Easy Holidays/Entertaining

The Scramblog

Slow Cooker Sweet and Smoky Corn and Pinto Bean Stew

This smoky, sweet stew has endless variations.  It can be served over rice, inside of a tortilla, or simply in a bowl topped with Cheddar cheese or crushed tortilla chips.  Now that I’ve learned that there’s no need to soak dry beans before cooking them, I’m going to be making them a lot more often instead of using canned beans.  Serve it with Apple Cheddar Cornbread.
Slow Cooker Sweet and Smoky Corn and Pinto Bean Stew
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time: 6 hours    Total Time: 6 hours and 10 minutes
16 oz. dry pinto beans, rinsed 16 oz. frozen roasted corn, or use regular frozen corn kernels 1 yellow onion, diced 2 medium white or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups) 1/2 lb. smoked ham or soy chorizo, chopped 16 oz. medium or spicy salsa 6 cups water 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika 1 tsp. minced garlic, (about 2 cloves) (can use Dorot frozen garlic) 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, with a little of the sauce...

Italian Shotgun Wedding Soup (Easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe)

Everyone loves Italian Wedding Soup, but the thought of making both the meatballs and the soup on a harried weeknight is a little daunting.  So I love this shortcut Italian Wedding Soup recipe that uses flavorful sausage instead of the meatballs, while still using the fresh vegetables that makes this soup so nourishing.  This is also excellent with 15 oz. diced tomatoes stirred in with the broth. Scramble recipe tester Amy Stanley said, “We all gave it 5 stars.  A perfect balance.” Serve it with garlic bread.
Italian Shotgun Wedding Soup
Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 - 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup) 3 carrots, halved (or quartered if large) and finely chopped (about 1 cup) 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup) 12 oz. pre-cooked Italian turkey, chicken or meatless sausage (use wheat/gluten-free if needed), sliced into 1/2-inch slices 1 tsp. Italian seasoning blend, or more to taste 10 cups...

Chicken or Steak Fajitas

Who doesn’t love sizzling fajitas, especially when each family member can design their own?  The marinated meat makes these fajitas especially flavorful.  Serve the fajitas with guacamole and a mango, cucumber and lime salad.
Chicken or Steak Fajitas
Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 - 2 lime, juice only, about 1/4 cup 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless steak, sliced into thin strips, or use black beans or portobello mushrooms 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced 2 green or red bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced 8 medium whole wheat or flour tortillas (soft taco size) 1 - 2 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced, (or use guacamole), for serving (optional) 1 cup nonfat sour cream, for serving (optional) 1 cup salsa, for serving (optional) 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)
 In a...

Menu for Homemade Valentine’s Day Dinner

Staying in on Valentine's Day? Need a menu for homemade Valentine's Day dinner? Here is a beautiful and easy 3-course meal to serve to your special Valentine(s).APPETIZER Grapefruit margaritas Delicious, tart and pink! Even if it's cold outside, just shake the ingredients together and feel the warmth.2 servings2 oz. tequila 2 oz. orange liqueur 1 lime, juice only 1 grapefruit, juice only 2 slices jalepeno (optional)Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and serve on the rocks.MAINSalmon with Maple Soy Glaze This sweet, caramelized salmon recipe is heart-healthy. Serve it with steamed brown or white rice with fresh parsley and with an Asian cucumber salad.6 servings1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (use wheat/gluten-free if needed)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup 1/4 tsp. ground ginger or 1 tsp. minced fresh 2 lb. salmon fillet, preferably wild salmon(Start the rice first, if...
  Dec 8, 2014   Easy Holidays/Entertaining

Does Holiday Eating Have Your Stomach Begging for Mercy? How to Improve Your Energy and Digestion Fast!

Guest Column by Mari J Hahn, Holistic Health Coach and author of Gut Guide 101:Three Weeks to Better Digestion and Increased EnergyThe month of December always gets a little crazy when it comes to food – it’s easy to get carried away with party food and too many cookies, not to mention indulgent holiday meals, eggnog and cocktails. Before long, you may be suffering with heartburn, low energy and the dreaded weight gain, which can take a lot of the fun out of the holidays.Taking a few minutes each day to take care of your digestion will keep your immune system strong, improve your energy, and help you have a healthy December.Your digestive tract will function much better with plenty of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of water every day and less of the depleting stuff like processed foods and sugar. High stress levels also negatively impact the digestive system, so whatever you do to manage your stress such as exercise, yoga, a daily walk or journaling,...
  Dec 1, 2014   Easy Holidays/Entertaining

Holiday Gift Ideas for Food Lovers, Gift Ideas for Busy Parents, Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love to Cook, Plus Edible Holiday Gifts

If you’ve been part of The Scramble for a while (thank you!) you may remember that I’m not a huge shopper or consumer.  Because a) I feel I have everything I could want or need, b) our house is small so we don’t have a lot of room to put new things, c) Since I’m a crazy environmentalist, I don’t put a huge focus on giving or receiving traditional holiday gifts. I usually focus on giving consumable gifts or gifts of experiences for my friends and family, and those are the things I prefer to receive, too.That being said, The Scramble team put our heads together and created a list of some of our favorite gifts for busy parents, food lovers and cooks in your life.  I would love you to add your ideas to our list by leaving a comment at the end of the post—then we can update the list to include your ideas of gifts for food lovers, gifts for busy parents, gifts for kids who love to cook and edible holiday gifts.Holiday Gifts for Busy Parents• You’ll never...
  Nov 25, 2014   Easy Holidays/Entertaining, Recipes 1

Holiday Treats: Chocolate Bark with Pomegranate Seeds, Coconut and Ginger

This chocolate bark with pomegranate seeds gets a tiny kick from the ginger and a pop of texture from the juicy pomegranate seeds.  This is so easy to make, just like our Dark Chocolate Bark with nuts, marshmallows, and dried cranberries.  This chocolate bark makes a great holiday gift or colorful holiday dessert. Thanks to my fellow Her Corner member Alison Cardy for introducing me to the idea of pomegranate chocolate...

Competing Thanksgiving Traditions: How Do You Make it Work?

Thanksgiving. It’s a timeless American tradition and one many of us look forward to for weeks, even months.  But be honest, could any meal encompass higher expectations and more pressure?  For sure, the rewards are great. We gather with our families and/or friends. We enjoy Thanksgiving traditions and delicious feast together that is a celebration of fall’s bounty.  Perhaps we watch football on the couch or digest while we hit the sales and get a jump on our holiday shopping.But when families merge, whose traditions do we follow? Whose beloved recipes do we use? Which side of the family do we celebrate with? How do we accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences? Will the turkey be overcooked again this year? And who has to sit in traffic to get to whose house?We celebrate Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family each year, while we enjoy Passover (a traditional Jewish feast) with my family in California each spring. To escape some of the pressures I mentioned above,...

Healthy Halloween Recipes: Witches’ Fingers and Terror-ific Tomato Soup

While this might seem rather gruesome, you can serve this with a free conscience as no witches were harmed in the making of this recipe.  In fact, it's completely vegetarian -- and a hearty healthy Halloween dinner to serve before trick-or-treating.  This smooth and creamy soup, from Six O'Clock Scramble editor Kathryn Spindel, tastes like a fresher version of the classic Campbell’s tomato soup I loved as a child.  Serve this or other healthy Halloween recipes with Witch Finger breadsticks (see recipe below).

Creamy Tomato Soup with Basil

Prep + Cook Time: 25 minutes

2 Tbsp. butter 1/4 yellow or white onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup) 2 Tbsp. flour 4 cups low fat milk 1 bay leaf 2 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt (optional) 1/2 tsp. baking soda 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, with their liquid 1 - 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely choppedIn a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir occasionally until the onions are softened but not browned, about 3...

Healthy Halloween Recipes: Spider Black Bean Dip

Black beans, fresh tomatoes, and vegetables (spiders optional) make this a healthy yet deliciously fun dip for a Halloween party or as a meal before heading out to Trick or Treat.  Serve with cheese cut like pumpkins, our homemade tortilla chips, and your favorite veggies -- fresh sweet peppers, blanched green beans, jicama, celery sticks, carrots for a healthy Halloween recipe.  This might become your favorite Halloween recipe.

Black Bean Dip Prep (10 minutes) Makes about 2 cups of dip, 8 servings, 1/4 cup each15 oz. canned black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. orange juice 1/2 lime, juice only, about 2 Tbsp. 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or use 1 clove fresh garlic, minced) 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

In a food processor or blender, puree all the ingredients. If too thick, and 1/8 – 1/4 cup water.  For spicer flavor add 1 chipotle pepper or 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper....