Meals in Minutes ~ Well kind of!

Sausage & White Bean SoupOur schedule, like so many other families, is crazy busy. I’m finding it harder and harder to stay on top of things and one of the areas I feel like I’m failing is in providing my family with good quality meals on a regular basis. I would say we eat well most of the time, but lately I’ve been feeling as though we are having more last-minute pulled together meals and I’m just not satisfied. Last weekend, I decided to find more slow cooker meals because I find it so much less stressful to come home at the end of the day and have our meal ready or at the very least close to it. In my search, I ended up on a great site called Who Needs a Cape (love the name). On the site, Katie shares how to make 40 slow cooker freezer meals in 4 hours. No way! I was intrigued and spent quite a bit of time exploring the site. What fascinated me the most was that I could pre-make the meals, freeze them and then just dump them in the slow cooker without having to spend time preparing the slow cooker meals in the morning before work. It almost seemed to good to be true.

In my reading, I discovered, that she also posted different options including how to make 7 meals in one hour. This seemed like a great place to start because some of the larger meal plans (30 and 40) involve doubling recipes and making enough for two separate meals. This makes great sense if your family likes the recipe, but if not, it could be a big waste of money. (I was also a bit concerned about the recipes tasting watered down because in my experience, freezing sometimes does that.)  So, on my last day off, I spent the morning grocery shopping (using the shopping lists she provides on the site – so great!!) I got home at noon and by 12:10, I was making the first slow cooker freezer meal. I can’t say I was super organized. I was taking ingredients out as I needed them and labelling bags as I went. In the end it took me an hour and half to complete all 7 of her meals. However, I was “on a roll” and ended up making a few other recipes that I had found on-line. In the end, I made 13 meals in 3 1/2 hours. I was so excited (and exhausted), but the true test will be when the meals are served to my family. I must say I was pretty proud of my accomplishment and the fact that I tried 11 new recipes in one day seemed like one of the craziest things I’ve ever attempted in the kitchen.
Last week, we ate the first slow cooker freezer meal and it was a huge success! The whole family gave the Sausage & White Bean Slow Cooker Soup a thumbs up. I didn’t adapt the recipe at all, but in the future I’ll be sure to double it. The only complaint was that there wasn’t any left! I was even more excited about my 3 1/2 meal marathon after we’d tested the first one and it was hit.  I can’t wait to try the next recipe and see how it scores with the family.


Sausage & White Bean Slow Cooker Soup


  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, crumbled, cooked & drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 14 oz. cans Great Northern Beans, drained
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 t dried rosemary
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 32 oz. carton chicken broth


Crumble breakfast sausage into pan and cook thoroughly, drain & let cool if freezing.  Place all items into slow cooker, stir and cook on low 6 hours. If freezing, add all ingredients EXCEPT chicken broth into gallon-sized freezer bag. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before placing into slow cooker. Add chicken broth & cook on low 6 hours.

Taken from Who Needs A Cape (which she adapted from: Sausage & White Bean Soup)

I can’t say how much the meals cost because I bought items far beyond what was needed for the meal preparation and had many of the required items on hand already. What I do know is that it will help reduce the stress of not knowing what to make for dinner, the frustration of having to run to the grocery store for items we don’t have in the house or even worse, the feelings of defeat when you accept the futility of being at a total loss and order-in or pick-up fast food as a last resort. Obviously, the few hours spent preparing seems like a miniscule sacrifice in comparison to the rewards of convenience, stress free meal times and the peace of mind knowing that your family is getting a well-balanced home cooked meal. I’m feeling blessed to have found Who Needs a Cape ~ this might just be life changing… can’t wait to taste the remaining meals!

PS We’ve tried two of the other new recipes that I found and used that day, but will far less success. Both were found on a different site and although super easy to prepare, the results were less weren’t very impressive. The Chicken Broccoli Alfredo  and Hawaiian Chicken had mixed reviews, but no one thought they were great. I am still very optomistic and can’t wait to try the remaining 6 meals from Who Needs a Cape. I’ll keep you posted.

Best Ever Left Over Chicken Enchiladas

I am always on the lookout for quick and easy meals that can easily be prepared after a long day at work.  I recently bought a box of chicken breasts that for some reason just didn’t seem to be of the highest quality. I decided to pre-boil the breasts and then use the cooked chicken for easy meal preparation. I found this Chicken Enchilada recipe on All Recipes. It had high ratings and looked super simple to prepare. I was able to whip it up in about 15 minutes with the chicken having been pre-cooked.

I can’t say this is anything fancy, but I give it a 5 STAR rating. It got rave reviews from the whole family which is not an easy feat and was super easy to make. The flavour was great and I made do with the ingredients I had on hand, which meant that I did make a few modifications to the original recipe.

Chicken Enchiladas:


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly grease a large baking dish.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the green onions and sauté until tender. Add the garlic powder, and then stir in the green chiles (or broiled jalapenos), cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well.
  3. Set aside approximately 3/4 of the sauce.
  4. Add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan. Stir to mix.
  5. Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the reserved sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

The original recipe calls for 6 tortillas and suggests that it serves 6. I found the filling was more suitable for 4 tortillas, but we were all left wishing there were more. I would suggest doubling the recipe or sticking to a single recipe and serving the enchiladas with soup or salad for a more complete meal.

Our Newest Menu Item: Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Garlic Shrimp PastaI’m always on the hunt for new recipes to add to our weekly menu board. Our life seems to have gotten 10 times busier with Eden in grade 7. It seems like she has homework most evenings and weekends and although she is a good student, she didn’t really have any experience with homework, studying or project work from elementary school and the adjustment to managing the work load has been pretty huge for her.  We are trying to support her and coach her through the changes, but it has been a very loooooong September. As the “homework cop”, I feel like I’m in grade 7 as well!

With our crazy busy schedule and the homework, new menu items needs to meet the following criteria:

  • healthy
  • quick
  • easy
  • stamp of approval from all 4 members of the family

We all love shrimp, but I really didn’t have a “recipe” that I followed when cooking it. I generally put it out for fondu nights, but rarely made a regular meal with it. I decided to look for a shrimp/pasta dish that would be both delicious and easy to prepare. I lucked out on the first one I found and I’ve already made it twice in the last two weeks. All I have to do is take the shrimp out of the freezer for the kids to be buzzing with excitement over the pending dinner. They love this and so do I ~ you can’t beat the 10 minute prep. time and I always have the ingredients on hand. All you have to do is keep of bag of shrimp in the freezer and you’re set to go! This recipe meets all of the criteria and is a new staple on our menu.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

This recipe was found on and was submitted by Jessica K. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!


  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, deveined and tails removed
  • 1 lb. spaghetti (depending on # of people you’re serving)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of butter (I use 1/2 cup)
  • olive oil (3 drizzles)
  • Italian seasoning
  • fresh ground pepper
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes


  1. Boil the spaghetti in water till tender, save 1 cup of pasta water for use later. (Jessica suggests adding oil, salt, and fresh herbs to the pasta water as it boils. I had parsley on hand and added some to the water. I’m guessing basil, oregano or parsley would be good. I had never heard of adding herbs to the water, but thought it was a great idea.)
  2. Cook to “al dente”. Drain (reserving 1 cup of water) and set aside when done.
  3. While pasta is boiling, wash the shrimp.
  4. Melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Add shrimp.
  5. Let cook till a little pink and starting to curl. (My shrimp is generally kept frozen. Although I thaw it out prior, I still find that it really waters down the butter during the initial cooking. I actually drained the liquid off the shrimp at this point and added another 1/4 cup of butter to ensure it wasn’t watered down.)
  6. Then add garlic.
  7. Cook 5-7 minutes and add oil. Continue to stir till shrimp is pink and curled.
  8. Add pasta and seasonings to the skillet.  Add just enough saved pasta water to keep the pasta moist, but not swimming in liquid either. Depending on the amount of pasta this may only require 1/2 the cup or all of it. Start with adding 1/4 of it then work up from there.
  9. Keep tossing all ingredients around in skillet till all is incorporated and hot.
  10. Serve with red pepper flakes and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

This pasta dish is very tasty and when served with a salad, makes a great meal!