Friday, October 30, 2009

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

I went to a "Stretching Your Food Dollar" class at my County Extension. While they didn't present a ton of new ideas, it was a great re-enforcement of the grocery practices that I have already been doing, like buying in bulk, couponing, meal planning, and making things from scratch. The majority of the people who attended seemed very helpful and shared what works for them to keep their grocery budget down.

I came home with a ton of handouts and they actually gave me more information than the class presented, mostly because I was trying to wrangle a 2 year old and try to keep him quiet. Ugh, it was worse than church. Within the handouts, I found this gem of a salad dressing.

I am sharing this at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

from Maryland Cooperative Extension

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 black pepper

Put everything in a jar or bottle with a lid. Close the lid and shake well. Chill in the refrigerator at least one hour before serving.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Deviled Eggs

Ok, so I'm pushing it with the relationship between Deviled Eggs and Halloween, other than the name, but they're so yummy, they work for a 4th of July picnic or Halloween!

Our Mom's Club held the annual Harvest Festival this past week, and each mom was asked to bring a snack to share. I chose Deviled Eggs, because that's something that I always grab when I see them at a potluck. There were so many yummy things, and I got some great ideas for dishes to bring.

I served them in a foil throw-away container and put each egg in a muffin cup - it kept them from sliding around and made it easy to grab them out of the container. I borrowed this idea from Ina Garten, although she always has super-cool plain white ones. I was stuck with off-the-rack pastel, but it still worked. Next time I do it (and remember to plan ahead!) I would keep an eye out for holiday themed muffin papers.

One of the moms came through and added Halloween food decorations to the platters of food on the table. It was cute to tie all the foods together and bring together the Halloween theme. Talk about expanding on a great idea!

Deviled Eggs
from The Betty Crocker Cookbook

6 hard boiled eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Peel eggs. Cut lengthwise in half. Slip out yolks and mash with fork.
Stir mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper into yolks. Fill whites with egg yolks mixture, heaping it lightly. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BBQ Chicken Pizza

This is not an earth-shattering pizza, but a great variation to the typical tomato/cheese pizza. I use this as a way to use up leftover diced chicken, and as a backup in case I'm out of tomato paste or sauce to use for a regular pizza. I have done a mixture of BBQ sauce and tomato sauce as the base in the past, but I just don't think it makes much of a difference taste-wise, so my lazy self has used straight BBQ sauce for a few years.

Here is my oblong-shaped pizza. I make whole wheat pizza crusts on the grill and stash them in the freezer, but my pizzas seem to take on some weird shapes! They still taste really yummy, so no complaints from the family!

I've also made this with diced turkey, and it's just as great!

I am sharing this recipe today at Tasty Tuesdays , Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays. and Tuesdays At The Table.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

prepared pizza crust
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, plus 2 Tablespoons
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup cooked diced chicken (great for leftovers!)
1/4 cup diced red onion

Combine the diced chicken and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce in a bowl, set aside.
Spread the pizza crust with barbecue sauce, top with mozzarella cheese, then spread bbq chicken mixture on top of cheese and dot with diced red onion

The slices are especially yummy with avocado chunks on it. yum-o.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

Monday, October 26, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat Cookies

I should rename these "Slightly-reminiscent-of-honey whole wheat cookie-pucks."

But I'm being too mean to these cookies - they were OK, and we ate them all. But the small size and the hmmmmm how do I say this.....chewy, non-crumbly texture kinda left me craving something more fluffy in a wonderfully refined flour kind of way.

If I would ever make them again, I might try putting some dried fruit in them, like raisins or cranberries.

Honey Whole Wheat Cookies
recipe from The Betty Crocker Cookie Book

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat brown sugar, butter, honey, vanilla, and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light brown.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

Friday, October 23, 2009

Slow Cooker Sausage Barley Soup

Can a soup that has sausage in it ever be bad? I think my husband and I are trying to eat so healthy, that when we allow ourselves something like sausage, we go a little ga-ga.

Because this soup was really good, and it was a bit of a shocker. I did a mini-pantry raid for this, and although I purposefully bought barley to put into a soup, I wasn't planning on this specific recipe. So, I threw everything in, and walked away.

I was even excited to eat this the next day for leftovers, and it was just as good. It was a little thicker, but still had great flavor.

The original recipe had a diced carrot and a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach in it, and I swapped those out for a diced zucchini. I think more vegetables would be good in this soup, but isn't soup just a great vehicle for more veggies to begin with?

I am also sharing this at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap. Stop over there for some neat recipes!

Slow Cooker Sausage Barley Soup
recipe adapted from

1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (48 fluid ounce) can chicken broth (I used homemade)
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, onion, and garlic until the sausage is evenly brown. Season with Italian seasoning. Remove from heat, and drain. In a slow cooker, mix the sausage mixture, chicken broth, zucchini, and barley. Cover, and cook 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Slow Cooker Homemade Applesauce

If you would have told me how different homemade applesauce and store bought applesauce are, I wouldn't have believed you. But wow, they are completely different. Homemade applesauce is not grainy, it's smooth. And it actual tastes like apples, not sour grainy mush.

I saw bags of apples at the store for $2, and thought I'd give it a try. I have been buying unsweetened applesauce jars for a few weeks, as it is a great snack for my son, but this homemade stuff is gold!

We ate almost the complete batch as a side with dinner. I think there is a whopping 1/2 cup stashed in the frig, and I bet that won't make it through the night.

Slow Cooker Applesauce
Recipe adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

4 large apples, skinned, cored, and cut in quarters (I used 8 small)
Juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup water

Skin, core, and cut your apples into quarters.
Place the pieces into a 4 quart crockpot. Add the juice from the lemon, and the water. Sprinkle brown sugar over top.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the apples are super tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork. I cooked mine for about 5 hours, and I mushed them up with a potato masher.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homemade Wrapping Paper

I seem to be in a anti-food post kick, but I swear I have lots of posts in the chute just waiting to be *ahem* written....details, details!!

We had two little kid's birthday parties this weekend, and I needed some wrapping paper. So to get my son involved in the project and to add a personalized touch to a gift, I rolled out some brown kraft paper and let him play play play!

He scribbled, I traced his hands, and overall had a great time making wrapping paper.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Playdough Halloween Decorations

So remember the day my son and I made Homemade Play Dough? Well, I had out all my cookie cutters and thought how neat the pumpkin jack-o-lantern shape was. Then I thought the heart shape was pretty cool too.....hmmmm......and so a craft was born!

I let the shapes dry for a week. At this point, I had no idea what condition they would be in after drying. But I thought, what could it hurt? The shapes dried a little scaley, but overall they looked pretty good.

Then I painted them, and hot glued them to a wood skewer. I put the pumpkins in my plants, and the ghost in a basket of pinecones. The hearts will be Christmas ornament gifts from my son to Grandparents (sorry for the spoiler!)

I had everything on hand except the orange paint, which I bought for 89¢ on sale at Micheals. I even tried to mix my own orange paint, but my red and yellow mixture started to look like Heinz 57 sauce, so I finally ponied up my 89¢ for some craft paint! This was the most frugal decoration I've ever made!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole

Wow. Lentils.

Trying something new here everyday, folks.

I thought we'd try the uber-frugal Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole, and I wasn't expecting much from it. I figured even if we ate a little bit, but weren't in love with it, I didn't throw too many expensive ingredients into the casserole.

But.... it was a really great dinner! My husband was pretty skeptical, but he was honestly surprised at how good it was! I added 2 diced carrots, and 1/2 tsp of curry powder to jazz it up a little, but I think any veggie could be swapped in.

Plus it was dirt cheap, and I can make this casserole almost 4 times from a bag of lentils and a bag of brown rice. What a great dish! I am also sharing this at Mouthwatering Mondays, so go take a look there!

Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole
recipe adapted from The Grocery Cart Challenge and 5 Dollar Dinners

3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
3/4 cups green lentils, although any color will do
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients except the cheese in a baking dish (I use an 11 x 7). Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. Then remove the foil, add the cheese, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Food Network Chefs Challenge: Paula Deen's White Bean Chili

I'm back to participating in the Food Network Chef's Challenge, and this week is the Deen Brothers or Paula Deen.

aaaahhhh Paula.

I actually planned our trip to Savannah around eating at her resturant The Lady and Sons. It sure was yummy, and we walked there straight from Mass at The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I also think we went back to our hotel after stuffing our faces with fried chicken, greens and cornbread and took a loooong nap.

I was in fried chicken heaven during our trip to Savannah, and I think I ate it everyday while we were in Savannah. Even though my favorite restaurant of the trip was Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, I still think of Paula and her fried chicken when I think of Savannah. Onto the recipe!

I love Paula's Almond Chicken Salad, and my mother-in-law has introduced Drunken Chicken to everyone in our family. But I wanted to try something new from Paula, and something a tidge more healthy than a casserole with cream of something soup and mayonnaise - not that I don't enjoy one of those every now and then. So I chose Paula's White Bean Chili....

White Bean Chili
recipe adapted from Paula Deen

1 pound dried navy beans
5 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green chiles (fresh or canned)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

Rinse beans well, cover with cool water, and soak for 2 hours. Drain. Place beans in large pot with chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and chiles and saute for 5 minutes. Add chile mixture to pot with beans. Add chicken, cumin, oregano, pepper, and cilantro. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Serve with cornbread, if desired.

The verdict?
I didn't include nearly as many green chilies as the recipe called for, and I think my version was lacking a little because of it! Next time: more chilies!!

Also, this was very time I will reduce the dried beans to around 2 cups. But the stew had great flavor, and I ate it for lunch for the next few days. My son is still figuring out the whole eating-soup-without-dumping-it-everywhere skill, but he delightfully picked out ALL the beans and was very happy. I will be making this again!

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Low Country Pork Chops

I had some pork chops in the freezer, but needed a new way to present them. I saw this recipe at Mommy's Kitchen and while I revised the recipe to meet what I had in the frig, it was still a great jumping off point!

I didn't have peppers, so I did onions and celery. I also used my cast iron skillet, which I always get a kick out of. These were really moist and tender, and it was a great way to change up pork chops!

Low Country Smothered Pork Chops
recipe adapted from Paula Deen and Mommy's Kitchen

4 center-cut pork chops, 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spread on a plate
2 medium green bell peppers, stemmed, cored, and membranes removed, cut into strips
2 yellow onions, trimmed, cut lengthwise
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 to 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Trim the excess fat from the chops and season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly roll the chops in flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the pan. Brown well, about 3 minutes per side, and remove them to a plate.
Add the bell peppers and onions, to the skillet, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about half a minute longer. Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet. Add chops to pan and place vegetables on top of pork chops. Pour in the broth and sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Cover pan with foil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until chops are tender.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tuna Burgers

I saw this recipe at The Not So Perfect Housewife and thought it was a great idea to get more fish into my family. Although, I can't blame them for the fact I struggle to serve fish...I just don't get that excited for it! So this looked like a great compromise.

I made 4 patties with 2 cans of tuna, and we ate them bun-less, I guess more like Salmon Patties. But overall I was very surprised at how yummy they were! I loved the combination of chili sauce and mayo in the burgers, and I also followed Mikki's lead and added some Old Bay. My husband and I loved ours, our two-year-old didn't touch them, but that wasn't a surprise.

Overall, this was a easy, frugal main dish that I will be making soon!

Tuna Burgers

1 (7 oz can tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chili sauce
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon (to taste) Old Bay Seasoning

Combine the first 4 ingredients. Blend next 3 ingredients. Stir into tuna mixture. Form 4 patties. Fry lightly in oiled skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes or until browned. Serve on hamburger buns with your favorite toppings.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Leftover Bread in the Freezer

I was inspired by this post at Cents to get Debt Free to share my stash of frozen bread heels and leftover bread chunks....I know, sounds appealing, right? I throw the lonely, forgotten bread chunks into a bag, and the pieces that I would normally throw away get re-worked into something new!

But I use that bag of bread heels and random bread pieces to make:
bread crumbs (throw them in the food processor), stuffing, bread pieces for egg casseroles, and croutons. I have a container of bread crumbs in the freezer so I can pull them out whenever I need them without having to lug out the food processor.

It's a great way to be frugal, economical, and pretty creative in the kitchen!

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ok, so Brussel Sprouts have not always been on my "will eat" vegetable list. So, when I got a small bag of them in my produce basket, I cringed. BUT! Forever being an adventurous eater, I gave them another try with the Roasted Brussel Sprouts....and these were really good! I don't think I'll crave them or go hunting for them at the grocery store when they are in season, but they rounded out our meal really well.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 pints brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Add to a baking sheet, and toss to combine. Roast, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

SLOW COOKER STICKY CHICKEN DRUMSTICKSI bought a huge package of drumsticks when they were on sale last week, and I've totally burnt out my family on grilled BBQ drummies over the summer. So I needed something new! Hello new crockpot drumstick recipe!

*Update* As the commenters below have added, instead of using foil as the "bed" to keep the chicken out of the drippings, try thickly sliced onion, baby carrots or cut up potatoes. I have used this technique a few times, and it's great to have a side dish in the slow cooker, too!

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
recipe adapted from Busy Cooks

2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 lbs. chicken drumsticks, skinned if desired
foil for crumpling up in crockpot

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine salt and all the spices. Rinse drumsticks and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken.
Crumple up foil and put in the bottom of a 4 quart crockpot.

Top the foil with the spice rubbed chicken pieces.

Cook on LOW for 8-12 hours until very tender. (mine was perfect after 6 hours on Low)

The verdict?
I put crumpled foil in the bottom of the crockpot, and it really kept the chicken crunchy and not goopy. I took off the skin from the drumsticks to keep the fat down, and with the spice coating, it still created a somewhat-crunchy outer coating. And you have gotta love the convenience of the slow cooker! This is going into the routine!

I am also sharing this recipe at Crock Pot Wednesdays and What's Cooking Wednesday.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Nut Topping

This was a great way to use up a HUGE sweet potato I got in my produce basket. I made a half recipe and it was a great side dish. The nut topping was really good and added the sweetness to the sweet potatoes.

It was really yummy hot out of the oven, but once it cooled down, the leftovers weren't as good. I've also made the full recipe for Thanksgiving 2006.

I am also sharing this recipe at Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, and Tasty Tuesdays.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Bananas and Honey
recipe adapted from Tyler Florence
Makes 10 servings

5 medium sweet potatoes scrubbed
4 bananas unpeeled
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans chopped

You can roast the potatoes and bananas ahead of time, then put it all together just before serving. Then heat it up in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don't turn the oven off.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl along with 1 stick of the butter, and the honey. Season with salt and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything's well combined and the mixture is fluffy. Spoon into an oven-proof serving bowl and smooth the top.

In a separate mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub together the remaining stick of butter, the brown sugar, flour, and pecans until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. Serve hot.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting prepared: Sick Backup Basket

We know it's going to happen: someone in our family is going to get sick this winter. In order to not make it so hard on us then, we are preparing now!

This will help save money and our sanity having medicines stocked before we get ill. I still remember being half way sick with my son in tow, with an incredibly sick husband at home, stopping at Walmart at 8 am to buy all those things you think need when you get sick: Kleenex, Sudafed, cough drops, and orange juice.

This idea originally came from Amy at Mom Advice, but my husband and I were just chatting about last winter when the whole family got sick and how it screwed up our life, our work, and our budget!

Basket in the linen closet:
Cough Drops
Tylenol (missing from photo)
Lysol wipes
Neti Pot (this really helped last year with sinus infections!)

This a little harder to anticipate because we don't know exactly what symptoms will come up, but this is a starting point that would get us through a few days until our normal shopping trip. We also bought Children's Tylenol and Motrin for our son, but keep it in his bathroom.

Hope all of you stay sick-free as long as possible!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Homemade Play Dough

I had totally forgotten how wonderful play dough is for kids. This one ball of dough kept my two-year-old busy for an hour and a half....seriously 90 MINUTES. For the child who can't finish reading a 10 page book, this was a fantastic activity!

This recipe came from my family cookbook, and I let my son "help" with the stirring. He stirred and stirred and kneaded and kneaded until he got those dried up play dough crusties all over his cute little hands.

Homemade Play Dough

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt
1 package unsweetened drink mix (kool-aid) or food coloring (I used a package of Cherry Kool-aid)
1 3/4 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients.

Pour in boiling water and oil (if using food coloring, add it with the water).

Mix until cool. As it cools, the consistency will come together. Knead.

Store in a closed container, and be prepared to pull it out everyday!

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vegetable Cream Cheese

When I was in college, I worked for "Vending Services", which means I made sandwiches and pre-portioned food for the gazillion of food vending machines all over campus. Not a glory job, by all means, but helped me appreciate the fine art of making a kickin' sandwich. You've never quite lived until you've made 200 PB&J's on white sandwich bread at one time. (which by the way, was one of our best sellers.)

The chefs had a Smoked Turkey with Herbed Cream Cheese and Chopped Veggie Wrap, which was my absolute favorite leftover sandwich to steal and hoard in my dorm room mini frig. Classy, I know. If there were leftover sandwiches after we divvied up all the food for it's appriopiate vending machine, (Design, The Hub, VetMed, Knapp...oh, that brings me back) we would spilt up the sandwiches amongst ourselves. Let's just say I never let a sandwich go to waste...I was frugal back in the day, too...or was that just cheap broke college student?

But I had never seen a chopped vegetable mix like it: brocooli, cauliflower, carrots and sometimes radishes or bell peppers, pureed up in the food processor until the bits were pretty small and put on as a layer after a herbed cream cheese. It was a great texture in the sandwich and an ingenious way to get rid of the slowly wilting vegetables in their coolers. I see their evil genius.

I am also sharing this recipe at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

So here is my rendition, with a little help from Everyday Food, to create a Vegetable Cream Cheese.

Vegetable Cream Cheese

1/2 carrot
2 radishes
1 celery rib
1/2 cup raw broccoli
1/4 slice red onion
8 oz cream cheese (can use low fat or reduced fat), softened to room temp
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dried dill weed
1/8 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Grate or chop veggies individually in a food processor until they are small bits. Add to the cream cheese in a bowl and add seasonings. Let set for a few hours in the frig or until flavors meld.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Slow Cooker Chicken & Bean Stew

I was inspired to make this from a recipe from Everyday Food, but I had about a quarter of the ingredients that the recipe called for....improvise, improvise, improvise. And it was fantastic! I love having dinner ready for me in the slow cooker, and that it didn't take a "cream of this" or a "dry spice mix of that" was great.

I am also sharing this at Ultimate Recipe Swap. Pop over there for some great recipes!

Slow Cooker Chicken & Bean Stew
recipe adapted from Everyday Food

1 cup dried beans (pinto, kidney, or black)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp garlic powder (or once minced garlic clove)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water (or more if you want more of a soup)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
salt and pepper

In a greased 5 or 6 quart slow cooker, stir together the beans, tomatoes, peppers, onion, seasonings, flour and water. Season chicken with salt and pepper and lay on top of the mixture. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours on low. Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred. Put back in the slow cooker and stir gently to combine.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking