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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 🙂


ras el hanout inspired roasted chickpeas

29 Feb

ras el-hanout is a morrocan spice blend that is filled with lots of different flavor profiles and depths. it’s savory, spicy, smokey, sweet and deliciously complex. the spices i use for these chickpeas are very ras el-hanout-esque but are still a unique blend of flavors.


what you need for 3 servings:

1 can or 1.5 cups dried chickpeas. (if canned, drain, rinse and dry)

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 T salt

1/2 T black pepper

1/2 T dried or fresh ( if fresh, minced) oregano

1/2 T hungarian paprika

2 t cayenne pepper

2 t cinnamon

2 t chili powder

2 t cumin

1/2 t garlic powder

1/4 t nutmeg

preheat the oven to 375. in a small tupperware container, mix all of the spices together. coat the chickpeas in the olive oil and toss into the tupperware. close the lid and shake shake shake like a polaroid picture until the chickpeas are happily coated 🙂 put the chickpeas onto a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are crispy on the outside but still a little mealy on the inside.


chickpea and spinach stew with seared polenta

4 Jan

this is a really simple dinner, it’s very “pantry”-ish. i debated even posting it just because it’s not so glamorous  but i figured it would be  a nice way to show a good way to use left overs…and to enlighten you in the joys of seared polenta.

it’s kind of similar to my winter vegetable stew, but in flavor its very different.

this was 100% a pantry recipe for me so feel free to use any veggies you have on hand.

what you need for 2 servings of the stew:

1 cup of chickpeas

3 heaping cups of spinach

If you have onion, you should use it! I didn’t have any.

1.5 cups of canned or box diced tomatoes and their juices

1/3 cup of water

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, diced or sliced, whatever

crushed red pepper flakes

salt, black pepper

1 bay leaf

fresh basil (optional, but delicious)

parmesan cheese (optional)

what you need for 2 polenta rounds:

1 cup of water (i actually use 1/2 c of water and 1/2 c of half and half)

5 T of quick cooking polenta

a large pinch of salt and pepper

how to make:

make the polenta first, boil the water, add the salt and pepper, then whisk in the polenta ONE tablespoon at a time so that it doesn’t get clumpy!!!! Once its thick and creamy. Lay the polenta out in the corner of a parchment lined sheet pan so that you can get 2 round cookie cutter’s out of it. DON’T ACTUALLY CUT ANYTHING OUT YET, JUST EYEBALL IT TO MAKE SURE THAT 2 CIRCLES CAN BE CUT OUT OF IT. I actually use the rim of a glass because I don’t have cookie cutters so feel free to use that also. So lay some plastic wrap directly onto the polenta rectangle so that a skin doesn’t form and stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes or into the fridge for about 45. while the polenta sets, make the stew.

Spray a pan over medium heat with pam, or use some olive oil. Add in the(onion if you are using and cook for 5 minutes) then add in carrots and garlic, cook about five minutes.


Add in the chickpeas, crushed red pepper and cook another 5. pour in the tomato and liquid. Add in the bay leaf and turn the heat to low and let sit for about 20 minutes or until the chickpeas are soft.

add in the spinach, stir and cover until wilted. add salt, pepper and fresh basil.

Once the polenta is set, heat a sauté pan over medium high heat, spray with pan spray. Cut out 2 circles from the polenta and put in the hot pan, let cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until a golden brown crust forms.


spinach chickpea stew printable recipe


not so ramen noodle soup

22 Oct
I love ramen noodles. I don’t like the flavor pack or anything but the noodles themselves, the noodles! I love them. And I like to think that because I don’t insult their perfection by adding the seasoning pack, that they love me back. So, this is another one of those pantry type recipes, you can add any veggies you’d like, you can also add meat, chicken or tofu. 
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Ramen noodles
1/2 the box of LOW SODIUM Chicken or Vegetable stock
1 T garlic chili paste-THE BEST STUFF EVER! its like $4 for a tiny bottle but its so worth it. I use it at least once a week. 
LOW SODIUM soy sauce
sesame oil
rice wine vinegar
fresh spinach
frozen broccoli
frozen edamame
(the whiskey in the picture did not go into this soup, but by all means add it if you see fit-I won’t judge)
don’t bother salting, the stock and soy sauce, although both low sodium, are still really high in sodium. 
How to make this super easy soup, if you can even call it soup. Its more like noodles with some broth:
add 1 T of sesame oil and 1 T of the chili garlic paste to a pan, heated over medium heat. stir in whatever vegetables you are using (minus the spinach). 
Add the broth, a dash of soy sauce and a dash of vinegar. Let it come up to a boil slowly. (Just a warning, the vinegar may turn some of your vegetables a duller color, it’s just a chemical reaction that affects the aesthetics of the veggies) 
Once boiling, add in your glorious block of noodles. Once the noodles are soft, add in the spinach, stir and serve!
 Drizzle a little sesame oil on top 🙂 because its yummmmmy. 

Curry-ish Quinoa with Chickpeas, Almonds, and Cucumbers

20 Oct
ok so this for me is a “pantry recipe”,  you know-made from stuff I have in the house. I have a bit of a qualm with pantry recipes though because they are really only “pantry” to the person making them. Sometimes I see pantry recipes that call for things like brown sugar or frozen spinach, or oxtail-whatever. i do not have any of these  things in my pantry.  my pantry consists of whatever hasn’t been eaten yet and whatever I bought a year ago and haven’t used. and about 4 bottles of crushed red pepper and a plethora of other half empty spice bottles that I don’t remember buying but seem to have just appeared. so for me, this is a pantry recipe, but for you, its a recipe that will most likely require a safeway/publix/whole foods visit. The great thing is, tons of substitutions and add ins can be made so that it can use up as much of your pantry as possible-don’t get ridiculous though. 
What You Need (roughly..):

1 cup of Quinoa (you can substitute any kind of rice you have, however, I always have quinoa because it is a complete protein and great for you–and delicious)
1 T of olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic
curry powder
ground turmeric
ground cumin
ground ginger
cayenne pepper
ground chili pepper
water, or chicken or vegetable stock. The stock will give it more flavor but water keeps it more “pantry” and less calories and salt. 
1/2 of any kind of onion, medium dice
1/2 cup of chickpeas
1/4-1/2 of a cup cucumber
1/4 of a cup of almonds, chopped
I used cucumber and frozen chickpeas because I had those in my house and wanted to use them. 
You could really use anything you have, cauliflower, green beans, frozen spinach, white beans, red beans. I also added about 6 chopped almonds at the end because I was feelin’ wild!
Here is the brand of cucumbers I use, I love them because they are baby sized and less watery than the big ones. 
So, roughly chop the garlic
Heat a sauce pot over medium. Once hot, add the olive oil and the garlic. if I had any onion I would have DEFINITELY put it in here too, but alas,  I did not. Okay, now this part is crucial and awesome. Add in about 1 T of curry powder and as much of the other spices as you’d like..I did about 2 shakes of the container each. Then mix and let it happen. Watch the garlic (and onion) turn a rich, red, yellow color and enjoy for about two minutes while your kitchen is filled with a spice-tastic armoa. (I usually stick my face an inch away from the pot and inhale, its weird, but it smells so darn good I just can’t help myself)
Then add the frozen chickpeas (or whatever other vegetable you are using) and coat in the spice mixture
Once those get warmed and coated in the spices, pour in 1 cup of quinoa, stir, and let it toast up a little bit. 
Then add the water/stock and bring to a boil. A boil by the way looks like this. Lots of bubbles.
Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer. A simmer will be on a really low heat and will have a teeny tiny amount of bubbles hitting the surface. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Don’t take the lid off more than once to check it because the steam that gets trapped inside is how it cooks. While its cooking chop the almonds and slice the cucumbers. 

Once its finished, fluff it with a fork. add the cucumbers and almonds, stir. and eat!! or put it into a container and store it in your fridge for up to 4 days. 5 if you like to push the envelope.