Being Mrs. Pierce

Life as a wife, hiker, wanna-be chef, book-lover, traveler, and now, mom

Slow Cooker Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili January 11, 2015

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 8:56 PM
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While looking for slow cooker recipes for my 2015 Cooking Challenge, this Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili on the Skinnytaste blog first caught my eye because of the pumpkin among the ingredients.  I am a BIG pumpkin fan.  Then seeing that the recipe called for 2 lbs of ground turkey, I was sold. I’ve had 4 lbs of ground turkey (don’t ask me why) in my freezer needing cooked.  This would cut that number in half.


I prepped the chili this morning and left it to cook on low while we went to my in-laws’ house for the Cowboys game. Typically I avoid slow cooker recipes that require ingredients to be pre-cooked on the stove, as that seems counterproductive to the point of using a slow cooker — hands-off cooking with only one dirty dish at the end.  Yet browning the meat and sautéing the onions for this recipe wasn’t too much of a pain.


I purposely avoided telling my husband that there was pumpkin in the chili–especially after the Cowboys lost this afternoon. While John will eat and even enjoy pumpkin-based treats, they are more of the Starbucks or baked-good variety. He’s definitely not as enthusiastic (okay, obsessed) about pumpkin as I am.  I hoped that the chili would be so delicious that he wouldn’t care what its ingredients were.


Sadly, this was not the case. The chili was bland, bland, bland. I added salt. I added chili powder. I added more chili powder. The chili was still bland. It also was thick — nothing like the picture on the blog. I stirred in more chicken broth and sprinkled some cilantro on top. It was the best I could do. John and I both gave it 2 stars. We’ll eat the leftovers so as not to be wasteful, but I will not be looking forward to those dinners very much.


I now have 3 slow cooker recipes made towards my January slow cooker challenge.  The Balsamic Pork Tenderloin remains solidly in the lead!


Pumpkin Bread (New Recipe #98) December 7, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 6:05 PM
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Without realizing it, I have apparently embarked upon a quest to make every pumpkin recipe that crosses my path. Just when I think that I have satisfied my pumpkin-baking urge for the year, I come across a new recipe and before I know it, I am in the kitchen making it. Such was the case with the Hungry Girl’s Perfect Pumpkin Bread.


For the dried fruit, I picked raisins over cranberries since I had very recently made the Cranberry Pumpkin Bars. I plumped my raisins before stirring them into the batter. The rest of the recipe I made according to the directions, although my bread needed only 40 minutes in the oven rather than 50.


Unfortunately, the Perfect Pumpkin Bread did not turn out so perfectly.  The taste of the bread was very disappointing — rather blah and barely sweet.  On the positive side, each serving of this bread was a generously-sized slice.  However, the large portion size was not enough to make up for the lack of taste; this bread earned only 2 stars.  I do not expect that I will make this recipe again.


Perfect Pumpkin Bread

1¼ cups whole-wheat flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
¼ cup brown sugar (not packed)
2¼ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1/3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
½ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries or raisins, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix both types of flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

3. In another large bowl, whisk pumpkin, egg substitute, and vanilla extract. Add this mixture to the large bowl and stir until just blended.

4. Stir in chopped cranberries or raisins. Transfer batter to the loaf pan and smooth out the surface. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings. Per serving, 4 PointsPlus.


Sloppy Joe Stir-Fry Slaw (New Recipe #88) November 25, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 7:47 AM
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Back in September, I had to put my blog on hiatus during the back-to-school deluge of work. While I was not posting during that time, I did manage to keep cooking (for the most part), and I even tried out a number of new recipes (on the weekends). Many of the new recipes I attempted during that period were short on required ingredients and time, including the Hungry Girl’s Sloppy Joe Stir-Fry Slaw. Rereading the recipe two months later, I am a little surprised that I ever picked out this recipe to make! The word “Manwich,” if I were in a normal state of mind, would have kept me from reading any further in the recipe and certainly from actually cooking it. Yet cook it, I did.


The best part of the recipe, by far, was its quickness of preparation; the Sloppy Joe mixture was hot and ready to go within 15 minutes. I served the slaw on whole-wheat slider buns with Baked Kale Chips on the side. The recipe was not a successful one, however, as neither I nor John liked the flavor of the Sloppy Joe sauce, which unfortunately pervaded the entire dish. Even the presence of broccoli slaw, which I love, was not enough to save it.  We gave the recipe 2 stars, and I doubt I will ever make it again (unless addled by beginning-of-school-year-brain, of course).


Sloppy Joe Stir-Fry Slaw

8 oz raw lean ground turkey
One 12-oz. bag (about 4 cups) dry broccoli cole slaw
1 cup Hunt’s Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce

1. Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add turkey and use a spatula to break it up. Cook and crumble until browned and fully cooked, about 8 minutes.

2. Add slaw and sauce to the skillet and stir to mix. Continue to cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is hot and slaw has softened.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup). Per serving, 3 PointsPlus.


Low-Fat Tangy Tomato Dressing (New Recipe #71) August 14, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 7:06 PM
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I have repeatedly read how homemade salad dressings are much healthier and tastier than store-bought ones. For the sake of convenience, I largely ignore these comments and continue to purchase my salad dressing from the grocery store. Yet this Taste of Home recipe caught my eye thanks to its brief list of ingredients and ease of preparation.


I blended up the dressing only an hour before serving it on side green salads to accompany my Greek Eggplant and Chicken Casserole. This was a mistake. It was not yet fully chilled and the flavors had not had time to incorporate. As a result, the dressing was much too vinegary for it to be enjoyable. I gave it 1 star.


The following day, however, I gave it another try. The vinegar taste had abated and the flavors from the Italian dressing mix were much more pronounced; I bumped my rating up to a 2. When it comes to tomato salad dressing, it turns out that I prefer mine sweet rather than tangy. For now, I will continue to happily buy my Lite Catalina dressing in its manufactured, bottled form.


Low-Fat Tangy Tomato Dressing

1 can (14.5 oz) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 TB cider vinegar
1 TB olive oil

Place all ingredients in a blender; cover and process until blended.

Yield: 2 cups (serving size: 2 TB). Per serving, 0 PointsPlus.