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Movement Monday: Standing Abs Challenge Check In & Green Beans

When the garden knocks…you answer…immediately.

The best time to preserve anything – whether canning, freezing or drying – is 24-hours within picking. Or sooner, if possible.

Waiting means the freshness and quality of the food is being compromised (tomatoes has been the only exception to this rule that I use simply because you want them to be as ripe as possible and that sometimes means having to wait a touch).

And what’s the point in putting in all the work if you aren’t going to have a high quality and fresh final product?

Yesterday before it warmed up I got out into the greenhouse and did a harvest.

Tomatoes and green beans galore!

Shortly after I set to work getting 8 pints (the max my pressure canner can hold at a time) of green beans canned and on the shelf for winter eats.

If you’re interested, here’s a post on how green beans come to be a delicious treat long after the garden is gone for the season.

It’s time consuming but oh-so worth it!

In other news…I wanted to check in with those who outreached either via the comments on the blog or personal message on FB with interest in the Standing Abs Challenge (<– link to challenge).

How are y’all doing?

Admittedly, I started off strong and have already fallen off the plan (weekends when there’s a lot going on KILL me!).

So I have some catching up to do.

As I mentioned previously, if you miss a day, you be the boss of you and figure out how you want to address those missed days.

Maybe you skip them all together.

Perhaps you double up a couple days until you’re caught up.

Another option is to exercise through rest days until back on track.

I’m for sure going to make up all the missed reps but haven’t quite decided if I’m going to double up or work through rest days.

If you didn’t jump in on Sept 1st, you’re still welcome to join the fun. For those who’ve started already….I’m interested to hear how you are doing…and if you did anything fun over the weekend. Shout out below!

And have a beautiful Monday!

Fall Freezer Cooking: Part 1 (Chicken)

I’ve been dreaming about some freezer meal cooking.

It’s not the actual cooking that has me all spun up in dream world. Rather, it’s the idea of having a week, or two, or three…or FOUR where very little is required of me in the kitchen because I’m simply pulling from the freezer.

I always try to keep a handful of meals in the freezer anyway. About a week’s worth. But these meals are reserved for the “just in case” scenarios.

They come in handy when we’re just getting home after a weekend away, or when part of the meal plan falls apart or when I’ve got something planned but had 2 kids alternate being up all through the night and just don’t have it in me to execute that particular plan for the day.

My freezer cooking dream is more about getting a much needed – whole week or more – break in the kitchen.

When freezer meal cooking, I generally plan a handful of meals and spend a couple hours (or half a day, whatever it takes) dedicated to getting those meals prepped and in the freezer.

In order to do this, however, there has to be a couple uninterrupted hours to dedicate to the project…and a couple consecutive hours is sometimes hard to come by at this stage in my life.

So I’ve started doubling (or tripling) up when I’m making a meal as part of our weekly meal plan. That means we get to eat dinner and I also tuck a meal or two in the freezer without a lot of extra fuss or mess because that fuss and mess was gonna happen anyway.

Most recently I capitalized on chicken breasts being on sale and made two extra batches of each of these recipes for a later time:

Queso Chicken with Rice and Beans (Burritos)
Chicken Nachos
Honey Garlic Chicken (Crockpot) – I’ve got bags of veggies in the freezer for a quick steam to add with this recipe when the time comes.

I’ve got a running list on my fridge of all the meals in our freezer and I’ve also jotted a note about any additional items that may need to be purchased to round out the meal (i.e. salad, tortillas, sour cream, guac, garlic bread, etc.) the week they fall into the meal plan.

Are you doing any work to stock up your freezer for a busy fall/winter schedule?

Oh! and there’s still time to get in on the giveaway! Check out this post for the details!

Queso Chicken with Rice & Beans

Mexican Food + Versatile Dish = Speakin’ My Language

I could probably eat some variety of Mexican food nearly every day and my heart would be content.

I mean, what’s to hate about a genre of food that pairs exceptionally well with margaritas?

And you know that I loooooove dishes that are versatile (i.e. can be made in bulk and serve the purpose for several different main dishes).

Queso chicken with rice and beans checked all these boxes, plus was super yummy.

I worked off a recipe from Sweet Little Bluebird, changing things up just a touch AND added rice and beans because 1) they are delish and 2) they stretch a dish further, making them go the distance with very little added cost.

For this particular meal I rolled the queso chicken with rice and beans into large flour tortillas, wrapped them individually in foil and warmed them in the oven come dinner time.

The cheese sorta bound everything together so my kids were able to get through the meal without an exceptional mess (even after eating the from the tucked in end to start rather than the cut end). So, that was a secondary win that wasn’t necessarily anticipated.

Other ideas for this dish? Tacos. Quesadillas. Nachos. A salad topper (no additional dressing needed). Or you could even eat it right out of a bowl with a fork…it’s just that good.

And, did I mention simple? The crockpot does 90% of the work!

Queso Chicken with Rice and Beans

A simple crockpot chicken with many main dish options…burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, salad topping…and more!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken main course
Servings: 9 burritos

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chicken breast
  • 1 can original rotel
  • 1 can chopped green chilies 8oz
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 jar cheese sauce use your favorite, or whip up some at home
  • 1 cup taco/Mexican rice prepared
  • 1 can black beans rinsed

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to crock-pot, minus the cheese sauce, rice and beans
  • Cook on low 3-4 hours, until chicken is cooked through and easy to shred
  • Drain off most of liquid leaving behind only a couple tablespoons
  • Shred chicken
  • Add black beans and rice, stir to mix
  • Add cheese sauce to cover all ingredients
  • Warm through and finish off as your heart desires….burritos, tacos, quesadillas, chicken taco salad, etc.