Freezer-to-Crockpot: Buffalo Chicken Chili

Huge thumbs up from my peeps….made delicious leftover lunches too! 

Hope you love it as much as we did!

Buffalo Chicken ChiliIMG_7079

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup hot buffalo wing sauce
  • 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice
  • 2/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

Directions

  1. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, warm olive oil.  Add chicken and cook about 4 minutes.  Add carrots, onion, celery, garlic, paprika and bay leaf.  Cook until vegetables are slightly tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and stir to scrap up brown bits from bottom of pot.  Turn off heat.  Add hot sauce and stir well. Turn off heat and let cool down.
  3. In a 1-gallon plastic freezer bag, add tomato sauce and tomatoes.  Add chicken-vegetable mixture to bag (don’t forget to remove the bay leaf).
  4. Freeze for up to 4 weeks.  When ready to prepare, place bag contents in slow cooker and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours, until thoroughly warm.
  5. Serve warm with crumbled blue cheese on top.

Cheers, Jenn

Lemons: Easy Fresh Lemon Salad Dressing

I use this on sooooo many foods….. salads (obviously), roasted Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sandwiches, steamed veggies…. it is super versatile and takes only a couple minutes to throw together.  And, the best part – it does not contain unpronounceable ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, salt or any other weird undesirable ingredients!  Hope you love it!

Easy Fresh Lemon Salad Dressing

Yield: about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Garlic-Herb flavor Mrs. Dash seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Put all ingredients into a mason jar & shake to combine.  Stores well in refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

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10 Diabetes Friendly Food Gifts

Skip the sugar-laden candies and cookies…. the list included in my article provides you with excellent food gift ideas for any special someone in your life, but especially for your friends and family living with diabetes.

The Diabetes Council

10 diabetes snacking mistakes to avoid

Recipe: Spicy Cocoa Mix

In need of a last minute holiday gift for your friends or neighbors?  What about for your co-workers or book club pals?  I have the answer for you!  Super quick to put together!  Cozy sweet goodness for the chilly season!  We have made this in huge batches and given it to many friends over the years!  I’ve even attempted making this with a group of elementary kiddos for holiday gifts for their parents!  It’s a win-win for everyone.  Enjoy!!

cocoaSpicy Cocoa Mix

Yield: 6 gifts

Ingredients

  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

Mix all ingredients (except chocolate chips) together in a large bowl.  Divide mixture into six gift containers (holiday decorated ziplock bags or mason jars work well).  Add approximately 1 tablespoon chocolate chips on top.  Include preparation directions:  Whisk 2 tablespoons spicy cocoa mix into 1 cup of warm milk.  Top with marshmallows or whipped cream.  YUMMMY!!

 

 

 

Recipe: Bacon-Apricot-Almond-Havarti Delight

img_6368Truth be told, this is my favorite part of the holidays!  My sister has made these for several family gatherings and I can be found gobbling them down as soon as they hit the serving dish!  The perfect blend of salty, sweet and creamy goodness!  A fantastic appetizer for your Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve party!  Your guests will devour and enjoy them!

Bacon-Apricot-Almond-Havarti Delight

Ingredients

  • 24 dried apricots
  • 3-4 oz havarti cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 24 whole almonds
  • 12 strips bacon, cut into halves

Turn on broiler and set a rack about 6-inches from heat source.  This can also be cooked in a toaster oven quite nicely.  Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut a slit into each apricot.  Squeeze a cheese chunk and almond inside.  Wrap each apricot with a slice of bacon and secure with toothpick.

Broil for approximately 10 minutes until the bacon is crispy, turning once or twice so that all sides are cooked through.  Serve immediately.

 

Recipe: Honey Rainbow Carrots

img_6321Simple, beautiful and delicious!

Of course, you can make these with traditional orange carrots for a gorgeous side dish.  I love the unique colors of the rainbow carrots, especially for a holiday celebration.  But, don’t limit these beauties to special occasions…. this dish is truly so simple to prepare you can make it on a busy weeknight.  Hope your family loves it as much as mine!

Honey Rainbow Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds rainbow carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook carrots with about 1/2 cup of water over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes in a large skillet.  Drain water.  Add butter, honey and salt back to carrots and toss over low heat until carrots are coated with sauce.  Display carrots on platter and garnish with salt and pepper, as desired.

 

Recipe: Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

img_6379Why do cooks take the beautiful, innocent, healthy eggplant and turn it into a fat-laden, calorie bomb?  Look no further than this Healthier Eggplant Parmesan recipe.  The secret is the fresh basil bursting with flavor…. and baking the eggplant slices coated in panko…. but, you can see for yourself!

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 (1-pound) eggplants, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick slices
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • ½ – 3/4 cup torn fresh basil
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24-oz jar favorite marinara sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray baking sheet and 9×13-inch glass baking dish with cooking oil spray.

To make eggplant, place 2 beaten eggs in a shallow dish. Combine panko and ¼ cup parmesan cheese in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then dredge in panko-cheese mixture.  Place eggplant on baking sheets.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden, turning once after 15 minutes.

While eggplant is baking, combine basil, 1 cup parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper and garlic in a medium bowl.

To assemble, spoon ½ cup marinara sauce in bottom of a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Layer half of the eggplant slices over the pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with salt.  Top with about ¾ cup marinara sauce.  Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the cheese-basil mixture on top.  Repeat layers once, ending with ¾ cup marinara sauce.

Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and top with remaining parmesan cheese.  Bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.  Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Here’s the beautiful finished product…. soooo delicious and comforting!

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About a week later, I had 6 eggplant (!) from a gigantic haul from Produce on Wheels – Without Waste, a program from the Borderlands Food Bank.  (Check out their program – it is amazing & well recognized!)

I spent some extra weekend hours making 2 large batches of this recipe.  Off to my freezer these beautiful dinners went to save for a busy weeknight or a meal for a friend needing some help…. new baby, hospitalization/illness, or something like that.  This would make a fantastic holiday season meal, too!  Definitely worth the efforts!

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