Category Archives: Main Dish

Border Chicken Stew

Tall, dark and handsome right here.

Smells good, neat and tidy, has dinner ready when you get home…

…need I go on?

You need one of these.  It dispenses delicious food like it’s nothing.  Today it gave me this thing I decided to call Border Chicken Stew.

This meal is simple, quick to throw together in the morning, versatile, flavorful, feeds a million for cheapsies, passes the man test and makes the house smell ridiculously delicious.

All my favorite things!!  We should celebrate!!

I propose a canning party.

You’re gonna need all of those.

((All I can think of when I see this photo is Bowling for Soup.  Cue high school flashback))

So first thing first….open them.  All of them.  Maybe you have an electric can opener in your kitchen.  Or maybe you’re me.

Thanks, $10-Target -pots/pans/kitchen-utensil-set.

You have served me well.

Now dump.

It may not be pretty, but crock pot meals are the perfect thing for when the day looks like this:

Gross. It’s ok though…I put some flowers in the way of the rainy cold.

Also I’ve got some comfort food a-cookin’. Nice try, rain.  I made this a good day anyway.

So uh….that’s it.  Now you turn it on low and walk away.

Live your life.

Take it all in.

Enjoy it, for real.

Check the “make dinner” box off your to-do list early.

Dinner is taken care of and you win.

Later, when you’re done with all that life living, give it a stir, shred the chicken, add some hot sauce, clean your single pot and call it a day.

A really great day.

Take that, rain.

❤ Ellen

Border Chicken Stew

Recipe adapted from a family friend’s recipe…thanks, Dennin fam!

I used:

1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
2 (15 oz) cans corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
1 jar salsa (I used Newman’s Own, Medium heat)
about 1 1/5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and trimmed of extra fat
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste

Add ins: cheese for topping, hot sauce for sure, sour cream, chips or tortillas…etc.

1. Put beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa and chicken in a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3 hours ((low is better..just saying))

2. Shred the chicken, sprinkle some cheese over it so that it gets all melty and serve!

Serve over rice, or treat it like chili with some chips to dip, you might even put it in a tortilla (never tried it…it might be too juicy).

Note: None of those cans of things are set in stone.  It could easily involve less beans and more corn or more beans and less corn, or no corn at all and carrots instead or frozen veg or no chicken or ground beef or really anything you want. Go crazy.


Filed under Main Dish, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized

Beany Burgers

Oh, hello 65 degree day in January.

What a tease!!!!

So fine…whatever. I see you, warmth, and I’m going with it.

Burger night!

**Just to warn you: bean burgers aren’t pretty and also it was nighttime.  Apologies for the questionable photography

Not just any burger though…this is a burger made for January.

You know….January…that month when you have sworn up and down, backwards and forwards after the gluttony of December to stop eating cookies and fried things and candy and sugarfatcarbsaltwhatever trend you’re going for but all you really want is a burger?

Oh and wouldn’t some fries be awesome too?

I’ve got you covered.

All of the flavor…less of the artery-clogging nonsense.


(black and pinto…rinsed and drained)

This is a photo of panko and olive oil.  It looks like yellow snow.

In this case, you should definitely 100% eat the yellow snow.

(Not right out of the bowl though…we’re gonna do a lot of stuff to it first)

((So I guess actually the same rule applies…don’t eat the yellow snow)

It goes in a pan to get toasty, then set aside to cool.

Some veg.

Some veg…diced.

Beans…and mash.  (Not the British kind. Literal mashed beans)

Eggs, oil, spices. Some things to make it stick together and some things to make it tasty!

Now get everybody together for a massage….feta decides last minute to join the party….feta is always more than welcome

Once you’ve got everybody hangin out getting to know each other pretty well (in patty shape, of course), into the pan they go!

Settle that sucker on a bed of baby spinach on a Dakota bun (from the best bakery ever!).

Avocado is a must.

Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce usually makes an appearance.

Side o’ sweet tater fries.

Lovin’ how I’m livin’

Your turn!


❤ Ellen

P.S. know what’s awesome?

You can make them the day before (on a day you have time) then just throw them in the skillet the next day.

Even awesome-er: make a bunch, freeze them, instant burger day/pretty healthy last minute meal.


Beany Burgers

Recipe adapted from Black Bean Burgers

Makes about 7 burgers

¾ cup panko
3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1(15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 large eggs
1 HEAPING tsp. ground cumin (I always go heavy on the cumin..)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
1/2 medium onion, minced
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  1. Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil then place in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently (do NOT walk away!) until light golden brown.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, dice your onion and pepper and mash most of the beans in a large bowl until they are smooth.  Leave about 1/2 cup unmashed
  3. In a small bowl, combine the beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon of oil, cumin, salt and cayenne
  4. Add the egg mixture, the toasted panko, the rest of the beans,the feta cheese, the bell pepper and onion to the bowl of mashed beans.  Mix everything together really well.   I find it’s best to just dig in with your hands and massage everything together.
  5. Create 1-inch patties, (about 1/2 cup of bean mash each) and heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat. ((MAKE AHEAD: you could get this far the day before then refrigerate the patties for the next day))
  6. Place patties in the heated oil and cook until well browned on both sides

Some tips:

  • I don’t know if you noticed but hese are made of beans.  Which means they’re softer than beef burgers.  ((I wonder if I could add some oats for some chew??)) This means you’re gonna want a firmer bun (Dakota was PERFECT). I’ve tried them with those big soft potato buns and it’s just a pile of mush.  Make sure you get some texture! Or at least toast your buns
  • Avocado.  Seriously. Do it.
  • Treat them like regular burgers….lettuce/tomato/ketchup/mustard….it all works just fine.
  • Freeze them very very well wrapped and if possible…individually.  Pop them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 2o minutes and you’re good to go!


Filed under Main Dish, Uncategorized

Not Your Average Taco

So uh…we eat a lot of tacos around here.

I mean seriously…I made my own tortillas, people, I’m not messin around.

This recipe is a go to for me if I need a quick/delicious/filling meal.

I usually have these ingredients on hand anyway.

Except that cabbage.  Which I always conveniently make sure I have on hand if it’s going to be as extra busy week.


It helps me live life.

Ok, so you’ve got your homemade tortillas…

((because you obviously dropped everything and made them after you saw the last post))

…now what?

Ready, set, TACO!

A couple of dear friends come along for the ride:

Black beans


Sorry, Kath!

 And sweet potato…on a secret mission…

Plus the under appreciated/almost forgotten most important part: purple cabbage

Sorry, Jenn Chan!

The cabbage becomes a slaw that really brings the whole thing together.

The first time I made these it was the only thing I didn’t have and I ALMOST just left it out to use some other lettuce or something..

but I am so so glad I didn’t!

Their powers combined…


(Captain Planet?  Anyone?)

Do you see this?

The sweetness from the sweet potato, the savory beans with a burst of cumin, the crisp, crunchy cabbage, all laced with hints of lime and chili peppers, PLUS the soft homemade goodness that is your tortilla….

your life is good right now.

And it didn’t even take much effort.

Now, eat!


❤ Ellen

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos

Recipe from Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

For the Potatoes:

2 sweet potatoes (I like the skin on but feel free to peel them)

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and red chili flakes to taste

juice of 1 lime

For the Cabbage Slaw:

2 heaping cups shredded cabbage (purple for pretty!)

1/4 cup diced onions

2 heaping tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh is so nice tasting/looking but I have been known to use dried in a pinch)

juice of 2 limes

salt and red chili flakes to taste

For the Beans:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup diced onion

1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

juice of 1 lime

1. To cook those potatoes you have a couple of options depending on time available/personal preference.  You could either:

-Toss diced sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and chili flakes, and lime juice until evenly coated.  Spread them on a cookie sheet (try not to make it too crowded on there) and bake at 400 degrees F until softened through and toasted brown.  This usually takes about 40 minutes.   Remove the cookie sheet once or twice during baking to toss the potato chunks around.  This will ensure that the cubes cook evenly.  Remove from the oven and let stand when cooked through.


-Stab whole sweet potatoes with a fork a couple of times and wrap in a damp paper towel.  Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes (depending on how big your potato is) or until it is slightly softened but not quite cooked through.  THEN dice them and toss them with olive oil, salt, chili flakes and lime juice until evenly coated.  Spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for more like 10-15 minutes, or until they are cooked through.  You can always stick them under a broiler at the end to get a nice crispy outside

2. While the potatoes cook, assemble the Cabbage Slaw.  In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage, onion, and chopped cilantro with  lime juice, salt and chili flakes to coat.  Set aside while the potatoes cook and beans heat.  ((Letting the cabbage slaw sit will help soften the cabbage.))

3. For the beans-heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add ground cumin and stir until fragrant.  Add beans and lime juice.  Cook until heated through.

4. Assemble potatoes, slaw and beans on a tortilla, wrap and chow down.  I like a pretty even potato-bean-slaw ratio.  Some other people I know like minimal slaw and maximum sweet potato.  Do your thing…you can’t go wrong.

Get excited for Thanksgiving inspired deliciousness coming soon!


Filed under Main Dish, Uncategorized