Easy Weeknight Beef Chili Recipe


I love a good bowl of chili. It’s comfort food but it’s not so heavy that I can’t enjoy it on a summer evening. The Chili recipe I’ve been using for years requires 8+ hours in the crock pot, but this recipe I’m sharing with you today is done in only an hour…perfect for those last minute cravings. Plus, you can use the leftovers in a variety of meals, so it stretches your wallet a bit too!

Easy Weeknight Beef Chili
(serves 6-8)

  • 1.5 lb ground beef (I use the Costco organic ground beef which comes in packages of 1.33 lbs, and that works just fine.)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 C salsa (this does make a difference…use your favorite brand.)
  • 3 TBS Chili Seasoning (recipe HERE)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans beans…kidney, black, pinto, or any combination thereof
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a stock pot or large saucepan, cook the ground beef over medium heat along with the onion and bell pepper until meat is cooked through. Drain fat and return to pot.
  • Add tomato sauce, salsa, chili (or taco) seasoning and beans. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with corn chips, sour cream, green onions, and cheese.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi-Recipe for Kids



My kids love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and would probably eat them everyday if I let them. But, I have this weird thing about food variety…as in, I can’t eat the same thing more than two days in a row (which is why I have to repurpose leftovers in order to eat them).

So, that means when Tater asked me for a PB&J for the fourth day in a row last week, I had to get creative. How does PB&J sushi sound? I even gave her some thick paper straws to use as chopsticks. She gobbled them up. Junior unrolled his and licked the jelly out, but 2 year olds are just a different species.

1. Cut the crusts off 2 pieces of bread (this will make either two thin rolls (pictured above) or one thicker roll).


2. Roll out the bread. Yes, that is a Play-Doh roller, but I washed it and it worked better than my big rolling pin. You’ll want the bread to pretty thin, otherwise it won’t roll well. If you want thicker rolls instead of the smaller thin rolls (pictured above), roll two pieces of bread together. 099103


3. Spread peanut butter and jelly in alternating stripes, like this…I tried it several ways, but the stripes worked best because you got a bit of both PB and jelly in each bite.

For thicker rolls, use 2 slices of bread
For thinner rolls
For thinner rolls, use one slice of bread


4. Roll them up, and cut them like sushi!


February’s Monthly Menu

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Last month I experimented with a monthly menu plan rather than my usual weekly menu plan. It actually worked pretty well–better than I was expecting, so I decided to plan a monthly menu for February as well. I know it’s already the 9th, but we were gone all last week (more on that in another post), so I’ll start with today and have 3 weeks to plan instead of 4.

I try to clean out my freezer regularly so I always keep things fresh, and here’s what I plan to use from my freezer this month:

Pork Roast
Stew Beef
Salmon Filets

Fruit and Vegetables
Assorted Frozen Fruit

Homemade Precooked Meals 
Spanish Brown Rice
Spaghetti Sauce

In addition, we are getting about 18 eggs a week from our chickens, so I have one meal every week that uses eggs as the main protein. I just purchased some organic chicken breasts, organic ground beef, and bacon at Costco. What I don’t use this week, I will put in the freezer for future meals.

Since I like having options, I’ve been planning 6 meals for the week, and choosing which day gets which meal depending on what I feel like, time, appointments, etc. One night a week I either prepare something simple (sandwiches, frozen pizza, leftovers, etc), or have take out.

February’s Monthly Menu:

Week of 2/9-2/15

Week of 2/16-2/22

  • French Toast and Fresh Fruit
  • Spaghetti, French Bread, Green Salad
  • BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Chips
  • BBQ Shredded Pork with Coleslaw over Corncakes
  • Beef Stew and Biscuits
  • Beef Stew and Biscuits (this is always better the next day!)

Week of 2/23-3/1

Kitchen Hack: Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

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One of my big goals for 2015 is to spend less time in the kitchen, and more time with my kids. I feel like I’m always cooking (or cleaning up from cooking), and what was late afternoon suddenly becomes after dinner and bedtime. So, this year I want to use my Crock Pot more, create more freezer meals, and spend less time in the kitchen while still making healthy meals and not resorting to take out…well, at least for January. It’s the little victories…

I have a bunch of easy prep, freezer friendly recipes that call for cooked, shredded chicken, but by the time I’m done cooking and shredding the chicken (not to mention basting and seasoning if I’m getting it off a whole baked chicken), I may as well have made a lasagna from scratch or just bought a $9 supermarket rotisserie chicken. But, wait, wait, wait! Using your crock pot, you can make a week’s worth of shredded chicken at one time! Whoa. This changed my life, people.

 Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

  • 3 lbs chicken (boneless skinless breasts, bonless skinless thighs, or combination)
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • 2 C chicken broth

Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hours, or low 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred or chop. (It will shred easily.) Chicken can be used immediately, refrigerated for 3-4 days, or frozen for a month. 

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Book Review: The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible

I grew up in the church and have heard every version of every Bible story possible. I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable regarding the Bible, but I must admit that I get lost in certain books, and while I know plenty of verses and stories, I’m not always as comfortable in explaining the big picture significance of each book as a truth still applicable today. (Like how does the book of Ezra prove the faithfulness of God’s promises?)

In order to grasp a little more understanding about the Bible (you can never learn too much!) I decided to look over The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible, written by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers. This book tells you the setting, summary, and significance of every book in the Bible. It was part-history, part-commentary, and gave good information.

I would have preferred some visual resources within the book (such as maps and charts), and the summaries to be more in list form. Everything is written out in paragraph form, which makes it a little difficult  to digest. It’s not something you can just glance at to get the gist of each book in the Bible. This book had much of the same information you would find in a study Bible, minus the Scriptures. The authors are obviously well-versed in the Bible, and their analysis and research are sound, but without a lot of visuals and with everything written out in paragraph form, it became very dry, very quickly.

Bottom Line 6.5*/10*
*I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.