Side Dish: Spicy Green Beans with Garlic

Again keeping with my theme of things I can make quickly, our other side dish is another staple around here. Spicy green beans! The beans are not too spicy, just a bit of heat to make this dish more interesting!

The green beans were the least stressful part of the entire meal! Again, this is a side dish that I make regularly and knew would turn out well. Usually, I’ll use frozen green beans for this recipe. But, because it was a special occasion, I opted for fresh green beans.

The night before, I trimmed the beans and put them in a bowl of cold water. In a separate container was the butter and chopped garlic. And the spices were on the counter, ready to add on a moment’s notice. It was that easy. Best of all, everyone enjoyed them!

Spicy Green Beans with Garlic


  • 2 cups fresh green beans – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 tablespoons butter – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper – approximate cost $0.10


  1. Trim the green beans.
  2. Heat the butter and grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the minced garlic when the butter is melted.
  4. Cook garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  5. Add the green beans, sea salt and cayenne pepper.
  6. Cook until beans are bright green but still crispy.

Makes 3 servings (approximate cost: $0.88 per serving).

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Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Things have been crazy busy since I returned to school. Between readings, projects, group meetings, scholarship applications, and whatnot, I feel like I’ve barely had time to cook. To address this, I make big meals on Sunday evening and pack it up into portions that we enjoy throughout the week for lunch and dinner.

One of my go-to favourites is chili. I love chili because it’s hearty, because it’s so versatile, and because I can put it in the slow cooker and come home to a delicious warm meal. I can add just about everything in my pantry and it will still be a yummy chili. Last winter, I made what Bryan calls Texas-style chili. To me, it’s just chili. For the Improv Challenge in August, I made a soup with tomatoes and Anaheim chile peppers, this is more along the lines of what Bryan thinks of as chile. Despite our differing definitions, we both very much enjoy chili (despite that I always slip some chickpeas into the mix, one of Bryan’s least favourite foods, he never complains, what a great guy.).

I went a bit overboard when making chili the other week. I had forgotten just how many servings it makes and added wayyy more herbs and spices than usual. I wanted something different from my usual chili. Unfortunately, our freezer is very full, so there was no rooms to save the leftovers for later. So we ate chili, at least once per day, for nearly a week. Next time, I’ll cut this recipe in half. Or make sure I have plenty of freezer space to save some for another time.

What’s your favourite meal to make in the slow-cooker during the fall months?

Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili


  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups beef stock – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 12 ounce can of tomato paste – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, diced and liquid reserved – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 400 grams crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cumin – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon paprika – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (less if you want to tone down the spiciness) – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup to top each serving) – approximate cost $1.50
  • Baguette (for serving) – approximate cost $2.00


  1. Soak the dried beans.
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Add dried beans.
    3. Let cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Turn the stove off.
    5. Put a lid on the pot.
    6. Remove pot from the burner.
    7. Allow the beans soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the beef, garlic, and onion.
    1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Sautee the minced garlic for 1 minute.
    3. Add the onion to the frying pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. or until the onion softens.
    4. Add the stewing beef and cook until browned.
  3. Putting it all together in the slow cooker.
    1. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes (and liquid), chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, Italian Seasoning, cilantro, sea salt, black pepper to the slow cooker first.
    2. Stir well so the flavours mix well with the liquid.
    3. Add the browned stewing beef mixture, soaked beans, crimini mushrooms.
    4. Mix again.
    5. There should be enough liquid to cover the chili. If not, add more beef stock.
    6. Cook at low temperature for about 6 hours (or high temperature for about 4 hours).
  4. Serve topped with shredded cheese and baguette on the side.

Makes about 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.83 per serving).

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Homemade Tomato Pizza Sauce

I spent my first weekend out of town this summer. By weekend, I mean Sunday. One day away was enough though. It was gorgeous. The sun was shining, and I saw my family for the first time in about a month. We chat a few times a week, so I hear from them regularly, but it was nice to spend a day together. And I missed the dogs, so it was good to see them too. We went to Grand Bend area for the day. Shopped at a flea market where I got the cutest two tea cups. I feel the need to invite someone over to have a tea party. I want a reason to bring out these gorgeous cups.

Then off to a park where my dad and step-mom camp every weekend during the summer months. We went down to the beach for a swim. The water was gorgeous! I didn’t take my camera there, I wanted to swim as opposed to sitting on shore watching. Then back up to the campsite for a short rest. Dad and I then took the dogs out to the field to play frisbee.

Both dogs love chasing the frisbee, but Rebel always gets there first. He’s much faster than Rascal, for now.

Rebel loves this game. He loves to run. He loves to please you by bringing the frisbee back. He’d play all day if we let him.

Rascal, on the other hand, will chase the frisbee a few times and then gets tired. Half way through or so he decided to come sit in my lap while I took pictures of Rebel.

We took a short walk just before dinner to an overlook.

We had a fantastic dinner of steaks, baked potatoes, and Nana’s homemade coleslaw.

However, I didn’t get any pictures of dinner, so I’m going to share homemade pizza sauce. Last week I bought some ready made pizza crusts and some delicious toppings. I was all excited about the pizza I was about to make for lunch, opened the fridge, and realized that I was out of tomato sauce. I didn’t really feel like making a second trip to the grocery store, so I searched the Internet instead, hoping the find a recipe that would allow me to use the ingredients I already had at home. Many recipes called for tomato paste and canned tomatoes, which, oddly, I didn’t have on hand that day. I had fresh tomatoes, surely that would make a tastier sauce?

Anyway, I was very happy with the resulting sauce. It took longer to cook than I would have liked, but I think I was just being really impatient. I was hungry and had expected to make a quick lunch. Instead, it took closer to half an hour before lunch was ready. If you have the time, this sauce is well worth the wait!

When making homemade pizza, do you make your own sauce or use a store-bought sauce?

Pizza Sauce

Adapted from New York Style Pizza Sauce (


  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion, diced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 garlic cloves – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • Pinch of sea salt – approximate cost $0.05


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend for about 20 seconds (trying the keep the sauce a bit chunky).
  3. Pour the sauce into a medium-sized pot.
  4. Cook on medium heat until the sauce is reduced and thick (about 20 minutes), stirring once in a while to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Spread the sauce over pizza crust.

Makes enough sauce for a 6-9 inch pizza (approximate cost: $2.00).

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Mouthwatering Mondays

Day 26: Spices

I had trouble choosing just one favourite. Here are a selection of dried spices from my cupboard:

Top row: paprika, Adobo all purpose seasoning, seasoned salt, sage leaves, rosemary leaves, Italian seasoning

Bottom row: white pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme, red chilis, chives

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