slow cooker pumpkin chili

Yep.  I said Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili.  Because…  you can never have too much pumpkin!

Or at least, I have never had too much pumpkin!

Sweet Anna's | Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

I love making chili on crisp, fall days.  Ok, I love making chili pretty much all the time.  My family is not always impressed by my constant chili making, but hey…  I’m the boss!  (At least when it comes to the kitchen, I’m the boss!)

[Read more...]

hearty sausage, bean & potato soup

Rich, flavorful broth… hearty beef & sausage… lots of veggies, potatoes and beans…  a little bit of everything really!

This was an ’everything but the kitchen sink’, or clean-out-the-cupboards soup, and it turned out so great I had to write it down so I could make it again.

The real beauty of this soup is that you can adjust the amounts however you’d like.  Use what you have…  It will be delicious!

hearty sausage, bean & potato soup


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cans (or about 8 cups) beans, drained and rinsed (any, I used black & garbanzo)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • seasoning salt (Johnny's) or salt, to taste
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, or more to taste
  • 6 cups chicken stock


In a large (6 qt or bigger) dutch oven or soup pot, brown the sausage over medium-high heat. (Don't worry about cooking it through, that can happen later!). Remove to a plate and set aside.

If your meat was very lean and there's not much grease in the pan, pour in a little olive oil and then sauté the onions, carrots and celery until soft and starting to brown a but. (Make sure you stir occasionally and scrape up all the good bits off the bottom of the pan... that's where a bunch of flavor comes from!)

Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two until very fragrant.

Dump in the rest of the ingredients, including the meat you browned earlier, stir well, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for at least an hour.

As with most soups, the longer it sits, the better it tastes... so this is a great meal to make ahead and reheat another day!


cheesy chipotle barbeque meatloaf

So, when I realized this week that Baby Girl really could show up at any time now, I decided to finally do a mini freezer-cooking marathon.

One of the easiest things I made was meatloaf…  one of my favorite comfort foods that no one else in my family seems to care much about!

But, since I am the pregnant one and doing all the work, I decided to go with my own cravings this time.

The rest of the family won’t starve, that’s for sure!

I did try to make things a little more fun though, but making barbeque meatloaf laced with a nice kick of chipotle chili pepper and lots of chunks of mozzarella cheese.

I think my family might actually get a little excited about this meatloaf!

(Which is a good thing, since we have at least 2 meals worth in the freezer now!)

Cheesy Chipotle Barbeque Meatloaf Recipe

3 pounds ground beef
1 cup barbeque sauce, divided (1/2 cup + 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs or cracker crumbs, optional
1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese

Place all the ingredients, except for 1/2 cup of the barbeque sauce, into a large bowl.  Quickly and gently mix all the ingredients together with your hands until everything is mixed.  Don’t over work the meat or it will get tough!

Shape into loaves (this will make 2 large loaves, or 5-6 small loaves) and brush the tops with the remaining barbeque sauce.

Bake at 350º for 45-75 minutes, depending on the size of the loaves, until the meat is cooked through.

If you want to freeze some of the loaves (I freeze half to two-thirds of them, depending on how many people I am feeding with the first meal!), wrap them in foil unbaked and place them in a ziploc bag.

sirloin steak & veggie kabobs, gluten free

I know this is kind of a cheater recipe, but it’s one that I want to share because it is so easy and simply delicious, for everyone…  gluten-free-eaters or not!

Allegro marinades are one of the few kinds of gluten-free marinades I can find easily at my small-town grocery store.  I’m guessing if I can find it in mine, you can find it in yours!

I loved the flavor, and the simplicity of dumping out a bottle is wonderful!

Yes, throwing together a marinade from-scratch can be easy enough in itself, but sometimes I just don’t want to have to think about if onemorething is gluten free or not, when my brain is just tired.  :o)

Disclaimer:  This post is not an ‘official’ review. Allegro doesn’t know anything about me, I just found their product, loved it and wanted to share it with you!

Gluten Free Sirloin Steak & Veggie Kabobs Recipe

3 pounds beef sirloin steaks
2 large onions
2 large bell peppers
1 bottle Allegro Original Marinade
metal or wooden skewers (if wooden, soak for at last 30 minutes before using!)

Cut the steaks into about 2″ cubes, trimming off any excess fat as you go.  Place all the cubes into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and pour in the whole bottle of Allegro gf marinade.

Marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to a day in the fridge.  Remove the meat from the fridge at least 30 minutes before grilling if it has been chilled.

Cut the onions into quarters, and trim the bell peppers and cut them into about 2″ pieces.  You can also add mushrooms and other veggies here…  whatever you like on your skewers!

Thread the meat and veggies alternately onto the skewers, beginning and ending with the meat.  When they are all ready, grill them on a fairly hot grill with the lid closed until the meat is cooked to your liking and the veggies are tender.

Serve with rice!

slow cooker beef bites with gravy

Well, we’re back from the doctor and Bjørn is officially getting better!!  His pneumonia is healing and hopefully with another week of his antibiotics he will be back to his normal peppy little almost 3 year old self!


To celebrate this wonderful news, I slaved away all afternoon on this flavor-packed, hearty comfort-food.

Just kidding.  I’m still exhausted.  All I did was throw a bunch of stuff in the slow cooker in the morning and this wonderful meal was waiting for me at dinnertime!

I would have slaved away, really I would.

You know, if I had gotten any sleep at all in the last 2 weeks, or if I didn’t have kids that needed my attention, or if I didn’t have a million other things that needed to get done…

Like catching up on my blogging and my reading.  Important stuff, you know!  ;o)

So, anyways…  since I know you love easy meals as much as I do, and this one turned out so great, I wanted to share it with you!!


And thanks again for all your patience with me lately.  I will be getting back to normal (whatever that is?!) soon, I promise!

Slow Cooker Beef Bites with Gravy Recipe

2 pounds beef stew meat
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
12oz, or so, fresh mushrooms, cut in half
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
                      (or use homemade ‘cream of’ beef soup* like I did!)
1 cup beef stock
a few dashes worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon browning seasoning (optional for color)
salt & pepper, to taste

*To use the homemade ‘cream of’ soup, substitute beef stock for the chicken stock in this recipe.  If you’ve never made your own condensed ‘cream of’ soup, you’ll be amazed at how quick and easy it is!  No need to buy those cans anymore!!

Place all the ingredients into the slow cooker, stir well to coat and cook on low for 8-12 hours.

Serve over mashed potatoes…  with a side of steamed corn, if you’re feeding my husband!