Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Bean Soup


I love soups. They’re filling, warm, and usually nutritious. I first tried black bean soup at a Panera, and knew it was something I could easily make. I almost always have black beans & chicken broth on hand, so this soup is easy to quickly whip up. I found this recipe on Kraft Foods’ website a couple years ago, and it’s simple and tasty!

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Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. oil
3 cans (16 oz. each) black beans, undrained, divided
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth, divided (or use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
1 jar (16 oz.) chunky salsa
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Directions:

Cook and stir onion, garlic and cumin in oil over medium heat in large saucepan 3 min.

Place 1 can of the undrained beans and half of the broth in blender or food processor container; cover. Blend until pureed. Add to ingredients in saucepan. Repeat with second can of undrained beans and remaining broth. Add remaining can of beans and salsa to saucepan mixture; mix well.

Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 min., stirring occasionally. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Drizzle each serving with 1 Tbsp. sour cream.

**Modifications, I keep forgetting, that when I make this, I like a lot of beans in my soup. Less soupy, more thick, so next time I think I'll either puree only 1 can, or perhaps just add an extra can of beans.**

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies


Pumpkin, again? I know, right? I just couldn’t help myself. I saw these on Cate’s blog, and knew I just had to make them. And I’m telling you, you need to make these too. Most stuff I make I’m fine with just eating one serving, but these, I kept sneaking back in the kitchen for “just one more bite”. I had to take these to work PRONTO, or else I would of ended up eating the whole pan!

Even The Boy, who is not a pumpkin fan, went back for seconds!! He really liked them!

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Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies

from Cate's World Kitchen, originally from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into squares.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin Waffles


I love pumpkin flavored anything. The Boy, not so much. I kept seeing recipes for pumpkin waffles, and finally on Saturday I woke up and decided, who cares, if he doesn’t like it he can eat cereal!

Once I decided I was going to make it I began to search for a recipe. All the ones I saw kept calling for buttermilk, which I didn’t have. I turned to one of my favorite sources for recipes, Cooking Light. I found this recipe, and luckily I had all the ingredients on hand. They came together quickly and I subbed whole wheat flour for half of the flour in the recipe.

He took one bite and looked up and asked if there was cinnamon in the waffles. I told him they were pumpkin waffles. He gave me “the look” and rolled his eyes, and just said “You and your pumpkin”. But he did finish his! I tried mine with both maple syrup, and then with pumpkin butter, and I preferred it with the pumpkin butter!

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Pumpkin Waffles

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I used pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Directions:

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (milk through egg) in a bowl, and add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist.

Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray; preheat. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter per waffle onto hot waffle iron, spreading the batter to the edges. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fantastic Fudgy Brownies

So…. I got a new toy.

KitchenAid Professional Series 600

What better way to break in that bad boy, than with a batch of brownies! I like my brownies fudgy not cakey. So I spent some time searching and searching for a recipe. I had heard lots of good stuff about Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies, but for one thing I only had 2 sticks of butter, and for another, I’m not putting 1lb of butter and 6 eggs in my brownies! Ahhh! I have pants to fit into people!

Then I remembered one of my favorite recipe searches, Cooking Light. It’s a great resource. I found this recipe, and it had lots of good reviews. I had all the ingredients (sort of, I substituted butter for margarine, & Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet for unsweetened chocolate). I have to say, I wasn’t sure if a Cooking Light recipe could really give me the fudgy chocolate flavor I really was craving. Plus, the method for making these brownies seemed a little unorthodox.

The verdict, these brownies weren’t good. They were freaking fantastic! They were moist & fudgy, with deep intense chocolate flavors. This will be my brownie recipe from now on. Oh my gosh. They were so well loved, I only had one left once it came time to take a picture! Even if you have your basic, no fail recipe, I BEG of you, give these a try. You will NOT be disappointed!

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Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons stick margarine (I subbed unsalted butter)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (I subbed Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet)
2/3 cup Dutch process or unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°.

Melt margarine and chocolate in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa; cook 1 minute. Stir in sugar, and cook 1 minute (mixture will almost form a ball and be difficult to stir). Remove pan from heat; cool slightly. Gradually add warm chocolate mixture to egg whites and egg, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Combine flour and baking powder; add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring well.

Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack.

Calories: 132; Fat: 4.3g (sat 1.3g,mono 1.6g,poly 1g); Protein: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 21.7g; Fiber: 0.2g; Cholesterol: 11mg; Iron: 0.9mg; Sodium: 46mg; Calcium: 16mg

I’m submitting this to Joelen’s Tasty Tools Roundup. I noticed the month of May was highlighting stand or hand mixers. What better post to submit than this one? I still use my KA stand mixer very often! It especially comes in super handy when making marshmallows or meringue buttercreams. Be sure to check out previous Tasty Tools Roundups, as well as Joelen’s other fun food events on her website!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Margarita!

I really enjoy margaritas.  On the rocks, with salt on the rim.  Mmm…  I have the same philosophy with drinks as I do with food.  I want them to include REAL ingredients.  I know to know exactly what I’m consuming.  One hot day back in August, I decided I wanted a margarita, I knew I needed to do it right.  All it takes is a little time, but it really pays off in the end.  I’ve made them like this ever since, and I can’t go back to the mix stuff.  If I order one at a restaurant, I instantly know if it was made with fresh ingredients or a mix.

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Margarita on the Rocks

Ingredients:

SIMPLE SYRUP:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
(this is the amount to make a large amount, if you only want enough for a couple margaritas, I suggest 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water)

MARGARITA:
1 1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz triple sec
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
simple syrup (as much or little as you like. I used less than 1 teaspoon, which was just right for me, but The Boy said it was too sweet.)
margarita (or kosher) salt for rim

Directions:

SIMPLE SYRUP:Bring water to boil. Add sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Once sugar has dissolved remove from heat and let cool. (Make sure you have the syrup made a couple hours before you want a margarita!) Keep it in a covered container in the fridge (like a mason jar!), it will last a couple months. (Unless you make a lot of margaritas!)

MARGARITA:
Dip glass rim into lime juice. Then dip into a plate of salt.

Add ice to martini shaker, then add in all ingredients. Shake, shake, shake. Pour into chilled glasses over ice. Place a wedge of lime on rim. Enjoy!

If you are worried that it tastes strong at first, let it sit for a bit, as the ice melts it will mellow out.