Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Southwest Chicken Black Bean Dish

For some reason we always have extra rice in the fridge at my house.  Apparently my hubby and I are not good at estimating how much we will need for a specific meal.  Because of this, I've come up with quite a few rice dishes to use up left overs.  So here is another tasty, easy, budget friendly rice dish for you all to try.

Southwest Chicken Black Bean Dish
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chile, chopped (This is optional.  I had them on hand so decided to add it to the recipe.)
  • 1 large onion. chopped
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chicken breast (I use the Kirkland brand from Costco.)
  • 3 cups rice, cooked
  • 3 Tbsp. Mesquite seasoning
  1. Spray the pan with olive oil spray, add peppers and onions, and saute over medium heat.
  2. When the veggies are starting to soften, add corn and black beans.
  3. Break up the chicken breast chunks in the can, and add to the pan.
  4. Add rice and stir to combine all ingredients.
  5. Add the mesquite seasoning and a half can of water.  Stir well and allow to cook for ~10 min. or until everything is heated through.

Wash the beans well using a colander and cold water.  This would also be a great recipe to use the homemade crock pot beans. :)

I use a fork to help break up the chicken breast chunks.

 As always, season to taste.  If you prefer more or less seasoning, go for it.

This dish is really tasty on its own, with some taco chips, or as a burrito with cheese.  You could also easily leave out the chicken for a vegetarian meal.  I want to say a special thanks to my wonderful husband for helping me with my cooking, since I'm on restricted activity at this point in my pregnancy.  He's definitely a keeper. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Crock Pot Beans

My husband spent four months in Costa Rica after college being an international playboy, as he likes to call it.  Due to said time in Costa Rica, he became very good at cooking dried beans.  Before I met him, my beans always came from a can.  I still use the occasional can of beans for convenience sake, but try to make my own whenever possible.  They freeze extremely well, are super budget friendly, and taste amazing!

Our house has a gas range, which I love for cooking, but am not such a big fan of leaving on all day long.  Especially since I'll be having little ones around the house soon, an open flame burning all day is much less appealing to me.  Therefore, we decided to experiment with making our beans in the crock pot.  After doing some reading online, I determined we did not need to soak the beans over night before cooking them this way.  So here is our recipe for delicious homemade beans.

Crockpot Beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 Anaheim chiles, sliced (I had these on hand, so decided to use them.  They are completely optional.)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used avocado oil.)
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (You may increase or decrease the salt amount as you like.)
  • 2 lbs. dried small red beans

  1. Chop and slice all of your veggies.  Wash the beans, using a colander and cold water.
  2. Put all ingredients in the crock pot and add enough water to cover the beans plus two inches.  (More water may need to be added as the beans cook.  Just make sure the beans are covered at all times.)
  3. Give the contents a good stir.
  4. Cook on High for ~10 hrs.  Stir occasionally throughout cooking time.
  5. When beans are al dente, turn crock pot off and let cool.  Package in freezer bags or plastic containers.

Yummmm!  This is probably the best batch of beans we've ever made.  In fact, they were so good, we ate them right after they came out of the crock pot with some taco chips for dinner.  And then had them again for breakfast the next morning.  Due to said eating, we only ended up with 6 - 2 cup bags to freeze for later.  But had we not, we would have had 8 bags of beans to freeze.  Not bad, considering the dried beans cost less than $3 for the 2 lb. bag.  Adding the veggies to the beans makes for great flavor, but if you're trying to really be budget conscious, you could do them plain with just oil and salt.  You could also do just onions or garlic, which both tend to be very inexpensive veggies to buy and add great flavor all on their own.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Rowselettes' Nursery

Yay!  It is finally done!  Well, except for spray painting our $20 used changing table black.  Unfortunately the weather has not been cooperating for that.  C'est La Vie.  But everything else is ready for the Rowselettes to arrive. :) 

We opted for mini cribs, as there was no way we could have fit two normal sized cribs (They are huge these days!) in this room.  My husbands parents were kind enough to purchase them for us, which was a huge help budget wise.  Two of everything can get expensive!  Since we decided to not paint the nursery, we relied on colorful accents to liven it up.  I found this great orange, chevron rug at Rosenberry RoomsThe art above the cribs I made using this tutorial.  

The ClosetMaid Cube Organizer is one I've had for years and spray painted black to match the cribs.  The print above it, Rocket Boy by jrod, is one my husband acquired a number of years ago from a local artist.  I love it for our little boys' room, so we finally got it properly framed.  The Winnie The Pooh lamp was made for us by a family friend, and it comes apart so they can use the stuffed bear and read the book.  The foxes were hand knitted for us by my talented sister in-law, Amy from Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen.  

 The little black table is from IKEA and the lamp was a hand me down that I spray painted to make it more my style.  The rocking chair is the one my mom had when my brother and I were little.  Can't wait to rock my own babies in it. :)

Our crib bedding is from Carousel Designs.  They are the only place I was able to find that had mini crib bedding.  Luckily they had a great selection and even a design your own bedding option.  And all of their products are made right here in the U.S.A.

I do have a couple more projects planned for the nursery, but all in all, it is complete as it is now.  However, when I get around to those projects, I'll be sure to post about them so you can see the updates.