Monday, December 8, 2014

Black Bean Soup with Chorizo and Lime

So Cooking Light emailed this recipe last week, I think.  I looked at the ingredients, and we had the majority of them except for the Spanish Chorizo and Cilantro.  Now, knowing our grocery store, I knew Spanish Chorizo was not going to be had. I also noticed Mexican Chorizo would taste fine with this, and easy to get.

D made it. It was easy he said.  It was similar to the Black Bean-Tomato Soup with Cilantro-Lime Cream, but he said easier.

It was flavorful and spicy.  I would have again.

Black Bean Soup with Chorizo and Lime

Smoky chorizo and bright lime add depth to a soup made quick with canned beans.
Yield: Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 ounces Spanish chorizo, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (used Mexican chorizo)
1 cup chopped onion
Photo by ALB
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (used green)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted black beans, rinsed, drained, and coarsely mashed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chorizo; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove chorizo from pan (do not wipe pan). Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in oregano and next 4 ingredients (through salt); cook 30 seconds. Stir in stock and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in cooked chorizo and juice. Ladle 1 1/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 287; Fat: 12.5g; Saturated fat: 4.6g; Monounsaturated fat: 5.6g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1g; Protein: 16.4g; Carbohydrate: 27.1g; Fiber: 7.7g; Cholesterol: 27mg; Iron: 2.8mg; Sodium: 514mg; Calcium: 119mg

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2013

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

So I think my friend NCBeaches told me about this recipe. If she didn't, I will give her credit for telling me about the Slow Roasted Italian.

Anyway, back to the potatoes. I have made mashed potatoes in the crockpot for holidays before and honestly it works so well. You have no one in the Meat Preparer's way because potatoes seem to have to be made at the last minute so they aren't cold. I was going to make these (because honestly I don't remember how I made the potatoes I made previously and it was before I started this blog), but I have a leg injury at the moment so D made them.

We halved the recipe, and there was still leftovers after 4 adults ate. They had a good garlic taste (I assume D added more), and more importantly, they were HOT!

When asking D about the ease, he said they were quite possibly the easiest mashed potatoes he ever made. He said if you wanted to get fancy to either change the cream cheese to flavored cream cheese or something like Camembert or Brie.

We'll have again.

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

Recipe by The Slow Roasted Italian
SERVES 12 | ACTIVE TIME 20 Min | TOTAL TIME 3 Hours 20 Minutes

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened (used salted)
5 pounds red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2" pieces
Mashed Potatoes in foreground- Photo by ALB
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese (used light)
1/2 cup sour cream (used light)
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Butter inside of crock with butter and leave remaining butter on the bottom of the dish. Add potatoes and cover. Cook on high 3 hours or 5-6 hours on low.

Remove cover, once potatoes are fork tender (meaning they break apart when you put a fork into a potato), add milk and cream. Mash with potato masher until desired consistency is reached. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2014


So I said previously that D and I had been sick with food poisoning or something the week before Thanksgiving.  Although we know it didn't cause it, the last meal we had included sausage, so we wanted no part of sausage.

Now my brother is the Dip King, and usually we all joyfully welcome sausage to any meal. However, this year, no.  So Bro and I looked and found 3 recipes and D picked this of those.

I assume this was easy because Bro was in our kitchen and needed no help (you know how not being in your own kitchen is).

The result was delicious.   It wasn't until we got about half way through that we finally figured out it would be awesome atop of hot dogs, but we had none (and then is when I remembered to get a picture).  So we continued to demolish this with tortilla chips.  I'd have this again.


From Pinch of Yum 
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 24 (or 4)

3 cups prepared chili, or 2 cans (like Hormel)
1 block cream cheese (I used light)
Photo by ALB
3 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 can black beans
chili powder, cumin, or cayenne to taste
cilantro for topping (didn't use)
tortilla chips for dipping

In microwaveable safe bowl (or a Dutch Oven on the stove), melt first 3 ingredients. Stir well until blended together. Add black beans and seasoning, if desired. Transfer to a mini-crocvkpot for serving. Serve with cilantro and chips!

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Thanksgiving!  As usual, a holiday in our house that is not traditional.  I'm allergic to turkey, and neither D nor I like ham.  So we usually have unusual meals.  Christmas falls into this category too.  We have had Pastitsio, Tacos, Jambalaya, Sausage, and other oddities.  This year, I decided I wanted a traditional Thanksgiving.  However, D and I both got some weird food poisoning that lasted an entire week, and by the time Sunday before Thanksgiving rolled around, thinking about food was not a priority (I may have told my brother we not even have it).

So back to traditional Thanksgiving.  Our menu got abbreviated, but I REALLY wanted pecan pie.   Then I remembered my dad had asked about cheesecake in August when I saw him.  He doesn't usually ask for anything on the menus (my brother, D, and I plan the menus), so I felt obliged.  And then I remembered I found a recipe that would satisfy my dad and me.  PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE.

First, it was SIMPLE to make, provided you have a food processor.  The recipe was from Heidi's So-Called Life. This was only going to be my 2nd attempt at a cheesecake, and they still intimidate me.  However, she took into consideration everything.

Just make it.
Photo by ALB

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

From Heidi's So-Called Life
Servings: 1-10 depending on what size piece you cut

1 ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
Photo by ALB
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted

Pecan Filling:
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (used low-fat, because I find it creamier)
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pecan Filling:
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

Photo by ALB

Cheesecake Filling:
Reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour. Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Photo by ALB

The IMPORTANT Part from Heidi's So-Called Life 
I always end up having a mushy crust whenever I try to do a water bath for my cheesecakes - I guess I just don't wrap the pan well enough in foil. This time I had a Pyrex dish filled with very hot water on the bottom rack while the cheesecake baked on the top rack, and I did not have a single crack!
(ALB's note- It worked. I had 1 small crack compared to my first cheesecake that had a huge one across the middle!)

Photo by ALB
So good that I had a slice for breakfast on Friday!

Photo by ALB

Friday, November 7, 2014

Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

So I liked this recipe because it was fast.  I assume it was easy, since they usually go hand-in-hand. D made it.

I would have again.  We had with Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes.

Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 breast half and 2 tablespoons sauce)
Cost Per Serving:$2.36

2 teaspoons canola oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Photo by ALB
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup beer (used a Budweiser)
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute or until translucent. Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 245; Fat: 4.5g; Saturated fat: 0.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 2g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g; Protein: 40g; Carbohydrate: 7.8g; Fiber: 0.2g; Cholesterol: 99mg; Iron: 1.6mg; Sodium: 544mg; Calcium: 27mg

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2012

Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes

Like most roasted potatoes, these smell better than they actually are.  They were good, but I didn't feel they were anything special.  However, unlike usual, I refrained from putting ketchup on them (I put ketchup on most "French Fry-like" potatoes).

I'd still have them again.  We had with Chicken with Beer and Honey.

Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ready In: 55 Minutes

1.50 lb(s), New Red Potato With Skin
Photo by ALB
3.00 tbsp., Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2.00 tbsp, Cheese - Parmesan, shredded
1.00 tbsp, Spices - Rosemary, fresh
0.25 tsp, Salt - Coarse Kosher
0.25 tsp(s), Spices - Pepper, black

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Mix potatoes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and rosemary in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread potato mixture over prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven until potatoes are golden brown and tender, stirring once, about 40 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 221; Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 2 mg; Sodium: 194 mg; Potassium: 781 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 27 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 4 g;

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches

D and I were looking for a beef slow-cooker recipe and I found this.  He agreed.

He said in terms of easiness, it was very simple.

Taste-wise, it was delicious.  I have no idea if it compares to a Chicago Sandwich, but it was good enough for me.  Coincidentally, my friend Delane had sent me homemade relish from Chicago.  So we put that on.  D also put Giardiniera on his, but I did not, since I don't like olives.  I put pepperoncini on mine.

We would definitely have again.  We had with Tater Tots.

Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches

Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 sandwich and about 2 tablespoons sauce)
Hands-on: 15 Minutes
Total: 8 Hours, 15 Minutes

3 banana peppers
Photo by ALB
Cooking spray
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 bottled pepperoncini peppers, chopped
2 1/4 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and halved
8 (1 1/2-ounce) sandwich rolls, toasted

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 6 minutes or until blackened in spots, turning occasionally. Place peppers in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and red pepper; stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and chopped pepperoncini.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place beef in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until beef is very tender. Remove beef from cooker; shred with 2 forks. Stir beef and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into cooking liquid. Divide beef mixture evenly among sandwich rolls, spooning out with a slotted spoon. Serve any extra sauce for dipping.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 356; Fat: 15.9g; Saturated fat: 6g; Monounsaturated fat: 6.4g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3g; Protein: 26.2g; Carbohydrate: 24.7g; Fiber: 1.9g; Cholesterol: 86mg; Iron: 3.5mg; Sodium: 588mg; Calcium: 94mg

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2013