Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Mexican, Quick n Easy, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Turkey

Southwestern Goulash

southwestern goulash with beans, corn, bone broth and tomatoes

I made it! I made it! I finally made it!

Aren’t you tickled-oh-so-much-that-there-are-no-words?

Or is that overstating?

Seriously, though … this must hold some kind of household record for most weeks spent on a meal plan without actually being made. I could take the time to look back and count, but I’m feeling lazy at the moment and so I’ll just send you to the page with our meal plans and you can look. If you really want to know and you’re not being lazy, of course.

This Southwestern Goulash recipe is one from our archives of things-we-made-often-before-kids-but-haven’t-made-in-years-because-we-forgot-about-it. (And because they don’t love dishes like this.)

The Man actually clipped this Southwestern Goulash recipe (you know, with scissors) from the Washington Post many years ago when we still got that paper (we are one of those dorky rare households that does actually still get a local paper delivered and even reads it). I kept that clipping for a long, long time. Of course, due to my incapability (you know – the one that prevents me from making something the same way more than one time), I have changed it significantly from what it was on that clipping – obviously for the better – and so, somewhere it ended up in the recycling.

Now I wish I’d kept it. Just so I could share it with you.

Southwestern Goulash
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (we actually prefer turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 to 19 ounce can drained black beans
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken or beef)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (can use fresh, you'd just need to add more)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef or turkey until mostly brown.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, corn, chilies, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes (or longer).
  5. Serve over noodles (The Man says rotini is the best).
You can easily make this in a crock pot. Brown the meat first, add to the crock pot with everything else and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

I double and triple this recipe because it freezes nicely and makes a perfectly easy out-of-the-freezer, busy-weeknight meal.

Southwestern Goulash is hands-down one of The Man’s most favorite dishes. “Easily in the top ten.” He was incredibly bothered by the roller coaster of excitement and disappointment that resulted from its being pushed from the plan so many weeks in a row. Poor guy. The kids, though, not so much. They all tried it … that’s all I’ll say about that.

Do you have things that you made before kids but don’t make as much now? Any good old newspaper recipes?

Posted in Adventures with Food, Bone-In Pieces, Chicken, Slow Cooker

How to Get Multiple Meals out of a Chicken – For Real

IMG_3837.JPGThere are posts all over the blogosphere about how to stretch a chicken.

You know, grab it by its legs and pull really hard … bwhahaha! Right, stick to the day job.

Stretching a chicken to make like 17 different meals.


Because when I make a chicken, it’s gone in like 17.2 seconds. Definitely no room for 16 more meals after my family is finished with it.

My boys like their chicken.

I do save the bones to make bone broth but that’s as far as it goes.

I can however, combine a whole chicken with a package of legs and thighs and make something usable beyond just one dinner. Not necessarily something that they will all eat because that might very well be deemed impossible, even in a world where everything is possible.

On this particular Sunday, with a whole chicken and a package of 8 chicken thighs and 6 legs in the fridge begging to be used and Brunswick Stew on the menu, I started with some basic broth with the whole chicken. I always make broth with Brunswick Stew because the chicken shreds in the stew anyway so I can overcook the chicken to get a good broth without having to worry about it.

I only use about half the broth for the stew, so I took out the chicken and scooped out the broth that I needed then added the legs …

… which I had warmed first. Never put cold items into a hot crock pot – the ceramic doesn’t prefer it … not that I would know ..

… and some water to make up for what I took out. Kept it cooking until the legs were done. I pulled out the chicken legs, strained the broth, and shoved it all in the fridge for chicken noodle soup later in the week.

At the same time, I roasted the chicken thighs in the oven for my children who have an innate inability to recognize good food and would not eat the stew. Since they only ate a couple of the thighs, I saved the meat for the soup.

And I saved all of the bones to make bone broth after I make the soup.

So much multi-tasking and productivity without much actual effort beyond making dinner. Awe. Some.

Even better … dinner for Tuesday night is mostly already made. Bonus!

So, if you consider that the stew makes 8 servings for us (12 if you don’t have The Man eating it), the thighs make a dinner for the kids, and the soup is at least 8 servings. That’s 23 servings in total. For our alternate-universe family of five, in which the children eat stew and soup happily and in volume, that would be 4 meals plus some.

One Chicken. Some Parts. 4 Meals.

That’s as far as I can stretch a chicken.

Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Pork, Slow Cooker, Soups

The Best Chili


I grew up in a house divided – Chili Lovers vs. Not Chili Lovers.

My dad is a chili lover. My mom is not.

I have always been on team Not Chili Lovers. Just not a fan of spicy food, which is kind of and mostly necessary to a good bowl of chili. Also not too fond of it’s density – like eating a giant bowl of meat and beans, with some oh-by-the-way veggies thrown in for flavor.

Lucky gal that I am, though,  The Man could be the quarterback of team Chili Lovers. He loves his chili.

And so I make it. Mostly for him. And in the name of good wifelihood. But also to torture my children so that my children have the opportunity to fully embrace the chili eating experience, in order to someday make their own fully-informed choice of team.

Except …

Big Britches walked in the door from school, “What is that delicious smell?”

Mr. Selective, “Yeah. What is that??”


“What’s for dinner?”


“Mom! C’mon! Why do you always say that?”

“Because if I tell you, you’ll say you’re not eating that.”

“Just tell us!”

“Okay. Chili.”

“Blech. I’m not eating that.”

“I’m not eating that either.”

‘Nuff said.

The Best Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1½ pounds ground beef (preferably grass fed)
  • 1 pound ground pork (pastured and/or organic)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika (you could also use smoked here)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander
  • dash cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 12 ounces dark beer (I use Guinness)
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce (just one pepper out of the can), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper)
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney, pinto, white or black beans (I use the Chili Beans from Westbrae Natural), drained
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef and pork, stirring to break up any large pieces.
  2. When meat is paritally cooked, add ground fennel and stir well.
  3. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
  4. Add carrots and green pepper.
  5. In small bowl, combine chili powder, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Add spices to meat mixture and mix well.
  7. Cook 5 minutes.
  8. Add beer, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, bone broth, chili pepper, and apple cider vinegar.
  9. Stir well. Let pot come to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.
  10. If cooking for a long time (I'd recommend it), cover but crack the lid.
  11. Stir occasionally.
  12. About 30 minutes before you're ready to serve, add the beans, the red pepper and the frozen corn.
  13. Salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve with shredded cheese, corn bread or whatever else you like with your chili.
Crock pot directions: After adding the spices to the meat, transfer to a crock pot and follow the rest of the steps in the crock pot. You may want to omit the bone broth as the crock pot tends to make it a bit runnier.

This makes a fairly thick chili. If you like your chili a bit thinner, add more bone broth.

As for Mr. Selective and Big Britches? They didn’t eat it. Wouldn’t even try it. They ate leftover sausages.

The Bread Guy – who claims to love chili – ate it, but painstakingly slowly and not a very large quantity. He did say that it was the best chili I’ve ever made. High praise coming from the kid who doesn’t often praise.

From a years-long member of the Not Chili Lovers team, I do think this is probably the best chili that I’ve ever made. Not good enough, though to sway me to switch teams.

The Man? He was speechless.

What a lucky guy to have such an awesome wife.

Posted in Beef, Boneless Pieces, Quick n Easy, Slow Cooker

Butternut Squash Beef Stew

butternut squash beef stew from change of plates

Every so often I make something new, hoping that everyone will eat it (not like it, mind you – I’ve given up hoping for that) without a fuss. And then they actually do.

This was not one of those times.

The Man and I both thought it was delish.

The Bread Guy loved it for the first few bites, then decided that he wasn’t really fond of it, but he’d eat it anyway and by the end, he was just stirring his spoon around his bowl, stalling and laboring in the way he does when we’ve served him poison. That’s what you’d think anyway. He didn’t finish it.

Mr. Selective liked the first bite, changed his mind quickly and went for the PB&J.

Big Britches picked all of the meat out and ate it (shocking!), but only because I told him I was not making a sandwich.

Which brings the total of things that Mom and Dad will eat to about 332.  List of things that everyone will eat … still 7.

Butternut Squash Beef Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 lbs. grass-fed beef stew meat
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp refined coconut oil (or any oil of your choice)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 yellow or red potatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 c. bone broth (or whatever broth you use)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's)
  • 1 8 oz container mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 6 ounces frozen green peas
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  2. Drop the coconut oil into a large skillet (preferably iron) and warm it to medium.
  3. Sear the meat on all sides, 5-10 minutes.
  4. While meat is searing, chop all vegetables except mushrooms and place in slow cooker.
  5. Add beef to slow cooker. Add broth, paprika, Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Set the slow cooker to low and move on with your day. About 5-6 hours later, the meat should be tender and the vegetables cooked.
  7. Add the peas and mushrooms and let cook for another 30 minutes.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Looking at that picture, I really can’t blame them for not eating it.  Can you?

Posted in Pork, Quick n Easy, Slow Cooker

Most Delicious Pulled Pork

most delicious pulled pork that makes its own barbecue sauce from change of platesI’ve decided that there must be a special place in the universe those of us with boys who play baseball. Especially those of us who have children who play on separate teams.  And children who play on two teams.  And husbands who coach not one but two of said teams.

Two hour (or more!) games.  Each.  Two on Saturday.  Two on Sunday.  Often 6-7 hours away just at baseball games – each day.  Oh. My. Gracious.

But they love it.  So we do it.

Usually I’m on my game with the food part of the day. Well-prepared and well-thought out. As the season progresses, however, I start to lose my inspiration. The weather gets less tolerable. The days can seem exceptionally long. It starts to feel all-consuming. I still put on the happy, proud-mom demeanor, but my desire to take the food-bull by the horns starts to wane.  Plan, prep and pack for the day.  Snacks, lunches, beverages.  Make sure that dinner is thought-out and ready to get started when we get home. Ugh! Small world problems, yes. But such is my life.

I hit that point this weekend. The children starved a bit. They ate crappy concession stand food. We ate out more than we should. But everyone was happy. Mostly just because I let them have a ring pop.

We ended the very long weekend with a hybrid dinner: coleslaw, french fries, and macaroni and cheese from our local barbecue joint along with the pulled pork that was waiting for us in the slow cooker (that I had in before we left).

Now, everyone who owns a slow cooker has their own unique pulled pork recipe.  Some even have more than one.  Mine has changed many, many, many, many, … times over the years, but the current version is the best because it makes it’s own barbecue sauce.  Less work.

You gotta love a pulled pork recipe that can help you to work less.

Most Delicious Pulled Pork
Prep time
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Total time
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 4-5 pound pork butt roast
  • Oil, for searing
  • ½ c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  1. In a small bowl, combine paprika, salt, dry mustard, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.
  2. Rub all over the outside of the pork.
  3. Dump a glug of oil into a large skillet and warm over medium-high heat.
  4. Place pork in skillet, searing on all sides, approximately 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Move pork roast to slow cooker.
  6. Pour vinegar in the pan to warm and to loosen any of the bit of spice that stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add tomato paste and honey and stir to combine.
  8. Pour vinegar/tomato mixture over pork roast.
  9. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until roast shreds easily with a fork.
  10. Remove pork and transfer to a plate or a cutting board.
  11. Strain the liquid into a saucepan and cook until reduced by half, 10-15 minutes. The vinegar loses some of its punch when it cooks, so you may need to add some more if you like a more vinegar-y sauce.
  12. Shred or chop the pork and mix with the reduced sauce.
  13. Serve with additional barbecue sauce and coleslaw.
You can also braise this, if you forget to put in the slow cooker. Not that I have ever done that.
If you're short on time, you can even chop the roast into smaller chunks, put the chunks in a bag with the rub, shake it to coat all the pieces, sear the pieces and then cook. It cuts the cooking time in half (or even less if you cut the chunks fairly small). Bet you didn't think anyone could use the word "chunks" so many times in so few sentences and it be meaningful.

Adapted from Food Network.

Now, if you don’t own a slow cooker, you’d be wise to fork out the 25 or so beans to get one.  Especially if you’ve got kids that are interested in baseball.

It’s the best thing to happen to the uninspired baseball mom cook.


What’s a go-to recipe when you’ve been out at your kids activities all day?