Bowl of bean burger stew

Hearty Bean Burger Stew

It’s that time of year when the weather starts turning colder, and we start turning to soups and stews for dinner to warm us to the bone!  Although it still isn’t too chilly here in south Florida, I’m jumping on the bandwagon and whipping up some delicious soups and stews for the season.

This particular recipe has been in my family for three generations!  It has been handed down to me by my mother, who used to eat it growing up as prepared by her mother.  As a child, my mom used to prepare this dish for my family all the time – it’s so easy to make that it’s perfect for a night in which you only have a short time to prepare supper.  It’s a simple and easy dish, but so delicious!  It’s made with budget-friendly ingredients, and with the few tweaks I have made is quite healthy as well.  Enjoy this time-tested recipe for hearty bean burger stew!

Hearty Bean Burger Stew

You will need:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef (about 1-2 hamburger patties’ worth), broken into small chunks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 16-oz. cans Pork and Beans
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes (you can use plain or flavored ones)
  • Medium frying pan

(Click here for a printable PDF version of this recipe!)

First, gather your ingredients together.

Bean burger stew ingredients

Dice the onion into medium or small pieces.

Diced onion

Add the ground beef and chopped onion to the frying pan, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until the ground beef is cooked through and the onion is starting to become translucent.

Ground beef and onion cooking

Open the cans of pork and beans, and discard the fatty piece of “pork” usually floating on the top.  Add the cans of beans and the can of tomatoes to the frying pan – don’t drain either.  Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Bean burger stew in the pan

Serve up your hearty bean burger stew and enjoy!

Bowl of bean burger stew

I hope you liked this recipe!  If you try it, let me know how it turned out in the comments section below!

Pumpkin seeds in bowl

Simple Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Just before Halloween, a few friends and I got together for a pumpkin carving party.  I hadn’t carved a pumpkin in years, and some of them had never carved one!  Thus, it was great fun for us all to go pick out our pumpkins, bring them back, scoop out the goopy insides, and carve faces into the sides.  We all did pretty traditional jack-o-lantern faces, and I think they turned out really well for novices!  In the end, we had five pumpkins carved, but also large amount of stringy material and seeds from five pumpkins lying around.  After our party was over, I sorted through the insides and picked out most of the seeds – of which there were a lot!

Jack-o-lanterns

The jack-o-lanterns my friends and I carved

I didn’t want to throw out the seeds, even though I wasn’t really sure what to do with them!  I did some research, and found that although pumpkin seeds (like most nuts and seeds) are high in calories, they are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (the good kind of fat that helps lower bad cholesterol).  Thus, I was set on finding a frugal, easy, yummy way to prepare them them.

After combing through multiple pumpkin seed recipes online, I combined elements found in many of them to create this recipe.  It is probably one of the easiest recipes I have ever made!  It only takes 3 ingredients besides the seeds themselves: sugar, salt, and pepper.  Almost everyone is guaranteed to have those ingredients, and they are all cheap to buy.   Whether you have leftover seeds from carving a jack-o-lantern or seeds from a pumpkin bought to make a pie, this recipe is a perfect choice for you!  Eaten in moderation, these pumpkin seeds are both nutritious and delicious, and quick and frugal to make!  Enjoy!

Simple Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

You will need:

  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Baking sheet

(Click here for the printable version of this recipe!)

First, gather your ingredients together.  Preheat the oven to 375°, and move a rack in the oven to the topmost position.

Pumpkin seeds ingredients

Add the pumpkin seeds to the mixing bowl.  Try to get out as much of the orange stringy stuff as possible, but if a few strings remain that’s okay.  Add the sugar, pepper, and salt to the bowl.

Pumpkin seeds with spices

Mix the seeds with the other ingredients well, until the seeds are well coated.

Pumpkin seeds mixed

Place the coated seeds on a baking sheet in as much of a single layer as possible.  (If you want, you can line the baking sheet with foil first – it makes cleanup a lot easier!)

Pumpkin seeds uncooked

Place the seeds on the top rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the seeds turn golden brown. Check them carefully as the time nears 15 minutes – you don’t want to overcook them at all or they’ll taste burned!

Pumpkin seeds cooked

Let cool 10 minutes, then remove the seeds and place them in a sealed container.  (They will stick to the pan or foil, so you will have to pry them off!)  These will last for a couple weeks on the counter in a sealed container, just as sticky and delicious as ever!

Pumpkin seeds in bowl

Enjoy this super simple toasted pumpkin seed recipe, and let me know how you liked it in the comments below!

Served vegetables

Garlic Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

I’ll admit right up front: I don’t like vegetables.  Oh, I’ve always liked them if they were in something, like soups or casseroles, but a serving of plain vegetables on the plate by themselves?  Forget it.  However, vegetables are so healthy that I was determined to find a way to prepare them tastily.

When I first found a recipe for roasted vegetables, I thought, why not try it?  I wasn’t optimistic that I would like them, but I was willing to give it a try.  After I made my first batch of roasted broccoli, I was shocked!  I loved it!  I had never loved any vegetable before, but this recipe turned broccoli from a mushy green tree to be choked down into a crispy morsel to be savored.  And the recipe is so easy and quick to make, it’s almost unbelievable that the vegetables can taste this good!

The following is a very basic recipe for roasted broccoli and cauliflower.  You can roast other vegetables too, of course – I have also tried asparagus, beets, carrots, and potatoes, all with fantastic results.  However, broccoli and cauliflower are still my favorite roasted vegetables, and are thus the focus of this post.  This method of preparing vegetables is perfect for kids and those who don’t usually like vegetables, as the flavor changes so much that it is hardly recognizable as being the same plant.  Enjoy this simple, healthy, frugal, and most of all delicious recipe!

Garlic Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

You will need:

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Large bowl
  • Baking sheet

(Click here for the printable PDF version of this recipe!)

First of all, gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 400°.  Move a rack in the oven to the topmost shelf in the oven.

Ingredients for roasted vegetables

Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a large bowl, then drizzle the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder over the veggies.  Toss well so that the vegetables get totally coated with the oil and spices.

Vegetables in bowl

Place the broccoli and cauliflower on the baking sheet in a single layer, separating the vegetables from each other as best you can.

Vegetables before roasting

Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven, and bake for 8 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven and flip the veggies to the other side, then place back in and cook for an additional 8 minutes or until the veggies are crispy and browned.

Vegetables after roasting

Serve right away!  The roasted veggies taste best right out of the oven, and will get soft and cold if they are out of the oven too long.

Served vegetables

Enjoy this delicious way to eat vegetables that everyone is guaranteed to like!  If you try this recipe, let me know in the comments below!

The served salsa chicken

Scrumptious Salsa Chicken

I love chicken.

It’s versatile – can be prepared in an innumerable number of ways and taste different every time.  It’s inexpensive – one of the cheapest meats on the market.  It’s healthy – one of the leanest meats you can buy.  And, most importantly, it’s delicious – no matter how it is cooked, it’s almost always yummy!

Because of the above reasons, I thought that a chicken recipe would be a perfect choice for my first blog post.  This recipe for Salsa Chicken is one of my all-time favorites, and includes the four factors that make a recipe magical – it is healthy, takes almost no time to throw together, is budget-friendly, and is so tasty!  I could easily eat this every day and be content.  Even if you aren’t a big fan of spicy or Mexican food, I encourage you to give this recipe a try anyway – I guarantee that it will win your heart as it has won mine!

Scrumptious Salsa Chicken

You will need:

  • 2 16-ounce jars of chunky salsa (whatever strength you want)
  • 1 can low-fat or “Healthy Request” cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can any type beans (kidney, pinto, navy, etc.)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, or one large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 oz. (½ small block) reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  • Crock pot (or large regular pot, if don’t want to use a crock pot)

(Click here for the printable PDF version of this recipe!)

First, gather all your ingredients together!

All the ingredients needed to make salsa chicken

Next, open your can of beans, then rinse and drain them using a colander.

Rinsed beans

Dump the jars of salsa, soup, and the beans into the crock pot…

The beans, salsa, and soup in the pot

Then mix them up!

The salsa, beans, and soup mixed together

Next, take your chicken pieces and place them in the crock pot with the salsa mixture.

The chicken with the salsa mixture

Now push the chicken down into the salsa mix, covering them completely.  You shouldn’t even be able to tell that they’re there!

The chicken submerged in the salsa mixture

Place your crock pot on the base, and cook on medium for about 6 hours.  (If you don’t have a crock pot or don’t remember to put the recipe in the pot earlier in the day, you can achieve the same effect by placing all ingredients in a regular large pot and cooking on the stove over low heat for 1½ – 2 hours).

The crock pot on medium heat

In the meantime, grate the cheese and set it aside for later.  I used Cabot 75% reduced fat “sharp extra light” cheddar – I stock up on it when there’s a BOGO sale at my local grocery store, because it keeps for a long time and is an excellent low-fat alternative to a regularly fatty ingredient.  However, if you can’t find it on sale, feel free to use any reduced fat cheddar cheese – there’s usually a store brand of a cheddar cheese made with 2% milk, which is healthier than the full fat kind.

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After the cooking time is up, the chicken should fall apart easily.  Shred the chicken into small strips in the pot with the side of a spoon, and mix it in with the salsa.

The chicken broken into strips

Now, serve it up!  Place the salsa chicken on a plate, top with a bit of the grated cheese, and scoop it up with tortilla chips.  Mmmmm!

The served salsa chicken

Now you too have experienced the delicious event that is salsa chicken!  This recipe makes six generous portions, and is great as leftovers (in the rare event that you are able to refrain from eating it all, that is!).  Let me know in the comments if you made this recipe and enjoyed it (or not!), or if you have any questions or suggestions for me!