Slow Cooker Beefy Pinto Beans

BeansLogoThis is my husband’s recipe for beefy pinto beans.  He made this for me when we were newly married and honestly, until then, I didn’t know how to make pinto beans.  Sounds silly because they are like the easiest meal in the world to make.  If you can run water, you can make pinto beans.  I just never had done it before we got married and didn’t know where to start.  (The basic directions are usually on the package, I found out later.  Duh!)  The good thing about beans is that they are customizable and basically take on the flavor of whatever you cook with them.  I grew up with ham in my beans.  My husband, who was raised on a cattle ranch, always had ground beef in his beans.  I like them both ways, but I prefer this beefy version over the ham… especially with some chopped up jalapenos and fresh cornbread mixed in!  If you’ve never tried making pinto beans, try them this way.  The beef and seasonings add so much flavor!  I think you’ll love them.  ~Erin

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds dry pinto beans

3 T. seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s)

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef, browned

Water

Optional: pickled jalapeños

 

Instructions:

Rinse your beans in a colander and remove any beans that don’t look normal.  Place the beans in the slow cooker pot and cover them with 2 to 3 inches of water above the top of the beans. They will expand a lot.  Allow the beans to soak overnight at room temp.

In the morning, pour the water off the beans and rinse them again.  This doesn’t have to be a perfect rinse job.  Just pour as much off as you can without dumping them in your sink, run water over them, and repeat a couple times.

Finally, fill the pot with enough to cover the beans with about an inch to an inch and half of water over the top of the beans.

Cook the beans on low for at least 10 hours.  When about 2 hours of cook time is remaining, stir in the seasoned salt* and cooked ground beef and continue to cook for the last 2 hours.

Serve the beans with cornbread and, if desired, chopped pickled jalapenos.

Weight Watchers Info.:  This recipe makes 11 servings.  Each serving is 8 ounces (about 1 cup).

Old SmartPoints:  9 SmartPoints

New Freestyle SmartPoints:  2 SmartPoints

*The salt is not added until the end of cook time because, if added too early, it inhibits the tenderizing process.

 

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Cowboy Joes

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My boys sometimes get to choose what is for dinner.  Often, this is their request.  By often, I mean we could eat them once a week. 

Cowboy Joes are a smoky, tasty, twist on a classic sloppy joe you know and love.  Last time I made these, my youngest was switching schools so he got to choose what was for dinner the night before.  On the way to school the next morning, in the midst of a narrow canyon, around a sharp bend, we come upon an entire herd of sheep and sheep herders coming right toward us.  On the highway, side to side, cars lined up the other direction for a long way. (Check out the picture – ignore my dirty windshield)

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Completely slowed us up, but we made it to school on time!

These truly are one of my cowboys absolute favorite meals.  You can’t go wrong!!  Serve ‘em up and please the cow punchers (or regular folk) in your life!!   ~Kathy

Ingredients for beef:

1 lb. 95% lean ground beef

¼ c. onion, finely chopped

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. heaping salt

½ tsp. pepper

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Ingredients for sauce:

1 T. Worcestershire

1/3 c. water

¼ tsp. garlic powder

2/3 c. catsup

4 T. smoky BBQ sauce

1½ tsp. mustard

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

In a large skillet, combine first 5 ingredients.   Cook until beef is cooked through.   Drain on paper towel lined plate and return to pan.   Add remaining ingredients, stir well to combine.  Adjust seasonings if needed. Simmer about 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened and no longer runny.

Serve immediately on hamburger buns.

Weight Watchers info:  This recipe makes 7 servings.  Each 1/3 cup serving is 4 SmartPoints.  We did not include a bun in the calculation; this gives you more freedom to choose your favorite.

Mom’s Classic Meatloaf

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Meatloaf can go one of two ways.  It can be a lump of flavorless beef–or it can be a tender, hearty, flavorful, slice of comfort food.  Our mom’s meatloaf is the latter.  Her recipe is classic… made of simple ingredients and topped with good old American ketchup.  Pair it with a pile of creamy mashed potatoes, and you have the flavors of home.

͂ Erin

 

Ingredients:

2 lb. ground beef (93% lean beef)

1 c. canned tomato sauce

60 saltine crackers (about a sleeve and a half)

½ c. diced onion

1 c. diced bell pepper

1 egg

½ c. ketchup

1 tsp. salt

Instructions:  

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Combine all ingredients except ketchup until just mixed.  Do not over mix.  Spread ketchup on top of loaves.  Form two loaves on a sheet pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through (160°F throughout).

Weight Watchers info:  This recipe makes 16 servings at 4 SmartPoints each.

Chili Mac

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I have a house full of boys. They all help Grandpa on the ranch all summer. After a long, hot day of moving irrigation pipe, a hearty dish is always a favorite of my hard working ranch hands. This is a quick, simple, stick to your ribs kind of recipe (my favorite kind!). It’s full of flavor and won’t disappoint.    ~Kathy

Ingredients:

16 oz. cellentani or elbow macaroni (I use whole wheat.)

1 ½ lb. lean ground beef (I use 93% lean)

1 c. finely chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

¼ c. kale or spinach, finely chopped (I prefer kale)

1 (15 oz.) can chili beans in chili sauce

1 (10 oz.) can mild Ro-tel tomatoes, undrained

1 ½ c. beef broth

1 c. low sodium V8 or tomato juice

1 medium bell pepper, chopped, optional

2 ½ tsp. chili powder

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta in salted water, according to directions. Drain and return to pot.

In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion and bell pepper. About 5 minutes before beef is finished cooking, add garlic. Remove from pan and drain. Return beef mixture to large skillet or pot. Add remaining ingredients, stir gently over medium heat to combine. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Spoon the meat mixture carefully into pot with cooked noodles. Stir to combine and heat through over low heat.

Serve with cornbread (our favorite) and grated cheddar cheese if desired.

Weight Watchers Info.:  This recipe makes 10 servings.  Each serving is 10 ounces (weight) or about 1 1/3 cups.  Each serving is 9 SmartPoints.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

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I love stuffed peppers. Stuffing anything in a pepper just automatically makes it better. These Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers are easy, cheesy, and meaty. They are best grilled but great out of the oven too.

͂ Erin

 

Ingredients:

6 oz. fresh, sliced mushrooms

8 oz. thinly sliced roast beef, chopped into small pieces

8 oz. (8 slices) provolone

1 medium onion, diced

2-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. olive oil

2 large bell peppers

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 T. steak seasoning

 

Instructions:

Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom; remove seeds and veins and place pepper halves in a pan. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook onions, garlic, and mushrooms until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Add roast beef, Worcestershire, and steak seasoning; cook until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat the outdoor grill to medium heat or the oven to 400°F.  Line each pepper half with a slice of cheese.  Stuff the peppers with filling and top with another slice of cheese.  If cooking on the grill, place the peppers directly on the rack and cook until the peppers are tender and cheese is melted.  If cooking in the oven, place the pan of peppers on the lower rack and cook about 30 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted.

Weight Watchers info.:  Each stuffed pepper half is 10 SmartPoints.  This recipe makes 4 servings.

Street Tacos

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I’m always on the search for something different for dinner.   The same-old, same-old, turns into “I don’t want that tonight.”  I have a house full of boys who love meat.  I think it is in their DNA!  One day while in the city, I had a taco from a vendor that was out of this world!  I’ve been on a quest to replicate this meaty deliciousness.  These fit the bill and are approved by me and all the dudes in my house.  ~Kathy

Ingredients:

2 lbs. flank steak

2 c. orange juice, without pulp

3 T fresh squeezed lime juice

½ tsp lime zest

1 tsp cumin

3 – 4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 c. cilantro, chopped, divided

1 slice onion (plus more onion diced for serving)

1 tsp salt

½ black pepper

Pinch red pepper flakes

Tortillas (we used Mission Street Taco sized flour tortillas) & desired toppings

Instructions:

In a large ziplock bag, combine orange and lime juice, zest, cumin, garlic, and ¼ c. cilantro, slice of onion and seasonings.  Mix to combine well.  Add flank steak and turn to coat.  Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but at least 4 hours.

Remove steak from bag and discard marinade.  Grill on a lightly oiled grill, heated to medium high heat.   Cook to desired doneness.  Allow steak to rest on cutting board for about 10 minutes.  Slice thinly against the grain.

Serve with heated tortillas, remaining cilantro, chopped onion, hot sauce, chopped radishes, avocado, or salsa.  

Weight Watchers info:  (2 street size tortillas, 4 ounces meat divided between the tortillas, onion, cilantro, and any other desired zero SmartPoint veggies)  Total of 9 SmartPoints for both tacos.

Taco Slaw Bowls

Posted by Erin

Did you try our most popular recipe, Egg Roll in a Bowl? This Mexican version was inspired by that dish, and you will love it!

I’m one busy woman, as pretty much all moms (and dads!) are. We are always rushing to get kids to their extra-curricular activities, get homework done, etc. so I try to come up with recipes that don’t require a lot of time-consuming chopping and prep-work. This one fits the bill. 

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Another bonus to this recipe, for those of us with picky kids, is that it somewhat disguises the veggies. I don’t know about your kids, but mine won’t eat raw shredded lettuce and chopped tomato on a taco. They will, however, eat the tomatoes & shredded cabbage cooked with this taco meat. The flavors blend so well, they don’t even detect the veggies. I serve theirs in a taco shell, topped with cheese, but I like mine over rice. Either way, it’s delicious!  

Ingredients:

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 (1 oz.) packet low sodium taco seasoning

1 (1 oz.) packet ranch dip mix, dry

1 (14 oz.) bag classic slaw/chopped cabbage with carrots

1 (10 oz.) can mild Ro-tel, undrained

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime, plus more for serving

1 tsp. each:  chili powder, cumin, paprika

½ a bunch of cilantro, chopped

Chopped green onion for garnish

Other optional garnishes & serving ideas:  rice, taco shells, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, salsa

Instructions:

Brown the beef in a large skillet with the diced onions, garlic, taco seasoning, and ranch seasoning; set aside onto a paper towel-covered plate to remove any residual oil from beef.  

Heat olive oil in the skillet over medium heat; add the slaw, Ro-tel, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and paprika.  

Stir and cook until cabbage is wilted and tender.  

Add the beef mixture back to the skillet; stir and heat through.  

Serve over rice with lime wedges, chopped green onions, etc.

Weight Watchers info.:  This makes 5 servings of about 1 cup each; 6 SmartPoints per serving (not including rice or optional garnishes).