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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3 years ago today.....

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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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

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

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It has been awhile since I have done a “What I’m Loving” post, but I have missed it!  I love finding good round-ups to learn about new blogs and recipes.  I will be choosing a theme to bring to you with each of these posts and the theme to kick us off is avocados!

Sweet or savory, I can’t get enough of the creamy, dreamy texture of avocados and they lend such a subtle flavor to so many dishes.  One of my favorite lunches is mashed avocado on toast with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of chili flakes, salt and pepper.  Here are a few dishes that feature avocado that I cannot wait to try!

Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad from Host the Toast Blog:  Smooth creamy avocado with crispy salty bacon might be a flavor combination that ranks right up there with chocolate and peanut butter for me.  And that is saying a lot.

Baked Avocado Fries with Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce from Eat Drink Love:  I can just imagine the crispy breaded outside of these fries contrasting the creamy inside of avocados, yum!

Avocado Banana Bread from Crazy for Crust:  Can you imagine how moist this bread is with that avocado used as the primary fat source??

Stovetop Avocado Mac & Cheese from Two Peas & Their Pod:  This takes creamy to a whole new level…..

ABCT (Avocado, Bacon, Cheese, Tomato) Sandwich from One Lovely Life:  I much prefer my BLT’s with avocado and the addition of pepperjack cheese would add a nice kick of heat.

What is your favorite way to enjoy avocados?  Links to recipes welcome 🙂

Any theme recommendations for the next edition of What I’m Loving?

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Lightened Up Twice-Baked Potatoes (with a secret ingredient!)
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I mentioned earlier this week how I tried out some new dinner recipes and they have been so scrumptious that I couldn’t wait to share them with you.  I have never been a huge baked potato fan.  When I used to think of russet potatoes, which are the most traditional baking potatoes, I thought of them being dry and blah and needing a lot of butter, sour cream and other toppings to make them worth eating.  However, I have to start singing a different tune, because I used russets for this recipe, and found the potato to be more flavorful and have better texture than I remember.

I suppose it helps too that the innards of the potatoes are scooped out and  mixed with flavorful mixture of mashed steamed cauliflower, garlic, buttermilk and a bit of cheese. I love these potatoes in particular because they give you the benefit of squeezing in some extra veggies where there might not otherwise be any.

I topped my potato with a little extra cheese, prosciutto, hot sauce and a small dollop of light sour cream.  I will be welcoming variations of this Twice-Baked Potato into my dinner repertoire in the future.

Lightened Up Twice-Baked Potatoes (with a secret ingredient!)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 potatoes

4

Loaded baked potatoes with cauliflower for extra nutrition

Ingredients

  • 6-8 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • sour cream, scallions, any other toppings you would like

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place prosciutto onto a baking sheet and bake about 5 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Poke potatoes all over with a fork.
  4. Place potatoes on a plate and microwave for 4 minutes to give them a head start on cooking.
  5. Remove from microwave and place potatoes on a baking sheet and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
  7. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and place steamer basket over the pot of water. Place cauliflower into steamer basket, cover with lid and steam about 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  8. Remove cauliflower and place into a food processor. Add buttermilk, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and cheese and process until smooth.
  9. Use a small paring knife to cut a large oval in the top of each cooked potato. Scoop out the flesh of the potato leaving about 1/4 inch-thick wall.
  10. Combine scooped out potato with cauliflower mixture and pulse in food processor to combine.
  11. Fill cavities in potatoes with the cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven to melt the cheese.
  12. Top with crisped prosciutto and any other desired toppings.
  13. Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

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