Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (and Giveaway)

Homemade salad dressing?! Are you nuts?! I don’t have time for that. 

I said that for years. Now I make it all the time and don’t think twice about it. Homemade dressing tastes SO much better. Plus there’s no chemical additives, no corn syrup, no MSG, no 20+ ingredients on the label. Just 8 real food ingredients I keep in my kitchen anyway. My family loves this Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, and I think yours will, too. With summer veggies coming into season, backyard gardens prepping for harvest, and lots of potlucks in your future, now is a great time to add this deliciously easy recipe to your repertoire. This vinaigrette is also great drizzled over grilled or roasted veggies like asparagus or zucchini, and it makes a great marinade for grilled chicken or pork.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette #realfood #recipe | MoneywiseMoms

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I use Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in plastic or glass container.
  2. Shake or stir to combine, especially just before pouring.

You can make this dressing in any plastic or glass container, even a mason jar. After years of saying “I should make my own dressing,” it was a simple tool that finally got me to do it: the Pampered Chef Measure, Mix & Pour, with four different dressing recipes printed right on the container. Seriously easy. Now I have absolutely no excuse! Even my kids can follow the directions on the side and be proud of their dressing at the table. I love that it’s dishwasher-safe, so after storing it in the fridge door till we run out, I just run it through the dishwasher and we make a new batch.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette #realfood #recipe | MoneywiseMoms
I love it so much that I bought two–so there’s one to give away! One lucky MoneywiseMoms reader will win a PC Measure, Mix & Pour, courtesy of me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you’re reading this in an email or RSS feed, you may need to click over to MoneywiseMoms to use the Rafflecopter entry form (which you should see above–if not, click on “a Rafflecopter giveaway.” This giveaway ends Monday, June 16th,  when I’ll email the winner, who has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address to claim the prize. Thank you for reading MoneywiseMoms, and good luck!

 

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing is linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at Musings of a Housewife, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less, The Party Bunch Linky Party at The Idea Room and Pinterest Foodie Linkup at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond.

 

Disclosure: I am providing the prize for this giveaway myself, as a big fan of Pampered Chef products. 

Teriyaki Chicken Pitas {Microwaved in the DCB}

I’m back with another recipe for the Deep Covered Baker from Pampered Chef–these yummy Teriyaki Chicken Pitas–cooked in the microwave. I have a goal this year to get a repertoire of 10 DCB recipes that I use regularly. They will be a huge time & stress saver as we are heading into summer swim team season. We’ll be at practice daily from 4-6, so I’ll be prepping dinner while the kids are unpacking and showering as we come in the door.

If you don’t have a DCB, yes, you can make this is a skillet. But the point of the DCB is to be able to prep the food and let it cook while you’re doing other things, not standing at the stove. For an easy, stovetop one-pot meal, go try my Turkey Parmesan Pasta. And for all you mamas who have a deep covered baker sitting in the cupboard that doesn’t get used (ahem–hence my goal for the year), enjoy!

Teriyaki Chicken Pitas | Microwave DCB #recipe #realfood | MoneywiseMoms
 
Teriyaki Chicken Pitas {Microwaved in the DCB}
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 8 oz white mushrooms
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Sliced Provolone cheese
  • Whole wheat pita breads
Instructions
  1. Coarsely chop onion and peppers and place in baker.
  2. Lay chicken breasts on top and sprinkle with ginger, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cover and microwave on high for 12-14 minutes or until chicken is done (I use a digital thermometer to check).
  4. Drain liquid from baker, then chop chicken and vegetables with kitchen shears.
  5. In small bowl, combine soy sauce and cornstarch. Add to baker and combine well. Heat for 2 more minutes.
  6. Fill each pita with slice of cheese and chicken mixture. Serve immediately.

I slice the pitas in half and stuff each with a slice of cheese before serving this to the family. They love it!

Try my other microwave Deep Covered Baker Recipes:

and follow my Deep Covered Baker Recipes Pinterest board.

 

Linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at Sassy Moms in the City, Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts, Inspire Me Wednesday at Mama Buzz, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, and Pinterest Foodie at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond.

Baked Potato Bar {Easy Party Favorite}

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Wet-Nap but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #showusyourmess  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Baked Potato Bar | perfect for parties, potlucks and family reunions this #summer! #ad #showusyourmess #PMedia| MoneywiseMoms Baked Potato Bar | perfect for parties, potlucks and family reunions this #summer! #ad #showusyourmess #PMedia| MoneywiseMoms

Summer is coming, and so are parties, potlucks and family get-togethers. How do you feed a crowd? I love finding ways to feed everyone where I can prep ahead and spend my time eating and visiting instead of stuck in the kitchen. This Baked Potato Bar is the perfect solution. Just prep your toppings earlier in the day, store in the fridge, then serve up with some hot potatoes for an easy meal. It works for a small crowd (like your family) or a big one (like the whole swim team).

 

Baked Potato Bar | perfect for parties, potlucks and family reunions this #summer! #ad #showusyourmess #PMedia| MoneywiseMoms

Baked Potato Bar Toppings (choose your favorites!)

  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • butter
  • scallions
  • red onions
  • broccoli
  • diced fresh tomatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • chili
  • chopped ham
  • bacon
  • shredded chicken (just use leftovers)
  • taco meat
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • Tabasco or hot sauce

If you’re cooking for a crowd, bake your potatoes ahead of time (I love russets for baking) and keep them warm in a cooler. Yes, really! While your potatoes are baking, fill the cooler with hot (not boiling water), then empty and dry thoroughly. Store the potatoes in the cooler with the lid closed until needed. This will make a great poolside healthy dinner for us during our summer swim season–I’ll pack one cooler with the cold foods and one with the hot food–and everyone can enjoy it. Kids (and adults) love being able to personalize their own potato.

Baked Potato Bar | perfect for parties, potlucks and family reunions this #summer! #ad #showusyourmess #PMedia| MoneywiseMoms

Be prepared for happy diners and for the inevitable mess. Grab some Wet-Nap products to keep on hand. They’re easy to bring to any picnic or potluck. I found mine at Walmart (along with all the ingredients for the baked potato bar), and right now you can print a .55 off Wet-Nap product coupon while supplies last.

Baked Potato Bar | perfect for parties, potlucks and family reunions this #summer! #ad #showusyourmess #PMedia| MoneywiseMoms
 

Do your kids make a mess like mine? Enter the Most Original Mess Contest over at Wet-Nap. Just upload a photo entry of your messy kids and share the link across social media.  The photo with the most votes wins a $1,000 giftcard to Walmart and a year’s supply of Wet-Nap products. Voting will close on June 16.

 

Baked Potato Bar is linked up to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less, Pinterest Foodie Linky at Real: the Kitchen and Beyond, Show & Tell at Gingerly Made, Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts, Wow Us Wednesday at Family Home & Life, Inspire Me Wednesday at Mama Buzz, Wow Me Wednesday at Polkadots on Parade, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, the Inspiration Exchange Link Party at Twelve O Eight, Hearth & Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, Too Cute Tuesday at Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Real Food Recipe Roundup at Musings of a Housewife, and Share it Link Party at The Winthrop Chronicles.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Cool spring days are perfect for baking up a special afterschool treat for my kiddos. I like to add fruit and fiber to their snacks, so these Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins are a perfect fit, with honey, cinnamon and whole wheat flour. They’re hearty with just a touch of crispy sweetness on the top because of the cinnamon sugar sprinkle topping. Yum!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins | Simple #recipe with honey, cinnamon and whole wheat #realfood | MoneywiseMoms

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp + 1 tsp ground cinnamon (separated)
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, do not thaw
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray, or place paper baking cup in each muffin cup.
  2. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat milk, oil, honey and egg with spoon. Stir in flours, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon and salt just until flours are moistened (batter will be lumpy).
  4. Gently fold in blueberries.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (cups will be full). Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.
  6. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.

 

For even more fiber, add a tablespoon of ground flax seed to the batter. These didn’t last long at my house as afterschool snacks! Looking for more snack and lunchbox ideas? Follow my Back to School & Lunch Packing board on Pinterest.

 

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins | Simple #recipe with honey, cinnamon and whole wheat flour #realfood | MoneywiseMoms

 

This Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins recipe is shared at Real Food Recipe Roundup at Sassy Moms in the City, Fluster’s Creative Muster at Fluster Buster, Pinterest Foodie at Real the Kitchen and Beyond, How To Tuesdays at Bombshell Wife Life and Manic Monday Linky Party at Serendipity and Spice.

Turkey Parmesan Pasta {Easy Stovetop Meal}

Looking for a quick, healthy dinner recipe? Look no further! This Turkey Parmesan Pasta recipe is very similar to my Chicken & Tomato Pasta recipe, but it doesn’t require a Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. It cooks right on the stovetop, in just one pan. Gotta love that!

Turkey Parmesan Pasta | Easy stovetop #recipe for family dinner | MoneywiseMoms

4.0 from 2 reviews
Turkey Parmesan Pasta
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with Italian spices (or add your own)
  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth (I use jarred Better Than Bouillon)
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium/high heat, saute the onion and green pepper until soft.
  2. Add the ground turkey, breaking up into small pieces. Once cooked, remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings/juice. Set the meat mixture aside.
  3. Return the skillet to the heat and add the beef broth, tomatoes, and pasta. Stir to coat all of the pasta. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  5. Return turkey vegetable mixture to the skillet and stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Heat through.
  6. Serve with remaining Parmesan sprinkled on top.

This recipe can include any vegetables your family likes. I use zucchini rather than pepper in the summertime when we have garden zucchini.

Linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at Musings of a Housewife and Pinterest Foodie Linkup at Real the Kitchen & Beyond.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

Looking for a simple recipe that will look and taste outstanding on your holiday table? Whenever I make Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots, it gets rave reviews (even from the kids!), and it’s so easy to pull together. This would make a great accompaniment to your Easter ham this year.

Brussels Sprouts with bacon and shallots #recipe | MoneywiseMoms

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (I use low sodium bouillon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Chop the bacon into small pieces, add to skillet and saute for 5 minutes or until bacon begins to brown.
  2. Remove skillet from heat. Remove the bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan (discard the remaining drippings).
  3. Return skillet to medium-high heat, and stir in bacon, shallots, and Brussels sprouts. Stir frequently to saute for 4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, and saute for 4 more minutes or until garlic begins to brown (stir frequently so that garlic does not burn).
  5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until the broth mostly evaporates and the sprouts are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper.

This recipe is a wonderful change from the usual broccoli or green beans side dish. I wasn’t familiar with shallots until a few years ago, when a recipe introduced me to them, and now I just love them! They have such a deep, rich flavor that makes everything taste better. In your grocery store’s produce section, look for bags of 1 1/2 – 2 lbs brussels sprouts. They’re usually near the bagged salads.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots is linked up to Healthy Eating Recipes at Blogging Mamas, Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup at Musings of a Housewife, Recipes and Crafts Party at Close to Home, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster and The SITS Girls Linky.

Macaroni & Cheese in the Deep Covered Baker

I know I’m not the only one out there who purchased a Deep Covered Baker from a Pampered Chef party with the idea of making lots of quick microwave meals. And I’m probably not the only one who then let this expensive wonder sit in the cabinet for months and months because you weren’t sure what meals to make. I’ve made Chicken Fajitas in the DCB for a few years now, but most of the recipes in the Pampered Chef cookbook are just not my thing–too many ingredients, or foods my kids won’t eat.

That’s why I set a goal for myself in 2014 to get a repertoire of 10 DCB (deep covered baker) microwave meals in my recipe book. And that’s why you’ll see the occasional DCB recipe, like last month’s Chicken Tomato Pasta, on the blog. This Macaroni & Cheese in the Deep Covered Baker has been thoroughly enjoyed by my family the five times I’ve made it, testing out the cooking time and making sure it was delish enough to share with you.

Macaroni & Cheese in the Deep Covered Baker | Great way to use your Pampered Chef DCB in the microwave | MoneywiseMoms

Macaroni & Cheese in the Deep Covered Baker
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (half of a regular box)
  • I can or 14 oz chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 2 cups Half & Half
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 10oz chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
Instructions
  1. Add the macaroni, broth, Half & Half, garlic powder and mustard to the deep covered baker.
  2. Stir to combine, then cover with the lid.
  3. Microwave on high for 16 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Pasta will not be completely cooked (it will complete in the next step).
  4. Add shredded cheese and stir. Place lid back on baker and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. If adding broccoli, add at this time.

 

Since you’re cooking in a microwave, and all microwaves vary, you may need to tweak the recipe a bit by cooking a little longer to make sure your pasta is done. This also needs to be done if you use a whole wheat pasta (which needs more cooking time than traditional). Just add a few minutes at step 3 after you stir, if you feel you need the pasta to be softer.

If you don’t own a Deep Covered Baker or prefer a more traditional Macaroni & Cheese recipe with a sauce you make on the stovetop, try “Real” Macaroni and Cheese. We also love this Baked Mac & Cheese Casserole, which you can make with gluten-free pasta or regular. Clearly, we’re big fans of Mac & Cheese however we can get it.

 

Find more microwave DCB recipes on my Deep Covered Baker Recipes Pinterest Board.

 

Macaroni & Cheese in the Deep Covered Baker is linked up to Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster and Talk of the Parent Blogosphere at Type A Parent.

5 Beginner Crockpot Meals {that anyone can make}

You have heard it before–one way to get dinner on the table with no fuss is to use a crockpot. If you’re not sure where to start, or your crockpot still sitting in the cabinet unused, now is your chance! Learn these five beginner crockpot meals and gain the confidence to feed your family easily and frugally. All of the recipes below can be cooked in either a 4-quart or 6-quart slow cooker, depending on the size of your family (or the crowd you’re feeding!).

5 Beginner Crockpot Meals | Easy #recipes to get dinner on the table, most with only two ingredients! | MoneywiseMoms

Shredded Tacos

It doesn’t get any easier than this! Combine 2 lbs of boneless chicken or pork with a jar of salsa (or a jar of enchilada sauce or a can of tomatoes w/green chiles), and cook on low all day for 8-10 hours. Turn off the heat and use two forks to shred the tender meat. Serve with tortillas or over rice along with your favorite taco toppings: tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, and black beans.

 

BBQ Sandwiches

Again, choose from 2 lbs of boneless chicken or pork, and combine with a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. If you prefer to avoid processed foods, you can make your own (rather than simmer as in that recipe, just mix in the crockpot before adding your meat). Cook on low for 8-10 hours, then use two forks to shred the meat. Add extra sauce if desired, then serve on hamburger buns alongside a salad or your family’s favorite veggie.

 

Baked Potato Bar

Not just for parties, my family loves this meal, too. Wash as many baking potatoes (we like Russets) as you need, and prick each with a fork. Wrap individually in foil, then place in crockpot and cook for 8-10 hours on low. Serve with an assortment of baked potato toppings: cooked broccoli, shredded cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, chives, or even chili.

 

Chicken or Pork Teriyaki

This time, combine chicken or pork with a bottle of teriyaki sauce or teriyaki marinade (if you prefer homemade or need gluten-free, make your own). Cook on low 8-10 hours, and use two forks to shred. Serve over rice with a side veggie. Another option is to toss a bag of broccoli slaw in for the last 30 minutes of cook time.

 

Pepperoncini Beef

Just two ingredients again–a 3 lb beef roast (such as chuck or bottom round) and a 16oz jar of pepperoncini peppers. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, then shred. Serve over mashed potatoes, in a sub roll, or even on top of a salad. Delish!

 

Whether you’re a beginner crockpot cook or a veteran like me, easy time-saving recipes are key to getting a healthy meal on the table on busy nights. For more simple recipes, follow my Slow Cooker & Crockpot board on Pinterest.

 

5 Beginner Crockpot Meals is linked up to Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster and Inspire Me Wednesday at MamaBuzz.

Original image from e.t. on Flickr

Dairy-Free Egg-Free Cake and Cupcakes Recipe

As the mom of a child with a food allergy, we’ve had our share of disappointments like the classroom party where my son is the only one who can’t have the treat. If you have friends or family with a severe allergy, it can be hard to know how to celebrate with them. This Dairy-Free Egg-Free Cake and Cupcakes Recipe is a great one to keep on hand for special events. It makes the allergic child feel so special to be included in the festivities, and there’s no harm in the other kids eating non-dairy, non-egg cake or cupcakes. It’s great for adults, too, if you are hosting a baby shower or need a few cupcakes set aside at a wedding or other event. Add this recipe to your repertoire!

  Dairy-Free Egg-Free Cake and Cupcake #Recipe | MoneywiseMoms

Be sure and use cupcake liners if you’re making cupcakes, since this batter is stickier than typical cake batter. And, if you’re using cake pans, I suggest spraying them and coating with flour to avoid sticking. The original recipe came from Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Kid-Pleasing Recipes & Tips, which is no longer in print.

4.8 from 5 reviews
Allergy-Safe Cake and Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and flour or cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla and water. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until well-blended.
  4. Add vinegar and stir quickly to thoroughly incorporate into batter.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pans or cupcake tins.
  6. For cake--bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For cupcakes--bake for 15-18 minutes.
  7. Cool before removing from pans.

As for decorating, be very careful to use allergy-safe frosting or decorations. There are some prepared frostings that many dairy-free kids can eat, or you can search online for a homemade soy version. Colored sugar is a safer bet than sprinkles, or you could sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on top. If you’re a dairy-free egg-free mom, we’d love to hear other suggestions for decorations in the comments below!

 

Dairy Free, Egg Free Cake and Cupcakes Recipe is linked up to Pinterest Foodie Link-Up at Real the Kitchen and Beyond, Tip Me Tuesday at Tip Junkie, the SITS Girls Craft & Recipe LinkupFluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster and Manic Monday Linky Party at Serendipity and Spice.