Category Archives: Beans

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’m sorry. I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I do have excuses, and they are valid. One is that I’ve started working full-time. I’ve been having trouble finding the balance between work life and family/home life. Another thing was daylight savings time. When I work and then go run my errands, come home and help the kiddo with homework then start cooking, we don’t eat until later and pictures really do NOT look good in artificial light. But I’m going to try to do better, I promise.

Today’s recipe was definitely a keeper. I realize it’s starting to get warmer out but some people like me enjoy a good soup anyway. I did take a few shortcuts, but we were really impressed with the depth of flavor. I’ve tinkered with a few different chicken tortilla soups and this is the first that I’ve really liked. And it reheated well too. ūüôā

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. olive oil (another one)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel
32 oz. chicken stock
3 tbsp. tomato paste
4 cups hot water
2 cans black beans, rinsed well and drained
3 tbsp. cornmeal
1 bag tortilla strips (usually in the salad topping section)
desired garnishes: sour cream, diced avocado, diced red onion, salsa, cheese, cilantro

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and salt together in a small bowl. Drizzle 1 tbsp. olive oil on the chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small bit of the mixed seasonings over the chicken, reserving the rest for later. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the juices of the chicken run clear. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then shred using two forks. Set the shredded chicken aside.

In a large pot, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the vegetables, stirring to combine. Cook until tender, adding the rest of the seasoning mix. Add the shredded chicken and stir. Add the can of Rotel, chicken stock, water, tomato paste an beans. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a low simmer. Cook 45 minutes, uncovered.

In a small dish, mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup and stir well, simmer another 30 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve with the tortilla strips and desired garnishes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup


Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach

I’m really lucky in love. I have the man of my dreams and luckily for me, he is an adventurous eater. A lot of people won’t try new things but both of us like to. I’m always seeing pictures of scallops and they look so good but I was always scared. I finally decided to get over it and just try a recipe.

Before cooking, I did a little research that told me that scallops need to be dry before cooking. They emit a lot of water, particularly previously frozen kind, which is what I used. I thawed them, rinsed and patted dry, then I set a little stack of paper towels on a plate, placed scallops on it, put more towels on top with another plate sitting on top to push some of that water out. Worked perfectly and the scallops got a nice sear. We really loved this dish, I’m going to be making it again soon, and maybe trying some other recipes as well.

Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach

Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach

Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach
Recipe from Women’s Health

2 strips bacon, chopped into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
4 cups baby spinach
1 lb. large sea scallops
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
juice of 1 lemon


In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon over low heat. Once crisp, add the onion and garlic, cook until softened. Add the beans and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted. Keep warm.

Over medium-high heat, heat a large cast-iron skillet. Blot your scallops dry with a paper towel and season on each side. Add the butter to the pan and sear the scallops on each side, about three minutes each until they have a nice caramelized crust.

Add the lemon juice to the beans and serve topped with scallops.

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo

Cochon and Cochon Butcher in New Orleans are two yummy restaurants.  A few years ago before I had eaten there, I looked up their menu online and was interested to see that they had some recipes posted.  One was for a black-eyed pea gumbo.  I was intrigued and saved the recipe.

Over the last few years I always thought about making that recipe, but it always seemed like something my guests would be weirded out at.  Finally I decided to just make it and see what happened.  I got all the ingredients before actually reading the recipe, and seeing that the pork was to be smoked.  My husband was at work and the weather report was calling for rain the next day, so if it was going to be smoked it was going to be me doing it.  After consulting with both my dad and my husband on the phone (many phone calls!) I was proud to say I smoked the meat all on my own.  I used pecan wood and a Hunters Game Rub from the Baton Rouge company Red Stick Spice.  I was so excited by the great smoke ring the meat had.

And my guests?¬† Loved it.¬† In fact, the guest that was the most skeptical asked for the recipe!¬† It had a ton of flavor and wasn’t hard at all to make – instead of smoking the meat you could always go to a bbq joint and get some already smoked pork.¬† I’m sure the original recipe intended for you to use fresh black eye peas and greens, but I just didn’t have the time and the canned worked just fine.¬† There was not a whole lot of black eye peas, if you want more of that you can use two cans.

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo
Recipe adapted from Cochon

1 cup oil/bacon grease
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 slices bacon
1 carton chicken broth
1 carton beef stock
1 can chicken broth
1 can beef broth
1 package frozen seasoning blend
1 spoon minced garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp file’ powder
4 tbsp Creole seasoning
1/2-3/4 tbsp salt
6 cups water
1 can black eye peas, rinsed and drained
1 can turnip greens, liquid drained (I used the Glory brand seasoned greens)
3 lb. smoked pork butt, cubed
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 package sausage, cut into small rounds


In a small skillet, cook the four slices bacon until crisp.  Set the bacon aside and pour the bacon grease into a 1 cup measuring cup.  Add vegetable oil to the bacon grease, until it makes 1 cup oil/bacon grease.  Pour the oil into a large stockpot and heat over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the flour and make a roux Рyou want it to be the same brown as a paper bag.  Stir often, getting the corners of the pot to prevent burning.

Once the roux has reached the desired color, add your seasoning blend and minced garlic.  Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are tender, thenadd the water to break up the roux.  Once it comes to a slow boil again, add the rest of the ingredients.  Crumble the bacon and add it in as well.  Simmer a few hours, stirring occasionally.  Skim the oil off of the top then taste for seasonings.  Serve over rice or potato salad, or bot

My Smoked Pork Butt ūüôā

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo

Check out the smoke ring!

Lentil & Spinach Curry

I’ve never been a big fan of beans, or anything of the like (except for green beans and bbq beans), but I’ve been trying to change that lately.¬† I am now a fan of black beans and lentils (I know it probably isn’t technically a bean?).¬† While I am a new fan of lentils, I’m a cautious fan.¬† I’m not completely on board, unless it’s something that sounded really REALLY good.¬† Like lentil & spinach curry.

I love curry.¬† There is an Indian restaurant in Baton Rouge that an old roommate used to bring me to and I just loved it.¬† I took my now¬†hubby there and lucky for me, he loved it too.¬† I don’t know why we don’t cook it more often, I think we’ll have to change that.¬† This meal came together really quickly and was pretty healthy for you (and cheap too!).¬† The vegetable base it called for was a little tricky to find (I found it at Albertson’s) and a bit on the pricey side, but if you can find it I think it’s worth it.¬† It’s basically vegetable bouillon¬†but you can tell that it has a bit more richness and seasoning to it.¬† But if you can’t find it, regular vegetable bouillon should do the trick.¬† I also added peanut butter, which was NOT in the recipe.¬† Gotta love my husband, he didn’t even bat an eye when I said “I think peanut butter would go nicely in this!”¬† He taste-tested and agreed with me!¬† But that’s your call.¬† I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Lentil & Spinach Curry

Lentil & Spinach Curry
Recipe adapted from Food and Whine

2 cups lentils
3 cups water
2 tsp vegetable base (I used organic Better Than Bouillon in a jar)
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-5 tsp curry powder, depending on your taste (we like a lot!)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp sugar
1 10 oz. frozen spinach, cooked and drained
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 spoons peanut butter (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste


Rinse lentils in cold water, then combine with 3 cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once it comes to a boil, add the vegetable base and stir in.  Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

While that’s cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.¬† Add the onions and garlic, cook until soft.¬† Add the grated ginger, let cook for a minute before adding the rest of the spices.¬† Once fragrant, add the spinach, crushed tomatoes and lentils (I didn’t add all of the lentils, probably about 3/4 of them).¬† Add salt, pepper and peanut butter (if desired) and mix in well and allow to heat through.

Serve over rice, with some naan if you have it!


Pan-Fried Green Beans

Spring is here, flowers are blooming and fresh produce is plentiful.  Kroger has been having some great produce sales lately, one of them being green beans.  When my husband decided he wanted to do some steaks on the grill, I knew I wanted to have fresh green beans with them.

I have a couple of green bean recipes I always cook, but I just wanted something different this time.¬† It’s fun to mix it up sometimes!¬† After a little search on, I landed on “Dad’s Pan-Fried Green Beans.”¬† It sounded easy and delicious, and it really was.¬† The flavors were so deep and delicious, all that was left at the end was an empty plate!¬† I’m sure you could fix this with frozen green beans, but if you find some on sale, you can’t beat fresh!

Pan-Fried Green Beans

Pan-Fried Green Beans
Recipe from

1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
3 tbsp soy sauce (I used Tabasco brand)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp white granulated sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp minced garlic

Place the green beans in a pot with one inch of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook for five minutes.

While that’s cooking, stir together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.¬† Drain the green beans, then heat the sesame oil.¬† Add the green beans and garlic, cook for about a minute, just until the garlic is toasted.¬† Add the soy sauce mixture, toss to coat and allow to cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish and drizzle the remaining sauce over them before serving.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

We’ve been dieting (which you really can’t tell from recent posts) and part of the diet is that every other night we have Cheerios.¬† Poor hubby isn’t a fan of this new plan.¬† He works hard all day outside, moving huge slabs of rocks around.¬† He doesn’t want to come home to a nice bowl of ….Cheerios.

So on those other nights, I try to cook something I know he’ll like while still trying to stay inside the realm of “healthy” or at least “healthy-ish.”¬† And while he likes to eat unusual aka “fancy” foods, deep down he’s really a meat and potatoes man.¬† I saw this recipe on Pinterest¬†(I know, I know, I told you I’m an addict!!) and immediately thought that it screamed JAMES!¬† I cooked it – it was REALLY simple to make….duh I guess that’s why it came from Real Simple magazine!¬† He loved it.¬† He said I should make it really often.¬† He opted to dip his chicken into some Dijon mustard, I tried a bite and it was quite tasty with the dipper, so there’s an option for ya.¬† I hope you enjoy it as much as he did!

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes
Recipe slightly adapted from Real Simple magazine

1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I think bone-in, skin-on would be great though)
3/4 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed, washed
8 small red potatoes, washed and quartered, skin-on
1 lemon
5 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
optional:  crushed rosemary or Herbs de Provence


  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Mix your olive oil, the juice of the lemon, salt, pepper and garlic (and rosemary if you’re using some)¬†in a medium-sized bowl.¬† Toss the green beans in the mixture, then using tongs remove the green beans to a roaster or casserole dish (coated with nonstick spray), leaving the liquid in the bowl.
  • Now toss the potatoes in the liquid, and using a slotted spoon remove them and add to the green beans.
  • Toss the chicken in the mixture and then place the chicken on top of the green beans and potatoes.¬† Drizzle any remaining liquid in the bowl over the chicken.¬† Sprinkle Herbs de Provence on top of the chicken.
  • Bake/roast for 50 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside and cook the green beans and potatoes for another ten minutes or so – until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork.¬† While that’s cooking, check if your chicken is done.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and serve.

Crockpot Lentil Soup

I’ve never been a big fan of beans so lately I’ve been trying to “train” myself to like them.¬† It’s working.¬† I’m now a fan of black beans, so I figured I’d branch out some and bought a package of lentils.¬† I see lots of recipes for lentils, so after looking through some I decided to go with a crockpot recipe.

This was super easy to make, you just throw everything into the crockpot.¬† It is very hearty, despite being a meat-free soup.¬† If you’re wondering, lentils are very earthy, they sort of remind me of black-eyed¬†peas, just with a different texture.¬† In fact, this soup reminded me a lot in taste of the black-eyed¬†pea soup I make.¬† My husband was skeptical he loved it, so did my three-year old daughter.¬† It makes¬† a ton, so you can freeze some for a rainy day!

Crockpot Lentil Soup

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Recipe adapted from I Was Born to Cook

1 pkg dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1 can sliced carrots, with juice
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasonings
2 bay leaves
7 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
6-8 shakes of hot sauce


Place all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 12 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours.  Discard bay leaves and serve.