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DELICIOUS, NO SOAKING REQUIRED, Slow Cooker Refried Beans! This easy homemade refried beans recipe cooks dry pinto beans in the slow cooker! They make the perfect tasty side dish for authentic Mexican meals. You’ll never use canned beans again! 

I love refried beans. Not only do they make the perfect side to pair with  your favorite Mexican meal (for us, usually tacos!), but they also make for a pretty great meal by themselves too! Have you ever had a bowl of perfectly cooked refried beans with a little shredded cheese on top? So delicious! 

What type of beans are used to make refried beans?

These homemade refried beans are made from dry pinto beans. Dry beans are not only super cheap but in my opinion make the best refried beans.  Did you know growing your own dry beans in the garden is easy too?  These refried beans are extra special to me because they are made with our own yellow eye beans we grew in the garden last Summer! Feel free to use regular dry pinto beans or yellow eye beans for this recipe, they both make delicious refried beans. 

Why this recipe for homemade slow cooker refried beans works?
  1. Most refried beans recipes call for soaking beans overnight, but to be honest, I can never remember to do that! Usually I decide what’s for dinner in the morning or early afternoon and by that time, I can’t soak the beans, so instead I came up with this easy recipe that doesn’t require soaking the beans!
  2. These beans are so easy to make, since they’re make in the slow cooker! Throw them in with water, chicken bouillon, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper for about 6-7 hours or until they are tender.
  3. They will make your kitchen smell amazing!
  4. This recipe is versatile. Feel free to add in favorite spices, like cumin, cilantro and any others you might like.
  5. This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten free.

How to make slow cooker refried beans

This recipe seriously could not be easier!

  1. Start by putting all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on LOW or until beans are tender.
  2. Once beans are cooked, transfer them to a food processor or use an immersion blender to purée until beans are creamy.
  3. Top with any favorites. I love cheese, diced avocado and fresh chopped cilantro!

Ways to serve homemade refried beans 

Want to put these refried beans to good use? Here are some ideas on what to eat them with to make a complete and satisfying meal.


Did you make and love this recipe? Give it your review below! 👇 And make sure to share your creations by tagging me or using the hashtag #brooklynfarmgirl on Instagram

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No Soaking Required Slow Cooker Refried Beans

DELICIOUS, NO SOAKING REQUIRED, Slow Cooker Refried Beans! This easy homemade refried beans recipe cooks dry pinto beans in the slow cooker! They make the perfect tasty side dish for authentic Mexican meals. You’ll never use canned beans again! 

  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon powdered chicken or vegetable bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker and stir.  Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on LOW or until beans are tender.

  2. Transfer the beans to a food processor or use a immersion blender to puree until pinto beans are creamy! 

  3. Serve, enjoy! 

This makes 5 cups cooked pinto beans.

The post Slow Cooker Refried Beans appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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This easy Healthy Homemade Granola recipe is a favorite breakfast! Not only is it super easy to make on the stovetop, but it’s perfectly crispy and versatile. Once you realize how easy this healthy homemade granola recipe is to make, you’ll never buy granola in the store again! With honey, vanilla and cinnamon, this quick homemade granola recipe is a pantry staple for our family.

Do you love granola or granola bars? I know a boy who does. It’s my other half, Matthew. He loves it. Last week Matthew became obsessed with granola again. He goes through these spells of loving it. There was a time last year where he was ready to have his midnight snack in bed and he realized he was out of granola.

What did he do? Did he pick to eat something else? No, he got on his bicycle and rode to the grocery store at midnight to buy more granola! Talk about dedication.

So yesterday we ran out of granola again. I went to the grocery store and I couldn’t get over the prices of it. Can someone explain why granola is so expensive? Seriously, $8 for 10 ounces? That’s crazy!

So after I got over (or didn’t get over) my sticker shock, I decided to head back to my kitchen and make my own healthy homemade granola. Plus, I was pretty excited to use my new Le Creuset Signature saucepan. I’m in love with it!

How to make Healthy Homemade Granola

Follow these step-by-step recipe instructions for easy cinnamon vanilla homemade granola.

Start at the stove: Add honey, brown sugar, vanilla, butter and cinnamon to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture until melted.

Stir in oats and cook for another 5 minutes.

Bake: Pour oat mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400ºF for about 8 minutes or until you see the edges getting a little brown.

Let granola cool: Once cooked, remove granola from the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Then break up pieces into granola bits.

Storage: Store granola in a mason jar or a plastic bag.

Enjoy! Serve with yogurt or milk and fresh fruit.

Why this Homemade Granola Works
  • It keeps so well in an air-tight container, so you’ll have plenty of this delicious homemade granola recipe on-hand for weeks. No late night trips to the store!
  • Not only is this cinnamon vanilla granola wonderful on its own, but it’s also delicious served with yogurt, strawberry milk and even over my favorite berry banana smoothie.
  • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper for super easy clean-up. Does meal prep get any easier?!
  • It’s much cheaper and healthier than most store-bought granola varieties.
  • It’s perfectly crispy granola! When I’m breaking it up, I can’t help ripping off large chunks and throwing them directly into my mouth. If you’d rather have crispy granola bars, you can cut them into rectangular pieces with a knife. I usually like my granola as a cereal, so I crush it all up.
Possible Homemade Granola Variations

Want to customize your granola and add in some favorite ingredients? Let’s get creative!

  • Dried fruit: Any kind of chopped dried fruit would work well in this granola recipe.
  • Chocolate chips: Add in your favorite kind of chocolate chips, after the granola has cooled.
  • Peanut butter: Try stirring in about 1/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter to the honey mixture, before adding in the oats.
  • Spices:I love just the cinnamon and vanilla, but feel free to add in any other additional spices that you enjoy. For a fall-themed granola, try ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger and/or allspice.

If you are looking for homemade granola bar recipes, do try my favorites:

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Rainbow Crunch Granola Bars

Cake Batter Granola Bars

Did you make and love this recipe? Give it your review below! 👇 And make sure to share your creations by tagging me or using the hashtag #brooklynfarmgirl on Instagram

Enjoy!

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Healthy Homemade Granola

This easy Healthy Homemade Granola recipe is easy to make on the stovetop, and it’s perfectly crispy and versatile. Once you realize how easy and delicious healthy homemade granola recipe is to make, you’ll never buy granola in the store again!

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  1. Add honey, brown sugar, vanilla, butter and cinnamon to saucepan over medium high heat until melted.
  2. Add oats and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour on cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.
  4. Let cool for 30 minutes and then break up into granola bits.
  5. Store in a mason jar or plastic bag.

The post Healthy Homemade Granola appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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This easy recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde is packed with flavor and creaminess thanks to roasted tomatillos, onion and jalapeños! Learn how to make homemade roasted tomatillo salsa to serve with chips, tacos, enchiladas and more. Whole30, paleo, vegan, and gluten-free.

This year we’ve grown the most tomatillos in our gardening history, so I’ve been excited to experiment with new tomatillo recipes. I usually rely on my classic Tomatillo Salsa Verde recipe to make with our tomatillos (plus it freezes great for preserving) but I wanted to make a Tomatillo Salsa that was creamy, thick but not too thick and very tasty.

How to make Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
  1. Find the tomatillos: If you don’t have garden tomatillos, you can find them near the jalapeño peppers at the grocery store or farmer’s market. They’re like little green tomatoes wrapped in paper husks.
  2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse under cool water to remove the stickiness.
  3. Roast the tomatillos, onion, and jalapeños for 15 minutes. Flip veggies and roast for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and let veggies cool slightly. Remove the stem and seeds from the jalapeños.
  4. Pulse veggies in a food processor with 1 tablespoon olive oil, minced garlic, lime juice, cilantro and salt + pepper. Don’t forget to add the liquid that’s left in the roasting pan too! Salsa should be chunky smooth.
  5. Taste and season with more salt & pepper as needed. Serve with tortilla chips!
Why is this Roasted Tomatillo Salsa So Good

This creamy, flavorful green salsa is so perfect served alongside tortilla chips!

  • Roasting the tomatillos, onion and jalapeños is a triple threat, especially if you have all 3 growing in your garden! It gives them a rich, smoky taste and helps to make the salsa creamy instead of watery.
  • Not only is this tomatillo salsa recipe wonderful with chips, it’s also delicious served with tacos, burritos and even chili.

  • It smells amazing. Everyone will be heading towards the kitchen to give this yummy salsa a try!
  • This tomatillo salsa is naturally healthy and nutritious. It’s also Whole30, paleo, vegan, and gluten-free.
  • It freezes well, so while you have fresh garden veggies make several batches to freeze for later. When the winter season hits and you have garden fresh tomatillo salsa, you’ll be so grateful!
How to store homemade Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
  • Storing your leftover salsa may not be a problem. Because you probably won’t have any left!
  • Fresh tomatillo salsa can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I like to use glass jars for storage.
  • For longer storage, make several batches and freeze for up to 6 months. You can use zip-top freezer safe bags for freezing. Be sure to write the date on the bag, so you remember when it went into the freezer.
Looking for more homemade salsa recipes? Try these favorites:

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Canned Tomatoes Salsa

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Did you make and love this recipe? Give it your review below! 👇 And make sure to share your creations by tagging me or using the hashtag #brooklynfarmgirl on Instagram

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

This easy recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde is packed with flavor and creaminess thanks to roasted tomatillos, onion and jalapeños! Learn how to make homemade roasted tomatillo salsa to serve with chips, tacos, enchiladas and more. Whole30, paleo, vegan, and gluten-free.

  • 2 pounds tomatillos ( husked removed, cleaned)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • salt + pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place tomatillos, jalapenos and onion on a baking sheet. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top. Mix with spatula to coat.
  3. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip the vegetables. Roast for 15 more minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Cut the stems off jalapenos and remove the seeds. If you want extra spicy salsa you can keep the seeds but it will be hot. I prefer my salsa without seeds.
  6. Place tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, minced garlic, lime juice, cilantro and salt + pepper in food processor blender and pulse until chunky smooth.
  7. Serve with chips, throw on tacos, pour over chicken, etc.
  8. You can also freeze this salsa to enjoy later on!

The post Roasted Tomatillo Salsa appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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Easy homemade kale crackers recipe made by combining kale and flour.   They are sprinkled with salt to make a healthy snack!  I love these as a healthy, low carb alternative to potato chips!

Kale Crackers

Yup, it’s kale time in the garden which means I have a list of new kale recipes.  Earlier this week I gave you my kale sandwich recipe, but now it’s all about snacks.   At around 4PM every afternoon I snack.  I can’t help it! I’m a afternoon snacker while my husband is a late night snacker, but either way is ok because you won’t regret eating these homemade kale crackers.

Potato Chips Alternative

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to potato chips then say hello to these kale crackers!  These are my go to for snacking on the couch at night, instead of filling up a big bowl of oily, salty potato chips!

The crackers are easy to make and I bet that you have all the ingredients already in your pantry.   It’s the perfect way to use a entire bunch of kale!   These crackers are perfect for snacking, serving as a appetizer (especially sprinkled with Parmesan or a thin slice of Sharp cheese), or alongside eggs at breakfast.    

Healthy Kale Recipe

Here’s how to make these healthy, crunchy kale crackers!

Gather your bunch of kale.  A bunch of kale equals about 7-8 oz.    Make sure your kale is clean and dry.   

Rip your kale off the stems and rip again into small pieces.  

Add your kale to a food processor with a drizzle of olive oil (this helps the blades move).  Process.  Left Picture.
Then add the rest of your ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a sticky dough forms.  Right Picture.

How to Make Kale Crackers

Now comes the fun part – rolling it out!
Place parchment paper or silicone baking mat that’s been sprayed with non stick spray on cookie sheet.
Pour your kale mixture onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top.  Picture 1 and 2.
Take another piece of parchment paper that’s been sprinkled with flour and put the parchment paper on top. Now with a rolling pin (the parchment paper is in between the kale and rolling pin), roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Picture 3 and 4. 
Remove the top layer of parchment paper once rolled out.  Picture 5.
With a knife gently cut lines (not cutting all the way through) horizontally and vertically, forming cracker shapes. This will help you break them into crackers easily once baked.  Picture 6.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crackers turn a dark/brownish green.   Because you sprayed your parchment your crackers should not stick at all.

After letting them cool for a little bit, break them at your lines you cut in.  

Simple Homemade Kale Crackers – enjoy!

More Kale Recipes

Looking for more kale recipes?  Try my:

Kale Salad

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Kale Chicken Vegetable Soup

Potatoes and Kale

Kale Potato Stuffing

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Kale Crackers

Easy homemade kale crackers recipe made by combining kale and flour.   They are sprinkled with salt to make a healthy snack!  I love these as a healthy, low carb alternative to potato chips!

  • 1 bunch of kale (approximately 8 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove kale from stem and rip up into small pieces. Put kale into food processor and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil (helps the blades move). Process for about 15 seconds.
  3. Add flour, flax seeds, salt, sugar, egg and water to food processor. Process for 15 seconds, or until all the ingredients combine into a dough ball.
  4. Place parchment paper or silicone baking mat that’s been sprayed with non stick spray on cookie sheet.
  5. Pour your kale mixture onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top.
  6. Take another piece of parchment paper that’s been sprinkled with flour and put the parchment paper on top. Now with a rolling pin (the parchment paper is in between the kale and rolling pin), roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Remove the top layer of parchment paper once rolled out.
  8. With a knife gently cut lines (not cutting all the way through) horizontally and vertically, forming cracker shapes. This will help you break them into crackers easily once baked.
  9. Sprinkle salt on top of the dough.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Depending on how thin or thick your dough is, watch so they don’t burn. You want the color to start to turn a dark/brownish green. I will check the crackers at 15 minutes and every 5 minutes after that.
  11. Once out of the oven, let cool for 15 minutes.
  12. Using your knife lines, break them into crackers. Eat and enjoy!

Store crackers in plastic containers.
Additional Ideas: Sprinkle with more sea salt, Parmesan cheese or serve with slices of cheese.

The post Homemade Kale Crackers appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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Low Carb Pancakes recipe. These easy to make keto pancakes are made with cream cheese, eggs and coconut flour.  Make them for a healthy breakfast meal! 

If you’re looking for a low carb, keto pancakes recipe- this is it!  If you’re craving pancakes, but need something more friendly to your low carb diet, you’re really going to like them.

These pancakes are fluffy  (just like my no butter pancakes!) thanks to the cream cheese, and won’t leave you feeling hungry afterwards (thanks eggs!).   Whenever I eat these I can pretty much make it to lunch without snacking as they fill me up!

Easy Low Carb Pancakes are just a few ingredients away!

Here’s everything you need to make these Low Carb Pancakes.

  • 5 eggs
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • syrup (optional, on top)

Coconut Flour Pancakes

We are using coconut flour as a low carb flour for these pancakes. The coconut flour helps give them a naturally slightly sweet taste, without the addition of sugar! Coconut flour is a great low carb flour because most of the carbohydrates in it is fiber, so it has little to no effect on blood sugar. I love using coconut flour if I’m baking low carb!

Alternatively, if you only have almond flour, you could use almond flour in place of the coconut flour. That will work too!

How to Make Low Carb Pancakes

You’ll want to spray a griddle or a pan with nonstick spray. Heat over medium heat. You don’t want to cook them higher than medium heat as they can burn quickly.

Once the pan is heated, pour the batter into small pancake shapes. Cook for a few minutes. Once you see bubbles, it’s time to flip over and cook the other side. Cook the other side until slightly browned. This takes about 7-10 minutes total. These pancakes are on the fragile side, so be careful (!) when flipping them. To be extra safe I recommend using 2 spatulas to help support them while flipping.

Best Low Carb Pancake Syrup

There are so many great options for toppings for these pancakes!   ChocZero is my favorite sugar free, low carb maple syrup. It doesn’t have sugar or sugar alcohols, instead they use monk fruit! It only has 2g net carbs a serving.

Want to turn these into Low Carb Waffles?

Want to turn these Low Carb Pancakes into Low Carb Waffles?  Awesome! You can do that!

Make them as instructed in the recipe, and then cook in a waffle maker, about 3-5 minutes, depending on your machine’s instructions.

How to Freeze Keto Pancakes

Here’s what I recommend – you make 2 batches of these pancakes!  One to eat with your family (this recipe makes enough for 3 people), and one to freeze for later on.    This way, when Wednesday hits and you don’t want to get out of bed, so you definitely don’t want to make breakfast, you have these yummy pancakes waiting for you in the freezer!

I put the pancakes in a freezer bag and into the freezer they go. When I’m hungry, I’ll pull a couple out of the bag and throw them in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.  And just like you have a delicious keto breakfast waiting for you!

Other Low Carb Breakfast Ideas

Need some more low carb breakfast ideas? Check out these recipes:

Low Carb Breakfast Casserole

Slow Cooker Low Carb Granola

Kale and Feta Frittata

Jalapeno Low Carb Bagels

Orange Scones

Keto Egg Biscuits

I hope you like these Low Carb Pancakes!  Enjoy!

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Low Carb Pancakes

Low Carb Pancakes recipe. These easy to make keto pancakes are made with cream cheese, eggs and coconut flour.  Make them for a healthy breakfast meal! 

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • syrup for top, optional
  1. Spray a griddle or pan with nonstick spray. Heat over medium heat.

  2. Once heated, pour batter in pan in small pancake shapes. Cook for a few minutes and then flip the pancake once you see bubbles. Cook until both sides are slightly browned, about 10 minutes total. These pancakes are more fragile than regular pancakes, so be careful when flipping them. A tip is to use 2 spatulas to support and flip them.

  3. Serve hot with maple syrup or sugar-free alternative.

The post Low Carb Pancakes appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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Oven Baked Sun-dried Tomatoes in olive oil and Italian spices recipe.  This easy homemade recipe will leave your kitchen smelling great and you saying MMMMMM! Includes directions on how to make and freeze sun-dried tomatoes. Use them in pasta, chicken, shrimp, bread, pizza, dip and so many other recipes!

When life gives you a whole lot of tomatoes you make cherry tomato sauce, roma tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato soup, slow cooker tomatoes….. and then you make these Sun-dried Tomatoes!  Can you tell I really love tomatoes?

How to Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes in the Oven

Baking the tomatoes in my opinion makes the best sun-dried tomatoes.  They’re rich in flavor, they don’t loose their color and they taste as authentic as those fancy store bought bottles that cost a small fortune.

The one thing you have to accept is that sun-dried tomatoes aren’t instantly made.  Even though these are so easy to make, they take a couple hours to turn leathery, so make sure you’ve put a few hours aside when you plan on making them.

I know you’re thinking, I don’t want to wait 5 hours before they’re done! I know, but trust me, YOU DO!  THEY ARE WORTH IT! Sorry, had to write that in capital letters because they are SO GOOD!

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.  Add your halved tomatoes on a nonstick baking sheet.  You guys, this is really important.  Make sure you are using a non-stick sheet as the tomatoes are going to stick since they’re baking for so long. 

If you don’t have a non-stick baking sheet, use parchment paper.  This will make sure the tomatoes don’t stick and you have a easy cleanup!

When are my Sun-Dried Tomatoes done?

The sun-dried tomatoes are done when they are a leathery texture.  You want to pull them out of the oven before they are crispy as that means they are overcooked! They should not be brittle and break apart.  Instead you’re looking for a leather-like texture. 

You want to check your tomatoes about every 30 minutes to get the perfect texture.   On average, sun-dried tomatoes take 4-8 hours, depending on how big your tomatoes are.  Small halved tomatoes range around 4, while bigger tomatoes can take 8 hours (or even longer).  

Sun-Dried Tomatoes Ingredients

Ingredients are simple. I bet that you already have everything to make them!

  • 4 pounds of tomatoes
  • salt
  • dried basil
  • olive oil
  • cloves of garlic

How many pounds of tomatoes do I need?

This recipe calls for 4 pounds of tomatoes because I feel like that fills up a mason jar pretty perfectly, but this is not a exact number.  You can use 2 pounds of tomatoes if that’s all you have.  You can also use 8 or 12 pounds of tomatoes if you want a double or triple batch.   

When it’s raining tomatoes in the garden I often will make 3 batches at once, one to keep in the refrigerator and 2 to freeze.

How to soften sun dried tomatoes in oil?

Once the sun-dried tomatoes are finished, add them in a mason jar.  Pour olive oil on top of to cover the tomatoes.  The oil is going to help soften the tomatoes and add lots of flavor.  Next, add your cloves of garlic into the mason jar, give it a stir to mix, and then cover.

Can I freeze Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

Yes, you sure can.  Like I mentioned above, I freeze a few batches of these yummy tomatoes to enjoy them in the Winter time over rice, pasta, or use in casseroles.

Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a freezer bag, and add just a tablespoon of olive oil to coat them.   Now freeze.  When you’re ready to use them, remove from the freezer and soak the freezer bag in a bowl of warm water.  This takes about 15 minutes to defrost.  Now use them as you have planned!

I use these frozen sun-dried tomatoes in so many Winter meals, including Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts, Tomato Frittata, Chicken Pesto Frittata, Corn Casserole and Stuffed Chicken Breast.

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Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Oven Baked Sun-dried Tomatoes in olive oil and Italian spices recipe.  This easy homemade recipe will leave your kitchen smelling great and you saying MMMMMM! Includes directions on how to make and freeze sun-dried tomatoes. Use them in pasta, chicken, shrimp, bread, pizza, dip and so many other recipes!

  • 4 pounds tomatoes
  • salt to sprinkle
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • olive oil (to cover)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

  2. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in half. Gently squeeze each half, removing the seeds. Discard the seeds. Place the tomatoes on a nonstick baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a little bit of salt and dried basil. The nonstick baking sheet is important, if you don't have a nonstick one, then I suggest using parchment paper on the baking sheet so they don't stick to it.

  3. Bake the tomatoes until they have a leathery sun-dried tomato texture. Check on them every 30 minutes until they are leather-like. You want to pull them from the oven before they are crispy! Baking time entirely depends on the size of the tomatoes. This is a long process, but trust me, it's 100% worth it! Time can take from 4 hours (smaller tomatoes) to 8 hours (larger tomatoes).

  4. Put the tomatoes in a mason jar and fill up with olive oil, just to cover the tomatoes. Add garlic cloves, giving a stir.

  5. Cover with lid and store in the refrigerator. These last for about 4-5 weeks.

If you want to freeze them see the full post for freezing instructions.

The post Homemade Sun-dried Tomatoes appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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Italian Sausage Soup with collard greens, white beans and diced tomatoes. Your entire family is going to love this easy to make hearty soup, and even better it’s only 180 calories a serving!  This creamy soup is dairy free, keto and low carb. 

Italian Sausage Soup

This Italian Sausage Soup is one of my family’s favorites! It’s become a staple on our dinner table, no matter what the season.  In the Summer it’s perfect because you can use garden vegetables and really taste the freshness.  In the Winter, it’s the perfect bowl of comforting soup on a chilly night!

You’re going to love how flavorful and zesty this Italian Soup is. It’s like you’ve gone on a Mediterranean vacation in your own kitchen!

Italian Sausage Soup Recipe Video

Join me in making this soup! If you like the video, subscribe to my Youtube channel.

Italian Sausage Soup Recipe | Episode 2 | Picking Collard Greens - YouTube

Italian Sausage Soup Ingredients

You will need:

6 ounces of collard greens
1 tablespoon olive oil (I buy ours in bulk)
1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage – chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small chopped onion
4 cups beef broth
(2) 15 ounce cans of navy beans
(1) 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
salt + pepper
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Use Collard Greens as a Kale Substitute

Did you know that collard greens and kale are in the same group?  That means that you can often substitute them for each other in most recipes.  I love using collard greens instead of kale in hearty soups, casseroles and stir fry meals.

So if the recipe calls for kale, try using collard greens instead!

Collard Greens, like kale, are a bit tough to chew, so you need to cook them first.   You’ll want to bring a pot of water to a boil, and then cook them for about 4 minutes. 

You’ll notice that they will change from a dark green to a vibrant green, and the greens will look more wilted. 

Before cooked:

After cooked:

Navy Beans are my favorite in soup!

Does anyone else love navy beans in their soup? I love how just a can of beans can thicken up a soup so quickly!  In this recipe we’re going to add 2 cans of navy beans, and 1 can of diced tomatoes.   I never drain the cans, so add in all those juices when you’re pouring it into the pot!

Alongside the collards, navy beans and tomatoes, you’ll also add a onion which will be browned with the sausage.  This soup is packed with vegetables,  it’s one of my favorite vegetable soup recipes! 

How to Make Italian Sausage Soup

This soup is gorgeous! And because it’s so darn pretty it might look like a fancy meal that took a while in the kitchen, but the truth is that you can have this on your table in under 40 minutes – that includes prep and cooking!

After your collard greens are cooked for a few minutes to soften them, then you’ll move on to the Sweet Italian Sausage.

I use Sweet Italian Sausage links and chop them into 1/2 inch pieces.  Heat olive oil  in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add sausage and chopped onion, and cook the sausage until it’s browned on both sides.  This takes about 5-7 minutes.  Make sure to keep stirring so your onions don’t burn and stick to the pan.    

While the sausage and onion are cooking, your kitchen is going to start smelling great. I bet you at least 1 kid, and your partner comes in to wonder what smells so good!

Add in the beef broth, navy beans and diced tomatoes and boil, uncovered for 15 more minutes.  Finally, add the collards and cook them in the soup for 5 more minutes.

Finally, the soup is finished and I know your tummy is growling because it smells so good in your kitchen!  Serve in bowls and season each with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese which is going to melt beautifully on top!

More Italian Sausage Recipes

My family has a real love for everything Italian Sausage, so here’s some of our other favorite recipes

Slow Cooker Sausage and Cabbage
Slow Cooker Sauerkraut and Sausage
BBQ Sausage Kabobs

FAQ for this recipe

Here’s some answers to questions you might have!

Can I use Ground Italian Sausage instead of sausage links?
Yes, you sure can.  Just cook it as the recipe details, with an onion in the pot.

Can I use kale instead of collard greens?
Yes, you can.  Kale and collard greens can be interchanged for most recipes.

Can I use a different type of beans instead of navy beans?
You can also use black beans or white cannellini beans. 

Can I freeze this soup?
This soup freezes amazingly well and I definitely recommend making a double or triple batch if your family likes it! This will make weeknight dinners a piece of cake!

Is this soup good the next day?
YES! In fact it might even be better!  I love when the beans and sausage soak up the soup juices!

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Italian Sausage Soup with Collard Greens and White Beans

Italian Sausage Soup with collard greens, white beans and diced tomatoes. Your entire family is going to love this easy to make hearty soup, and even better it's only 180 calories a serving!  This creamy soup is dairy free, keto and low carb. 

  • 6 ounces collard greens (chopped into bite size pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage (chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 15 ounce cans of navy beans (do not drain!)
  • 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain!)
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add collard greens and simmer until the greens are bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain in strainer, rinse with cold water and set aside.

  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add sausage and chopped onion. Brown sausage on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Stir the onions so they don't stick to the bottom.

  3. Add in beef broth, navy beans and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering uncovered for 15 minutes. Add collards and cook a additional 5 minutes.

  4. Serve in bowls. Season each bowl with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

The post Italian Sausage Soup appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars recipe!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients! No bake recipe, only chilling required. Kid, toddler snack approved!

Copycat Quaker Granola Bars

We love Quaker Granola bars in this house! Our favorite are the chocolate chip bars, which are great for a quick snack.  I can’t tell you the amount of boxes that we have bought in the past years.  One thing though I’ve never liked, the price.  A box of granola bars usually ranges in the $4-$5 range which is pretty expensive considering it’s made with pretty basic ingredients.  

So before I would go to the store and buy more, I decided to try to make my own.  I’m so glad I did because not only are they (much) cheaper, but I find them more filling.  Plus it’s a great feeling knowing every single ingredient (and being able to pronounce them) that’s going into them.  

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars Ingredients
  • Quick Cooking Oats
  • Crispy Rice Cereal
  • Butter
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Mini Chocolate Chips

Here are your ingredients.  It’s likely you might already have all these ingredients already.

How to Make Granola Bars – Step by Step Instructions

Spray your 8×8  pan. I like to grab a paper towel and rub it in so it’s on the sides too.  Set aside.

 
Pour your oats into a bowl.

Then your crispy cereal.  Feel free to get the generic kind, you will save a few dollars.  Stir together.

Put your brown sugar, honey and butter over medium high heat.

When it melts..

It will soon start to bubble. Turn it down immediately to low, you don’t want it to burn.

Take it off burner and add vanilla.  Note to self: buy more vanilla extract, I’m always running out.

Pour the wet mixture into your dry mixture.

And stir, stir, stir.  I can’t say this enough.  You want every single piece to be coated or it won’t stick which will make crumbly granola bars. “Crumbly Granola Bars” would make a cute band name.

Pour your mixture into pan and push down with spatula to get it even.

Then take your spatula or a back of a spoon and press the chocolate chips down into the mixture.  This will make sure they don’t fall off. 

Wrap plastic wrap on top and chill for at least 1 hour.

When they’re set, cut them up into bar shapes.


Because you sprayed the pan and let the granola bars set, they should slide out pretty easily.


I cut it up into 10 delicious bars.


These will be a hit! You won’t ever buy the ones in the store again.

Freezing Granola Bars

These are easy and quick to make! The part that takes the most time is letting them set.  If you’re a fan of these, I recommend making a few batches at once to save on the dirty dishes.   Bonus: You can also freeze granola bars!

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Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars recipe!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients! No bake recipe, only chilling required. Kid, toddler snack approved!

 

  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  1. Spray a 8×8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar and honey on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  5. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  6. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour, or until firm.

  9. Take out and cut into bar sizes. Store in airtight container in refrigerator to keep them fresh.

The post Chocolate Chip Granola Bars appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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Here’s the 4 ways I give my cat a pill all by myself – without bleeding or crying! There’s a different way for every personality, even difficult cats!

You’re standing at the vet and they tell you that your cats need to go on medicine.  Ok, no big deal, I’ll just mix it in their food.  Then they tell you the medicine only comes in pill form.  UGH, you start falling to the floor, sobbing and crying “I’m going to die!”.    For anyone who’s ever had to pill a cat,  this is probably a situation you can relate to.   It’s very rare that a cat will take a pill willingly with a purr,  so sometimes you have to figure out Plan B… and then Plan C, Plan D, Plan E when everything else fails.

Take a Deep Breath

First, take a deep breath. It’s totally going to be ok.  I know at first it might not be a fun experience and you might get defeated, but you’ll figure it out.  Even when your cat scratches you, bites you, makes a meow like it is dying (its not) just know you have to work hard to get that pill into your cat, it’s important, so don’t give up.  Once you figure out what technique works for your cat then you’ll be smooth sailing (ok, maybe not smooth, but you’ll be calmer.. and your cat too).

Xanadu, Goblin, Brother, Me.

4 Ways To Give a Cat a Pill 
  • Hiding in soft food. 
  • Hiding in a treat with pill pocket. 
  • Turning pill into powder and rubbing on fur.  
  • Inserting pill into mouth by hand. 

Many of you guys expressed how hard pilling was for you in a previous post so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about techniques I use for our 4 cats. Every single one of them needs to be pilled a different way, because like people they have different personalities.  I have done a lot of personal research,  many different methods, and I’ve also cried a bunch along the way.   Life of a Cat Mom (or Dad)!

I’m going to discuss all 4 ways we use in hopes that one of them will relate to your cat and can help you.

Let’s start with the easy ways.  These are both sneaky and if your cat can fall for them I’m so happy for you!

#1: Hide the pill in cat food – EASY

This method is labeled as easy.

If a cat sees or smells a pill, it might be stubborn to eat the food, even when it’s on top of yummy soft food.   But if a cat really loves wet food and you can hide it in some strong smelling wet food then you’re likely to succeed.

Throw your pill (or pills) whole in some soft food, then put a little bit of the food on top to hide it.   Alternatively you could cut the pill up, or even crush it and add it to the food.  The secret here is always add a layer of food on top.  The cats can sense when you’re trying to be sneaky! 

Your cat will eat it right up and be will be licking it’s lips for minutes after.  And even better, it will think that you are really nice by giving it soft food which will result in cat kisses.  Thanks Goblin!

 #2 Hide the pill in a Pill Pocket 

This method is labeled as easy.

Many people have had success with Pill Pockets but our cats think they are gross.  Have you ever smelled a Pill Pocket? It smells pretty bad and nothing like food, so one sniff of it and your cat might be like “No thanks”.  

Miss FiFi Bofinkles loves treats, she will ravish you for treats, she will knock other cats out of the way for treats, so going the pill pocket/treat route totally works for her.  And even after she eats the horrible tasting pill pocket, she still looks at me and says “Can I have another treat mom?”

What you need: Feline Pill Pockets, delicious treats (like Friskies) and your pill.

First step, put it in the pill pocket.  If your cat eats the treat just like this – GREAT! But if your cat knows you’re up to no good, then proceed to the second step.

Second step, because the pill pocket is soft and sticky, push treats into the top of it.   Bofinkles usually picks one treat up which results in the entire pocket being lifted up, so she just eats one giant treat and loves every minute of it.

If your cat loves treats, this might be the best way for you.  FiFi Bofinkles approves after eating her big treat!

#3 Turn a pill into powder and rub onto fur

This method is labeled as medium, but perfect for the most difficult cat.

How To Give a Difficult Cat a Pill

Let’s first talk Brother, he’s a big Maine coon, with giant claws and abs of steel.  He’s made multiple vets bleed, thrown their needles across the room, to the point that noone can clip his nails (except me!).   With all that aside, Brother Bear is a giant sweetheart, a gentle giant, but he just doesn’t like to be forced to do things and he hates the vet.  Really hates it.   It’s really amazing how strong a cat can be when it’s angry.

So now years later and many workout sessions to get stronger, we knew the blanket method that we used when he was younger was not going to work anymore.  During the first try I thought Matthew could hold him and I could open his mouth with my hands and insert the pill straight into his mouth.   Hahahaha, I was so wrong.  While trying to get the pill into his mouth he bit down on my thumb so hard, bruising the entire nail making my thumb unusable for days. This is how it looks a week later,  what a love bite, right?

So enter the powder + rubbing on fur method.  This is hands down the messiest method, but for us it’s the only way we can pill Brother.  By crushing your pills up into powder (make sure your vet says this is ok) then you have a easier base to work with.    Even when we crush his pills up and put it into soft food, he can smell it and will turn away, so you have to be really sneaky with this trick.  

First step, crush up a pill with the bottom of a spoon. I know this picture looks like we live in a drug den, but Officer I swear this is for my cat!

Step 2, dip your finger in some Vaseline, then rub into the pill powder.  Depending on how many pills you are giving, or the size, you might have to do this a few times. I also tried dipping my finger in cat food gravy and butter, but the Vaseline sticks better.   Vaseline is often used for hairballs, so it’s safe to use for your cats, but only use a small amount for getting the powder to stick. 

Then find your cat, it can be standing up or laying down.  With your dipped finger, wipe the sticky mixture onto their leg/paw.  Often I will have to do this a few times as once you do the first smear your cat will know what’s up. Almost immediately your cat will be disgusted by the mess you created on it’s leg.   Almost immediately your cat will feel the need to clean itself up and start licking all the powder off their fur. 

 If you have more powder to swipe on then smear it on the opposite leg while they are cleaning their other one.   You’ll receive some glares but your cat will be sure to clean the other mess up right away too.  

And just like that, your difficult cat will take it’s medicine.  

#4 Insert Pill By Hand Into Mouth

This method is medium, difficult, but once you perfect it, it’s 100% the best!

For this method, you need your cat to trust you.  The first time is a surprise, but after a couple times the cat will know what’s up it sees the pill jar and might give you a chase.  It’s ok, it gets better over time. 

Xanadu is our Siamese cat and she’s paranoid about the world and incredibly cautious, so we have to do this manually by hand.  I’ve given Xanadu liquid medicine by hand so I have it down pretty solid on how to open her mouth and get it done. In fact, I do this to Xanadu by myself, so there’s a lot of trust built up between us.    Xanadu is now 13 years old and handles this like a champ.  She doesn’t love it, but she now gives in without a chase around the apartment.

Step 1, get your pill.  You can put the pill in your hand but I find using a pill gun so much easier as it’s skinnier to fit into your cats mouth.   Once you pry open their mouth,  you then press the trigger and the pill shoots into the back of the cat’s throat.  This means no fiddling around with the pill in the front of the cat’s mouth.   I bought this at my local pet store for $4 and it’s worth millions in tears.

Step 2.  Get your cat and hold it tight between your legs.  I do this by myself, so while holding her between my thighs, I reach around with one hand to open the mouth while holding the pill gun with the other.  

Then I open her mouth wide, keeping my finger there to make sure it stays open.  With the pill gun, I stick it into her mouth and shoot the pill into the back of her throat.

Immediately after the pill is shot in, I drop the gun onto the floor and close her mouth.   While holding her head up (to swallow), I blow on her nose softly while rubbing her throat with my fingers.  Both the blowing and the rubbing will cause your cat to swallow, causing the pill to go down with it.  

You can see your cat swallow by it’s neck, so after 2 swallows I release her knowing the pill went down and we’re safe.

Then I reward her in kisses, hugs and treats and tell her we’ll never do that again (I lie, I’m a horrible Mother I know).

So that’s how we pill our 4 cats! I hope this helps you some in the future!

Do you have any pilling stories with your pets?

More Cat Posts

How to Build Cat Shelves

The post How to Give a Cat a Pill Without Bleeding appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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Brooklyn Farm Girl by Pamela - 1M ago

Easy One Pot Broccoli Pasta recipe that the entire family is going to love!  It’s quick to make, you only need 15 minutes! This is a healthy simple dish made with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, only 248 calories a serving.

Quick Broccoli Pasta

This is a one pot meal that takes 15 minutes TOTAL to make.  That means that it’s a favorite of my family to eat on those busy weeknights where it feels like noone has enough time to make a healthy meal.  

The only cooking you’ll be doing is boiling the pasta.  Everything else is added into the pot at the very end.  In just 15 minutes, you’ll be serving a beautiful spaghetti meal to your family that looks like it took much longer!

High 5!

One Pot Spaghetti Recipe

Besides the taste (this meal is delicious), I love making this for dinner because it’s a one pot recipe.  Do you know what means? It’s easy!  Less dishes means a more happy Pamela!  You’ll be adding everything into the pot that you cook the spaghetti in.  Don’t you love that?

A Garden Tradition Meal

We call this meal one of our garden tradition meals because it’s always the first meal we make when we pick the first broccoli of the year.  We’ve been making it for years, that it’s now a certain that when the first broccoli is picked, this is going to be on the table for dinner that night!

Let’s take a moment to oooh and ahhh at this beautiful broccoli we grew this year!

Why is it the perfect garden meal?  The broccoli is the star.  This is a simple dish that doesn’t need a lot of fancy ingredients in it.  The freshness of the broccoli shines through.

Ingredients for Broccoli Pasta

I told you the ingredients are simple!

Should I cook the broccoli or not?

You’ll need 1 head of broccoli for this meal chopped up into florets.   If you want to follow the recipe how I make it then don’t cook the broccoli.  I want to taste the freshness of the broccoli florets, so by cooking it beforehand I’m losing that crunch.  

If you don’t love the crunch of broccoli, or you are using a head that seems a little more rough (and you suspect not as fresh), then add the broccoli into the boiling water with the spaghetti with 5 minutes left to go. This will soften up the broccoli. 

Parmesan Cheese Makes Everything Better

Cheese makes everything better, so don’t forget to add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top of each plate.   Because of the olive oil the Parmesan sticks to the pasta perfectly.  You can even add a double sprinkle if you want. Or triple! (I’m a cheese addict!)

Can I add Sausage or Chicken to this meal?

Yes, you sure can.  Chicken Broccoli Pasta or Sausage Broccoli Pasta are both delicious meals.   You’ll want to cook the meat in another pan and add it into the large pot at the very end when you are adding the rest of the ingredients.  

For chicken, I recommend shredded boneless chicken breasts.  For sausage we like either ground Italian sausage, or Italian sausage chopped up into 1/4 inch slices. 

Broccoli Pasta Recipe Video

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Broccoli Pasta | Episode 1 | Easy Recipes for Dinner - YouTube

More Broccoli Recipes

I’m kind of a broccoli lover, so here’s some of my other favorite broccoli recipes:

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli
Baked Broccoli and Cheese Sticks
Slow Cooker Broccoli and Potato Soup
15 Minute Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
Cheesy Broccoli Stuffing Casserole

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Broccoli Pasta

Easy One Pot Broccoli Pasta recipe that the entire family is going to love!  It’s quick to make, you only  need 15 minutes! This is a healthy simple dish made with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.   

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 head of broccoli (chopped into florets)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt + pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook as instructed on the package.

  2. While the spaghetti is cooking chop the broccoli into florets.

  3. When the spaghetti is done, drain and put back into pot.

  4. Add broccoli, olive oil, oregano and salt + pepper to taste into the pot. Using a large spoon, stir to combine all the ingredients together.

  5. Serve on plates, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Can I add meat to this recipe?

Yes, you sure can.  Chicken Broccoli Pasta or Sausage Broccoli Pasta are both delicious meals.   You’ll want to cook the meat in another pan and add it into the large pot at the very end when you are adding the rest of the ingredients.  

For chicken, I recommend shredded boneless chicken breasts.  For sausage we like either ground Italian sausage, or Italian sausage chopped up into 1/4 inch slices. 

The post Broccoli Pasta appeared first on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

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