Thursday, December 31, 2015

Black Bean Soup

I was asked for this recipe on Facebook. I don't know if I would call it a recipe--it's in my typical style of "let's try a pinch of this and a cup of that." But for what it's worth, here you go!


1 bag of dry black beans
chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
ham, diced or chopped (I buy it packaged by Farmland)
1 can diced tomatoes

Cook the beans according to the directions on the bag using either the overnight or quick soak method. For added flavor, substitute half of water (or more if you like) with chicken broth. When the beans are about an hour away from being done, saute the ham, onion, and green pepper in oil or butter until the vegetables are softened. Add this mixture plus the can of tomatoes (including juice) to the beans, along with additional water/broth if necessary. Season with chili powder (several tablespoons), cumin (several teaspoons), garlic (several cloves) and salt to taste. I'm sorry I can't give you more specific amounts than that. Simmer until beans are done, and garnish with grated hard-boiled egg, Monterrey Jack or cheddar cheese, and sour cream, plus some Sriracha or Tabasco sauce for those who want a spicier dish. Serve with tortilla chips, saltines, or cornbread. Yum! (Great leftover, too.)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chicken Lombardy

We tried this recipe for the first time last night. I am not sure of the original source of the recipe. My husband came across it somewhere and sent it to me in an email. It is highly recommended!

Two 8 oz package(s) sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoon(s) butter melted
6 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 cup(s) parmesan cheese
2 green onions chopped
Cook mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or just until tender. Remove from heat; set aside.
Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/8 inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. (Note from Cheryl: you could also buy the thin cut chicken breasts. I think I will do this next time!)
Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Cook chicken in batches, in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Place chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish, overlapping edges. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and butter. Reserving pan drippings in skillet. Sprinkle mushrooms evenly over chicken.
Add wine and broth to skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and green onions; sprinkle over chicken.
Bake uncovered, at 450 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes until cheese melts.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Low-Carb Chicken with Spinach and Mushrooms

I know--it's been over two years since I posted here. If you read my other blog, you may have some inkling why. But hey, that's not the point of this post. I dropped in to share a recipe, not rehash the last two years of my life. So here you go: my husband found this one in a friend's feed on Facebook, and we tried it tonight. It was a hit! I am sharing the original recipe plus the modifications I made.

Yummy Low-Carb Chicken

6 thin-sliced chicken breasts
1 container of green onion cream cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 large package of sliced mushrooms
1 small bag fresh baby spinach
Sprinkle of Weber Herb and Garlic Seasoning
Sprinkle of pepper
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

In a 9x13 pan lay out chicken in single layer, top with spinach and mushrooms. Then sprinkle the seasonings over the top. Soften cream cheese and whisk in olive oil and chicken broth. Pour over mixture. Lay piece of foil over the top but do not seal. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes; remove foil and bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes; then sprinkle cheese on top and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes or until starting to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Here are my modifications: I did not have green onion cream cheese so used plain. Then I chopped up about half an onion and sprinkled that on top of the mushrooms and spinach. I used 9, not 6, scallopini cut chicken breasts. I did not have Weber seasoning so improvised that with some garlic powder and some poultry seasoning. When I tasted the sauce it was a little too heavy on the olive oil flavor, so I added some sour cream to the mixture, which also helped extend it to cover the additional chicken breasts.  I'm not sure what a "large" package of mushrooms and a "small" bag of spinach equal, so I just covered the chicken with a layer of each, and after the pan came out of the oven I wished I had piled on even more because of how much the spinach, especially, cooks down.

 Recipe and photo credit: Anna Marie.

Friday, April 27, 2012


The more ways you have to cook ground beef the better, right? Here's one you might not have tried: bobotie. It is of African origin and is pronounced "bah-buh-tee," not "bo-bo-tie." The recipe we use is from A Carriacou Cookbook, which we picked up when were in Grenada a few years ago.


1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped or thinly sliced
1/2 cup almonds or raw, skinned peanuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 thick slice of bread (or two thin slices)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. each salt and chili pepper

If almonds still have skins on, put them into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover them. Leave for 10 minutes, then slip off skins. Split, or roughly chop and set aside. (Better yet, use skinless, chopped almonds!) Peanuts can be used whole or roughly chopped.

Put bread to soak in a little of the milk. Put ground beef on to fry and when it is starting to brown add onion and continue frying until beef is completely brown and onions are just soft. While you are waiting for the onion and beef to cook, squeeze excess milk from bread, saving the milk, and mash the bread. Drain excess grease from the beef mixture if desired. Add spices, sugar, salt and chili. Stir fry another minute, remove from heat, and add almonds, reserving about 1 tbsp. for the top. Add raisins, lime juice and squeezed/mashed bread.

Put entire mixture into an oven-proof 9x13 baking dish that has been prepared with oil, butter or nonstick spray. Beat eggs with all remaining milk and pour over the beef mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Scatter reserved almonds on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with rice, vegetables, salad and mango or banana chutney (those recipes can also be found in the Carriacou cookbook).

Here's a photo of the bobotie I made a few days ago (to give credit where credit is due, my husband made it the first time). YUM!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trader Joe's Throw-Together

I love Trader Joe's. I know I'm lucky to live near one. I was shopping there yesterday and they were handing out samples of a chicken chili recipe made with all Trader Joe's products. I had a taste and was immediately sold. We had it for supper tonight.

Here's the recipe. It doesn't get much easier than this. In fact, I don't think I can even call this cooking.

1 jar Trader Joe's Fire-roasted Yellow & Red Peppers
1 jar Trader Joe's Salsa Verde
1 can Trader Joe's White Kidney Beans
1 can Trader Joe's Premium White Chunk Chicken

Put it all in a pot, stir, and warm thoroughly. That's it.

I was worried this would not be enough food for my crew. So I added another can of chicken and another can of beans. I didn't have any more white kidney beans so I used black beans. Then I tossed in a little extra chili powder.

We had a salad on the side and some saltine crackers. Yum! It was a great dish for a cold winter's night. It cost a little more to make than a pot of beef chili, which costs about $5. But it was a welcome change of pace and cheaper than making chicken breasts or the like for everyone. You could easily substitute the Trader Joe's ingredients with other brands.

Next time I think I'll try doing what we do with black bean soup and garnish with onions and/or sour cream. Time to go back to TJ's and stock up on more ingredients!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick and Easy Lunch

If you're like me, you don't want to spend much time on lunch, whether to think about it, prepare it, or eat it. As a result, the midday repast can quickly become tiresome in its predictability. So it's nice to find a dish that is not only tasty but cheap, easy and fast. That's what I found last week when I was visiting my friend Elephant's Child. For lunch she served us a simple rice and bean dish that was a welcome change from cold sandwiches. Wow, imagine that! Hot food for lunch! It hit the spot on a cold day, so much so that I have made it several more times this past week. Here's how I did it (which is probably not exactly how Elephant's Child made hers):

Cook one bag of Success rice according to package directions.
Mix in one can of black beans and one can of Rotel-style tomatoes and green chilies. Warm through.
Serve alone or on soft tortillas, garnished with your choice of cheese, sour cream, onions, and/or lettuce.

That's it. You can throw it together in about 15 minutes. The rice and beans cost less than $2 to make: the rice was 50 cents (one bag out of a box of four for $2), and the beans and tomatoes were each about 60 cents. Add the cost of tortillas and garnish, and you're talking $3 (at the most) for a 3 or 4-person meal.

We sometimes make bean and cheese quesadillas for lunch, but in my opinion this is so much better and more substantial. Thanks, Elephant's Child!