Recipe For A Simple Life

Simplify your life, one day at a time

Thanksgiving Veggie Platter

I had fun making this!  Options are endless, just add whatever veggies your family likes in a pattern for the feathers.

For the eyes, I used the ends of string cheese with raisin in the middle.  You could use a bit of frosting or little pieces of bread cut into little circles with dark food coloring dotted in the middle.

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Bean Burger Success!!

Black Bean Burgers – Success at Last!!

I’ve been trying to make a bean burger for over a year with no success.  They always fall apart or the kids see them and refuse to even taste them.  (I really didn’t think it would be that difficult.)  At first I was just trying to make something healthier.  Then I had success substituting black beans in other recipes that called for ground beef and realized how much money I could save.  One pound of ground beef is over $3.00.  One can of black beans is $0.55 cents.  (Big savings if you consider we used to eat ground beef at least three times a week.)

Unfortunately for me, the black bean burger just refused to cooperate – until today.  I finally found a recipe that makes a black bean burger that holds it’s shape and isn’t immediately identifiable as a bean burger.  (This last point is important when you need to get to kids to taste it and admit they like it before you let them know what’s in it.)  I’m really excited about this because it’s been such a challenge for me.

Just in case you would like to try a black bean and mushroom burger, here’s the recipe I used:


Black Bean & Mushroom Burger


6 oz. of mushrooms, chopped (I used baby portabello)

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-2 cups bread crumbs (I was out and subbed rolled oats)



Heat  1 Tbs oil or vegetable broth in a sauté pan on medium high.

Add chopped onions, mushrooms, & garlic to pan and sauté until mushrooms release their liquid. (approx. 5minutes)

Spoon mixture into a food processor, add the beans and process until well mixed. (At this point, mine looked a little like sludge, but smelled good, so I knew it was still okay.)

Stir in bread crumbs, starting with 1 cup and adding until mixture thickens and can be formed into patties.  (Mine took closer to 2 cups, maybe even a little more.

Form into patties.

Cook according to your preferred method. (I used a Foreman Grill, but you can use an outdoor grill or pan fry also.)

Heat until each side is firm and crispy – about 5 minutes.


Next time I make these, I’ll probably add some seasoned salt.  Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out.  Even the kids ate them and admitted they liked them before they knew what was in them.  Hopefully they’ll remember that next time and will be willing to eat them again.

Do you have a favorite black bean recipe?  I’d love to hear it.  Have a great night!


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Tator Tot Pizza Casserole

My friend, Dana, posted this recipe that she tried the other week.  I’m so going to try this with my family.  If you are vegetarian, just leave out the meat and I think you’ll still have a great meal.  Dana is a former co-worker of Carrie’s and a fellow Harley lover 😀

1lb. lean ground beef
1/4cup chopped onion
1(10 3/4-oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1(8-oz.) can pizza sauce
2oz. sliced pepperoni
1/2cup chopped green bell pepper
4oz. (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
1(16-oz.) pkg. frozen potato nuggets (about 3 1/2 cups)
Optional – I think any ingredient you would put on pizza would be a fantastic addition to this recipe – italian sausage, mushrooms, olives, chopped chicken, red peppers, jalapenos, etc.
Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.
Reduce heat to medium; stir in soup. Cook until mixture comes to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Spoon beef mixture into sprayed baking dish. Spoon pizza sauce evenly over top. Arrange pepperoni and bell pepper over sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange potato nuggets over cheese. Cover with foil.
Bake at 375°F. for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Plus, once you know that your family loves this recipe, the next time you make it, double the batch and put half of it in the freezer for a quick and easy meal when you’re running late in the future 😀  The dollar store has big aluminum disposable pans just for this.  Or if you don’t have a family to feed, use the original recipe amounts and split it into single/double servings and freeze the remainder.  Just remember to change the amount of time you cook it so you don’t burn it 😀
Go HERE to see the original recipe at
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Cheesy Beans and Rice

Cheesy Beans and Rice Recipe

Cheesy Beans & Rice


  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Transfer to a bowl; add the beans. In a nonstick skillet, saute onion in oil for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chili powder and salt. Bring to a boil; remove from the heat.
  2. In a 2-qt. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, layer a third of the rice mixture, cheese and tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining rice mixture and tomato mixture.
  3. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Originally posted on

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Hiding Veggies – Cauliflower

Anyone else have trouble getting their kids to eat their veggies?  I take cooked cauliflower and chop it up into tiny pieces and throw it in their pasta – especially mac and cheese.  I’m so sneaky.  What are some ways you hide healthy stuff into your kids’/hubby’s food? 😀


Pizza Pasta

This is a favorite at our house!  It’s super easy and so versatile, you can accommadate any taste and customize it to your family’s tastebuds!

16oz Cooked Pasta – we love to use Rotini pasta, but anything will work, but I’d skip the spaghetti noodles

1 jar spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce

Toppings – Whatever you’d put on your pizza, put on this pasta!  Pepperoni, browned ground beef or sausage, ham and pineapple, green peppers, black olives, onions, etc.

Sprinkle with cheese.  I didn’t have mozzarella, so I used colby jack.

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