Tag Archives: gluten-free 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!


  • 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!



  • 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!

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White Chocolate Pudding

White Chocolate Pudding

Today’s White Chocolate Pudding recipe is inspired by a bar of Ghirardelli White Chocolate Premium Baking Bar.  And it comes with a warning:  do not taste the white chocolate…just cook something with it fast!  If you taste, you will want to consume the whole bar!  (That’s why this recipe calls for 3 oz of white chocolate…I ate tasted the other ounce.)  😉

There is a difference in really good white chocolate:  look for cocoa butter in the ingredients.  That’s what makes chocolate chocolate! But many white chocolate products don’t even include it!  I think it makes a difference and is worth it if you can find it!  


  • 3 oz premium white chocolate
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks beaten
  • 1/2 t  vanilla

1.  On medium low heat melt white chocolate in a sauce pan with the sugar and a few tablespoons of the milk.  Stir the cornstarch and the rest of the milk together in a separate bowl or measuring cup so that there’s no lumps. 

2.  Add to the white chocolate and sugar mixture in the pan and continue to stir until it thickens (about 10 min.). 

3.  Once thick turn heat to low and scoop out a cup or so and set it aside for a couple of minutes to cool a bit.  Add the cup of slightly cooled  white chocolate mixture to egg yolks and stir together to temper the eggs. 

4.  Add it all back to the sauce pan and continue to stir on low heat until it thickens even more…maybe another 5 minutes or so.  Once pudding coats a spoon it’s done. 

5.  Pour pudding into a bowl, stir in vanilla, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is cooled and ready to serve!

This pudding was wonderful warm right off the stove, but it is also delicious served over fresh summer berries or angel food cake! 


  • If you want plain vanilla  pudding use 3/4 cup sugar and omit white chocolate.  Use a full teaspoon of vanilla.
  • Regular chocolate:  substitute unsweetened chocolate baking squares and use 3/4 cup sugar. 
  • For a firmer pudding add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch. 

    White chocolate pudding with strawberries and pecans! YUMMM!

And just because my very biased opinion is that these guys are pretty cute and I like to show them off…here’s my taste testers!

She was skeptical, but after a taste she finished her whole bowl!


So good he had to lick the bowl clean!


Two spoons are better than one!
No complaints here! Just an empty bowl!

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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!


  • 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!  😉



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

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Creamy Lemon Mushroom Quinoa

Creamy Lemon Mushroom Quinoa

Looking for another recipe to incorporate the super healthy quinoa in your meal plan? Well, if you have left over mushrooms from making your own Cream of Mushroom Soup and a leftover lemon from the Lemon Rosemary Chicken, you can use them up with this yummy quinoa dish! 


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth (optional)
  • 2 cups mushrooms sliced
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Cook quinoa according to package directions using the broth instead of water.  {If you made broth with the Lemon Rosemary Chicken here’s a great opportunity to use it!} While quinoa is cooking, saute mushrooms in a frying pan with the butter.  Once mushrooms are cooked add the lemon juice and stir for a minute or two.  Add cream and stir together on medium low heat until sauce is reduced by half.  Once quinoa is cooked serve topped with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.  Capers or fresh chopped parsley would be nice garnishes too!

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!)  😉


  • 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!



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