Tag Archives: garlic

Give a humble onion a star makeover and push it to the center of the plate.

Stuffed Onion Recipe process shot onions and cutting board Joy Makin' MamasI have, somewhere in my notebook of personal recipes that I love, one I used to make often for stuffed tomatoes. I LOVE that recipe, and it’s easy to make, and someday I probably will share it with you… but I haven’t made it in a LONG time because the Joy Makin’ Mister does NOT like tomatoes. At all. So I needed to stuff a different vegetable and I thought…well, what about an onion? They’re big… juicy… flavorful… and they handle being roasted well. I haven’t ever tried stuffing zucchini for the simple reason that I think zucchini does best with just enough cooking, and stuffing it and then trying to make sure the stuffing is hot and the zucchini isn’t overdone sounds like something that would make me a candidate for Pinterest Fails. I’ll leave it to the pros. (Unless you have a hot tip for me? Let me know.) The answer is YES, you can stuff an onion. And it’s not as hard as you might think.

Stuffed Onion Process Shot hollow onion Joy Makin' Mamas
Tip: You can put the chopped up onion that comes out of the insides straight into a freezer bag and save it to use later. Just measure about 1 cup chopped onion per medium onion in your recipe.

After I sliced off a small piece from the bottom to give it a flat base, and a bigger piece from the top to be the opening, I hollowed out my onion. I used a sharp-tipped paring knife and cut around the outside edge in a circle, about one onion ring in from the edge. Then I made cuts out from the center like the spokes of a wheel, and then I worked out from the center in a series of diagonal cuts until all the onion inside was removed, and I had a hollow, flat bottomed onion ready to take the stuffing. If I were in a hurry, I would have made a straight cut almost all the way across the bottom like a flap, and then cut down the part of the onion I was going to stuff on one side only, so I could extract the contents and then pushed everything back together… but I might have had to wrap them in foil afterwards to keep them from coming to pieces in the oven, and I decided not to get involved. Maybe next time I make these I’ll be in the mood for a surprise and I’ll give it a try… or maybe not.

Stuffed Onion Recipe Process Shot ready for the oven Joy Makin' Mamas

The cute little casserole I found at the thrift store coincidentally is a perfect fit… but you can stand your onions in any baking dish or even on a cookie sheet. Depending on the size of your onions, the stuffing recipe may yield more than you need. You can bake any extra stuffing right in a casserole dish alongside the onions.

Stuffed Onion recipe horizontal Joy Makin' Mamas

The finished onions look beautiful and fancy when you serve them, and no one will guess that they were basically no trouble at all to make.

Stuffed Onions
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
This recipe doubles well. Make one batch for now, and one for the freezer. You can freeze the onions pre-stuffed, or freeze the stuffing and then thaw it and stuff your onions before baking. Both ways work! Just separate the layers of stuffed onions with parchment paper before freezing and you can take them straight from the freezer to a baking dish.
  • 6 large onions (hollowed, reserve 1 cup chopped onion for stuffing and save the rest for another use.)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 4 oz can mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 ounces reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ of a 10.75 oz can condensed tomato soup
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • `1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup matchstick carrots
  • ¼ cup parsley flakes
  1. Combine broth and barley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 45 minutes or until tender but still holding their shape. Drain any excess broth and set barley aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray your baking dish with non stick spray or olive oil mister.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the garlic and reserved onion until the onion is translucent. This takes about 3-5 minutes. Add chicken and brown thoroughly. Drain.
  4. Combine barley, chicken, mushrooms, feta, soup, chili powder, carrots, salt, pepper, and parsley flakes in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Arrange onions on baking dish and fill, mounding stuffing slightly above tops of the onions.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned and they are sizzling.


New slow cooker cookbook takes your crock beyond soups and stews (+ recipes for you to try!)

Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes A Joy Makin' Mamas ReviewI have featured my bottom of the line, workhorse 4 quart slow cooker in my photos so often that I have occasionally thought maybe I should get a new one just so you guys would have something new to look at. I kept using it even after the original handle broke off- I just picked up an orphaned lid from the thrift store and turned it into the Frankenstein’s Monster of slow cookers. (A nice perk is that the new handle is much easier to grab, so I don’t worry as much about dropping the lid. It also doesn’t get as hot. I’m dangerously close to advising you to void your warranty by modifying your cooker with off-list parts… I’ll stop before I get us all into trouble.) If I need any further credentials regarding my expertise in the world of slow cooking, well… I don’t have much to offer you except that I’ve been a dogged fanatic for almost 16 years now.

The news says they are making a “come back.” The theory is that the recession has led to fewer restaurant meals, and so the ease and convenience of the slow cooker is leading us all right back to it. Combine that with new demographics discovering the joy of entertaining, and slow cooker sales are booming. I am not surprised they are popular, but I confess I WAS surprised to hear they are “back.” I hadn’t realized they were ever gone. It would be impossible, in my opinion, to overstate the convenience they offer. Whether your household is DINK, WAHM, SAHM, SAHD, or one crazy cat lady, that slow cooker is a simple, inexpensive, hands off way to make sure dinner is ready when you are hungry. (And I have used mine in every situation but SAHD. YES, my crazy cat lady credential arrived early in life. DEAL WITH IT.)

That’s why I am so excited to have in my hot little hands a review copy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes: 200 Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye. I think most of us look for similar things in a cookbook- ease of use, which means good organization, eye candy/food porn (PICTURES, okay?), and whether our family will eat the food. That last one is kind of a deal breaker… if it’s just got pretty pictures of food no one here will eat? I’ll browse it in the book store but it’s not going to live on my shelf. (Ok, maybe my virtual shelf? I could see having an e-cookbook just for the pretty pictures, but actual shelf space is at a premium around here.)

Buy on Amazon: Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes: 200 Recipes {Aff Link}

If you would like to do more than the “add a can of this” type of slow cooking, you’ll appreciate this book. Moving beyond soups and stews, this book not only offers recipes for a wide variety of dishes, it includes helpful ingredient hints, like how to cook with a tomatillo. I’ve never touched a tomatillo, but I may just make it a point to go there now that someone has brought it up. (Why have I never done that, you ask? Because you cook with what you can get your hands on, and I can honestly say I don’t remember ever seeing one in the small town I lived in before moving to the metro area I now call home. After 11 years, you get into habits, ok?) As you can see from the sample images I’ve included (with permission from the publisher, of course), it does indeed include attractive, full color, full page photos to make you drool while you plan your menu.

Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes is organized by main ingredient or type of dish. The second to last chapter (right before desserts- my personal favorite) is called “Double Duty Dinners.” This section is devoted to meals you crock cook the first night, and then transform into something totally different the second night. Cook once (-ish, or and-a-half) and eat twice. I like it. This is a great idea for busy families, particularly since this type of forward planning tends to help you with your time budget and your money budget, both. Also, the size of slow cooker needed for each recipe is noted at the top of the recipe, so there will be no ugly surprises after you start cooking.

Much as I would like to have made (and eaten!) every one of these 200 recipes before writing about this book- and I did work up an appetite while I was reading them all- it would take weeks or months for me to do that. I did have a hard time picking just a couple to try, because a great many of these pass the “will my children eat this” test, and even more of them pass the “will I put the children to bed early so my husband and I can eat this in peace” test. In the end, I decided to test drive one of the Double Duty dinners, and I got permission from the publisher to share three of the recipes with you, so you can try them yourself.

I enlisted some help and JMM Danette Z and I tested some of the recipes from this book. We are pleased to report that the directions are easy to follow, the cooking times are accurate, and the recipes come out as they are supposed to. Like always, we got mixed reviews from our families depending on what we chose… but trying something new is always fun, and adding even three or four new slow cooker favorites to the family rotation means three more nights a month when I can set dinner up when I have time, and eat it when it’s ready! I’m in!Nonnas Mini Meatball Soup Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes Joy Makin' Mamas Review

Nonna’s Mini-Meatball Soup, page 49, kid-fav
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Italian
• Minimum 5-quart slow cooker Makes 6 to 8 servings This soup reminds of the one I’m served when I visit my friend Maria’s house. Her mother always has a pot of soup on the stove, or if she doesn't, she will quickly make one for you with whatever.
  • 1 lb lean ground beef 500 g
  • 1 lb lean ground pork 500 g
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 250 mL
  • 1 cup fine dry Italian bread crumbs 250 mL
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped (about 1 cup/250 mL)
  • ½ tsp salt 2 mL
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 mL
  • 6 cups chicken broth 1.5 L
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped, 500 mL (or chopped escarole)
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta, such as elbows, tubetti, shells or stars 500 mL
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, Parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Using your hands, roll into ¾-inch (2 cm) meatballs. Place meatballs in slow cooker stoneware. Gently pour in broth.
  2. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 9 hours or on High for 41?2 to 5 hours, until soup is bubbling and meatballs are cooked through.
  3. Stir in spinach. Cover and cook on High for 10 to 15 minutes or until greens are wilted, bright green and tender. Stir in cooked pasta.
  4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.
Tip: If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, use ready-to-use chicken broth. I like to keep 32-oz (1 L) Tetra Paks of broth on hand, especially the sodium-reduced variety. They come in handy when you’re making soups and stews. Another option is to use three 10-oz (284 mL) cans of broth and add enough water to make 6 cups (1.5 L). Avoid broth cubes and powders, which tend to be salty.

Courtesy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye, 2014 © www.robertrose.ca

Reprinted with publisher permission.

Holy Mole Chili Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes Joy Makin' Mamas Review
Holy Mole Chili, page 86, vegetarian
Makes 4 to 6 servings With its notes of cumin, cinnamon and chocolate playing off the gentle spices, this meatless chili combines the best of a mole sauce and a Cincinnati-style chili. Its rich body makes it a seriously satisfying dinner any night of the week. • Minimum 4-quart slow cooker
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) baked beans in tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked or canned romano or pinto beans (see page 84), drained and rinsed 500 mL
  • 2 cups cooked or canned black beans (see page 84), drained and rinsed 500 mL
  • 1 tbsp chili powder 15 mL
  • 2 tsp ground cumin 10 mL
  • 2 tsp ground coriander 10 mL
  • ¼ cup mole paste (see tip, at left) 60 mL
  • ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth 125 mL
  • Crushed tortilla chips, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  1. In slow cooker stoneware, combine garlic, green pepper, onion, tomatoes with juice, beans in tomato sauce, romano beans, black beans, chili powder, cumin and coriander.
  2. In a bowl, combine mole paste and broth. Using a fork, gently stir together into a thin sauce. Stir into bean mixture.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours or on High for 21?2 to 3 hours, until vegetables are tender and chili is bubbling. Serve topped with tortilla chips, cilantro and cheese (if using).
Make Ahead: This dish can be assembled up to 12 hours in advance. Prepare through step 2, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, place stoneware in slow cooker and proceed with step 3.

Tip: If you can’t find mole paste, substitute 1 tbsp (15 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder and 1?2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon. Mole paste is a rich, dark, reddish brown sauce used in many Mexican poultry dishes. It is a smooth cooked blend of onions, garlic, several varieties of chiles, ground seeds (such as pumpkin or sesame) and a small amount of Mexican chocolate, which adds richness without being overly sweet. You can find mole paste in the Mexican foods section of the supermarket or in specialty stores.

Courtesy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye, 2014 © www.robertrose.ca

Reprinted with publisher permission.

Creamy Caramel Blondies Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes Joy Makin' Mamas Review
Creamy Caramel Blondies, page 346, desserts, kid-fav
Makes 4 to 6 servings My son, Jack, and I are caramel and butterscotch fanatics! Blondies are often described as brownies without chocolate, which I find silly: blondies have their own unique, delicious personality. While brownies depend on chocolate for their flavor, with blondies it’s all about the brown sugar. This tasty dessert combines a cake top over a creamy caramel sauce. Be sure to serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. • 4- to 5-quart slow cooker
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 250 mL
  • 1 tsp baking powder 5 mL
  • ½ tsp salt 2 mL
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided 250 mL
  • ¼ cup butter, softened 60 mL
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 mL
  • ½ cup milk 125 mL
  • ½ cup soft caramels, wrappers removed 125 mL
  • 1 cup boiling water 250 mL
  1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat half the brown sugar and butter until creamy.
  3. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, making three additions of each and beating well after each addition. Stir in caramels. Spread batter evenly in slow cooker stoneware.
  4. In a glass measuring cup, combine the remaining brown sugar and boiling water, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour evenly over batter.
  5. Cover and cook on High for 21?2 to 3 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes
  6. out clean.
Tip: It is best to use individually wrapped soft caramels, but you can substitute ½ cup (125 mL) butterscotch chips.

Courtesy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye, 2014 © www.robertrose.ca

Reprinted with publisher permission.

I’d love to hear how they go for you! This book is definitely going into my meal planning rotation, and I’m sure I’ll be singing the praises of the tomatillo for you soon.

Looking for more ways to live it up on a budget? Check out my Good Life Pinterest Board:
Follow Meghan Gray’s board Living the Good Life on Pinterest.

All I want for Christmas is a #HoneyBakedHoliday #Sponsored

#HoneyBakedHoliday Half Ham Joy Makin Mamas

Since I have my two front teeth already, all I want for Christmas is some HoneyBaked ham. Ok, maybe not ALL. I’d also like about 24 uninterrupted hours to tackle my to do list without anyone under 3 feet tall grabbing my posterior to shout HUG HUG HUG just as I pick up a sharp knife, open the oven door, or start stirring something that will burn if I stop. Because that’s AWESOME. Wait! I CAN HAVE BOTH! Sort of. Thank you to HoneyBaked Ham for sponsoring this post and for creating a perfect, ready to heat and serve holiday menu with no sharp knives or tedious stirrings. (I can’t help you with the oven door, but, as I found out during my visit to their Alexandria, VA store, at least the HoneyBaked sides all cook at the same temperature setting, to make scheduling the oven time easier.)

#HoneyBakedHoliday Green Bean Casserole Joy Makin MamasOnce you have crossed your main dish (look at that beautiful half ham up there! They have quarter hams, too, if you aren’t serving a crowd… or my family, who think there’s no such thing as “too much ham.”) and your sides off the list, you can free yourself to BE PRESENT. Or to wrap presents or to go caroling or cook a meal for the homeless shelter or just sit quietly and knit and catch up on your favorite show. For some reason the last few weeks of the year always come with at least one moment when I think, “this is NEVER going to get done- I’m just going to be rushing FOREVER.” Things always do eventually come together, but if I can simplify things and spend a little more time writing old friends or walking in a winter wonderland or sleeping, then I feel much merrier going into yet another weekend of back to back parties.

#HoneyBakedHoliday Mashed Potatoes Joy Makin Mamas

It’s always a struggle to try and pack in everything we want to do- so many invitations are forthcoming between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And I never want to miss ANY of them. I want every opportunity to catch up with friends I see too seldom and to make merry with everyone I love- whether they celebrate the same holidays I do or not. So usually what ends up being missing from this season of love and kindness is quiet joy and peaceful reflection. I need those things too. I need to make a commitment to myself to lighten my load where ever I can, so I can make room for them.

#HoneyBakedHoliday Seasonal Pie Joy Makin Mamas

From now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle.

Check out this limited time coupon for $8.00 off any Sliced and Glazed Whole Turkey and 4lb Quarter Ham (Or Larger) from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (Offer Valid at Participating Retail Locations: Forestville, Silver Spring, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fields Ertel, Beechmont, Kenwood, Colerain, Florence, Salem, Centerville, Sawmill Road, McNaughten, Louisville, Lexington, Fern Creek, Glendale, Paradise Valley, Superstition, Tucson East, Tucson North, Overland Park, Independence, Barry Road, Norristown, Parma, Willoughby, Rocky River, Strongsville, Maple Heights, Canton, Fairlawn and Chapel Hill.)

If you have any leftover ham, (I know, I’m HILARIOUS!) cut it off the bone, leaving some shreds clinging, and use it to make ham stock! Ham stock makes delicious soups- you’ve probably had it in split pea soup and Hoppin’ John, with a flavor that isn’t like anything else. It’s also great in chili.

Ham Stock
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 cups
delicious, flavorful ham stock to use as a base in a comforting soup.
  • 1 ham bone from 8-10 lb ham
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 2 large bay leaves or 3-5 small
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorn melange
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground sea salt
  1. Put bone in slow cooker. Add spices and water to cover
  2. Cook, on low, 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Allow to cool.
  4. Strain ham stock through wire strainer. Reserve any large shreds of ham from the pickings to add to your soup, and discard bones and spices.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze stock until ready to use.
If you are buying ham bones instead of using the leftovers from your ham, purchase about 1.5 lbs of bones.

Ham Bone Soup Stock keeps your #HoneyBakedHoliday going Joy Makin Mamas #sponsoredI have been compensated for visiting the Alexandria, VA Honeybaked Ham store and for the creation of this post. My sincere and honest opinions are obviously not for sale and may differ from yours… please enjoy your family celebrations in good health!

Warm you up Homemade Chili Kit

Warm up with a Homemade Chili Kit Free PrintableThe popularity of mason jars is just a bit over the top, in my opinion, but Gifts in a Jar have been around for ages. These can be creative, attractive, and very, very budget friendly indeed. You don’t HAVE to use a mason jar- any attractive, quart size container will do. (Just make sure it’s food grade, if you’re doing a food gift.) You can even use zippered food storage bags and a basket to present your gift. One of my all-time favorite such gifts was the year I had cayenne peppers from the garden that I had dried. I made home made chili kits, and I was able to add two home grown, dried chilis to each jar. I’ve got for you today instructions for how to assemble your jar, a recipe for my personal Saltless Chili Powder blend to include, and a FREE printable recipe card to attach. The recipe includes instructions for the carnivore version AND the vegetarian version of this excellent and filling chili recipe.

Meghan's Saltless Chili Powder
Recipe type: spices
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
this is my personal chili powder blend. I developed this recipe to go along with my first husband's famous chili recipe, so he could customize the "hotness" and flavor blend to suit his cooking style.
  • 2½ Tablespoons Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1½ Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
  1. Blend well.
  2. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dark place. Use within 3-6 months.
Garlic *powder* really makes a difference in this blend. I've also used garlic granules, and I haven't been as pleased. I usually have to go someplace that carries bulk spices to find true garlic powder. For spice lightweights, substitute milder ancho chili powder for the cayenne. (Actually my preference.)

To create Chili In A Jar, you’ll need 4 cups total of dried beans. In a quart size jar, layer any six of:

  • adzuki
  • kidney
  • great northern
  • navy
  • roman
  • black eyed peas
  • cranberry beans
  • pinto beans
  • pink beans
  • red beans

Leave a small “head space” at the neck of the jar. Black beans are no good for this, as they turn the chili a very unappetizing color. Package 1 Tablespoon of Meghan’s Saltless Chili Powder in a snack size zippered bag, and squeeze all the air out. Fold it into the head space, and put on your lid, with or without a square of decorative fabric between the lid and the band. (In case you aren’t sure what I’m talking about: Canning jar lids come in two pieces. A flat piece called the “lid,” and a screw on piece called the band.) If you have dried cayenne peppers, add them along with the bow. Punch a hole in your recipe card and tie a ribbon through it to attach to your jar, and gift with love. If you’re feeling extra fancy, include a copy of one of our cookbooks.

Need more awesome DIY ideas for gifts or for any day? Visit our DIY pinterest board.

Follow Meghan Gray’s board DIYs on Pinterest.

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili Recipe & Dei Fratelli Ripened Recipe Contest

sweet potato chicken chili recipe Joy Makin Mamas

Fall weather has arrived. Around here, fall weather means you need the air conditioning during the day and it gets below 50 at night. In other words, it’s fireplace weather. And fireplace weather, IMO, calls for hearty soups like chili. Dei Fratelli sent me some of their tomato products and asked me to tell you about their Dei Fratelli Ripened Recipe Contest, so today I created a sweet potato chicken chili using their tomatoes. (And yes, I entered it. That prize is nothing to sneeze at!) I know you probably think canned tomatoes are canned tomatoes, but they really aren’t. I think most of us who cook with tomatoes often tend to find a brand we like, and stick with it. I have a few favorites that I come back to because I trust them, and Dei Fratelli is one. I’ve had canned tomatoes that were burned looking or watery or just had an “off” flavor of I don’t know what, but Dei Fratelli has always come through- whether it’s sauce night or something fancier. (No, they don’t pay me to say that. It’s just an FYI- this brand is on my short list.)

Dei Fratelli Tomatoes
My care package from Dei Fratelli.

Sweet potatoes are great in chili because they do well with long, slow cooking times. They are also hearty, and make a nice counterpoint to the “hot” spices. I like my food a little spicy, but not very spicy, and I find I enjoy a higher level of spice with the potatoes than without. If you LOOOVE spicy food, you might want to substitute cayenne powder for the milder ancho chili powder I use in this recipe. It’s got a much higher BTU or “hotness” and you won’t have to dump in a whole bottle.

Ha- that reminds me of a story. My first husband loved his chili super, super hot. After watching him make chili a few times, I created a custom chili powder blend just for him, with lots of extra cumin… and the hottest powdered cayenne money could buy. This allowed him to make recipes using a “normal” quantity of chili powder and still like them. We labelled the jar “Meghan’s Chili Powder- VERY HOT.” And all was well in our world, until one of our housemates decided to make dinner. She adjusted the amount of chili powder to reflect her preference for spicy food, and after watching the rest of us spit it out and say, “OH EM GEE TOO HOT,” she announced, “Oh good! I love spicy food!” and swallowed an enormous spoonful. I’m not really sure what happened next, but the next thing I knew, she had her head in the sink drinking out of the faucet.

I think the moral of that story is read labels, or possibly, “if I wrote it on the label I meant it, even though you know I’m a lightweight on the spice.” Or something. In any case, trust me when I tell you that this recipe is what I consider “Pretty spicy,” as in, “Serve with cornbread,” but not “don’t touch it with your skin because it’s chemical weapons spicy.” So grab an apron and let’s get our cook on.

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
Chicken, black beans, and sweet potatoes come together in a "pretty spicy" chili you'll enjoy with cornbread.
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 14.5 oz cans Dei Fratelli petit diced tomatoes with onion, celery, and peppers
  • 1 15 oz can Dei Fratelli Sloppy Joe sauce
  • ¾ cup diced onion (I use the frozen kind.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Place sweet potatoes, canned tomatoes, sloppy joe sauce, garlic, onion, and spices in a large stock pot. Simmer over medium heat for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
  2. Brown ground chicken and drain.
  3. Add ground meat and black beans to the pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 1 more hour.
  4. Stir in cilantro and serve.
If you want a milder chili, add the spices toward the end of the cooking time, and omit the cilantro.

sweet potato chicken chili recipe featuring Dei Fratelli tomatoes Joy Makin Mamas

Father’s Day Favorite: Ginger Beef Recipe

ginger beef pin melts in your mouth2When I married my darling 007 we had no kids, we lived in a small midwestern town, and I was a Vegetarian. That was then, and this is now. I have made all his James Bond dreams come true by moving to the suburbs of DC, having not one but TWO kids with him, and returning to my meat eating ways. (Don’t judge me, I was pregnant with our second kid, and I was down to only being able to eat white food. I was literally starving until we found out that meat went down just fine. As for now, I figure remaining an omnivore is just hedging my bets in case there is a shortage of tofu after the collapse of modern society.)

His two favorite things in this life are (in this order) Ginger and Beef. Well, his two favorite foods. I have actually heard him say there are things he’d rather do than eat. (No, I don’t understand it either.) SO. Ginger Beef. For his personal delight and enjoyment, I have created a ginger beef so delicious you’ll want to eat the whole cow. FYI: It was even BETTER cold the next day. We paired this with a nice green salad. (Nothing starchy to weigh him down while he pursues enemies of the state.)

ginger beef recipe
Process photo. Here is the steak after it’s been salted and gingered, but before the rest and rinse.

You will need to PLAN AHEAD to make this dish. Do not skip the rest period with the salt- it’s what will turn that cheap cut of beef into a mouthwatering delicacy. Trust me it’s worth it! For further reading, see this post about the salt tenderizing.

Father's Day Fave: Ginger Beef
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This ginger beef is so good it practically melts in your mouth! Extra awesome? It uses a cheap cut and turns it into something amazing.
  • 1.25 lbs London Broil
  • Fresh ginger (approximately 1" piece)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt (must be coarse grained KOSHER salt! Table salt will NOT work.)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. This recipe works best with FROZEN ginger root. I buy the whole ginger root and stick it in the freezer, peel and all.
  2. Pat steak dry on both sides. Sprinkle each side with approximately a teaspoon of kosher salt. Use a grater to grate some ginger root over the steak. Pat it gently into the steak.
  3. Let steak stand 1 hour.
  4. Rinse steak thoroughly, and dry it completely. I always let mine stand on the broiler pan. If you've done this, be sure to rinse and dry the top of the pan, too.
  5. Once the steak is dry, repeat the ginger and sprinkle both sides with garlic powder. I rub the spices into the meat a little before cooking. DO NOT salt the steak again.
  6. Broil or grill to your desired doneness. We prefer rare to medium, as those temperatures create the juiciest steaks.

There you have it. A perfectly simple, unbelievably delicious dinner to put in front of your favorite carnivore on Father’s Day. Or any day. Now would be good…

ginger beef recipe Joy Makin Mamas
For salads, slice the leftovers diagonally in thin strips. You can make extra to freeze in meal portions for lunches! Yum!

Round out your celebratory menu by visiting the other blogs in the #Foodelicious Father’s Day Recipe Roundup!

Prepare to be impressed! Here are some more main dish options for feasting with your favorite fathers:

Find more delicious, healthy recipes on our Healthy Eating Healthy Life Pinterest Board:

Follow Meghan’s board Healthy Eating Healthy Life on Pinterest.