pretty regularly around here. I just love how tender meat is when it comes out and the time saving aspect of putting together dinner is also a perk. This recipe is Herbed Turkey Breast with Orange Sauce and is delicious.

I love the combination of the rosemary and garlic mixture that is rubbed on the turkey breast before cooking; it pairs well with the orange sauce. Cooking the turkey slow and low for so many hours of course makes the meat very tender and juicy. Turkey is a very lean meat, especially with the skin removed, and is therefore a healthy choice for dinner. Try this recipe; I think your family will like it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 boneless skinless turkey breast (about 2-3 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 C. orange juice

Directions:

  1. Place onion in crockpot. Combine garlic, rosemary and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut slices about 3/4 of the way through the turkey at 2″ intervals. Rub garlic mixture between slices. Place turkey, cut side up, in crockpot. Pour orange juice over turkey. Cover; cook on LOW 7-8 hours
  3. Serve sliced turkey with the orange sauce.

{recipe is from Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes}

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Looking for a healthy, one-dish meal that’s easy and takes little time to make? Okay, then try this Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake for a simple weeknight meal. After supper my hubby told me I should make it again sometime soon and he got seconds (or was that thirds?)…so I’m definitely keeping this dish on my meal rotation.

I love serving up a big scoop of this casserole in a bowl and diving into it’s cheesy, creamy goodness. This is one of those recipes that you don’t have to worry about your picky eaters with either; everyone in the family is sure to love it!

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
  • 4 C. cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 C. frozen corn
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained
  • 1 C. fat-free sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • 4 oz. can chopped green chillies
  • 1/2 C. salsa
  • 1 C. low-fat Cheddar cheese (or Mexican cheese blend), plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine.
  2. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to a 13×9 casserole dish and top with the additional cheese.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Top with the cilantro before serving if desired.

Bon appetit! I hope you enjoy this family friendly, easy recipe. Have a wonderful weekend!

I found this recipe on Pinterest so here’s the link to the original recipe:

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Chicken ‘n Dumplings…Crockpot Style!

I am so glad that I found this easy, easy recipe because this is now one of my go-to recipes! Who doesn’t love a big ole’ bowl of Chicken ‘n Dumplings? Especially with this cooler fall weather…and it’ll be even more comforting when the temps drop this winter.

This Chicken ‘n Dumplings recipe is awesome because it’s made in the Crockpot! Oh how I love the Crockpot…just add a few ingredients in the morning and you’re done. Come dinner time you have a meal that tastes fabulous!

In this recipe you do have to do a small amount of work towards the end…such as shredding the chicken and cutting the biscuits into pieces and adding them to the soup. Then you have to let it cook for about another hour, but still this recipe is simple, easy and delicious so those extra steps are no trouble at all!

Ok, well I suppose I should quit yapping and give y’all the recipe already! Here’s a pic first just to get your mouth watering…maybe it’ll be inspiration for what to make this weekend? At any rate, have a great night and try this recipe soon!

Chicken ‘n Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 Grands Flaky refrigerator biscuits

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in Crockpot
  2. Add the butter, then the soup, chicken broth, onions and parsley
  3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours
  4. Once cooking time has finished, use a fork to break up the chicken (keep chicken in the pot)
  5. Cut the four biscuits into 9 pieces each stir into the soup
  6. Continue cooking for one more hour

You could easily add some veggies to this to make it more like chicken pot pie…carrots, peas, corn would all be good additions. But if you’re not in the mood to be extra healthy (we all have those days!), it is absolutely delicious as is. Enjoy!

As with most recipes these days, I found it on Pinterest (follow me!) and here’s the link to the original recipe.