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spiced black bean soup

9 Mar

please forgive the grayish color of my soup. if you use dried beans you can use your bean cooking liquid to make the black bean soup the proper color black. if you do this last minute like i did, and as usual have no time to soak beans and therefore use canned–your soup will also be slightly grayish. not ideal but it is what it is.

what you need for 4 servings:

2.5 cans black beans, drained and rinsed OR 3 .25 cups dried black beans, soaked over night and cooked. (save your cooking liquid and use it in place of the 1 cup water)

1 shallot or 1/2 red onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, halved and sliced. you can also use a serrano or whatever chile you like best.

2 cups of veg or chicken stock

1 cup of water


1/2 tsp spanish smoked paprika (or regular paprika, but the smoked adds a really great smokey flavor)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

a few shakes of dried oregano

avocado/fresh cilantro–optional for garnish


How To:

spray a sauce pot with nonstick spray, saute the shallot over medium heat. add in the jalapeno slices and saute together until lightly browned.

add in the garlic and all the dried seasonings, stir and let this toast up for a minute or two.

add in half of the beans and stir to coat. add in the stock and water. bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes.

turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes before pureeing the soup in the blender. return to the pot, add in the remaining black beans. taste and add any extra cumin, coriander, salt or cayenne if desired.

i ate mine with a cheddar and roasted tomato quesadilla ūüôā


gnocchi with mushrooms, peas, and turkey bacon

4 Mar

this happened because i had mushrooms, peas and turkey bacon. and was in the mood for gnocchi. its hearty and yummy and comforting in all of its saucy starchy glory.


What You Need for 2 servings:

1 package of gnocchi (or you can make your own if you’re feeling up to it) you can find it in the¬†refrigerator¬†section at the store

1.5 slices of turkey bacon (or regular bacon, or pancetta but i used what i had)

2-3 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of frozen or fresh peas

1/3 cup of chicken stock

2 T butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme or fresh lemon thyme

salt and pepper

parmigiano reggiano (optional for garnish and cheesey yum yum)


How To:

cook the bacon over medium heat until really crispy. remove from the pan, slice into 1 inch strips and reserve.

add a small bit of butter to the same pan. add in the sliced mushrooms, cook over medium heat about 7 minutes until really browned on both sides.

pour the chicken stock into the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. (a splash of white wine here would be great too!)

(this would be a good time to put your gnocchi into boiling salted water)

let the stock reduce a bit so that it thickens.about 4-6 minutes. at this point, add in a tablespoon of the cold butter. (this helps thicken the sauce)

add in the thyme

taste the mushrooms/sauce and adjust seasonings as necessary. it should taste mushroomy saucy yummy.

add in the peas and bacon. let it all come together for a minute before adding the gnocchi.

add a nice pinch of parmesan, give it a nice big toss! add more butter or chicken stock if necessary. adjust seasonings, garnish with more cheese and more fresh thyme if desired.


prepare for a photo shoot….sorry i was a little obsessed with the goodness of this dish.

skinny corn chowder

20 Feb

anything “chowder” is good eats. and is also made with a stick of butter, a cup of flour, and a vat of heavy cream.

this corn chowder doesn’t have any of those ingredients! the secret: skim milk and cauliflower. (don’t knock it till you try it)

so, this soup happened by accident. i made a cauliflower soup and then after having eaten it for 4 meals i decided to add some corn to spruce it up–and then it hit me. SKINNY CORN CHOWDER! and awaaaaaaaaaaay we go:

1 cup of this soup clocks in under 350 calories and with only 3g to 4g of fat.

a note: my pictures look different than the process i am writing up because i used already made cauliflower soup when making this.

What You Need for 4 servings:

1/3 lb of cauliflower–about 1 c of cauliflower

1 c skim milk

2 c chicken or veg stock

2 cups of frozen corn

1 strip of turkey bacon per person, diced

4 poblano peppers

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2-1 yellow onion, diced

a pinch of chili powder

a pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper


How To:

preheat the oven to 400.

cut the cauliflower into uniform pieces, lay in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle salt and pepper. once the oven is heated, roast for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

then crank the oven up to 500 degrees. move a rack to the highest level. place the poblanos on the rack and broil until the first side is almost black and blistered, rotate the peppers until all sides are dark and blistered. tranfer poblanos to a bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.

after sitting for ten minutes, easily remove the skin from the peppers by just peeling. (letting the hot pepper sit in the covered bowl allows the steam to begin working the skins of for you). chop the peppers up into bite size pieces.

heat a sauce pot over medium heat. spray with pan spray and add the diced turkey bacon. cook until the bacon gets reaaaaaaallly crispy, about 7 minutes–move it around occasionally. the bacon will stick a teeny bit and leave a bit of fond on the bottom of the pan–this is GOOD, fond is our flavorful friend.

once the turkey  bacon is cooked super crispily, remove and set it aside. add the diced onion to the same pot, and cook until translucent but not brown.

add in the garlic, let cook 2 minutes. add in 1.5 c of the corn, a small handful of the diced poblanos, the cauliflower and all of the liquids.  stir and bring up to a boil. once boiling, reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

after simmering, pour the soup into a blender, in batches if needed, and liquify until smooth and creamy. IMPORTANT NOTE: take the middle steam cap out of the blender so that the steam can escape while you liquify. otherwise the hot liquid will build up steam and may cause an overflow or movie like blender explosion mess.

return the soup to the pot, stir in the remaining corn and poblanos. add a LARGE pinch of salt, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of chili powder, and some black pepper. taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. serve garnished with the turkey bacon! ENJOY!

underrated tomato basil soup

19 Feb

tomato basil soup is underrated. i don’t know why, but it is. but before i get into the tomato soup issue, i have a confession.

i am on a diet. a BIG diet. as we all know, i’ve been happily eating my way through work and school for the last 6 months under the guise that my boyfriend, currently in korea, would not be seeing me for a year.¬†a¬†wonderful turn of events would have it that we are seeing each other in ONE month-this is amazing news. but then! it dawned on me. i am ten pounds heavier than when he left me–and at that point i was already ten pounds heavier than i should have been. RUH ROH. so, as it were, the year long food coma is briefly turning into the month long vegetable coma. can salad induce the food itis?? if only.

i would like to note though, i truly have not had any qualms about what my body, or my love pudge-as i’ve recently named it, looks like. BUT, since i now have one week out of a whole year to see my boyfriend, i would like to look the best i can.

anyway, my sister told me i should post what i’m eating while on a diet on my blog so that i can hopefully help some of the women who are still of the mind set that eating raw celery and cabbage soup is the only way to slim down.

SO BACK TO TOMATO SOUP. LOW CALORIE, MOSTLY TOMATOES. its also perfect for dunking that ooey gooey grilled cheese on rye when NOT on a diet. no, no grilled cheese here. sorry, i’m a cook, not a zero fat grilled cheese inventing magician.

What You Need for 6-8 Servings:

1 box of pomi chopped tomatoes (box not can because of my aluminum erosion paranoia. see: hypochondria)

1 cup of veg stock or water

1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped

3-6 garlic cloves roasted or raw. i have no time so mine are raw. roasted is more delicious.

a few dashes of tabasco or franks or whichever hot sauce you like

2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 bunch of fresh basil (a bunch being like 10 leaves? i don’t know, lots of basil.)


What to Do:

heat 1 TEASPOON of olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium. add in the onion and sweat about 5-6 minutes until translucent. don’t brown. if using non-roasted garlic add that in after the onion has sweat. let that cook about 2 minutes, just until fragrant.

pour in the box of tomatoes, the stock/water, the hot sauce, the Worcestershire and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and let it simmer for 10ish minutes.

in batches, pour the soup into a blender (if using roasted garlic, add it now into the blender batches) add in 3/4 of the basil leaves and puree until smooth. do this until all the soup is pureed, return to the pot and taste. add salt and pepper as needed. chiffonade the remaining basil and stir in.

the end!

vegetarian three bean chili

10 Jan

i know that i’ve already done chili on this blog. but this is vegetarian chili so its different!! this is a great chili option if you are watching your spending or trying to eat healthier.

this recipe is extremely inexpensive, dried beans are very cheap, and canned beans aren’t too bad either, makes a huge batch and lasts for about 5 days in the fridge ūüôā and, unlike big meaty chili, you feel very light after a biiiig bowl of this stuff!

What You Need for 6 Servings:

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 a jalapeno, thinly sliced

1/2 c strained or chopped tomatoes

1 can of fire roasted tomatoes with medium green chilis, save can and use to add 1/2 c water to the chili

1 c yellow corn (i use frozen)

1 can OR 14 oz dried,  black beans

1 can or 14 oz dried, pinto beans

1 can or 14 oz dried, red kidney beans

–if using canned, make sure to drain and rinse very very well.

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1 T dried oregano

large pinch of chili powder

1/2 t of cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicier)

1/2 T of ground cumin

avocado and applewood smoked yellow cheddar cheese, optional for garnish..but realllllly yummmy!

How it Goes Down:

heat 1 T of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. add the onions and sweat.

add the jalapeno. cook 1 min

add the red bell pepper, saute 2 mins. then pour in the fire roasted tomato and green chilis, fill that can halfway with water and pour that in. also pour in the strained or chopped tomatoes. add in all of the dried herbs and spices. simmer for about 10 minutes to let all the flavors socialize with each other

add in the corn cook 2 mins.

add in all of the beans and stir! taste and adjust salt and other seasonings to your liking!

serve garnished with avocado and smoked yellow cheddar.


hair of the dog sunday lunch: cheddar leek and shiner bock soup

8 Jan

hair of the dog sunday lunch: cheddar leek and ale soup

warning: this is not healthy, this is not low fat, this is not low calorie. this. is. delicious.

well the quote unquote dog that bit me last night was a fantastical concoction of bourbon, beer and¬†ginger ale¬†(yes all in the same glass). i wasn’t willing to consume the hair of that¬†dog this morning. so instead, i decided to make an excessively rich, comforting and cheeeeesy shiner bock soup.

this soup is SO easy and it only takes about 25-45 mins total (depending on how temperamental your soup is being in regard to thickening)


for 4-6 servings (depending on how much you stuff your face):

3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium

1-2 cups of heavy cream-your prerogative

approx 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese. i actually used 1.5 c of regular shredded cheddar, 3/4 c of aged sharp cheddar and 1/2 c of applewood smoked yellow cheddar. i REALLY reccomend using at least a little smoked cheddar because it adds a meatiness and a huge depth of flavor to the soup.

1 bottle of your fav beer, i don’t reccomend using an ipa or a blonde. and certainly don’t use a beer you wouldn’t drink-no ¬†keystone light soup please. I used Shiner Bock because its a great beer, because I’m in Austin and because it was in my fridge already from last night.

3 leeks, white part sliced into 1/4″ slices/rings

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 T of butter

3 T of flour

1 bay leaf

pretzel bread or dark rye bread for croutons/dippage

how the magic happens:

in a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the 3 T butter. add in the leeks and let cook about 5  minutes, letting them sweat and soften up.

add in the flour and stir until a roux forms. add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant.

pour in the beer. stir and let cook about 5 mins. pour in the broth and bay leaf. bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. it should thicken up thanks to the roux.

pour in the heavy cream slowly and stir slowly.

slowly add the cheeses, stirring constantly until the soup has turned yellow in color and all the cheese is melted. remove the bay leaf and let cook another few minutes until it’s thickened. it should be cheesy enough that you see melty strings of cheese if you lift the spoon out of the pot-if you don’t..add some more cheeese. also, it should be thick like a cream soup is..if for some reason its not thickening after 5-10 minutes of cooking after the cheese has been added you can add a little more flour but you probably won’t need to plus, i like to avoid the flour later in the cooking process as it can make things lumpy.

so once the soup is thickened, take a quick taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  ladle some into a bowl garnished with croutons and some of the smoked cheddar! ITS THAT EASY!

chicken sausage and orecchietti soup

3 Jan

so this is a soup i made up today to eat with my mouth to go into my belly. i stole a technique of adding pureed roasted garlic and tomatoes to the soup from a cookbook. i wish i could call the cookbook author to say, “with our powers combined, soup awesomeness ensues”. ¬† maybe i’ll write him a letter.

The Loot for 6 servings:

1/2 lb (or a little more..i used .64 lb) chicken sausage, i used 1 italian chicken sausage and 1 basil garlic chicken sausage

1 c orecchietti pasta

3 c chicken stock

1/2 c boxed chopped tomatoes

1 carrot, chopped

1/2 lb roma tomatoes, about 4 tomatoes

2 heaping handfuls of spinach (about 3 packed cups)

1 head of garlic

crushed red pepper

1 large handful of yellow pearl onions (you can just dice a regular onion but i love these little guys, they are so cuteee and they have a strong, sweet onion flavor while still being mild enough to eat whole)

a large pinch of dried oregano and dried rosemary

salt and pepper

fresh basil and grated parmesan (optional, for garnish)

Some Notes before I begin:

normally when roasting garlic, you cut the top 1/3 of the garlic head off, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and then wrap completely in tin foil and roast. I planned to do this until I realized I was out of tin foil so I used a “confit” method; I cooked individual garlic cloves in olive oil in a pot on the stove over low heat until the garlic was soft and mash-able with a fork. you can use EITHER method, the tin foil oven method requires less watching, but the stove top method provides you with garlic infused olive oil which you can save and use for cooking later on! do what pleases you ūüôā

dA LoW dOwN:

preheat oven to 400 degrees. cut tomatoes in half, top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, some dried oregano, pepper. if roasting the garlic in the oven, put the garlic in the tin foil on the same pan as the tomatoes. once the oven is heated, roast the tomatoes (and garlic) for 45 minutes.

while that’s happening.

remove the sausage from the casings and add to a sauce pan over medium heat. crumble/break up with a wooden spoon and cook until happily browned. add in the peeled pearl onions and the carrots. sweat for about 10 minutes.

Add in the boxed chopped tomatoes and the stock, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Once the tomatoes and garlic are finished roasting, add to a blender and liquify. If you roasted the garlic in the tin foil, squeeze the garlic out of the skin into the blender. If you used the other method, just put it right in since you peeled it before roasting it on the stove.

pour this mixture into the soup, stir. add in the pasta and a pinch of dried rosemary. once the pasta is soft but al dente, after about 10-12 minutes, add in 2 large handfuls of spinach.

Taste, adjust the salt and other seasonings. Serve, garnished with parmesan and torn basil leaves. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

printable recipe