Friday, May 4, 2012

Black Bean Soup

This soup is so delicious, no one believes me when I tell them what is in it and how easy it is to make.  I usually make this at the beginning of the week and I will eat it for lunch over the next several days!  It sure beats a sandwich and is a whole lot tastier!


2 cans black beans (not drained)
1 can diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 can corn (drained)
1 package taco seasoning
1 package ranch dressing seasoning
2 cans of water or enough for desired consistency

shredded cheese
sour cream
jalapeno slices

Put all ingredients into a dutch oven and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Top with desired garnish...Enjoy!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Avocado Feta Salsa

I got this recipe from a friend last year on a girls trip and have made it at least 30 times since.  Avocados are in peak season during the summer months so this past weekend I kicked off the beginning of summer by making this delicious dip.  It was the first of many appearances this dip will make at my house over the next four months.  Enjoy!


4-5 Roma tomatoes (seeded,juiced and chopped)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley chopped fine
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 Large Hass avocados (peeled, pitted and diced)

In a bowl, gently stir together tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  Cover and let flavors meld together in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Right before serving, fold in the diced avocado and serve with multigrain chips.

*you can tell an avocado is ripe a few different ways.  First the coloring should be a dark green almost black appearance.  Next, gently press on the flesh.  It should give slightly.  Make sure the stem is also in tact.  Gently lift the stem.  It should reveal a bright green interior underneath.  If it is brown under the stem that means it is overripe.

*If you can't find a ripe avocado, place the under ripe avocado in a brown paper bag.  Fold down the top and place in a dark, room temperature area such as the pantry.  They should be perfect in a couple of days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken Piccata

You can always tell a good recipe by the condition of the page it is written. I am too embarrassed to post a picture, but this one is a prime example. I have made this recipe for the last couple of years and it is one of my absolute favorites!! The crispy seasoned crust accompanied by the tart buttery sauce, grabs your taste buds and leaves you wanting more. I got the recipe from a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and it is one recipe that I follow to the letter. This recipe is a little different from other chicken piccata recipes in that it does not have capers, but you can always add some if you prefer. It is a fairly easy recipe, but looks impressive when you plate it. Enjoy!


2 large boneless skinless chicken breast
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 ½ cups seasoned dried bread crumbs
good olive oil ( I prefer Lucini)
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons approximately), save lemon halves after juicing
½ cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay)
chopped flat-leaf parsley for serving

Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet. This allows air to flow around chicken while in the oven so you don't end up with a soggy bottom. Wash and trim fat from chicken breast. Holding the palm of your hand flat on top, slice chicken breast in half crossways to leave you two chicken cutlets. Do the same to the other breast. If you need an example, look at the recipe on my website for Chicken with Italian Basil Cream Sauce. Put the cutlets one at a time in a ziplock bag and pound each breast to ¼ inch in thickness.
On a shallow plate, mix flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. I use paper plates for easy clean up. In a second plate, beat the eggs and 1 tablespoon water. Put the bread crumbs on a third plate. Make sure the breast are dry by blotting them with a paper towel. If you don't, the water will get trapped and the coating wont stick. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg mixture, and last in the bread crumbs. Make sure to press the bread crumbs into the chicken.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 2 chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Place them on the cooling rack. Put more olive oil in the saute pan and cook the second 2 chicken breast. Place them on the same cooling rack and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking through.
While the chicken are in the oven, wipe out the saute pan with dry paper towels. On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and then add the lemon juice, white wine, the reserved lemon halves, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Discard the lemon halves. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Spoon the sauce over each chicken breast and serve with fresh chopped parsley and a slice of lemon. If you want to make the lemon twist like mine, cut a slice of lemon and slice it through leaving one part of the rind attached and twist.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Chili

After all of the yummy food over the holidays and then Superbowl Sunday, I have decided it is time to start eating a little healthier. Although this chili is low cal and low carb, it definitely does not feel like I am depriving myself. It is the perfect meal on a cold winter day, it freezes well, and the leftovers are even better. Enjoy!


1 small onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on taste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 bottle chili sauce
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
2 (15 oz ) cans chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and green chilies. Cook stirring frequently until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chili seasoning, cumin, and cayenne pepper stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken and sear all sides and cover with seasoning. Add tomatoes, chili sauce, chicken broth, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes stirring frequently until tomatoes have broken down slightly. Garnish with your favorite ingredients. (pepper-jack cheese, green onion, cilantro, tortillas chips, sour cream....etc)

Monday, January 23, 2012

BBQ Pulled Pork (With a Kick) and Spicy Coleslaw

I don't know why but I typically associate BBQ with summer, but this is a great recipe anytime of the year. The meat is so moist, it falls right off the bone. What I love so much about this recipe is the different flavor components. The savory, moist meat has a hint of sweat with a bit of spice woven through it. It is perfect for large crowds and you will have leftovers for days. Being from Oklahoma and now residing in Texas, we are raised eating BBQ and I think I am somewhat of a BBQ snob. We have made this recipe for years, but recently came across the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and I think it takes it over the top. I truly love meat that has been smoked for hours, but not everyone has a smoker out back. This is a recipe that anyone can make and everyone will enjoy.


1 large onion
1 bone-in pork shoulder (around 7 lbs)
2 bottles root beer
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 (11 oz) can chipotle Peppers in adobo sauce (found in hispanic isle of grocery store)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (about 20 oz) plus more if anyone prefers a little extra

Preheat oven to 300 °F. Let pork sit on counter for 30 minutes so the meat gets to room temperature before putting in the oven. Peel the onion and cut in to four pieces. Separate layers and lay on the bottom of a dutch oven or roasting pan. In a medium bowl mix root beer, sugar, and chipotle peppers until sugar is dissolved. Make several shallow slits in the fatty layer of the pork and place in dutch oven over onions with the fat side up. Pour root beer mixture over the top of the pork and generously season with salt and pepper. Place a tight fitting lid on top and place in the oven. Continue to baste meat every hour with the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Cook for around 7 hours or until meat is falling apart. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Remove meat and place on a cutting board. Use two forks to pull off and shred meat, discarding fat and bones. Heat up your favorite BBQ sauce in a sauce pan and pour over the meat carefully mixing together with the pork. My favorite BBQ sauce is Head Country which is made in Oklahoma and is what I grew up with, but you can use your favorite. Enjoy!!

Spicy Coleslaw


1 bag slaw mix
1/2 head red cabbage sliced thin
1-3 jalapenos chopped fine (according to desired heat)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/4 cupcider vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Mix slaw, red cabbage, jalapenos, and cilantro in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and cayenne until sugar is dissolved. Pour over slaw mix and toss well. Add the salt and pepper to taste and cover. Refrigerate about 30 minute before serving so the flavors can marry. You can make the dressing up ahead of time as well as the slaw, just don't put them together until about 30 minutes before.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rum Cake

This cake has been in my family for years and was usually made during the Christmas holidays. I love making this and putting it in a beautiful tin to give as a gift, but it is great anytime of year! It is the most moist cake I have every had and is basically foolproof. It is simply delicious and a recipe that everyone should have in their repertoire.



1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 box yellow cake mix

1 (3.4oz) package instant vanilla putting

4 eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dark rum


1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts evenly over bottom of pan. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding. Mix in eggs, water, vegetable oil, and rum. Mix with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Pour batter over the chopped nuts. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. While the cake cools slightly, make the glaze by heating in a saucepan, butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer and pour glaze over cake while still in the pan. I know it looks like a lot but believe me it will soak it all up. When cake has cooled invert onto a cake stand and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Easy Chicken Tacos and Black Bean Salad

This healthy taco dish is not only easy to make, but so flavorful. I don't really call this cooking, but after making this over the holidays I realized it was something everyone can make when you are short on time. My sister raved about it and asked why I hadn't told her about it sooner. So here is my no brainer chicken tacos! You can use the leftover chicken for quesadillas, soup, breakfast tacos....etc. Serve with black bean salad. Recipe is below. Enjoy!


5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 package taco seasoning
1 can chicken broth

Put broth and seasoning in crock-pot and mix until combined. Rinse and trim fat off of the chicken. Place in the crock-pot with seasoned broth and cook on low for 4-6 hours until chicken falls apart easily. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. How easy is that! Heat up corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or hard shell taco's and serve with desired toppings. I love chopped tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and cilantro, but you can use anything.

Black Bean Salad

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 small red onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl add all ingredients together and toss well. Best if refrigerated an hour before serving.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bread Pudding

I'm not sure if there is any luck involved in this recipe, but we have made Bread Pudding New years Day for as long as I can remember. (It is way better than black eyed peas!) It is a great way to kick off the New Year and start your diet the day after.
It is rich and decedent and a perfect start to new beginnings!


1 loaf stale french bread cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
4 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
3 eggs slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1 cup raisins
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into buttered 9X9 baking dish. Place on middle rack of non-preheated oven. Bake at 350° F for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes until top is golden brown. Serve warm with Whiskey Sauce.

Ingredients for Whiskey Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4-1/2 cup bourbon to taste

Cream butter and sugar over medium heat until all the butter is absorbed. Remove from heat and blend in egg yolk. Pour in bourbon gradually to your own taste, stirring constantly. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm over bread pudding.