Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

Caribbean Black Bean Soup

Once again another great find from Cookie Madness. But alas, not a dessert! This soup is so very easy and yum! I made it vegetarian so omitted the chicken, but the flavors are so great you will please the whole family!

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Ingredients
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (14-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 pound chicken breast tenders
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained*
1/2 teaspoon salt
Toppings: diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream

* Since I opted for the vegetarian option, I used 3 cans of black beans to insure a hearty soup.

Preparation
1. Sauté onion, brown sugar, chili powder,cumin, and coriander in hot oil in a Dutch Oven, or other large pot, over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender and fragrant. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute.

2. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, orange juice, and tomato paste until well blended. Stir in chicken. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 2 hours. Shred chicken with two forks in Dutch oven.** Add black beans, and cook 10 more minutes. Stir in salt. Serve with desired toppings.

**For the vegetarian option, I let the mixture simmer for ~45 minutes, then added the black beans.

Note: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator. When reheating, add water or canned broth to reach desired consistency.

Enjoy!

Citrus Baked Salmon En Papillote

It seems the trendy way to cook fish this spring is en papillote! I totally threw this together for a caribbean inspired meal! And I am so proud. 🙂 

 

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All of this is approximate depending on the size of your fish. My fish was about 24 oz, 

Rub

Mix the following:

Orange zest

Melted butter (about a Tbs max)

Few shakes of cinnamon

Few shakes of oregano

Sea Salt – not too much.

A bit of squeezed orange juice, so that your rub isn’t completely dry.

 

Rinse the fish, then pat dry. Place the fish on a ~12×12 inch piece of foil or parchment paper, and lavishly spread the rub all over the fish.  Throw some wedges of the orange that you zested around the fish and some parsley just to make it pretty.  Place another piece of foil the same size on top and roll each edge to close the fish.

Bake for ~17 minutes at 400 degrees (bake time depends on size of fish). Make sure to open your papillote away from you so you don’t get doused in hot steam! Use  a fork to make sure the salmon flakes. If it doesn’t flake it isn’t ready yet (wrap it back up and send it in for a bit longer)! 

This was DELICIOUS !

 

Enjoy!

Banana and Chocolate Chip Bars

I love banana bread but a little deviation from the norm never hurt anyone! I found this delicious recipe over at my favorite sweet treats blog, Cookie Madness! If you haven’t checked out her blog you are REALLY missing out!

These bars are really simple and are just the right texture. Try them next time instead of bread when your ‘nanas are extra ripe!

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Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2.25 oz)
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ oz banana, mashed (a little less than ¼ cup if you don’t have a scale)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter (cooled) – I used salted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (I used walnuts and forgot to toast)
1/3 cup chocolate chips or chunks (use more if you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.

Stir mashed banana, syrup, melted butter and vanilla in a second bowl. Pour flour mixture into banana mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in pecans and chocolate. Mixture should be goopy, but not too runny. If it’s runny, chill it for an hour.

Empty the goopy banana mixture onto the parchment lined sheet and shape into a rectangle about 9×2 inches. The best way to do this is with damp hands.

Bake on center rack for 15 minutes. Pull from oven and quickly score the long bar into 1 ½ to 2 inch wide bars, but don’t separate. If you have a sharp pizza cutter, this will work awesomely! Quickly return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on tray, then carefully separate the bars and let them sit on a cooling rack to finish cooling. They should develop kind of a crispy shell.

Makes 6

Next time and I am doubling this recipe because I think a lot of the kiddos I babysit would love these guys!

Sweet Potato Experiments

For the longest time, I would wander through the produce section and look dreamily towards the sweet potatoes wondering why they were there if it wasn’t November or December. What a waste.

But guess what?!

I have two amazing, quick, and EASY options for your sweet potatoes! I am always looking for meals/sides I can prep on Sunday and munch on throughout the week. Every week I have the hardest time deciding which of the two following spices to use!

Littlest over at The Schell Cafe loves sweet potatoes cubed and tossed with olive oil and cinnamon in a ziploc, and that was the original go-to snack of mine.

Until the fabulous guys over at the The Bitten Word posted a slight variation. They claimed that cubed sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil and fajita seasoning (I use the chicken variety) would please anyone.

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I decided to try these out one night when I had a group of my favorite guinea pigs over for dinner! 3/5 of us supposedly disliked sweet potatoes. I told them that it was hypothesized by the chaps over there that anyone would love them.

 

After observing and collecting data, the conclusion of this experiment supported our hypothesis! Not only did all 3 of them totally dig the potatoes, a few beers and games of wii bowling later they were digging through my fridge looking for the remaining cubes.

So try them I say, you will be pleasantly surprised (and so will your guinea pigs).

 

Disclaimer: If you have guinea pigs, I wouldn’t recommend dropping the leftovers in the bowl, don’t know how the olive oil would do in their squeaky little systems!

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Enjoy!

Yay !

I am so excited with the menu I’ve put together for the week! Can’t wait to share it!

Monday night I’m making sushi with my BFF! Watch for pictures! This is our second time, we are still beginners, but it is so much fun!

See you soon!