Black Bean & Sweet Potato Stuffing Sliders with Spicy BBQ Sauce

I know, this sounds insane. But don’t worry – that’s because it is.Black Bean & Sweet Potato Sliders // Pancake Saturday

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoes Sliders // Pancake Saturday Black Bean & Sweet Potatoes Sliders // Pancake Saturday

My cousin came to visit over the weekend and we thought it would be fun to have a mini Thanksgiving since we won’t have any family around for the actual day. Stay tuned for a What We Ate coming later this week. Anyway, my cousin loves stuffing but I ended up buying way too much stuffing mix so I’m adding it to everything.

The sliders themselves are delicious and filling but the sauce! Spicy and sweet and delicious. Its totally out of the ordinary to mix stuffing with barbecue sauce, I know, but this is a winning combination. You could be traditional and top these with cranberry sauce or even gravy! but promise me you’ll at least make these once with the barbecue sauce. The sauce doesn’t end at these burgers though, you could put it on anything that requires BBQ sauce.

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoes Sliders // Pancake Saturday

Oh! And I made homemade slider buns for the occasion! I’ve never made bread before and it was kind of fun to know I made almost everything on that burger. I definitely recommend making your own burger buns some time if you haven’t yet.

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoes Sliders // Pancake Saturday

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoes Sliders // Pancake Saturday

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Sliders

Makes 6 sliders 

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & cubed, about 1 cup
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1 egg
3/4 cup Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Stuffing Mix (not the cubes, the kind that looks like breadcrumbs)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup Spicy BBQ sauce, recipe below
salt & pepper, to taste
Toppers – Optional

Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the sweet potato with salt, pepper and 1 tsp of olive oil and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until tender.

Add the slightly cooled sweet potatoes to a food processor and puree. Add the black beans and pulse, leaving some texture. Add the mixture to a bowl and add the garlic and spices, egg and stuffing mix. Mix everything together until it’s fully incorporated. Form the patties into six sliders depending on the size of the buns you’re using.

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium hight heat. Heat the sliders through, crisping each side. Top the sliders with your desired toppings and a dollop of the spicy bbq sauce.

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoes Sliders // Pancake Saturday

Spicy BBQ Sauce
Yields approx. 1 cup

1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
2 tbsp grape jelly
1 1/2 sriracha chili sauce

Add all the ingredients to a small sauce pan over low heat. Whisk until combined and heated through. Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoes Sliders // Pancake Saturday


Kale Pesto

I are you sick of kale yet? I sure hope not.

Kale Pesto // Pancake Saturday

I get it. Kale is everywhere, in everything, you don’t even want to look at it anymore. But hear me out. You know how I have a bunch of kids and a husband that travels a lot for work? I love recipes that I can use in everything, for any meal at any time of the day, and this is just that. Let’s take a minute and read over some of the things you could use this kale pesto in. And I’m positive I’m missing some.

Kale Pesto // Pancake Saturday

  • Over eggs in the morning or on a breakfast sandwich
  • Mixed into breakfast hash
  • Salad dressing
  • Grilled cheese (!!!)
  • Dipper for roasted veggies/fries
  • Sub for regular tomato pizza sauce
  • Spoon over chicken or fish
  • As a marinade for chicken, seafood or even tofu
  • Tossed with any pasta
  • Pesto lasagna – um, hello?

I could keep listing things. And the health benefits! I know you’ve heard all about them but just in case you haven’t here’s the rundown: tons of iron, vitamin A, calcium and fiber. Eat your kale.

Kale Pesto // Pancake Saturday

I know some of you will say that it’s bitter or that you don’t like the way it tastes. But there’s cheese in this so that kind of makes everything better, right? Also, the lemon juice and zest helps cut the bitter undertones kale has sometimes and brightens up the whole thing. Works perfectly.

Kale Pesto
Yields approx. 1 cup

4 cups chopped kale, about 1 medium bunch, ribs removed
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (I used the kind out of the green shaker – don’t judge me)
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all the ingredients, except for the oil, to a food processor. Turn it on a slowly stream in the oil. DONE. This will keep in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.

Kale Pesto // Pancake Saturday
Kale Pesto // Pancake Saturday

Kale Pesto // Pancake Saturday

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

Hi! I don’t know how two weeks went by this fast but they did! Sorry I’ve been MIA. My dad came to visit two weeks ago and I hadn’t seen him in over 2 years! I didn’t want anything to get in the way of us spending some quality time together so I just decided to not post. We cooked so much great food though! I’ll be sure to tell you about that at a later date. Fast forward to last week, the kids and I came down with a serious cold. We didn’t leave the house AT ALL. It was terrible but now we’re all much better and I’m back in the kitchen. Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders // Pancake Saturday

Which is good news for you because I made these amazing chicken tenders last night that you need to make tonight. Like, seriously, tonight. I wanted to follow one of Jessica’s recipes from her glorious cookbook but, in true Jamily fashion, it was a snap decision and I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I improvised a bit. Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders // Pancake Saturday

I didn’t have chicken tenders on hand, and honestly I don’t recall a time I’ve actually bought them. But after trying this recipe I think I’m going to make the sacrifice ;). Jessica’s recipe calls for chicken tenders but I just cut up two chicken breasts in about the size of tenders. It worked perfectly!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard
Serves 2 – 4, adapted from Seriously Delish

2 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat & cut into 4 pieces of equal thickness
2 cups low-fat buttermilk*
3 cups salted pretzels, I always buy Snyder’s
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey

Add the chicken to a bowl and cover with buttermilk. Allow to sit covered in the refrigerator for 2 – 4 hours, overnight would be best.

Preheat the oven to 425F and take the chicken out of the fridge. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top, lightly spray with non-stick pray. Add the pretzels to a food processor and grind to fine crumbs, add to large bowl. With a fork take the chicken out of the buttermilk (it will have a thick coating of buttermilk), one piece at a time, and coat it with the pretzel crumbs. Shake off any excess and place the chicken on the wire rack, spray the chicken with a light coating of non-stick spray

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders // Pancake Saturday

Bake for 15 minutes, gently flip each piece and bake for another 10 minutes. While the chicken cooks mix the mustard and honey in  small bowl. Serve the chicken warm with honey mustard. Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders // Pancake Saturday

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders // Pancake Saturday

I paired these with the perfect french fries, too! Please tell me you’ll make these!

*If you don’t have any buttermilk you can make your own by thinning out some plain Greek yogurt with water until it’s the viscosity of buttermilk. Works like a charm!

Seven-Spice Sweet Potato Fries with Curry Garlic Sauce

Today we’re talking about spiced sweet potatoes. Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes? For one they’re delicious, they’re versatile (my favorite quality in food) and so good for you! Now you have no excuse to not eat these. 7-Spice Sweet Potato Fries w/ Curry Garlic Sauce

Let’s talk spices for a minute. I never knew there was a 7-spice mix until my mom came to visit when Eva was born. We were buying groceries to stock up on food just a few days before she was due and my mom turned to me and asked if I had 7-spice at home. The look on my face probably told her everything she needed to know because she promptly picked up a jar to buy. Turns out that it’s a Lebanese spice mix I had savored many times while enjoying my grandmother’s cooking. Thankfully I live close to Dearborn, Michigan which has a large Middle Eastern demographic and makes for good eats. But don’t worry if you can’t find a Middle Eastern market near you, you can make your own, and you should because the stuff is delicious and goes with just about everything. I went a totally different way with the dipping sauce, but trust me on this one – it just goes. Greek yogurt makes is healthy, right?
7-Spice Sweet Potato Fries w/ Curry Garlic Sauce

7-Spice Sweet Potatoes
Serves 2

1-2 large sweet potato, cut into matchsticks
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp 7-spice mix
salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F. In a large bowl add the ingredients for the sweet potatoes and toss. Arrange on a baking rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. I actually just use a cookie cooling rack and it works great but you can put them directly on the baking sheet if you don’t have one. Bake the potatoes for 20 – 25 minutes or until they are cooked through and to your desired crispness. While the potatoes are cooking make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve the potatoes warm with the sauce on the side! 7-Spice Sweet Potato Fries w/ Curry Garlic Sauce

Curry Garlic Yogurt
yields 1/2 cup

1/2 Greek yogurt, I used non-fat
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 small garlic clove, grated (for a milder garlic flavor add 1/4 tsp of garlic powder)

7-Spice Sweet Potato Fries w/ Curry Garlic Sauce

Thoughts for Thursday

My brain works today, awesome!

1. Let’s start with some of the things we’ve eaten in the last week. I’m not really sure what to call this one, it’s kind of a cross between a taco and a quesadilla but I can tell you that it’s 100% delicious. Cheesy, warm, comforting and makes for a super quick dinner when you’re in a pinch. Would you like the recipe?

Thoughts For Thursday // Pancake Saturday

2. If you haven’t bought Jessica’s new cookbook I only have 1 question for you: why not? The recipes that I’ve tried so far are all delicious and it’s just so well-written. She dives into stories from her childhood and her passion for food. I’ve never met her but her book makes me feel like I know her in real life (creepy?). Anyway, after you buy it you can make this jalapeño and pineapple pizza with bourbon vanilla barbecue sauce. Uh, yeah, it’s amazing. We added plain roasted chicken but it really didn’t need it.


3. Oh! Oh! Here’s another easy lunch/dinner. Roast a plain chicken breast, slice it and toss it with pesto (store bought or homemade), add to a BLT on toast with a little more pesto on the bread. Done. These were HUGE.

4. The day I made these dream bars I ran 5 miles. FIVE! For the first time in my life, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was definitely a challenge and I was going at a nice slow pace, it took me almost one hour to get there. I stopped a time or two to have a drink of water but for the most part I kept going. It was such a mind game, too. I kept telling myself that my body was a machine and it could keep going. It was HARD but I did it. And tomorrow I’m going for another five miles. Possibly followed by another sweet recipe.untitled-79
5. We’ve been working on potty training Eva for about a month now and she’s doing great. She’s had the occasional accident here and there but of course that’s expected. It hasn’t been as terrible as I feared it would be. We’ve just had her in a diaper when she naps/sleeps and when we go out. Last weekend we took the plunge and took her out without a diaper for the first time for a short time. This is her before we left the house, she was so excited! She did great and no accidents while we were out! untitled-113
6. Last week sometime, when we were leaving for the gym, I noticed landscapers around our neighborhood digging holes everywhere and I had no clue what they were doing. When we got back I noticed these beauties! This tree in particular is smack dab in front of our door so it’s the first thing I see when I step outside. Talk about a beautiful color. The color in the photo doesn’t do it justice, it’s so much more bright and almost has a pink tinge to it. Simply amazing. God’s creativity genuinely astounds me on a daily basis. untitled-168

Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls

Crispy rice. Beef. Sriracha.

Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls // Pancake Saturday

I have no thoughts today (there’s gotta be joke in there somewhere) so I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled Thoughts for Thursday post to bring you a recipe. It’s funny how for me writing about my feelings takes such effort but writing out a detailed recipe is almost second nature. I can do it while pondering my life’s future (hence all of my typos). This is one of those mindless recipes that can be made while pondering your future and you still can’t mess this up.

Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls
Serves  4

1 lb lean beef, cut into thin strips*
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
1 garlic clove, grated or minced fine
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp olive oil
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 large bell pepper, any color – I used yellow, cut into thin strips
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
1 cup carrots cut into thin strips
1 small onion, cut into thin strips
4 cups cooked Jasmine rice
Cooking spray
4 eggs, cooked over easy or sunny side up with a sprinkle of salt and pepper
Chopped cilantro for garnish
1 lime, cut into quarters

This goes pretty quick so have all of your ingredients chopped and ready to go once the beef is marinated.
Place the beef in a bowl and add the soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, pepper and oil. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better*.

Add cooking spray to a large pan over medium-high heat and sauté the vegetables until they start to caramelize and soften slightly. Remove from the pan and set aside.Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls // Pancake Saturday

While the vegetables are cooking crisp the rice in another skillet, also over medium-high heat. I used a small pan but you can use any size. Spray with cooking spray and add the rice (1 cup at a time if you’re using a small skillet) and gently pat it down with a spatula to make a single layer, being careful not to squish the grains.  Let the rice crisp for 3 -5 minutes or until it starts to toast and turn slightly brown. Once all the rice is crisp, portion 1 cup per person in bowls and set aside.

Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls // Pancake SaturdayAdd the beef to the same large skillet the vegetables were in, over high heat. Saute quickly to caramelize and cook to your desired doneness.
Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls // Pancake Saturday
To assemble the bowls: Rice on the bottom layer -> veggies -> beef -> egg -> cilantro -> Sriracha -> lime wedge.  Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls // Pancake Saturday


A deconstructed bowl for Eva. She’s like me in that she doesn’t like her foods all mixed together. I only make exceptions for Chipotle and crispy rice + beef bowls – hold the runny egg, can’t do it. Crispy Rice + Beef Bowls // Pancake SaturdayNotes & Modifications
– You can absolutely do this with any other kind of meat you prefer, chicken would be great, shrimp or fish. Tempeh or double veggies would also work if you follow a vegetarian/vegan diet.
– You can add any vegetables you like, there’s no wrong vegetable for this in my opinion.
*Put the beef in the fridge if you marinate it for longer than 1 hour. Take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before cooking to bring the temperature up slightly before it hit the hot skillet.
*Freeze the beef for 30 minutes before slicing so it will be firm and easier to cut.

You can thank the impending 4pm-sunsets-in-Michigan-for-the-worst-winters-ever for the horribly dark photos.


Balsamic Lemon Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Happy October! How many times have you heard that already today? OR “HOW IS IT OCTOBER ALREADY?” OR “Where has the year gone?” You’re welcome.

Let’s balance out those sliders, shall we? This is a perfect side dish, it’s delicious, healthy, and couldn’t be easier to prepare! You can just go ahead and add these to your ‘new fall recipes to try’ list, I know you have one. If you don’t like Brussels sprouts (WHAT?) then you can try this with carrots, just as delicious.

Balsamic Lemon Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Serves 2 – 4

1lb Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and cut in half
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the sprouts cut-side down. Add the remaining ingredients to a small bowl and stir, set aside. After 4-5 minutes check to the make sure the sprouts are caramelizing. If they are turning brown, gently toss them in the pan and allow to cook another 5 minutes. Add the balsamic and lemon to the sprouts and turn the heat off immediately. Stand back, this will steam quite a bit! Stir everything together and allow the mixture to bubble and reduce with the heat remaining in the pan. Serve immediately. untitled-23 untitled-25Perfect for FALL!