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!

Healthy Vegan Spicy Brown Rice

This spicy brown rice is sure to give your meal a kick-start!  It pairs nicely with beans, beef or any other hearty meal!

Spicy Brown Rice

Spicy Brown Rice

Course Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 162 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • cups brown rice
  • cups vegetable stock
  • ¾ tsp  turmeric
  • ¾ tsp paprika
  • tsp cumin
  • ¾ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in a rice cooker and cook on the “brown rice” setting.  
  • If you prefer to cook this on the stovetop, combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.  
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in a tightly sealed container for up to 12 months.
Keyword brown rice, healthy, high fiber, rice cooker, rice dish, side dish, spicy, vegan, vegetarian

Did you know?  While brown and white rice contains about the same number of carbs, brown rice offsets that number with a good dose of fiber and many other nutritional benefits!

Suggestion:  Serve this rice with Red Bean Casserole!

Banana Strawberry Oatmeal Bread

This banana strawberry oatmeal bread is for those who enjoy a “less sweet” quick bread option.  It tastes great with peanut butter or jam!

Banana Strawberry Oatmeal Bread

Banana Strawberry Oatmeal Bread

Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 12
Calories 224 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1⅓ cup  whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups cubed strawberries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉.  Coat two 9”x5” bread pans with cooking spray.
  • Mix together flours, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  • Put bananas, eggs, maple syrup, butter and extracts into a blender and process until smooth. 
  • Pour banana mixture into the flour mixture and blend with a spoon just until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add strawberries to the bread mixture and gently fold until they are incorporated into the batter.
  • Divide batter equally into the bread pans.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center clean or the internal temperature is 205℉. 
  • Allow to rest in the pans for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  • Hack:  Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze tightly wrapped loaves or slices for up to 3 months.
  • Hack:  Try experimenting by using different kinds of fruit and/or berries in this recipe.  Let me know it turns out in the comments section!
  • Hack:  Take advantage of the wide variety of fruits and berries that can be found in the frozen foods section of the grocery store.  If the pieces are too large for your purpose, simply let a few thaw so you can mash them or puree the desired amount in a blender.
Keyword afternoon tea, baked, banana, berries, bread, cake, dessert, easy, fruit, leftover, loaf, oatmeal, over-ripe, ripe, snack, strawberry, vegetarian

Did you know?  A family of four wastes about $1,600 per year on produce that “goes over” before it gets eaten.  While my favorite way to use (almost) too ripe fruit is to bake something delicious, this article offers other solutions to avoid waste!

I have lots of recipes for using up fruit and berries, including fruit leatherbanana pudding, and pork chops with apples and onions, to just name a few!

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!

Asian Coleslaw With Ramen Noodles

Asian coleslaw with ramen noodles is a fresh and easy take on a classic picnic dish.  It’s low in calories and fat as well as being a handy “make-ahead” salad!

Asian Coleslaw With Ramen Noodles

Asian Coleslaw With Ramen Noodles

Course Salad
Servings 4
Calories 192 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ head cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 block of ramen noodles, uncooked (2 oz)
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)*
  • Toasted sunflower seeds (optional)*

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • tsp ground ginger
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Combine ingredients for the dressing and mix until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  • Place cabbage, carrot and green onions in a gallon-sized zippered storage bag.  Add dressing to the bag and shake the bag to incorporate ingredients.  
  • Seal the bag tightly and store the coleslaw in the bag for at least 24 hours.  
  • Several hours before serving, coarsely crush ramen noodles and toss them into coleslaw.  This can be done up to 6 hours in advance for soft noodles or 1 -2 hours in advance if you want the noodles to retain some crunch.  
  • Sprinkle with sesame and/or sunflower seeds before serving, if desired.
  • *To toast seeds: lay them in a single layer      
    On a baking sheet.  Bake at 350℉ for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.      
    *or*       
    In a glass pie pan.  Microwave at 1-minute intervals until lightly browned.   
    *or*     
    In a skillet on the stovetop.  Cook over medium-low heat for 4-6 minutes.     
    –For all methods, shake or stir several times for even browning.
  • 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.
Keyword Asian cuisine, Asian food, Asian side dish, buffet, cabbage, cold side dish, cole slaw, coleslaw, make ahead, picnic food, salad, vegan, vegetarian

Did you know?  Cabbage is part of the cruciferous collection of vegetables that are associated with lowering the risk of some types of cancer.

Please check out my article for more health benefits of cabbage as well as some great recipe ideas.

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!

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Stir Fry

Shrimp and rice noodle stir fry is another authentic recipe from Yuhong’s Country Kitchen! Make sure to subscribe so you won’t miss any of her great recipes!

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Stir Fry

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Stir Fry

(Courtesy: Yuhong Sun
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients
  

  • 5 green onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 bok choy
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 oz ginger root (4” knob)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp crushed chili pepper
  • ½ lb raw shrimp
  • 1 ib rice noodles*
  • 2 eggs

Cooking sauce:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup water plus more if needed
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Dash of salt

Instructions
 

  • Cut the white portion of the green onion, carrot and bok choy into 2” julienne slices.  Thinly slice the garlic and cut ginger into 1” julienne slices.  Slice the green tops of the onions into rounds.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the cooking sauce.  Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  • Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add crushed chili pepper.
  • When oil is hot, add ginger and garlic.  Cook for one minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly. 
  • Add carrot, cook for one minute and then add bok choy.  Stir fry for an additional minute.  
  • Place shrimp in the pan and cover the pan.  When the shrimp is cooked, add noodles** and cooking sauce.  Pour in a little more water if the stir fry seems too dry.
  • Push stir fry to one side of the pan and add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.  
  • Crack eggs directly into the pan and use the spatula to scramble them.  Mix into stir fry ingredients and continue to cook until the eggs are set.
  • Sprinkle with green onion rounds before serving.
  • *You can use any type of long noodle (spaghetti, linguine, etc) in this recipe.
  • **If using dried rice noodles, cover with lukewarm water, soak for 30 minutes and drain.  If using dried spaghetti, cook al dente according to package directions and drain.  Fresh noodles do not need any preparation and can be added to the pan as is.
  • Hack:  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen in serving-sized portions for up to 2 months.
  • Hack:  Shrimp can be purchased individually from the seafood counter at most grocery stores.  They can be purchased frozen in large portions if you wish to keep some on hand.  Thaw needed amounts before cooking. 
  • Hack:  Seafood can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator.  It can be thawed more quickly by placing it in a sealed bag and submerging them in a bath of cold water for about an hour.
Keyword asian cooking video, Asian cuisine, Asian food, Chinese cooking video, Chinese cuisine, Chinese food, cooking video, instructional video, rice noodles, shrimp, stir fry, vegetarian

Did you know?  Shrimp is a healthy addition to your diet.  It provides a high amount of nutrients that aren’t abundant in other foods!

If you love spicy Asian-themed shrimp dishes, try this spicy Szechuan shrimp recipe or Thai peanut shrimp rice bowl!

Freshly Baked Lemon Barley Scones

The light and sunny flavor of lemon barley scones are sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next afternoon tea…but you might be tempted to keep them all for you!

Lemon Barley Scones

Lemon Barley Scones

(adapted from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook)
Course Snack
Servings 1 scone
Calories 171 kcal

Ingredients
  

Scones

  • 2 cups  (8 ounces) whole barley flour*
  • 1 cup  (4¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  •  ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar
  •  ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp  baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • ½  cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon
  • Lemon juice (if necessary)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) buttermilk**

Glaze

  • ½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp (1 ounce) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix together the flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Use a hand, box or rotary grater to grate the butter into the dry ingredients.  Use a fork or your fingers to quickly blend the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.  Alternately, you can use a pastry cutter, fork or two knives to work the butter into the dry ingredients.
  • Using a zester or a small holed grater, zest the lemon into a small bowl and set aside.  The zest can also be removed using a vegetable peeler and then chopping the zest into small pieces.
  • Cut the lemon in half and juice it into a small measuring cup.  Add bottled lemon juice, if necessary to make it equal ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (just over ⅓ cup).
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 tbsp lemon zest (reserve the rest of the juice and zest for the glaze). Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir swiftly with a fork until the mixture is evenly moist.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead the mixture two or three times to make it come together. Sprinkle in a little flour if it’s too moist to shape. 
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape each into a disk that is ½“ high and 6” in diameter.  Cut each disk into 8 wedges and separate them slightly.  They should be almost touching but not quite, which makes them easier to separate after cooking.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway through baking if the bottoms become too browned.  Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack. 
  • While the scones are baking, mix together confectioners’ sugar, 2 tbsp lemon zest and the remaining lemon zest.
  • Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and drizzle with glaze.  Scones can be served warm or at room temperature.
  • *If using freshly milled barley flour, make sure to weigh, not measure, the amount needed.  This can be done before or after milling.
  • **If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, add ¼ cup buttermilk powder to the dry ingredients and ¾ cup regular milk or water to the wet ingredients.
  • Hack:  Scones will remain fresh for 1-2 days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.  They can also be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Hack: To easily zest lemons or other citrus fruit, use a vegetable peeler. Lay unused zest in a single layer and freeze. Store, tightly wrapped, in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Hack:  Leftover lemon juice can be frozen for up to 12 months.  Pour lemon juice into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer until solid.  Transfer to freezer bags or freezer-safe containers for storage. 
  • Hack: Puree any leftover peeled lemons in the blender or food processor for use in recipes such as cakes, cookies or bread. 1 lemon yields about ½ cup, which can be sealed in a bag and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Keyword afternoon tea, barley flour, breakfast bakes, buffet, King Arthur, lemon juice, lemon zest, scone, tea cake, vegetarian, whole grain

 

Get the King Arthur Whole Grain Cookbook here!

Use any leftover lemon juice in this Lemon Turmeric Dressing!

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!

Sweet Potato Apple Butter Casserole

Sweet potato apple butter casserole combines the delightful tastes of fall in a hearty dish that’s easy to assemble and cook. It’s delicious any time of year!

Sweet Potato Apple Butter Casserole

Sweet Potato Apple Butter Casserole

Course Side Dish
Servings 8
Calories 325 kcal

Ingredients
  

Sweet Potatoes:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • ¾ cup old fashioned apple butter
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (½ stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt

Topping:

  • ¾ cup pecans
  • ½ cup dates
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp butter, melted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425℉  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay whole sweet potatoes in a single layer.  Pierce each potato several times with a fork.
  • Bake potatoes for 40-60 minutes (depending on size) until they are puffed and fork-tender.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool slightly and then remove potatoes from their skins.
  • Turn oven back to 350℉.  Coat 1½ quart casserole (or 8” square pan) with cooking spray.
  • Place apple butter, ¼ cup of melted butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a mixing bowl.  Combine with an electric mixer or whisk.  Add potatoes and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth.  Spread into the casserole.
  • Roughly chop pecans and dates.  Mix in 2 tbsp melted butter and almond flour.  Sprinkle over potatoes.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and hot with an internal temperature of 160℉.  
  • Hack:  Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or packaged in serving-sized portions and frozen for up to 12 months.
  • Hack:  The sweet potato portion of this dish can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Sprinkle topping on before baking and allow a few extra minutes of baking time for the cold dish to come up to temp.
Keyword apple butter, date topping, gluten-free, pecan topping, potato casserole, side dish, sweet potato, sweet potato casserole, vegetarian, vegetarian side dish

Did you know?  Sweet potatoes have a surprising number of health benefits including maintaining blood pressure and insulin levels!

Suggestion:  Use leftover apple butter to make apple butter muffins or pork chops with apple butter and onions.

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