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Dinner Just Got Way Easier

Two words: dinner hour.

Two more words: shoot me.

Between kids’ activities, Scott’s work schedule, my graphic design workย and my inability to drink Dr Pepper intravaneously, preparing for dinner sometimes puts me in the crazy house. It also means that sometimes we eat nachos for dinner with a side of goldfish. Just keeping it real.

I try, very hard, to prepare great meals for the family that fit within our $250/week grocery budget. And, as much as I love to cook, when you prepare food for an army around the clock, sometimes you just want the food to cook itself.

Enter, my new kitchen BFF:

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Most of my previous slow cooker recipes entailed a big hunk of meat, some spice packets or cream of “something” and then letting it simmer all day. It was great food, but the troops were all “it all tastes the same, mom” and I was starting to give up on my slow cooker.

But, isn’t it fun when Instagram saves the day? One of my favorite grammers, Samantha at Five Heart Home has a fantastic feed, and food blog. Did I mention she’s an Aggie Catholic who lives in Austin?! She shared the awesomeness of her new cookbook, Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers, and I was intrigued. When she said there were no spice packets or soup cans involved, I was sold. Isn’t that so great for folks with food allergies, too? A cookbook to love!

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We’re 8 recipes in and they have all gotten thumbs up from the kids (and several got two thumbs up). So far, we’ve tried:

Stacked Sante Fe Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Alfredo Tortellini
Mediterranean Stuffed Bell Peppers
Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Dippers
Chicken Parmesan Soup
Raspberry-Chipotle Chicken Sliders
Mini Pulled-Pork Pizzas
Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

To say we love it is an understatement. Every recipe has a photo, that Samantha took, so you can see just how it should look. Quite honestly, mine have been pretty close and that’s not because I’m some awesome chef. She is. Samantha also shares some insight on each recipe and few tips and tricks to make it awesome. It’s almost like she’s in the kitchen cooking with you. I kinda love that.

QVC even came calling and she appeared on the show and rocked the segment. What?! In the cookbook, she also shares some quick seasonings and stock recipes you can make to have on hand that save you time and money – yes, please. This cookbook is so much more than I imagined and y’all know how much I love me some Southern Living cookbooks. It can also save you during the holidays. Holla.

holiday-helpers-collage_700x800pxLast week, she and I finally met in real life and shared, what else, Torchy’s tacos and green chile queso. We chatted Catholic schools, Aggie football, blogging and her cookbook – all while being stalked by an army of grackels who stole one of our chips. True story. I’m still in bird therapy. If only I could share Samantha’s passion for this book. The hours she spent making it just right, taking all those photos and putting her life into it – such admirable dedication. I’m so very proud of her!

If you’re following me over on Instagram, I’ve shared a fewย sneak peeks, along with how we meal plan.

The best part? I’m giving THREE away. Yes, three. You can enter here on the blog, or over on Instagram. Y’all know how Rafflecopter works. Get to it. Or, you can just order it and get to cooking a little faster.

Happy cooking, y’all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

95 Comments

  1. Megan on November 21, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Since my first kiddo arrived three weeks ago, we have been living off of crockpot meals. This cookbook looks amazing…I’m also over the cream of something recipes that are all over pinterest! Between this and H-E-B curb side pick up, I could actually have time for a nap ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:16 am

      GIRL. Both those things have been game changers for me.

  2. Mitc on November 21, 2016 at 5:42 am

    This looks great. i really terrible at using the slow cooker, so this would be a big help.

  3. Ann-Marie on November 21, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Vegetables. They are so crisp and colorful that they make me happy. My husband is pretty anti slow cooker; I’m intrigued to see if this book could turn him around.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:15 am

      It turned my husband and he is a connoisseur of good food. It has gotten lots of two thumbs up from him.

  4. Sarah on November 21, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I tried to leave a comment on the rafflecopter thing but it put a check mark that I had commented and wouldn’t let me type. It looks like I said something but I hadn’t, though I wanted to. I am not cheating; I must be tech non-savvy.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

      LOL. You’re good. Thanks for entering!

  5. Sharyl on November 21, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Look like a great cook book.

  6. Katie McIntyre on November 21, 2016 at 7:06 am

    The recipies look delicious!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

      And easy. It’s just an awesome book.

  7. Jenny on November 21, 2016 at 7:13 am

    I would love to get this book. When life gets crazy, one of the first things I ask myself, “How can I use my crockpot?” For real. I know the thing that will slow us down is a good meal–that I haven’t killed myself making.

    • Jenny on November 21, 2016 at 7:14 am

      It left out my ingredient? A big piece of meat.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

      We use it 2-3 times a week, so yes, I FEEL YOU!

  8. Mary Margaret on November 21, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Would it be too cliche if I said my favorite ingredient was wine?? HA! Actually it’s the holy trinity – onion, celery and bell pepper. Get those goin and you’re on your way to something amazing.

    I would love this book for my sister! She just moved to DC – first real world job far away from home – and I’m getting her a crock pot for Christmas!!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Oh this would be the perfect gift! Be sure you enter over on Instagram, too!

  9. Nicole on November 21, 2016 at 7:58 am

    This sounds awesome! Like you – feeding our crew – and being wise with time and money and everything else – is a huge undertaking! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Sara on November 21, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Hmm..I love a tomato based dish for some comfort food. Cheese might be my favorite ingredient though ๐Ÿ™‚ Love herbs too.

  11. Alicia on November 21, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Ground beef is my favorite ingredient because it’s so versatile. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aimee Landreneau on November 21, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Oops, favorite ingredient…homemade chicken bone broth instead of boxed. When the stars align, I have the right amount in my freezer and don’t have to use my stash of store bought. Flavor is out of this world. (I make it in the crockpot or the Instant Pot!)

      • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:40 am

        Oh, definitely. I’ve always bought it from the store, but Samantha has some great recipes in the back that I plan on trying. I hear it’s such a good difference!

  12. Danielle on November 21, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Favorite ingredient to cook with is cheese ๐Ÿ™‚ This cookbook looks so helpful!

  13. Sarah Taylor-Deak on November 21, 2016 at 8:16 am

    My favorite ingredient, tomatoes lots and lots of tomatoes

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:18 am

      There is a pulled pork mini pizza recipe you will love, then!

  14. Sherry on November 21, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Love this!!! I’m the slow cooker queen and can’t wait to check this new cookbook out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Then you will LOVE-LOVE this book.

  15. Kristen on November 21, 2016 at 8:18 am

    This cookbook looks amazing!! Even though we currently only have two littles, we use our crockpot every week. My favorite ingredient, honestly, whole chickens.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

      It really is. We didn’t start ramping up our slow cooker cooking until a few years ago, but if I had a cookbook like this I would’ve started earlier. Sooo not your mom’s slow cooker recipes.

  16. Kathy on November 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Browned butter. Actually, I don’t make the browned butter, my husband does. But it’s amazing.

  17. Sandy on November 21, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I love a good cook book with pictures!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Samantha took one for every recipe in the book – it’s just fantastic. You’ll love it!

  18. Julia on November 21, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Is it wrong that butter might be my favorite ingredient to cook with?! It adds flavor and is easy to put on just about anything. Plus I can use it to make cookies. Win-win!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Ummm, no! Right there with ya.

  19. Aimee Landreneau on November 21, 2016 at 8:24 am

    This looks awesome! And girl, get yo’self an Instant Pot. It does in less than an hour what a crock pot does in a day. I still use my crockpot regularly, but on the days I forget to put it on early enough, we can still have the same dinner in a tiny fraction of the time.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:40 am

      On my list! Some of the recipes in here are 6-8 hours on low kind, but there are many that are just four hours or less.

  20. Susie on November 21, 2016 at 8:29 am

    My favorite ingredients to cook with are sugar and flour because I like to bake.

  21. Lisa on November 21, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Oh, man. I could really use some new ideas. You can only make the same 5 or 6 crockpot meals so many times before the masses revolt.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:39 am

      HA! No kidding. This one has 80!

  22. Aileen on November 21, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I have some crockpot recipes but I neeed new ones! I would love a cookbook like this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Whitney H on November 21, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Sounds funny… but garlic. I put it in everything. Spaghetti sauce, taco meat, casseroles, roasts… and it smells so good when it’s cooking.

    The cookbook looks fantastic!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:45 am

      There is plenty of it in this book. I love it too!

  24. Dixie on November 21, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Butter, obviously. Right?

  25. Shari on November 21, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I love my slow cooker, but I agree, sometimes the cream of “something” is too much. I’d love a cookbook that includes fresh ingredients.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Then this one fits the bill. All fresh and so far, all awesome.

  26. Kate on November 21, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Cheese!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 9:07 am

      My love language. We discovered the Mac and cheese soup in here. Oh man, is it good.

  27. Francine on November 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Oh, how can I choose?! Fresh basil, maybe? Hoping I win and start using my crockpot more, ha!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 9:07 am

      With this book you totally will!

  28. Angel G. on November 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

    So excited to check out this book! I love to cook with onion and garlic, and when I can get away with it I love to add red pepper. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for the raffle!

  29. Beth (A Mom's Life) on November 21, 2016 at 9:07 am

    I use my slow cooker all the time but it really all does start to taste the same after a while. I’m always on the lookout for something new to try!

  30. Andrea Boring on November 21, 2016 at 9:27 am

    My fave ingredient is broth– beef or chicken ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Stephanie Ripma on November 21, 2016 at 9:48 am

    I don’t know if I can pick a favorite ingredient, but we always always ALWAYS keep garlic, lemon, chicken broth or stock, pasta, and crushed tomatoes in the pantry. So many delish quick meals you can whip up with just a few ingredients! Can’t wait to try some of the recipes in Samantha’s book!

  32. Jill on November 21, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Y husband just told me this weekend he isn’t really a fan of crockpot meals anymore. I wanted to cry. I can’t wait to try these recipes!!

    • Jill on November 21, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Oh and my staples are garlic, cheese and bacon!

  33. carly Orris on November 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

    I would say chili powder and cumin! We love Mexican food at our house! I make my own taco seasoning!

  34. Lynn on November 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I need to start using my crockpot. I’ve had one for 19 years but have only used it once. Staples for cooking – shredded cheese.

  35. Anneka on November 21, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I love to cook. It’s hard to pick a favorite ingredient, but I am particularly fond of anything with sugar!

  36. Amanda on November 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Too many ingredients to pick just one…maybe garlic? I’d love to have this cookbook!

  37. Bea on November 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Love my crock pot! Hate spending time googling tasty recipes so this is perfect that she’s done all the work for me. Nothing like coming home to home cooked goodness after a long day.

  38. Connie on November 21, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Tomatoes and cheese…and butter…my favorites

  39. Denise on November 21, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I love my slow cooker but could definitely use some new recipes and these look delicious!

  40. Christina on November 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Look like a lovely book!

  41. Kathy Houle on November 21, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Crockpot dinners save my life! But we are definitely stuck in a rut right now and keep going back to the same ones over and over. I need this!!

  42. Stephanie Martin on November 21, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I love everything Chicken! That bird is a STAPLE in my diet and in pretty much any recipe I make. Especially slow cooker recipes! YUM!

  43. Heather on November 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

    My favorite thing to cook? Chicken. My whole family loves it and it is so versatile ๐Ÿ”

  44. Tiffany on November 21, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Chocolate! For dinner though, chicken, and we are always looking for something new.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Lol. Yes!!

  45. Samantha @ Five Heart Home on November 21, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Kathryn! You are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing my cookbook with your adoring fans! I am so, so, so happy to hear that it’s been helping you out with dinner planning and that y’all have been enjoying the recipes! Truly, that was my greatest wish in writing it…that busy people would find the cookbook useful and the recipes tasty. Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Nicole on November 21, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Cheese! It’s a favorite among the entire family. I need to hear more about that mac and cheese soup you speak of…

  47. Amanda on November 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Hello. I recently began reading your blog. I adore it and appreciate your sense of humor. You make me laugh. Thank you. I have several 5 โค๏ธ Home recipes pinned. It’s exciting to see she has a cook book. My favorite ingredient to cook with in the kitchen right now is either eggs because they are a real work horse or pesto because it makes just about every protein taste better!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Oh welcome to the party!! Samantha is a genius.

  48. Maria on November 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    This looks like a great idea even for those without the large family but still on the go

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Oh it definitely is!

  49. Mary on November 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I love cooking things with lime!! I really need to use my slowcooker more often it would help us not eating out as much lately.

  50. Adrienne on November 21, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I love to cook pasta and eat it too! This cookbook looks awesome!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      The chicken Alfredo is to die for – you’ll love it!

  51. Alecia Simonis on November 21, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    This summer, my family was in a rental house that had no working oven. I used my crockpot almost daily, and I was so frustrated by the recipes that came up when searching for new ones because it was always some variation on cream of something soup and meat. We rotated the same ten meals for four months because it was so limiting. This book would have been a lifesaver!

    As far as my favorite ingredients go, butter, onions, and garlic are always available to add to a recipe.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Oh girl. Welcome to your new favorite book.

  52. Megan on November 21, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    This cookbook looks amazing!

  53. Ellen That Chic Mom on November 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Is it terrible that the first thing that came to mind is garlic and then meat? This cookbook looks fantastic.

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Nope. That’s the first thing I put in mine!

  54. Liz on November 21, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Garlic, butter, and cheese improve just about any dish in my opinion!

  55. Rosalie on November 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    This sounds great! I’ve really slacked off at using my slow cooker this past year, because it’s been a headache adapting recipes to fit the baby’s allergies, but a real food cookbook? Yes, please!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Then you’ve found your winner. This one is great.

  56. Rachael on November 21, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I’m a huge fan of crockpot dinners, and I’d love to get ahold of this book.

    My favorite ingredient to cook with is garlic. Garlic makes everything better.

  57. Wendy on November 21, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Three words: fresh chopped garlic. *mic drop*

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Four words: your comments are hilarious.

  58. Jennifer Campbell on November 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I make a whole chicken in my crock pot about once a week, and then put the carcass back in to make stock overnight. But I need to branch out and try new recipes!

  59. mbmom7 on November 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    My daughter wants to try slow-cooker recipes, so this would be a great start. Her favorite ingredient is flour (she’s on a bread baking kick lately) while mine would be butter or chocolate chips. The three together make magic happen!

  60. Maureen on November 21, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    This would be perfect for my family!!

  61. Erin h on November 21, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    My favorite ingredients to cook with are herbs and spices- cumin, coriander, ginger, rosemary, basil- depending on what is for dinner!

  62. Andrea on November 22, 2016 at 2:19 am

    I love cookbooks! I was literally with the kids on Saturday at the bookstore looking at cookbooks. I couldn’t decide. With 4 picky kids and an equally picky husband, it makes it hard to plan meals. On the bright side, my oldest is now in community college. His chore is now to make dinner on week nights! I still need to plan and he still needs detailed directions. Hence the need for a good cookbook with pictures and tips.

  63. Jenny on November 22, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Favorite ingredient? Just one? Do kids count as an ingredient? I love cooking with my 16 year old because it is one of the few times he will talk and talk and talk to me. I think it’s because his hands are busy so he forgets he’s spilling his guts to his mama:)

  64. Veronica on November 22, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Oh geez, cheese!! If we had to be a dairy-free family I have no idea what I’d do. And I cook with cumin a lot, too. Got some great Tex-Mex recipes. ; ) If this cookbook goes to someone else then it’s definitely going on my Christmas list.

  65. Joanna on November 22, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I would love this!

  66. Kristina on November 23, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I keep wanting to do more crockpot recipes but finding the kids aren’t loving them and get discouraged. This sounds intriguing!!!

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