BBQ Beef and Beans

Serve these sweet, tangy, and savory BBQ Beef and Beans with rice and cheese for a simple and comforting weeknight dinner the whole family will love.

PREP TIME: 5 mins

COOK TIME: 25 mins

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbsp cooking oil

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1/2 lb. ground beef

1 15oz. can kidney beans 

1 15oz. can black beans 

HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE*

8 oz. tomato sauce

2 Tbsp tomato paste 

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp brown sugar 

2 Tbsp molasses 

1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder 

1/4 tsp onion powder 

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 

freshly cracked pepper 

salt to taste 

FOR SERVING

4 cups cooked rice 

4 oz. shredded cheddar 

2 green onions, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Add the oil and minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic for one minute over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to sauté until cooked through. If using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat before moving on to the next step.

Rinse the two cans of beans, then drain them well. Add the beans to the skillet with the ground beef.

Add the ingredients for the Homemade BBQ Sauce to the skillet (tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and some freshly cracked pepper).

Stir and cook the mixture until the sauce ingredients have combined and created a thick sauce. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer and then simmer the beef and beans in the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring often. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste (I added 1/2 tsp).

To serve the BBQ Beef and Beans, place 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with 1 cup of the BBQ Beef and Beans, then top with about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar and a sprinkle of sliced green onion.

NOTES

*To make this recipe faster and easier, substitute 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce for the homemade BBQ sauce listed above.

Source: BudgetBytes

Greek Salad Tacos with Cucumber Dill Dressing

We’re not sure if this is more of a salad or taco but either way it’s delicious. They’re a nice light dinner or lunch option that’ll leave you feeling like you’re on the Mediterranean coast.

Greek Salad Tacos with a Cucumber Dill Dressing and Grilled Chicken. {The Creativity Exchange}

Recipe Serves 4 (8 tacos)

Ingredients

2 Cups Grilled Chicken
4 Cups Cut/shredded Romaine Lettuce
1 Cup Diced Tomatoes
3/4th Cup Diced Cucumbers
1/4th Cup Diced Cilantro
1 Cup Feta Cheese Crumbled
1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1/2 Cup Ken’s Greek Dressing
1 Cup Dannon Oikos Dips Cucumber and Dill (sold in the refrigerated section with the party dips)
8 Flour Tortilla’s

Instructions

Toss all of the ingredients together for the salad except leave the feta and the cucumber dill dip/dressing until you get the salad into the tacos.  The cucumber dill dip is made by Dannon and is an Oikos dip that has become a favorite of mine.  If you’ve never tried it before, it’s sold in the refrigerated section with the other party dips but its a Greek yogurt dip.  If for some reason you cannot find it, you can mix together dill weed, plain greek yogurt and little hint of salt for a similar dip.

If you’ve never tried a refrigerated tortilla before that has to be cooked, let me tell you that it’s life changing.  All you have to do is heat them up for about a minute on each side and they are unbelievable good and light.  It’s all I will use now.

After you toss the salad, fill your tortillas with the salad to make each taco and top with the feta and drizzle of the dip and you are good to go.  If you want to make these for dinner and grill your own chicken, the Ken’s Greek Dressing is the best marinade for chicken!

Source: The Creativity Exchange

Tempeh Burrito Bowls

This week we’re switching it up with a Tempeh Burrito Bowl that’s totally homemade and totally delicious. Feel free to customize this as you please with different vegetables or meat substitutes.

 Prep Time: 15 mins  Cook Time: 20 mins  Total Time: 35 mins

Ingredients

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 sweet potato (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil

Seasoned Tempeh*

  • 8 oz. tempeh
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked pepper

Bowl Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice the sweet potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out onto a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, then toss to coat. Season with a pinch of salt.
  • Roast the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring half way through. Once roasted, set aside.
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the seasoned tempeh. Crumble the brick of tempeh into a skillet. Add the water, oil, tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill). Stir briefly to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat on to medium. Allow the skillet to come up to a simmer. Let the tempeh simmer, stirring every few minutes, for about 10 minutes total, or until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce.
  • While the tempeh is simmering, slice the avocado and jalapeño. 
  • To build the bowls, place 1 cup cooked rice in the bottom of each bowl. Divide the seasoned tempeh, roasted sweet potatoes, corn, and avocado between all four bowls. Top each bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons of salsa, 1 tablespoon of sour cream, and a few slices of jalapeño. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

For pictures and more information check out the original recipe at BUDGETBYTES

Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos

Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos are a fast and easy way to take Taco Tuesday to the next level and is the perfect fast and easy weeknight meal.

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cook Time: 20 mins  Total Time: 35 mins

Ingredients

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Tacos

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef (93% lean or higher)*
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 box 10 hard taco shells
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (4oz.)

Optional Toppings

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 jalapeño
  • Handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the taco seasoning, then set the seasoning aside (or use one envelope of store-bought taco seasoning). Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and cooking oil to a large skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the ground beef and prepared taco seasoning and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through (another 5 minutes).
  • Arrange the taco shells in a casserole dish so they are all standing upright. If you do not have a dish that fits them snuggly enough to hold them up, use balled up aluminum foil to act as “book ends” to help hold the line of tacos upright.
  • Drain the can of black beans well, but do not rinse them. A little sauciness helps keep the beef mixture moist.Stir the beans into the seasoned beef and allow them to heat through.
  • Fill the tacos with the beef and bean mixture. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over top. Bake the tacos in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the taco shells are golden brown on the edges.
  • While the tacos are baking, dice the tomato, slice the jalapeño, and roughly chop the cilantro leaves. Sprinkle the diced tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro over the tacos, and add a dollop of sour cream just before serving.

NOTES

*If using a higher fat beef, brown the beef without the taco seasoning first, then drain the excess fat. After draining, add the taco seasoning and sauté for about one minute more before moving onto the next step.

Source: BudgetBytes

The 6 Emails Every Ecommerce Store Needs

Consumers are becoming more alert and aware of what you send to their inbox. They are sick of spam email! Sending creative and strategic emails can ensure that your emails stand out among the thousands of emails received by your busy consumer daily. Creating captivating emails gives the consumer the incentive to open that email rather than continuing to scroll by. Sending effective emails will help increase traffic and sales to your website.

Who is this for: This article is for online businesses that are looking to increase sales and visits to their website from automated emails. This could be used by business owners, marketing directors, marketing agencies, and more. This article will help you understand why these emails are important and provide helpful tips to get started. It will also allow you to make adjustments to existing email templates to help you get the most out of every email.

Grab your Email Templates!


In order for new email campaigns to work you should have an established website with products or services that are available to customers.

Listed below are six of the crucial emails that will increase your email efficiency when sending them to customers. Under every email there will be examples and tips to help you get the most out of each email template. If you want additional examples, you can sign up for our templates here.

Welcome Email:

A welcome email has become a standard across online marketplaces. Shortly after signing up for an account, a websites newsletter, or making a purchase, the customer will receive an email thanking the customer and telling them more about their brand or service. Normally this will be the first official form of contact that a business will have with a prospective customer.

It is important to note that this email will set the tone and expectations for other emails you send in the future. This in return will help to influence the consumer to open future emails from you. What makes a great welcome email? Here’s what we think:

  • Promptness
  • Include a brief and appealing overview of your business
  • Be Gentle on selling products
  • Include brand imagery
  • Track open rates to see what is working and what is not
  • Offer opt-in rewards for signing up, such as a first order discount
  • Add social media information in the email

Welcome Email Example:

Listed below are a few examples of welcome emails. The first email is from Vermont Smoke & Cure. This email uses a pun to engage and make consumers see their sense of humor. The email has a nice photo highlighting the examples of the product that the company sells. It also shows how consumers can use the product, pairing meat with hummus and vegetables. Provided in this first email is a coupon code that can be applied for 10% off their first order, to incentivize a product purchase.

The next email is from Hulu, a movie and television streaming service. This email thanks the user for signing up and welcomes them to the service. It provides a concise overview of the service and then has photos to engage the consumer. Hulu also added a silly catch phrase at the bottom “Get your TV on” to encourage the customer to start using the service right away.

The welcome email sent by Uber, a transportation network company, is one of my favorites. It thanks the consumer and provides a short description of the service. It also includes a photo of the application, to give the customer an idea of what it looks like. A link is also provided so consumers can download and start to use the application immediately.

Abandoned Cart/Browse Abandonment:

No company benefits when a customer adds a product to their shopping cart, but doesn’t follow up with the purchase. The good thing is, it shows that the customer expressed interest in that product. Abandoned cart emails recapture the consumer’s interest and will hopefully create a sale. Some companies will send these emails a few hours after not purchasing, while others will wait a few days.  The ideal timing of abandoned cart emails depends on each company and the way that your customers engage with your emails. Below are tips and tricks to send successful abandoned cart emails.

  • Emphasizes “low quantities in stock”
  • Includes multiple photos of the product
  • Provides a link to access the abandoned cart
  • Gives contact information to answer any questions or doubts the consumer might have
  • Insert catchy phrases to pull the customer back into the process

Abandoned Cart Email Example:

Above is a simple yet effective email sent from AirBnB, a peer to peer marketplace where you can rent out houses and apartments. From previous searches on the website they were able to see what location/time frame the consumer was looking at. It is a friendly reminder to continue planning their trip and to influence the consumer to book through AirBnB. Abandoned cart emails are great because you can quickly adjust the elements to reflect the searches and experiences that other customers are searching.

This next email is from an e-commerce general store. The emails starts off with their logo, and immediately tells the customers that they left something in their cart. A photo of the forgotten photo is pictured to remind the customer of the exact. Paired with reviews of the product to help influence the customer and to show them the positive experience of others.

Grab your Email Templates!

Order Confirmation:

This is another standard that consumers are now expecting from ecommerce websites. Once an order is placed, it is important to quickly process the initial request and confirm the order to the customer. In this email you can describe the next steps in the order process and ways for the customer to track the progress of the shipment. Many companies will send an additional email once the item has been successfully shipped.

Order confirmation emails provide an opportunity for extra brand promotion. You could highlight similar products, or other services provided by your company. Here are a few tips to help you send order confirmation emails to customers.

  • Send them shortly after you receive the order
  • Thank the customer for placing the order
  • Give them ways to track the shipping/process
  • Include the order number
  • Provide a photo of the product they have ordered
  • Include opportunities for consumers to continue shopping

Order Confirmation Email Example:

This is an email that confirmed the purchase of concert tickets, making sure they display the appropriate artist and date. It added the order number and ways to reach out if there were any issues. It gave the customer all the information they needed and was easy to comprehend.

This receipt from Google is for the rental of a movie. It is similar to a traditional receipt that you would see in a storefront. But it still covers some of the important aspects we covered above. It thanks the customer and provides a description of the rental along with the total cost. Proving that your emails don’t have to be too fancy to be effective! Receiving an email receipt from an online purchase helps the customer keep track of their purchase for their records.

Post Purchase Follow Ups:

Following up with customers shortly after they have purchased a product is an important way to receive feedback on a product/service. You can provide features such as a place to put reviews, to help you sell products. In these emails it can be beneficial to highlight other products that are associated with the product(s) they purchased. Many follow up emails also have a link to direct the consumer back to the company’s main website. Below are tips to help you gain the most out of post purchase follow ups.

  • Send 3-5 days after the customer receives the product
  • Thank the customer for their purchase
  • Ask them to leave a review of the product
  • Provide a link to leave the review
  • Add related products to the email

Post Purchase Examples

Skylynx, a transportation service from Vancouver B.C. to Whistler B.C., sent a follow up email after I had traveled with them. It first thanked me for using their service, and asked me to leave a review of my experience. They didn’t provide any specific link, but they did provide examples of websites I could use to leave a review. It was sent about two hours after I had traveled with them, so they could receive immediate feedback on the experience.

This email was sent shortly after I received a new pair of reflective sunglasses. The company wanted to make sure that I was satisfied with the product, and provided the appropriate contact information for sending questions/complaints. Later in the email they asked for a review and provided the medium of which they would like it written. It was a short but sweet email to help make sure that I was happy with the product.

Educational Content:

These emails offers additional value for your customers while also increasing the feeling of commitment and care to the customer. It expresses your interested about their business and life and aren’t just using them to make some quick cash. The beauty of educational content is that it doesn’t need to follow any rules. It can be anything that you would consider beneficial for your customers and help your customers gain the most they can out of your brand.

You can write articles about multiple use products, show tests on products, best practices, or write a funny write up of how your company started. Educational content can take many mediums including film and writing. Here are some tips and tricks to sending out educational content emails.

  • Send these emails on a regular basis, one or twice a month
  • Include information not obvious to the consumer
  • Providing value to a diverse group of customers
  • Include photos for products
  • Have others in the office create content for these emails

We send out our own educational content emails bi-weekly. We call it Taco Tuesday and it’s filled with helpful marketing information. If you are interested in signing up, you can do so here. Below is an example of a Taco Tuesday we sent our a few weeks ago. We include blog posts, videos, and recipes to help add value to the emails we send. Below are two parts of an email that we sent out a few weeks ago.

If you are interested in getting our educational content, you can sign up here (insert hyperlink here).

Cross-Selling Emails:

Cross-selling emails can be a simple but effective way to persuade a customer to make additional purchases from your brand. By compiling previous purchases you can make useful recommendations for productions that complement or are compatible with their previous purchase. Below are tips to get the most out of your cross-selling emails:

  • Thank the customer for the previous purchase
  • Provide multiple additional items
  • Cross-sell similarly priced items
  • Include pictures
  • Add links to look at the products from the email
  • Make sure products are not drastically different in price

Cross-Selling Example:

This example below is from a shaving service that provides a monthly service to customers. This email sent is a reminder of what the customer was receiving, and provided additional products they could purchase. With this strategic model, a customer can add one, or multiple additional products to their cart. The more they purchase, the higher their investment in the brand becomes. This will lead to an increase in revenue for your company.

Grab your Email Templates!

Wrapping Up:

Emails are one of the easiest ways to increase conversion and traffic to your website from customers already in your system. All six of these emails have provided new options for you to follow up with the customer and keep them coming back to your business. Many of these emails can be automated, which will help you save time and ensure these emails are sent exactly when you want them to be. You can gain our email templates here (insert hyperlink) to start sending emails to customers right away.

Blackened Salmon Taco Recipe

When days in the park and on the beach are being put on the calendar, I always start thinking about the beloved seafood taco. Hopefully this recipe becomes one of your favorite summer dishes!

Note: If you don’t have Cajun spice, you can make your own! Just stir together some salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried oregano before rubbing it on the salmon.

Ingredients For Salmon

1 lb. salmon

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. Cajun spice

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients For Salsa/Serving

1 cup diced pineapple

2 ripe avocados, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

2 small tomatoes, diced

Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for serving

Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

6 corn tortillas, warmed or grilled

Instructions

Pat salmon dry, if necessary, then evenly season all sides of the filets with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. When oil is hot but not smoking, add salmon. Cook until deeply golden, about 5 to 6 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until salmon is opaque.

Let rest and cool slightly, then flake into large pieces.

Make pineapple avocado salsa: In a medium bowl, add mango, avocado, onion, tomatoes, and lime juice. Season with salt and toss to combine.

Assemble tacos: Top tortillas with salmon, avocado salsa, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

Source: Delish

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients (makes 8 cups)

  • 12 large tomatoes, halved and seeded, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 large sweet yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 12 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • Tortilla chips

 

Directions

  • Arrange six tomatoes cut side down on a 15x10x1-in. baking pan; drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Broil 4 in. from the heat until skin blisters, about 4 minutes. Cool slightly; drain well.
  • In a food processor, process uncooked and roasted tomatoes in batches until chunky. Transfer all to a large bowl.
  • Place the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, lime zest and remaining oil in the food processor. Cover and process until blended; add to tomatoes. Stir in the peppers, onions, cumin, paprika, chipotle pepper, salt and hot sauce. Let stand 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. Serve with chips.

Source: Taste of Home