Cheesy Chili Cups

These Cheesy Chili Cups are going to become a family favorite recipe.

cheesy chili cup on a white plate

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cabot Cheese and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Hello everyone! My name is Corinne Levy and I’m working with Julie to complete my internship. I am a senior studying culinary nutrition at Johnson & Wales University. I absolutely love cooking especially if the dishes I make help others feel happy and healthy! By working for Julie I’m looking forward to learning more about how I can get people excited to be in the kitchen and understand that all foods fit.

As a kid, sitting down as a family for dinner was always important, but throughout time as schedules changed it did become a bit of a challenge. Luckily, we always had some easy meals that brought us together and one of them was a classic Sloppy Joe Cup. It was a simple and fun excuse for us to play around with biscuit dough!   

In honor of it being Family Meals Month, this recipe is an upgrade to Corinne’s old family Sloppy Joe Cup recipe into Cheesy Chili Cups. The base is a simple biscuit with Cabot Habanero Cheddar folded in to give some subtle heat. Instead of sloppy joe, the filling is a one-pot turkey chili with lots of fun veggies hidden in it and topped with Cabot Pepper-Jack. This is a nice hearty and cheesy recipe that the whole family can enjoy together.

Why family meals are important

September is Family Meals Month! The goal of this initiative is to show the positive effects of eating with loved ones has on our behavior. Eating as a family usually results in more at home cooking which then leads to healthier habits. It also saves you money compared to frequently buying takeout. By sitting down and sharing a meal with the ones we care about, we are allowing ourselves to build a positive relationship not just with people but also our food.

Budget-friendly shopping strategies

  • Look at what items are on sale and what coupons are available. 
  • Try to plan meals ahead of time then make your shopping list. Sticking to a list helps prevent impulse buys from getting into your cart.
  • Stock up on frozen produce! They’re often cheaper and last a long time in the freezer.

Strategies for making quick and healthy meals

  • One-pot meals are simple, involve less clean up, and are a great opportunity to use up produce.
    One-pot meal recipe inspiration
  • Sheet pan recipes can be a breeze. Chop up some veggies, season your meat or plant-based protein, toss it all in the oven, and ta-da!
    Sheet pan recipe inspiration
  • Mise en Place: by staying organized and prepared for a recipe the process of cooking will go smoother.
  • Make what you can ahead of time. Marinade things overnight, cut veggies the night before, and store them in the fridge. That way when you’re ready to cook most of the prep is done already.
cheesy chili cup cut in half with the filling falling out on a white plate

How to make cheesy biscuits

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350℉. While that’s heating up assemble all your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) into a large bowl. Make sure the flour isn’t packed or else you’ll end up with a dense biscuit!

Step Two: Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. This is a common technique in baking where instead of totally creaming together the fat into the mix, you break the butter down into small pieces throughout the dough. This way when you bake them the butter will melt leaving nice air pockets that make the biscuit fluffy.

Step Three: Mix in the shredded cheese and milk until the dough is evenly mixed. For this recipe, we used the Cabot Habanero Cheddar to add a little heat. Cabot cheese is naturally aged cheddar that comes in a huge variety of flavors so you can customize what cheese will best suit your family dinner. Cabot’s cheese also melts nicely in the dough giving a nice rich flavor to what would normally be a simple biscuit.

Step Four: Knead and roll the dough out flat. Cut the dough out into circles (I usually end up with about 24 pieces) and place them into muffin tins or spaced out on a lined baking pan. Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. 

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Cheesy Chili Cups

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 24 chili cups (6-8 servings)
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

For the Filling:
½ lb ground turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil (or canola oil)
1 medium bell pepper, small dice
½ medium onion, small dice
½ medium zucchini, shredded
1 (15 oz.) canned tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup Cabot pepper-jack cheddar cheese, shredded

For the Biscuit Cups:
4 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup Cabot habanero cheddar, shredded


Instructions

  1. Starting with the filling: In a shallow pot, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil. Then add the ½ lb of ground turkey over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes until browned.
  2. Toss in all of the onion, zucchini, and pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes until the onions are translucent
  3. Mix in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and all of the spices. Let the tomato sauce reduce for another 5 minutes to get a nice thick chili. Set aside until it’s time to fill the biscuit cups.
  4. For the Biscuit Cups: Preheat the oven to 350℉. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Cut the butter into the flour until the butter is in small pea-size pieces and evenly distributed throughout.  For this, you can use a pastry cutter, a fork, or even your hands.
  6. Slowly incorporate the milk and shredded cheese until a solid yet slightly sticky dough has formed.
  7. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a minute. Then, roll it out into a ¼” sheet. Cut circles out of the dough to fit into muffin tins.
  8. Fill the muffin tin with the dough circles and make sure the dough lines the wall of each tin. The goal is to make these into little cups. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes 
  9. Take the biscuits out of the oven. Then make a well in each cup with a spoon to put in the filling. Once the filling is in the cup and topped with Cabot shredded pepper jack, put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes until the cheese is melted and biscuits are finished baking.

Notes

Recipe development support by Corinne Levy, JWU culinary nutrition intern.

Keywords: chili, biscuits, Cabot cheese, cheddar cheese

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FAQ

Can I use pre-made dough? 
Yes absolutely! If I’m in a time crunch Immaculate Baking or just a simple Pillsbury biscuit will do.

How long will these last in the refrigerator?
Like most leftovers, they’ll last in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Do these cheesy chili cups freeze well?
Yes, bag them up and freeze away! Just reheat them in the oven so the biscuit maintains a good texture.

How can this recipe be changed to be vegetarian?
You can switch the turkey out with a combination of beans and chopped mushrooms. The beans will be a good source of protein and the mushrooms will help get that umami flavor!

Does this recipe accommodate dairy allergies?
This is actually why Cabot cheese fits so well for this dish! Cabot cheese is naturally lactose-free thanks to its cheese-making process.

Salmon Burgers with Lemon Dill Horseradish Sauce

Rethink the classic burger with a seafood twist. Add these salmon burgers, made with Norweigan salmon, with lemon dill horseradish sauce to your menu rotation.

salmon burger with creamy sauce on a brioche bun

This post is sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

One perk of COVID-19 (always trying to find the positive) is that people are cooking more at home. The downside, we don’t necessarily have access to certain ingredients and are limiting grocery store trips.

Being strategic when grocery shopping and relying on pantry staples is key. Here in New Jersey, there are limits on amounts of certain proteins like chicken and eggs. At the grocery store, there is a whole department dedicated just to seafood. Don’t skip it!

opened face salmon burger with creamy dill sauce

Salmon is one of the most popular species consumed. With the high demand, the safest and most efficient way to feed the population is with farm-raised salmon. Norway is the world leader in the production of ocean-farmed sustainable salmon.

Understanding aquaculture

Aquaculture provides safeguarding to the environment and fish stocks for the future is the only way its aquaculture industry can remain sustainable. Sustainability has been one of the main objectives of the Norwegian fishing industry, and they are committed to producing seafood in a safe, controlled, and sustainable manner with strict regulations.

seafood from norway

Seafood from Norway

In Norway, salmon farmers monitor fish conditions carefully, control the salmon’s feed, and keep parasites out. This farmed environment helps resist disease. In Norway, farm-raised salmon live in their natural habitat and have plenty of room to swim. One of the myths about salmon farming is that the fish lives in crowded pens. The fact is, Norwegian salmon has plenty of space to grow as the pen holds 97.5% water and just 2.5% fish. Their pens are designed to ensure optimal growth and living conditions for the dish. Norwegian aquaculture industry sets the standard for high-quality, safe, and sustainably farmed salmon.

salmon burgers in a cast iron skillet
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salmon burger with creamy sauce on a brioche bun

Salmon Burger with Lemon Dill Horseradish Sauce

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets skin and bones removed, chopped
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
canola oil for frying (can also use olive oil)

Yogurt-Dill Sauce:
1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup dill, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons) and zested (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon horseradish

To serve:
Brioche buns
Butter lettuce


Instructions

  1. In a food processor add salmon. Pulse a few times until the salmon breaks down into small pieces. (Tip: Pulse a few times vs. running the food processor)
  2. In a large bowl, combine salmon, breadcrumbs, egg, dill, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice. Mix well, but make sure to not overwork the mixture. Shape into 6 burgers.
  3. For the yogurt-dill sauce: In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, mustard, dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, and horseradish. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add salmon burgers and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until internal temperature reaches at least 145 F.
  5. To serve: Place a few pieces of butter lettuce on the bottom half of the bun, top with a burger, and a generous dollop of the yogurt-dill sauce.

Keywords: salmon, salmon burger, burger, seafood, omega3, heart healthy

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salmon burger with creamy sauce on a bun

FAQ

Can I freeze these salmon burgers?

Yes! Form the salmon into patties. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (so they don’t freeze to the pan!) and freeze until solid. Once frozen, wrap each individually with plastic wrap, then foil, then store in a freezer bag removing as much air as possible.

Can I grill these salmon burgers?

Yes, of course! I like using a cast-iron skillet to get a good sear, but grilling works great too! Tip for if you decide to grill – After forming the patties, refrigerate them for 10-20 minutes so they firm up a little to prevent them from falling apart on the grill.

How else can I use the salmon burgers?

These salmon burgers as leftovers are delicious! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add to leafy greens
  • Crumble and scramble with eggs
  • Chop and add to a wrap
  • Serve with a sunny side egg on top

What else can I use the lemon dill horseradish sauce with?

Utilize this sauce any way you would utilize any other condiments! This pairs well with many foods.

bowl of lemon dill horseradish sauce

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This post contains affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.

Pear Walnut Muffins

Enjoy as part of breakfast or alone as a snack. These Pear Walnut Muffins are simple to make with big flavor.

Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other
pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other on a cooling rack

How to know if a pear is ripe

Remember to “check the neck”. Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Pears are harvested when they reach maturity, and when left at room temperature pears slowly ripen from the inside out.

Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe.

What’s different about green anjou pears?

Anjou pears have a more egg shape appearance. Their dense flesh holds up well in heated applications like baking, poaching, roasting, or grilling and they are delicious when sliced fresh in salads or eaten as an out-of-hand snack.

pear walnut muffin cut in half on a white plate

How to make Pear Walnut Muffins

The recipe for these pear walnut muffins is pretty much a straight forward muffin recipe.

  1. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  2. Fold in mix-ins.
  3. Bake!

Recipe Notes:

Why sift flour?

Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Be mindful of the size.

When chopping ingredients to mix into the batter, be mindful of the size. Chop ingredients in an even size. For the pears in this recipe, think about each bite of the muffin – big enough to note the taste and texture but not too big that it takes over.

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Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other

Pear Walnut Muffins

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10
  • Category: muffin
  • Method: baking

Description

These pear walnut muffins are the perfect addition to a breakfast or enjoy alone as a snack. Learn baking tips to create perfect muffins every time!


Ingredients

1 large ripe pear peeled, cored and diced (preferably d’Anjou)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Optional topping:
coconut sugar or coarse sugar
chopped walnuts


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together diced pears, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. 
  4. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the egg, Greek yogurt, apple cider, butter, and vanilla, until smooth. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold together until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  6. Add the walnuts and pear mixture and any accumulated juice to the batter. Gently fold with a spatula until the pecans and pears are incorporated.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin wells. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with coconut sugar and chopped walnuts. Allow the muffins to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter.
  9. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Why sift flour? Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Keywords: pear, walnut, muffins, baked goods, baking

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How to freeze muffins and prevent freezer burn

Cool muffins completely before wrapping and freezing. To freeze, wrap securely in foil or freezer wrap, or place in freezer bags. Be sure to remove as much excess air within the bag as possible. Muffins can be stored frozen for up to 3 months.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Do you have an overabundance of zucchini from your garden or the farmer’s market? Turn it into this delicious Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. With only a hint of sweetness, this can be enjoyed with any meal or snack.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab

Do you enjoy cooking or baking more?

I tend to enjoy cooking more as you can adjust the taste as you go and have more control throughout the process of a dish during the cooking process. For me, baking (especially when developing a new recipe), is much more intimidating. Why? Because you measure, mix, pour into a pan… and then hope for the best! Once that timer goes off you find out if it’s a win or a flop.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread sliced on a marble slab

This quickbread a little denser than regular quick bread, as I used half whole wheat flour. When I bake I try to squeeze in whole grains where I can. My favorite whole grain flours to bake with are whole wheat flour and oat flour. I’ve also been experimenting with almond flour and coconut flour too, which totally throw you for a curveball because they have very different baking properties.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab

Want to add your own twist to this chocolate chip zucchini bread? Turn it into a banana chocolate chip zucchini bread by swapping out the applesauce for mashed banana. Enjoy more texture? Try adding walnuts into the mix! Remember – recipes are just a guide. Always feel free to add your own twist.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab with a knife and napkin

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: baked goods
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

3 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 zucchinis)
1 cup chocolate chips


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Shred zucchini. Using paper towels press as much moisture you can from the zucchini.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold zucchini into flour. This will help zucchini being dispersed throughout the bread vs. clumping together.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until well combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle and comes out clean.
  8. Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before taking it out of the loaf pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Keywords: zucchini bread, zucchini, chocolate chips, baking, whole grain,

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This recipe was originally posted in 2013. The recipes, images, and content have been updated.

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Peanut Butter Oat Bars

These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are soft, chewy, and subtly sweet to add to a balanced breakfast or enjoyed as a snack.

homemade oat bars on a black slate

Dear future children, please do not have a peanut allergy. Your future peanut butter addict’s mom will be very sad. Peanut butter is a staple food in my diet. I can confidently say I enjoy peanut butter pretty much every day.

Did you know?

It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. (source)

Health benefits of peanut butter

Replacing saturated fat with similar amounts of unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of dry-roasted peanuts (30 grams) contains 12 grams of unsaturated fat, only two grams of saturated fat, and no trans fat. 

Peanuts are an excellent source of (20% of the Daily Value):

  • Niacin: Niacin is an important B vitamin that helps to convert food to energy, aids with the digestive and nervous system, and helps the skin.
  • Manganese: Manganese is important for processing cholesterol, and nutrients like carbohydrates and protein.
    (source)
homemade snack bars on a black marble slab

Just one bowl, these bars are easy to whip up. Pair with a piece of fruit and/or yogurt for breakfast, or enjoy alone as a snack. If you are peanut butter obsessed like me, I even added a smear of peanut butter on top.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars stacked on top of each other

I kept this Peanut Butter Oat Bars recipe simple, but of course, you can add your own twist. Stir in chocolate chips, some nuts or seeds. I’m even curious to try tahini in place of the peanut butter.

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close up image of peanut butter oat bars

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Baked Good
  • Method: Baking

Description

These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are soft, chewy, and subtly sweet to add to a balanced breakfast or enjoyed as a snack.


Scale

Ingredients

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 small ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup finely ground flaxseed (see notes)


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, coconut oil, banana, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Stir in cinnamon, rolled oats, and flaxseed, until well combined.
  4. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing into squares. 

Notes

I used Manitoba Milling Co. Smooth Whole-Milled Flaxseed, which is more of a powdery/flour texture. 

Add chocolate chips or nuts, sprinkled on top or folded into the batter, as desired.

Keywords: peanut butter, oats, bars, breakfast, snack, whole grain,

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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats (+ Freezer-Friendly Tip)

Make mornings easier by meal prepping a batch of Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats for the week and follow a simple freezer-friendly tip to enjoy steel cut oats in just minutes.

steel cut oats in a small white bowl with blueberries and sliced almonds

Who has time to make a fresh batch of steel-cut oats in the morning? If you do, more power to you, but like many, I prefer extra sleep vs. waking up earlier to make breakfast from scratch.

I previously talked about the differences between steel-cut, rolled, and quick oats. Steel-cut oats take the longest to cook. Why? Because the outside layer of the whole grain, the bran, is fully intact. A longer cook time penetrates through the bran creating tender, yet a chewy texture that retains much of its shape even after cooking.

steel cut oats in a metal measuring cup

Instead of spending time each morning making a serving of steel-cut oats meal prep a large batch for the week. Steel-cut oats can easily be made over the stovetop, but I love using the Instant Pot to make steel-cut oats because just add your ingredients, press a few buttons, and done! You don’t have to keep an eye on them, stirring often, to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot or bubbling over.

steel cut oats in a white bowl with toppings on a marble slab

I prefer to make the batch of steel-cut oats pretty plain because then there is the flexibility to add different toppings to create different flavor combinations. I do enjoy adding a cinnamon stick to the pot and the cinnamon flavor infuses into the oats. (This can easily be done with a few shakes of ground cinnamon too.)

frozen steel cut oatmeal in a jumbo muffin tin

Sometimes the idea of batch cooking can be too repetitive eating the same thing over and over, but instead, utilize this steel-cut oat freezer-friendly tip that can help continue to make steel-cut oats ready in minutes in the morning.

Freezer-Friendly Tip:

After making a batch of these Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats, spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations.

Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Then, simply add a single-serving portion of oats to a microwave-safe bowl with a few drops of water, and reheat in the microwave.

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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats in a white bowl topped with blueberries and almonds

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 6
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Instant Pot

Scale

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups steel cut oats
7 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)


Instructions

  1. Add steel cut oats, water, and cinnamon sticks to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  2. Secure Instant Pot lid and close the vent. Set Instant Pot on the manual setting for 6 minutes.
  3. When Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, discard cinnamon sticks, and stir oats to incorporate any water that has risen to the top.
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings. (Combination recommendation: blueberries, sliced almonds, and honey)

Notes

Leftover oats can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or utilize the freezer-friendly method.

Freezer-Friendly Method:
Spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations. Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Keywords: oatmeal, Instant Pot, steel cut oats, breakfast, cooking tip, oats

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Beef and Barley Soup

Cozy up to a bowl of Beef and Barley Soup. Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally.

Beef & Barley Soup in a white bowl

I am on a total soup and stew kick lately. Mainly because I can cook once and eat all week.

I am teaching three cooking classes this week, so cooking all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home it to cook again and wash more dishes!

beef and vegetable soup in a white bowl

Soups are great! Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally. Any good soup starts with mirepoix. I like to use dry herbs and spices in my soup recipes because you are able to add them during the cooking process, as they can stand up to the heat. 

Aim to add more whole grains in soups and stews when you can. Barley is a fantastic whole grain. I chose to use hull-less barley. This type of barley has an outer hull that’s so loosely attached to the kernel that it generally falls off during harvesting. This cuts down on processing and ensures that all of the bran and germ are retained.

Beef & Barley Soup in bowls with a white and blue striped napkin

This beef and barley soup may take a little longer to prepare, but it’s worth the wait.

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beef and barley soup in a white bowl

Beef and Barley Soup

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb boneless beef chuck roast, fat trimmed off and cubed
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup hulless barley
  • 4 cups kale, spines removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

In a shallow dish combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef cubes with flour, shaking off excess flour. 

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot and cook just until the meat starts to brown, turning as needed. Do this in 2 or 3 batches, to not crowd the pot. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook the vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Deglaze the pan with red wine scraping the fond (the brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer and reduce red wine by half. Add tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.

Add beef back to the pot with water and beef broth. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, add barley and turn down to a simmer for 45-50 minutes, until meat is tender and barley is cooked through. Stir occasionally so the barley won’t stick together. If you find that too much liquid has evaporated or the soup is too thick add more water as necessary until you get the desired consistency.

Remove soup from heat and stir in the kale while the soup is still hot to wilt. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. 

Garnish with parsley, if using.


Notes

If you do not want to use wine, deglaze with additional beef broth.

Keywords: barley, beef, soup, batch cooking, meal prep

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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin isn’t only for sweet recipes. Try switching things up and use pumpkin in a savory cooking application. Start with this Turkey Pumpkin Chili! 

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with a piece of cornbread in a white bowl

How is October already coming to an end? Fall is a busy time for me with conferences and a lot of work travel. Also during this time of year, I’m sure your Pinterest boards are being saturated with pumpkin everything! I am would say I am a self-proclaimed pumpkin lover, but my RD friend Maggie I would nominate as the president of the pumpkin lover’s club. She just came out with a pumpkin cookbook featuring 50 creative pumpkin flavored, shaped, & spiced recipes.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with piece of cornbread in a white bowl

Did You Know?

A few years back I was at a conference and an RD from Nestle was there speaking about Libby’s canned pumpkin. That brand is a staple across supermarkets nationally. I’m sure many of you, like myself, stock up on Libby’s canned pumpkin this time of year. I was fascinated to learn they exclusively use Dickinson pumpkins, which are a special strain of pumpkins.

Why Dickinson Pumpkins?

Libby’s acquired the rights to the “Libby’s Select Dickinson” pumpkin in 1929 from the Dickinson family who brought it in the early 1800s from Kentucky. If you ever Google “Dickinson pumpkin” images that appear look like a pale, slightly misshapen butternut squash, not the jack-o-lantern pumpkin you may be thinking of. When Dickinson pumpkins are grown and cultivated just right, they yield a sweet, bright orange flesh that’s amazing in dishes from pies to pasta, and a healthier ingredient to swap into some of your favorite recipes.

Confession: One year I was a little too pumpkin obsessed. I ate it in my oats for breakfast, stirred it in my yogurt, made smoothies, breads, soups every. single. day. I had a tad too much beta-carotene and my palms started turning orange. Lesson learned.

While pumpkin is used in sweet applications the majority of the time, pumpkin works well with savory applications. This chili is perfect for someone who isn’t too crazy about super spicy chili. It’s a mellow flavor with a hint of sweet. I feel like chili isn’t complete without a slice of cornbread. I always crumble up the cornbread right into the chili.

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white bowl with turkey pumpkin chili with a piece of cornbread

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: chili

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey, and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, pumpkin, chicken stock and beans, and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with cornbread.

Notes

This chili freezes well. Make a large batch and freeze half for another time.

Keywords: chili, pumpkin, turkey,

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Confetti Turkey Burgers

Fire up the grill! It’s time to make Confetti Turkey Burgers. Learn how to keep a turkey burger juicy and the pros and cons of different kinds of grills.

holding up burger on a sesame seed bun with lettuce and tomato in a brown wrapper

It’s officially grilling season! Grilling is a healthy cooking technique. This cooking method exposes food to direct heat, leaving grilled food evenly charred on the outside and juicy in the inside. It is also a lower-fat cooking method because the fat will drip from the grill grates. Grilling can be for meats, vegetables, and fruit. Have you ever had grilled pineapple? It’s delicious!

burger with lettuce and tomato on a sesame seed bun

So often I hear complaints that turkey burgers are dry and chewy because they are very lean. Indeed, ground turkey breast is very lean with only 1% fat. Knowing that, how can we add more flavors, more moisture, and even stretch your dollar? Veggies!

Finely chopping veggies and incorporating them into the ground turkey will help keep the burger moist and tender. When cooked the water content from the vegetables is released, leaving you with a juicy burger.

Plus, by bulking up the ground turkey with veggies, it creates more burger patties, significantly stretching your dollar. One pound of ground meat often serves four, but with adding veggies it stretches it to six servings.

open-faced burger on a sesame seed bun with lettuce and tomato in a brown wrapper

holding up burger on a sesame seed bun with lettuce and tomato in a brown wrapper

The Difference Between Charcoal and Gas Grills

Charcoal Grills

They provide a more distinct smoky flavor along with that amazing backyard aroma. It’s such a tease when I’m running through the neighborhood and all I smell are my neighbors grilling. Scented wood chips or charcoal will bring the additional flavor. However, charcoal can be a little messy and sometimes tricky to regulate the temperature

Gas Grills

Just turn on a switch and your gas grill is fired up and ready to go. You are able to easily regulate the temperature and often gas grills have different settings that you can easily regulate areas of the grill at different temperatures. You won’t really get that smoky flavor, but you are able to cook various items on the grill at the same.

burger in parchment paper

I call these confetti burgers because there are flecks of colors throughout the burger patty. The key is finely chopping vegetables so they evenly disperse throughout the patty. Play around with different veggies that you like. I always aim to add at least three different colors into the mix.

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open-faced turkey burger on a wooden board

Confetti Turkey Burgers

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Description

The best turkey burgers! The secret to preventing the burgers from drying out is the added veggies!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 egg
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill. Prep all the vegetables, and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Add the ground turkey, feta cheese, flaxseed, egg, salt, and pepper.
  3. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated together. Form into 6 patties.
  4. Grill each side for about 5-7 minutes (or bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes), or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  5. Put on top of a whole wheat bun and with your favorite healthy toppings.

Keywords: turkey burger, burger, dinner

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Sweet Potato Flax Waffles

Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

I go through phases where my waffle iron is always being used daily but then sits there collecting dust. I think it’s because sometimes I get sick of cleaning it. You have to get into all the nooks and crannies to make sure you don’t miss anything.

The good thing about making waffles in the waffle iron is they freeze and reheat well. Just pop them into a toaster like any frozen waffle and it’s ready to go.

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

I used to get SO excited when we would stay at a hotel that had a continental breakfast and we could make Belgium waffles for breakfast. It was always an extra little treat!

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

Being the foodie as I am, I put it on my holiday wish list one year and was so excited when my secret Santa gifted one to me. I was oddly specific when I put it on my wishlist, that I wanted a circle waffle iron. I guess because those are the ones I remembered as a child at the hotels? Well, thank you secret Santa, because so many waffles have been made since then.

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

Team Waffle or Team Pancake?

I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a waffle person over pancake person, only because I used to be terrible at flipping them. I think my skills have improved though.
This batter can easily be used for pancakes as well.
Waffle pros: They freeze and reheat better than pancakes (in my opinion).
Waffle cons: You only can really make one at a time, whereas with a large enough pan, you can easily make a few pancakes at a time.

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sweet potato waffles on a white plate with bananas and walnuts

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles

  • Author: Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: makes 8 waffles 1x
  • Category: breakfast, waffles

Description

Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (about 1 medium sweet potato – baked and flesh scooped out)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax (I used Manitoba Milling Co.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • cooking spray
  • toppings: sliced banana, walnuts, maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  3. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into waffle iron. Cook until desired consistency (about 3-4 minutes per side).
  4. Top waffles with sliced bananas, walnuts, and syrup, if desired.

Notes

To make sweet potato puree: Score a sweet potato with a paring knife. Wrap in tin foil and bake until soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and puree.

Meal Prep: Make a batch of these waffles ahead of time. They freeze well. Just pop them in the toaster to warm up.

I used Manitoba Milling Co. finely milled flax seed, which is almost like the consistency of flour. If using coarse ground flax, more liquid may be needed. 

Keywords: waffles, breakfast, sweet potato, grain free, gluten free

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Disclosure: This recipe was submitted to for a recipe contest and eligible to win prizes. I was not compensated for my time.  

Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of julieharringtonrd.com

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Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly