Soup, Stew, Chili

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

This soup is so comforting and nourishing. It’s the first thing my kids request when they’re feeling under the weather. We all prefer it chicken noodle soup! The leftovers taste great (no soggy noodles!) and it freezes wonderfully! I love making a batch just to have on hand in the freezer. I freeze it in individual portions, then just grab one out of the freeze when someone is sick!

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup


  • 1 Whole Chicken (about 5 pounds)
  • 1 Cup Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 4 Quarts of Cold Water (or enough to cover the chicken)
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 Onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 Carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 3 Celery Stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley


Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  As it heats up, use a large spoon to skim the fat off the surface of the soup as necessary.

Cover with a lid, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour (or until the chicken easily separates from the bones).

Turn off the heat, carefully remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Remove the onions and discard.

When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from the bones. Shred the chicken, then place it back into the soup. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Slightly adapted from the Weelicious Lunches cookbook.

Ground Beef/Ground Turkey · Instant Pot

Ground Turkey Quinoa Taco Bowls (Instant Pot)

I shared my Chicken Quinoa Taco Bowls on an Instant Pot Facebook page and got such great reviews that I started playing around with the recipe and came up with this ground turkey version. I think I like it even more than the chicken version (I promise it tastes better than it looks!)!

I love having meals in the freezer that I can grab on my way out the door and take to work with me. This is great for that! I make a batch, let it cool a little, then pack it directly into freezer safe containers!

Ground Turkey Quinoa Taco Bowls


  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey (ground beef would work too!)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 Cup salsa
  • 2 Cup Quinoa (uncooked)
  • 3 Cup water or broth
  • 1 Cup frozen corn
  • Toppings (optional): shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, avocado, black olives, tortillas, tortilla chips, extra salsa.


  1. Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot and turn it on high. When it’s hot, add the oil. Add the meat, and cook a few minutes, stirring and breaking it up with a spoon, until browned. Turn the pot off. Sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano, and stir well. Add the beans and salsa. Add the quinoa, and then cover with the water/broth.
  2. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the valve is set to “seal” and not “vent.” Set to pressure cook on high for 1 minute.
  3. When the time is up, turn the pot off and let it sit for 10 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure. Don’t let it go longer than 10 minutes, or it will get mushy!
  4. Add the corn to the pot and stir (the heat from the mixture will warm the corn up).
  5.  Serve with your favorite taco fixings!

Blueberry Cake Donuts

My daughter loves baking and dreams of owning a bakery one day (you can read more about that here). She ran across a donut recipe in a magazine one day and I helped her modify it to make it a little healthier. They turned out super yummy!

We have these Donut Pans  and love them!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Cake Donuts


  • cooking spray, butter, or coconut oil for greasing the pans
  • 3 Cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 Cup blueberries
  • 1 gallon sized ziplock bag


Preheat oven to 350, and grease the donut pans.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and lemon zest.

In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, butter, and vanilla. Whisk for 2 minutes.

Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula. Fold in the blueberries, being careful not to over mix.

Pour the batter into a gallon sized zip-lock bag, and cut a 3/4 inch hole in one of the bottom corners. Pipe the batter into the muffin pan, filling each hole approximately 3/4 full.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the donuts spring back when touched. Let cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan and dip in sugar, if desired.


  • We prefer the taste of white whole wheat flour, but regular whole wheat flour, or even all-purpose flour would work too.
  • *If you don’t have buttermilk, make your own! Just place 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar, or 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add milk until it reaches 1 Cup. Stir, and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe in a magazine (I copied it down while sitting in a waiting room and don’t remember which magazine it was from). We changed the type of flour, reduced the amount of sugar, and used blueberries instead of chocolate chips.

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Power Muffins

These muffins are everything a good wholesome muffin should be…packed full of healthy stuff like carrots, quinoa (yep, you read that correctly!), whole wheat flour, and Chia Seeds. Plus, they’re sweetened only with molasses and honey!  Believe it or not, the kids love them! When I have time, I like to make a couple batches and keep them in the freezer for a quick breakfast during the week, or to throw in lunch boxes. I may have even fed them to my kids for dinner a time or two 🙂 P.S. They make your house smell like carrot cake!

Power Muffins


    • 1/2 Cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
    • 1/2 Cup applesauce (look for a brand with no added sugar)
    • 1/3 Cup molasses
    • 1/3 Cup honey
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 Cups white whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 Cups quinoa (cooked, and cooled)
    • 1 1/2 Cups shredded carrots
    • 3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.

In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, applesauce, molasses, honey, eggs, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix lightly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula (there should still be a few dry streaks). Fold in the quinoa, carrots, and chia seeds until just combined (don’t over mix).

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 18-22 minutes, until the tops spring back lightly to the touch (or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Let the muffins cool in the tins for 2 to 3 minutes before gently sliding out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Measure the flour by scooping it lightly into the measuring cup with a spoon.
  • We prefer the taste and texture of White Whole Wheat flour, but I have used Whole Wheat flour in this recipe before and it tastes great too!
  • If you have an Instant Pot , use this recipe to make the quinoa!
  • In a pinch, I’ve used baby carrots and thrown them into the blender to pulverize them!

Recipe slightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (I replaced the 1 Cup of molasses that her recipe calls for with 1/3 Cup molasses and 1/3 Cup honey). 

Instant Pot

Chicken Taco Bowls (Instant Pot)

Ok, let me start off by saying that this makes a TON of food! I’m not even kidding- my Instant Pot has never been so full in its life! So if you’re one of those people that doesn’t like leftovers, I think you could half the recipe just fine. Me on the other hand, I LOVE leftovers! We eat this for dinner just in bowls the first night, then in burritos the next night. The rest gets packed up for lunches, or goes into the freezer for another time. Cook once- eat for days! This would be great to take to a pot luck, or if you’re feeding a crowd!

It seriously could not be easier- you basically dump everything in the pot and set the timer!

*Update* I’ve heard back from several readers that they did cut the recipe in half and it worked great! Just halve all the ingredients, but keep the cooking time the same!

Chicken Taco Bowls


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz salsa
  • 3 cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 (12 oz) bag frozen corn


  1. Place the chicken in the Instant Pot Insert. Sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Add the beans. Pour salsa over everything. Add the rice, and then cover with the water or chicken broth.
  2. Secure the lid and set to cook on manual high pressure for 12 minutes, then quick release pressure.
  3. Remove the chicken, and shred. Add the corn to the pot and stir (the heat from the rice will warm the corn up). Return the shredded chicken to the pot.
  4.  Serve with your favorite taco fixings: shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, avocado.

Recipe adapted from Wondermom Wannabe

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slow cooker

Slow Cooker Chili

I’ve tried many chili recipes over the years, but this one has become our favorite. It has great flavor without being spicy, so it’s great for the kiddos (although you can definitely amp up the heat if you want!).


To make it even easier, I like to spend some time on the weekends to prep and make it into freezer meals so that there’s no work involved on the day I’m going to serve it. To do this, follow the directions in the first step. Then instead of putting the meat mixture in the slow cooker, let it cool a bit, then place it in a freezer bag. Add the remaining ingredients to the bag and stick it in the freezer. Then when you’re ready for it, defrost overnight, and dump in the slow cooker. If you’re taking the time to do this- you might as well make at least a double batch so you’ll have 2 dinners prepped at once!

These are great to keep in the freezer for times when you want to bless another family with dinner.  It seems like when someone has just had a baby, or they’re grieving a loss, they get bombarded with food the first few days. If that’s the case, they can stick this in their freezer and save it for a night they really need it!


  • 1 Tbl oil
  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbl chili powder
  • 1 Tbl cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbl brown sugar
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and brown the meat, onions, and bell peppers. Drain any excess grease if needed. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Cook a few minutes.
  • Scoop the mixture into a 5-quart (or similar size) slow cooker. Stir in the brown sugar, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans.
  • Cover and cook 8-9 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high. (The chili will thicken slightly the longer it stands after cooking.) Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  • Serve with your favorite chili toppings- shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapenos.

Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

slow cooker

Refried Beans

Homemade refried beans taste so much better than what you can buy at the store! Serve them in tortillas (our favorite is the Tortilla Land Brand, pictured at the bottom of the post), on top of nachos, or just eat plain out of a bowl! They freeze wonderfully so if you have leftovers, let them cool, place in freezer containers and pop into the freezer!



  • 1 pound dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped and seeded (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Salt to taste


Place the beans, salt, onion, garlic, and jalapeno in the slow cooker and add enough water to cover (leave enough room for the beans to expand as they cook!). Cover and cook until the beans are tender (all slow cookers seem to cook differently- I cook mine on high 8-10 hours).

When the beans are tender, removed the onion pieces. Ladle out about a cup of the liquid and place aside. Drain the rest of the liquid from the beans, then add the vinegar. Blend with an blender (an immersion blend works great!), or mash with a potato masher. Add some of the reserved liquid if the beans are too dry.  Taste and add additional salt if needed.


Recipe inspired by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and 100 Days of Real Food

Ground Beef/Ground Turkey · Main Dish

Homemade Sloppy Joes

“Which dinners will someday have the power to transport our kids back to their childhoods?”  Jenny Rosenstrach  asks this question in her book, How to Celebrate Everything. For my family, the answer is definitely these sloppy joes!

My husband and kids request them all the time!  They seriously get giddy when they find out it’s sloppy joe night! I usually double the recipe- it doesn’t take any more effort, and then I can save half in the freezer for another night! Want to avoid hamburger buns? This is yummy on top of a baked potato, or spooned over some oven roasted diced sweet potatoes!



  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 c. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 3 Tbl brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3-1/2 c. water to reach desired consistency
  • salt & pepper


In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat and drain excess grease if necessary. Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until onions and peppers start to soften. Add the remaining ingredients. Turn heat to low, and cover with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add a little water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe from Our Best Bites