Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

This was dinner.  So delicious.  I ate it over Zoodles (zucchini noodles) and the kids ate it with whole wheat spaghetti.  Maria thought it was great that I put her vegetables right in the sauce!  I was just happy that the kids ate it.  The first time I think they’ve eaten homemade sauce without complaints… plus there was no added sugar.  I figured the carrots and the fire-roasted tomatoes would add enough sweetness. PLUS this was totally Whole 30 compliant!

Just a couple minor tweaks from the original that I found at  Wellness Witness
Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce #whole30

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

2 onions, chopped
3 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup chopped carrots
2 lbs ground beef
3- 28oz cans crushed FIRE-ROASTED tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp. basil (dried)
1 tsp. onion powder
12 oz frozen spinach*

In large skillet, heat up the Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Medium-High heat. Add
the carrots, onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.  Once done, drain fat and then add to a large slow cooker.

Add all other ingredients and stir. Cook for 8-9 hours on low.

This makes LOTS!  It is probably 3-4 meals total.  I love having a stocked up freezer!

*I found a bag of frozen spinach at Trader Joe’s.. it wasn’t as mushy as the traditional frozen box, you typically find…


Porketta with Homemade BBQ Sauce

This has been a favorite recipe for a while.  And definitely makes the rotation regularly.  Also great for birthday parties.

My recipe is based on a conglomeration of other Porketta recipes, I found, plus my love of the crockpot.   And since I’m doing it with the Whole30, I paired it with my variation of this homemade BBQ sauce.  So good.  Pictured below with broccoli slaw (sauteed in olive oil) and homemade baked sweet potato fries.  Technically this is not following all the Whole 30 Rules (because fries…) but all the ingredients are compliant, and I needed this yumminess tonight (Day 16!)

Also good with a bottled BBQ sauce and buns.  My kids like it with ketchup. 

NOTE:  add a sliced avocado for yumminess, and the good fat!

Porketta with homemade BBQ sauce #whole30

Crockpot Porketta

1 boneless pork shoulder roast (2 1/2-3 pounds)
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon dried celery seed
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-3 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Cut about five deep slits across top of roast. Rub olive oil on roast.
  2. Combine seasonings; stuff some into the slits. and rub into roast.
  3. Cook in crockpot for 10-12 hours on Low.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

1 can tomato paste (6oz)
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened 100% apple sauce
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
a few dashes hot sauce to taste (I like Trader Joe’s hot pepper sauce)


  1. Whisk all ingredients together and store in a mason jar in the fridge. It should stay good to use for about one month.

NOTE: Original recipe called for Chipotle Powder (I did not have this) and Balsamic Vinegar, which I inadvertently left out!  Oops – but it was still good.

Sweet Potato Chili

Since I love chili and I love sweet potatoes!  And since my traditional chili is not Whole30 compliant (beans).  I went in search for a new recipe.  And found this great one from

I did make a few tweaks, based on what I know I like.  But not much, And it was good!  I cooked it in the crockpot.
Sweet Potato Chili #whole30

Sweet Potato Chili

  • 2 lbs. hamburger
  • 1 /2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 large can (29.5 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2-3 cups of fire-roasted tomatoes (do NOT drain)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 3 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 5 small sweet potatoes*, peeled and cubed (about 4-5 cups)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • dash of oregano
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  1. In a large saucepan, brown hamburger, onions and garlic. Drain off the fat.
  2. Add the ground beef and other ingredients, to your crockpot and let it simmer on low all day (8-10 hours) or on high for 4-5 hours.

*I bought cubed sweet potatoes in Targets produce section. Made this super easy to throw together

Sausage & Sweet Potato Breakfast

Here is what I eat almost daily.  Before I found out I shouldn’t be eating eggs, I was eating this with eggs scrambled on the side.  I love sweet potatoes for breakfast.

Sausage & Sweet Potato Breakfast

Sausage & Sweet Potato Breakfast

1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
4 oz turkey or chicken breakfast sausage (I like the gold-n-plump apple chicken sausage)
1/2-1 cup roasted sweet potato*
1/2 cup shredded zucchini (optional)
1 cup spinach
sea salt

Saute sausage, sweet potato, and zucchini in coconut oil for about 5 minutes.Add spinach and sea salt (to taste) and continue cooking until spinach cooks down (wilts)

*to roast sweet potato: Preheat oven to 350. Put 1-2 tbsp coconut oil on baking sheet (with sides) and place in the oven while preheating. Peel and cube sweet potato in 1″ pieces.  Add cubed sweet potato to pan and roast for 20-25 minutes.  Cool and store in refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer.

I normally roast about 2#s of sweet potato on Sunday afternoons for the week. and shred my zucchini then too.

Mini-Meatloaves & Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

So I move on with my food intolerances – I’ve now cut out soy.  seriously. not easy. But I am feeling better!

Here is a new family favorite that we can ALL enjoy.  The meatloaf recipe was derived from The Healthy Gluten-Free Life – Basically a gluten free cookbook that would be vegan if it wasn’t for the meat! 🙂  (no eggs, no dairy)

The potatoes and cauliflower is just something I came up with based on recipes I’ve read.  My kids and husband had no idea I snuck in an extra vegetable and I didn’t feel guilty serving this with “just” corn.  Win-Win!  Everyone clears their plate when this is served.



For the loaves:
½ yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs ground beef
1 ½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp gluten free Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup tomato sauce (you will use 15 oz total)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
¾ cup almond meal (Trader Joe’s is the cheapest BY FAR!)
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp flax meal mixed with 1/3 cup hot water

For the Sauce:
3 tbsp tomato paste
remaining tomato sauce from 15 oz can
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste


  1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onions and garlic until soft. About 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add beef, and remaining meat ingredients. Add cooked onions/garlic. Carefully (onions will be hot) stir and combine meat mixture until all ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Spray muffin pans with nonstick spray. Fill muffin pans, just to the tops, with the meat mixture. Press down slightly to level tops.
  4. In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients.
  5. Place a small spoonful of sauce on top of each mini meatloaf. With the back of the spoon, spread the sauce evenly over each loaf.
  6. Fill any empty muffin cups halfway with water so meat bakes evenly. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, rotating trays halfway through. Meat should be cooked through and top edges just turning brown.

Cauliflower-Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Broth
4-5 Russet Potatoes
1 bag frozen cauliflower
Butter and/or Heavy Cream (or whatever you like to mash in your potatoes*)
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder

  1. Peel and cut potatoes into 1″ pieces.
  2. Add potatoes to pot. Cover with chicken broth.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add cauliflower and simmer for another 10-12 minutes.
  5. Drain off excess liquid.
  6. Mash potatoes and cauliflower.
  7. Mix in butter/heavy cream
  8. Add sea salt and garlic powder to taste.

*I have added heavy cream and butter back into my diet. My nutritionist pointed out that my intolerance is to dairy protein and both cream and butter are just fat. 🙂  But she did recommend using only organic and grass-fed.

Lasagna Soup

I found this recipe earlier this week on Pinterest and made a few tweaks, including cooking it in the crockpot. Super yummy! Photo and Original Recipe from


 Lasagna Soup

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano & basil
1 pound of ground beef, cooked with dried minced onion and drained
32 ounces of pasta sauce (I used Kirkland’s Marinara)
1 teaspoon of Italian blend seasoning
2 cups of beef broth
1 cup of water
1 to 1-1/2 cups of uncooked pasta
Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella or Provolone cheese

First, brown your ground beef with minced dried onion and drain. Add meat to crockpot. Then add tomatoes, the pasta sauce, Italian seasoning, broth and water. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Add the pasta the last 30-40 minutes.

The soup is ready when the pasta is cooked. Serve with Parmesan cheese and/or mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooker Breakfast Quinoa

I am not always a lover of quinoa, but in an effort to up my protein in the morning I decided to try cooking it for breakfast.  As part of my efforts to add healthy fats to my diet overall, I decided to cook it in coconut milk.  And then because I don’t want to get up early to cook breakfast, I decided to cook it in my slow cooker.  And what I got was delicious!  Especially when I added fresh blueberries!  I made this on Monday night, and reheated it the rest of the week.  It was so good, even reheated.

Breakfast Quinoa

Slow Cooker Breakfast Quinoa

1 cup quinoa (rinsed, if it is not pre-rinsed)
1 can coconut milk (I used full-fat – found in the Asian food section)
2 tbsp raw sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
fresh blueberries
butter or coconut oil

Lightly grease crockpot with butter or coconut oil. Add all remaining ingredients, except blueberries.  Stir.  Cook overnight on low for 7-9 hours.  Serve with blueberries.

I cooked this in a small 2 quart crockpot. If you do not have one that small, I would recommend using a bowl inside of the crockpot with water to create a water bath (read how this is done at Mommy’s Kitchen)

Chicken with Toasted Pecans and Maple Syrup

We had this for dinner tonight. I found the recipe at Just BARE Chicken’s website. I made a few minor tweaks based on what I had on hand.  It was delicious. I served it with sweet potatoes and steamed green beans.

Chicken with Toasted Pecans and Maple Syrup

Chicken with Toasted Pecans and Maple Syrup

2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tsp garlic, minced
1 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
20 ounces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons maple syrup

  1. Roast pecans in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove from skillet; set aside.
  2. Pound chicken flat and cut chicken breasts into 2-3 pieces
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together mayonnaise, mustard, thyme leaves, garlic, salt and pepper. Coat chicken with mayonnaise mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 5
  4. In a large skillet, sauté chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Chicken should be fork-tender with no hint of pink in the meat.
  5. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, sprinkle chicken fillets with toasted pecans, cinnamon, thyme leaves and maple syrup. Serve with additional maple syrup if desired.

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

I found this recipe for Summer Vegetables with Chicken Sausage and Potatoes last week via pinterest.  I made it last night. It was a perfect summer meal.  Next time I make it I might just use 2 pans and cook the potatoes at the same time as the chicken and vegetables to speed up the process a little.  Still super yummy! I will definitely be making this again. It is easy and could easily be adapted to be made with other vegetables.  (thinking carrots, summer squash… )
Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

  • 1 lb baby red potatoes, cut in half or quartered
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 14 oz Italian chicken sausage, sliced 1-inch thick
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of the knife
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary (or other fresh herb such as thyme)
  • 2 cups zucchini, 1/2 inch thick and quartered

Place oil and potatoes in a large, deep non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid on high heat; season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. When the skillet gets hot and starts to sizzle, reduce heat to low and cook with a tight lid on for about 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the potatoes from burning. Remove from heat and let them sit 5 minutes without removing the lid.  Set potatoes aside on a dish.

Add the sausage to the skillet and saute on medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until browned but not quite cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season chopped vegetables with salt and pepper. Add onions, peppers, garlic and rosemary to the skillet and mix. Continue cooking stirring occasionally until onions and peppers become slightly browned. Add zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes, mixing as it cooks until cooked through.

Return the potatoes back to the skillet and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper as needed; cover and cook 5 more minutes.

Baked Oatmeal

I came across this recipe on Pinterest yesterday.  It fit my new criteria of being gluten-free.  I was able to adapt it to also be dairy-free as well, plus a  few other tweaks based on what I had on hand, with great results. It was so yummy!  I made it last night and then re-heated for breakfast.  It was hard not to just eat it last night, because it smelled fantastic when I took it out of the oven last night. And this morning, it tasted fantastic too! YUM!! And I’m looking forward to eating it again tomorrow! 
Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup blueberries
2 cups rice milk
1 large egg
4 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 9 by 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the pecans, half the berries, and flaxseed. (Save the other half of berries and pecans for the top of the oatmeal).
In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, coconut oil and vanilla extract.

Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar.