Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sweet Potato & Bean Chili

I don't know about you, but I am definitely not ready for winter! It has snowed twice so far here in Anchorage, but thankfully it's melted away both times. Well, almost completely away. Our back deck still has about an inch of snow to go, but I'm thinking it will disappear as the week goes on, at least one can hope! I had two sweet potatoes sitting on my counter and typically I take them to work for lunch but I wanted something different. Something hearty and warm. Something delicious! My faithful search engine found exactly what I was looking for, Sweet Potato Chili! Although the original recipe called for strictly black beans I of course changed things up and wouldn't of had this any other way!

Sweet Potato & Bean Chili
adapted from

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth (substitute with water if desired)
1-1/2 cups water
1-15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-15oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of sweet corn (optional, but does help bulk it up)
2-15oz cans diced tomatoes
4 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional, I used dried)

In large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add sweet potato and onion too cook, stirring often, until onions are soft. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt, and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add water and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat and maintain a gentle simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes, corn and lime juice; increase to high heat and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro if desired.

Serves 4-6

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cobbler.....whaaaat!?!

So to ask if you've discovered would be a joke, right? Well, I can't say I'm completely obsessed, but I'm pretty close! I enjoy looking at all of the delicious sweet treats from cupcakes to tarts, they suck me in with their pretty photos and this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cobbler was no exception! These are two PERFECT ingredients that go together. I am a Reese's girl through and through, but I don't usually keep them in the house so this was the next best option for a mid-day craving.

I'll admit, I've never made a cobbler so I was a little intimidated. However, the recipe seemed easy and the directions a bit odd at the end, but I thought it came out great. I have reduced the amount of water in the end as mine came out a little runny underneath with the original amount. This is VERY rich and I recommend it warm and served a la mode and oh yes with some chocolate syrup on top!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cobbler

1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. hot cocoa mix, divided
1 cup of white sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
6 tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup of white sugar.

Stir in milk, peanut butter, butter and vanilla. Mixture should look like a thick brownie mix at this point.

Spread mixture into a lightly greased 8" baking dish and with a spatula even out the batter.

In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar and remaining cocoa. 

Sprinkle over batter evenly. Pour 1 cup of hot water over the top. DO NOT STIR!

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the center is slightly firm, but not fluid like liquid. Scoop mixture into serving bowls and serve with with ice cream of choice. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Corn Dog Mini Muffins

I'll tell you that these weren't exactly easy to photograph. Trying to portray their deliciousness all while thinking these look a lot like boobs was not an easy task. I found myself smirking as I held them up on their little white plate trying to snap a photo. Ah well, whether you think they look like mutant boobs or not is totally up to you. One thing for sure is they're tasty!

I saw these posted by and thought they seemed like a simple and easy snack, an easy dinner option, or something to take along to a BBQ because they'll be happening soon! I am going to be making roasted sweet potato and yukon gold french fries to go with thes
e! This is also such a kid friendly snack. What kid doesn't like a hot dog? Don't have all the ingredients? That's okay! You can always use a box mix. I used turkey dogs in these for a healthier version, but you could always use regular hot dogs, polish sausage or even those cocktail wieners. I like mine with a squirt of mustard and ketchup!

Corn Dog Mini Muffins

1 package of your favorite hot dogs (make sure these are pre-cooked hot dogs)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce (you can substitute with vegetable oil or butter)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder. In another bowl mix toge
ther eggs, milk, sugar and apple sauce. Gently fold in the wet mixture with the dry mixture to coat. Do not over stir, be gentle with your batter! Over stirring with cause tough, dry cornbread.

There will be lumps in your batter. Relax, it's okay!

Spray your muffin tin well with cooking spray or use muffin liners. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Be sure not to fill all the way to the top.

Cut your hot dog into one each pieces. I found that you get 3 good size pieces out of a standard hot dog. Insert hot dog into center of the muffin with the flat side down so they stand nicely.

Bake muffins 10-15 minutes or until done. At the 10 minute mark do the toothpick test to see if they are done. Mine were perfect at 15 minutes, but some ovens run hotter.

Remove from pan while warm to avoid over cooking.

Enjoy with ketchup, mustard or your favorite condiment!

This recipe created 14 standard muffins for me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Amigos Taco Soup Olé (Crockpot)

I'd like to tell you I slaved away over the stove to make this soup, but to be honest I didn't. We're having a weird winter and spring here in Indiana and its hot hot hot! At least for a native Alaskan like me it is. Lately it's been coasting around 70 degrees here and I'm putting off turning on the air conditioner for as long as I can. I've been keeping busy volunteering and would rather throw a bunch of ingredients together in a crockpot and walk away while I'm out helping animals in need!

Speaking of animals we recently became foster failures and adopted our fo
ster named Checkers. He was previously adopted and returned. I fell in love with him and scooped him up and took him home. After many a drama we tried to find him a home and ultimately I was absolutely torn up over him not being in my life. We filled out the adoption papers and the rest was history! Who is Checkers? Let me share his handsome face with you!

He was hunting flies in this picture, haha. He is a big boy and about eight months old.

Anyway! About this taco soup! It's quick, delicious, and full of flavors! I am a tomato hater, but I think the stewed tomatoes in this worked well and I was OK with eating the big old chunks of em'! For some reason tomatoes are tolerable for me when they're cooked down. The beef gets incredibly tender as it cooks on low for hours. Try this! It's inexpensive and easy. I call it semi-homemade, hehe.

Amigos Taco Soup Olé

1 pound of lean ground beef
2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn with liquid
2 (15 ounce) cans Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 (1o ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
1 packet taco seasoning
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional topping)
Sour cream (optional topping)

Brown ground beef in large skilled, drain and transfer to sprayed slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. When serving, sprinkle cheese and/or sour cream over each serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Party Sandwiches (Crockpot)

So lately my honey and I have been on a food budget as he's our only income while I'm on vacation. I managed to plan my meals cheaply and only spent about $68 at the grocery store for two weeks of dinners (plus other essentials like milk, eggs, etc.) Not too shabby if you ask me! We normally spend $100 or more so I think I did pretty well with what I had. I bought a lot of canned beans, haha! That's okay though, I love beans!

This is a great simple and delicious sandwich. There's no fuss or muss and it really doesn't need any kind of dressings to it. It's plain delicious on a bakery fresh hot d
og bun! This would be even better on a hoagie bun too! I'm really falling in love with my ancient crockpot....I should take her picture some day! Best $3.00 I ever spent!

We ate this with pasta salad, but your sides are endless. Corn on the cob, fresh garden salad, potato chips, the options go to infinity and back!

On to the recipe!

Party Sandwiches

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons Caribbean jerk seasoning
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped bell peppers and onions
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
8 hot dog buns/hoagie buns, split

Rub chicken thighs with jerk seasoning and a little pepper. Place in sprayed slow cooker and add bell peppers and onions.

Combine broth, ketchup and brown sugar in bowl and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.

Remove chicken from cooker with slotted spoon and shred chicken using two forks.

Return chicken to slow cooker and mix well. Fill buns with chicken mixture.

Yields 8 sandwiches.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Smokey White Bean Soup

It's winter and although it's been a very odd and pleasantly warmer winter here in Indiana I still enjoy my hot soups and stews. I'll admit, I've been a bit homesick on this long vacation and one of my favorite smells is my mother's Fifteen Bean Soup and Cornbread. I always joke that I don't like it, but I actually love it. It's comforting, it's homemade, and above all it's delicious! I of course didn't have fifteen different kinds of beans on hand, but I did have some great northern beans and a little bit of navy beans leftover from another meal. Use whatever white bean you'd like, it'll turn out delicious!

This is a nice thick soup that sticks to the ribs and warms the heart. It has great flavors and my house smelled incredible while it was slow cooking on the stove. I am guilty of walking outside just to walk back in and smell the soup!

Smokey White Bean Soup
adapted from

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary
1/4 cup parsley, dried or fresh
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1lb. dried small white beans, rinsed and picked through
1 smoked ham hock
8 cups of water, plus extra if needed
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and carrots to pot. Stir. Saute over medium heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender.

Add dried white beans, garlic, bay leaf, dried oregano and basil. Stir and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.

Add the ham hock, parsley and rosemary. Cover with 7 cups of water and 1 cup of chicken broth. Add salt and pepper. Stir.

Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Once you reach a boil reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. If soup gets too thick add additional water.

Once beans are soft remove the ham hock and rosemary sprig. Taste soup and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Remove ham hock's skin and bone. Chop up ham hock meat and add to the soup, if desired. Smokey deliciousness!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Philly Cheese Steak Pizza

I try to be smart and budget friendly when planning meals. Cheap and easy is the way to go, but I also want my food to taste good. Better yet, amazing! I usually go to my
trusty Taste of Home Busy Family Cookbook. It was gifted to me when I first moved out of
my parents house and it's been my trusty book ever since. I've tried many recipes and they're pretty easy and budget friendly for the most part. It has all different sections: Beef, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Meatless, Sides & Salads, and Desserts. Most of them are 30 minutes or less which is pretty awesome! Less time preparing a meal and more time with the kids, spouse, friends, or even your pets.

I liked this pizza. It wasn't the typical Philly Cheese Steak flavor I was
used to, but it intrigued me enough to want to try it. It takes 15 minutes to prep and 15 bake. The crust was mildly sweet and really complimented the tangy Italian dr
essing and gooey mozzarella.

To save more I recommend going online to find some coupons to help you with this recipe. I personally use or visit and sign-up to rec
eive coupons to go toward your crescent rolls. Buy the two tubes and you should have enough ingredients to make this dinner at least twice.

Philly Cheese Steak Pizza

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef
1 tablespoon Italian salad dressing
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll crescent roll dough into one long rectangle; seal perforations. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 13x9 inch baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the green pepper, onion in oil and bouillon until vegetables are tender; set aside.

Arrange beef over browned crust. Brush with salad dressing and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 4-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Top with green pepper mixture. Cut into squares.
Yields 6 servings.

***Cooks tip: If you have more than enough green pepper mixture, save some in a small container to store for omelettes later in the week!

I was not paid or gifted any linked products. I was not asked to link any of the above websites. I purchased the item(s) with my own personal money and any reviews and/ or recipes above are my own.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Colorful Chicken Chili

I make this chili every time my work has a party and it's a big hit. It's very easy to make and it tastes delicious. I love all of the colors! This makes a nice big pot of chili that could feed a large family with no problems.

Colorful Chicken Chili

1 red or orange bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 packet McCormick's White Chicken Chili seasoning packet
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Chicken Broth

Sour Cream (optional)
Shredded Cheese (optional)

In large pot heat olive oil over medium heat.

Roughly chop bell peppers and onion, add to pot. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Add to vegetables. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink.

Add seasoning packet and water, stir to mix thoroughly.

Add can of black beans and kidney beans. Rinse beans first if desired. Use empty cans to measure out chicken broth, add two cans worth of broth to soup.

Add frozen corn.

Bring to a boil.

Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until heated through and chicken is done.

Add more broth or water until desired consistency.

Top with shredded cheese or sour cream if desired.

Serves 8-10

I was not paid or gifted any linked products. I purchased the item with my own personal money and any reviews and/ or recipes above are my own.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

I have been craving blueberry muffins for around two weeks now. While browsing the grocery store I see them in their little plastic containers and all I'd have to do was pick one up and place it in my cart, but I didn't. They've been on my mind almost nightly, yet I nev
er just went and bought some. I knew I could make them at home and that I had the supplies, but I needed motivation. I've been spending almost every day 4+ hours at the local animal shelter helping with the kitties. I've also been fostering a couple kittens and boy do they wear me out! I'm on my fourth set and it's very enriching and warms my heart when I see their adoptive families cuddling them in joy.

Anyway, back to the muffins! I decided today was the day. TODAY I was going to make some Blueberry Muffins. I trusted Google to set me in my direction and it came up with a recipe called "To Die for Blueberry Muffins." It seemed easy and I loved the crumbly bits that went on top before baking.

I may of cooked them a little too long, but they had a slightly crunchy crusty top that was sweet and a super moist center LOADED with blueberries! I kind of like a crust on my muffins so it worked for me. I took a look at others' photos and each one varied. I think these were pretty good and will taste even better once I'm over this cold that's ruining my taste buds!

Blueberry Muffins
recipe posted by Colleen on

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins or line with muffin liners.

Combine 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil in 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture.

Fold in the blueberries. Fill muffin cups to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and cinnamon. Mix with fork and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until done.