Black Bean Soup

Who’s ready for a detox after Thanksgiving? Not me, but I heard some people may be. Black bean soup is an absolute staple in our home now that Kyle has decided he is in love with it. I never was much of a black bean fan until Mikaela began eating them all the time and now I try to invent fun things to do with them because of her. This soup has very little fat in it, and if you vetoed the butter it would be completely vegan. I use canned beans for this recipe, but you could certainly make beans all day. I am just lazy.

Ingredients
4 Cans of black beans
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
2 Tablespoons Kerrygold Butter
1 Yellow Onion Diced
1/2 Jalapeno Diced
1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo sauce
Cumin
Chile Powder
S&P
Cilantro (garnish)
Pico (garnish)
Shredded Cheese(garnish)

How To
The first thing I start with is blending 3/4 cans of black beans in my food processor. I don’t like to keep the beans whole because that doesn’t feel like a creamy hearty soup to me, but rather just a bowl of beans that I should be eating with a pulled pork burrito…..I’m seriously hungry as I write this. I blend the beans with some vegetable stock until they are smooth – looking for a hummus texture. I then dump the mixture into my crock pot on medium so they can get started. You can add in the one can of whole beans or blend them too – totally up to you!

I saute all the vegetables with the butter and the spices until they are translucent, and then guess what? I blend them too. I like smooth soups, okay?! After you blend the vegetables you will add the remaining stock as well as the veggies to the crock pot with the blended beans, and you’re done for the next few hours. Easy, right?

I let the soup cook for about 3 hours. I make a cilantro sour cream to go on top of this soup. The recipe is: 1 bunch of cilantro, jalapeno, garlic clove, 2 cups sour cream, S&P, and blend in the food processor until smooth…..I really liked my food processor in this recipe).  I also topped with some fresh made pico, shredded cheese, and I thought about doing crispy tortilla strips. Well, this is it guys. We eat it at least once a month in the cold months. Healthy, light, and packed with flavor!

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Lord have mercy do not bring hummus as a Christmas appetizer unless your entire family is vegan. I about got voted off the island for bringing hummus a few Christmas’ back. You know what, though? I am a grown up(kind of) and have my own blog now so I am just going to publish the recipe because I am a loud and proud hummus lover!

Embarrassing Fact: A few colleagues of mine had a hummus war competition and it just so happened to be on the day I was interviewing for a management position at my work. Well, ALL afternoon my stomach would not stop sounding like a blue whale searching for its family and couldn’t tell if I was just nervous OR overdosing on too much hummus.

P.S plain hummus is boring – make some exciting flavors and share them with me! I know roasted red pepper is pretty boring, too but I love it!!

Recipe

2 Cups chickpeas drained and washed
1/2 Cup Tahini (just buy it – I know it’s expensive but it’s what makes hummus HUMMUS)
1 whole lemon squeezed
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Roasted Red Bell Peppers (I roast mine on the oven – stick them in a ziplock once black- let them steam – take off the char and done)

How To

How easy is this? Throw it in the food processor and hit the Go button. Blend until smooth and the consistency you’d like – you may need to add additional olive oil. I crack fresh pepper on top one plated, a squirt of lemon, and a final drizzle of olive oil. Eaasy breezy beautiful snack. Pita chips, veggie sticks, naan bread. Gurl.

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Cornbread Muffins Two Ways – Green Chile & Cheddar and Blueberry Lemon

Who doesn’t like cornbread? Seriously. I could eat my weight in cornbread. I love that it’s flaky, buttery, and you can incorporate so many fun ingredients. I made these muffins for some quick grab breakfasts or snacks and they did not last long. Warm these babies up and put an extra slab or pound of butter on them and love yourself for making them and me for writing this out for you.

Do not make BOXED cornbread. It is so unnecessary – homemade cornbread is EASY. Boxed recipes tend to have a lot of sugar as well. I do not use sugar in this cornbread recipe because I do not think it needs it at all and we are adding blueberries to half the mix which naturally creates some sweetness as well. If I were not incorporating ingredients to this recipe I would add some honey for a tiny bit of sweet but no sugar.

Ingredients

3 Eggs
2 Cups All Purpose Flour (you can sub almond flour just check the ratio)
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1 TBSP Baking Soda
1 1/4 Cup Cornmeal
1 TSP Salt
1 Cup Whole Fat Milk (can substitute coconut, almond, soy etc.)
1 Cup Melted Butter
1 8oz can Green Chiles
1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Blueberries
1 Lemon Zested

How To

Mix everything together except the chiles, cheese, blueberries, and lemon. Once your mixture is ready separate it in half. I toss my blueberries in flour so they do not sink while baking. One half of the mixture add your blueberries&lemon zest and the other chiles&cheese. I put these in muffin tins and got exactly 12 of each flavor but you can cook them in a cast iron skillet if you wish. Baked at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. I brought some of these to work for my team and boy did they go fast. Make sure if you try this recipe to tag us on instagram and Facebook!

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Pesto & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Meal Prep Alert!

I made these for this week’s lunches. They were easy, delicious, and can be either vegetarian or stuff them with chicken like I did this week. Let’s get started!

Ingredients
1 Box of Jumbo Pasta Shells
1/4 Cup Pesto (buy or make your own)
2 Shredded Chicken Breast
2 Cups of Alfredo sauce (buy or make your own)
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
2 Cups Chopped Finely Mushrooms
1 Cup of Ricotta
S&P

How To

The pasta shells need to cook about 8 minutes total and I lay them out on a sheet pan to cool. I already had shredded chicken but the recipe was just 2 chicken breast, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chicken broth, and throw in crock pot for 4 hours on high. Shred and set.

Filling: Mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, pesto, chicken, mushrooms, and salt&pepper. Once your shells have cooled stuff those bad boys up!

Bake: I lay a thin layer of alfredo on the bottom on my baking dish and then put the shells on top. Cover with some more sauce and let bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and then put the rest of your cheese on top and broil for 5 minutes. Done! These are pretty simple for meal prep, loaded with protein, and pretty damn tasty!

Thai Meatballs with Coconut Basil Cream Sauce

Well, this is different. Welcome to the world of unique. Step outside your comfort zone and make these! Healthy and fast dinner! Total cook time for these only 30 minutes! These would be a reeeeally impressive appetizer…just sayin’.

 

Ingredients

1lb Ground Turkey (or chicken, or beef, alligator….whatever you would like)
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Panko (breadcrumbs can also be substituted)
4 Large Basil Leaves Diced
2 Cloves Garlic – Minced
1/2 Yellow Onion – Minced
1TSP Sesame Seed Oil
1TBSP Avocado Oil
2TBSP Red Curry Paste
1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
2TBSP KerryGold butter
1TBSP Siracha
1/2 Zest of Lemon & 1/2 Zest of Lime
Rice(Optional)

How To

Meatballs

In a large bowl combine: ground turkey, panko, egg, 1 clove garlic, onion, half of the minced basil, red curry paste, avocado oil, lemon zest, and S&P. Mix until all ingredients are fully combined. Now, I personally rolled my mixture into my little balls, set them on a plate, and let them sit in the fridge for about an hour because I got lazy and didn’t want to cook them yet. One hour later the meatballs have set up nicely. Thank you one too many mimosas at brunch!
I pan fry my meatballs for color then finish them in the oven. Let them brown on each side for 1-2 minutes in either some oil or butter(or both if you’re Krystal) then let those bad boys sit in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350.
Both the panko and avocado oil in the mixture buys you insurance that these will not be dry. Turkey can be tasty!

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Sauce

On medium heat saute your garlic in butter and when the garlic is cooked 90% add in the zest of the lime. When the garlic is translucent and cooked add in your whole can of coconut milk. Now, we have discussed coconut milk before: it’s creamy, fatty, smooth,and thick enough to not need a roux for sauces. Now, at this point taste your sauce and decide how much siracha you would like in there….remember the meatballs have a kick! When you are ready to serve add your basil….do not add it and then let it continue to cook or simmer…wilted basil is the worst! Serve these babies over rice or grilled veggies!

Spinach Dip – Two Ways

I am not ashamed of being an over achiever. When my Facebook peeps ask for spinach dip I can’t just make ONE version, right? Besides, some people had never heard of hot spinach dip and some had never heard of cold. Ummm what? I clearly needed to take the task of educating on spinach dip into my own hands. I have made both of these dips several times with great success and what I love about dips in general is that they are pretty easy to tweak. Want to add something different? Do it. Don’t like something in there? Don’t add it.

Let’s start with cold dip!

Cold Spinach Dip

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Ingredients
2 Cups Greek Yogurt (you can sub for sour cream if you don’t like greek yogurt)
1/2 Good Quality Mayonnaise(I add mayonnaise because I love it – this is just as good with ALL greek yogurt though if you want to be reeeeeally healthy)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper – Diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper – Diced
3 Cups Fresh Spinach – Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic – Chopped
Bundle of Green onions – sliced
1/2 Lemon
Olive Oil
Fresh/Dried Dill
Red Chili Flakes
S&P

How To

Now, traditional cold spinach dip is sour cream, mayo, a packet of vegetable soup mix(yes), and frozen spinach. Ummm, we are not doing that here. Not ever.
First things first – get that spinach cooked so it can cool/drain excess water. Bring a pan to medium heat with some olive oil, the chopped garlic, and then throw all the spinach in. Cooking spinach takes less than 3 minutes. I place my cooked spinach in a bowl lined with a cloth towel so the water can drain and once cool I can squeeze even more water out of it. While the spinach cools throw the remaining ingredients in a bowl together and mix up. Greek yogurt, lemon, dill, mayo, peppers, chili flakes(to your tasting), green onions, S&P and mix mix mix. I place it in the fridge until I am able to drain the spinach. I think you know the drill once the spinach has cooled, right? Toss it in there as well and mix mix mix, again. Now, the chopped FRESH peppers and green onion are what replaces the vegetable soup mix….that’s all it is guys…..dried bell pepper, green onion, and I think each bag gets one piece of dried carrot, and then 6 gallons of salt. For sale at a grocery store near you during the holidays for $3.99! No, guys, no. Make cold spinach dip this way because not only is it kind of healthy but it is much more authentic and refreshing, and it’s not even that much more work. Chop your peppers!

Traditionally cold spinach dip is served in a bread bowl with small pieces of bread surrounding it for dipping. I toasted some bread as I needed it for the hot dip you can find below and it was delicious. 

 

Hot Spinach Dip

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Ingredients
2 Cups Sour Cream
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Shredded Parmesan Cheese
3 Cups Spinach Chopped/Cooked
1 Clove Garlic – Chopped
1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
1/2 Lemon
S&P
Red Chili Flakes
Fresh Tomato Slices
Fresh Jalapeno Slices
Fresh Baguette Sliced
Olive Oil

How To

Sorry, I just can’t even try to make this one healthy. You can try greek yogurt but I promise you it just doesn’t heat well. There are several ways to make hot spinach dip. You can throw all of this in a crockpot(I’d add some cream cheese) and set it to low for an hour or two. Crock pot is a good suggestion if you are bringing the dip to a party etc. I also have baked this with a panko topping…..awesome. Today, though I did somewhat of a bruschetta style. I placed the dip on baguette slices drizzled with olive oil, then added a fresh tomato slice, broiled, and added some aged balsamic on top. Perfect appetizer.
This one is simple – cook the spinach the same way as the previous dip, then mix everything together. Turn your broiler on to high and make these bad boys! Let me know if you like them.

Mini French Dip Sandwiches – Shredded Beef

We ALL LOVE mini foods, am I right? Mini foods are perfect for parties, events, snacks, and they make you feel like eating a 1000 of them isn’t so bad. All hail the mini foods! I posted these on Instagram the other day and people LOST THEIR MINDS! I honestly didn’t think they were all that exciting and they were easy breezy beautiful cover girl so if you want the recipe to the world’s easiest sandwiches keep on reading!

The secret to these is the beef….always the beef. Let your beef cook for a good 8 hours which of course isn’t a big deal if you aren’t afraid of your Crockpot like me. I planned my whole day around these bad boys so I wouldn’t have to leave my house BUT Kayla wanted to go see IT….so I had to leave it ON. You guys, if I had not had cocktails at the theater I probably would have been stressed the whole time. I am paranoid about the Crockpot, okay?!

Ingredients

3lbs Chuck Roast
1 Package Kings Hawaiian Rolls – these are my favorite you can use what you’d like
Provolone sliced Cheese
Kerrygold Butter
S&P
Garlic Powder
1 Yellow Onion
Red Chili Flakes

THAT’S IT!!!!!

How To

Now, you won’t actually need all 3lbs of beef just for the sandwiches. I used the rest for shredded beef burrito bowls. I placed my chuck roast in the crockpot with S&P, chili flakes, 1 cup of water, garlic powder, a butter, and the onion cut in half. Turn on low for 8 hours. Done. Beautiful.

Fast forward to 8 hours later and you shouldn’t even have to “shred” this meat it should be falling apart in its’ own juices at this point. Take some beef and put it off to the side – however much you’d like for sandwiches. Now, the au jus – very important for french dips. Take ALL your liquid and get yourself a fat skimmer thing…..looks like this 31SuItie7aL

This will get rid of the fat in your liquid….now this is basically your au jus, I like mine a tiny bit thicker so I add a tiny bit of flour and butter. Done. Seriously guys, that easy.

Sandwich assembly!!

I take out the entire 12 rolls from the packaging and cut them in half like one giant piece of bread, then I layer my meat, cheese, and place the top on. I brush these GENEROUSLY with my favorite Kerrygold butter and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the beef is hot. Once out of the oven and cooled for like….a minute I cut them into the sandwich size. Perfect. Ooey Gooey – delicious! Let me know if you make these!

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