Side dishes

Slow Cooker Refried Beans


Hola amigos!!!  Mexican dishes must be one of my absolute FAVES.  I would always have taco/burrito night and buy a few cans of refried beans to go along with the meal.  I have tried my hand with dried beans before with little to no luck.  They never seemed to work out for me, but when I saw this EASY slow cooker recipe for refired beans I figured why not!?  Let me tell you, these we full proof!  They were so simple and sooooo satisfying.  I LOVE knowing exactly what went into my food and they really taste incredible!  I hope you take the time to give this a try.  I have made this MANY times since then and I'm never buying canned refried beans again!

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Adapted from


• 1 onion, peeled and halved

• 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed

• 1 fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• ¾ teaspoons salt

• ½ teaspoon black pepper

• 1 tbsp cumin (sometimes I like a little more)

• 6 cups water


1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.  (This pic is missing the garlic & water...oops)

2. Cook on high for 7- 8 hours. Drain the excess liquid & reserve.   

3. Using the immersion blender, add back liquid a little at a time and blend until you reach your desired consistency.  Be sure to taste and add more cumin, salt or pepper to your taste!

That's it!  Easy peasy slow cooker refried beans....they are AMAZING!!!  If you don't own an immersion blender you can always use a potato masher or regular blender to break down your beans.  These immersion blenders are pretty amazing though, I use mine to make, baby food, smoothies, Homemade tomato basil soup, cheddar broccoli and many more as well!  :)  Enjoy!!!

Simple Crispy Oven Baked Potatoes

5 medium potatoes, scrubbed, dried & cubed into 1 inch cubes
4 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Lawry’s Season salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drizzle EVOO all over baking sheet.
Place your cubed potatoes on baking sheet and toss with EVOO.
Salt & pepper to taste, then mix again to be sure all the cubes are seasoned.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning every 10-15 minutes until cooked through!

Well, It's not every day that you meet a dear friend who LOVES food and LOVES talking about it as much as you do!!! My sweet friend Marta is JUST THAT! We can talk about anything under the sun...but get us talking about food and the hours fly! She was so sweet to have our family of four over for dinner last week and she seriously made some AMAZING dishes. I asked if she would be interested in being my guest blogger this week and sharing a few of the recipes she made. Lucky for us, she gladly excepted! I hope you enjoy her and her two delicious recipes! I am wishing I had a plate of her yummy pasta and a cup of lemonade RIGHT NOW!!! Enjoy!

One of our favorite pasta dishes to make for family and friends is the Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad. It always hits the spot with the prosciutto for crispiness and the feta cheese for some tartness and creaminess! We made it this past weekend for our great friends, The Sorensens. We also sipped on some Lavender Infused Lemonade, which I don't have a picture of. These are just a few recipes we enjoyed last weekend, we hope you enjoy them too!

Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad

1 # (box) of Linguine

1 bag of fresh baby spinach

6 oz – thinly sliced prosciutto

2 Tbsp – finely chopped garlic (I use the whole bunch on mine!)

2 Tbsp – fresh basil

2 Tbsp – fresh oregano

¾ cup – olive oil

½ # tomato basil feta cheese (crumbled) or Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)

½ cup – pine nuts or almonds (toasted golden)

Boil linguine. Slice spinach in thin strips. Cook prosciutto, garlic, basil, oregano in ½ cup olive oil on medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes (you can make this dressing ahead, I usually make it a night ahead).

When pasta is drained, add remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and toss the dressing and the remaining ingredients.

Garnish: fresh basil and grated fresh Parmesan cheese

This summer I have been CRAVING a Caprese salad (Fresh tomato, mozzarella & Basil) but I have also been looking for a great pasta salad recipe. I finally decided to just put two recipes together and make my own! This pasta salad was great for our 4Th of July BBQ! The balsamic vinegar gives it an awesome flavor...fresh & light! I have to make this again...I loved it!!!! Bon appetit!

Rigatoni alla Caprese
1 lb Rigatoni pasta
3-6 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed & dried
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
16 oz Fresh Mozzarella, diced
1 ½ Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large baking sheet drizzle about 3 Tbsp. EVOO. Place all the cherry tomatoes on sheet and then top with another drizzle of EVOO on top of the tomatoes. Top with the 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper to the tomatoes; also top with the minced garlic. Shake baking sheet back and forth to be sure the tomatoes are covered in oil. Bake until tomatoes are shriveled or have burst.

While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite. Stirring occasionally about 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water; set aside.

Take a potato masher and gently crush any tomatoes that remained whole to make a chunky sauce. Poor all the crushed tomatoes & any drippings in the pan over your cooled pasta; mix and place in fridge. (You can go up to this point up to a day before serving)

Dice your mozzarella & chop your basil; add to the pasta dish. Then add the balsamic vinegar & mix well. TASTE your pasta and then salt and pepper to your liking! Make sure this is very cold at serving time. It pairs perfect with any grilling! Happy SUMMER!!!

Almond Wild Rice

By: Sandra Lee


1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 (6-ounce) box long grain and wild rice mix, with seasoning packet

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted


In a saucepan, bring pineapple juice, broth, orange juice and butter to a boil. Stir in rice and seasoning packet. Bring to a boil.

Cover tightly and reduce heat to medium-low to low. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Fluff rice with a fork, stir in almonds and serve.