This meal has been my go-to quick recipe for over 10 years

mexican beans and rice done2


I make a lot of new recipes.  We rarely repeat meals, because I’m always trying to create new recipes to share with you.

That said, there are a few go-to meals that are so well liked and so easy that they get repeated with some frequency.

Mexican Beans and Rice is one of these.

A friend gave me this recipe over 10 years ago.  I have no idea how many times we’ve had it since then.  It takes common, pantry ingredients that I almost always have on hand.  It’s cheap, nutritious and can be made in just 15 minutes.

I wrote the post with the recipe about a month after starting this blog.  The photos were pretty bad, so I shot new ones a few years ago.

And there are near endless substitutions and additions you can make, depending on what you’ve got on hand:

  • Use black beans or pinto beans instead of kidney beans, or use a combination of beans.
  • Use brown rice or instant brown rice instead of white (I like the flavor of brown better, but I’m always in a huge hurry when I make this so I stick with Jasmine rice, which cooks quickly.)
  • Add cooked ground beef or cooked chicken for added protein.
  • Top with cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Serve with guacamole or avocado slices.
  • Use a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies if you don’t have any salsa.
  • Serve in tortillas instead of over rice.
  • Cook the rice in chicken broth for extra flavor.

If you haven’t tried this one, I encourage you to make it soon.  It’s a great recipe to add to your arsenal of easy, weeknight meals.

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Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I’ve learned}

4 Tips for Making Perfect Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great dish to bring to a party, family get-together or for summer entertaining. It makes a great side, and if you are like me, you can make a meal out of it. It’s also so versatile, that you can add just about anything to it. However, for years…I just couldn’t get it right. After much trial and error, I have come up with what I think is the Perfect Pasta Salad!

Perfect Pasta Salad Bowl EAH


  • First tip, it’s important to cook your pasta al dente (it should say on the box how many minutes this is, I like to use rotini pasta and it’s usually 7 minutes). This will prevent the pasta from getting too mushy/soggy because the pasta will soak up some of the dressing as it sits.
  • Second, and this is where I often went wrong, you need equal amounts of pasta to vegetables/add-ins. I like to chop my main veggies fairly uniform (“bite” size), like cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. My other ingredients that I use less of because of the strong flavor, such as onions and peppers, are chopped smaller. By add-ins, I am talking about not only vegetables, but also cheese, meats (pepperoni, ham, chicken), etc.
  • Third,  the dressing…everyone has their favorite and how much they like, but too much or too little can turn your perfect pasta salad into a “ehhh, it’s okay” pasta salad. My rule of thumb is 4:4:14 cups cooked pasta, 4 cups veggies/add-ins, 1 cup dressing. Even when I make a large batch for a cook-out or party, I stick with my ratios. See, math does come in handy sometimes! The pasta and veggies will soak up some of the dressing, so if you make this the night before, you may need to add a little more dressing the next day. This is a good starting point, and you can adjust to suit your taste buds.
  • Finally, and this is just a suggestion because they are not always readily available, but I highly recommend adding fresh herbs. My favorites to use are basil or cilantro.

Pasta Salad Ingredients EAH

I am particularly fond of the above ingredients for my pasta salad. However, I usually add peppers and I always add some kind of cheese, which somehow did not make the picture! I usually use feta, but feel free to add whatever is your favorite.

Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I've learned}
This pasta salad is the perfect side or light meal. Great for parties, cookouts, and more.
  • 8 oz dry pasta (will yield about 4 cups when cooked)
  • 4 cups desired vegetables/add-ins (such as cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, fresh herbs, cheese)
  • 1 cup dressing (such as House Italian, Oil & Vinegar, etc.)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package for al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. Place drained pasta in a large bowl, adding vegetables and desired add-ins.
  3. Add dressing, salt, pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Place in fridge to chill or serve immediately.

P.S. Want to save $60 and 2 hours each week on grocery shopping? Click here

Kim is a contributing writer for Eat at Home and author of food & family blog, Makin’ it Mo’Betta. She blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, incorporating life as mom to teen and tween girls, as well as a young son with nut allergies, and wife to a diabetic husband. Life is never dull!

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Southwestern Veggie Skillet – One Dish Dinner

Southwestern Veggie Skillet - One Dish Dinner


This is a great way to clear out your pantry and veggie drawer.  It’s more method than recipes.  You can use anything you’ve got that looks good.  Throw it into the mix!

I opted not to use any meat for this dinner, but if you want, you can add sausage, smoked sausage, hamburger or even cooked chicken.

Here’s what I used for our skillet dinner:   [Read more…]

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Pesto Tortellini with Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Chicken – It doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious

Pesto Tortellini with Cherry Tomatoes


Make it simple.

This is almost always my motto when it comes to dinner.

You really don’t need a recipe for this.  And you’ve probably made a version of it for your family many times.  But sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder of easy meals.

Enter this Pesto Tortellini with Grilled Chicken.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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Veggie Chowder – Dinner into Lunch (plus a Slow Cooker Giveaway!)

Veggie Chowder Dinner into Lunch


I’m going to be talking about 3 of my favorite things in this post.  Soup.  Sweet potatoes.  And slow cookers.

Make that 4 of my favorite things – how could I forget easy dinners!  When Libby’s asked me to create an easy dinner recipe that cold be repurposed into lunch, I was in.  Our lunches almost always consist of leftovers.  Why cook twice, when you can do it once and have a second meal out of the deal?

This Veggie Chowder comes together really quick.  The other thing I like about it, is that it’s a pantry meal.  You can keep all of these things on hand, so you have the fixings for a fast dinner any time.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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Easy Grilled Pizza


Grilled pizza is one of my favorite summer meals. It’s easy, involves almost no planning and it’s super quick. The first time I tried this I was thinking, there’s no way this is going to work! But it works and it works really well.

The ingredients for grilled pizza are the same as you’d use for a traditional pizza:


I like to prep everything inside and lay it out on a cutting board to take outside.  This seems to keep things contained a little better, and it’s easier than carrying a million things back and forth to the kitchen. It’s also a great idea to have everything prepped before you start – these cook quickly!


In a nutshell, you plop your dough onto the preheated grill. When the bottom is firm and has grill lines (after about a minute on the grill), you flip it over.    [Read more…]

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Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon

I used to be strictly a red sauce and spaghetti noodle kinda girl. However, I would like to think my taste buds have matured over the years. (Maybe matured is not the right word, since I still prefer to hide my veggies in other foods so I don’t really taste them.)  However, this dish helped me realize that kale really can taste good! Granted it gets a little help from olive oil, garlic, lemon and my favorite, cheese, but this was really good! It even made me give kale chips another try. I still say they taste like broccoli potato chips, but with some ranch, I’ve even learned to enjoy eat those too.  If you are really a lover of greens, you could try this with collards, like they did in the December 2012 edition of Whole Living magazine, but…I’ll stick with kale!

Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depends on the level of heat you prefer)
  • ½-1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted (or nut/seed of choice, sesame would be good)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 12 oz spaghetti noodles
  • ¼-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (Asiago or Romano)
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Cook garlic and pepper flakes until fragrant, stirring frequently, approx. 30-45 seconds.
  3. Add kale, and stir until slightly wilted.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts, lemon zest and juice.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta in well-salted water according to package directions.
  7. Once done, reserve ½ cup pasta water and drain.
  8. Add pasta to skillet, tossing to coat.
  9. Add reserved water as needed to reach desired consistency
  10. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

My kids wouldn’t eat this since it contained a green vegetable other than lettuce or cucumbers, but I thought this was delicious! Light, yet filling, and healthy. The red pepper gives it a nice little kick too, but the amounts can be adjusted to suit your taste buds.  It comes together quickly, and my kids just eat plain noodles with Parmesan (they don’t care for sauce) while I enjoy my greens like a big girl!

KimM is a contributing writer for Eat at Home. See more from her at her blog Makin’ it Mo’Betta, and follow along on PinterestFacebook and Twitter!

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‘Detox’ Salad full of Dark Green Leafy Veggies

Ever feel like your body just needs a ‘detox’? All the over-indulgence of the holidays (because they just seem to keep coming!), and you feel like your body is craving something healthy and nutritious? I know this happens to me frequently. Of course, I admit, I splurge a little to often!

This salad (which from what I have gathered, originated from Whole Foods, but I adapted this recipe) is not only super healthy, it is super delicious!

If you were to hand me a bunch of broccoli, cauliflower and kale on a plate, I would say “no, thank you” – but somehow, when they are all chopped up together with a little fruit and seeds and a very light dressing – it transforms them into a bowl full of goodness.  A bowl of this salad also packs quite a nutritional punch, giving you a good dose of super foods!

‘Detox’ Salad
  • 2 broccoli crowns
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 small bunch kale (stems removed)
  • ½ cup parsley
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 cup dried berries (cherries, cranberries, blueberries)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or other mild flavored vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets.
  2. Cut the carrots into large chunks.
  3. Roughly chop the kale.
  4. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the broccoli, cauliflower, kale and parsley until fine and add them to a large mixing bowl. (It will probably take more than one batch)
  5. Process the carrots and add to the bowl.
  6. Stir to combine.
  7. Add the sunflower seeds, almonds, and dried fruit.
  8. Stir to combine.
  9. Add lemon juice, vinegar and syrup.
  10. Toss to coat.
  11. Taste, and add salt and/or pepper as needed.

Warning, this recipe does make a HUGE bowl of salad, but it keeps in the refrigerator for several days.  With all the “bugs” floating around right now, I am happy to have a little immunity boosting salad in my fridge!  If I could just get my kids to eat it….

KimM is a contributing writer for Eat at Home. See more from her at her blog Makin’ it Mo’Betta, and follow along on PinterestFacebook and Twitter! 

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Quinoa, Broccoli and Chicken Salad (and $50 Sam’s Club card giveaway!)

We eat more broccoli than any other veggie.  Raw, steamed, roasted – we love it all of these ways.  So I was really excited to get to try new Beneforté Naturally Better Broccoli.

One reason I like serving broccoli is because it’s a healthy, green leafy vegetable.  Beneforté broccoli is even more nutritious than other broccoli.  It’s a result of cross-pollination with commercial broccoli and a wild variety found in Italy.  The taste is the same, but it’s much better for you.  The enzymes in Beneforte maintain the antioxidant activity of vitamins A,C and E in the body.

Bottom line is the kids like it and since it’s hard to get them to eat enough veggies, I love that this one packs a big nutrition punch.

Beneforté broccoli is easy to cook with too, because it’s cleaned, trimmed and ready to use.  Or munch right out of the bag.

The recipe for Quinoa, Broccoli and Chicken Salad was inspired by a recent trip to Disney World.  Jim and I had a similar salad in Hollywood Studios for lunch (who says theme park food is all burgers and fries?).  The Disney version had arugula instead of broccoli, but I found that to be a bit bitter.  I think the broccoli works better in this salad.

This is a great dish to pack for lunches or to make a day ahead of time.  I made it on a Saturday so that we could have it on Sunday after church.  Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

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Slow Cooker Black Bean Butternut Squash Chili

This slow cooker recipe for Black Bean Butter Squash Chili receives high marks from my family. In fact, while eating it the other night, my oldest daughter remarked, “This chili is marvelous!” Which struck me as funny, because who says “marvelous”? However, as she asked for seconds, I knew her compliment was sincere.

Since this recipe only needs to cook for 3-4 hours on high, it is the perfect recipe to throw in the slow cooker right before I pick-up the kids from school. Then, it is ready when we get home from whatever practice (usually volleyball) we have that evening.  [Read more…]

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