Maple Chipotle Baked Beans

Maple Chipotle Baked Beans 1

As much as I love summer, we’ve had a few tiny glimpses into fall weather lately and I’m so into it. I mean, sweaters and scarves and riding boots. But, can we keep summer food? I just love barbeques full of grilling and pasta salads and all things fresh. Baked beans always make me think of summer but with a change in the air, fall food is definitely on my mind. So I came up with a little compromise, summer baked beans but the maple and spice makes them seem perfect for fall.

Maple Chipotle Baked Beans 2

These beans are sweet, spicy and smoky and are made completely from scratch. I don’t know what it is about making beans from dry that makes it so much more satisfying to me. But if you don’t feel the same way, don’t have the time or just can’t remember to soak them overnight (hello me at times), you can absolutely make them with canned, rinsed beans instead. Just cut the cooking time in half so you don’t end up with a bowl of mush.
Maple Chipotle Baked Beans 3

The bacon running throughout is pretty spectacular too. Because bacon = better.

Maple Chipotle Baked Beans

1 lb. dry great northern beans, soaked overnight
4 cups chicken stock 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup barbeque sauce
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo sauce, finely minced
12 oz. thick cut maple bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked onion and garlic, chicken stock, ketchup, barbeque sauce, salt, pepper, tomato paste, brown sugar, maple syrup, chipotle in adobo and bacon.

3. Combine beans and sauce mixture in a slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Turn slow cooker to high and cook another 2-3 hours, stirring often. If they get too thick, add a bit of water until desired texture is reached (I didn’t have to do this).

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Hot Black Bean Dip {Football Food}

Hot Black Bean Dip
Those that know me well know that chips are my downfall, my nemesis, that one food I just can’t resist. I seriously have a hard time practicing self control when they are around. Which is why they are only in my house on rare occasions. Football games being such times since they are the perfect snack to inhale while watching the game. And although I would be perfectly happy with a bowl of chips (sea salt kettle chips to be precise), it’s nice to whip up a dip so that I can say I had black beans for dinner instead of just chips……
Hot Black Bean Dip
Tortilla chips are the perfect vehicle for this spicy, smoky, cheesy black bean dip. This dip takes a few steps but it’s very simple and can even be prepared ahead of time then put in the oven right before kick off, giving you time to whip up more delicious food to chow down on during the game. Because I guess eating chips and dip for dinner is not the appropriate adult thing to do.

And if for some totally indescribable reason you don’t like chips (I’m not sure we can be friends anymore), this dip is also very tasty atop crispy baked sweet potato fries.
Hot Black Bean Dip
Hot Black Bean Dip
recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 (15½-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed well, divided
2 canned chipotle chiles, minced + 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
¾ cup water
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1½ cups frozen corn, thawed
6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
6 ounces sharp Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
¾ cup chopped cilantro, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking pan (I used an 8×8) with non-stick spray.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and salt, cooking until softened and translucent (about 4 minutes).Add the garlic and chili powder and cook another minute. Stir in 1 can of black beans, chipotles and adobo sauce, water and tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, 2-3 minutes.

3. Transfer the black bean mixture to a food processor or blender then add the vinegar. Process until smooth then pour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the remaining black beans, corn, half of the cheeses, 1/2 cup cilantro and pepper. Dump into prepared pan then top with the remaining cheese. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake and serve – if you do this add 5-10 minutes to the baking time). Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Top with remaining cilantro for garnish.

Sweet and Spicy Asian Ribs

Sweet and Spicy Asian Ribs
Looking for something easy and delicious to nosh on during the big game on Sunday? These sweet and spicy Asian ribs will totally hit the spot. They will cook away in the crock pot while you whip up the rest of your Super Bowl feast. Right before serving, drench them in sauce and throw them under the broiler for some crispy carmelization. Soo good.
Sweet and Spicy Asian Ribs
I personally would use more Sriracha for more zing but if you want to keep it mild for your crew go ahead with the stated amount in the recipe.
Sweet and Spicy Asian Ribs

Who are you cheering for this Sunday? I think I’m going to root for the Broncos since Manning always yells Omaha before his plays. Good logic in choosing my winner, right? Either that or whoever has the prettiest uniform.
Sweet and Spicy Asian Ribs
recipe from Family Favorite Recipes

2 racks baby back pork ribs
Seasoning salt
1 cup water
2/3 cup sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. Sriracha hot chili sauce (or more if you like things spicier)

1. First, be sure to remove any membrane from ribs. Rub ribs with seasoning and place in large crock pot (you may have to cut the ribs up so they all fit). Pour in water and cook on low heat for 3-5 hours, until ribs are cooked through and they are already starting to fall off the bone.

2. In a small bowl, combine chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger and sriracha. Place ribs on a baking sheet and put on the top rack of the oven. Broil for about 3-5 minutes or until the sauce begins to caramelize. Watch them closely as they will burn quickly.  Remove from oven, lightly cover with foil and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Sweet and Spicy Asian Ribs

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Smoked Pork Chops

Grilled Smoked Pork Chops
Long time, no see huh? I decided to take some time off from this little space of mine to truly enjoy Christmas with my family. Not that I don’t enjoy my blog, but life has been crazy and hectic and stressful lately and I needed some time to focus without my computer calling my name. We are still trying to figure out our new normal as a family of four and with the craziness of the holidays and a death in the family, it was nice to unplug. Those of you that have added a new baby to your family, do you ever figure out a new routine? I feel like it’s never going to happen.

I have to admit, it’s been a hard few months. And I haven’t been able to find much time to get into the kitchen so I haven’t had much to share with you all lately. Cooking is hard when you have a sweet, but demanding 3 year old and a new baby to keep happy. Luckily, Hannah is adjusting and is now ok with being put down for a little while.
Grilled Smoked Pork Chops
But I still find more times than not that I only have a short little window to get something on the table that isn’t a dang frozen pizza. Did you ever think a food blogger would admit to that? Sometimes it’s just easier than dealing with two screaming babies. And I have to admit too, that Joel is usually pretty happy when said frozen pizza is dinner. He has always enjoyed them and pre-Hannah, only got them when I wouldn’t be home for dinner which wasn’t often. And sometimes he just enjoys something “normal” instead of our constantly ever-changing menu. Gah, whatever.
Grilled Smoked Pork Chops
Anyway, these pork chops are incredibly simple to throw together when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook a detailed meal. Since the chops are smoked, all you have to do is soak them in the sweet and spicy marinade for 20 minutes then heat them through on the grill. So easy. You could even throw them in the marinade earlier in the day so all you have to do at dinner time is grill them for a few minutes while you steam some veggies or whip up a quick salad. And with the new year upon us, these can still keep everyone with weight loss resolutions (me included) on track.
Grilled Smoked Pork Chops
Sweet and Spicy Grilled Smoked Pork Chops
recipe from Sunny Anderson

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for grill
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 thinly cut (about 1/2-inch thick) smoked pork chops

1. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high.

2. In a plastic resealable bag, big enough to fit the chops, mix together the sugar, honey, oil, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Add the pork chops and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.

3. Remove the pork from the marinade. Lightly brush the grill with oil. Put the chops on the grill and cook until grill marks form, about 2 minutes. Rotate the chops 90 degrees, and grill for 2 minutes more, to create diamond grill marks. Flip and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from grill to a serving platter and serve.

Quesadilla Sauce

Quesadilla Sauce 3
We love a good sauce or dip around here. Don’t get me wrong, good ‘ole sour cream or guacamole is great for a quesadilla but sometimes you just need a change, a boost, a kick. And this sauce has all those things. I will not get too far into this before I admit this is a Taco Bell copycat recipe of the sauce they put in their quesadillas. I will also let you know right off the bat that I am not a fan of the TB (sadly, Joel loves it). I used to not mind it too much but it was a major food aversion when I was pregnant with Noah and ever since, it just makes me gag thinking of it (although I do have a weird curiosity about the Cool Ranch Dorito tacos…has anyone tried them?).

Back in my college days, my roommates and I would occasionally stop by Taco Bell for a quick and cheap dinner. Quesadillas were always my poison because of that yummy sauce. One day, we decided we should try to make it at home. We found this copycat recipe and played around with it until it was just right for us. I should have known I was destined to have a food blog even when cooking in a tiny, linoleum covered, laminate topped apartment kitchen that I shared with two other {amazing} girls.
Quesadilla Sauce 10
Joel prefers this slathered onto his quesadilla before it is cooked to golden perfection but me? I’m a dipper. I would, 9 times out of 10, prefer to dip something rather than it be smothered in whatever sauce or dip we are inhaling. I like to choose exactly how much I get in each bite. Control freak much?

This sauce is spicy, smoky and slightly sweet….the perfect compliment to our favorite chicken, bacon and black bean quesadillas.

Quesadilla Sauce
recipe adapted from food.com

1/4 cup low-fat mayo
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
3 tsp.  jalapeno juice (from the jar – I leave this out if we don’t have it and it’s still yummy)
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/8 -1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you like
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together. Slather on inside on tortilla before topping with filling ingredients or use as a dip for cooked quesadillas.
Quesadilla Sauce 4

Crock Pot Cafe Rio Chicken

Crock pot meals are totally where it’s at right now in our humble abode. As I said before, picking up Joel from work every day is totally cramping my cooking style so I have to adjust until a darn space in a parking garage opens up.
Cafe Rio Chicken 1
The ingredients combine to create a zesty, smokey and slightly spicy chicken that is just perfect in tacos and burritos or atop tostados and salads. Trust me, I have had it in all these forms. I think my favorite was definitely the tostado which is pictured below. I’ll be sharing the recipe for some delicous {crock pot, duh} refried beans that was just perfect to go with this yummy chicken.
Cafe Rio Chicken 2

I have never been to Cafe Rio so I can’t make a comparision but it was so great that it will become a regular around here. But if I ever get the chance, I will totally be there.

Cafe Rio Chicken
recipe from Mandy’s Recipe Box

2 lbs chicken breasts
1 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 packet ranch dressing mix (mixed with 1/2 cup of water)
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin

Mix Italian dressing, garlic, ranch dressing mix, chili powder and cumin in the crock pot. Add chicken and cook for 5-6 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Shred with a fork and serve.

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes
These crash hot sweet potatoes have to grace your Thanksgiving table. I mean it. They are so delicious that you should totally ditch the sweet potato casserole. I’m a little biased since I don’t generally like casseroles but these guys are SO GOOD. They are caramelized and crispy on the outside while smooth and creamy inside.

I made two different spice varieties, the spicy sweet version from the original recipe and a sweet cinnamon pecan version. I thought I would prefer the sweet ones but surprised myself when I kept going back for the spicy ones. I loved the combination of flavors and it added a lot of depth. Yum! You’ve gotta make these tasty little morsels of goodness!
Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes
Head on over to DLYN for the recipe and make sure to scroll down to get the sweet rub recipe too! Apply it just as you would the sweet and spicy version.

Sweet Rub:
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. pecans, chopped
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes