Tag Archives: easy recipes

Savory Beans and Rice {Crockpot}

Savory Beans and Rice {Crockpot}

 

Being in the dog days of summer {might’ve actually hit 100 degrees yesterday!} I like to use my crockpot rather than the stove top or oven whenever I can! I also like to create frugal healthy meals…meaning I use a lot of beans around here! Here’s the newest recipe from my kitchen: Savory Beans and Rice.  It reminded me of Zatarain’s or Vigo’s Red Beans and Rice.  But this version is much healthier with brown rice and NO preservatives.  And also important: it was a hit with my kids! We covered it with grated cheddar cheese and they gobbled it down and asked for more!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dry brown rice
  • 1 cup dry pinto beans
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 a medium onion chopped
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • olive oil

Pour beans and rice into the crockpot.  Mix spices and salt together and add to the crock.  While water is heating up to boiling saute onions in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for 2-3 minutes…until barely translucent.  Add onions to the crock and pour boiling water over everything.  Set crockpot on high and serve 3-4 hours later! 

I think this dish would dry out too much if you over cook it so I would keep a close eye on it!  Ours was done in 3 1/2 hours and thickened up a little after serving. 

 

  • It’s done!

 

Variations:

  • For a little heat add cayenne or crushed red pepper
  • Add smoked sausage for a main course dish
  • Add chopped peppers of choice
  • Serve topped with sour cream or shredded cheese
  • Use left overs for burritos or enchilada filling
  • Add a can of crushed/diced tomatoes, chopped green pepper, and shrimp for a Jambalaya-type dish

 

***Random announcement:   maybe you noticed we haven’t been posting much this week. The summer is short in Minnesota and we try to take full advantage of the season by playing outside as much as possible. My computer is inside. Courtney is also busy with her little ones and preparing for the arrival of her baby this fall.  So this summer postings may be a little sporadic…just to warn you! Thanks for understanding!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Crockpot Beans

Easy Potato Salad

Freezer Cooking: Meatballs

 



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Super Easy and Fast Salsa Verde Enchilda Sauce

Super Easy and Fast Salsa Verde Enchilda Sauce

I wanted to make enchiladas last week.  I had the shredded chicken ready and all my tortilla shells and then I realized that I forgot to buy salsa verde enchilada sauce!  I dug through my cupboards and found a can! Oh joy!  But my joy was short-lived.   It’s been a really long time since I made enchiladas and I’ve made some changes to our diet since then.  So as I read the ingredients listed on the can of green salsa verde that had been in my cupboard since this fall,  I decided I wasn’t gonna use it. The biggest offender in the can was MSG.  That and there were a few other ingredients I’m not familiar with.  So I decided to make my own!

And, yes,  I am using a canned item, but I have yet to find a substitute for canned green chilis.  I’ve tried using fresh ones, and it’s not the same flavor.   At least there’s no MSG!

Ingredients

  • 2 small (or 1 large) can of green chilis
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 T cornstarch

Yup.  That’s it!  If my enchiladas weren’t half-assembled and I had the extra time I might’ve sautéed onions and added tomatillios {if I had them}…but I was in a hurry, this is what I had on hand,  and this worked!

1.  Mix cornstarch into cold or room temperature chicken broth.  Add chilis and heat to boil. Olé!

You can tweak the amount of cornstarch depending on how thick you want the sauce.  And if you’re in the market for canned salsa verde that doesn’t include MSG, I like the Herdez brand Mexican sauces and salsas.  They don’t use preservatives and weird stuff I can’t pronounce! And if you want to get the most out of your chicken, save the bones and scraps and make your own broth!  Instructions are at the end of this post.  You can even do it in your sleep!  😉

Other posts you might like:

Guacamole Recipe

Mexican Rice Tutorial

Refried Beans Tutorial

Gluten-Free Almond Cherry Cookies

Gluten-Free Almond Cherry Cookies

I bought a bag of dried cherries recently and have been snacking on them with almonds.  Can you say   “YUM”?!?!? Anyway, it inspired this recipe!  It’s a small batch, but these cookies are rich and filling so you don’t need a lot!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c butter (softened)
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c  almond meal (I had a little on hand and then ground raw almonds in my smoothie blender which worked great! I think a food processor might do the job too.)
  • 1/2 c  dried cherries
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 (scant) tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter and sugar together.  Add egg and almond extract.  Stir in almond meal, baking powder, salt, and cherries.  Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on a cookie sheet. I only fit 12-15 on each pan since these cookies spread A LOT!  

 

Give them room to spread! (I put too many here!)

 

Bake 10-12 min or until tops of the edges are brown. (One pan I pulled out earlier when the cookies were just set but not browned like you see below, and they are very crumbly cookies but still yummy.)

 

They’re done when edges are light brown!

Leave on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes and then move to a cookie rack to finish cooling…if you can wait that long!  😉

Enjoy!

 
 

This might make a nice delicate little treat for mom on Mother’s Day!

 
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Mexican Rice!

Mexican Rice!

If you read how easy it was to make Mexican restaurant-style refried beans, you’ll want to “pin” or bookmark this post to go with it!  I am forever in Maria’s debt for teaching me how to make Mexican rice…just ask my husband!  😀

And like the beans…it’s not as hard as I thought it would be! And one of the things I really enjoy…this recipe had no measurements!  That’s my kinda recipe!  However, for those of you who like things a little more exact, I did measure what I used to help make it a little easier for ya! (You can thank me later!)  😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice (more or less)
  • 1   8oz can tomato sauce
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock (or  substitute water and chicken bullion powder which is what Maria actually used)
  • 2 cups water
  • Grapeseed or Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

 

To start, open your can of tomato sauce and set it aside.  Use your largest frying pan on medium-high heat and add enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.  Once the pan is warmed up add the rice and stir constantly until rice is coated with oil and turns a light golden brown.  {I think this step of toasting the rice really gives this dish that authentic flavor!}

 

From plain white rice....

 

 

...to toasted golden brown rice!

Add the can of tomato sauce.  {Maria only used half a can, but I don’t make this rice enough to use the rest of the can before it would go bad…so, I use the whole thing.}

Stir until rice is coated with tomato sauce.

Add the chicken stock, a little salt, and water until the pan is almost overflowing. 

{Disclaimer:  rather than chicken broth, Maria used water and added a tablespoon of this chicken bullion powder found in the Latino section of the grocery store. It contains MSG which is something I usually avoid, so use whatever you prefer or whatever you have on hand!  The rice tastes great either way! But if you do use the bullion powder omit the extra salt.}

Now lower the heat to medium, stir and wait!  I know what you’re thinking:  “It’s rice!  Shouldn’t we cover it and leave it alone?” Nope!  Go ahead and stir gently and watch the rice slowly absorb all that yummy flavor!

As it gets close, stop stirring and give it a taste test.  If the rice is still a little crunchy or chewy, add a little more water and let it keep cooking without stirring it. 

Once you turn the heat off the rice will still absorb a little  liquid, so be sure to remove the pan from the heat while it’s still a little on the moist side.  Like the refried beans, this rice recipe is adjustable:  if you like a dryer rice let it cook longer.  If you like it with a little more sauce take it off the heat sooner {just make sure the rice is tender and fully cooked!}

 

It's done! The little bit of extra "juice" you see will be absorbed after you remove the pan from the heat!

 

Other variations:

  • As I saw a little stray chicken meat from my homemade chicken stock in my rice I thought using shredded chicken with the broth would be a delicious way to tweak this recipe.
  • Add a small can of diced green chilis.
  • Stir in a little cream cheese or sour cream or Crema Mexicana.
  • Add a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy!
  • Use beef broth instead of chicken and serve with ground beef.
  • Use your refried beans and make a layered taco dip with salsa, fresh chopped tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheese, and olives.
  • Add rice to bean and cheese burritos and freeze for on-the-go lunches.

    Beans and rice: a very flavorful AND frugal meal!

Enjoy!

 

 
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All natural DIY hand lotion

All natural DIY hand lotion

Most of us know that olive oil is a healthy oil for cooking and eating.  It’s full of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins.  But did you know olive oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer?  It’s a natural way to help dry skin!  And here in winter in Minnesota most of us need a little extra moisture for our skin! 

 I already see the benefits using the DIY facewash which is just olive oil and castor oil.  It tamed my oily skin!  No more greasy t-zone by noon!  It takes off my eye make up gently and I only need to use it once a day!  SO nice!

I’m sold!  I am a fan of EVOO!

Now I branched out a little more and made my own lotion with olive oil and you will not believe how super easy it was!  Seriously!  A little olive oil and emulsifying wax in the microwave, add a little essential oil, and then mix with hot water and viola!  Lotion!  Kendra at A Sonoma Garden developed this super easy lotion and I’m telling ya, you gotta try it! She even has adorable labels you can print off if you want to give homemade lotion as gifts!

I’ll be trying her Beeswax lotion too, but for now I’m in love with this hand lotion!  I used Bergamot and Coriander essential oils for a light scent that reminds me of fresh limes with a subtle sweetness.  I’ll try Geranium essential oil next time for a light rose scent.  The Mountain Rose Herbs website has the emulsifying wax and essential oils.  I also got some of my essential oils from Puritans Pride too which has them buy 1 get 2 free or buy 2 get 3more free!

If you don’t know much about essential oils and their scents…like I didn’t…check out a natural foods store or coop and spend some time sniffing their samples and picking out which scents you like.  As hard as it was for me to wait once I chose some special oils, it was cheaper for me to order on-line {but I did buy some amazing organic decaf coffee beans at the store …mmmm!}.

So break out the EVOO and moisturize!!!! (You can even use it straight out of the bottle directly onto your skin if you want!)

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