Black Bean Brownies

Don’t be scared.  Trust me on this one.  These aren’t your typical brownies.  In fact, there’s no flour in these brownies.  But don’t let that keep you from making them.  You will not even taste the black beans.  So grab a glass of skim milk and enjoy this sweet treat.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
What you’ll do:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper (found near aluminum foil) and spray with cooking spray.
  • In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips.
  • Pour into the pan.
  • Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and then cut and enjoy!
Image and recipe from Chocolate & Carrots.
So what are you waiting for…Get dinner on the table!

Grilled Pork Chops with Sesame Slaw

If you don’t have access to a grill, simply use a grill pan indoors.  This meal comes together in under 30 minutes.  You’re less likely to dry-out the pork chops if you use bone-in chops.

Grilled Pork Chops With Cabbage and Sesame Slaw

What you’ll need:

  • 4 8-ounce bone-in pork chops (about 1-inch thick)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6-cups)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
What you’ll do:
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and grill until cooked.  About 6 minutes each side.
  • In a large bowl, combine the juice, oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, honey, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Add the cabbage and cilantro.  Toss to combine.  Serve with the pork chops.
Recipe and photo from Real Simple.
So what are you waiting for…Get dinner on the table!

Pesto Beans and Pasta

Beans, tomatoes and sweet bell pepper makes the perfect pasta topping that will make dinner a breeze…especially since your slow cooker does all the work.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 19-ounce cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 7-ounce container pesto (you can find some next to the cheese or hear spaghetti sauce)
  • 12 ounces penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
What you’ll do:
  • Combine beans, tomatoes (undrained), bell pepper, onion, Italian seasoning, pepper and garlic in slow cooker.  Add the vegetable broth.
  • Cover, cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
  • When ready to eat, cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
  • Transfer bean mixture from slow cooker to a large serving bowl and stir in pesto.
  • Add pasta to bean mixture.  Toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Photo and recipe from 
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Busy Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie

Make use of your grocer’s rotisserie chicken and dinner will be on the table in a flash!  Serve with a fruit salad.

What you’ll need:

  • 8-9 frozen tea biscuits (if you only have regular-sized biscuits, use 4-5)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken from your grocer’s deli
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot vegetable medley
  • 1 (1.6-ounce) package garlic herb sauce mix
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
What you’ll do:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake biscuits 10 minutes; remove from oven.  (Biscuits should begin to rise, not brown.)
  • Remove skin from rotisserie chicken, pull meat from bones, chop chicken into bite-size pieces.  Set chicken aside.  (You want about 2 cups chicken.)
  • Microwave the vegetable medley for 4 minutes.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, the garlic herb sauce mix and the broth.
  • Bring to a boil, add 1 tablespoon butter, reduce the heat and allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Add chicken, vegetables and Italian seasoning.  Simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer mixture into a baking dish.  Arrange the biscuits on top.  Dot the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter on each biscuit.
  • Bake until the biscuits are browned and the chicken mixture is hot.
Recipe and image from Taste of the South magazine.
So what are you waiting for…Get dinner on the table!

Let’s do lunch.

Since school’s back in session, I’m going to start sharing some lunch box ideas.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back with a dinner recipe tomorrow.

Sandwiches are a lunch box staple.  Why not shake it up a bit?  Here are some sandwich ideas that are worth getting excited about.

Preschooler Bento #34: June 26, 2008

One easy swap is the bread.  Instead of sandwich bread try tortillas.  Stack them (like you see above) and make it even more fun by using cookie cutters to make shapes.  Or fill it and roll the tortilla up.

Pita pockets are also a great sandwich maker.  Fill up the pocket with things you would normally put in a sandwich – chicken salad works especially well.

Crescent rolls are another option.  Bake a few the night before with dinner and save some for lunch boxes the next day.  Ham and cheese would be a perfect pairing.

Finally, mini bagels.  Not only are they mini and the perfect size for a lunch box but they’re portion controlled.  Bagels aren’t just for breakfast.

Now for the fillings.  Turkey and cheese, peanut butter and jelly – those are usual sandwich fillings.  Try mixing up the combinations.

Roast beef and cheddar.  Smoked turkey with Swiss cheese.  Add some fun spreads, too.  Turkey and jelly goes perfect together (think Thanksgiving – cranberries and turkey).  Or cream cheese mixed with salsa to make it interesting.

Add some texture to PB&J sandwiches.  Add in some sunflower seeds for crunch or raisins for a little chew.  Instead of the “J” add real fruit:  pear slices or banana slices.

The possibilities are endless!


Photo and ideas from


Roasted Rosemary Shrimp with White Bean and Arugula Salad

Shrimp can be expensive.  Watch grocery store fliers and stock up when they go on sale (especially frozen packs).  This meal will take you 30 minutes or less.  And the best part – it’s healthy and delicious.  Feel free to mix up the salad ingredients, but make sure to get those greens.  Serve this salad with a piece of crusty bread to round out your meal.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 5 cups arugula (or any other lettuce – arugula is “peppery” and much more flavorful than romaine)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans (or any white bean), rinsed and drained
  • Light Balsamic salad dressing (choose your favorite brand – I like Ken’s)
What to do:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, minced rosemart, salt, pepper, and garlic in a bowl.  Add shrimp, toss and cover.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • While the shrimp is marinating, prep your salad (rinse lettuce, slice onion then toss with white beans).
  • Arrange the shrimp on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with Pam and bake for 10 minutes (the shrimp are done when they turn pink).
  • Serve the shrimp on top of the salad with your favorite balsamic dressing.
Recipe and photo from Cooking Light. 
So what are you waiting for…Get dinner on the table!

Veggie, Ham & Cheese Rice Bake

A comforting casserole to get you through the week.  If you don’t have one of the veggies listed, simply use what you have in the fridge.  This recipe serves 4.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed (use frozen or canned, about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli (use frozen if you don’t have fresh)
  • 4 ounces deli ham, diced (or leftover meat)
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (low-fat)
  • salt and pepper
  • Ground thyme
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (try using brown rice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
What you’ll do:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9×9 dish with cooking spray (or larger – especially if doubling the recipe).
  • Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large skillet.
  • Add onions, carrot, corn and ham and saute for 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the broccoli and the cream of chicken soup.
  • Once soup begins to “melt,” add in the seasonings (salt and pepper, a couple pinches thyme), rice and water.
  • Stir to remove any clumps.
  • Stir in the cheese and let it melt.  Pour mixture into baking dish.
  • Bake 40 minutes or until no liquid is remaining and the rice is cooked.
Photo and recipe from Lauren’s Latest.  
So what are you waiting for…Get dinner on the table!