Italian slow cooker porkchops

I love pork chops. I typically prepare them in the oven, breaded and baked with some applesauce – but I’ve been craving a change. My mother always made them in a skillet with brown onion gravy and some stuffing (which I’ve always loved), but after a long day of teaching (and then hitting up the gym) this takes too much effort. I’m exhausted by the time I get home. I needed a no-fuss solution to my pork chop problem. I’ve been looking for a good way to prepare them in the crockpot to save me some time – and I think I’ve finally figured it out.

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Roasted sausage with root vegetables

Welp, it’s absolutely freezing. Freezing to the point where I don’t want to leave my house, or even my bed. Sleeping with 2 blankets kind of freezing. Enough snow to shut school for 2 days kind of freezing.

But you know what helps when you’re freezing? The oven being on.

I’m all about letting my oven heat up the house – or at least the kitchen. So a one-pan meal prepared in the oven was the perfect choice for dinner.

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Cheeseburger pie

Like many kids who grew up in the 80’s/90’s and liked spending time in the kitchen, my first cookbook was the Alpha Bakery Children’s Cookbook. I remember my grandma ordering it for me from the back of a bag of Gold Medal flour. I remember how happy she was to give it to me when it came in the mail –  and how excited I was to look through a cookbook with recipes made for children, complete with colorful cartoon illustrations and large font. I still have this book on display with the rest of my cookbook collection, and I proudly whip it out when I feel like cooking a blast from the past.

the alpha-bakery, the OG of cookbooks.

My favorite alpha bakery recipe was called “Quick Cheeseburger Pie”. I absolutely loved it, and I still do. But as I got older, my taste changed a bit. I’ve made quite a few modifications to an already great recipe, adding in some extra flavors and making the dish more bold.

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Tuscan barley dinner

This was actually the first time I’ve ever had barley.

I heard it was similar to rice – but with a heartier texture, nuttier taste, and a decent amount of protein. Sounds like a carb I could get used to.

However, I didn’t really know what to pair it with. I searched online for some recipes, but nothing really jumped out at me. Since a plain carb is somewhat of a blank canvas I decided to liven it up with sausage, peas, onions, and cheese – as if it were a pasta dish.

The result was absolutely delicious & super filling! My husband and I practically licked our plates clean, and I’m definitely looking forward to making this again.

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Mediterranean chick pea salad

My mother always says I’m like my grandmother because I have a sweet tooth and a knack for making killer salads. She was known for eating a pack of kitkat bars for dinner, but could seriously jazz up any entrée with an amazing salad.

Sure, salads aren’t a difficult thing to make. Many of them don’t even require cooking of any sort. But when one is composed of the perfect combination of veggies, a tangy dressing, and spices that brighten up the dish – it can truly be something wonderful.

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