This is the time of year to try new recipes of chilis, soups, and beans. I love to throw something in the crockpot and not have to spend hours in the kitchen. Fall brings about a desire to try something new. Yesterday while I was perusing the shelves at Harris Teeter I saw bags of beans. The one labeled “15 Bean Soup” caught my eye. I decided to pick up the bag and bring it home, but upon reading the suggested recipe I knew I needed to make things a little more interesting.
On a side note, I’m blogging this recipe not just for your benefit, but for mine as well. I can’t tell you how many times I browse my blog and go ‘Oh yeah, I haven’t made that in a while!’
If you like your food very flavorful, you might want to use twice as many seasoning than listed below. I tend not to measure so these are probably conservative measurements.
Check out my new soup bowls. I have been wanting a set of new soup bowls for a long time but haven’t been able to find what I wanted (and was willing to pay). Hubby and I were in Sam’s Club a few weeks ago and I saw these bowls. They were $15 for 4 bowls. They weren’t terribly expensive but since we had so much other stuff to purchase that day, I just couldn’t bring myself to put them in the cart. While I was in line, hubby left and came back with the bowls. I’m glad he did.
- 1 lb bag of 15 bean soup
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 3 large cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- 1 28 oz can tomato purree or petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 lb sliced ham or smoked sausage
Soak beans in water overnight. Drain, rinse, and set aside. Saute diced onions in oil for 5-7 minutes until onions are soft.
In a crockpot, add all of the ingredients listed above, including the soaked beans and cooked onions. I also added the seasoning packet that came with the beans. Cover beans with water (I think I used two of the tomato sized cans full of water). Cook in the crockpot on high for 4-5 hours or until beans are tender. Serve with corn bread.
Whenever I have ham for supper I freeze the leftovers and use it in soaps and casseroles. The leftover ham made this a very inexpensive recipe. The bag of beans was about $1.60. The tomatoes were buy 2 get 3 free. I ended up making a big pot of 15 bean soup for about $2.50. There is also enough left to use for tomorrow’s lunch. Yummy!
This morning I decided to stay home from church. Anyone that knows me, knows that I normally don’t do this. I started feeling a little yucky yesterday from what I’m sure is seasonal allergies. I LOVE fall but am not particularly thrilled with the allergy issues that come with each season change. I took two Benadryl last night and I think I had a little bit of a Benadryl hangover this morning. I was grouchy and sensitive to noise. When I got up in the middle of the night to potty (yes, I am a teacher so I use the word potty), I ran into the wall in my bedroom. Ahem . . . Stop laughing! Ok, go ahead. haha. My nose is still a little sore.
After my family left I decided to enjoy some quiet time on the couch. I’m all snug with my afghan and sole custody of the remote. As I was lying here and trying to enjoy the thought of nothing to do except nap, I had the dreaded feeling that I needed to have a meal ready for my family when they returned home this afternoon.
What could I cook that is fast and most importantly EASY so that I can get back to the couch? I suddenly remembered that I have precooked hamburger in the freezer. When ground beef goes on sale, I like to buy some extra and precook it to freeze. It comes in very handy for chili, spaghetti, Manwich, and other meals. It sure helps speed up the cooking process on weeknights.
Below are pictures of what I used. There are two pictures since I forgot a few things in the first picture.
To make things as low cost as possible, I use the stockpile method. This is where I stock up on things my family uses when they are at rock bottom prices. If I remember correctly, the beans were 2/$1 at Harris Teeter and the corn was 2/$1 at Piggly Wiggly. I usually buy a large container of minced garlic from Sams Club or Walmart. The large container of taco seasoning was purchased at Sams. The frozen green chilis were a close out clearance item from Harris Teeter. I was excited to get these. Green chilis are normally $1-1.40 per can. I got this large container for only $1. I purchased two of them for my freezer. I used about 2 tbsp. of green chilis and a quart jar of my canned tomatoes in place of using Rotel tomatoes. As mentioned above, the ground beef was purchased on sale, cooked, and frozen. Years ago when I was staying at home, I might already have precooked beans in the freezer. This is definitely a money saver, but as Sweet Brown says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”.
I don’t remember the exact cost of everything pictured, but I would estimate it to be around $6-7 for a large crockpot full of taco chili. This will probably be enough for two meals or one meal and some lunches this week. Of course, we’ll top it with sour cream and cheese and serve it with tortilla chips. This will put our cost right around $5 per meal, which is a nice target price. This chili also freezes well.
For more instructions on making this chili, click on the recipe for taco soup/taco chili. I call it whichever comes to mind first. This is not an exact recipe. I use different kinds of beans sometimes. Feel free to modify it to your liking.
Have you ever made something and it was so wonderful that you didn’t want to share? That happened to me earlier this month. I hadn’t made fruit pizza in a few years. Since summer is here I had purchased some kiwis, strawberries, peaches and such on sale. Suddenly I thought it would be a good idea to make a fruit pizza. I was pleasantly surprised at how great it tasted. How could I have forgotten?
Red strawberries, orange mandarin oranges, yellow peaches, yellow pineapple, green kiwis, and blue blueberries make the fruit pizza an attractive item on any food table. It is such a refreshing treat on hot summer days. And I’m certainly not going to complain that it is so easy to prepare.
Here’s the easy recipe:
- 1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- various fruit – kiwis, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, etc.
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12 inch pizza pan with with cooking spray. (I couldn’t find my round pizza pan so I used a rectangular shaped one.) Remove cookie dough from package. Press the dough evenly in the pan to create a crust. Bake crust for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. It may be a little puffy but go by the color. The puffiness will settle when it cools. Cool the crust completely, for at least 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until thoroughly mixed and fluffy. Spread the mixture over the cookie dough crust. Arrange the fruit over the crust. Refrigerate until chilled. Slice and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
*Money saving tips: To save money on this recipe, make your own sugar cookie dough. Use coupons and sales to purchase the cookie dough. Many times there will be Pillsbury coupons in the paper and it’s pretty easy to find it on sale.
Have you ever had fruit pizza?
Chef Scott Liebfried has created another kid-friendly recipe using Bumble Bee tuna. This recipe uses simple ingredients such as English muffins, cheese, basil, and tomato sauce. It also uses the Bumble Bee Foods sun dried tomato and basil tuna.
You might to try this healthier version when making pizza. I’m thinking this would make a nice lunch or easy weeknight dinner idea.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Bumble Bee Foods Bee Squad.
I attended a baby shower and they had some really cute pacifier favors and pink confetti spread across the table for decoration. I thought the pacifier favors were so cute (and inexpensive) that I had to share them with you. The candy pacifiers simply consist of two Lifesaver candies and a jelly bean that are held together by frosting or melted chocolate.
You will need:
- Lifesavers (These are made from peppermint Lifesavers.)
- royal frosting or melted white chocolate
- miniature jelly beans (probably Jelly Bellies)
- Unwrap your Lifesavers and set aside.
- If you are using chocolate then you will need to melt it. Follow the instructions on the package for melting the chocolate. Please note that you should be using chocolate candy that will harden after it dries. This is the kind that is sold in most craft stores or in the cake decorating section of Walmart.
- Put a small dab of chocolate or frosting in the center of some of the Lifesavers. To make your finished project more attractive you should make sure that the Lifesaver words are facing the handle and that the jelly bean side is plain. For best results, only work with a few Lifesavers at a time.
- Attach the second Lifesaver to the first. The second Lifesaver should be on its side so that it acts as a pacifier handle. It will make a “T” shape. Hold together for a few seconds to allow icing or chocolate to set.
- As you complete these steps, set them aside to dry. After they have dried add the ribbon to the pacifier handle. The ribbon should be about four inches long.
- Add a small dab of frosting to the other side of the lifesaver (the plain side) and attach the jelly bean. Let these dry or harden. You may have to hold the jelly bean onto the Lifesaver for a minute until it sets.
You may find that you want to make the pacifier handles first, attach the jelly beans, and then let the whole thing dry before adding the ribbon. Feel free to modify the instructions to meet your personal preference.
Uses: These candy pacifiers can be spread around the tables for decoration or placed on a cake. You can put them in a bowl on the tables or spread them around a centerpiece or the base of the cake. Put them in small candy boxes and send them home with your guests. You could also have the ribbon personalized with your baby’s name. There are many uses for them.
Money saving tips: You know that I am all about saving money. Save your craft store coupons to purchase these items while they are 40-50% off. Ask your friends for their craft store coupons. If you know in advance that you will be making these you can watch the weekly sales flyers for sales on these items. Check the dollar ribbon area of the craft store for ribbon deals.
This post was originally written by me in 2009. The content has been rewritten and modified to put on my own website.
Image (c) Karen Weideman
Last year Chef Scott Liebfried demonstrated how to make some recipes that he created for Bumble Bee Foods. This year he is showing some kid-friendly recipes. I’m sure we could all use some healthier kid-friendly recipes in our homes. This if the first webisode in the series.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Bumble Bee Bee Squad.
I am a member of the Bumble Bee Bee Squad again this year. Bumble Bee is working with Chef Scott Lebfried again and this time they are working on kid-friendly recipes. I’m sure we could all use more kid-friendly recipes in our homes.
As you know, I have had a series of events happen this year so I am a bit behind on my blogging. Stay tuned for more posts about kid-friendly recipes from Bumble Bee.
Every now and then I look through my old recipes or read through some of my old article archives and think, Oh yeah. I haven’t made that in a while. That would be good! Today is one of those days. I started googling my name and found an old recipe on the web. I think it’s been about two years since I’ve made this. I still remember how good this taco recipe was so I need to make it sometime soon. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture for you. If I make it this week I’ll be sure to take a picture for you.
Slow Cooker Tex Mex Chicken Taco Recipe
With the rising price of groceries, we all could use some inexpensive recipes for our families. This is a slow-cooker recipe and it is great because it is easy, tasty, healthy, and inexpensive!
*Be sure to purchase the chicken breasts on sale as this is the most expensive part of the meal.
- chicken (I used 4 boneless breasts) – $2.00
- 1 can diced tomatoes (I used the ones with green chilies) – $.50
- 1 cup green salsa (such as the kind made by Herdez) – $.40
- 3 cloves minced garlic – $.15
- 1 cup sliced onions – $.25
- sliced bell peppers – $.75
- salt and pepper (I used Goya Adobo seasoning, which is one of our faves!)
- 14 oz can of kernel corn, drained – .50
- 15 oz can of black beans, drained and chopped or mashed – $.59
In a crock pot, put in your chicken, tomatoes, about 3/4-1 cup of green salsa, about 1 cup of sliced onions, some sliced bell peppers (if you wish), about 3 cloves minced garlic (I used the bottled minced) and salt and pepper (or Goya Adobo seasoning). Cook the chicken on high for about 3-4 hours, until tender.
Take the chicken out of the crock pot and set it on a plate or cutting board to let it cool some. Drain the juice out of the vegetables, reserving some of the liquid. Put the vegetables back into the crock pot. Add the can of drained corn and drained black beans. Cut up or shred the chicken and put it back into the crock pot. Add a little more of the green salsa (about 1/4 cup) and some of the liquid from the vegetables that you drained (about 1 cup). Stir all this together and allow it to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
Use the chicken in tacos, burritos, or quesadillas. Yummy!
We had enough of this chicken to feed our family of four and then some to freeze for another meal. I also served this recipe with Spanish rice. We topped our tacos with cheese and sour cream and a bit of fresh pico de gallo. Sorry, I wish I had a picture to share.
Last night we had some friends over to our home and we served Mexican food. This consisted of tacos, taquitos, Mexican rice, refried beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, and all the other taco fixins’. My friend asked for the pico de gallo recipe and I told her it was on my website.
I checked today to give her the link and the recipe was no where to be found. For those of you that know me, I wrote for another company for 3 1/2 years. Apparently, I wrote the recipe on their site. Oh well, just the issues that come with giving someone else the rights to your content.
I hope you enjoy the recipe.
- fresh diced tomatoes, preferably Roma tomatoes
- fresh diced onions
- fresh finely sliced cilantro (leaf and stalk)
- fresh diced jalapeno pepper (to make milder, remove seeds)
- minced garlic or garlic powder
- lime juice
- Goya adobo seasoning
- salt (optional)
Chop up fresh ingredients and place into bowl. Add seasonings. There are not specific measurements. As you can see in the picture, the main ingredient is fresh tomatoes. All the other ingredients are according to your taste preferences. Let me know if you have any questions.
*Update: After thinking about the pico de gallo it seems that we use about 6-8 Roma tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 1 jalapeno, and about 1/2 stalk of cilantro. I’d say you need to use 1 tbsp or less of lime juice. These are the issues that come with not using a recipe and just cooking until something looks or tastes good.
image (c) Karen Weideman
My kids really enjoy playing with playdough. I have found that homemade playdough is very easy and inexpensive to make. It also lasts longer and is softer and easier to mold. Today we made two batches of playdough, some “cookies”, and we also decorated our creations. Here are some pictures of our day and a recipe for you.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 cup salt
- food coloring of choice (5-10 drops)
Mix all the ingredients, adding the food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until play dough has a smooth consistency. Remove play dough from the pan and allow to cool for a few minutes. Knead until smooth. After it has cooled, place it in a plastic bag or airtight container to keep it soft.
Thrifty gift idea: Make some of this to use as an inexpensive party favor. Save frosting containers for the playdough. Decorate or cover the containers.
Another tip: When I was teaching preschool, we would multiply this recipe times four so that we would have enough for about eight kids. Also, we would make a color of playdough for each month which went along with the color of the month we were studying.