4 Bean Vegan Chili


Last week I made some freezer meals for one of my friends who is a new mom. I wanted to make her something hearty, easy to heat up and tasty. The only hitch was she maintains a vegan and gluten-free diet, which made things a little more difficult. After tossing around many (many) different salad ideas I decided to go a different route and make a hearty chili.

The best part is this recipe freezes beautifully and defrosts quickly for an easy dinner. I tripled the recipe and made enough for my friend and two large family-sized servings for my freezer. Curry may seem like an odd spice, but trust me it really works in this recipe!

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 can black beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can corn

2 tablespoons garlic

1 red onion

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 tablespoon cumin

½ tablespoon curry

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper


Dice the bell peppers and red onion, sauté with the garlic until soft and fragrant. Mix in the beans, corn and tomatoes and seasoning. Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer, simmer for a few hours on low and enjoy!


Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Feta


I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater, but I just can’t get into quinoa. I have tried it as a side dish, as a main dish and as a breakfast food. Every time it’s just a disappointing experience. However, with mixed into a salad with a fresh vinaigrette and lots of fresh veggies, quinoa become delicious! For the vinaigrette I used coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, the combination was surprisingly good. If you don’t have coconut oil, olive oil can easily be swapped in instead. I have been eating this all week in my lunch and the longer it sits in the fridge the better the flavors become!


This is a great potluck food because people can easily scoop out at much as they like and it’s a nice healthy option. It’s also gluten-free which is a nice option to serve at a potluck. I like to make a huge batch on Sunday night and portion out enough for my lunch throughout the week.



4 ounces feta cheese

3 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled

2 cups edamame

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup apple cider vinegar


Chop all veggies and mix in feta cheese. Once the quinoa has cooled, mix it into the veggies and top with the vinegar and oil mixture. Let it sit 4-6 hours before eating.


Veggie Filled 3 Bean Salad


Spring has finally sprung in Southern California! When the weather starts getting warm I find it’s the perfect time for outdoor picnics and this is a great dish to make ahead for a picnic. We usually pack this in a mason jar for picnics around town. I like to make this one the night before to let all of the flavors mellow a bit. It’s vegan and gluten-free, which means pretty much anyone can enjoy this dish and despite the few ingredients it has an amazing flavor.


High protein beans and fresh veggies make this salad a winner. It’s super healthy without tasting like its super healthy. Beans sometimes get a bad name, but they are a great source of protein and very inexpensive. I always triple rinse beans before I cook them in any recipe, rinsing them will ensure that this salad won’t give anyone tummy trouble. You can serve this as a meal on its own or pair it with a turkey burger to make a very hearty meal.



1 can each of garbanzo beans, black beans and pinto beans. Rinse each can of beans 3 times, or until water runs clear

1 can corn

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

½ red onion, chopped

½ cup rice vinegar

1/3 olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

Combine vinegar and olive oil and whisk to mix.  In a bowl combine all ingredients, chill overnight


Vegetarian French Onion Soup in the Crock Pot


I love this soup so much, I probably make it far too often. Before I met my husband I was a pretty strict vegetarian and the only meat product I really missed was French onion soup. I tried it with every broth imaginable and it just wasn’t the same. About a year ago a friend told me that mushroom broth can be substituted for beef broth- it was delicious! Making it in the crock pot makes it so easy to make a big batch of this soup without much work.

Instead of using beef broth I use mushroom broth in this recipe. This is usually easy to find near Thanksgiving, but can be more challenging other times of the year. Lipton has a great mushroom and onion soup mix that most grocery stores sell in the soup aisle, I’ve found it works really well and gives the soup a great flavor.

3 pounds sweet yellow onions, sliced thin

3 tablespoons minced garlic

4 tablespoons butter

8 cups mushroom broth

1 loaf French bread, sliced

Sliced cheese


Place sliced onions, garlic and butter in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours or until they are caramelized. I like to stir them every hour or so to make sure they are cooking evenly.


Once all the onions are caramelized, stir in the mushroom broth. Let the soup simmer for at least an hour on low to let all the flavors come together. You can also add in a teaspoon of dried thyme at this point, it adds a nice flavor to the finished soup.

Ladle soup into heat-safe bowls, top with bread and a slice of cheese of your choice. Broil for a few moments or until the cheese has melted on the bread.


Classic Chicken Noodle Soup


Keeping with the theme of comfort food, this week I also made a gigantic batch of chicken noodle soup. I’ve actually read a few studies that suggest chicken noodle soup may contribute in helping people recover from sickness sooner, which is pretty amazing! Whether or not that is true, I think chicken noodle soup is the go-to for most people when they are under the weather and I am not exception! While it may be a little more work than opening a can of soup, the taste is amazing and worth all the work.

The biggest complaint I used to have about chicken noodle soup was the soggy noodles. Anytime I made it at home the broth would get starchy and the noodles would get soggy during the cooking process. I have found that keeping the soup and noodles completely separate until it is time to eat solves the problem. I cook the soup in one pot and the noodles in a separate pot. When it’s time to eat I scoop some noodles into my bowl and spoon the soup over them, such an easy way to ensure you don’t have limp overcooked noodles.



8 cups chicken broth

2 cups shredded chicken

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

½ tablespoon herbs de provence

8 ounces cooked egg noodles


In a large stock pot sauté garlic and onions together until fragrant. Mix in the diced carrots and celery, continue to sauté until all the vegetables are soft.

Pour in the chicken broth and add the shredded chicken and seasoning. Let this simmer on your stovetop for a few hours. I love to make this recipe around lunchtime and let it slowly simmer until dinner.


When you are ready to eat just spoon the soup over the noodles and enjoy!


Turkey Stroganoff in the Crock Pot



turkeygraphicI am finally feeling like myself again after being pretty sick for most of the month. Anytime I’m under the weather I crave comfort food from my childhood. Just the smell of certain dishes can evoke the memory of being safe and cared for at home. This month I’ve been revisiting dishes that my mom would make anytime I was sick, I’ve been having a great time sharing the recipes with my family. My toddler really loved this recipe and I caught my husband sneaking leftovers right out of the fridge later that night! Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you, it’s a great easy dinner that everyone will enjoy.

I really don’t even know what to call this dish. I think it was based on a recipe that my grandfather found when he was in the army decades ago, over the years it has changed into the ultimate comfort food. It’s a bit like a stroganoff recipe, but with some extra flavor mixed in.  The ingredients seem boring on their own, but after a few hours in the crock pot they meld into an amazing dish that is perfect over steamed rice or egg noodles. I don’t know if leftovers freeze well, I’ve never had enough to freeze! If anyone tries this as a freezer meal please let me know the results.



1 pound lean ground turkey meat

10 ounces cream of mushroom soup

10 ounces cream of celery soup

½ cup milk

4 stalks of celery, diced

1 small bell pepper, diced

6 ounces mushrooms, diced

½ yellow onion, diced

1 Tablespoon garlic, minced

Brown the turkey on the stovetop, drain any fat.

While the turkey is cooking, dice all vegetables and place them in the crockpot, add the cooked turkey, soup and milk. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper and serve over rice or noodles.


Carmel Apple Oatmeal in the Crockpot


Last week was not a great food week in my house.  I was sick and nothing sounded tasty at all, but my family and I needed to eat so I made the easiest comfort food I could think of.  I love cooked oatmeal but standing over the stove on a busy morning just doesn’t happen in my house!  Instead, I prepped all the ingredients and tossed it in the crockpot on low overnight.

The best part about this recipe is you can prep it right before bed and you wake up to a delicious hot breakfast!  Over the summer I’ll probably swap out apples for some ripe peaches, which I think will be fantastic.  The trick is to layer the fruit and brown sugar on the bottom of the crockpot and then place the oats and milk on top, this will really caramelize the apples and give it a great flavor. I like to leave the skins of the apples on for some added fiber.

2 pounds apples, chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups oats (not instant)

2 cups milk

1 cup water

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Core and chop apples into bite-sized pieces.  Layer apples, brown sugar and cinnamon on the bottom of a greased crock pot.  Layer oats on top.


Mix together milk, water, and eggs.  Pour wet mixture over the oats, cover the crockpot and cook on low for about 8 hours.


I cooked mine for about 9 hours and the edges were getting a little crispy, which I thought was pretty delicious but if you don’t want crispy edges aim for a cook time of about 8 hours.



Chicken Tortilla Soup – Freezer Cooking February


This was the first recipe I ever collected and I still love it! When I was in high school one of my friends mom’s made this recipe anytime we all gathered at her house to study. As we worked on our homework the kitchen would fill with the wonderful aroma of cumin, bell peppers and chicken as her mother cooked. It is such a wonderfully simple soup, but all the flavors work perfectly together. One note- it calls for half a cup of fresh salsa. As a Southern Californian I take salsa pretty seriously. Please don’t try to swap in the canned salsa that is shelf-stable, the results just won’t be the same!

To speed up this recipe, I defrost some of the shredded chicken I made earlier in the crockpot. By using precooked chicken the prep time for this soup is cut in half! I love to make this early in the day and let it simmer all day long. Top it with some sour cream and avocado for a full meal.


2 cups shredded chicken

8 cups chicken broth

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 can of corn, drained

4 ounces mild green chiles

½ cup fresh salsa

1 tablespoon cumin


In a large pot saute the bell peppers, garlic and onion until soft. Add all other ingredients and simmer for at least an hour. Top with cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, or avocado.


BBQ Chicken Sandwiches – Freezer Cooking February



This recipe couldn’t be easier and it is so versatile. I love keeping shredded chicken in my freezer for last minute meals. Shredded chicken can be turned into soft tacos, chicken salad, enchiladas and so many other things. I cook and freeze the chicken breasts plan, and add any sauces or seasonings later when they defrost.

To start the recipe, place 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts in your crockpot with enough water to cover all of the chicken. I like to add some cumin and minced garlic so the chicken isn’t too bland, but it’s up to you. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours. Discard the liquid, shred the chicken and freeze. I like to fill Ziploc freezer bags with about a pound of chicken each, so this would get my three easy meals.


The morning before you are ready to enjoy the chicken just place it in the fridge to defrost. Heat on low in a saucepan and add your favorite BBQ sauce, serve on a bun and you have the fastest dinner ever!

Veggie Filled Meat Sauce – Freezer Cooking February



Freezer cooking is one of the ways that I keep my sanity as a working mom. Having a healthy meal that is all set to pull out of the freezer after a long day at work can be a lifesaver! The next two weeks will be all freezer meals, I made all of them on one day and all the prep was done in less than two hours. I know a lot of people think freezer cooking can be intimidating, but once you get going and get a good routine down it’s so easy!

This recipe is one that I love because it is so flavorful and is full of great vegetables! I use extra lean ground turkey in my meat sauce and load it up with veggies, the result is a heart-healthy dish that the entire family loves. If you family isn’t a fan of veggies, just dice them super fine- the pasta sauce will cover the taste of most of the vegetables. I love using two different kinds of mushrooms because their meaty flavor and texture makes this feel like a true meat sauce.

1 ½ pounds extra lean ground turkey

2 green bell peppers, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped,

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced

2 16 ounce jars of your favorite pasta sauce


Brown the turkey with the garlic in a pan, drain any fat. In a large pot sauté the bell peppers, onion, carrots, and mushrooms until soft. Combine turkey, vegetables and pasta sauce simmer for 30 minutes. This easily makes 3 very large family servings, freeze the pasta sauce into whatever sized servings work best for you. I love to fill large mason jars with the sauce and fill up the freezer! The sauce can be used to top pasta, as a filling for lasagna or it can be used for a flavorful baked ziti.