SLOW COOKER MEXICAN RICE AND BEANS

With this recipe, we used a 3 quart slow cooker.  Each slow cooker seems to have it's own unique heat.  In determining the cook time, I would recommend using a 3 quart slow cooker.  This lovely side dish was cooked in 2 hrs. and 15 minutes.  It makes a nice lunch with a salad, or a lovely side dish to any Mexican flavoured main dishes.  Adding sliced avocados, salsa, plain yogurt are nice accompaniments.

2 tblsp. Avocado oil

3/4 cup long grain basmati rice, well rinsed

1 small shallot, diced

1/4 of a green pepper, diced

2/3 cup diced tomato

14 oz can of black beans rinsed well

1-2 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tblsp. warm water

Plug in the slow cooker, and preheat on low.  Heat up a saute pan on low medium heat with the Avocado oil.  Add the vegetables and saute 5 minutes.  Add in the seasonings and rice, and saute for another 3 minutes.  Transfer the rice vegetables to a slow cooker, add in the black beans and pour in the water.  Stir gently lid on and cook on low for 2 hrs. 15 minutes.

 

 

Such a simple recipe to put together one I have been making for years. Great for breakfast, served with whipped cream or a splash of cream on top.

With this dish, ideally a soft crumb gluten free bread works best here - use your favourite gluten free bread.

6 cups cubed soft gluten free bread

3 eggs, whisk well

1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and ginger

1 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract or vanilla extract

1 cup milk, 1 cup half and half cream - we use lactose free, but use your milk of choice

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup raisins

1/2-2/3 cup pure maple syrup (I was generous and used 2/3 cup)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Add the milk and butter to a sauce pan, heat on low until the butter is melted.  Lightly grease a glass baking dish with butter. (mine was 8x11.5 in size)

In a large bowl add the cubed 6 cups of soft gluten free bread. In a separate bowl whisk up the eggs, add the cinnamon, ginger, almond extract, and mix well.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes, tossing well to coat then place evenly into a lightly greased casserole dish. Toss in the raisins throughout on top.  Pour the milk/butter mixture over top evenly.  Then drizzle the maple syrup over the bread pudding - be fairly generous.

Bake for 45 minutes and serve warm with cream.

If you read my blog, you will know that using a crock pot, slow cooker is not my usual preferred method of cooking.  I never really got good results in the past, hence the few slow cooker recipes on this blog.  This one?  It is a keeper.  15 minutes of prep time, load the crock pot, set the temperature, and dinner is done and on the table 5 1/2 hours later.  When a recipe works the time saving convenience of a crock pot is wonderful.

5-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1/2 Tblsp. Italian Seasoning

1 Bay leaf

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 Tblsp. Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tblsp. soy sauce

1 Tblsp. white balsamic vinegar

fresh cracked pepper

2 big Tblsp. tomato paste

2 Tblsp. corn starch

1 cup water

1/2 of a large green pepper, sliced

1 large garlic clove, sliced in half

2/3 cup chopped carrots, 1 tblsp. finely diced celery leaves and celery

hand full of chopped leeks, optional

2 cups potatoes, cut into 1 1/2  inch pieces

We use a small 2-3 litre sized Crock Pot Slow Cooker.  For this recipe you will want to preheat the crock pot on high for 15 minutes while prepping vegetables etc., then add the ingredients, keeping on high for another 15 minutes, then turn down to low heat for 5 1/2 hours. (total preheat time on high, 30 min.)

Add the chopped potatoes to the bottom of the crock pot, followed by the carrots, celery and leaves, garlic clove, green peppers and bay leaf.

In a bowl whisk up the Worcestershire Sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, corn starch and water, then set aside.

Add the chicken thighs on top, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, fresh cracked pepper, then pour the sauce over the top.  After the crock pot has heated on high for the 15 minutes with the ingredients added, turn the crock pot to low and cook 5 1/2 hours.

 

 

If you are looking to getting into a healthier lifestyle regime, this immune boosting smoothie is a great way to start.

Believe it or not, this smoothie contains red cabbage, and you would never know it to taste it.  If you want to check out the many many health benefits of red cabbage, here is a great article.

We alternate the flavourings of this smoothie - one day we will use a 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, the next time we use cinnamon and tumeric, all 3 of these flavors provide huge immune boosting properties as well.  Here we use frozen, thawed: organic strawberries, organic wild blueberries and pineapple, but any choice of berries, fruit etc. can work nicely.

3/4 cup chopped red cabbage

1/2 tsp. organic tumeric, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, or a 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger chopped

1/2 cup frozen thawed organic strawberries

1/2 cup frozen thawed pineapple

1/4 cup frozen thawed organic wild blueberries

3/4-1 cup water

Put all of the ingredients into a blender:

Blend until nice and smooth - you will not believe how good it tastes, and such a great way to start your day.

 

A one pot meal with simple ingredients, and tasty comfort food with easy clean up too.

 

With this dish, you could also use, smoked sausage, chicken strips, beef strips, and a variety of your favourite seasonings.

2 Tblsp. Avocado oil

4 gluten free Italian Sausages

3/4 cup basmati rice

1 3/4 cup chicken stock

1 shallot, sliced

chopped red and green bell pepper to equal 2/3 cup

2/3 cup chopped small broccoli with stems - separate the florets from the stem

1 tsp. dried oregano, basil, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste

grated Parmesan cheese

handful of chopped Flat Leafed Italian Parsley

Heat up a dutch oven on medium heat with the Avocado Oil.  Once heated add in the sausages to cook until nicely browned.  Mine took about 18 minutes.  Then remove to a plate and set aside.

Drain off some of the oil, turn the heat to low and add in the vegetables excluding the broccoli florets and seasonings.  Saute until fragrant - about 4 minutes.

Add in the rice and saute for 2 minutes.  Pour in the chicken stock, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add in the broccoli florets, and once the stock is simmering, turn down to minimum lid on and cook 18-20 minutes.

Cut up the sausage into bite size pieces, and half way through cooking add in the chopped sausages on top, lid back on to cook the remaining time.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and fresh chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley.

 

 

Okay...  There is a story behind this name and recipe.  I was texting with my sister the other day - she lives in Wild Rose Country, Alberta, Canada.  Yup as beautiful as those Wild Roses are, and they are a plenty, the miles are too far between us and I miss her. Thankfully, we do visit from time to time.

Now onto how this recipe evolved.  Texting away at both our ends she mentioned what she was making for dinner.  I thought, hey, I have most of those ingredients, and can easily make a few improvisations, hence this recipe came about.  You know how you get bored with the same old same old?  Well, here was something new to try, and yes, it was damn delicious yummm in your mouth!  Plus, for those that follow a Keto diet, this is a recipe you will love. Thank you sweet sister, a recipe we will make time and time again. xoxo

1 spaghetti squash, cooked - we used our tried and true Air fryer method

2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

1 shallot, sliced

2 minced garlic cloves

398 ml can of whole, peeled Italian Pomodaro tomatoes, with sauce, cut into bite size pieces (or 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes)

huge handful (1  1/2 cups?) roughly chopped fresh spinach

4-5 slices roughly chopped bacon

1 tsp. whole leaf dried oregano, crushed in hands, 1/2 tsp. ground basil, 1/2 tsp. ground fennel

salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese

Follow the directions for Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash, or use oven roasted method.

Heat up a large sauce pan low medium heat, with the Olive Oil, shallots and garlic.  Saute until fragrant, 3-4 minutes, then add in the chopped whole tomatoes and sauce, and fresh spinach.  Add in the spices stirring well, bring to a simmer, turn down to low minimum, lid off and simmer.  This will low simmer 30-40 minutes while the rest of the meal comes together.

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat and cook the bacon until brown/crisp, then remove and place on a plate with paper towel to absorb the extra grease.

Once spaghetti squash is cooked, remove from Air fryer to a platter.  I use tongs at one end, and scrape out the strands using a fork onto the platter.  Plate the spaghetti squash, and cover with the Italian tomato sauce, sprinkling of bacon and Parmesan cheese.  Comfort food full of flavor and quick and easy too!

 

 

 

This one pot braised chicken and rice came together very easily, and was packed full of flavor.  In terms of chicken, we used skinless boneless chicken breasts, but really any cut of chicken or thighs skinless or not can easily work here.  In terms of seasonings, you could go with Italian, Curry, or even Mexican flavors.  A very versatile dish.

2 Tblsp. Olive oil

2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces, season with salt and pepper

1 small diced celery stalk with leaves

1/4-1/2 sliced green pepper, slice into 2 inch thin strips

3 mushrooms of your choice, sliced small

1 small shallot, diced

2/3 cup frozen chopped okra

2/3 cup frozen green beans 1-2 inch pieces in size

2 Tblsp. tomato paste mixed with 1 1/2 cups chicken stock

398 ml can of diced tomatoes and juice

1 Tblsp. White Balsamic Vinegar

1 cup brown or white minute rice

1/2 Tblsp. Hungarian Paprika, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. saffron, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Heat up a braiser pan, or large frying pan with the olive oil, medium low heat.  Once heated add the chicken pieces, lightly saute 2-3 minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside.  They will finish cooking in the sauce.

Turn the heat to low, and add in the shallot, mushrooms, celery, and green pepper.  Saute lightly for 5 minutes.  Add in the seasonings, chicken stock with tomato paste, diced tomatoes, Balsamic vinegar, frozen okra, green beans and rice, stirring to incorporate.  Place the chicken pieces throughout, and once simmering, turn the heat to minimum and cook lid on for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, remove the lid and lightly simmer for 5 more minutes.  Serve hot, a one pot meal that is pure comfort food.

 

 

This was an easy, yet elegant dinner to have during the week or for a special occasion with company.  In this recipe we used 3 medium sized chicken breast (leftovers tomorrow) but it would be lovely with skinless boneless chicken thighs as well.  In terms of seasoning we used both fresh herbs and dried, a dish that would be lovely with pasta, rice or potatoes.

3 medium sized skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in half horizontally so you have 6 pieces

1 Tblsp. Olive Oil, 1 Tblsp. butter

Seasoning blend:  I use this one

1/4 cup diced dried tomatoes, in oil, pat excess off with a paper towel

1 sliced shallot

1 cup chicken bone broth, plus extra to make a slurry

1/2 Tblsp. White Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top

2/3 cup lactose free half and half cream

3-4 tsp. potato starch

1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. dried fennel

minced fresh basil to sprinkle on top before serving

salt and pepper to taste

Heat up a dutch oven on medium heat with the Olive oil and butter.  Once your chicken has been cut, lightly season with your favourite season blend.  Place in the dutch over - I did 2 batches to not overcrowd the pan.  Lightly sear each chicken breast, both sides, about 5-6 minutes in total - they will continue to cook in the broth.  Place chicken on a plate to the side.

To the pan add the sliced shallot and diced sun dried tomatoes.  Saute about 5 minutes, or until the shallots are soft.

Return the chicken to the pan, and sprinkle the dried herbs through out the chicken.  Add the bone broth, white balsamic vinegar, scraping up any brown bits in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn down to a low low simmer, lid on and cook 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Make a slurry with the potato starch and a splash of bone broth.  Slowly add to the liquid, stirring through out until lightly thickened.  Pour in the cream mixing well.  Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle fresh basil over top.   Serve along side any side dishes, adding a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to the top of the chicken.  Asiago is also a nice choice to sprinkle on top.

 

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