Black Bean Chicken Soup w/ Cilantro

I know, I literally haven’t posted in FOREVER. I’m so sorry! Here are my excuses:

  1. The holidays.
  2. WEDDINGS!
  3. I started grad school.

That is pretty much it. All of my spare times seems to revolve around exercise and/or studying now a days, BUT this recipe needs to be shared! This has been my savior the past couple of weekends because it is so easy, so delicious, and very filling. It is packed with protein, so one bowl and I am typically set for the evening. Add a side of veggies and you have a well balanced meal for lunch or for dinner (I have some packed today for lunch at work!).

I am a big black bean person (as you all know!). I really find them to be a necessary staple in my diet. They are easy, versatile, filling, and so yummy! My husband absolutely loves this recipe, so for the past 3 weeks it has been my Sunday “sit on the stove while I study” meal. It also lasts me a few days so I am able to use it for lunches or leftover dinner the next day or 2!


I will say, don’t skip the cilantro. It adds a fresh element to this soup and really brightens something that can be very heavy. It is perfect to feed a small crowed and really utilizes a lot off foods that we typically have in our pantry or refrigerator. I hope you try this delicious, yummy Black Bean Chicken Soup!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper
  • 1, 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, no added-salt or low-sodium
  • 2, 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs chicken breast (about 2 large breasts should work)
  • Fresh cilantro to taste (about 2 Tbsp for the actual soup, and some left over for garnish)
  • Canola or olive oil spray
  • Seasonings: cumin (~1-1 1/2 Tbsp), chili powder (~1 Tbsp), black pepper (~1/2 Tbsp), garlic powder (~1/2 Tbsp), paprika (~1 Tbsp), sea salt (~1/2 tsp)
  • Other optional garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado

Black Bean Chicken Soup: serves 4-6

In a large soup pot, saute your onions and red pepper in a little cooking spray until your onions start to become translucent (about 5-8 minutes). Season with a pinch of your seasonings (black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika) just to start the seasoning process.

Add your rinsed black beans, chicken stock and diced tomatoes with your remaining seasonings (I don’t really measure, I more season to taste. Estimations of measurements found in ingredients!). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for at least 1 hour uncovered. At your 1 hour mark, if liquid has reduced significantly, you may add a lid and turn to low for another half hour to an hour. Once your soup has cooked and reduced down by at least 1/3, turn off the heat and let cool.

In the mean time, cook your chicken breasts in the oven for 30 minutes. If using extra thick breasts, put heat on 375 degrees. If the breasts are a little thinner or you are using multiple tenderloins instead, your heat can be on 350 degrees. Season breasts with a little black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Once cooked, let sit until fully cooled before shredding (you can even do this the day before to speed up your process!).

Once your soup has cooled, put about 2/3 into a blender or food processor. Blend the soup until it is fairly smooth with a few little chunks. Add your blended mixture back into the pot with the remaining soup and bring back to a simmer. Add in your shredded chicken into the pot and allow it to simmer for ~20-30 minutes. Finish your soup with a little cilantro mixed in at the very end.

Serve with whatever garnishes you may desire and a little extra fresh cilantro! Enjoy!



Easy Peasy Crockpot Chicken Stew

Oh my goodness it feels like ages since I have written anything. I wish I had a more exciting excuse, but nothing has really changed! Just let time slip away from me I guess!

I figured I would leave a simple, easy recipe that can be made with common household ingredients for todays post. This 1 pot meal is perfectly simple, yet delicious and flavorful. Throw all the ingredients into a crockpot and let simmer on low for 7-8 hours. Don’t forget a little cooking spray on the bottom of the pot to assure your meal end up in your belly and not stuck in the crockpot! Enjoy this Easy Peasy Crockpot Chicken Stew and also… happy Mother’s Day to any fabulous mom’s reading!

Ingredients: (feeds 3-4)

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 purple carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 medium sized white onion, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, coarsely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • topping of your choice

Cook time: ~7-8hrs

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Lightly spray your crockpot with a little olive oil spray before adding chicken, carrot, sweet potato, beans, onion, garlic, and seasonings. Add 1 cup of water and seal with lid. Allow ingredients to simmer for ~6 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.

At the 6 1/2 hour mark, add 1/2 cup quinoa and allow to simmer with the lid on for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add remaining 1/2 cup water and more seasoning if desired. Allow to cook for another 15-30 minutes or until quinoa is fully cooked. Top with various toppings of your choice such as salsa, avocado, cheddar cheese, cilantro, etc. Enjoy!


The Perfect Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownie

Blacks beans…

Paired with a warm sweet potato or thrown into a Western omelet.

Added to a vegetarian enchilada or toss with a little quinoa, corn, and salsa for an easy side dish.

Black beans are one of my favorite “go-to” foods and staples in my kitchen, but yesterday they took on a whole other identity. Blended with a little dark chocolate cocoa, peanut butter, honey, and a few other baking essentials, a simple can of black beans became a major component of a classic decadent dessert, brownies.

A few tips before attempting to make your own black bean brownies (because I had failed a few times in the past myself)….

1. Blend, blend, then blend again. You want your “brownie batter” to be smooth as silk and in fact mimic regular brownie batter. My first mistake when I tried making homemade black bean brownies was I underestimated just how smooth the batter should be. After tasting a little piece of bean skin in my brownie, my stomach immediately lost its appetite and the “brownie vibe” turned back into a a weird texture and taste of beans trying to be a brownie.

2. Do not skimp on your sweetening agent! Your are already ridding your batter of flour, butter, and oil. The batter needs a sweetening agent to actually pull off the brownie flavor. I used a combination of honey and light brown sugar as my sweetener.

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Now for the recipe! Add your own favorite brownie toppings to make this recipe your own! Enjoy and happy baking 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can no added salt black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup special dark chocolate cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping Tbsp unsalted peanut butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 over-ripe banana

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Lightly grease a small baking dish and evenly distribute your batter. I added a little extra peanut butter swirl on top of the batter before baking, but additional toppings such as chocolate chips, nut butters, or nuts are optional. Bake your brownies for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Be careful not to over-bake!

Let your brownies cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

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Crock-Pot Stuffed Peppers

I loved stuffed peppers, but I hate waiting for them to been done in the oven, especially when I am starving. The other day I knew I was going to have a busy day and little time in the evening to actually prepare a good dinner, so I decided to take out the crock-pot again. I know I have said this a million times, BUT when you need something quick, easy, and almost 100% perfect every time you use it, take out the crock-pot. This recipe only makes enough for one person, but if you are cooking for multiples, this would simply multiply because 1 individual pepper is a serving. Total cook time is about 4-5 hours. Seriously try this one if you like stuffed pepper! I was very pleased at the texture and how well the flavors mixed together.

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Crock-Pot Stuffed Peppers 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 can crushed Roma tomatoes (I purchased no-salt added, but I know this is sometimes hard to find with tomatoes; I got it in the organic section at Kroger)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, brown rice mixture, frozen, cooked in the microwave (still in its bag) for 3 minutes (you can use only quinoa if you want; once again I got this in the frozen organic section at Kroger)
  • 1/4 cup sweet frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium sized orange pepper, hollowed
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • siracha & salsa verde to taste (you also could add cheese!)

Cook your quinoa. In a medium bowl, mix the quinoa, corn (it doesn’t need to be thawed), black beans, and seasonings. I didn’t put measurements for seasonings because you should add what you like! I like heat and spice, but if you do not, you may want to omit the chili powder and siracha at the end. Hollow out your pepper, and stuff it to the brim with your filling (press down a little as you go). Add your crushed tomatoes to the bottom of your crock-pot, and lay the pepper on top of it on its side. It’s ok if some of the filling falls out; it will still taste wonderful! Let your pepper cook on low heat for 4-5 hours. Once it is finished, top with siracha and a little green salsa verde. I use the Whole Foods 365 Salsa Verde (I believe I mentioned it before). Also, pour on the extra tomatoes! They are yummy and flavorful after cooking with the other ingredients for a few hours. If you like cheese, a little crumbled feta would add a nice salty bite to this dish! Enjoy your pepper!

Any other Mexican-style foods that you would like me to experiment with?


Easy Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili

This is a super easy recipe that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most of the items I always have on hand. It is one of those one pot meals that packs a lot of flavor and is a great thing to add to your list of chili recipes (especially if you have a vegetarian in your house). I like spicy, so if you aren’t a spicy person, I would just omit the siracha. In my opinion, it packs a really good punch though! This recipe also highlights, once again, how versatile sweet potatoes can be! Sorry I have been mainly posting recipes lately…I have just been on a cooking kick! Hope you enjoy this one!

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Spicy Sweet Potato Crockpot Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1/2-1 inc cubes
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • chili powder
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • 1/2 tsp siracha
  • feta cheese (to top with)
  • salsa verde (to top with)

Add the sweet potato, corn, black beans, spices, water, and vegetable broth into your pot and cook on low for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. After about your 2 1/2 hour mark, pour out about 1/2 of your liquid, leaving a little still in the bottom. Give your chili a stir and add your siracha in. Add as much as you like, just remember it is very strong. A little squirt will pack a lot of heat! Let your chili cook for about another hour and a half. Total cooking time should be about 4 – 4 1/2 hours. Once it is finished, spoon yourself a bowl and top with a spoonful (about 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp) of your salsa verde; I used the Whole Foods 365 brand and would highly recommend it! Also add a small sprinkle of feta cheese. Give your chili one last stir to incorporate these final toppings and enjoy! This recipe makes 2 servings if you have it as a side, 1 if you want it for your meal