The Easiest Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

It’s been soups galore here at our house! With some yuck going around, rain and cold weather, soup is what’s for dinner here a lot lately! It’s easy, delicious, and just gives a comfort you need during this time of the year. Today I was wanting some soup and decided I would try and make some broccoli cheddar soup for the first time! And y’all, it was so delicious I decided I would share it with you all!

This broccoli cheddar soup was made in the instant pot which is the best invention for your kitchen of all time. I cooked this soup in THREE MINUTES. Yeah you heard me, THREE MINUTES! Now the prep time in total was about 15 minutes including the cook time so yeah… a delicious soup in under 20 minutes!

I served mine with some yummy parmesan rosemary French bread from Costco. It’s so dreamy I could eat an entire loaf on my own! Now the soup itself is gluten free so if you are gluten free you can definitely get in on this! Serve yours up with a small side salad or gluten free sandwich! Your whole family will enjoy this soup AND you can sneak some more veggies in your family’s diet! Let’s get to it!

Easy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

What you will need:

  • 2 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 stalks celery (diced)
  • 1 tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup corn starch slurry
  • 4 cups of chicken broth

Dry Seasonings:

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning

Directions:

Set instant pot to sauté method. Drizzle in olive oil and throw in onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Soften all of the veggies. Then toss in frozen broccoli, chicken broth, and all dry seasonings. Cover instant pot with the lid and make sure you set to SEAL. Then hit the soup/stew mode and manually enter in 3 minutes. Remember it will take some time to pressurize!

Once finished, quick release (be careful) the pressure and wait until all of the steam has stopped releasing! Remove the lid and then set the instant pot back to sauté mode. Make 1/2 cup of cornstarch slurry! To do this just mix two tbsp of corn starch with 1/2 cup of water. Mix until everything is dissolved and add into the soup mixture. You will want to bring everything to a boil for it to thicken up. Also add in heavy cream and cheese. Let everything melt and come together. Here is a great place to taste the soup and adjust any seasonings to your taste!

Once finished, serve with some shredded cheese on top! It is so delicious and soothing! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Below I will attach a link to an instant pot that you can purchase if you don’t have one yet! Trust me, it is so worth it! You can read my blog, Instant Pot vs. Slow Cooker, to find out more!

Hope you enjoy and Happy Homemaking!

Instant Pot Duo 60 321 Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-QT, Stainless Steel/Black

Easy Cake Mix Cookie Recipe

It’s cookie season! Now we have all the excuses to bake all the cookies! But this season often we run short on time. These easy cake mix cookies are THE best texture, super delicious, and most importantly, EASY.

My husband hates cake. Loathes it! He took one bite on our wedding day, just for me, and then went to the cookie bar and had his party. Cookies are his favorite thing and Santa’s favorite thing too! So Christmas and cookies are pretty much a perfect match! Now that we are finally into December, I am going to try and bake a batch of cookies every week. Just to start a family tradition!

I had a box of leftover funfetti cake mix from my sister’s birthday, and had heard about a cookie recipe using cake mix, vegetable oil, and eggs! I tried it and it is the best thing ever!

There is a whole world of cookie options open now! Red velvet with cream cheese icing, german chocolate cookies, lemon cookies… the choices never end! I am going to share with you the basic recipe for a cake mix cookie, and then you can edit it the way you want! Add sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, whatever you want! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

What you will need:

  • 1 package of cake mix (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • THAT’S IT! Yes, I’m serious.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl add cake mix of choice (I used funfetti), oil, and eggs. Mix well and the mix will be a thick consistency (perfect for scooping)!

To my mix I added some lemon extract and lemon juice! Just for a pop of flavor. Once you’ve added everything you want, scoop about a tbsp worth of cookie dough on a parchment paper lined cookie tray.

I put mine about 1 inch apart! Bake from anywhere between 11-13 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your cookies.

My husband likes his cookies a little on the crunchier side and I prefer mine soft and chewy! I cooked my batch at 12 minutes and his at 13 and we both thought they were perfect!

That’s it! That’s how easy this is. There are really so many options with this recipes to play around with and it’s a great idea for kids to get started in baking too! I hope you have fun with this recipe! Share with me your ideas and recipes too! Happy homemaking!

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes: The Best Sweet Potato Casserole (Gluten Free)

picture from thespruceeats.com

I’m just going to say it… I hate marshmallows. I particularly hate them on sweet potato casserole (I understand I may be lynched for this). But seriously, I am team pecan streusel topping all day long! So if you are a marshmallow fan, you can use the sweet potato part of this recipe and top with marshmallows… but you are seriously missing out.

So I have been told this is the best sweet potato casserole someone has ever had. That made me feel pretty good about myself, not going to lie. So I decided to share it with you all so that you can have it in you arsenal for the upcoming Holiday season!

On top of how delicious it is, it is also gluten free! As I have eaten gluten free I realized a lot of my Holiday favorites were off limits. So this one I just replaced the flour in the topping with a gluten free alternative, and wall-ah! It’s amazing! I hope you love it too.

Let’s get started so you can get this in your mouth ASAP!

The Best Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

What you will need:

For the Mixture:

  • 5 sweet potatoes (small) or 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the Topping:

  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 5 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the sweet potatoes by either baking in oven for approximately 60 minutes OR what I do is use steam bags (which you can purchase) and steam them in the microwave for about 7 minutes. They peal so easily and are very tender! Then once prepared and pealed, mash in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add butter, milk, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon, and mix well.

In another small bowl, combine brown sugar, melted butter, pecans, flour, salt and cinnamon. Mix well until everything is combined.

Spread sweet potato mixture into casserole dish evenly and top with pecan mixture. Then you will want to bake for about 20 minutes until the topping is golden delicious.

This is THE best sweet potato casserole ever and it is gluten free! This will definitely be a new family favorite! Happy homemaking and happy thanksgiving!

Cranberry Cashew Salad

With the Holidays coming up, heavy food is definitely on the radar! Sometimes for lunch you may want to take it light in preparation, or just to give your stomach a break!

This salad is my FAVORITE salad of all time. My husband does not like salads and loved this one. I made this recipe based off of a salad I tried at a restaurant that was so expensive. So I wanted to try to make it myself, and I did so successfully!

It has yummy dried cranberries, cashews, sweet peppers, and my favorite, havarti cheese! All topped with a homemade ranch dressing that is easy and delicious!

Cranberry Cashew Salad

What you will need:

  • Greens (I love spring salad mix)
  • 1/4 cup of havarti cheese (diced)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of cashew halves

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp ranch (any kind)
  • 1/2 milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed

Directions:

Mix in a larger bowl your greens, cheese, cranberries, cashews, and bell pepper.

In a small mason jar (or bowl) add in all of the dressing ingredients wnd shake well (or stir well).

Serve and you’re done! It’s that easy.

This is so delicious I promise! You can use another dressing if you please, however the thin ranch just gives it the flavor that it needs. So try it, I promise!

I also would serve for an appetizer the cranberries, cashews, cheese and peppers dredged in the dressing as like a cold salad! It would be so delicious and has festive colors too!

I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does! Let me know what you think! Happy homemaking!

Easy Salt Dough Crafts for Kids

With the Holidays coming up, nostalgia and memory-making is at an all time high! Here is a fun and easy craft for you to do with your babies or big kids! A simple at-home recipe for old-fashioned salt dough makes making memories so much easier!

So, this is one of my favorite crafts that I found this year! Having a new baby and going through the Holiday seasons for the first time, I kept wanting ways to make those crafts that scream nostalgia and memories. I found this recipe for salt dough crafts and fell in love!!

Salt dough is soooo easy to make, you most likely already have these ingredients in your home, and it is a fun craft that you can do with your babies, toddlers, or even your big kids! You can make ornaments, picture frames, and pretty much whatever your mind can create!

So a lot of people have begun Christmas decorating already and I will be sharing some Christmas crafts soon! However, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought some cute turkey crafts would be a fun way to bring a little more warmth to your home! Salt dough crafts are also so much more fun and less costly than expensive at-home ceramic kits or cement kits that don’t work and are hard to use (especially with a baby who will not cooperate)!!

So far I have not ran into any issues with baby John letting me use his cute little fingers and toes for memorable craft-making! I have been making so many types of crafts using his hands and feet, and I want to keep everyone of them! I never knew that you would feel guilty for giving one away (cursed mom guilt).

So with such an easy recipe, you can make so many more crafts so you don’t feel like you’re giving a piece of your heart away!

Let’s get started so you can get crafting and memory making!

salt dough thanksgiving crafts

What you will need:

  • ***1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional if you want it to smell a little more like the Holidays)

*** So a small disclaimer that I learned through trial and error. When choosing what flour to use for your salt dough craft, I would HIGHLY recommend using an unenriched flour that does NOT contain any kind of leavening agent (such as baking powder or baking soda). I found if there is a rising agent in the flour your salt dough craft will bubble up and not stay in the shape you make it into. So just a note!

There will be directions for all three of the crafts shown of the turkey hand print, the hand turkey, and the foot print! Choose whatever you like or do your own thing and let me know how it goes!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees (F). [cooking your salt dough at a low heat for a long period of time creates a hardened clay-like substance that lets you keep it forever!!]

In a mixing bowl, measure out your flour, salt, cinnamon (optional), and water. Mix together until it forms into a dough-like ball! (It should be malleable and not sticky – underneath is what it should look like).

Once you have the dough ready, prepare a baking tray with parchment paper and divide the dough into thirds.

Circle turkey hand craft

Take the first third of the salt dough and form it into a smaller ball, taking a rolling pin (or your hand if you don’t have one) to smooth it out into a perfect circle.

Once you’ve smoothed it out to the size and thickness of your liking, then you will want to press your babies/kids hand down, making sure it is deep enough to get the print but not too deep to make the bottom weak. Pull the hand up and you should have a perfect print! (If the first try doesn’t work, just re-roll the dough and try again!)

You can also use the end of a pen to make a hole in the top in case you want to tie a ribbon around it to hang!

Like all of the rest of the salt dough crafts, bake at 250 degrees F for 3 hours (or until all moisture is gone). Let cool and then paint however you desire!!

This is raw, unbaked dough! Final craft will be shown below!

Cut-out hand turkey craft

Take another third of the salt dough and do the same procedure of smoothing out in a circle, pressing your babies/kids hand, and setting aside. This time, rather than pressing so hard to get a good print, just press hard enough to get the general outline of the hand, leaving enough volume of the dough behind.

Then take a knife and cut out the outline of the hand and remove the excess dough from around the cut out. Take a small ball of dough and add it to the bottom of the hand (this is where the turkey’s legs will go). Make sure to use your finger to reconnect the hand to the small square at the bottom so they will bake as one piece.

You will need to bake again at 250 degrees F for 3 hours (or until all the moisture is removed). Once cooled, decorate and have a memory forever!

Pictured is raw craft unbaked! Final craft will be shown below.

Thanksgiving foot salt dough craft

So if you want to just have a keepsake memory craft of your babies/kids foot, this one is for you! You can do this craft any time of the year or for any milestone in your baby’s life (or if you just feel like it).

Take the remaining amount of salt dough and form into more of an oval rather than a circle (this is necessary if your baby has sasquatch sized feet like mine – who is only 7 months old btw).

Press baby’s foot into the dough, making sure it’s pressed in deep enough to get each little toe! (An easy way to achieve this for bigger kids is to set the pan on the floor and let them step on it themselves).

Then bake at 250 degrees F for 3 hours (or until moisture is fully removed) and decorate as you please!

This dough is still raw! Final craft will be pictured below.

Yay crafting!

Now that your salt dough crafts are cooled and decorated, it’s time to set them around your house and let the memory-making begin! I remember growing up loving to look at all of the crafts I made as a kid, so I wanted to do the same for John!

Not to mention, I will now have a forever keepsake that will have his little hands and feet captured for a moment. I am a very nostalgic person, and want these salt dough crafts everywhere around my house for every Holiday!

And when John is older you better believe we will create salt dough ornament crafts together every year!

It’s okay to want to make memories, and easy recipes like this will make that actually seem doable! I hope you find much fun and memory-making from this, and most importantly, happy homemaking!!

finished salt dough crafts:

Yay!!! I love them so much!

Below are some more ideas that I’ve done for this fall!

Acorn Craft
Pumpkin Craft!

I hope you all enjoy this Thanksgiving salt dough craft as much as I always do! Can’t wait to see your keepsakes and memories, happy homemaking!!!

Skillet Meatloaf (Gluten Free)

When you hear meatloaf, you either think yummmm or yuckkk! Meatloaf has a bad rep okay, for being a gross, dry, flavorless mound of meat. Doesn’t sound very appetizing. But as the goal of remaking homemaking, meatloaf needs to be remade! It is the perfect medium for all kinds of flavors! You can customize your meatloaf for whatever flavor style you like whether that’s traditional, bbq, Mexican style, etc.


This recipe I am posting today is my traditional meatloaf recipe that I have worked on for years to perfect! After making it in a traditional meatloaf pan (which is an option for you if you do not have a cast iron skillet), I realized my favorite pieces were on the end, where most of it was crispy and delicious! So one day I looked at my cast iron skillet and figured, let’s try it! Turns out it’s the perfect pan to capitalize on the crispiest, juiciest slice of meatloaf! 


**Side note before we get started – a cast iron skillet in my opinion is a kitchen staple piece. If you do not have one, I urge you to get you one today! I will post another blog about caring for your cast iron skillet in the right way! 

Lodge 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet. Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder.


Let’s do this! 

Skillet meatloaf (GF)

What you need:

  • 1 lbs ground beef (Grass fed is the best for us)
  • 1/2 lbs ground sausage (optional)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 eggs (*2 eggs if not doing GF recipe)
  • **1 cup of breadcrumbs (I make my own GF ones – scroll down to see how below)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (1/4 cup for mixture and 1/4 for topping

Dry Seasonings:

  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. 

In a bigger mixing bowl, add in diced onion, bell pepper, ground beef, ground sausage, minced garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, cornstarch, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 cup of ketchup (I do not sauté my veg prior to mixing because I like a little bite to mine in the meatloaf! It will soften but you’ll know it’s there).

Then add in all of the dry seasonings and stir well! You can use a spoon but the best way to stir a meatloaf is to use the utensils God gave you, those hands (take off any rings because it gets messy).  

Get your cast iron skillet and spray or coat with oil (I prefer to use spray coconut oil). Then turn your meatloaf mixture into the pan and smooth down to an even mixture across the skillet. Take the remainder of your ketchup and smooth over the top with a spatula or spoon. Bake for 35 minutes on middle rack, then move to the top of the oven and broil for 5-8 minutes (for your desired color). 

**Disclaimer: If you do choose to use ground sausage, you may see fat forming on the top of the meatloaf. I just take it with the ketchup and smooth it around the top before broiling. After broiling if there is still visible fat, just smooth again and drizzle a little extra ketchup over top for a better look! You shouldn’t have this issue if you omit the sausage. 

I served with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies! The good thing about meatloaf is you can pack tons of vegetables in it and kids love it (because it has ketchup of course). Not to mention it is a homemade meal that makes you feel at home, and that’s our goal as homemakers! Let me know what you think and post comments and pics below! Happy homemaking!!

***How to make GF breadcrumbs

So I just took about 3-4 pieces of my GF bread and diced it up. I put some oil in the skillet and broiled them in the oven (mixing around every 2 minutes) for about 10 minutes. Once all toasty, I blitz in my food processor and added to the meatloaf mixture! 

Homemade Tomato Soup (GF)

Finally! It is fall time and we can stuff ourselves with all of the soups. All of them. If you’re gluten free, it is hard to find affordable soups that don’t have gluten in them! And if you can, a lot of the time they are so bland and tasteless! If you’re not gluten free, you probably don’t want all those soups that are high on sodium and preservatives. And let’s be real, organic food is soooo expensive.

I am gung-ho on yummy food that is also easy AND most importantly, affordable! So this recipe is one for you! It’s delicious, warm, filling, delicious, easy, and did I mention delicious? Now, I made this soup in my instant-pot (Pioneer woman because I’m obsessed), so if you do not have one I seriously urge you to invest in one! It is worth every dime! But if you still want to make this recipe just do it on the stove top in a deep pot! I will attach a link to the instant-pot I have, it’s so amazing. I’m just saying. 

Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer

So here it goes! 

Homemade Tomato Soup

What you will need:

  • 3 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 roma tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (diced) (Vidalia is my favorite but you can use any kind)
  • 2 stalks of celery (diced)
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper (diced) (I use canned, it’s delicious)
  • 1 tbsp pesto (trust me, it adds THE best flavor)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (if GF, make sure you get GF broth)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp kethup (again, trust me)
  • 1 tbsp butter

Dry Seasonings:

  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (I use restaurant grind)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp basil (dried)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar or honey

Directions:

Set your instant pot to sauté mode and add 1 tbsp of butter (I prefer to use butter over oil in soup so that it isn’t oily in your mouth!). Add in diced onion, celery, canned tomatoes, roma tomatoes, roasted red peppers and minced garlic. Stir around and let the veg get soft! Then add in 1 tbsp of pesto (if wanted) and stir around in softening vegetables. Add in chicken broth and all dry seasonings above.

Put on the instant pot lid and MAKE SURE YOU TURN IT TO SEALING! If you do not seal then you won’t build pressure and the whole point is to get a soup that tastes like you’ve cooked it for hours when it’s only in the pot for 10 MINUTES… that’s right. 10 Minutes! Turn off the sauté mode and hit “Manual” for 10 minutes. It will take some time and make some noise as it builds pressure, and all you have to do is chill!

When it’s done, do a quick release (be careful) and let all of the steam stop before attempting to open. Now for this next part you can either use an immersion blender or a counter top blender! But it is necessary for the best texture to blend the soup! When you open the instant pot, you will notice there are still chunks of veggies and it doesn’t quite look like tomato soup! Take the immersion blender and blend until desired texture is found! If you are using a countertop blender, you can ladle in portions of the soup until it is all blended and return to pot. Once blended, you will want to add milk and ketchup, stirring well! At this point it is your turn to taste and adjust according to your family’s taste buds (if you like more salt, add it here!).



The best way to serve is with a grilled cheese with some sour cream and basil on top! If there is any left over, it is good for up to about 3 days!

I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think! (Post pics too!)