Chicken Enchilada Dip

This easy appetizer is great with or without the chicken.  It can also be paired with a salad and eaten as a meal.  It’s a great make-ahead, because it refrigerates and freezes well.


2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
2 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. shredded cheese
1 t. minced garlic
1 ½ T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. oregano
cayenne pepper to taste
1 can black beans, drained (Feel free to leave these out if you don’t want them.)
4 green onions, chopped
10-oz. can chopped green chilies

Mix cheeses together; add seasonings & mix well.

Cover & refrigerate overnight.

Heat in slow cooker, in microwave, in oven or on stovetop until ingredients are warm and gooey.

Serve with tortilla chips or sturdy vegetable dippers.


Sweet Corn Salsa

This is a super versatile recipe.  Feel free to add cucumbers, green peppers or whatever else appeals to you.

1 can black beans (or 2 cups)
1 c. fresh corn, raw or blanched
¼ c. onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. lemon or lime juice
2 T. olive or vegetable oil
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced (or more if you like it hotter)
½ t. ground cumin
pinch of salt
crank of pepper
1 tomato, seeded & chopped

Combine & cover.  Let sit for a bit (chill if you want it cold).  Eat with tortilla chips, in wraps or with a fork.

Summer Cookout Salsa

This easy recipe is GREAT for summer get-togethers.  I can honestly eat it with a fork and call it lunch.

1 can of pinto beans, drained
1 can of blackeyed peas, drained
1 can of corn
1 jalapeño
1 red onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
¼ cup oil (original recipe is ½ cup, but I don’t think that much is necessary)
¾ cup sugar (or less, depending on what you like)
¾ up cider vinegar

Chop up all the peppers, onion and jalapeño.

Put the oil, sugar and vinegar in saucepan. Bring to boil to dissolve and then let cool.

Mix all ingredients together and let sit in fridge overnight.

Slow Cooker Bean Dip (or burrito filling or nacho topping, etc.)

We’ve actually made this into a meal with some sliced avocado; you can make it as hearty and/or as healthy as you want it. This recipe makes a LOT, so we usually split it into thirds–one batch for today, one in the fridge for leftovers and one tucked into the freezer for another day. One pound of dried pinto beans, already cooked in the slow cooker is about equal to the canned refried beans.  You could also add leftover taco meat, green peppers, salsa, black olives and whatever else you like.

You could even use it as a filling for burritos, then freeze the burritos for quick, easy, heat-and-eat meals.  Mmmm!

4 16-oz. cans refried beans
1 lb. colby-jack cheese, shredded
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (or 1 t. each of chili powder & garlic powder and 1/2 t. each of cumin and salt)
1 onion, chopped
1 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed

Throw everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 2-3 hours, stirring once per hour.

Pioneer Stew

This chili-like recipe is about as easy as it gets.  It’s mostly opening cans and “dumping” ingredients.  It can be prepared in the slow cooker (on low for about 4 hours, then add cheese before serving) or it can be done on the stovetop.  If you want to plan ahead for a busy night, double or triple this recipe and tuck some into the freezer.

1 lb. ground beef, browned with or without chopped onions and green peppers
16-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes (with or without green chilies)
15 1/2-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 1/4-oz. can corn, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef (with or without onion and peppers) in large stockpot, then drain.

Add all remaining ingredients, except cheddar.  Simmer until heated through, about 40 minutes.

Stir in cheese until melted.

This is also good topped with sour cream and jalapenos, in my personal opinion.

Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

black-eyed peas

I don’t remember ever having black-eyed peas until a couple of years ago when I tried a recipe that called for them.  We all really liked them!  This recipe is a good warmer-upper for the self-proclaimed non-cooks among us. It requires little more than a bit of cutting and bit of “dumping” into the slow cooker.  If you don’t have andouille sausage (or if you don’t want it spicy), use smoked sausage or polish sausage.  You can even use leftover ham.

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and sorted (wrinkled ones thrown out)
1 lb. andouille sausage, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 T. hot pepper sauce (or less, if you want)
5 cloves garlic, pressed
4 bay leaves
1 t. dried thyme
8 c. chicken broth (or bouillon)

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, heat on low for 6-7 hours.

Discard bay leaves before serving.

This is also good when served over cooked rice.

Chicken-Chili Stew

This is a perfect place to use leftover chicken, turkey or beef roast, which will make this a $3.00 meal.  Or, you can skip the meat altogether if you want.  You can even throw in a can of black beans to add more protein.

We like this soup with tortilla chips.  It’s a nice change of pace from the usual chili, and it freezes beautifully.

This recipe comes from “Keeping Good Company” by Susan Branch

1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
3 c. cooked, diced chicken
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 16-oz. can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 15.5-oz. can chili beans
1 c. salsa
1 1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin

Garnish options:  cheese, sour cream, black olives, avocado

Saute first four ingredients in oil until limp.

Add next 6 ingredients, mixing well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.