Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes

Black Bean Burgers #CookoutWeek

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout… even if you aren’t a vegetarian. (And let me say… your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!)

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

I’m not vegetarian, but I still love me some black bean burgers! I have been making this recipe for many years now and they’re always a huge success. My meat lover husband (and carnivore son… seriously, that kid enjoys his protein. Usually. Except last night when he threw his turkey sloppy joes all over the floor until we let him feed himself with a fork. Yup.) enjoys these burgers every time I make them, much to his surprise.

Back in my grad school days we got into eating more vegetarian food as a way to save money, save the earth (Meatless Monday and all), and to experiment in the kitchen. I made various bean burgers. Most were edible, some were good, some were complicated, some were dry, some fell apart, and some went in the trash (when I didn’t use my husband’s lunch to finish them *ahem sweet potato burgers ahem*). But these… these black bean burgers have stuck around. They’re made with quinoa, sauteed carrots and onions, and a few standard pantry spices/seasonings like paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Even though you won’t find any meat in them, they still have a hearty, burger-like texture with a ton of flavor that you are sure to love. You can top these burgers with all your fave burger toppings–cheese, avocado, tomato… the possibilities are endless!

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

One of my favorite aspects of these burgers is that they freeze SO WELL. I’m not just saying that; they really do. I love making a double batch of these burgers on the weekend. After eating one fresh, I like to freeze the rest on a baking sheet for a few hours, then transfer them to a zip-top bag. They can last up to two months in the freezer and still taste great, but I usually find that we’ve eaten them much faster than that! They’re wonderful to pull out of the freezer for a quick weekday lunch. Even if I don’t have burger buns on hand, they’re great with a lettuce wrap, on a salad, or even just eaten alone. Plus, if you have a bag of these in the freezer, you’ll be set when vegetarian friends and family come over for a cookout. There’s nothing worse than realizing you don’t have anything on hand for them to eat… and these black bean burgers taste way better than the frozen kind you can buy at the grocery store. Your vegetarian friends are sure to appreciate you after that… and your meat-eating pals may even be swayed with how tasty these burgers are! 🙂 Enjoy!

Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Tell me: what’s your favorite vegetarian dish for a cookout?

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

one year ago: Avalanche Cookies
two years ago: Peach Cobbler Scones

three years ago: Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
four years ago: Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
five years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
six years ago: Rhubarb Muffins

Black Bean Burgers

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

from Bake Your Day


  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (sometimes I use chicken broth instead)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups black beans)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (Worcestershire sauce works in a pinch too)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1/2-1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • to serve as desired: buns, lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, avocado, mayonnaise, etc.


Prepare quinoa as directed on package, using broth instead of water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute carrots and onion until soft, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, another minute. Remove from heat and stir in spices: paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne. Season to taste with black pepper and salt.

In a food processor or large bowl, combine black beans and cooked carrot mixture. Pulse together a few times to break down the black beans. A potato masher is a great tool for this if you don’t have or don’t want to use a food processor. Beans still should have some substance to them, so don’t obliterate them completely.

Stir in ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Fold in quinoa, 1/2 cup panko, and egg. Mix well to combine. Shape into 1/2 cup patties. If the patties don’t hold together well, gradually add up to another 1/2 cup panko until they do. Place on a plate or baking sheet, then cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 48 hours before cooking.

When ready to cook, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook patties for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and heated through.

Serve on a bun or in a lettuce wrap with your favorite burger toppings and enjoy!


These burgers freeze so well! Make a batch or two to keep on hand for busy nights, quick lunches, or vegetarian guests at your next cookout.

If you’re spice averse, you may be wary of the cayenne and the Sriracha. You can omit, of course, but they really aren’t spicy at all! Just FYI. 🙂

Main Dishes, Recipes, Turkey

Szechuan Green Beans

This is a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry! I’ve been making it for years and it’s a family favorite that I know you’ll enjoy.

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via

So, I’ve been holding out on you. I’ve been making this recipe for over five years now. I had to check my source to verify this, but it’s true. I’ve been making Szechuan Green Beans for dinner since my grad school days, crazy. I can’t tell you the number of times this has been on the menu plan for dinner at our house. I am not a recipe repeater–you know this by now!–unless said recipe is goooood. So you know this one has to be! It is a fabulous weeknight dinner… even though the list of ingredients is long, it comes together in 30 minutes or less. Score!

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via

For this recipe, unlike some stir fries that are really complicated, what you see is what you get. Green beans–check. Ground meat–check. Green onions–check. And some sauce for flavor–check. I typically make this stir fry with ground turkey, but you can also use pork and frankly, chick or beef would be fine too. But I like a lighter, leaner ground meat with this recipe because, to me, stir fries are supposed to be light. But who knows how real that is and how much that’s just me. Haha. A lighter meat goes well with the slightly spicy, slightly sweet sauce. When I say slightly spicy, I really mean just enough spice that there’s some flavor, but this is definitely a kid friendly dish so no worries there. Ben and I have found that the recipe, as written below, serves two of us for dinner well. Sometimes there’s an extra serving left for lunch the next day, but more often then not, there isn’t. Also, this stir fry is light on the meat so feel free to increase that as needed for your family. Enjoy!

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via

one year ago: Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow
two years ago: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Caramelized Bananas
three years ago: Creamy Shells and Yogurt
four years ago: Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
five years ago: Watermelon Coolers
six years ago: Brown Sugar Bacon Twists

Szechuan Green Beans

  • Servings: 2-3 but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.
  • Print

from Jenna’s Everything Blog


for the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoing wine, dry sherry, or mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar [omit if using mirin since that’s already sweet]
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

for the stir fry

  • 2 -3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 pound ground turkey or pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • hot cooked rice, for serving


In a medium bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Then, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green beans, tossing to coat in the oil. Cook them for 7-9 minutes, stirring often, until they are dark and shriveled in places. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl, covering to keep warm.

If using lean turkey, add the last tablespoon of oil to the skillet. If using pork or a fattier cut of turkey, add directly to hot skillet. Break apart the meat, stirring continually for 2-3 minutes until cooked completely. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Re-whisk the sauce for a minute, then pour over the meat. Stir together and cook for another minute or so to thicken sauce. Remove pan from heat and add in green onions, sesame oil, and green beans. Toss together, then serve over hot cooked rice. Enjoy!


You can increase the amount of meat if desired, but for more meat, you will need more sauce. When I make this with 1/2 pound meat I double the sauce, but play around with the amounts to suit your preferences.

Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

Chopped salads are my favorite salads… they’re just so fun to eat! This version combines chicken, cabbage, carrots, and mango but the peanut butter based dressing takes the cake by far! 🙂

Thai Chopped Salad: a hearty winter salad everyone will love!

Salad in January? So cliched, I know. Especially since last week with that Amish Cheeseburger Soup I talked about how we didn’t need to just ‘eat healthy’ in January. Ummm, right. 🙂 But still, I stand by what I say… and salads are definitely part of our normal meals. Normally, our salads are pretty standard: romaine/spring mix/spinach, carrots, peppers, cucumber, maybe tomatoes or mushrooms or something else based on what’s in season. Dressing, yes… croutons, cheese… maybe. But never anything too exciting, unless I make a salad for our main course. Then, it is GOOD STUFF! And this salad is good stuff. 🙂

Thai Chopped Salad: a hearty winter salad everyone will love!

Every bit of this salad is incredible, and it’s perfect for the winter since it’s so hearty and filling, and isn’t your typical bunny rabbit salad fare. 🙂 This salad is basic and fancy all at once, with a basic chicken-cabbage-carrot mixture dressed up with mango, cilantro, green onions, and peanuts. But the best part of this salad by far is the peanut butter-based dressing… it’s just SO flavorful, tangy, and fantastic. The salad easily serves four, so what we do is divide everything in half and eat half for dinner, and save half for lunch the next day. Leftovers will do okay in the fridge for the next day, but for best results combine the salad and dressing immediately before serving–hence dividing everything in half before serving. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

one year ago: Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole
two years ago: Oreo Ice Cream Pie
three years ago: Lemon Cranberry Muffins
four years ago: Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls
five years ago: Caramelized Onion Dip

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

from Pinch of Yum


for the salad

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken [I used some from a chicken we roasted earlier in the week, but a rotisserie chicken would be great too!]
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage [I’ve used green, red, and a combination]
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot [about 3-4 medium]
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mango [or green papaya if you can find it]
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped [about 1/2 a bunch]
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

for the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter [natural works great–just microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt a little if it’s too hard to combine]
  • 1/4 cup water


Combine chicken, cabbage, carrots, mango, cilantro, and green onions in a large bowl. Toss to combine, then stick in the fridge while you prepare the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, honey, lime juice, oil, fish sauce, garlic, and cayenne. Add peanut butter and water and whisk again until smooth.

When ready to serve, pour half of the dressing over the salad, then sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Add more dressing to taste, or save for later–the dressing will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Leftovers will be okay in the fridge for the next day, but for best results combine the salad and dressing immediately before serving.


Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Simple Teriyaki Chicken #CareToFarm15

About a month ago, I had a fun opportunity to travel to eastern North Carolina–Greenville, to be specific–with a group of bloggers for #CareToFarm15. Phibro Animal Health sponsored this incredible opportunity to learn more about our food industry! I must admit, initially when I received the email invite I was hesitant.

Taking time off work is a commitment, and going to a large scale chicken hatchery and farm is a LITTLE out of my comfort zone. But I wanted to go, with an open mind, to learn more about large scale poultry production–even though I suspected I might get some hateful/angry animal activist comments on this blog post or other social media posts. I think eating local and organic is a good thing to aspire to, but with meat and poultry, that’s not usually possible for us budget-wise. And because of this trip, I have become convinced that eating all local/organic isn’t what is best for the world food system either. So what did I think? Read on to find out–and to get a recipe for an easy chicken dish that I love… because yes, I can still eat chicken [and feel good about it] after this trip. 🙂 Spoiler alert: despite my hesitancy, this trip was AMAZING. So educational, enjoyable, and eye-opening.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

We started out our stay in Greenville with a leisurely drive through the North Carolina countryside–cotton fields galore–to dinner in Kinston at Chef & the Farmer. Yup, you may have heard of this restaurant or its lovely chef, Vivian Howard. She even has her own show on PBS! The food here was incredible. We started off with lots of starters, including this pizza with beef bacon [did you even know that’s a thing??! Mmm!] and fried okra with RANCH ICE CREAM for dipping. Ohhh yeah!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!For my meal, I chose a lovely pasta dish made with cabbage and beef sausage… a basil limeade [mmm!]…. and buttermilk pie with a blackberry lime sauce. Every bite was awesome!

If you ever have the chance to visit Chef & the Farmer, do it. But plan ahead–I guess they tend to be booked about three months in advance! It is truly a delicious experience. 🙂

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

While we ate, we heard from some of our hosts, including  Warren Harper [Phibro’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing], Ray Abner [Director of the US Poultry Business Unit and Global Strategic Accounts], and veterinarian Dr. Leah Dorman about Phibro as a company, animal health, and what to expect the next day.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Bright and early the next morning we headed out to Sanderson Farms and one of their partner farms, Three Sons Poultry to get an education in chickens!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

On our drive, we learned a little about the history of Sanderson Farms. Though I had never heard of them before, they are the third largest poultry company in the US, behind Tyson and Pilgrim. Nationally, they produce over 60 million pounds of chicken per week [that’s 9 million birds!]. I know that might sound atrocious, but read on.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

We first visited the hatchery and had to get all dolled up [HA] to protect the eggs. Bio-security is a major part of the poultry industry. Before entering the building [even the office portion], we had to disinfect our shoes and wear booties. Before entering the hatchery, we had to gown up in these awesome blue suits, plastic shoe covers, and hairnets. Should this be my new daily attire?! 🙂 The same thing was required later on at the chicken farm–but also included disinfecting our bus’ tires and our shoes with bleach powder. Crazy stuff–but necessary for healthy animals!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

I expected the hatchery to be cold, dirty, busy, and impersonal… but truly, it wasn’t. And the baby chicks were adorable. 🙂 Though it was definitely an agricultural facility it was efficient and clean. SO clean in fact that I would be more likely to eat off the floor at the hatchery than off the floor in the kitchen at work. #truestory [Not that I actually would eat off the floor pretty much anywhere but my home but still…]

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

When the eggs arrive at the hatchery, they’re kept in crates on trays in a cozy [but gigantic] incubator. Think industrial size refrigerators, but larger. Once they hatch, they are moved to another part of the hatchery to receive vaccinations. The reason for these vaccinations, though scary-sounding [and honestly, a little frightening to look at since they are pink in color] is to grow healthy chicks. Something I never thought about before is that even though this is a big company, they have excellent motivation for healthy chickens in the long run. They want to treat their chicks well and they have veterinarians on staff to ensure that happens. Think about it… veterinarians are trained to keep animals healthy, and continue to do so… even when their purpose is something we might not want to think about… becoming our food. Mind=blown!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Plus, avian influenza is nothing to joke around about–for the animals OR for people. I now firmly believe that these vaccines are necessary and good, even though the thought of them might make some uncomfortable. The lasting impact on our food system if there is a large outbreak of disease is crippling. For instance, the drought in 2012 still affects beef prices today–and our trip almost didn’t happen due to the bird flu/egg shortage epidemic of this summer. Sanderson Farms’ head veterinarian, Phil Stayer was incredibly patient with us bloggers as we tried to understand the procedures at the hatchery as well as the rationale behind vaccinations and other health protocols. Hearing the perspectives of several veterinarians on this trip was really priceless.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

While we were there, I even got to hold a baby chick that was hatched just that day! Their timetable for hatching is super precise and regimented 365 days per year. Did you know that chicks grow in the egg for 21 days, are hatched and vaccinated, and then live at the farm for six weeks before being processed? Pretty quick turnaround, and the great part about all this is that speed results in an improvement to the gene pool–AND early realizations of problems. After hanging out with just hatched chicks, we headed over to Three Sons Poultry, a family-owned chicken farm.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Three Sons Poultry is part of Sanderson Farms’ integrated poultry system. This is basically a contract growing system, beneficial to both parties. The family farm is guaranteed a market for their product and a steady income, along with support for their business from the parent company. Along with that support, they are required to follow certain guidelines and pass inspections to ensure the health of the chickens.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

The above photo shows a chicken house. A farm can have up to four houses occupied at once–with roughly 20,000-25,000 chickens inhabiting each house. Though that sounds like a lot, these houses are HUGE and the chickens have plenty of space to grow. They are technically “cage free” but not “free range” meaning they can’t go outside… but that is to keep them healthier and as free from antibiotics as possible. Diseases can spread easily so every possible precaution is taken to keep these animals safe. The chickens only receive antibiotics if they are sick, and even then, there is a waiting period between their last dose and their processing to ensure that all traces of medication are gone.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Here you can see the farmer from Three Sons Poultry [I’ll update when I can get his name… he and his wife were SO nice!] with veterinarian Leah Dorman. Though it’s hard to see, there is so much space in the house but the chickens tend to huddle together along the walls and the feeding mechanisms [which move up throughout the chicken’s life]. He doesn’t have to wear all the bio-security gear [except plastic shoe covers] due to his constant work/presence on the farm.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

From beginning to end of these chickens’ lives, they are well cared for and protected. There are some parts of  the process that are unsettling to someone from outside the industry but all in all, what the men and women of Phibro, Sanderson Farms, Three Sons Poultry, and all the other players in the game do is for the good of the chickens. I was a little scared I’d come away from this trip wanting to be a vegetarian, but it’s actually been the opposite. Learning about the process makes me appreciate it more, and I learned tons of fun facts…  probably the biggest one was that in the US, it is illegal to inject hormones into poultry. Illegal! No poultry is free from all hormones because there are naturally occurring hormones in all living things but no one adds anything… growth is due to feed [and it takes 1.7 pounds of feed for 1 pound of chicken growth]. So you can rest assured that whether or not you buy the fancy local, organic, ____ [insert whatever adjective you prefer here] or the basic grocery store label, your chicken does not have growth hormones and will not affect your family! The labels and whatever they say [or don’t say] are just advertising.

After visiting Three Sons Poultry, we relaxed over lunch at The Peach House. My bacon, cheddar, and tomato quiche was the best! I want to remake it at home! Their desserts were the bomb… and the souvenir glass mugs they generously gave us were so cute too.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

An afternoon to recharge at the hotel and it was time to eat again! This time, dinner was at the Plum Tree Bistro. The husband-and-wife team running the restaurant were sooo sweet, and our group had a great family meal together. And of course, since LOBSTER was an option I had to partake. I think this was the first time I have ever had lobster without my dad [normally he works for the lobster and I just get to enjoy] but this time, we were just given lobster tail so it wasn’t too challenging. 🙂

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Over our meal [and my awesomely melty strawberry rhubarb cobbler], we heard more from the Phibro and Sanderson Farms folks I already mentioned and Sanderson Farms’ Marketing Product Specialist LaDonna Byrd about their work and their passion for chickens. And guys… it’s about wayyy more than the money. For many of these individuals, their travels to poverty-stricken areas of the world [and for some, their faith] motivates them to work to improve food sustainability, access, and efficiency. As they have seen people struggling to get their next meal, they want to make our food system better–through animal health and food efficiency.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

This doesn’t just affect them at work, but in their personal lives. Several talked about their work with nonprofits and/or missions organizations through church [and we even discovered some personal church-related connections… fun!]. Others talked about their own food purchases. They buy the Sanderson Farms chicken to serve to their families [psst: Publix grocery stores sells Sanderson Farms under their private label. Just look for the codes P-32182 or P-18557.  These numbers are pre-printed in the USDA inspection seal on all Publix film and bags.] They also do not buy the most expensive, fanciest eggs because they aren’t sustainable for our planet. Demand and supply are so interlinked that if we cause more demand for things like fancy brown eggs, that’s what will be created… at the expense of everything else. And the average person around the world [and in America!] cannot afford that. Then what will they eat? How can we buy the best when many struggle to survive on $1 per day? Efficiency, like it or not, is key to helping end hunger–in America and across the globe. And companies like Phibro and Sanderson Farms are the ones working towards that end.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

And now… like I promised… a chicken dish to celebrate all things chicken! I wish I could share this meal with my new chicken friends but sharing it on the internet will have to do. This simple teriyaki chicken meal is made in your crockpot for maximum ease, maximum tenderness, and maximum deliciousness!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

I freak out about leaving my crockpot on during the workday because of the potential for fire or a short circuit, so I use it regularly on the weekends for an easy [but tasty] meal that provides lots of leftovers for a busy week ahead. This meal is no exception! Though this crockpot recipe is a wee bit more labor intensive than “dump ‘n go,” it’s not too bad at all and the taste of that homemade sauce is well worth it! Hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading this monster of a post. 🙂 I’m a librarian… what can I say? I’m thorough and wanted to share what I learned with others!

FYI… If you have ANY questions, please comment or email me [pajamachef AT gmail dot com] and I’ll try to answer them or get the answers for you from the wonderful folks I met. Any errors in this blog post are my own. For my blog, all first-time commenters go to moderation so please don’t think I am blocking comments on this possibly controversial subject… I want to have good dialogue but I am not going to argue with anyone. Hateful, profane, or mean-spirited comments may be deleted. Thank you for understanding! 

one year ago: Cranberry Mint Relish
two years ago: Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
three years ago: Carnitas
four years ago: Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut
five years ago: Balsamic Roasted Chickpeas

Simple Teriyaki Chicken

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

from The Comfort of Cooking


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • cooked rice, for serving
  • sesame seeds, for serving
  • green onions, for serving


Place chicken in the bottom of a crockpot. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and pepper. Pour over chicken, turning chicken to coat. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

When chicken is cooked, gently remove to a cutting board. Pour sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water then pour into sauce, reducing heat to low. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

While sauce is thickening, chop chicken into chunks. When sauce is thick, stir in chicken. Allow to heat thoroughly, then serve over hot cooked rice, adding sesame seeds and green onions as desired. Enjoy!

As I hope you can tell, this trip was a wonderful experience–fun AND educational. It was great to meet all these lovely ladies as well as everyone from Phibro and Sanderson Farms.

Disclosure: My travel and accommodations were paid for by Phibro Animal Health. I was not required to write about my experience but chose to so that others could learn too. I was not compensated in any other way for this post or the trip itself. As always, all opinions [and errors!] are my own. 

Main Dishes, Recipes, Seafood and Fish, Soups

Mystery Dish: Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles

Ramen noodles can be classy too! They aren’t just college student food. These ramen noodles feature shrimp–REAL sesame ginger seasoned shrimp–and lots of yummy vegetables, all cooked in a delightful ginger-chili broth.

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

This dish is genius, if I do say so myself. I’ve made a fancified ramen dish before [check it out!] and ever since then, I’ve been dreaming about ramen noodles… but not the uber salty college kind. Ramen noodles with real food. Mmm!

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

But it wasn’t until this month’s Mystery Dish [hosted by Mary Frances of The Sweet {Tooth} Life] when one of our challenge ingredients included RAMEN NOODLES! Woot! Other ingredients we had to choose from included clams, blueberries, heavy whipping cream, chocolate chunks, potato chips, kale, almond butter, chiles, and orange juice. I used chili pepper paste and kale in this recipe too. Originally, I planned to make this a pretty simple kale ramen noodle dish with a chili pepper sauce. But then when cooking, I saw shrimp in the fridge… shrimp that I had been planning to use for the 2015 Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Blogger Recipe Challenge. Then I wondered… what would shrimp ramen taste like? Turns out, it’s pretty fabulous and I’m so proud to enter it in this awesome recipe contest as well as use it for Mystery Dish. 🙂 I didn’t intend to make one recipe for two events but it worked out really well!

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

Before the recipe, let’s talk about how flavorful these ramen noodles really are. Ramen noodles usually just have some sauce on them. Not mine! These ramen noodles begin with a flavorful ginger-chili broth, made with lots of fresh Asian/Thai ingredients like ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and chili pepper. Add in some fresh veggies [I used kale, mushrooms, and bell peppers] and some flavorful shrimp and you are set for one classy meal! Ben and I both agreed that the shrimp were the best part of the dish… right next to those slurpy ginger noodles, that is. 🙂

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

To make the shrimp so fabulous, I started with a quick marinade/rub. I used some of the usual suspects–soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fresh ginger, lemongrass, chili pepper–as well as the star seasoning blend from Healthy Solutions… Sesame Ginger Tuna. This seasoning blend is super flavorful and zesty; it’s hard to believe it doesn’t contain sugar or salt.

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

I rubbed all this on some large shrimp and let it hang out while I whipped together the broth, then I sauteed up all the veggies and shrimp. There’s a lot going on in this dish, but with the common flavors–ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chili pepper… everything goes together SO well. And bonus! This dish comes together in about 30 minutes so it’s perfect for a weeknight family dinner. If you’re super organized, you could put the rub on the shrimp earlier in the day to infuse more flavor into them but that’s totally not necessary. I’m so excited with how well this dish turned out and I hope you love it too! Thanks to Healthy Solutions and Mystery Dish for the inspiration behind this dish. Enjoy! 🙂
Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

one year ago: Lightened Up Cheesy Sausage Grits Breakfast Casserole
two years ago: Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream
three years ago: Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken
four years ago: Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles

  • Servings: 4
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for shrimp 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Healthy Solutions Sesame Ginger Tuna seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 1 tablespoon chili pepper paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and devined [mine still had the tails on though]

for ginger-chili broth

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated [from about 1-2 inches fresh peeled ginger]
  • 2 scallions, chopped – green and white parts separated
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili pepper paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 4 cups chicken broth

for ramen

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced [I used the mini red, yellow, and orange peppers]
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated [from about 1/2-1 inch fresh peeled ginger]
  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 8 ounce packages ramen noodles, uncooked [any flavor – flavor packets are NOT used]
  • 1 cup kale, thinly sliced into ribbons and firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce, to taste
  • additional broken ramen noodles, for garnish
  • chopped cilantro, for serving


In a medium bowl, whisk together Healthy Solutions Sesame Ginger Tuna seasoning blend, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lemongrass, and chili pepper. Add shrimp and toss together to coat. Set aside.

Next, prepare ginger-chili broth. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and the white part of the scallions. Cook, stirring constantly, for about one minute. Add chili pepper paste and chicken broth, and stir until it comes together. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil for another minute. Reduce heat to low and simmer while the rest of the dish comes together.

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms, peppers, ginger, lemongrass, and chili pepper. Saute for three to four minutes, then add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Next, cook the noodles. Break the noodles up and add them to the ginger-chili broth. Turn heat to medium-high, keeping just below a boil. Cook for 3 minutes then remove from heat.

While noodles are cooking, add shrimp to the veggies in the wok. Stir regularly for about three minutes or until shrimp are no longer pink. Next, reduce heat to low and pour ramen and broth in the pan. Add kale, lime juice, fish sauce, and most of the reserved green scallions from the broth. Stir then let rest for about a minute. Serve topped with additional broken ramen noodles, chopped cilantro, and green scallions. Enjoy!

2015 Blogger Recipe Challenge for Healthy Solution Spice Blends |

Disclosure: I received a complimentary packet of Sesame Ginger Tuna Spice Blend by Healthy Solutions Spice Blends for participating in this recipe contest. You can use any sesame ginger seasoning blend for this recipe. I received no additional compensation for this post; all comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own. I was not paid or required to publish positive comments but I happen to love Healthy Solutions Spice Blends… check out my review of them here.

Check out other Mystery Dish recipes below:

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Sandwich Cookies from Flavor the Moments
Blueberry Frozen Custard Pops from Simply Gloria
Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodlesfrom The Pajama Chef
Potato Chip Chocolate Chunk Cookies from I Dig Pinterest
Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Potato Chip Cookies from Chez Catey Lou
Blueberry French Toast Casserole from Yummy Healthy Easy
Spicy Clam & Kale Appetizer by Inspiration Kitchen
Chocolate Covered Potato Chip Rice Krispie Treats from The Sweet {Tooth} Life