On the Road Eats: Kansas City

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I have been to Kansas City so many times for work and almost always have a great food experience.  And there is one restaurant that will remain on my favorites list!

Oklahoma Joe’s
My favorite spot – I can visit the original location at a gas station, eat great barbeque and be in and out within 30 minutes.  Pulled pork and coleslaw on a sandwich – AWESOME!!!

Gram & Dun
It’s been a few years since I have been here but the food is always good, it’s an easy walk from the hotels on the plaza and they are on OpenTable.  After a crazy rain storm that forced allowed me to get some work done at the hotel, I walked to the restaurant with iPad in hand and got a high top table in the bar.  A glass of wine with the double cut breaded pork chop, creamed brussels sprouts with house-smoked bacon – my happy dance took place on the way home!

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Tavernonna
I admit, I didn’t love this restaurant but I think they had an off day.  I had the lunch special – salad and pasta (and added a meatball ).  The caesar salad needed to be chilled – it was as if they plated it and left it sitting on the line while they waited for the hot items.  As for the pasta, should have been cooked a minute or so longer to be perfect.  The flavors were good and I would return but there are too many other great spots to try.

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Residence Inn Kansas City Country Club Plaza
I stay here quite often IF I cannot get a room at The Raphael Hotel.  It’s super convenient to walk to many of my appointments and a block off the plaza.  It’s quiet and clean and they have a good amount of parking.  One night, Marriott points…all is good.

 

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Lasagna

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I was wrong.  And I admit it.  For years I ignored all the recipes I found for slow cooking a lasagna.  You had to boil the noodles for it to be good, right?  You had to have straight layers so each bite had the perfectly cooked noodle and the right mix of cheese and sauce, right?  There was no way the slow cooker would make a good lasagna.  But I was wrong.

Who cares about the perfect looking layers?  This is not a Top Chef contest.  I need dinner on the table after a long day at work and possibly some leftovers for those nights when kid activities run late.  This was so easy that my daughter could have made this dinner.

img_0142Slow Cooker Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
  • Your favorite sauce homemade or jarred (about 1.5 – 2 jars)
  • Cooked Veggies or cooked ground meat(beef, sausage, turkey) or both to layer or mix with sauce
  • Ricotta cheese, part skim mixed with garlic powder, oregano, basil and other dried spices of your choice
  • Shredded mozzarella (1-2 bags)

How to Make it:

  • Cover the bottom of the slow cooker with sauce.
  • Create your first layer with lasagna noodles and break apart pieces to cover the open spots.
  • Cover the uncooked noodles with the ricotta mixture, veggies(optional) and then a layer of mozzarella
  • Cover the entire cheese layer with sauce.
  • Repeat noodles, cheese, veggies and sauce.
  • Add one last layer of noodles, then cover entirely with sauce and then a layer of shredded mozzarella.
  • Cook for 2.5-3 hours on HIGH or 4-5 hours on LOW, then let it sit for 30-60 minutes to set on warm setting.
  • Serve with a salad and garlic bread.

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On the Road Eats: South Bend, Indiana

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Another trip to South Bend.  The fun thing for me about visiting this city is I see or experience something new each time.

Aloft South Bend
I stayed here again.  And no reason not to.  The service is great, the rooms are large and clean and I can walk everywhere.  Bonus when they make you a great breakfast!

Render Kitchen & Bar
I knew the spots downtown and the ones near the college. So I decided to Yelp! and came across something new, new to me, as this great restaurant I found has been around for a couple years.  I sat at the bar, had a very friendly bartender and got to listen to a group of college girls chat about what they are doing after school.  Add that to some great food and a lavender infused cocktail – I will be back next time I am in town!

South Bend River Lights
Since the weather was still warm, I was able to wait until the sun went down and walk over to the bridge and see the lights.  They are interactive based on motion, change colors and are a great way to spend a few minutes at the end of the evening.

Cafe Navarre
This is the restaurant that comes up most often in my searches.  I was there about 5 years ago and it was great.  So I knew I had to stop by for a quick lunch before I headed to the airport.  Small caesar salad and the french onion soup- perfect.  And my boss joined me for lunch and said the beet salad was excellent!

Cafe Navarre Lunch

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The Easiest Hour is Lunch!

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The moms say it takes a village and they are right.  School was about to start and a group of us were talking about the challenge facing us all – school lunch.  I wanted my daughter to make her lunch the night before but all I heard was “Mom, what should I make, Mom, we don’t have any xxx(fill in the blank here), Mom, I’ll do it in the morning before school(we all know that won’t happen!).  So my friend Anne started a facebook group where all the moms could post their suggestions – healthy ideas, snack ideas, breakfast, lunch, easy dinners.  And then I read a post that smacked me in the face.  Make a menu.  Like they do at the public schools.  That was TOO EASY.

OK, so who hates it when you have to pack your lunch every night?  And you don’t know what to pack.  Well, me and my mom made a menu of all the things I like and we posted it on the fridge.  It tells me what to pack like a chicken caesar salad with chips and fruit and it’s so easy that you should go to your mom and ask her to make you one too.

 

We are now in week 4.  This super easy plan is a complete GAME CHANGER.  Create a word document, add pictures, dates to cross off and DONE.  If I am traveling for work, life becomes even easier for my husband since there are no questions.

Nicole, you have changed the way we function so THANK YOU!  The bonus – Nicole shared a photo of her pantry in our Facebook group.  Super organized with clear stackable containers.  So, of course, I had to do a quick Amazon search and buy them too.  Now everyone can grab a KIND bar, a bag of dried apricots or Pirate’s Booty and get lunch ready super fast!

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