• Cook Off Chili


    This chili is solid.  I found the recipe and the always tasty fashionably foodie.  You can cook on the stove-top or in the crock.  It was also really good the next day on a taco salad with creamy jalapeno dressing.



    • 4 cans kidney beans, undrained (I used 2 cans)
      or 1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender, with cooking liquid
    • 1 lb. ground beef (I used turkey)
    • 1/2 large onion, chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper or jalapeno, chopped
    • 2 TBSP chili powder
    • 2 TBSP brown sugar
    • 2 quarts tomatoes with juice (or two big 28 oz cans)
    • 1 big (15 oz) can tomato sauce
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1 tsp. basil
    • 1/8 tsp. allspice (the secret ingredient!)
    • 1 bay leaf (I used more because mine weren’t that fresh)
    • Grated cheese


    1. In a large stockpot, cook ground beef/turkey, onion, and green pepper and/or jalapeno till meat is brown. Drain fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, basil, salt, sugar, pepper, allspice and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover, simmer at least 45 minutes, until reduced and thickened, or cook in Crock Pot on LOW for 3-5 hours (for the crock pot, omit juice from one jar of tomatoes.) taste before serving, add a sprinkle of salt or sugar as needed.
    2. Top with cheese.

    Cook Off Chili:


  • Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust


    Here’s another casserole that uses leftover chicken or Turkey from Thanksgiving. It was good, but I liked the chicken tamale casserole better…-s said he really likes both and will definitely eat both. It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is always nice. This recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living.


    • 1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
    • 1 (10-oz.) can Mexican diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro, drained (I forgot to drain)
    • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
    • 1 tsp. chili powder (I used ancho chili powder
    • 3 c. chopped cooked chicken
    • 1 (6-oz.) package Mexican-style cornbread mix
    • 2/3 c. milk
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
    • 1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend, divided
    • Toppings: sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, sour cream


    1. Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together enchilada sauce and next 3 ingredients in a 3 1/2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until combined; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in chicken.
    2. Whisk together cornbread mix, next 3 ingredients, and 3/4 cup cheese in a small bowl just until blended.
    3. Pour chicken mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7 pan. Spoon cornbread mixture over hot chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
    4. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with desired toppings.

    Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust:


  • Creamed Spinach


    I had a bunch of spinach to use up, so I adapted a recipe I found at spinachrecipes.org. It’s not something I could eat every day, or even eat a lot of, but it was pretty good.  The cream sauce is more like a cream gravy, so if you’re looking for an easy cream gravy give this one a try. This would also make a tasty side dish for Thanksgiving.

    • 16 oz fresh spinach leaves
    • 5 TBSP butter, divided
    • 3 TBSP flour
    • 1 c. hot milk
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper


    1. Melt 2 TBSP of butter in a large pan over medium high heat; add the spinach and cover until spinach is just wilted.
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 3 TBSP butter over medium high heat; add the flour and whisk until flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes, and this is your roux.  Whisk the hot milk into the roux, and continue whisking until all lumps are removed. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Add the cream sauce to the spinach, and toss to coat.

    Creamed Spinach:


  • Orange Honey Chicken


    This recipe is adapted from Country Bob’s site. I opted not to cook the veggies in the crockpot, as I prefer my veggies more crisp, so I made the veggies on the side. This was really quite tasty, and everyone liked it a lot. -s added more Country Bob’s sauce to the final product, but this will definitely be made again.


    • 6 boneless chicken breasts
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 c. orange juice
    • 1/2 c. chicken broth
    • 1/4 c. honey
    • 1 TBSP dry mustard
    • 1 TBSP teriyaki sauce
    • 1/2 c. Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce
    • 1 TBSP cornstarch
    • Serve over rice along with broccoli and carrots or veggies of your choice


    1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat skillet over medium high heat and brown chicken breasts then put in crock pot.
    2. In a bowl mix juice, broth, honey, dry mustard, teriyaki sauce, and Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce. Pour over chicken in crock pot.
    3. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours.
    4. At the 2 hour mark remove 1/4 c. of the sauce and put in bowl; then mix in the cornstarch until the mixture is smooth. Return the mixture to the crockpot and bring sauce to a bowl.

    Orange Honey Chicken:


  • Broccoli Parmesan Casserole


    I had a huge bag of broccoli I just had to use up. I came across a recipe at A Veggie Venture. I thought the kiddos would really like this. They like broccoli and they love cheese, but they were both really tired tonight, and it wasn’t the night to try something new. It was good though.



    • 2 pounds fresh broccoli florets
    • Salted water to cover


    • 1/3 c. flour
    • 1/4 tsp. table salt
    • 1 1/2 c. skim milk
    • 1 c. fat-free chicken broth
    • 1 c. grated cheese (I used fontina)
    • 6 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


    • 1 c. coarse bread crumbs
    • 2 TBSP grated Parmesan
    • Cooking spray


    1. Preheat oven to 400F (to save oven time, do this about the time the broccoli’s done).
    2. BROCCOLI: Bring the salted water to a boil in a large covered pot. Add broccoli, and cook until done and still crisp. Drain.
    3. SAUCE: In a medium saucepan on MEDIUM, stir together the flour, salt and mustard. A TBSP at a time to start, stir in the milk and chicken broth, incorporating each new addition before adding more. Let cook until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 1 c. of the grated cheese, Parmesan and pepper. Gently combine the broccoli and sauce (use the pan the broccoli cooked in). Transfer to a well-greased baking pan.
    4. TOPPING: Mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle over top. Spray the top with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    Broccoli Parmesan Casserole:


  • Taco Meat 2


    TT, our oldest loves taco meat from our local burrito place, so I decided to make tacos last night. I’ve made taco meat before, but I wanted to try something new. I came across a recipe in Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, and the seasoning reminded me of taco meat, so I adapted that recipe for my own taste and for stove top cooking, and the result was tasty.


    • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
    • 2 4 oz. cans chopped roasted green chiles
    • 1/2 small onion, chopped
    • 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 TBSP chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • olive oil
    • 1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef
    • salt to taste


    1. Combine tomato sauce through garlic in a bowl, mix and set aside.
    2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat, season with salt, and cook until nearly cooked. Add sauce 1/4 c. at a time until you’ve added the amount to your liking. Simmer meat in sauce until meat is fully cooked.

    Taco Meat 2:


  • Crock Pot Lasagna Florentine


    I’ve never tried making a pasta dish in the crock pot. Today I got creative and made a lasagna. I used the no boil lasagna sheets and made a spinach and ricotta filling (trying to get veggies in wherever I can). Everyone really liked it. I thought the pasta was a bit over cooked, so next time I’ll start checking at the 2 hour mark. You would never guess this came from a crock pot!


    • 9 oz. fresh spinach leaves
    • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
    • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 c. grated pecorino romano cheese, divided
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
    • 1 26 oz. jar of pasta sauce
    • 1 package of no boil lasagna noodles (12 sheets)


    1. In a food processor, pulse the spinach in two batches until finely chopped.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, Italian seasoning, salt, 1/2 c. percorino, and eggs.
    3. Spray your crock with cooking spray. Add about 1/4 sauce to the crock; layer with the lasagna noodles (break the noodles if necessary to fit your crock; add a layer of the spinach ricotta mixture; then layer with mozzarella; then layer with about 1/4 c. sauce. Repeat until you get to the top layer, ending with sauce (my top layer was pasta, sauce, and pecorino). Sprinkle top layer with remaining 1/4 c. pecorino romano cheese.
    4. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours (start checking at the 2 hour mark for desired doneness).


    Crock Pot Lasagna Florentine:


  • Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken


    I had some red peppers that needed to get used up, and it was a Thursday, so I needed a crock pot dinner. The recipe below is my version of a recipe I came across. It was pretty good, and one that I will make again when we are in need of a tasty crock pot dinner, especially since the kiddos liked the chicken (albeit dipped in ketchup).


    • cooking spray
    • 2 bell peppers, sliced thick (I used 2 reds, but use what you like)
    • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thick
    • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
    • 1/4 c. brown sugar
    • 1/4 c. corn starch
    • 1 c. pineapple juice (juice from one large can)
    • 1/4 rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. water
    • 1 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • Pineapple chunks from large can
    • hot rice


    1. Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Place onions, peppers, and chicken in crock pot. In a small bowl combine brown sugar through salt, and mix well. Pour over chicken, onions, and peppers.
    2. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, take lid off and stir in pineapple and cook until pineapple is warmed, a few minutes.

    Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken:


  • Crockpot Thai Red Curry


    I found this recipe at A Year of CrockPotting. The Crockpot Lady got it from Rachael Ray. I thought this dish tasted really good, and it was really good the next day for lunch. It had really great flavor, and since I think so many crockpot recipes are light in flavor, I was really pleased with this dish. I’m always looking for good crockpot recipes for those busy weeknights that are filled with my kiddos’ activities. I’ll definitely put this dish in the crockpot rotation. You can skip the chicken and make this vegetarian or you can add tofu at the end.


    • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk (if you use light, add some cream to finish the sauce at the end)
    • 1TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 TBSP Thai red or green chili paste, or more or less to taste
    • 1 tsp. fish sauce
    • 2-3 inch knob of ginger, minced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 sweet potato, cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 yellow onion, rough chop into large pieces
    • 1 small eggplant, cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • Lime, quartered
    • Hot white rice
    • Garnish with cilantro, green onions, basil, and/or peanuts


    1. Combine coconut milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili paste, fish sauce, ginger, and garlic in the crockpot. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Then add the sweet potato, onion, eggplant and peppers.
    2. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours. If you used light coconut milk, stir in some cream to thicken the sauce and give the sauce some richness.

    Crockpot Thai Red Curry:


  • Crock Pot Chicken with Creamy Black Beans


    It’s Thursday, which means it is time for another crock pot recipe. I came across this recipe that only had the chicken, beans, salsa, corn, and cream cheese. I added the spices, which I think added quite a bit of flavor. It was pretty good. Our oldest really liked it (minus the corn), but our youngest wouldn’t touch it (I don’t think she was too hungry because after eating watermelon, she didn’t ask for anything else.)

    • Cooking spray
    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, but into bite size pieces
    • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 16 oz. jar of salsa (I used the Taco Bell mild salsa, because that’s what the kids picked out)
    • 1 15 oz. can corn, drained
    • 2 tsp. cumin
    • 2 tsp. oregano
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
    • Steamed rice


    1. Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Add chicken through chili powder, stir to combine.
    2. Cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 hours.
    3. Remove lid and add cream cheese; then recover and let cream cheese heat through, about 15 minutes.
    4. Serve over rice.

    Chicken with Creamy Black Beans: