Pioneer Woman’s Black Bean Soup


As I dragged myself out of bed for a lazy Saturday, I turned on the Food Network channel just in time for a new Pioneer Woman episode. She was cooking up a big batch of black bean soup as a “mothership” recipe, to use for several different meals. Brilliant! Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t had breakfast yet, or because it looked so damn tasty, but I decided I had to make these beans. We had them as a dinner side to green chile chicken and cilantro lime rice. I’m having them for lunch today. And they’ll be a side to slow cooker tacos tomorrow! Mothership recipe, indeed.

1 pound dried black beans
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1  yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin

1) Put beans in a large pot and cover with hot water. Bring to a boil and boil for two minutes, then turn off heat and cover the pot. Let sit for one hour.
2) Drain beans and rinse with cold water, then return to pot.
3) Add chicken broth, water, garlic, onion, and bell peppers to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for an hour and a half.
4) Stir in salt, chili powder and cumin, and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour. Serve with your choice of toppings, like sliced avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo – it’s up to you!


Spiced Roasted Chicken, Three Cheese Macaroni and Strawberry Spinach Salad


Three recipes all in one post! These dishes pair so well together – a sweet and tangy salad, cheesy pasta and salty spiced chicken. If you have the time, brining the chicken overnight or since the morning makes a world of difference.

Roasted Chicken:

4 split chicken breast on the bone
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
bay leaf
2+ tbsp Montreal seasoning blend (divided)
onion powder
garlic powder
fresh black pepper

1) The night or morning before your dinner, fill a large pot (I use a soup pot) with water and stir in kosher salt, sugar, brown sugar, bay leaf, and 2 tbsp Montreal seasoning. Bring to a boil.
2) Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool. Fill a large bowl with chicken and pour some ice over the chicken. Then pour brine over chicken (make sure it’s not hot anymore or it will start to cook the chicken). Cover and put in fridge and let soak in brine overnight or all day.

1) Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 350.
2) Rinse chicken and pat dry. Then season each piece to taste with Montreal seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, fresh black pepper and paprika. Feel free to add any more spices too. This can’t really be over spiced (just be careful not to over salt – Montreal seasoning has salt in it).
3) Spray a roasting pan with pam and place chicken bone side down. Roast for 1 hour.
4) Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Spinach Salad:

6 cups spinach
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
half red onion, sliced thin
poppyseed dressing (I like Brianna’s)

1) Combine spinach, strawberries, almond, and onion in a large serving bowl.
2) Just before serving, add avocado and toss with poppyseed dressing.

Three Cheese Mac & Cheese

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup panko
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dash of nutmeg
dash of cayenne (optional)
2 tbsp butter

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and cook 8-10 minutes or until tender. Add flour and garlic, cook one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick (stirring constantly with a whisk). Add Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, and stir until cheese has melted. Discard the bay leaf.
2) Preheat oven to 350 (you can cook this while the chicken is roasting – I put it in for the last 30 minutes and then remove and cover with foil while chicken is resting).
3) Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
4) Add pasta to cheese mixture and stir well. Stir in mozzarella and sprinkle in some nutmeg and cayenne to taste.
5) Spray a square baking dish with Pam and pour in the pasta and cheese mixture. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and panko.
6) Spray top of pasta with Pam and sprinkle with a little black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.


Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes



It’s safe to say we have a potato side dish at least once a week. And regular old roasted potatoes and mashed potatoes are delicious, but I wanted something a little different. This side dish from Bon Appetit was simple and had great flavor. Try them with steak!

2 lbs baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved (quartered if large)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tbsp unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives

1) Combine potatoes, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 tbsp kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20–25 minutes; drain and pat dry.
2) Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes.
3) Drizzle with remaining 2 tbsp vinegar. Serve topped with chives and more salt.

Lemon Caper Turkey Cutlets with Ratatouille


Ratatouille is an awesome and easy way to incorporate tons of veggies into your dinner. Pair them with turkey cutlets for a tasty, fast, and fresh dinner that fills you up without the guilt. Use fresh herbs if you’ve got ’em.

Ratatouille Ingredients:
1 small red onion, sliced
1/2 eggplant, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Ratatouille Directions:
1) Sauté onion and eggplant in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
2) Add zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
3) Add tomato, basil, and season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated.

Turkey Cutlets Ingredients:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 pound turkey cutlets
3 tbsp butter, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (plus lemon wedges for garnish)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons capers

Turkey Cutlets Directions:
1) Mix together flour, salt, and pepper; dredge turkey in mixture.
2) Melt 2 tbsp butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook, in batches, 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Set aside and keep warm.
3) Add wine, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tbsp butter to skillet, stirring up anything stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Cook for a couple minutes.
4) Stir in garlic, parsley, and capers, and spoon sauce over turkey. Serve with lemon wedges.


Best Roasted Broccoli



Make as much or as little of this as you’d like! I could have eaten an entire baking sheet by myself I loved this broccoli so much. Adjust the ingredients to your palate and enjoy!

A few heads of broccoli
A few cloves of garlic, crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
Panko breadcrumbs
Grated Parmesan cheese

1) Chop the broccoli into bite size pieces, including the stems – they are tasty too!
2) Toss broccoli, garlic, oil, salt and pepper, and panko together in a bowl.
3) Roast for 10 minutes or so on 425.
4) Take out the broccoli and sprinkle on some Parmesan, then roast for another minute or two.

Roasted Artichoke


Artichokes are one of my favorite favorite favorite foods. I could eat them every day. For years I’ve just steamed them, but last night decided to try roasting them. If you’re jonesing for an artichoke and want one in under 30 minutes, steam them. If you’re patient, roast them stuffed with garlic. I liked this version even better than steamed.

Extra virgin olive oil
Half fresh lemon
Kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1) Cut off the top third of the artichoke, and then cut off the stem.
2) Drizzle a little olive oil on a large square of foil. Place artichoke in the middle of the foil, then squeeze juice from half of a lemon over it.
3) Stick the garlic inside the leaves of the artichoke, then sprinkle with kosher salt.
4) Wrap up the foil around the artichoke and bake for an hour and a half on 400.

Roasted Garlic



This is a simple ingredient or side dish for a lot of meals, so I thought I’d include a quick “recipe” on the blog. You can buy the pre-roasted garlic minced up in the little jars at the grocery store, but homemade roasted garlic is SO much better. And it’s really very easy.

Garlic heads (I roasted three here)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

1) Chop off the tops of the garlic heads to expose the cloves.
2) Drizzle the bottom of a pie dish or a small baking dish with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
3) Add the garlic heads, chopped side up, to the dish. Drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4) Bake for 45 minutes on 375, covered in foil.