“A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.” ~ Bil Keane

Here is day 2 of my Sweetheart’s Italian food inspired Valentine’s Day Week.
This one is so simple, I actually feel bad saying “it’s part of a special week menu” – but not too bad. 😉

Had it not been so simple he may have had only 2 special meals instead of 3 because Friday, I’m going all out!

Well, all out for my standards.
Anywho, here’s the scoop on the simplest meal ever.

Crockpot Italian Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 red potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 bag small carrots
  • 16 oz Zesty Italian dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

Add all ingredients to your crockpot, vegetables on the bottom. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove chicken to a bowl and shred. Remove vegetables to separate bowl. Take juice from crockpot and pour over the shredded chicken.

Add garlic bread and it’s perfect!




“I’m one stomach flu away from reaching my goal weight.” ~ Emily (The Devil Wears Prada)

I made a meal I couldn’t eat.

But it wasn’t because it didn’t taste good!

The DH loved it! I actually made it at his request.

The thing was I had not been feeling very well that day (stupid bug that’s been going around) and was really puny when I started frying the sausage and the grease smell made my stomach turn – automatic food aversion.

So the Olive Garden knock off – Spicy Tuscan Soup was a hit – just not with me. I only had the salad (with bought bottled Olive Garden dressing 🙂 )

As you can probably tell – it was an Olive Garden themed night.  All I needed was their yummo garlic bread sticks.

Maybe next time.

(also – because of not feeling so great – there are not many pictures)

Spicy Tuscan Soup   (adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

  • 1 pound Spicy Breakfast Sausage
  • 1 whole Medium Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 slices Bacon, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 whole Medium Potatoes, cubed
  • 1 quart Warm Water
  • 3 cubes Chicken Bouillon
  • baby spinach
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

In a large dutch oven, brown sausage, remove and drain on paper towel.


In same dutch onion, cook onion and bacon until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook for one more minute.


Add water and deglaze pan. Stir in Bouillon cubes and potatoes, cook at a simmer for 20 minutes.


Stir in cream and spinach and cook for 5 more minutes.

Serve with shaved Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

DSC03474 Spicy Tuscan Soup

This soup was really really good! I sure hate that I was not able to enjoy like I should have.


“I just wanna live while I’m alive.” ~ Bon Jovi

I marked an item off my Bucket List!

I went to see Bon Jovi in concert!! YIPPEE!!

Oh! It was awesome! This dream has been 20+ years in the making!

But because I had to go to Atlanta mid week to see them it kind of knocked out a couple of days which meant I had plenty I needed to get done on Tuesday.

I needed a meal that would cook itself.

Thank goodness for the trusty old crockpot!

(as you can see, I was really off my schedule considering it’s Saturday before this was posted)

Balsamic Pot Roast (adapted from Little B Cooks)

  • 3 lb beef chuck roast
  • garlic salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3-4 potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1/2 Tbs dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth

Season roast with garlic salt and pepper and sear both sides in olive oil.


Place in crockpot, top with onions, potatoes and carrots.


Mix remaining ingredients in bowl and pour over meat and veggies in the crock pot.



Cook on low for 8 hours.

I must add – I know my photos are not the super impressive works of art that a lot of blogs have but regardless – pot roast just does not photograph well. 🙂

Balsamic Pot Roast (in the crock pot)

Easy Peasy!


“Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.” ~ Edward Abbey

Even though it is unseasonably warm here for January (right around 70º – which I love by the way) I still have a hankering for a nice warm beef stew.

I know I have made beef stew at some point in my life but I don’t remember how I made it nor do I have a go to recipe for it but after some Pinterest surfing I came across one on the blog Joyously Domestic. It seemed to have all the flavors I liked and it was one that could be cooked in just a couple hours instead of all day. This worked out perfect, since I knew I would not make it to the grocery store until mid-afternoon because of an eye doctor appointment earlier in the day.

BTW – the peepers were in good shape and I have a new pair of very cute glasses on the way. I’ll post a pic when they come in. Maybe now I will not be squinting quite as much!

Ok – on to the stew.

Homemade Beef Stew

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 – 4 cups beef stock/broth (or water with a few beef bouillon cubes)
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Crazy Jane’s Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves or allspice
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • Handful of frozen peas (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (if needed to thicken “gravy”)

Season meat with salt and pepper then sear meat in hot oil on all sides in a dutch oven.

sear meat

Add 3 cups of beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, crazy jane’s, garlic, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika and cloves. Simmer on low for 1.5 hours.

add broth

Check seasoning. Now add in carrots, celery, potatoes and peas. If it seems to need more liquid – add more beef stock.

add veggies

Cook for 30 more minutes or until vegetables are softened. 15 minutes in make a slurry with your cornstarch and a little left over stock and add to stew.


Make a pan of cornbread and you are all set!!

Homemade Beef Stew

Homemade Beef Stew*note: the celery was still a little too crunchy for me so I would cook them with the meat and onions from the beginning.

Happy Monday Y’all!