How to stretch food and get full

We are all at home whether by ourselves or with our family and the number one thing you will probably think about is what are we(I) gonna eat. And if you have kids, you will hear I’m hungry ALL DAY LONG! To combat being a short order cook, you need to make meals that will STRETCH! We want our family to be full while stretchier our budgets. So I’m here to help. With that dreaded C virus going around we may not be able to find ingredients (like meat) readily available so we have to be able to cook filling meals with little protein. Here’s a list of recipes or meal ideas that can keep you & yours full and content at least for a few days.

Pasta – Pasta is cheap and easy to make and very filling. You can add less protein or none at all and just pack it full of veggies (frozen or canned if you can’t find fresh).

Recipes with pasta:

Marry Me Chicken – Use less chicken and cut it up into cubes. Make the spinach lemon pasta and make it with penne or bow tie instead of orzo and add the chicken and sauce. Add mushrooms and spinach to “beef” it up.

Taco Pasta- Use Rotini pasta, ground beef (or not), cheese and beans & corn and a can of rotel or take the Mexican stuffed shells recipe and instead of stuffing individual shells take the filling and enchilada sauce and add to small shells. Top with cheese and serve.

Spaghetti- A big pot of spaghetti always works. Use ground beef or Italian sausage or even breakfast pork sausage (cheap and good) and sauce and pasta and you’re done. Also try spaghetti mac using macaroni pasta and Velveeta cheese and baked in the oven.

Shrimp Scampi- Use chicken instead if you don’t have shrimp and use spaghetti or fettuccine noodles to bulk it up. Add a can of peas or spinach or even zucchini.

Skillet pasta- make some bow tie pasta. Sauté some sausage, zucchini, tomatoes and whatever else and some half and half and Parmesan cheese, add pasta and mix.

Ramen- Yup that cheap stuff can be billed up by adding a bunch of stir fry veggies, less protein and a dash of soy sauce and seasonings.

Another staple that can stretch a meal and a budget is rice. The recipes below can be bulked up by adding more rice and less protein.

Cheesy Chicken Burrito Skillet– Cut the amount of chicken in half and add another can of beans, you can even use pinto instead of black beans.

Goulash– I usually serve this over rice so why not double the okra and sauce and cut back on the shrimp/chicken or just add sausage. Combine with rice and serve.

Fried Rice– add more veggies and leave out the meat. Make a huge batch and some crab wontons or egg rolls on the side.

Broccoli, rice and cheese casserole- I plan on sharing a recipe for my version soon. But you can easily add bacon bits or few chunks of chicken and go overboard on the broccoli and rice and have a full meal.

I love soups or chili anytime of the year & if your kids are hungry enough they will too.

Cream cheese chicken chili – cut the chicken in half and add more beans.

Baked potatoe soup– to lighten this up serve it in a cup with a huge salad of choice.

Taco soup- as you guessed cut the meat down by adding beans or omit the meat all together. Make a huge batch and serve over nachos and as the filling for burritos and chimichangas on two additional nights.

Chicken soup- cut the chicken add more veggies and noodles and bake some bread of biscuits or even cornbread. You can also add some grilled cheese sandwiches.

Another way to get someone full is add bread. Or make bread the main part of the meal.

This maybe more kid friendly because my body can’t take all those carbs but this will fill up your family. These are also great lunch options.

Taco or Cheeseburger ring-serve with your favorite taco or cheeseburger fixins’

Stuffed breads- I’ll be sharing a recipe soon for Bread stuffed pizza and we can use plain marinara sauce for a dip and serve with a salad.

Top your favorite casserole/dish with a bread- like a pot pie. You can make a chili and add a layer of cornbread on top and bake in the oven.

Or make a chicken soup filled with veggies and add biscuits (from the can is absolutely fine) in top.

These are just some ideas and hoped they get your creative juices flowing and have you thinking of your everyday meals in a different way. We may have to use our imagination to create meals but sometimes that leads to the favorites! I will be sharing a post later this week on snack ideas for our little snackers.

Let me know in the comments some other meals you can think of that are filling and make great leftovers!

Love Ricki

Money Saving White Queso

Hi y’all! I wanted to share a quick and easy alternative to the Velveeta and Rotel combo we always use when we want nachos! If you haven’t noticed a block of Velveeta is almost $8!!! I actually stopped buying the brand awhile ago and usual get the store generic brand but even that can get pricey. Enter White Queso which comes together easy and fast using only a few ingredients. You can also add whatever else you want to it to suit your tastes but I have included the basic recipe below. If you try this tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and let me know what you think!

White Queso

Ingredients:

  • One package of American white cheese (you can find this in the cheese section, but I wouldn’t suggest you get the individually wrapped slices)
  • One small can of green chiles
  • 1/2. Cup of Half and Half or Milk
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of diced tomatoes with green chilies (rotel) or diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning (or add more to taste) You can also use salt to taste.

Directions:

Shred cheese or chop into little cubes. Spray pot and spoon you will be using to make the Queso, this will make for easier clean up. Add half and half or milk and warm. Add cheese a little at a time stirring in until melted. Add can of green chilies. Add diced tomatoes or rotel if using. I wouldn’t use too much as you want to keep this the milky white color. Add seasoning to taste.

And you’re done! Of course I’m extra so prior to adding the half and half I sauté a few chopped onions and a clove of minced garlic. I also add fresh chopped cilantro at the end. Feel free to add whatever flavors you want. The cheese used is not strong so it takes flavor really well!

Also a lot of you asked how I prepare my taco meat. It’s super easy and makes for a thicker consistency (similar to Taco Bell). I brown my ground beef then drain any grease. I think add a packet of taco seasoning (I use Aldi version) and half a pack of dry ranch dressing mix. I will add a tablespoon of so of water but I never add as much water as the package says. I will also add more taco seasoning/ranch seasoning to taste. It’s important you taste your food! You know #itsbetterwhenitsseasoned around here!!!

I hope you enjoy the recipe! And in the comments let me know what else quick and easy recipes you’d like me to make. I’ll also be adding the IGTV video as well (IG is making me trim it so I’m still editing ugh) My Cook Yo Meals FB group is coming soon and I look forward to all the fun we’re going to have over there!

Love Ricki

5 Slow Cooker recipes using only 5 ingredients or less – and none of them are soups!

I recently wrote a blog post on the my love for the crockpot. It is my sous chef of sorts and helps me get dinner done a few times a week. Sadly I know everyone doesn’t utilize this wonderful appliance as they should. So I began to think of ways to help you see the wonderful benefits the slow cooker has and of course recipes came for mind. Here are 5 easy but delicious slow cooker recipes that you can add to your meal plan. I made sure to use simple easy to find ingredients and give you meal ideas to use along with them. For the purposes of this post we are not counting seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc) as one of the ingredients because those are things you should have on hand already. Feel free to season according to you and your family’s taste. Also I would suggest oiling or spraying your slow cooker with oil prior to use or pop in a liner. Now let’s see what we can get cooking!

Chicken Taco Meat

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tenders (about 2 lbs)
  • Ranch dressing mix
  • Taco Seasoning mix
  • Salsa

Add chicken breasts to slow cooker and add both packets of seasoning. Pour salsa over (you can also add a 1/2 cup of water but that’s optional) and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken.

You can add this to tortillas or hard shell tacos and serve with rice or beans. This can also be used over nachos or a filling for enchiladas or a chicken version of Mexican stuffed shells.

Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • Pork loin or roast
  • Can of dark soda (Dr. Pepper, root beer or cola)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Chopped or sliced onions (optional)

Add onions to slow cooker if using. Season pork to liking and add over onions. Pour over BBQ sauce and add can of soda. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred meat.

You can serve this in hamburger buns or sliders with French fries or chips on the side. Also the leftovers make great carnitas, just fry them in a sprayed pan til crispy.

Mississippi Roast

Ingredients:

  • Beef roast (about 2-3 lbs)
  • Ranch dressing mix
  • Au Jus gravy mix
  • Stick of butter
  • Pepperonis (optional)

Add roast to slow cooker. Season with both packets of seasoning. I wouldn’t suggest adding additional salt because the seasoning used is already salty enough. Add pepperoni if using. Place stick of butter on top. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

This can be served with rice or mashed potatoes and whatever veggies you like. Also can use it to make Upside Down Mississippi Roast. Recipe here.

Angel Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tenders (about 2 lbs)
  • Cream of mushroom or chicken or both (whichever you prefer)
  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • Italian dressing mix
  • Mushrooms, fresh or canned (optional)

Season chicken to taste and add to slow cooker. Add Italian dressing mix, cream cheese, soup and mushrooms if using. You can add water if you want more sauce but this is optional as the chicken will make liquid while cooking. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

This is great over any pasta with a salad or steamed veggies on the side. Also makes a great filling for a chicken lasagna.

Meatballs – 2 ways

Ingredients:

  • Package of frozen meatballs (usually found in the freezer section)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup Grape jelly
  • 1/4 cup water (optional)

Or

  • Package of frozen meatballs
  • Italian dressing mix
  • Jar of marinara sauce

Add meatballs to slow cooker. Warm BBQ sauce in microwave and then mix in grape jelly. Add over meatballs and pour in water if using. Cook on low for 2-3 hours

Serve as an appetizer night – I like to do this on Sundays with nachos or wings. Or add veggies and Mac and cheese.

Add meatballs to slow cooker. Add Italian dressing mix and marina sauce. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Serve over pasta with a salad and garlic bread for dinner. Or add to hoagie rolls and top with cheese and put under the broiler for a minute or two for meatballs subs. Also cut them up and add a pizza topping to tortilla pizzas.

I hope these recipes I shared make you reach for and use your slow cooker more. It works while you are busy with life and and produces yummy recipes that can be used in various meals with a little imagination. Tell me in the comments which one you plan on trying! Also make sure you’re following me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and tag me if you try any!

Love Ricki

Looking for more recipes? Purchase my cookbook here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

I wrote a cookbook & here’s a recipe from it!

Yaassssssssssssss!!! Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you already know I wrote a cookbook! I want to share that of course and a recipe from my book but more importantly I want to share that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT IN LIFE!!! No matter what! It was not easy accomplishing this but I set a goal and met it and I have to say I’m proud of myself. I work a full time job, raise 4 people, write for this blog, make videos for YouTube, manage all my social media and did I mention I’m single. Whew Chillay! Yeah this was hard, but not impossible. What kept me going was the words of Myleik Teele saying “Done is better than Perfect” I have told y’all many times that technology and me are not friends so when it comes to creating things on the computer I AM LOST! But I can say I googled & Youtubed everything whenever I had a question. I was determined to get this done because the uncomfortable feeling I’ve been having lately wouldn’t let me stop. All I can say if you’ve been feeling something inside you telling you to make a move or a change DO IT!!! Don’t think about it, just do it. There is no failure only lessons!

Well I am very happy to present my cookbook Cook Yo Meals Volume One. It includes over 20 recipes to inspire you to make dinner for your family. The recipes are easy, delicious and use simple ingredients. Almost nothing makes me happier than when people enjoy my recipes. All I ever want to do is make cooking enjoyable again and I hope my cookbook does that. My cookbook is available for purchase below:

https://payhip.com/b/WN19

As a thank you for following me I wanted to share one of my newest family favorite recipes, Upside Down Mississippi Roast! And I also recorded a Cook with Me video to go along with it. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

Boneless beef roast

1 pack of Au Jus gravy mix

1 pack of Ranch Dressing Mix

½ cup of water

2 sticks of butter

¼ cup of onions (I use frozen)

1 package of frozen green beans or can use 1 can of green

beans

½ cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)

4-5 Russet Potatoes

1 block of cream cheese

Seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic powder & onion powder

¼ cup of Heavy Whipping Cream

1-2 cups of shredded cheese, I used Colby Jack but feel free

to use whatever you like or have

Directions: Spray or oil crockpot so roast won’t stick.Place roast inside and sprinkle half the pack of gravy and ranch mix. Turn roast over and season other side. Place stick of butter on top and add the ½ cup of water to the bottom of the crockpot. Place lid and cook on low from 4-6 hours depending on how fast your crockpot cooks and how big your roast is. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When roast is done cooking shred with fork and add the frozen onions and green beans to the crockpot and let warm while you prepare the potatoes. I prepare my potatoes in the instant pot but can also boil on the stove until tender. Here are my instructions for the instant pot: Add potatoes to the instant pot and fill with enough water to cover. Set on manual for 12 minutes and don’t forget to set vent to sealing. Once done perform quick release (set vent to venting to release steam). Open instant pot and drain water from potatoes. Can place back in Instant Pot and then add cream cheese, butter, seasonings and mash. Add heavy whipping cream. You want it to be somewhat thick in order to spread. Place shredded roast with green beans and onions in a casserole dish or 9×13 pan. If you are adding mushrooms, add them now. You can add a layer of cheese now if you would like. Spread mashed potatoes to cover roast. Add cheeses on top and place in oven for 15-20 minutes just until cheese melts. This dish contains the meat, potatoes and veggies so it is a complete dish. Add the bread and you’re done!!!

Check out the YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/dJ_Y8116Bts

I hope you make this! Tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama (make sure to follow) and show me what you’re cooking! And also follow me on Pinterest under the same name!Pin the recipe here:

Love Ricki