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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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.