Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)

April Swiger

Hi, I’m April Swiger, wife to my best friend, and worship-pastor, Adam. We are hopeful adoptive parents waiting to bring home children from foster care. We live in Connecticut, less than an hour from where I grew up. As a native New Englander, I was brought up on delicious meals by my mother who values the art of cooking. Her guidance instilled in me foundational skills, and confidence in the kitchen from a very young age.

After graduating from James Madison University I spent six years in campus ministry, including a year in East Asia. As a result, my cooking has been greatly influenced by Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. You can bet that I fully indulged in many traditional, and unique, Asian dishes that year!/div>

I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with simple, nourishing recipes, while strategically keeping to our tight ministry budget. On any given day you’ll find my crockpot bubbling with rich bone broth, mason jars full of coconut oil in the cabinet, and beans or grains soaking on the radiator. When I’m not caring for my husband and our home, you can find me reading, writing, blogging at Redemptive Homemaking, making my own beauty products, and researching new skills like gardening and lacto-fermentation. Whether it’s marriage, homemaking, or serving in our local church, I am first and foremost a follower of King Jesus, and my aim is to glorify Him with all that I do. 

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Sweet, tangy, and a little bit of red-pepper-kick, these honey garlic drumsticks are the perfect meal for a hot summer night. I love the flavorful dark meat that chicken legs have to offer. Not only are they an incredibly frugal cut of meat, but the seasoning possibilities are near endless. Add in the simplicity of a slow cooker/Crockpot, and you have a nourishing meal for the whole family, or a crowd, without much effort.

When the weather is beautiful and warm, it’s much more difficult to give up time outside for prepping meals. We don’t have central air in our home, so turning on the oven during the summer can be a little uncomfortable. It’s easy to forget that crockpots aren’t just for hearty wintertime soups, stews, and chillies! I’ve learned that it’s a great option to beat the summer heat, and a convenient way to enjoy a delicious meal after a fun day outside.

This recipe can be easily prepared in the slow cooker crock itself, minimizing the amount of dishes needed to be washed. It’s also easy to adapt based on how much “kick” you desire. You can thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch or arrowroot powder after the chicken is cooked. Pour it over the meat, or into a bowl for dipping. You definitely don’t want to skip this part as the sauce is absolutely delectable!

More time in the sun with family and friends, and less time in your kitchen – a win all around in my book! Keep it simple and serve these drumsticks with a side salad, carrot and celery sticks, rice or quinoa, or some sautéed veggies with butter or coconut oil.

Kimi uses this (affliate links)  slow cooker, and uses this clay cooker for making quinoa or rice on hot days.

Time at the stove: 10 minutes if you choose to sauté or steam some vegetables. 20 minutes if you make rice or quinoa. Or none if you serve it with cold vegetables or a salad.

Time at the oven: 5 minutes if you choose to broil the legs for a crispy skin.

Other drumstick/wing recipes:

Other crockpot recipes:

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
 
These drumsticks are a perfect mixture of sweet and tangy, with a bit of kick! They are effortless to prepare and make a great summertime meal for your family, or a crowd.
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chicken legs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 Tbls coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (garlic lovers use 5!)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated, or about ¼ tsp dried
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbls arrowroot powder or cornstarch (used at the end to thicken the sauce)
Instructions
  1. In the crock of your slow cooker whisk together the honey, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper.
  2. Add the drumsticks to the crock, and toss them until they are fully coated with the sauce.
  3. Cook the drumsticks on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 2-4 hours.
  4. When the chicken legs are fully cooked, remove them from the crock, leaving the sauce inside.
  5. OPTIONAL - If desired, you can place the legs under the broiler at this point to crisp up the skin. About 5 minutes at 400 F should be sufficient.
  6. Ladle out ½ cup of the sauce into a small bowl, and whisk in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch (this step may not be necessary, but I find it's easier to get the lumps out in a smaller amount of sauce).
  7. Pour the sauce and arrowroot/cornstarch mixture back into the crock with the rest of the sauce. Whisk it in and allow it to thicken for a few minutes with the crock on 'high.'
  8. Serve the drumsticks with the sauce poured on top, or in a small bowl for dipping!

 

15 Freezer Burrito Hacks for Nourishing Cooks + Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burrito Recipe

Alison Diven

A born and bred foodie, Alison is probably thinking about her next meal right. now.Her early interest in nutrition and eating spectacular food went alternative when her health collapsed in college, and she discovered—for the first time—real, nourishing food. She’s never looked back.

Recent transplants to New Mexico, Alison and her husband and son are embracing their new, enchanted landscape (the light! the mesas! the sunsets!) and celebrating their many opportunities for local, sustainable eating in the Four Corners region.

Alison shares the fruit of her 10-year healing quest at Alison’s List, a resource for whole-person healing and enrichment—body, mind, and spirit. Find her at Alison's List and her Facebook page. 

15 Freezer Burrito Hacks for Nourishing Cooks: Wrap & Roll Tutorial (No Plastic!) + Hacks for Allergies, Budget, Speed, and MoreBy Alison Diven, Contributing Writer

Burritos just the way you like them whenever you like them, in minutes. No additives,no plastic, , no iffy oils—just nourishing goodness for no-brainer breakfasts or dinners. Can you tell I love homemade freezer burritos?!

Since I started experimenting with them, my husband has devoured a hot and hearty breakfast every morning with zero fuss, leaving him extra space for his 5 a.m. coffee ritual before work.  He just pops one into the toaster oven to heat while he dresses.

And I, queasy pregnant mama, have an easy lunch or snack for those days when nothing sound good, and I’ve already spent all my energy scrounging for food my toddler deigns to eat.

You know what I mean. Whether you’re tending to babies, stocking the freezer for postpartum life, carting teens around, or just plain busy, we all need convenience food sometimes. These knock the nutritional socks off Evol and Amy’s burritos, can meet your special dietary needs, and are far cheaper to boot.

Wanna know how I’m making it work? Here are 15 freezer burrito hacks to get you started—including ideas for allergy and budget needs—plus my favorite breakfast burrito recipe to inspire you: eggs, goat cheese, and green chiles. You’ve gotta try this killer combo!

Essential Success Hacks

1. Cool all fillings to room temperature or colder before filling burritos. Steam=soggy tortillas. (Thanks to TheKtchn for this tip!)

2. Warm tortillas to room temperature or until they’re pliable for less cracking and breaking, then roll like this:

Classic Burrito Rolling

3. Go easy on wet ingredients like salsa and sauces. Drain extra fluids off sautéed vegetables.

4. Wrap your burritos first in parchment paper, then in foil, then in gallon size freezer bags. They’ll last for months this way and are oven-safe, but you’ll never have questionable materials touching your food. Like so:

Wrapping Burritos for Freezer without Plastic Wrap.jpg

Time-Saving Hacks

5. Mix all filling ingredients together in a single bowl. Any sacrifice in presentation is worth the faster assembly. Plus, you won’t prematurely run out of an ingredient. (Hats off to Tammy’s Recipes for this awesome tip.)

6. Use store-bought tortillas, but check ingredient lists. In my current season of fatigue, this is my biggest shortcut. I’m fortunate to have locally-made organic wheat tortillas at my fingertips, and I’ve chosen Rudi’s Gluten Free Tortillas for my gluten, dairy, egg, and soy-free son.(Kimi notes: We are also a gluten-free family. Rudi’s probably has one of the nicest textures, but it does contain corn products in it for those sensitive. You could also use (affiliate links) these brown rice tortillas , or these these multi-grain gluten-free tortillas).

7. Bake your scrambled eggs in the oven if you’re making a giant batch of breakfast burritos. They can cook and then cool while you attend to other tasks. See this method.

8. Slow-cook chicken, beef roast, or pork roast the day before for hands-off shredded meat. I do it like this.

9. Make just one flavor variety per burrito prep day and keep it simple, only 2-4 components. You’ll dirty fewer dishes and streamline the whole process.

Allergy Hacks

10. Gluten-free or grain free? Don’t despair! GF people can choose non-GMO corn tortillas (blue corn or organic are sure bets), store-bought GF tortillas, or even better, homemade options like these nutrient-dense soaked buckwheat wraps or these egg-arrowroot paleo wraps. The last recipe is grain-free too, high protein, quick, and wraps beautifully with zero cracking.

11. Egg-free? Wheat tortillas, like Katie’s soaked ones, corn tortillas, or Rudi’s Gluten Free are good choices.

12. Dairy-free is a piece of cake. Almost any tortilla will meet this criterion, and then it’s up to you to leave dairy out of your fillings.

*NOTE: Many of these alternative tortillas are more prone to cracking (except the egg-arrowroot paleo wrap), so fold like this instead:

Folding Fragile Freezer Burritos.jpg

Frugal Hacks

13. Use thrifty ingredients like yard eggs, rice, home-cooked beans, or diced potatoes to stretch indulgent items like grass-fed beef, pastured pork sausage or bacon, and cheese.

14. Go pungent with your cheese—think sharp cheddar or goat cheese—so you can use less. Also, check out Costco.. We often get fabulous imported, grass-fed cheeses for much less there.

15. Make your own tortillas. Here’s a soaked whole wheat recipe, Natalia offers a gluten-free buckwheat wrap here, and I can heartily recommend this grain-free paleo wrap.

And now, on to my very favorite breakfast burrito, inspired by Albuquerque’s fabulous Grove Cafe & Market.

Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burritos.jpg

Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burritos
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: New Mexican
Serves: 6
 
These creamy dreamy Southwest burritos will spice up your mornings! Prepare them for a quick fresh treat or freeze a double batch for later (see blog post for details). Select tortillas according to your allergy or dietary needs (again, many ideas in the blog post). You can find New Mexico, or "Hatch," green chiles frozen in many grocery stores or fresh in late summer. Or, substitute sauteed poblano peppers. It'll still be spectacular! A little sausage wouldn't go amiss either.
Ingredients
  • 12 pasture-raised eggs
  • ¼ cup grass-fed butter (we love Kerrygold)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre), separated into chunks
  • ¾ cup chopped roasted New Mexico green chiles, without seeds
  • 6-10 tortillas, depending on size
Instructions
  1. Heat butter in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Gently scramble eggs until soft set, sprinkling with salt and pepper.
  2. Gently warm tortillas.
  3. For a pretty presentation, layer scrambled eggs, goat cheese, and green chiles in tortillas and wrap.
  4. For speed, gently mix goat cheese and chiles in scrambled eggs and divide among tortillas.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Cook Once, Eat Thrice with a Slow Cooker Beef Roast (GF & DF-Adaptable)

Alison Diven

A born and bred foodie, Alison is probably thinking about her next meal right. now.Her early interest in nutrition and eating spectacular food went alternative when her health collapsed in college, and she discovered—for the first time—real, nourishing food. She’s never looked back.

Recent transplants to New Mexico, Alison and her husband and son are embracing their new, enchanted landscape (the light! the mesas! the sunsets!) and celebrating their many opportunities for local, sustainable eating in the Four Corners region.

Alison shares the fruit of her 10-year healing quest at Alison’s List, a resource for whole-person healing and enrichment—body, mind, and spirit. Find her at Alison's List and her Facebook page. 

Cook Once, Eat Thrice.jpg

By Alison Diven, Contributing Author

Are you having one of those weeks? Do you need an action plan for a few days of no-stress, family-pleasing, yet healthful meals? After multiple rounds of illness in our household, I sure do! Picture this: cook (very) simply tomorrow night, then have the next two nights virtually off, while enjoying 3 different dinners—BBQ loaded baked potatoes, deluxe taco bowls, and portobello mushroom pizzas.

We’re following this plan ourselves right now, and it’s such a relief. The flavors are familiar, the cooking simple, and I know we’re all still eating healthy meat, nourishing fats, and even vegetables. For a pregnant mama coddling a sick toddler and exhausted husband, this is very good news, indeed.

It all starts with slow cooking a beef roast, then shredding the meat and seasoning it three simple ways. First, it gets smothered in BBQ sauce atop baked potatoes with all the fixings and a side salad. Then, it joins fresh vegetables, beans, and rice with salsa and sour cream for a Tex-Mex treat. Finally, it meets Italian herbs, portobello mushrooms, and cheese (if you like) for a quick broil, with leftover side salad. Simple and satisfying.

It’s a fabulous way to stretch an already affordable cut of beef, and without a single complaint about leftovers. I’ve written the instructions for a family of 4, but it would also work for a family of 6 without using a bigger roast; just scale up the other ingredients. For those on a no-dairy diet, it’s easy to leave out the cheese, sour cream, and butter.

Because I’m so intimately acquainted with the brain fog that comes with challenging seasons—first trimester, anyone?—I’ve made this plan as user friendly as possible. You’ll find a printable shopping list and explicit step-by-step instructions for each night. So just print and go, girl! You can do this.

Recipe Notes

  • Because my goal is ease, I call for store-bought BBQ sauce and salsa, canned beans, and an optional box of baby greens. You’ll want to look for ingredient lists that are free of GMOs, corn syrup, yucky food additives, and your family’s allergens. Of course, you’re welcome to make your own and save money that way! Kimi notes: I keep (affiliate link) Eden’s beans on hand for recipes such as this. It’s cooked with kombu, a nutritious seaweed that makes them digestible. 
  • The one condiment I do call for making at home is salad dressing. It’s just SO easy and far superior (and cheaper) to what’s available even in health food stores, especially the fats, which are important to me.
  • A whole chicken or pork shoulder would be excellent substitutes for the beef pot roast. The flavors will still work beautifully.
  • I always recommend grass-fed beef and dairy products, when possible. Not only are they healthier for you, the cow, and the planet, they often just taste better. You won’t believe the magic grass-fed beef, slow cooking, and salt and pepper make together! Be sure to save the bones and extra cooking liquids for your next batch of bone broth.
  • If you end up with leftover odds and ends, you can mix and match them to make a couple of fabulous breakfast frittatas or omelets.

Shopping List & Recipes

Click to download the Cook Once, Eat Thrice Shopping List PDF. You’ll also want to print all three step-by-step recipes below.

Cook Once, Eat Thrice Night #1: BBQ Loaded Baked Potatoes
 
Author:
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
 
Cook once today and enjoy ultra easy meals for two more nights. The simple tasks for today include 1) slow cooking the beef roast, 2) baking potatoes, 3) cooking rice, 4) seasoning the beef, 5) preparing a simple salad and dressing, and 6) assembling tonight's dinner. Tasks 1-5 can be fit in at any time of day, as you have time. Total active time is less than 30 minutes!
Ingredients
For the Meat
  • 3 lbs bone-in beef pot roast, preferably grass-fed
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
For the Rice
  • 1½ cups rice, white or brown
  • water or broth as directed by package or rice cooker
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
For the Salad (Nights 1 & 3)
  • 1-2 heads lettuce OR 1 large box baby greens
  • Your favorite salad vegetables, like carrots & celery or tomatoes & cucumbers
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
For Baked Potatoes
  • 4 large baking potatoes, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • Butter for serving (optional)
  • Sour cream for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook meat. In the morning, place the roast in the slow cooker and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, until very tender and “shreddable.”
  2. Bake potatoes. 1-1/2 hours before dinner, turn the oven to 400. While pre-heating, scrub potatoes, pat dry, prick skin, and rub with olive oil. When oven is hot, place potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, turning over midway, or until the flesh is soft when tested with a fork.
  3. Cook Rice. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package or rice cooker directions, adding salt and chili powder before cooking. Place cooked rice in storage container and refrigerate.
  4. Flavor meat. When meat is done, remove meat to large bowl and shred with two forks. Spoon some of the cooking juices into the meat to moisten it. Put one third of the shredded meat into a small saucepan, one third into a storage container, and one third into another storage container. To the saucepan, add ½ cup BBQ sauce and set aside. To the first storage container, add ½ teaspoon cumin and combine. Cover and refrigerate. To the second storage container, add ¼ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Combine, adding more cooking juices as needed to incorporate tomato paste. Cover and refrigerate.
  5. Prepare salad and dressing. Wash and cut up vegetable toppings. Set aside. Combine 1 cup olive oil, ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, etc and emulsify with whisk, blender, or immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  6. Assemble Meal. Warm BBQ sauce and meat reserved in saucepan. Slice green onions. Serve potatoes topped with butter, BBQ beef, sour cream, shredded cheese, and green onions. Serve ½ the salad greens topped with ½ the vegetable toppings with the homemade salad dressing.

Cook Once, Eat Thrice Night #2: Shredded Beef Taco Bowls
 
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
 
If you followed the plan for Night #1, you'll have dinner on the table in 15 minutes tonight! Be sure to save any leftover vegetables and toppings.
Ingredients
  • Prepared cumin-flavored beef from Night #1
  • Prepared rice from Night #1
  • 1 can black, pinto, or kidney beans
  • ½ cup frozen organic corn kernels
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes (if in season)
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ½ cup sour cream (optional)
  • Leftover sliced green onions
Instructions
  1. Rinse and drain beans. Rinse frozen corn in warm water and set aside for a few minutes to thaw. Chop bell pepper, tomatoes (if using), and cilantro. Slice avocados.
  2. Meanwhile, gently warm shredded cumin beef and rice. You can use a single large skillet on low and place the beef on one half and the rice on the other half.
  3. Assemble taco bowls, layering rice, beans, beef, vegetables, avocado, sour cream, and salsa.

Cook Once, Eat Thrice Night #3: Portobello Mushroom Pizzas
 
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
 
Tonight's the last night of the 3-day plan. Enjoy another speedy, delicious dinner that requires only a quick broil to get on the table. Have leftover odds and ends after the 3 days? Most ingredients will go toward an absolutely killer breakfast frittata or omelet tomorrow morning. Have fun!
Ingredients
  • Prepared oregano-tomato shredded beef from Night #1
  • 4 large or 6-8 smaller portobello mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces Italian melting cheese (like mozzarella), sheep-milk feta, or goat chevre
  • Leftover chopped bell pepper and/or tomato (optional)
  • Leftover green onions (optional)
  • Leftover salad greens from Night #1
  • Leftover salad vegetable toppings from Night #1
  • Leftover salad dressing from Night #1
Instructions
  1. Set oven to broil.
  2. Gently brush dirt off mushrooms. Cut out mushroom stems. Brush tops (smooth side) of mushrooms with olive oil and place top side up on baking sheet.
  3. Broil mushrooms for 3 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.
  4. Turn over mushrooms and spread shredded beef over the shallow cavity. If you have any left over, add chopped bell pepper and/or tomato. Top with cheese.
  5. Broil for 2-4 more minutes, watching very carefully to prevent burning.
  6. Serve immediately alongside salad greens, salad vegetable toppings, and salad dressing. Sprinkle green onions on top, if you have any leftover.

Looking for More Easy Family Dinners?

Check out these delicious slow-cooker, quick, and one-pot meals:
Shawarma Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker
Easy Thai Curry Noodle Soup
14 Easy Dinner Recipes (That Are Healthy and Frugal Too!)
Cucumber Tuna Boats
3 Ingredient Teriyaki Pan Fried Chicken (Easiest Recipe Ever!)
Sriracha-Lime Salmon One-Pot Meal

Easy Thai Curry Noodle Soup

Katie Mae

Katie Stanley is a dorm “mama” to 12 amazing girls ages 8 to 18 at a home and school for the Deaf in Baja California, Mexico. She and her “hijas” can be frequently found in the kitchen, the garden or making friends with their new chickens. She loves to read, hike the hills near her home and spend time with her girls. In her spare time Katie blogs at Nourishing Simplicity about nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living, the deaf, raising her girls and encouraging other women in their walk with Christ.

Thai Curry Noodle Soup

By Katie Mae Stanley, Contributing Writer

Light and flavorful, this simple Thai curry noodle soup will warm you on a cool evening. It is a perfect, frugal meal to throw together when you are short on time and is bursting with flavor.

Using homemade chicken stock adds an extra boost of nutrition to this tasty soup. Fresh stock is a frugal and easy way to nourish your family. Coconut milk not only makes your dish creamy and decadent is bursting with nutrition as well.

(Post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for supporting this blog!) 

When buying coconut milk it is important as part of a real foods diet to know what is in your milk. Many brands contain carrageenan, sugar and other preservatives. There are a few suitable options out there. Native Forest, is an excellent brand that is organic and BPA free. Another good brand is Thai Kitchen, which is not BPA free but the company claims that their product is “BPA safe”. Thai Kitchen is more creamy and has always been my favorite brand. And check out this brand, and this one, for guar gum-free coconut milk.

Thai is one of my favorite cuisines, there is no denying that. There is few thing less satisfying for me than creating ethnic dishes at home. When you use your own ingredients you can know that your food will be free of unhealthy oils, sugars and preservatives that are frequently found when dinning out.

Homemade Thai Inspired Recipes:

Thai Curry Noodle Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4-6
 
Light and flavorful, this simple Thai curry noodle soup will warm you on a cool evening. It is a perfect meal to throw together when you are short on time and is bursting with flavor.
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 16 oz vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 lb chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ lb fresh sugar snap peas
  • 2 tsp thai red curry, or curry paste of choice (I use this one)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch of lemon grass, split
  • optional garnishes
  • Fresh basil (Thai is preferred)
  • Fresh spearmint leaves
  • Fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a large sauce-pot add the coconut milk, curry paste, lemon grass, garlic and ginger. Cook on low for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onions cook for another five minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth and add the chicken and sugar snap peas. Simmer for about 5 minutes for until the chicken is cook through.
  4. Add the rice noodles, turn off the heat and cover until the noodles are softened.
  5. Garnish with thai basil, spearmint leaves and cilantro if desired.