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Beef 'n' Black Bean Soup

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I had a pound of extra lean ground beef, I knew I had a couple of cans of black beans on hand. I always have onion, carrots, celery & canned diced tomatoes on hand. What could I make for dinner using these ingredients?

Web-search – here I come.

I found a hearty and healthy vegetable bean & rice soup recipe on for “Beef ‘n’ Black Bean Soup.”

*Note: You could use any lean ground meat. You could use vegetable or beef broth ~ or a lower sodium broth.

I used Jasmine Rice in this recipe.

It’s slow cooking as I am writing this. Smells good already.

Beef ‘n’ Black Bean Soup

• 1 pound extra lean ground beef
• 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
• 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
• 8 green onions, thinly sliced
• 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
• 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 1/2 cups cooked rice

In a skillet over medium heat, cook beef until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the next 12 ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low; cook for 4-5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add the beans and rice; cook 1 hour longer or until heated through.

• Nutritional Analysis: One 1-cup serving (prepared with lean ground beef) equals 213 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 17 mg cholesterol, 819 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 16 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1-1/2 lean meat.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIGMAMAT 3/12/2011 5:08PM

    Sounds wonderful! emoticon

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SYDNEY_DE 3/11/2011 11:25PM

    That was such a good idea. I have a hard time coming up with new things to eat!

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THINRONNA 3/10/2011 11:20AM

    I think I will try this with ground chicken as that is what we usually get. I love soup and stew recipes like this. Thanks!

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COOKWITHME65 3/10/2011 4:08AM

    This sounds yummy but I will have to wait abit as I just gave up red meat for lent. Thanks for the food blog Maria as I love soup recipes.

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ROSEWCI 3/9/2011 7:22AM

    WOW! LOVE the fiber content in this! Sounds so healthy & yummy too! I wish I could get hubby to like black beans! I absolutely LOVE 'em!

Thanks for the post Maria! As always...delish!

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Recipes: Make Your Own Seasoning Blends

Sunday, March 06, 2011

This morning my husband saw an advertisement on television for McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Seasonings.

Perfect Pinch® Seasoning Blends are flavorful combinations of herbs and spices that help you create inspired dishes. With 18 varieties, including 5 salt-free, it’s easy to add perfectly-blended flavor to your meals!

~ Basil & Garlic ~ Cajun ~ Caribbean Jerk ~ Lemon & Pepper ~ Lemon Herb ~ Mediterranean Herb ~ Original Chicken ~ Parmesan Herb ~ Rotisserie Chicken ~ Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper ~ Salad Supreme ~ Salt Free Garlic & Herb ~ Salt Free Garlic Pepper ~ Italian ~ Salt Free Original ~ Salt Free Savory All Purpose ~ Steak Seasoning ~ Vegetable Seasoning ~

I told my husband that I bet it was expensive for what was in it. That I could buy the individual seasonings and mix my own for less money. I have been making my own seasoning and spice blends for the last year. I started with making my own Taco Seasoning Mix. Then I found a recipe for Chili Seasoning.

If you have a some time and want to save a little money, try making your favorite seasoning mixes at home. Or try a new recipe to “Spice Up” your Life!

I found a wonderful website called: that has 178 recipes for Seasoning Mixes.

Here are a few of recipes:

Taco Seasoning Mix

6 Tsp. Chili Powder
5 Tsp. Paprika
4 1/2 Tsp. Cumin
3 Tsp. Onion Powder
2 1/2 Ts Garlic Powder
1/8 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Measure all ingredients into a ziploc bag, seal and shake well. Store in cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Seven teaspoons of mix equal a 1.25 oz. pkg. of purchased taco seasoning mix.

Montreal Steak Seasoning

4 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
1/2 tablespoon dehydrated garlic
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon dried fennel
Measure all ingredients into a ziploc bag, seal and shake until thoroughly blended. Store in cool dry place.
Shake on meat prior to grilling, excellent flavor.

Almost Lipton Onion Soup Mix

3/4 c. minced onion
1/3 c. beef bouillon granules
4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed celery seed
1/4 tsp sugar
Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc bag.

Old Bay Seasoning Mix

1 Tbs. Celery Seed
1 Tbs. Whole Black Peppercorns
6 Bay Leaves
1/2 tsp. Whole Cardamom
1/2 tsp. Mustard Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1 tsp. Sweet Hungarian Paprika
1/4 tsp. Mace
Grind dry spices well and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar). Measure all into a ziploc bag, seal & shake to combine. Pour into a spice jar or bottle.

Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix

3 Tbsp. = 1 mix package.
1 cup dried minced onion
3 Tbsp. green pepper flakes
4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. instant minced garlic
2 tsp. each dry mustard, celery seed, and chili powder
Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar).

Add 3 Tbs. mix to 1 lb. scrambled beef
1/2 cup water
1 cup crushed tomatoes.

Table Salt Substitute

1 Tbs. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. celery seed, crushed
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar).

Spaghetti Seasoning Mix

2 cups dry minced onion
3 Tbsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. dried green pepper flakes
4 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. dry minced garlic
4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. dry parsley
1 heaping Tb. Italian seasoning mix

To use:
3/4 cup dry mix
1 lb. cooked ground beef,
3 24-oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 cup fresh or canned mushrooms
one cup chopped onions

“Salad Supreme” Seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seed
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Romano cheese
Dash of cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar) or spice jar.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KESH0925 7/14/2012 6:11PM

    Thank you for sharing this. emoticon

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ISHIIGIRL 3/24/2011 5:46PM

    I have been trying to do this recently. How do you store the seasonings once you mix them up? Thanks for this resource, Paige

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THINRONNA 3/10/2011 11:18AM

    Thanks for the idea! There are not too many seasoning mixes here and I think I could find alot of the individual ingredients...always fun to try new things!

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ROSEWCI 3/9/2011 7:18AM

    emoticon These are GREAT!

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NPDSLEUTH 3/8/2011 8:32AM

    This is fantastic girlfriend!!! Thank you. My husband and I love to experiment with new spices, especially during BBQ season, so this is a find.

You are the best! NIkki

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COOKWITHME65 3/6/2011 10:28PM

    Thanks for the link. I have seen those seasoning packets. They are not cheap. If I remember correct they were like 3.99 and up. For 1 meal, that is too much for me. I'm going to save these recipes and give them a try.

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VHALKYRIE 3/6/2011 9:12PM

    I make my own seasoning blends, too! I find it much more convenient to buy the raw spices, then mix and match to my desired recipe!

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SYDNEY_DE 3/6/2011 7:25PM

    Awesome! I'll definitely use the taco mix!

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VELVETCATT 3/6/2011 1:22PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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WENDYSPARKS 3/6/2011 1:18PM

    Thank You!!

Wendy :)

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~ Hash Brown Egg Bake Recipe ~

Thursday, March 03, 2011

We had a nice, lean, pound of Applewood Smoked Bacon that we purchased from an area Meat Market. It was more like a Shoulder Bacon or Canadian Bacon. Quite lean for bacon.

I found and made this recipe for dinner tonight.
I had a glass of V-8 and a slice of whole wheat toast with the egg bake.
It's 297 Calories per Serving - so would make a good, hearty, breakfast too!
It was very filling. The downside is the sodium content. A meal I would eat on occasion.

Substitutions You Could Make:
You could use Egg Substitute instead of whole eggs.
You could use skim milk - I used 1% Milk.
You could use leaner ham instead of the bacon or even meat substitutes made with soy.

Hash Brown Egg Bake Recipe


1 (26 ounce) package frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 dash paprika


In a large bowl, combine hash browns, bacon, 1/2 cup cheese and salt. Spoon into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk until smooth; pour over hash brown mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until golden. Top with the remaining cheese.
Makes 8 Servings.

Nutritional Information:

Servings Per Recipe: 8

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 296.9

Total Fat: 16.6 g

Cholesterol: 197.8 mg

Sodium: 508.0 mg

Total Carbs: 19.5 g

Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g

Protein: 17.2 g

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 3/9/2011 7:10AM

    emoticon Yum!

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NPDSLEUTH 3/8/2011 8:33AM

    This is perfect for our Sunday breakfasts! Thanks so much for sharing another great find!


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SMILEYBEE 3/6/2011 6:06PM

    Wow ... you come up with the best stuff! Thanks for taking the time to blog about your discoveries!

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THINRONNA 3/6/2011 3:37AM

    Sounds wonderful and I just found American style bacon here. I'll bet i could even find the potatoes too! I would love to try it. Thank you for sharing!

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-CHERI- 3/4/2011 11:25AM

    Sounds yummy!!

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COOKWITHME65 3/3/2011 11:14PM


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CARRENK 3/3/2011 10:02PM

    Yum! My mom makes something like this - crumbled pork (or turkey) sausage and mushrooms instead of the bacon is good, too!

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal for One

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Several weeks ago I did a blog on Oatmeal recipes - and saw the addition of peanut butter to one of the recipes - but it was cooked on the stove top.

I have been making an Oatmeal recipe that I found here at Spark People called" "Oatmeal for One."

It's very simple to toss together and it cooks in the microwave in 99 seconds!

Today, after seeing the addition of peanut butter to oatmeal - to increase the protein content, in several recipes...I finally tried it for a quick lunch.

I used that basic "Oatmeal for One" recipe.

Here's what I did:

1/3 cup Old Fashioned Oats
2/3 cup Water
Just a sprinkle of sea salt
2 T. Raisins

Mix all together and microwave for 99 seconds.

After the oatmeal is cooked, stir in 1 T. Peanut Butter.

I added 1 tsp. sugar (you could use a sweetener here, also) and I also served it with 1/2 cup of low fat milk (you could use soymilk, almond milk or skim milk).

The quick Nutrition Facts (with the sugar and low fat milk):
331 Calories ~ 48 grams of Carbohydrates ~ 11 grams of Fat ~ 13 grams of Protein.


By the way ~ it was REALLY GOOD!
And I'm not a big peanut butter eater!
Great way to get some healthy protein into your food plan!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 3/11/2011 1:43AM

    Yummy- I will try that! It almost sounds like those no bake cookies-which are one of my fave cookies! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 3/9/2011 7:15AM

    WOW! This sounds AWESOME! Yummy!

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SWELL10 3/3/2011 10:32PM

    You made me want it for dinner. Just made it --- Yummy!

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DONNACFIT 3/3/2011 9:30PM

    sounds delicious!!!

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BIGMAMAT 3/3/2011 7:32PM

    I love peanut butter! I can't believe that i never thought to add the two together!!! emoticon

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ENKATRALALA 3/3/2011 11:57AM

    Mmm...yes. I love peanut butter in oatmeal. Gives it more staying power. It's really good with bananas added, too.

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PETUNIAPIG 3/3/2011 10:29AM

    Peanut butter oatmeal is SO YUMMY!
Sometimes what I do is when I just finished a jar of peanut butter I'll save it. Then the next morning I'll pour my hot cooked oatmeal into the peanut butter jar and use a spoon to stir it around. The hot oatmeal melts the remaining peanut butter that was still clinging to the sides - it's a way to get every bit of the yumminess out of the container.

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MYSTERY4EVER 3/2/2011 11:50PM

    I will have to try this. I have oatmeal nearly every day in the winter. Thanks for sharing.

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ONEGREATCAT 3/2/2011 9:14PM know I like the peanut butter addition! But I can't go the route of raisins...sorry...they're one of my least favorite foods! But I know a zillion others will like that addition as well.

Everyone always looks forward to your recipes! KEEP THEM COMING!

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SNARDEESNIFF 3/2/2011 9:02PM

    Oh, Maria, this DOES sound really good! I think I'll try this for breakfast tomorrow. Peanut butter is a fave of mine also. Thanks so very much for posting it, my friend.

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SMILEYBEE 3/2/2011 3:50PM

    Sounds good! I'll have to try it!

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OLIV0144 3/2/2011 3:11PM

    Hmm, sounds interesting. I will have to try it!

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RICEOWL86 3/2/2011 2:28PM

    I'm so glad you posted this, I can't wait to try it. Peanut butter is one of my absolute favorite foods, and I eat oatmeal for breakfast almost every day. I'll bet this would be good with almond butter as well. Yum! emoticon

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Chocolate Meringue Kisses

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I have purchased Meringue Cookies at stores like Trader Joes and really enjoyed them for a low-calorie treat.

I have been looking for a recipe to make these at home.

Once spring gets to Minnesota, my hens will start laying eggs again and I will need to find healthy ways to use those eggs.

Here’s a guilt-free cookie recipe I found in “All You” Magazine in January.

A serving is 2 cookies for 29 calories & zero grams of fat.
The recipe makes 48 cookies at 8 cents a serving.


Chocolate Meringue Kisses


• 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa


Preheat oven to 225°F. Line 2 large rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to high and whip until mixture forms soft peaks. Gradually add granulated sugar and continue beating until whites are stiff and shiny.

In a separate bowl, sift confectioners' sugar with cocoa to blend. Working in thirds, sprinkle cocoa mixture over egg whites and gently fold in until thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a large ziplock bag. Seal bag, pinching out excess air. Snip off a small piece of one bottom corner of bag. Pipe out meringues through hole onto cookie sheets, forming small "kisses," about 2 inches in diameter. Bake for 1 hour, until meringues are firm and dry. Turn oven off and let meringues sit in oven for 15 minutes.

Let meringues cool on sheets on wire racks, then gently peel kisses off parchment paper. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (2 Kisses)
0g (sat 0g)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 3/9/2011 7:12AM

    emoticon Thanks Maria! These sound AWESOME!

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THINRONNA 3/2/2011 3:07AM

    Thank you for sharing this. I make plain meringues for the kids but for some reason I never thought to mek chocolate ones. Thank you for the recipe!

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1BEACHWALKER 3/2/2011 12:11AM

    That sounds great! Isn't it ridiculous how many calories and fats are in the desserts, cookies and candy out there! Good for you finding low cal healthy ways to eat, even for cookies. I just got my All You magazine special edition from SP for buying the Spark and that is the best magazine I have ever read! By the way, Bob was really interested in your mushroom soup recipe- he wants to make it on his vacation this week. Will let you know how it goes. Glad he likes to cook! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CARRENK 3/1/2011 5:37PM

    I love the meringue cookies, too! I'll have to try these!

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    I love the nutritional info! All You is an awesome mag, going to have to add this one to my cooking list! Thanks!

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COOKWITHME65 3/1/2011 2:37PM

    Never made these. Will have to try. Didn't realize they were so low in calories. Thanks for sharing the recipe Maria!

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ISHIIGIRL 3/1/2011 2:18PM

    This looks really good. Thanks for sharing.

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SUSIEPH1 3/1/2011 2:17PM

    Yummy !Thank you ! emoticon

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