Well, it’s official, as of yesterday, Minnesota has had it’s first snow storm.  Welcome winter, I guess.  It’s really fine with me if I’m going to be stranded inside as long as I have warm, comfort food to keep me feeling cozy and satisfied.  Growing up, I don’t have a single memory of my mom using a crock pot and therefore, I don’t have a whole bunch of slow cooker recipes in my repertoire.  But I have been trying to change that lately because it gives me so much more freedom when I get home from work if dinner is already done, smelling wonderful and just waiting for me to serve up.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

This Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili made in the crock pot really blew me away.  I couldn’t believe how wonderfully tender and easy to shred the chicken was and the flavor of onions, garlic, green peppers with chili powder and cumin after the chili had been simmering away all day is really something special.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The intensity of flavor that ingredients acquire after cooking on low heat for a long time is so much greater than if you were to just throw this soup together on the stovetop for example.  This Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili could be modified to include any of your favorite ingredients.  Corn and green chiles are top on my list of what I might add next time, although I loved this soup so much, I might not want to change it.  The chili powder and jalapeño give the soup just a subtle low burn of heat and the fresh lime juice added at the end together with the cilantro garnished on top of the chili is just perfection.

Easy Chicken Chili (Crock pot)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium broth)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lime
  • lime, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, cheese for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place chicken into crock pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place onion, green pepper, garlic, jalapeño, and tomatoes into crock pot.
  3. Add chicken broth, chili powder and cumin.
  4. Turn crock pot on low heat and cook for 7 1/2 hours.
  5. Add black beans and juice of half of the lime and cook for another 1/2 hour.
  6. Serve with garnishes.
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Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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As long as it is summer, each week I buy a watermelon, chop it up and snack on it morning, noon and night.  I just can’t get enough.  Inevitably I can’t get through the entire melon myself, so I turn it into other delights like the Strawberry Watermelon Cooler that I shared with you a couple of weeks ago.  My latest obsession is this Easy Watermelon Granita.

Easy Watermelon Granita {satisfymysweettooth.com}

A granita is essentially a grown-up version of a snow cone that it is so refreshing and cooling on these hot summer days.  Not only do I love the flavor of this Easy Watermelon Granita, but that color, that perfectly pink watermelon color, is just so perfect.

Easy Watermelon Granita {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Now when I say “easy” I am not exaggerating.  To make this granita, you simply puree chunks of watermelon and strain the juice, mix in a couple more ingredients, pop it into your freezer and in a few short hours, you will be spooning icy chilled Easy Watermelon Granita into your mouth.  I added a very small amount of tequila to my granita and I’ll tell you why:  alcohol inhibits the liquid from fully freezing so that no matter how long you have left your granita in the freezer, it won’t freeze into a solid block, but will remain nice shards of frozen goodness.  You could use any alcohol you prefer (vodka, gin, rum, etc.) or omit it completely, but if you omit it just make sure that you do an effective job of scraping the entire mixture into fine bits during the freezing process so that you don’t get large ice pieces.

Easy Watermelon Granita {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Easy Watermelon Granita

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups granita

Cool and refreshing shaved watermelon granita will be the perfect refreshment for the remaining days of summer

Ingredients

    For the simple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • For the granita
  • 2 1/4 cups watermelon juice (from about 5 cups chopped watermelon)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • the simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tequila (or vodka)

Instructions

    For the simple syrup
  1. Place the water into a small microwave-safe mug and microwave for 45-60 seconds (until almost boiling).
  2. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved completely.
  3. Place into the refrigerator to cool completely.
  4. For the granita
  5. Use a blender or food processor to process the watermelon until you have 2 1/4 cups of juice.
  6. Strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove any pulp.
  7. Pour the juice into an 8X8-inch baking dish.
  8. Add lemon juice, simple syrup and tequila to the watermelon juice and mix gently until the mixture is well combined.
  9. Place the dish into the freezer. Every 2 hours until the mixture is completely frozen, remove the mixture from the freezer and gently scrape the surface with a fork so that the frozen bits become fine shavings.
  10. Serve directly from the freezer.
  11. Can be kept in a well-sealed container in the freezer for one month.
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Just in time for the hottest dog days of summer, I have the most refreshing, easy breezy cool down drink for you.  I hardly feel like I can call this Strawberry Watermelon Cooler a “recipe” because it is so simple, but it is so delicious that it is definitely worth sharing with you.

Strawberry Watermelon Cooler {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Watermelon is hands down one of my favorite parts of summer.  I always have a tub of cut up melon in my fridge and it is the best way to quench my thirst and cool down after a workout or satisfy my hunger while I finish dinner.  I’ve told you a million times how much of a texture eater I am and that juicy light crunch of watermelon is pretty much what my dreams are made of.

Strawberry Watermelon Cooler {satisfymysweettooth.com}

As if the taste of this Strawberry Watermelon Cooler wasn’t reason enough to make it daily, it is basically like sneaking in several servings of fruit without even noticing.  Watermelon is receiving more and more praise for being one of the fruits that is highest in lycopene which is an antioxidant which helps to fight numerous diseases.  I was also surprised to recently learn how high in vitamin C watermelon is.  I think of citrus fruits instantly when I think of vitamin C, but watermelon is one of the fruits that has a very high amount of this immune-boosting vitamin as well.

Have I mentioned that there is NO added sugar in this Strawberry Watermelon Cooler??  But you’d never know it by how sweet and tasty it is.  The watermelon and strawberries are sweet enough to shine on their own which is a bonus because I try to avoid sugary overly-sweetened drinks.

Strawberry Watermelon Cooler

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 cup ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve.
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Strawberry Watermelon Cooler {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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Oh boy sweet teeth, have I got a treat for you today!!  There are certain things that I make that when I taste them, I am just overwhelmed with excitement about sharing them with you and these Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches are exactly the type of treat I am talking about!

Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches, how I love you, let me count the ways:

  1. First, you know that I love miniature things, and each of the peanut butter M&M cookies that are the “bread” in this sandwich begin with just a tablespoon of dough, so the cookies end up being just a few bites each.
  2. Second, I love peanut butter anything and the peanut butter flavor is so prominent in these Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.
  3. Third, I love soft cookies and because these Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches are made with a flourless peanut butter cookie recipe, the cookie sandwiches are soft enough to eat straight out of the freezer.  No need to wait until the sandwiches thaw for a few minutes.  Instant gratification people, it’s a beautiful thing.

Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The peanut butter M&M cookies that sandwich the ice cream only require 6 ingredients that you will undoubtedly have on hand.  As I mentioned, the cookies are flourless which is not only great for those individuals who are gluten intolerant, but it also equates to the cookies being some of the softest cookies I have ever had.

Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I bought a small tube of the Mini M&M’s because I like how colorful and fun they make the cookies but you could make just as delicious a cookie using mini chocolate chips if you don’t want to run out and grab some Mini M&M’s.  And since I made these cookies “bite-sized”, you will only have to wait about 8 minutes per tray for them to bake, which means you will be able to have these perfect soft and oh so peanut buttery cookies on their way to becoming ice cream sandwiches in no time.

Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I sandwiched Light Monster Cookie Ice Cream in between my perfect peanut butter M&M cookies (hence the name Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches), but I can’t think of a flavor of ice cream that wouldn’t be fantastic in these sandwiches.  Cookies n’ Cream would be phenomenal, strawberry ice cream would give you a lovely peanut butter and jelly taste and just straight up vanilla or chocolate would be just dreamy.  The possibilities are endless.  Let’s try them all, shall we?

Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Yield: 15 ice cream sandwiches

The softest and most peanut buttery cookies filled with miniature M&M's and sandwiched around monster cookie ice cream, it doesn't get any better than this

Ingredients

  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural peanut butter, it will make the cookies gritty)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup mini M&Ms
  • a pint of ice cream (I used Light Monster Cookie flavored ice cream, but use whatever flavor you like)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add egg, vanilla and baking soda and mix until combined.
  4. Fold in the mini M&Ms using a spatula.
  5. Place 1 Tbsp sized balls of dough on to a cookie sheet leaving at least 1 inch in between cookies.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes and cool completely on the cookie sheet.
  7. Place the cooled cookies into the freezer for a couple of minutes so that they are chilled when you sandwich the ice cream in between them.
  8. Remove cookies from freezer and flip half of them over. Top half of the cookies with 1 Tbsp of ice cream and then use the other cookies to top the ice cream to make the sandwiches.
  9. Place ice cream sandwiches into the freezer in a covered container or zip top bag for at least an hour before serving.
  10. Store the ice cream sandwiches in the freezer in a covered container or zip top bag.
  11. Cookie recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
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Monster Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches {satisfymysweettooth.com}

 

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I made soup twice last week.  I am fairly certain that I could eat soup every day.  I love how it warms me up and keeps me feeling full and satisfied for hours.  I made a brothy farro vegetable soup (farro is my new grain of choice by the way) early in the week that was so healthy and delicious.  Then later in the week I made an also healthy and simplified version of one of my favorite soups, Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients).  As I was making this Simple Potato Leek Soup, I realized that I was utilizing some of my favorite kitchen tips for making things healthier and easier to manage in the kitchen and I decided to share them with you in this post.

I love lists.  Do you love lists?  I hope so because here we go with my list of 3 kitchen tips for you:

  • Sauté vegetables in stock rather than butter or oil.

IMG_2627

IMG_2629

When I am sautéing vegetables for soups or a side dish, rather than dousing them with oil or drowning them in butter, I simply open a can of stock (I use low sodium chicken stock but you could also use vegetable stock without either option affecting the flavor too significantly) and pour about 1/8 cup at a time into the pan with the vegetables.  I don’t measure, I simply make sure there is a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan so that the vegetables don’t burn.  I watch it and pour a bit more when the liquid has evaporated/steamed off.  I find that this technique results in soft, tender vegetables without any added fat.  I want to save my oil and butter for when I need it to add flavor.  I will usually sprinkle some fresh ground pepper into the veggies, but don’t add extra salt because the broth does that for me.  Once my vegetables are cooked, I can continue with them as I wish whether that be turning them into fajitas or adding other things to make them part of a soup.

  • Clean your potatoes with a manicure/pedicure nail brush (an unused one silly).

IMG_2628

This one does not need much explanation.  I was cleaning out my bathroom and had a never-been-opened pedicure kit with a nail brush and I was about to discard the whole kit when I realized how convenient that brush would make cleaning potatoes.  I scrub my potatoes with the brush while running them under cold water to remove excess dirt.  Simple idea, but it helps me be more efficient and effective.

  • Clean your leeks quickly, but effectively.

Oh leeks, how I love you.  I used to fear and avoid cooking with leeks because they seemed like a pain to deal with because of all of that dirt hiding between their layers.  Here are the simple steps that I now use to avoid sand in my dinner:

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

cut the root ends and the dark green parts off each leek

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

cut the remaining leek in half lengthwise

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

run the leek under water while fanning out the layers to remove dirt; flip leek over and repeat from the opposite end

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

cut into thin strips (and sauté in chicken stock-see first tip of this post)

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}I hope that you find these simple kitchen tips helpful when you make this Simple Potato Leek Soup!  You would never guess that this soup is only 140 calories per serving based on how rich and creamy it is!  Add additional salt and pepper to your taste.

What is your favorite, most helpful kitchen tip?

Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients) {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients), plus 3 helpful kitchen tips

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Rich, creamy and flavorful soup that is light and healthy and simple to make

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks, white and light green parts only (about 3 cups sliced leeks)
  • 5 medium yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans low sodium chicken stock
  • 1-2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream, plus more for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium/large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add 1/8 cup chicken stock.
  3. Cut root end and dark green parts off of leeks. Cut in half lengthwise. Run under water while fanning out layers to clean and remove dirt.
  4. Slice into strips, sprinkle with regular salt and pepper and add to pot and cook until softened 5-10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, clean potatoes and dice into 1-inch pieces. Add to pot with remaining chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover pot and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.
  6. Puree soup using immersion blender or regular blender. Add 1-2 tsp celery salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Stir in sour cream.
  8. Serve with additional sour cream.

Notes

Per serving: Calories: 140 Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 29g

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Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients) {satisfymysweettooth.com} Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients) {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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