Slow cooker Spicy Red Beans and Rice

Spicy red beans and rice puts a delicious spin on a classic meal eaten the world over. Using a rice cooker and a slow cooker makes preparing them a snap!

Slow cooker Spicy Red Beans and Rice

Slow cooker Spicy Red Beans and Rice

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 344 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup dried red beans
  • 2 cups water
  • cups vegetable broth
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, hot

Instructions
 

  • Cover beans with 2 cups of water and allow to soak for 6 - 12 hours.  Drain and rinse.
  • (NOTE:  The above step can be done ahead.  Drain beans and store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  • Put beans and broth into a saucepan on the stovetop and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 10 minutes. 
  • Transfer beans and broth to a slow cooker.
  • Add peppers, tomato and spices to the crockpot.
  • Turn heat to low and cook for 6-8 hours or until beans are tender.
  • Remove bay leaf and discard it.
  • Serve with brown rice.
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in serving-sized portions for up to 3 months.  Allow to thaw completely in the refrigerator before reheating.
Keyword beans and rice, brown rice, cajun, convenient, crockpot, dried beans, easy, low calorie, low fat, make ahead, red beans, slow cooker, spicy, vegan, vegetarian

Did you know?  Red beans are a member of the legume family.  Legumes come in many options, are inexpensive and they’re packed with nutrition!!

Suggestion:  Use this vegan spicy brown rice to pair with the red beans!

Perfect Poached Chicken Breast

This simple and delicious perfect poached chicken breast is ready in less than 15 minutes and is great for use in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken!

Perfect Poached Chicken Breast

Perfect Poached Chicken Breast

Course Main Course
Servings 3
Calories 170 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (¾ lb total)
  • 4 cups water (or enough to cover)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (½ tsp dried)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
  • 2 slices fresh onion
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken breast(s) in a saucepan and cover with water.  Add rosemary, salt, pepper, bay leaf, garlic, onion and lemon juice.  
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid and put it on the stovetop over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and lower heat to medium-low.  Simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160℉, about 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the breast(s).
  • Remove chicken from water and allow it to cool.*  Cut it into thin slices.
  • Yield: 2.25 cups shredded or diced chicken
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months. 
  • Hack:  Although I have listed particular spices in this recipe, you may adjust this according to your individual taste.
Keyword boneless skinless, chicken, easy, fast and easy, healthy, low calorie, low fat, poached, quick and easy

Handle chicken with care!  Click here for some tips to avoid foodborne illnesses that can be associated with raw poultry.

Suggestion:  This recipe works well for any recipe that uses cooked chicken such as Fresh Mexican Avocado SaladEasy Homemade Ramen Noodles or Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad.

Oven Roasted Orange Glazed Carrots

Orange glazed carrots are a wonderful recipe that the whole family will enjoy. It’s fast and easy to prepare, low calorie, healthy and delicious!

Orange Glazed Carrots

Orange Glazed Carrots

Course Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 166 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400℉.  Line a 10”x13” baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Scrub carrots and peel, if desired.  Cut into ¼“ rounds.  Lay over the top of the parchment paper, and drizzle with olive oi., Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to coat and spread evenly.
  • Using a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, orange juice, honey and ginger. Heat in the microwave until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Pour glaze mixture over carrots and cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes or until carrots are browned and cooked to the desired softness.  Recover the pan if the carrots begin to get too brown.  
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Hack: Frozen carrots can be used in this recipe.
Keyword carrots, easy, fast and easy, healthy, low calorie, low carb, orange juice, oven roasted, quick and easy, side dish, vegetable, vegetarian

Did you know? Carrots are rich in nutrients that promote your health!

Suggestion:  Serve these with teriyaki marinated pork chops for a super fast and easy meal!

Simple Homemade Marinara Sauce

This super easy simple homemade marinara sauce can be made in advance and frozen to have on hand for dipping goodies at your next get-together or game night!

Simple Homemade Marinara Sauce

Simple Homemade Marinara Sauce

Course Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 168 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 dried Thai pepper, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp)
  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp sugar or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and dried Thai pepper..
  • As soon as garlic sizzles (don’t let it brown) pour in tomatoes and water.  Add salt, basil and sugar.  
  • Turn heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 1½ ro 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce thickens.  Use a fork to break up tomatoes during cooking.
  • Remove Thai pepper and discard.
  • Use a blender or immersion blender to smooth the sauce if desired. Press sauce through a mesh colander to remove the seeds if desired.
  • Total yield: 2 cups sauce.
  • Hack:  2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes can be substituted for fresh tomatoes.
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in serving-sized portions for up to 6 months.
  • Hack:  If you have leftover tomatoes that are becoming over-ripe and don't have time to cook, simply puree them in the blender and freeze the fresh puree in sealed freezer bags or containers to use in recipes at a later date.  No need to core, peel or seed ‘em...just toss ‘em right in.  Run the puree through a mesh colander if you want to remove the seeds.
Keyword appetizer, easy, homemade sauce, hors d'oeuvres, keto, low calorie, low carb, marinara, marinara sauce, simple, tomato sauce, vegan, vegetarian

Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse while being low in calories and carbs!  Check out the facts here!

Suggestion:  Serve this with easy cheesy sausage balls or Italian meatballs!

Homemade Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Vegetarian split pea soup Is a delicious and comforting food that has it all: It’s healthy, low in fat and calories, vegan and is super easy to make!

Vegetarian split pea soup

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Course Soup
Servings 4
Calories 235 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 small)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (2 medium)
  • ½ cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup dry yellow or green split peas
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp raisins

Instructions
 

  • Stovetop:  Place all ingredients in a stockpot.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 60 minutes or until desired tenderness.
  • Slow cooker:  Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 8 hours or low for 12 hours.
  • Instant Pot:  Place all ingredients in the instant pot.  Lock lid and set the machine to cook at high heat for 12 minutes.
  • Hack:  Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Hack:  Freeze leftovers in serving-sized portions for up to 3 months.
  • HackDehydrated vegetables can be used in this recipe!
  • Hack:  Check the produce department for loose carrots, onions and/or celery stalks.  If you don’t see them, ask a clerk if they’re available.   
  • Hack:  Shop the salad bar if you just need a small amount of an item that you don’t think you’ll use again before it “goes over”.
Keyword appetizer, dried legumes, dried peas, easy, healthy, homemade soup, light meal, low calorie, meatless, pea soup, soup, soup course, split peas, vegan, vegetarian

Did you know?  Peas are a member of the legume family.  Legumes come in many options, are inexpensive and packed with nutrition!!

Suggestion:  Top this soup with easy homemade croutons!

Homemade Easy Chicken Fajita Soup

This easy chicken fajita soup combines fajita spices with chicken, black beans and rice to create a light and flavorful addition for any time of day!

Easy Chicken Fajita Soup

Easy Chicken Fajita Soup

Course Soup
Servings 12 1-cup servings
Calories 234 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • cup dried black beans
  • 1 cup dry rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp)
  • cups chicken broth
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 tb chili powder or to taste
  • tsp ground cumin
  • tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

Instructions
 

  • Cover beans with 2 cups of water and allow to soak for 6 - 12 hours.  Drain and rinse.
  • Add 2 cups of water and beans to a saucepan.  Turn heat to medium.  Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until tender, checking occasionally to ensure there is enough water to keep beans from scorching. 
  • Prepare rice according to the directions listed on the package.
  • (NOTE:  The above steps can be done ahead.  Store beans and rice tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add bell peppers and onion.  Saute for 3 minutes then add garlic.  Saute for 1-2 minutes longer.
  • Pour chicken broth and tomatoes into the pot.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cilantro, salt and pepper. 
  • Add chicken and bring to a light boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken has cooked through and internal temperature registers at 160℉, 10-15 minutes.
  • Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Cut it into small strips.  
  • Return chicken to pot along with rice, beans and lime juice.
  • Reheat if necessary and serve with shredded cheese, if desired.
  • Hack:  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Be sure to subtract any days that you stored the cooked beans and/or rice before making soup.
  • Hack: Freeze leftover portions sealed in serving-sized portions for future use for up to 3 months.
  • Hack:  One 15 oz can of black beans can be substituted for the dried beans in this recipe.  Drain, rinse and add to the pot.
  • Hack:  One 15 oz can of diced tomatoes can be substituted for the fresh tomatoes.  
  • Hack:  2 cups of cooked chicken can be substituted for the chicken breast. 
  • Hack: Dehydrated vegetables can be used in this recipe!
Keyword chicken, chicken rice, chicken soup, easy, fajita, homemade soup, low calorie, Mexican, soup

Did you know?  Although the term fajita was not used to refer to a food item until 1971, the dish itself was made popular in the 30s in Texas.  Migrant workers received meat scraps as a part of their pay and this would have been one of the ways they made them into a meal!

Suggestion:  Serve this soup with some freshly made authentic naan flatbread!

Homemade Filipino Chicken Pancit

Filipino Chicken Pancit is an easy, one-skillet meal that’s low in calories and packed with nutrition! Use a tamari-style soy sauce to make it gluten-free!

Filipino Chicken Pancit

Filipino Chicken Pancit

Course Main Course
Servings 6
Calories 310 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 12 oz rice spaghetti or other thin rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2" knob fresh ginger, minced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 tsp)
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 3 carrots, minced
  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Green onions, sliced (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Soak rice noodles in hot water for 35 minutes.  Drain noodles and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add ground chicken and cook until no pink remains, 3-5 minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Place the remaining oil in the pan along with the onion, ginger, garlic, celery and carrots.  Saute until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent, 10-12 minutes.
  • Add cabbage to the pan, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  If all the cabbage doesn’t fit into the pan, cover and cook down until you can add the remaining cabbage.
  • Uncover and add 1 cup chicken broth, sesame oil, vinegar,  soy sauce, pepper and chicken.  Cook for 5 minutes or until cabbage is softened.
  • Stir noodles into the pan and cook until noodles are cooked to the desired softness.  If it seems too dry, add additional chicken bouillon.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in serving sized portions for up to 2 months.
  • Hack:  Leftover chicken and/or dehydrated vegetables can be used in this recipe!
  • Hack:  Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root?  Grating it in its frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it!  Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.
  • Hack:  Check the produce department for loose carrots and celery stalks.  If you don’t see them, ask a clerk if they’re available.  
  • Hack:  Ask the produce clerk to cut a head of cabbage into wedges so you’ll only have to buy what you need.  They’ll wrap the leftover pieces and put it back on the shelf for sale.
  • Hack:  Shop the salad bar if you just need a small amount of an item that you don’t think you’ll use again before it “goes over”.
Keyword cabbage, Filipino cuisine, Filipino food, ground chicken, low calorie, one skillet meal, pancit

Did you know that cabbage is an important part of a healthy diet?  Check out the facts here!

Cranberry Mustard Pork Tenderloin

The health benefits of cranberries make Cranberry Mustard Pork Tenderloin a festive dish that you can feel good about eating all year-’round!

Cranberry Mustard Pork Tenderloin

Cranberry Mustard Pork Tenderloin

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 279 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard, divided
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, divided
  • ¼ tsp salt, divided
  • 1⅓ tsp dried rosemary, divided
  • 1⅓ tsp dried sage, divided
  • tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup ruby port
  • tsp butter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 450℉. 
  • Pat pork dry and spread 1 tbsp mustard over the entire loin.
  • Combine ⅛ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp sage and thyme.  Sprinkle over pork, pressing to adhere.  
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pork and brown on all sides.
  • Transfer to a baking pan.  Roast in the oven until reaches an internal temperature of 145℉, 14-18 minutes.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • While the loin is roasting, return the skillet to medium heat.  Add remaining 1 tbsp oil and cranberries to the pork drippings.  Cook until cranberries start to soften, about 2 minutes.  Stir in shallot, remaining 1 tbsp mustard and one 1 tsp each of rosemary and sage.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  • Stir in broth and port.  Cook until thickened and reduced by half, 4-6 minutes.  Stir in butter and ⅛ tsp each of the remaining pepper and salt.  Spoon sauce over the top of sliced pork loin and serve.
  • Hack:  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.  To freeze, slice pork and cover in sauce.  Package in serving-sized portions and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Hack:  Fresh cranberries are only between October and December, which is why they’re such a holiday favorite!  Take advantage of that time window to buy a few extra bags for your freezer.  Did you miss your chance?  Check the freezer section of the supermarket where you're likely to find some in with the berry section.
Keyword cranberry pork, cranberry sauce, holiday roast, low calorie, mustard pork, oven roasted pork, Pork tenderloin, port wine recipe, ruby port

Did you know? People call cranberries a superfood for good reason: They have all kinds of health-boosting benefits.

Suggestion:  Pair this with savory roasted acorn squash for a hearty meal with a holiday feel… any time of year!

 

Easy Parmesan Crusted Scallops

Parmesan crusted scallops are fast and easy to make. They fit nicely into a vegetarian, low-calorie, keto and/or gluten-free lifestyle. Round off this healthy meal with Asparagus with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes!

Parmesan Crusted Scallops

Parmesan Crusted Scallops

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 300 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ lb sea scallops (about 18 medium)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½  tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Dash paprika

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Rinse scallops and pat them dry.  Coat a baking pan with cooking spray and lay scallops out in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl, mix together butter, wine, lemon juice, 2 tbsp parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley and cayenne pepper.  Set aside until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
  • Divide the butter mixture evenly over the top of the scallops. 
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until scallops are opaque and have an internal temperature of 115℉.  This should take between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the size of the scallops.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and take off the aluminum foil.  Sprinkle scallops with remaining parmesan and paprika.
  • Turn the oven to broil and move the oven rack to the broiler position.  Place the baking pan back into the oven and broil until the cheese is browned, 2-3 minutes.
  • Hack:  Reheat leftovers in the oven for 5-15 minutes, depending on size.  Microwave reheating is not recommended.  
  • Hack: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. 
Keyword baked seafood, gluten-free, keto, low calorie, parmesan cheese, scallops, seafood, vegetarian

Did you know?  Scallops are considered to be one of the healthiest kinds of seafood!

Summer Squash Sausage Skillet

This summer squash sausage skillet combines caramelized onions and summer squash with Italian sausage for an easy one-pan meal that’s low in carbs and calories!

Summer Squash Sausage Skillet
Summer Squash Sausage Skillet

Summer Squash Sausage Skillet

 

water

2 Italian sausage links (6 oz)

1 medium summer squash (12 oz)

½ Vidalia or sweet onion

4 tbsp butter

½ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp dried rosemary

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

 

Pour water into a skillet until it measures ½“ and put on the stove over medium-high heat.  Add Italian sausage links and simmer, turning occasionally, until sausage reaches an internal temperature of 160℉, 12-15 minutes.

While the sausage is cooking, cut summer squash into ¼“ rounds and thinly slice the onion.

Remove sausage from skillet and turn heat to medium-low.  Put butter, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper in the skillet.  Allow butter to melt and add squash and onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and squash are soft and caramelized, about 45 minutes.  Add more butter, if necessary, to keep the food from sticking.

While the vegetables are cooking, slice sausage into rounds. Add the pan when vegetables are done and heat through.

Serve immediately.

 

3 servings, 405 calories per serving

Hack:  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen in airtight containers for up to 12 months.

 

 

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