Classic Chili

Learning To Cook For Two, Classic Chili


1 pound ground meat (beef, lamb, bison)

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1 teaspoon garlic powder)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

2 cups beef broth (Sam and I don’t care for soupy soups, unless it’s Chicken Noodle.  Next time, I would reduce this to 1 cup beef broth)

Green Bell Peppers

Directions (Directly from The Whole 30, The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom)

  1. Heat a large pot or high-walled skillet over medium-high heat (without cooking fat).  Add the ground meat and cook until the meat is fully browned, 7 to 10 minutes.  Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a side dish, keeping the leftover fat in the pot (In hindsight, I would have drained the fat and returned the meat to the pot.  I’m a rule follower, so I did as directed the first time.  Next time, game on.)
  2. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, mustard powder, and salt to the pot.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and broth.  Turn the heat up to high.  When the chili reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour (I let it simmer for about 30 minutes and then it was dinner time).

Classic Chili


Recipe:  The Whole 30, The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

Chicken and Spicy Black Bean Tacos

Chicken and Spicy Black Bean Tacos

I’m still not feeling well, so my diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.  I did not subject my husband to the same dinner.  Instead, I made him some chicken and spicy black bean tacos.  This recipe worked for me because the majority of the work is done by the Crock Pot, allowing me to rest before I head back to work tomorrow.

Usually when I make tacos at home, I use beef because I thought it was easier (because let’s be honest with ourselves, if we are making tacos, we aren’t looking to put a lot of effort into dinner-which is OKAY!). You can cook your chicken any way you would like, but I found the Crock Pot to be simple and a “throw and go” meal.  Also note that the original recipe did NOT call for onion, but I added it because A) we had it and B) we love onions.

Taco Shells


1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (10 oz.) tomatoes with mild green chiles, drained

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry

12 crisp corn taco shells

Optional toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, ripe olives

Chicken Rub


  1. Coat Crock Pot slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.  Add beans and tomatoes with chiles.
  2. Blend chili powder and cumin with 1 teaspoon oil and rub onto chicken breasts (I put these ingredients in a large bowl and used my hands).
  3. Place chicken in Crock Pot slow cooker.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 3/4 hours.
  4. When you have 30 minutes left on the timer, add your onions (Although, I prefer mine slightly crunchy in my taco.  If you prefer them soft, add them when you place bean mixture in Crock Pot).
  5. Remove chicken and slice.  Bean Mixture
  6. Transfer bean mixture to bowl using slotted spoon (the original recipe calls to add 1 tablespoon oil to this mixture.  Mine was moist enough, so I did NOT add it.  Rebellious, I know).
  7. To serve, warm taco shells according to package directions.
  8. Fill with equal amounts bean mixture and chicken.
  9. Toppings as desired.



Original Recipe:  Crock Pot, The Original Slow Cooker:  Slow Cooker Bible, pg. 130.

Summer Vegetable Tian

Summer Vegetable Tian

Cooking outside the box-ed meals (see what I did there?), has expanded my cooking vocabulary. Tonight, I cooked a vegetable tian (Williams Sonoma Definition)!  Total cost for this meal was under $10.  Another first for the books included using my Cuisinart Mandoline to slice my vegetables.  It was quick, easy, and FUN!  All fingers are still intact.  I would add that all chopping or slicing items should be used during non-rush hour Atlanta traffic.  In case you do catch the edge of a blade, you have plenty of time to get to the Emergency Room (you’re welcome for that nursing education for the day).

Update:  The turkey from Herb Roasted Turkey refrigerated well and was still tender and moist.  I used the turkey from this meal as the main dish with the summer vegetable tian as the side.

Summer Vegetable Tian

Onion Design


1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini

2 medium yellow squash

1 medium potato

3 medium tomatoes

1 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped Vegetables


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix olive oil, garlic, and onion in skillet.  Sauté until onion is softened (I used medium heat for about 5 minutes).
  3. Thinly slice the rest of the vegetables (or use your Cuisinart Mandoline to quicken the process).
  4. Spray the inside of an 8×8 square with non-stick spray (you know my choice by now is coconut oil).
  5. Spread sautéed onion on bottom of baking dish.  Place thinly sliced vegetables in the baking dish, vertically.  Alternate the vegetables and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme when complete.
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, top with cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Vegetable Tian Post-Oven


P.S.  Cupcake Moscato D’Asti added great flavor (but I’m bias because it’s my favorite).


Recipe Website (I added some words to the original directions):  Budget Bytes

Herb Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy

Herb Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy

“Okay guys, I have exactly 28 minutes until I have to baste again.” -Friends

There is a Friends reference for everything.  My mom and I joke that we have always found a Friends reference for all occasions.  Therefore, it is fitting that the first time I cook a turkey, I find a Friends quote to capture this moment.

I’ll be honest, I was nervous about roasting my first turkey.  I wasn’t worried about what my husband would think, because there is a McDonald’s around the corner if the turkey didn’t turn out right.  I wanted to accomplish a cooking task that felt was “out of my scope of practice,” as we would say in the nursing world.  I have never hosted a Thanksgiving at our house, but I felt this was great practice for that possibility in the future.

I will admit, I had a hard time finding a whole turkey this time of year, but I substituted it for a 7 pound turkey breast (so excited that I didn’t have to remove the insides).


1 3/4 cups Swanson Chicken StockTurkey Ingredients

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushe

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey (or in my case 7 pound turkey breast)

Oven Ready


  1. Stir the stock, lemon juice, basil, thyme, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Roast the turkey according to the package directions (the turkey I prepared took approximately 3 hours on 350 degrees), basting every 30 minutes (or whenever you are able in between chores or Netflix) with the stock mixture while cooking.
  3. Let turkey stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
  4. Stir the remaining stock mixture and flour in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Remove turkey from roasting pan and spoon off any fat that remains.
  6. Add the stock mixture to the roasting pan.  Place in oven for another 10 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.
  7. Serve turkey with gravy.


Herb Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy completed


Recipe:  Campbell’s Favorite Recipes, pg. 202

Sloppy Joe Muffins

Pinterest picture

Example Picture from Ready Set Eat

“It’s not always like the movies.”  Well, in this case, the example picture is not always like the result picture.  Keep reading and you’ll see why I say this.  I found this recipe in a time crunch on Pinterest (SURPRISE!).  I love how easy it is to find a recipe while sitting in the Publix parking lot (thank you, modern technology).

Sloppy Joe Cups Muffins

Sloppy Joe MuffinsMuffin


1 lb. Ground Turkey

1 can (16 oz) Hunt’s Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce (I used bold to give it a kick)

1/2 onion, chopped

Shredded Colby Jack Cheese

Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle Southern-Style Big Biscuits


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook ground turkey for 7 minutes, or until turkey is no longer pink.  Drain.  Combine ground turkey, onion, and sloppy joe sauce and heat on medium for 3 (ish) minutes, or until warm.  Set aside.

Grease muffin tin with non-stick spray (I used coconut oil).  Press 1 biscuit into bottom of medium muffin pan and evenly distribute up the sides.  Continue until all biscuits are placed.  Add 1/4 sloppy joe mixture to each up (After pouring into cup, I used the bottom of the measuring cup to press the meat mixture into place).

Pillsbury Pre-Oven

Bake for 12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.  (I used the time suggested on the biscuits).  Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese. Enjoy!

Finished Product

What I Changed From Guide Recipe

I used ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Usually I hear others saying, “Turkey is too dry.”  Well, I thought that since I was going to cover it in sauce, it would keep the mixture moist (sorry for those who dislike this word.  “Wet” just doesn’t sound right.).  I spiced up the Sloppy Joe Sauce by purchasing the BOLD instead of REGULAR.  This recipe calls for Texas-Style Buttermilk Biscuits, but my Publix didn’t have these.  One quick phone call to Grandma and we determined Pillsbury Southern Style Biscuits would be okay for an equivalent (Grandma knows best!).

What I Would Change

Next time, I would use smaller biscuits to see if they turn out like the recipe I used as a guide.  Although the cups were “poofier” than the example, hubby still ate everything on his plate (and kept it down and NO it wasn’t in the trashcan).  Therefore, poofier = delicious.


Guide Recipe Website:  Ready Set Eat

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

Ladies and gentleman, tonight’s dinner was found on…..PINTEREST–aka woman’s best friend. If you are following my blog, I made mac & cheese a week-ish ago. Also, if you’re thinking, “That’s too often to have mac &cheese,” please stop reading and unfollow this blog now. Mac & cheese lovers, please continue.

Changes made to the recipe:

1. I added black pepper, paprika, and sea salt for flavor.

BBQ Pork Chops

BBQ Pork Chops
Celebrating Home Meals, Moments, & Memories Entrees, pg. 70

“I hope you are full, because I plan to finish the rest of the food.”

-My husband

Needless to say, our leftover dinner plan for tomorrow night….FAILED.  Upside, another dish I can add to the “hubby likes” list!  Added some green beans, mashed potatoes, and my Grandaddy’s Sweet Tea to drink.  If you like to mix your foods, the sauce from the pork chops goes well with mashed potatoes!!

No changes made to the recipe.