Recipe: Black Bean Soup

I can successfully cook about four dishes.

Maybe five, if I’m having a good week.

One of those dishes is Black Bean Soup. I’ve posted about it before, but I’m a better blogger now, and the recipe changes every time I make it.

So it’s happening again.

And the recipe below is the one I like best because peppers.

Black Bean Soup
Ingredients

  • EVOO or oil of your choice
  • 2 large or 4 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno (or 2, if you like it hot), diced
  • 1 Tbs. vinegar (white wine, apple cider or golden balsamic)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin, coriander, chili, garlic and paprika
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2-4 Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 5.3-oz. container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 32-oz. container of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 15 oz.-cans black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

Directions
Chopped carrots, green and red bell peppers, jalapeno and onion saute and simmer until soft in olive oil.

Black Bean Soup

Onions and carrots go in first. Hot pot with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. They burn fast – so I add a cup of water, set the heat to medium and cover for 5-10 minutes. Once soft, you’re free to crank the heat up for the peppers and a bit more olive oil. I usually add some vinegar here – white wine, apple cider or golden balsamic. If the produce sticks too much, add the other 1/2 cup of water.

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Seasoning is key since much of the produce will be simmered to squish. Ground cumin, coriander, chili, paprika and garlic with some thyme… because I love thyme, and I put it in everything.

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Process garlic cloves and Chipotle peppers into a chunky paste. A little German Shepherd doesn’t hurt, either #whenyouseeit

Add the paste, black beans and chicken or vegetable stock to the pot. Salt and pepper again, and stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover for 10-15 minutes.

Add frozen corn – or fresh, if you’re into doing that first. Canned is too much and not that tasty in this soup. Just FYI. Plus, frozen corn is cheaper.

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While the soup is simmering, or whatever soup does over heat sans boil, add the juice of one lime, a 5.3-oz. container of plain Greek yogurt and an avocado to the food processor. Spin until smooth.

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Chop green onions or chives or shred cheese to top the soup. I do not recommend Goldfish crackers for this… you Goldfish cracker eaters.

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Serve soup with a dollop or two of the avocado yogurt sauce and toptions of your choice. (If your soup isn’t soupy enough, add 1-2 cups of water, more salt and pepper, and let it go on the heat for a little longer.)

Eat.

Eat two servings.

Do it.

It’s worth it.

Also, with vegetable stock, this dish is totes vegan.

I’m not.

But this dish is.

The other items I’m pretty bomb at cooking are Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup, Veal Meatball Soup, Turkey Sausage Skillet and Bang Bang Shrimp – which we’re having tomorrow so be prepared for the AWESOME that is bagged salad and pre-cooked shrimp in sweet, spicy sauce.

Cooking for the win.

Friday Things

So there is this general post bloggers use when they don’t have much to blog about. It’s called “_____ Things.” Fill in the blank with your week day of choice.

Mine?

Friday Things

I love my new job.

My new job comes with awesome toys tools.

Dell Desktop Computer 50" ScreensYes. I have TWO screens. Are you jealous?

Be a researcher. And learn to love Excel spreadsheets.

That’s what I do.

And I love it.

Tweet ups are wicked fun, especially ladies’ only tweet ups at Hana Cafe. I met with some great Wichita women while enjoying…

CocktailSingapore sling

Shrimp tempura maki

Delicious.

For some reason, I decided to make fish tacos.

Mildly OK. I was not a big fan, but Husband said the tacos tasted fine.

Maybe I just don’t like cod fillets.

Fish Tacos with Peppers
adapted from Recipes.com
Ingredients

  • 1 lb.  fresh or frozen firm-flesh fish fillets, such as cod, 1-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, or lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp.  lime juice or lemon juice
  • 1   fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp.  ground cumin
  • 2   cloves garlic, minced
  • eight 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups  shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup  chopped green sweet pepper
  • 1/2   medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ranch dressing or dressing of choice

Directions
Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry. Place fish in a shallow dish. For marinade, in a small bowl, stir together tequila, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, cumin, and garlic. Pour marinade over fish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning fish occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap tortillas tightly in foil. Heat in oven about 10 minutes or until heated through.

Preheat broiler. Drain fish; discard marinade. Pat fish dry. Place fish on the greased unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 5 minutes. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn the fish. Broil for 3 to 7 minutes more or just until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. (Or place fish fillets in a well-greased wire grill basket. Grill on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 8 to 12 minutes or just until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once.)

With a fork, break broiled fish into 1/2-inch chunks. To assemble tacos, place lettuce in center of each warm tortilla. Divide fish chunks, sweet pepper, and red onion among tortillas. Fold tortillas in half over filling. If desired, serve with cilantro and/or mango slices. Makes 4 servings.

That, and a glass of wine, is my Friday.

Authentic RedCheers!

Thoughts, Food and Food Thoughts

I’m still not feeling peppy.

The morning post was scheduled from last week, and I didn’t have the energy to take it down before it published. That was last week’s peppiness – not false, just badly timed.

I decided that tomorrow I will be a good teacher, a fastidious student and a team player – all of which I need to be tomorrow – but not until tomorrow. I will be peppy tomorrow.

I will also write “tomorrow” one more time.

Tonight, however, I’m glad to sit on the couch and reflect while my husband plays Skyrim. (KILL ALL THE DARGONS!)

I went to my new job today! Nothing newsworthy happened so we will save that story for another blog post.

I went to my new job prepared, though, just in case. I made a big-girl-job-lady-on-the-run breakfast: Strawberry-Banana Smoothie and Coffee. Big girls drink coffee (and so do caffeine addicts).

The WPC mug was a gift from a scholarship Les helped me receive to pay for a summer class. Just another reason he was awesome.

CoffeeStrawberry-Banana Smoothie
Ingredients
– 12 oz. skim milk
– 5 frozen strawberries
– 1/2 banana
– 1 tsp. honey
– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– ripped up spinach

Directions: Blend it all together and drink!

I know. Spinach, right? Well, I have read a lot of bloggers do this. I put a lot of trust in to those ladies this morning, allowing them to be in control of my breakfast.

Good thing, girls, it turned out tasty. I couldn’t taste the spinach, which is what I expected.

Second bit of food: Re-purposed leftover P.F. Chang’s. What do you do with not enough Mandarin Chicken to fill you up?

P.F. Chang's Leftover FoodPut the leftovers over spinach. Ta-da! Salad!

Since I was at school and work all day, and I knew I would not want to cook when I got home, I planned an easy dinner.

This is the next installment of semi-homemade with skinnyshae!

Crunchy Onion and Chicken Noodle Casserole
Ingredients

  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can  CAMPBELL’S® Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 1/4 cups  milk
  • 2 cups (4 ounces)  FRENCH’S® Original French Fried Onions
  • 1 cup  frozen vegetables of your choice (Peas and Carrots!)
  • 2 cups  cubed cooked chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups  curly egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups  shredded Cheddar cheese
  • added spices: garlic, black pepper, paprika, thyme

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Stir soup, milk, 1 cup French Fried Onions, vegetables, chicken, noodles and 1/2 cup cheese in a 2-qt. baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until hot. Stir. Top with remaining cheese and French Fried Onions. Bake 5 minutes more until onions are golden and cheese is super-awesome melted.

Let’s look back…

I opened milk, a can, another can, another can, a bag, another bag and another bag. I then mixed it all together and baked.

Casserole = absolutely no work.

(Note: I have a picture, but since I’m feeling lethargic and upset, I did not try hard to take a good picture. My picture is not appetizing. Look instead at these lovely cheese covered bread chunks!)

On occasion, I will splurge at the store and buy fancy cheese. Fancy cheese is located next to the fresh fruit & veg section with the olive bar and assorted over-priced nuts.

I usually get the smallest fancy cheese I can find, and it’s usually brie. (One time I got a goat cheese variety, and it was really awful. I like goat cheese, just not at Dillon’s apparently.)

But Dillon’s bakery is neat-oh! because they have premade bread dough. It’s like Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake pizza.

Dinner tonight required absolutely no effort. Schweet.

Eating will require a tad more effort on my part over the next few days. On Sunday, I had no appetite, but I forced myself to eat because I knew I would regret NOT eating later.

Unfortunately, my sad turned in to straight emptiness, which I filled with food. Awesome.

I weigh… too much… and I feel miserably fat.

Tomorrow, if I have time, I am going to run around my neighborhood, and on Wednesday, I’m going to kill it at Shocker Fitness.

Food is fuel, not emotion. Food is fuel, not emotion. Food is fuel, not emotion.

Challenge: I must find a more constructive way to handle stress and sadness. Go! (Ah, crap. This sounds hard.)

Dinner Tonight: Taco Salad

I cooked!

And it tasted good!

Yay!

(Also, Husband cut up the onions and garlic. He helped.)

Taco Salad
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Pace Picante Sauce (medium)
  • 2 Tbs. reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dark red kidney beans, rinsed
  • a LOT of ground cumin
  • a LOT of chili powder
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • dash of salt
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions
Combine salsa and sour cream in a bowl; set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add beef and cook (over medium heat), stirring often, until cooked through. Add tomato, beans, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes and salt; cook, stirring until heated.

Remove from the heat. Dumped over Romaine lettuce. Add salsa mixture.

Top with cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.

I adapted this recipe a bit. One teaspoon of cumin and one teaspoon of chili powder would add absolutely no flavor (like every chili I have ever made).

Taco Salad Recipe with Santitas Chips

Apologies

Again…

Wow.

Sorry, friends!

What for?

I am sorry I haven’t shared recipes.

I am sorry I haven’t taken pictures of those recipes I haven’t shared.

(The fish I made last night looked and tasted awesome. Cooking and I are speaking again.)

I am sorry that I haven’t shared any of the workouts I want to try… in the future… when my butt muscle doesn’t hurt.

I am sorry I haven’t been even REMOTELY beauty-oriented.

Yeah, sorry.

My excuse: Ihavesomuchhomework! I have so, so much homework.

Not happy.

I plan on completing a lot of assignments and readings this week in hopes of freeing up some spare time. Right now, the only time I have is just before bed, and I’m so tired that opening my laptop is the farthest idea from my mind.

Bed time is officially 11 p.m. I usually cannot keep myself awake later than that. (And on Friday and Saturday, Husband and I went to bed super early. We both tuckered out before 10 p.m. Of course, he got up because night is day for him!)

I need a ghost writer… blogger… for whenever I’m too pooped to blog. Any applicants? It’s unpaid, but, like I was told once, it comes with a lot of atta-girls! (or boys it’s whatev). I was also told brownies, but I’m not good at baking so you won’t get brownies.

Until I get that ghost blogger, better posts to arrive after I am healed and can actually workout, and when I am caught up on reading.

Eargh. Grad school might be the death of me.

Tell me: How are YOUR workouts going? Got any food recipes to share? I’ve been bookmarking thousands on some friends’ blogs I follow. Check them out on my blogroll.

Quick Weight Update: Thankfully still sitting at 132! (Without vigorous exercise. I’m worried.)

Dinner Tonight: Skillet Pork Chops Florentine

I found a super simple pork chops recipe that requires little to no work on the part of the chef, but also tastes amazing.

Skillet Pork Chops Florentine
Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp.  olive oil
  • 6 boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, (about 1 1/2 pounds) (I used 8 thinner pork chops. About 1/2-inch thick.)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 jar  (24 ounces) Prego® Marinara Italian Sauce OR 1 can Hunt’s Traditional Tomato Sauce, which tastes the same but is $2 cheaper
  • 1 pkg.  (10 ounces) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 4 oz.  shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)

Directions
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until the chops are well browned on both sides. Remove the pork chops and set them aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil. Add the onion. Cook and stir until the onion is tender-crisp.

Stir the sauce and spinach into the skillet and heat to a boil. Return the pork chops to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the chops are cooked through. Sprinkle with the cheese.

(To thaw spinach, microwave on for HIGH 3 minutes, breaking apart with a fork halfway through heating.)

This is semi-homemade stuff right here! Simple, fast and free of frills with a great taste. The perfect dish when you don’t have a lot of time or don’t feel like cooking.

Husband said it was too tomato-y, but if you’re like me, there is no such thing.

Super simple pork chops recipeSuper simple summer pork chops recipe with spinach and tomato sauce

Healthy Grocery Haul!

Back from the store!

I used a total of three coupons for a savings of less than $10, so I failed on the coupon front. However, I hit a whole lot of store deals.

My Total: approximately $135

Woohoo!

You might think that $135 is a lot for groceries, especially if I didn’t extreme coupon my way into 54 bottles of mustard. Well, I don’t need any mustard this week, and I did something I don’t usually do…

I bought organic food.

I know! I said millions of times before that organic food is too expensive. And it is! I know!

However, for some reason, Dillon’s had many organic products on sale, and the ordinary produce was more expensive. Odd? Yes.

Here’s my haul…

Simply Orange orange juice for my Cajun Rice Soup recipe, which is why the bottle is so small. I only need 3/4 cup.

Fresh Dark Sweet Cherries! I love cherries! More so when they’re not dried. :)

Husband has been bothering me about buying nuts so I did. I bought a $9 bag of walnuts. Expensive! (In order to purchase the walnuts, I put back the fancy cheese. Sacrifices.)

The small plastic bags behind the orange juice are filled with pearl barley for the Beef and Barley Stew I will make and flax seeds. Yep! I purchased whole flax seeds. I will turn them into meal in the food processor to make them easier to eat.

Why not just buy them that way? Well, flax seed meal costs $4.99. Whole ORGANIC flax seeds cost $2.94, and the extra labor to grind them only costs me my time.

Why did I buy flax seeds anyway? Husband brought a waffle iron home yesterday. I want to make healthy waffles! I’m on the hunt for recipes!

Green chiles, off-brand Rotel, Hunts Marinara sauce, Idaho Dutch Yellow Potatoes and golden hominy for a number of recipes. Simple ingredients, and every single one of them was on sale!

I purchased Organic 100% Whole Wheat Bread instead of the usual Earthgrains 7-Grain Bread because it was cheaper. (Yes. Wonder Bread would have been even cheaper, but it’s not really bread.)

New Purchase: Smart Balance Creamy Peanut Butter. I usually buy off-brand or store-brand but felt like splurging! (Plus I had $1 off coupon.) Smart Balance doesn’t have partially hydrogenated anything in it.

Skim milk! I drink skim because the chance of it making me ill is very slim compared to 2% or Vitamin D. Husband used to drink Vitamin D, but he said the extra health benefits weren’t worth the extra fat content and switched to skim.

Onions, apples, scallions and peppers were not bought organic. The ordinary versions were much cheaper. However, I did buy organic celery hearts and organic baby carrots because they were cheaper than the others. That never happens!

Purchase that Excites Me: Sweet-2-Eat Nectarines! I love nectarines! :)

I argued with myself for a good minute about the eggs. I wanted to buy Organic Cage Free eggs, about which I’ve heard wonderful things. However, Dillon’s eggs were on sale for $0.99 a dozen. I got two dozen eggs… not organic.

I also bought fresh-baked French rolls for some Italian Sandwiches. I know, right?

In addition, I purchased frozen spinach, tilapia, chicken, chicken broth (not organic), granola bars (off-brand) and Wheat Chex.

Finally, I got a GREAT deal on notebook paper: 280 pieces of paper for $0.60. In a notebook! Not loose leaf! Now, I have plenty of paper with which to practice GRE math problems.

Today’s grocery haul should feed Husband and I for the next two weeks. We will have to make trips to the store to buy another gallon of milk and , but that’s normal.

I have the following meal ideas in mind…

  • Italian Sandwiches with turkey or pastrami
  • Oven BBQ Chicken
  • Herb-Pepper Rubbed Beef
  • Skillet Pork Chops Florentine (Tonight!)
  • Creamy Dijon Chicken with Rice
  • Creamy Egg Scrambled with Scallions and Tomatoes (and waffles…)
  • Cajun Rice Soup
  • Crock Pot Posole
  • Fluffy Dilled Carrots and Potatoes (with tilapia or salmon)
  • Beef and Barley Stew

These recipes might sound fancy, but most are or look extremely easy to make. Making them taste good with my cooking skills… Who knows?

Well, I suppose if $135 of groceries gets Husband and I all of that food, it can’t be too bad. I did a good job and bought healthy food!

Weren’t apples, nuts and crunchy veggies on my Skinny Shopping List? :)

What’s on your shopping list? Currently, new jeans.
How do you get the best deals?
Argue with myself about eggs.