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Pantry Pottage

This became a traditional Thanksgiving-Eve dinner many many years ago in my family. I think the original recipe was one that my mom had gotten off the local news station when I was still in high school.

The idea behind the dish was to use up all the canned beans and vegatables from your pantry and toss them into a crock pot to cook up some fabulous and easy dish that would serve up a house of visitors.

My mom and I always went out and bought the half of a dozen cans that the recipe called for instead of using up what we had in the pantry.

What can I say? My mom is one of those that follows recipes to an absolute ‘T’. Sharp cheddar rather than reguar cheddar? Forget it! The recipe is ruined! Tee-hee.

A couple of years ago the original printed recipe that my mom had ended up disappearing among a chaotic move. I’ve since scowered the web to find it, though to no avail. I have managed to find a similar version that I’ve tweaked to be closer to what my mom and I remember.

I’ve also used a bag of dried 15 bean soup rather than going out and buying all those crazy cans since it’s cheaper and gives a larger variety of beans going into the soup. However, my mom would tell you that buying all the cans is half of the fun of this recipe. 

Pantry Pottage

The Skinny:
Servings: 8 • Size: About 1 1/2 Cup • Calories: 273.3 • Fat: 6.4 g • Carb: 42.6 g • Fiber: 21.5 g • Protein: 27 g • Sugar: 5.1 g • Sodium: 1293.2 mg

20 Oz. Bag 15 Bean Soup Mix, Dry & Uncooked
1 1/4 lbs. Lean Italian Turkey Sausage (I used hot for an extra kick!)
8 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
3 Medium Carrots, Chopped
3 Medium Celery Stalks, Chopped
1 White Onion, Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
15 Oz. Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added), Undrained
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1/2 Tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 Tsp. Dried Parsley
Salt & Pepper to Taste


Drain and rinse your beans.

Once clean, toss them into a large crock pot.

Remove the sausage from the casing (if in any), and brown on medium heat until cooked through.

Add the sausage into the crock pot with the beans.

Add the rest of the ingredients into the crock pot.

Secure the lid and cook on high for 6-8 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.

Once done, give everything a stir and divide among bowls.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Crock Pot Honey Ginger Chicken

It’s all about the crock pot for me right now! I’m not supposed  to be on my foot any more than I need  to be for another full week. And let me just say, I cannot wait to get out of this boot and be able to shower again!

Yes, I’ve been downgraded to bathing since I can’t get my bandaged foot wet after a minor surgery I had a week ago.

When I registered my ‘shower complaint’ with the doctor this morning at my post-op check up… he said it was one of his most common fusses.

Thankfully I haven’t had much physical pain. Just the nuisance of not being able to get around very well. 

I got the idea for this recipe from a friend of mine who mentioned this was one of their current favorite healthy dishes to cook up. Though, I’m not sure that my version here is anything  similar.

I wanted to make a honey ginger chicken that was easy, tasty and healthy! Waa-la!

My mom was over helping me this past weekend with the little one while I’m unable to run around and chase after her with the same finesse that I could pre-surgery. She was once again looking for a diet to try… which I will tell you now, I am entirely  against for a multitude of reasons.

I’ve seen her struggle with dieting  for years, and not that she needs to diet to begin with! My mom is the reason why I don’t own a scale. She starts a diet and within a week has already given it up. Seriously. There is a new diet every week.

I merrily suggested to her that she try out ‘clean eating’ or even ‘paleo’… which I have mentioned to her several times before.  I like that clean eating isn’t a diet , it is just a different way of eating.

What can I say? Friends and family are my inspiration!

Crock Pot Honey Ginger Chicken

The Skinny:
Servings: 4 • Size: About 1 Cup • Calories: 315 • Fat: 3.8 g • Carb: 39.2 g • Fiber: 0.6 g • Protein: 33.2 g • Sugar: 36.2 g • Sodium: 493.9 mg

4 Chicken Breasts (About 4.5 Oz. Each), Cut into bite size pieces!
1/2 C. Honey
3 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Inch Fresh Ginger Root, Grated
2 Tbsp. Lime Juice
2 Tsp. Sesame Oil
1 Tsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
4 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 Tbsp. Water

Optional Toppings:
Sesame Seeds, Green Onions, Sriracha. 

You may  want to line or lightly spray the inside of your slow cooker.

 Toss everything into a crock pot, except the cornstarch and water.

Give it all a stir.

Take a sniff and have an ‘OMG that smells like heaven!’ moment. 

Secure the lid and cook on low for at least 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

About 30 minutes prior to serving, mix together the corn starch and water. Pour into the crock pot, stir, and allow to cook for about 30 minutes or until thickened to your liking.

Once done, remove the lid and stir.

Serve warm over rice, noodles, or steamed veggies! 

Crock Pot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Today, I was lucky enough to have an expert chef join me in my kitchen. Her lifetime of knowledge and her very particular palette are what I aim to please with each dish I create. She is my inspiration through and through!

Yes. That’s right… Chef Lily spent some of her very valuable time lending me a hand with dinner.

Don’t worry folks. She’s not as intimidating as she looks!


This meal is so easy to toss together that you can readily do the chopping and let your four year old do everything else! Just don’t let your own mini chef add sprinkles to your jambalaya as mine attempted to.

I’ve never made jambalaya before, so I was pretty excited to try this out. Especially since it involved a crock pot! Anything to keep from turning my stove or oven on for the next few months…

When adapting this recipe, I did swap out shrimp for a traditional cajun style sausage, because well… there’s no sea food eaters in my house. The seasonings were amazing. The spice was just enough to kick my tastebuds without being too harsh. Next time though, I may double the cayenne since I like it hot.

I was really amazed with how perfectly the rice cooked up in exactly 30 minutes. Absorbing all the liquid, spices and flavors that had been simmering during the day. Plus, this makes a lot of jambalaya. My crock pot was pretty full at the end of the cooking.

Needless to say, we’ll be having leftovers for another meal or two – and I almost can’t wait for dinner tonight so that I can have it again!

Crock Pot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya
Adapted from UNCLE BEN’S® Chicken & Shrimp Jambalaya

The Skinny:
Servings: 8 • Size: About 1 Cup • Calories: 204.5 • Fat: 5.1 g • Carb: 17.7 g • Fiber: 3.2 g • Protein: 23 g • Sugar: 7.4 g • Sodium: 589.1 mg

1 Lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Cubed into 3/4-1″ Pieces
9 Oz. (3 Links) Andouille Cajun Style Pork Sausage
2 C. Celery, Sliced
2 C. Onion, Chopped
2 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 (14.5 Oz.) Can ‘No Salt Added’ Diced Tomatoes
1 (6 Oz.) Can Tomato Paste
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/4 Tsp. Onion Powder
1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp. White Pepper
1/4 Tsp. Paprika
1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper
1/8 Tsp. Cayenne
Salt to Taste (I used 1/4 Tsp.)
1 1/2 C. UNCLE BEN’S® Instant Brown Rice
2 C. Bell Pepper, Chopped (I used half of a red and half of a green.)
2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley


Toss all of the ingredients into the crock pot except for the rice, bell pepper and parsley.

Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 – 4 hours or on high for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

If using the low setting, turn up to the high setting and add in the bell pepper.

Cover and cook for another 2 hours on low or 1 hour on high.

This helps get the bell pepper cooked and tender without falling completely apart and into mush.

About 30 minutes prior to serving, add in the rice.

Cover and continue to cook for about 30 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Once done, garnish with parsley and serve warm!