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Grilled Stuffed Quesadillas

Tags: , , Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals,

Grilled Stuffed Quesadillas

Posted on 28 March 2012 by noelskitchen

One of the most quick and easiest of meals to make with extra or leftover veggies is Quesadillas. And there are quite often on busy nights, we simply need a quick and easy meal. The kids may prefer just plain cheese inside their Quesadillas, but every once in a while, I’ll dress them up with meat, veggies or both.

I like to make them with the tortillas used for making wraps. There’s a variety available: Jalapeno Cheddar, Sun-Dried Tomato Basil and Garden Spinach Herb (pictured above).

When tortillas go on sale, I like to stockpile a bunch and freeze them for later. We also go through a pack in a week, using for a variety of meals like breakfast burritos, baked tortilla chips or Chicken Tortilla Soup so these are definitely a pantry and fridge staple around our house.

Grilled Stuffed Quesadillas


  • 1 small package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced


  1. In a large skillet, saute vegetables until tender. Set aside. (During the summer, fire up the grill. Using a vegetable grill basket, spray grill basket with oil and place on grill to heat up for about 3 minutes. Once grill basket is hot, pour in the vegetables.
  2. Spray one side of tortilla with oil and place directly on grill (or electric griddle) and top generously with cheese, then place about 1 cup of grilled vegetables evenly over.
  3. Top with another tortilla. After cheese starts to melt, turn over Quesadilla for a few more minutes.
  4. Remove from grill, slice into 4 to 6 triangles and serve.

Some other delicious quesadilla fillings include:

Serve with salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.

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What’s For Dinner: Zesty Crock Pot Chicken with Couscous

Tags: , Couscous, Side Dish,

What’s For Dinner: Zesty Crock Pot Chicken with Couscous

Posted on 27 March 2012 by noelskitchen

Monday night’s dinner idea was a simple crock pot recipe. Zesty Crock Pot Chicken served with Couscous. It will be on our family’s weekly menu again! Oh my goodness, the house smelt sooo good when I walked through the front door. Yes, it’s another one of those great make-ahead meals that can be prepped and placed in the refrigerator the night before to marinate.

For this recipe, I used the regular chicken breasts (boneless would worked just as well) that were on sale this past week at our local Raley’s grocery store.  Perfect family meal time deal and at $0.99 a pound you can’t go wrong!

Simply Couscous recipe:

Use a box or bag of couscous. Cook according to package directions, except instead of using water,  I used the broth from the chicken. Couscous cooks very quickly, making it a perfect side dish to any meal.

Crock pot recipes are perfect for busy cooks. Cooking dinner after a long day is something a lot of busy families don’t look forward to, so they end up eating unhealthy take out food or they throw something in the microwave just to get dinner over and done with. A great slow cooker recipe and a crockpot will solve the dinner dilemma.

There are an incredible amount of recipes for tasty main dishes, side dishes and desserts that are easy to make using your crock pot. You can get everything ready in the crock pot in the morning, and then walk in the door in the evening to a wonderful home cooked meal.

Need a little meal planning inspiration? Check out my Recipe Index which is updated daily with new recipes that include a grocery shopping list!


Are you wondering what to make for dinner tonight for your family? You’ll love my easy, make-ahead and money-saving recipes on what to cook your family for dinner! You are encouraged to not only list your dinner plans below, but to request ideas, make suggestions and of course add your favorite recipes!

So what’s on your menu plan this week? I still on the lookout for some yummy new recipes. Especially crock pot ones….

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Weekly Meal Planning: March 25-31, 2012

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Weekly Meal Planning: March 25-31, 2012

Posted on 26 March 2012 by noelskitchen

Need ideas for your weekly meal plan? It’s time for another weekly menu.  I enjoy menu planning because of  the simplicity it provides for my life. It enables me to decrease my grocery shopping excursions to twice a month and it allows me to  have more free time to focus on my family and home.

For ideas in the weekly meal plan, we’ll be focusing on a variety of family meals. Some of the recipes you’ll find on my Recipe Index page with a grocery list included.

My Weekly Meal Plan

My weekly meal plan and shopping list is completed and posted on our fridge:



Will remain the same with some variety: Scrambled or Fried Eggs, Breakfast BurritosOatmeal PacketsGreen Smoothies, Oatmeal-Applesauce Muffins, Homemade Granola Bars, Cold Cereal.


Are usually a bit more flexible, as often times we’ll simply have leftovers from a previous night’s meal, but if not, I always have ingredients on hand in the pantry for: Egg Salad Sandwiches, Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Peanut Butter and Jelly or regular sandwiches like Ham, Turkey and Cheese all served with fresh fruit and veggies.

In addition to our weekly menu, we have a baking day on a weekly basis. Every Sunday afternoon, we will rotate through restocking some nutritious snacks and baked goods, such as granola, protein bars, granola bars, muffins, and/or biscuits  for various meals.  I went to Target over the weekend to purchase a new bread machine as my other one was on it’s last leg and finally gave out so I’ll be testing out the new bread machine with recipes throughout the week.

Dinner (recipes will post throughout the week)

With spring here, I have planned our dinners to be very easy meals. This time of year on the farm, our family gets pretty busy and we have lots of leftovers, salads and meals that don’t need a lot of  hassle. For example, as always, we will stick pretty strictly with what we have on hand and cook from the pantry.  But, I do on occasion end up making another trip to the grocery store than usual during this time for fresh produce and dairy items like milk since we go through it so quickly!   If the need comes, I’ll travel down to the big farmer’s market at Denio’s in Roseville to purchase from the local farmers. I am not so worried about increasing the grocery budget a bit, when it comes to produce. Mainly, because I try to purchase the produce that is on sale and produce that’s in season to keep the overall grocery budget down.  And, I know that buying local is a great choice for our community and it is great for my family’s overall health, which is ultimately one of my main concerns. And yours too I am sure!

Sunday: Zesty Taco Salad with french bread

Monday: Zesty Crock Pot Chicken with Couscous (new recipe)

Tuesday: Grilled Stuffed Quesadillas with Avacado and Fruit

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner-Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon and Toast

Thursday: Chicken Turnovers-they can be made ahead and frozen, since they reheat perfectly. Completely worth the work in my opinion.

Friday: Family Night – Chicago Style Pizza Pot Pie (new recipe) 

Saturday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Garden Salad, Garlic Bread

Free Templates

Weekly Meal Plan and Shopping List

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Kids In The Kitchen

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Kids In The Kitchen

Posted on 21 March 2012 by noelskitchen

Teaching young children how to cook,  I think, is one of the greatest accomplishments; not just for your children but for you the parent as well. Children may often look awkward or clumsy stirring or chopping, but that’s okay. It’s a proud site to see as a parent the pleasure and pride they show in their accomplishments.

Today’s guest post is from Kristen Swope. Kristen is sharing the joys of cooking with children and how you can get your kids in the kitchen.

Enjoy today’s post!


In most households, dinners are approached with great haste—popping mac and cheese into the microwave or ordering pizza. The scenario is common in households where parents have their hands full and can’t bear the time spent chopping onions.

Parents aren’t to be blamed, though. Managing the household is a difficult task—a job that often falls on the shoulders of mothers. With the economy we have today, most families need both parents to work, and there is no one to focus on the house. Because of “home fast food”, we are slowly and inadvertently creating a house full of picky eaters.

To reverse this trend, home managers (that’s you, Mom!) should get their kids involved in preparing meals. Sounds like a daunting task, right? It is, if you think about the mess that’s about to happen, but if you approach this activity with the mindset of helping your kids learn life skills, then things are about to get different.

The Road to Healthy Living

Learning how to cook and appreciating the processes that bring good food to the table pave the way to a healthier lifestyle. In a country where fast food rules, the ability to cook changes the way children see diet. Obesity in children is growing simply because there is easy access to junk food. By cooking with their parents at home, children will discover that nutritious food is not boring, and that with a little bit of creativity, they can make a dish that delights both the eyes and the palate.

When children learn the process of cooking, they will value the way food is transformed from something so basic into something scrumptious. In addition, they learn about food safety by constantly needing to keep hands, food, knives, and utensils clean. If you teach them the importance of hygiene in everyday living, having to be so cleanly in a kitchen will show them how cooking is a part of life.

An Opportunity to Bond as a Family

With all the daily activities that keep us busy, it’s essential for families to wind down and just enjoy each other’s company. Spending time together in the kitchen is a great way to foster healthy family relationships. It’s also a great opportunity to talk to kids and discover more who they are.

Create new dishes together or revive an heirloom recipe. By cooking alongside each other, family members nurture and preserve family traditions that they can pass to the next generation. This is also a great time to indirectly teach values that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to talk to your children about.

Boost Your Child’s Confidence

Contrary to what most people think, young children love to help around the home. Even if it takes them ages to do a task, the mere idea of completing a job is a great boost to children’s confidence. When children cook, they learn about every little step involved. Measuring, sequencing, and cause and effect are just some of the practical skills that children learn when they help in the kitchen. The life skills they learn from you are things that will help them through when they become adults. In addition, when children help in the kitchen, they feel like they are an important part of a team.

Get Them Involved Today

It’s never too early to teach kids the joy of cooking. You can teach the basics to a child as young as four or five years old, like washing fruits and vegetables. As they grow older, you can teach them the more complicated tasks of slicing, measuring, and heating.

Cooking at home is healthier and less expensive than eating artificial foods or getting take out. Cultivate good family relationships and preserve your traditions by letting your kids help in the kitchen. Things might be a bit messy at first, but the extra hand in the kitchen will someday be feeding you.

Kristen works as a freelance writer for Backyard Ocean, an online store for above ground swimming pools, inflatable pool toys, and accessories. A work-at-home mom, she loves to cook and spend time with her daughter in the kitchen.

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Noel’s 10 Favorite Snacks For Busy Moms

Tags: Healthy Recipes,

Noel’s 10 Favorite Snacks For Busy Moms

Posted on 20 March 2012 by noelskitchen

Sometimes with our busy schedules during the day at work, at home taking care of the kids or just busy running around doing errands, we tend to forget about taking a moment to rejuvenate ourselves. I always try to jump start my day with a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with fruit, a salad or soup for lunch usually around noon, but sometimes I find myself in need of a snack to tide me over until dinner. So, I thought I would share with you some of my 10 favorite snacks that are healthy and can be packed to go anywhere with a busy mom.

  • Cereal- I will pack a small container filled with cereal like Multi-Grain Cherrios or Granola with a small handful of nuts. Provides lots of protein.
  • Soynuts without salt-I was introduced to these years ago by a good friend of mine and they are absolutely a tasty and nutritious snack! They are also very good on salads.
  • Yogurt Parfaits- they’re not just for dessert. Add in some granola (and the protein that comes with it, as well), and you’ve got a protein-rich snack, not to mention one with a calcium kick.
  • Sugar Snap Peas-The sugar snap pea contains a range of vitamins that can provide many different health benefits.  A cupful of sugar snap peas contain the same amount of vitamin C as half an orange. Love these!
  • String Cheese-A favorite snack not just for me but for the kids. I usually slice an apple or some whole grain crackers.
  • Fresh Fruit-Apples, Bananas, Oranges, Grapes, Pears or Blueberries. All very rich with the essential vitamins and antioxidants our body needs and deserves.
  • Granola Bars-Kashi makes a great snack bar and I make sure to keep a handful in the car. They are perfect for road trips.
  • Almonds-A small snack size bag of these and you’re definitely satisfied.
  • Veggies-Snack on vegetables like bell pepper strips and broccoli with a low-fat or fat-free ranch dip.
  • Lowfat Popcorn-I usually pop a bag in the morning before I head out to the office and split with the kids.

Snacking on nutritious food can keep your energy level high and your mind alert without taking up a lot of your time. I hope these snack ideas help you satisfy your afternoon munchies/cravings. I’d love to hear about your favorite healthy snacks that keep you going. Please share them on the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club page or in the comments section below.

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