Quinoa with Chickpeas, Sweet Potato and Raisins

This was the type of meal where I was crossing my fingers the entire time I was cooking it, unsure if I would like it.  Of course it sounded very intriguing when I came across the original blogger’s post which is why I decided to make it.  But I was totally doubting that cinnamon and raisins would work in a savory dish.  So it is definitely a combination of things that I wouldn’t have put together on my own but they actually combined very nicely in the end.

Quinoa with Chickpeas, Sweet Potato, and Raisins

Inspired by:  Eats Well with Others

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp red curry paste

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup quinoa

2.5 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 tbsp honey

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 large sweet potato, cooked and diced (can use butternut squash)

1 tbsp dried basil (or cilantro) – optional

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot.  Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and curry paste.  Cook another minute.

Add the quinoa, broth, chickpeas, honey, and raisins.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Add the sweet potato and continue to simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes.

Top with basil or cilantro if desired.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal

I mentioned before that I am totally loving oatmeal this winter.  So I was very pleased when I saw this gingerbread oatmeal recipe posted over at Budget Bytes.  I did make a few changes to try to avoid the custard-y texture, but I may have taken it too far because my results were a little too dry.  It was nothing that a little milk added to each serving didn’t take care of though.  I’ll note what I changed below.

Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal

Source:  Budget Bytes

Ingredients:

1/3 cup dark molasses

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 cups milk {I used almond milk}

2.5 cups old-fashioned oats {I used 3 cups for a dryer result}

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl whisk together the molasses, brown sugar, eggs, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Once everything is combined, add the milk.  Then stir in the oats.

Coat an 8×8″ or similar sized baking dish with non-stick spray.  Pour in the oat mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until center of dish is firm to the touch.  {I did not cover mine.  I was thinking it would be less custard-like that way, given the chance to dry out more?  But like I said above, mine was a little too dry.  So I’ll experiment again, using the correct amount of oats & baking uncovered OR using 3 cups of oats and baking covered.  We’ll see what happens.}

Serve hot with milk and/or maple syrup on top.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

I knew I would be short on cooking time for a few nights earlier this week due to Christmas shopping so I picked up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store one night.  The next day when I had a little bit of time all I had to do was shred the chicken and measure out portions for different dishes.  After that I knew I’d have enough for at least 3 meals.  So I made this pot pie, a tamale pie (substituting chicken in place of the ground beef) that I threw in the freezer for later, used some chicken on top of salads for lunches, and I’m using the rest of the chicken for a small amount of chicken noodle soup.

This pot pie recipe calls for one cup of cooked chicken and two cups of mixed vegetables, but I think you could swap that if you want a meatier meal.  Use 2 cups chicken and one cup veggies.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Source:  Clipped from a small booklet called “Suppers”

Ingredients:

1 can of Campbell’s condensed cream of chicken soup

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed*

1 cup cubed/shredded cooked chicken

dash of ground pepper

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose baking mix (Bisquick)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9-inch pie plate mix soup, veggies, black pepper, and chicken.  Mix the milk, egg, and baking mix.  Pour that over the chicken mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy!

*To thaw vegetables, microwave on high for 3 minutes in a glass bowl with 1/4 cup of water.  Drain before adding to recipe.

Taffy Apple Salad

Since Christmas is almost here I should probably backtrack to Thanksgiving and share with you what my contribution was to one of the Thanksgiving celebrations that we attended this year. I love the combo of apples and chocolate.

Taffy Apple Salad
Source: Illinois Farm Bureau Cookbook

6-8 large apples, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
6 snickers bars, chopped
1 container of Cool Whip
1 box (3.4 oz) of instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk

Chop the apples and candy bars and place in a large bowl. Prepare the instant pudding with the milk then fold the cool whip into the pudding. Pour that over the apples and candy. Stir to coat. Chill until ready to serve.
Best if eaten within 24 hours.

Tamale Pie


We love spicy Mexican food and can’t get enough of it. I cook it at least once a week so I’m always looking for new Mexican recipes.

Tamale Pie
Source: A Couple Cooks

1 (18 oz) tube polenta
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper (any color), chopped
1/2 (14 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup taco seasoning
dash to taste – cumin, cayenne, dry cilantro, garlic powder
1.5 cups shredded cheese
sour cream for serving

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray an 8×11-inch baking dish (or similar size).

Spread the polenta into an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish.

Cook the ground beef with onion an bell pepper, then drain. Stir in the taco seasoning, canned tomatoes, any additional seasonings and mix until heated through and well combined then add the corn and black beans. Layer the beef mixture over the polenta. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake about 20 minutes or until heated through. Remove from the oven and let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Top each serving with sour cream.

Enjoy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here’s another super simple crock-pot recipe.  🙂

I made this soup on a day that I was home from work so that I could watch it carefully.  I was a little afraid that the rice would get overcooked.  Well, time got away from me {big surprise!} and after 7 hours on low the rice was a little mushy, but not bad.  Maybe my crock-pot runs hot?  But next time, I’ll probably only let it go for 5 hours on low.   Also I will say, that I almost skipped the roux/milk step to make the soup creamy.  I think it would have been just fine as just a broth-based soup.  So I’ll keep that in mind next time – one recipe, two versions.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Source:  365daysofcrockpot.com

4 cups (one 32 oz carton) low sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

2 large boneless, skinless breasts {I used 4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs}

1 box of Rice-A-Roni long grain and wile rice

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup diced or shredded carrots

1 cup diced celery

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

2 cups half and half {I used skim milk}

Directions:

Combine broth, water, ground black pepper, carrots, celery, chicken, and rice (with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker.  Cook on low for 5-8 hours or high for 4 hours (or until chicken is cooked through, veggies are tender, and rice is cooked).  Remove the chicken and shred it, then add back into slow cooker.  In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour slowly to form a roux.  Whisk in cream or milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Stir milk mixture into slow cooker and let it cook for about 15 more minutes.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning if needed.

Enjoy!

Harvest Chili

On a cold and lazy weekend I just love to enjoy a big bowl of chili for dinner.  So that is exactly what I made last Sunday.  You know that I have my go-to family favorite chili recipe, but I decided to mix things up after seeing Milk & Honey’s recent post.  I’m glad I tried it because it’s nice to have options.

This chili definitely had some sweet flavor notes from the sweet potatoes but it was spicy too.  That is totally adjustable based on the type and amount of seasonings that you add.

Harvest Chili

inspired by:  Milk and Honey

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes {about 1.5 pounds total}, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large red bell pepper, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 large onion, diced

2 chipotle peppers, minced – I omitted these completely by accident

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained {I used about 1.5 cups dry pinto beans, that I soaked overnight and then cooked}

1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes

1 (14.5 oz) can hominy, drained  {You can sub corn or butter beans}

1 (46 oz) can tomato juice

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Saute the peppers, carrots, onion, garlic in a frying pan just until tender.  Add them to your large crock-pot.  Then cook the ground beef until no longer pink, drain it, and add to the crock-pot.

Also to the crock-pot add:  the pinto beans, hominy, chopped sweet potatoes, seasonings, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste and juice.  Stir everything together.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for about 5 hours or just until the potatoes become tender.

Breakfast Pull Apart Bread


Oh Pinterest, you make me more addicted every single day. The downside of Pinterest is too much inspiration and not enough time to make everything. But I still must pin all.the.time. If you are a member, then you know what I mean. 🙂 But, this recipe is one of the few things that I’ve actually made from that site and it did not disappoint. It is very much like monkey bread, but the biscuits are left whole. Hope you enjoy!

Breakfast Pull Apart Bread

2 tubes of buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts – optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a fluted ring pan with cooking spray.

Mix the melted butter and maple syrup, pour 1/2 in bottom of ring pan. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts and put 1/2 of that mixture over the butter mixture. Arrange all of the biscuits upright in a circle all the way around the pan. Top with remaining 1/2 of butter mixture and then remaining nut mixture.

Bake about 20-25 minutes or until center of biscuits are done. Let set for about 5 minutes then loosen edges with a knife, invert onto a plate and serve. Servings just pull right apart.

Baked Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash


Well, this was my first time cooking with barley and it turned out great!  The oven does most of the work so it was really easy too.  I can’t wait to make this again.  It is a pretty healthy meal as well since barley is fiber rich and the spinach and squash are vitamin and nutrient rich.

Oh by the way, I’m crossing this off my 30×30 list for risotto.  It is really not a true risotto, but that list has barely been touched so I’ll take what I can get.  I have a feeling that list is going to be extended to a 30 while I’m 30 list.  Oops.

Baked Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

Source:  Dec 2011 issue of Real Simple magazine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1″ pieces (about 3 cups) – next time I may use a large sweet potato

1 onion, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

5 oz baby spinach – I know I used less that this, I didn’t measure, just used all I had in an open package

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the squash, onion, and s&p.  Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, 4-6 minutes.

Add the barley to the vegetables and cook for another minute.  Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Bake until barley is tender, 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven, stir in spinach and Parmesan.

Enjoy!

Ham and Bean Soup

As soon as temperatures turn chilly in the Fall, soup is the first thing I turn to.  And one really great thing about this soup is that it is cooked in the crock-pot so its really easy.  🙂

Sorry, no picture.

Ham and Bean Soup

Source:  Budget Bytes

1 medium yellow onion

3 stalks celery

4 medium carrots

2-4 cloves of garlic, to taste

2 medium ham hocks

1 pound dry 15 or 16 bean soup mix {discard the seasoning mix that comes with it}

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried ground thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 bouillon cube

ground pepper to taste

6 cups water

Directions:

The night before, pick over the beans for stones and debris, rinse and place in a large bowl and cover with 2x the water.  Let sit overnight.

In the morning, chop all of the veggies and garlic and place in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Lay the ham hocks on top.

Pour soaking liquid off beans, rinse again, and add beans to crock.  Add all seasonings and bouillon.  Top with water.  Lightly stir, but don’t disturb the ham hocks and veggies.

Secure the lid and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or until beans are soft.

Remove the ham hocks and cut off any meat and add it to the soup {there will be very little meat, but the soup already has great ham flavor}. Discard the rest of the hocks.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve with garnishes and toppings of your choice.  We enjoyed it with hot sauce and sour cream on top and crusty bread alongside.

Enjoy!

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