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.

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.

Strawberry Watermelon Cooler {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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Besides Strawberry Rhubarb Custard Tart, one other dish that I simply must have once summer has finally arrived is classic, fresh bruschetta.  Fresh from the garden tomatoes and basil combined with garlic and olive oil makes the most perfect combination.

I love to put twists on classic recipes like bruschetta and so this Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta is just different enough that you still recognize the flavors, but your tastebuds are pleasantly surprised by the slightly charred flavor that grilling the bread provides.

Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I started my Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta by dicing five vine on tomatoes.  To the diced tomatoes, I added two cloves of crushed garlic.  I like my garlic flavor to be strong, but if you would like it to be a little more mild, just add one clove.  Finally, I cut a small bunch of basil into thin strips.  All of these ingredients are combined in a bowl and get drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  I let the tomato mixture sit out on the counter while I prepare the bread by slicing a baguette and smearing one side of each piece of bread with a light coating of salted butter.

Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The key to the Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta is the grilled bread (duh), but if you don’t have an outdoor grill at your disposal, a hot grill pan will do the trick.  Heat your grill to medium-high heat and once it is good and hot, place the pieces of baguette buttered-side down onto the grill.

Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta {satisfymysweettooth.com}

You will only need to have the bread on the grill for about 5 minutes or less, depending on how hot your grill is.  You just want nice, dark brown grill marks on the bread.  I then placed my grilled bread onto an old cookie sheet that I wasn’t worried about getting a little charred on the grill.  I topped the bread with the tomato mixture and a sprinkle of shaved parmesan cheese and then put the whole cookie sheet back onto the grill just until the tomato mixture was heated through and the parmesan was slightly melted.

Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta is the perfect appetizer to bring on any summer booze cruise, which is what I did with it at the lake cabin or to serve as an appetizer before the rest of your grilled meal.

Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Grilled Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 16-20 pieces

A summer classic kicked up a notch by the slightly charred flavor of buttered and grilled baguette

Ingredients

  • 5 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • one baguette
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • shaved parmesan cheese (for topping)

Instructions

  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Slice baguette and spread a thin layer of salted butter onto one side of each slice.
  4. Place bread buttered-side down onto the heated grill. Grill for about 5 minutes or until bread is lightly browned and has dark brown grill marks. Watch closely as the bread can burn easily.
  5. Place the bread, grilled-side up onto a cookie sheet. Top each slice with 1-2 Tbsp of the tomato mixture.
  6. Sprinkle each piece with parmesan.
  7. Place sheet onto grill and heat until tomato mixture is heated through and the cheese is slightly melted.

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It is amazing to me how much of my time is spent looking at recipes and yet each week, I am puzzled by what to make for dinner.  I know that I am not alone in this struggle.  I have my staples that seem to make a weekly appearance but I love when I am pleasantly surprised by a new recipe and both my husband and I like it well enough that I know that it will be a repeat.  I expected these Black Bean Burgers to be ok, but they sort of blew my mind.

Black Bean Burgers {satisfymysweettooth.com}

These Black Bean Burgers are packed with flavorful ingredients like garlic, cilantro, lime and onion just to name a few.  The combination of fresh herbs and ingredients with the dry spices creates such a great depth of flavor.  I ate my Black Bean Burger open-faced and topped it with homemade guacamole and my favorite hot sauce.

Black Bean Burgers {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Besides their incredible flavor, the second best thing about these Black Bean Burgers is how quick they are to make.  Bake up some potato wedges and broccoli on a separate baking sheet while you bake the burgers, and you can have a healthy dinner on the table in 30 minutes.

Black Bean Burgers {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Black Bean Burgers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Bursting with flavor and perfectly spiced, Black Bean Burgers will become a regular staple in your weekly mean plan

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • dash of worcestershire sauce
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 whole wheat buns and other toppings (such as guacamole, hot sauce) for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Place black beans into a strainer and rinse well under running water drain.
  4. Place beans into a medium bowl and mash lightly (the beans do not all need to be completely mashed).
  5. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Divide into 4 servings and form into patties with your hands. Place burgers onto prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through baking.
  8. Serve on buns with desired toppings.

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