Tag Archives: cayenne pepper

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

24 Mar
Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

You’d think being unemployed would have all kinds of perks, like lots of free time for cooking and blogging, right? Long story short, that is not the case, so my quest for easy and delicious dinners remains the same.

Here’s one I made a few weeks ago I had waiting in the wings (thank goodness because my spare time has been minimal) that is chock full of flavor and spice! This hearty soup was one of those welcome, warming dinners on a cold and dreary evening. I hope you think so too.

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

8 ounces dried black beans, soaked overnight (or sub two cans)
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled, tips removed
Olive oil for garlic
1 tablespoon bacon grease or olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
4 ounces ground spicy Italian sausage
1 chipotle in Adobo sauce, minced plus one tablespoon of the sauce
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups ham or chicken stock
1 14.5 ounce can tomatoes with liquid (I used my homemade canned tomatoes)
1 tablespoon dry sherry or apple cider vinegar
Salt, to taste
Lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream, for garnish

Garlic Ready for Roasting

Garlic Ready for Roasting

Drain and rinse beans (dried or canned) and set aside. Nestle cloves of garlic cut tips up in aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over top. Wrap tightly and place in 350-degree toaster oven (or oven) for 25 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the tablespoon bacon grease or olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and ground sausage, stirring until sausage is cooked through. Drain any grease, if necessary. Stir in the chipotle and sauce, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper until combined and fragrant.

Sausage and Veggie Mixture

Sausage and Veggie Mixture

Pour in the stock, then squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out of their skins into the soup. Now add the beans. Bring up to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the beans are cooked through. For dried beans, this could take an hour or more depending on how old the beans are. Canned beans are ready when heated through.

Pureed Tomatoes

Pureed Tomatoes

Puree the tomatoes with liquid in a container using an immersion blender stick, or a blender or food processor. (I used my new Cuisinart stick!) Once the beans are tender, pour in the tomatoes and sherry or vinegar. Taste for salt, and add if necessary.

Puree about half the soup using an immersion stick, or add to blender or food processor in batches. I like mine a bit chunky. Once soup has warmed through again, serve immediately and pass with lime wedges, cilantro, and sour cream.

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

 

Holiday Cheese Bites

17 Dec
Holiday Cheese Bites

Holiday Cheese Bites

I saw these fun little crackers posted on Food52, and they seemed easy enough for me to attempt to make. Of course the big warning sign not to make them should have been the words “flour” and “roll the dough.” I can just look at a canister of flour and get it all over my clothes. And with my hand injury? Who was I kidding that I could roll out a hard, frigid piece of clay?

Chilled Cracker Dough

Chilled Cracker Dough

Nonetheless, I attempted to make these little cheese bites, endearingly called “coins” in the recipe. I opted to use some fancy-schmancy mini-cutters, in the hopes that the cute shapes would distract from the final results.

Cheese Bites Ready to Bake

Cheese Bites Ready to Bake

I don’t have a proper food processor, so instead of “slowly adding the milk in a stream with the food processor running,” I kept having to turn off my Ninja, take the top off, add a little milk, whir it again, then repeat. Sketchy at best, huh? Then when it came to rolling the dough out, I found my injured hand and wrist didn’t have enough strength to wrestle the dough into submission, so enlisted the help of my daughter. I ended up with some really uneven thicknesses, which resulted in a: burnt crackers and b: really puffy under-cooked crackers. I had enough of option c: perfectly done crackers to fill a small bowl for your enjoyment.

Holiday Cheese Bites

Holiday Cheese Bites

For those of you who would like the recipe, please head over to Food52 to read it here: Spicy Cheese + Smoked Paprika Coins

p.s. The flavor of these are really good! The dough has smoked paprika, sage, and cayenne pepper along with the cheese. If you are a skilled baker, please try this recipe out and let me know how they turned out!

Keema ~ A Taste of India

11 Apr
Keema  ~ A Taste of India

Keema ~ A Taste of India

About six years ago my employer decided that hosting an Indian Cuisine potluck would be a good idea for some newly hired employees from India who were training at our local office for an extended period of time. At that time, I had zero experience with Indian cuisine, so had asked one of the new hires for a recipe I could make for them. The next day I was handed a photocopy from an unknown cookbook. It was titled simply “Keema.” I made it for the potluck and remember it was a hit! But then it remained forgotten in my loose-leaf recipe archive (read “mess”) until last week.

I had obviously adapted it the first time around, as it had scratch outs, scribbles, and additions and substitutions written all over it. This time around, I decided to search it out on the internet. There are so many variations of Keema that I felt I had good liberty to basically “redo” it again to my family’s tastes as they are today. My new remake got two thumbs up from the family! My only regret was not buying some cottage cheese to serve on the side, as it makes a refreshing accompaniment to the meal. Since this made way too much for one meal, I went straight to the store the next day and bought cottage cheese for the leftovers. No leftovers were thrown out, I am glad to say!

This is traditionally made with ground lamb, but I used ground beef as a substitute, but you could use either one or a combination of the two. Make sure you use at least a 12-inch skillet, as this makes a LOT! Feel free to halve the recipe.

Keema

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lamb
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons garam masala (I used dried Mild Curry #512, according to the bulk bin I bought it from)
1 teaspoon salt or Mrs. Dash table blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups homemade or low sodium beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas
Lime wedges, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving
Cottage cheese, for serving

Ground Beef and Onions

Ground Beef and Onions

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef or lamb with the chopped onion until evenly browned. Drain off any grease. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute more, then add the spices and combine.

Spices Added to Ground Beef Mixture

Spices Added to Ground Beef Mixture

Add the the rest of the ingredients except the frozen peas and garnishes. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. In the last five minutes, add the frozen peas and cook until heated through.

Keema Ready to Serve

Keema Ready to Serve

Serve over a bed of rice, with a squeeze of lime, and cilantro. Please add cottage cheese to the side as a lovely, refreshing side.

Keema

Keema

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

DIY Taco Mix (Large Batch)

30 Mar
Large Batch Taco Mix

Large Batch Taco Mix

I wanted to make some homemade taco mix seasoning, but it seemed most of the recipes I found were either for one or a few meals of tacos. I wanted a REALLY LARGE batch, as I figured if you were going to take the time to buy so many ingredients and then measure them all out, why not take care of it and one fell swoop and be set for the year?

One of our local stores has a huge bulk bin aisle of spices, grains, beans, and nuts. If you are going to attempt this, you would have to buy in bulk because individual pre-packaged containers would cost you an arm and a leg. I bought all the spices for this for about five dollars. I figure this makes enough for 12 or more pounds of burger. We are set a year of tacos!

Taco Mix Seasonings

Taco Mix Seasonings

DIY Taco Mix (Large Batch)

1 cup chili powder
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic granules
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander

Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl. Transfer to glass jars and store with a tight-fitting lid.

To use, add 3 tablespoons of mix to 1 pound ground beef and cook until burger is browned. Add 3/4 cup water and simmer for about 20 minutes until liquid is reduced.

Taco Mix Seasonings

Taco Mix Seasonings

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

My Recipe is a Food52 Community Pick Candidate!

24 Jun

I got back last night from a week in Texas for a family reunion, and was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my recipes was not only chosen to be tested as a Community Pick candidate for a Food52 recipe contest, but they also used my photo in the announcement! I probably won’t have a new recipe for you until later this week, but in the meantime here is a re-post of the original recipe below, and a link to the version I submitted to the contest. Just click on my photo in the link below to get to the contest version.

Food52 Community Picks Recipe Testing — Road Trip Snacks

I must confess I enjoyed that week off without cooking, and the Tex-Mex and BBQ I ate in Central Texas, both restaurant and homemade, were simply outstanding! I think some days I ate Tex-Mex for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing some recipes inspired by what I ate very soon. ūüôā

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

OK so I finally jumped on this bandwagon. After seeing so many pics of it on Pinterest I just had to make these. I promised myself the next bandwagon I’m going to jump on is Kale Chips. I’m still leary of that concept (better than potato chips!!!!) but one never knows. Some claims on Pinterest really are true, but you have to weed through all those exclamation points and eventually just try something yourself to see if it’s true. Now I must confess, these are really, really, really good!!! (See, a triple!) In fact, they were so good, I ate almost the entire batch in one sitting. I shamefully offered my daughter about five of them left in the bowl when she got home from school.

The possibilities of this recipe are endless. I decided to do a low-salt Cajun twist on these, although I didn’t have to do the no salt route since my hubby got to taste nary a one of these by the time he got home. I looked at the ingredients on the back of my Cajun spice jar, then just started adding those ingredients to olive oil (minus the salt plus just a few other tweaks, like fake-shake cheese), then included some lime juice too because, well, lime is a Cajun ingredient, right? And citrus also makes up for a lack of salt in taste. However, if you want to make this easy-peasy style, just use a tablespoon of¬† your store-bought Cajun seasoning instead of the¬† other spices, and the world will be fine.

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas... drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas… drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (the green can stuff I call fake-shake)
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon regular paprika
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of onion powder
Lots of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except the garbanzo beans. OK chickpeas, if you will. My cans say garbanzo, but most of the recipes say chickpeas. It will be kind of thick and pasty. If you think it’s too thick, just drizzle in a little more olive oil. I’m not an exact measurer. Toss in the garbanzo beans, and mix around real well to coat. Spread the beans in one layer across a foil-lined baking sheet, and place in oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove and mix around and place back in oven. Cook for another 10 or 15 minutes, but check about every five minutes to make sure they aren’t burning, since ovens vary so much. Mine started to get pretty black on the bottom after 30 minutes total so took them out then. Some of them were super crispy like corn nuts, and others were just crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I kind of liked the combination. I’ve seen variations of this making them sweet with cinnamon and sugar, and others using fresh herbs such as rosemary. You can really make them with anything! Taco seasoning? Why not? Go treat yourself and make a fun, healthy snack!

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

16 Mar
Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

OK so I finally jumped on this bandwagon. After seeing so many pics of it on Pinterest I just had to make these. I promised myself the next bandwagon I’m going to jump on is Kale Chips. I’m still leary of that concept (better than potato chips!!!!) but one never knows. Some claims on Pinterest really are true, but you have to weed through all those exclamation points and eventually just try something yourself to see if it’s true. Now I must confess, these are really, really, really good!!! (See, a triple!) In fact, they were so good, I ate almost the entire batch in one sitting. I shamefully offered my daughter about five of them left in the bowl when she got home from school.

The possibilities of this recipe are endless. I decided to do a low-salt Cajun twist on these, although I didn’t have to do the no salt route since my hubby got to taste nary a one of these by the time he got home. I looked at the ingredients on the back of my Cajun spice jar, then just started adding those ingredients to olive oil (minus the salt plus just a few other tweaks, like fake-shake cheese), then included some lime juice too because, well, lime is a Cajun ingredient, right? And citrus also makes up for a lack of salt in taste. However, if you want to make this easy-peasy style, just use a tablespoon of¬† your store-bought Cajun seasoning instead of the¬† other spices, and the world will be fine.

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas... drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas… drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (the green can stuff I call fake-shake)
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon regular paprika
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of onion powder
Lots of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except the garbanzo beans. OK chickpeas, if you will. My cans say garbanzo, but most of the recipes say chickpeas. It will be kind of thick and pasty. If you think it’s too thick, just drizzle in a little more olive oil. I’m not an exact measurer. Toss in the garbanzo beans, and mix around real well to coat. Spread the beans in one layer across a foil-lined baking sheet, and place in oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove and mix around and place back in oven. Cook for another 10 or 15 minutes, but check about every five minutes to make sure they aren’t burning, since ovens vary so much. Mine started to get pretty black on the bottom after 30 minutes total so took them out then. Some of them were super crispy like corn nuts, and others were just crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I kind of liked the combination. I’ve seen variations of this making them sweet with cinnamon and sugar, and others using fresh herbs such as rosemary. You can really make them with anything! Taco seasoning? Why not? Go treat yourself and make a fun, healthy snack!

An Adventure! ~ Plus Black Bean, Chicken, and Hominy Soup in a Crock Pot

22 Feb
Black Bean, Chicken, and Hominy Soup

Black Bean, Chicken, and Hominy Soup

This crock pot of soup would have been perfect to come home to last Monday after an all-day adventure to Fort Rock, Oregon. My husband had this “great” idea to travel an unmaintained gravel/dirt road to our destination¬†‚ÄĒ in the middle of winter! Now granted we’ve had several weeks of mild weather and no snow in town proper for quite a while, but the mountains and surrounding hillsides have plenty. What should have been about an hour drive turned into two and a half-hour white-knuckled, door-grabbing ride through 30-plus miles of snow, deep ruts, and icy potholes. As my daughter put it: “It feels like we are on a Disney ride!” I’m not sure how our dog was reacting as she was all the way in the back on her bed. Well thank goodness for four-wheel drive and we didn’t get stuck or bottom out once,¬† but I felt we came close to it several times when our 4-wheel drive alarm kept beeping at us. At one point I was taking stock of what we had on us in the event we got stranded: One bag of pretzels, two granola bars, three full water bottles, two blankets, plus winter coats, hats and gloves. Oh and I found three Jolly Ranchers in the glove compartment and some packets of ketchup. We wouldn’t freeze to death or starve but pickings would be slim. The snowy, windy road finally tapered off to just mud and ruts, and then straightened to lead us out of the forested hills into the high desert, where I got my first glimpse of Fort Rock in the distance. Very impressive! After we hiked up to the top and back down, we visited the “Ghost Town” there called Fort Rock Homestead Village. Unfortunately since it was President’s Day Holiday, the museum was closed, but the buildings were fun to look at and photograph. After the recipe I thought I’d share a few photos of our adventure (OK A LOT), if you don’t mind! It was a very gray day, so the lighting is a bit flat, but I think the photos show you what a neat experience we had!

Black Beans and Cilantro in Blender

Black Beans and Cilantro in Blender

Black Bean, Chicken, and Hominy Soup in a Crock Pot

Note: To make this a meatless main or vegetarian, sub the chicken for an extra can of black beans and a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and use vegetable broth.

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Handful of fresh cilantro
3 cups homemade or low sodium chicken or turkey broth
1 can undrained Rotel¬ģ tomatoes (or can of¬† tomatoes and green chiles)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can white or yellow hominy, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon Pasilla chile powder (also called Ancho)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper (or more if you like spicy!)
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
1 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
Tortilla chips (optional)

Add half the black beans and a handful of cilantro to a blender. Pour in about a cup of the broth, then puree until smooth. Add to a large crock pot with the rest of the broth and black beans. Now add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, hominy, chile powder, cumin, cayenne,  and Mrs. Dash seasoning. Give it a good stir, then add the chicken breasts. Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or low 8 to 10 hours. Before serving, take the chicken out and shred with two forks, then add back to the pot. Serve with additional cilantro and lime wedges, and tortilla chips if you have some.

And now for our adventure photos! Click on them to enlarge to full size. Fort Rock has a fabulous history, like most old West settlements. Here are links to Wikipedia for it if you are interested in more information on this place.

Fort Rock Landmark: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Rock
Fort Rock, Oregon the community and homestead:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Rock,_Oregon

These are White-Tailed Deer we encountered on the road when we first started encountering snow on the road

These are White-Tailed Deer we encountered on the road when we first started seeing snow on the bumpy road

Snow Ruts on China Hat Road ~ These snow ruts are deceptively deep

Snow Ruts on China Hat Road ~ These snow ruts are deceptively deep

Fort Rock, Oregon, Our Destination

Fort Rock, Oregon, Our Destination

Beginning the Hike Up Fort Rock

Beginning the Hike Up Fort Rock

Fort Rock Yellow and Orange Moss

Fort Rock Yellow and Orange Moss ~ Fort Rock is covered in unusual-colored moss

Fort Rock Moonscape

Fort Rock looks like a Moonscape up at the top

One of the many Fort Rock Views

One of the many Fort Rock Views

Fort Rock Homestead Village ~ with Fort Rock in Background

Sign at Fort Rock Homestead Village ~ with Fort Rock in Background

Fort Rock Ghost Town Church

Fort Rock Homestead Town Church

Fort Rock Ghost Town General Store and Post Office

Fort Rock Homestead General Store and Post Office

Fort Rock Ghost Town Windmill

Fort Rock Homestead Windmill

Fort Rock Sunset School

Fort Rock Homestead School

OK, I’m done!

Spicy Garlicky Potato Wedges

8 Sep
Spicy Garlicky Potato Wedges

Spicy Garlicky Potato Wedges

I really wanted to make a new baked potato recipe the other night, but the only one I saw interesting involved new potatoes with the skins on. But alas, I only had Russet potatoes in the house. But I thought what the heck, a potato is a potato, right? So I made wedgies out of the potatoes instead. And with my never-ending love of garlic, I just had to add that into the mix. And then I thought a little spicy kick would be nice, so in went the cayenne. Since I didn’t have the potato skins all around the potatoes, I figured I needed some kind of coating on it besides the olive oil. I came across another potato recipe that used cornstarch. I thought “What the heck, I’ll try that!” Besides, I knew cornstarch can be used for a variety of purposes besides thickening your egg drop soup. Heck, just the other day my feet were sticking to the bottoms of my dress sandals and went looking for baby powder. Since I couldn’t find any, I used cornstarch instead! I can be very resourceful.

We ate these yummy potatoes with some grilled T-Bone steak and salad. Oh my, what a great meal.

Spicy Garlicky Potato Wedges

3 to 4 medium Russet potatoes, cut into wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
Lots and lots of black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less or none if you don’t like spicy)
Grated Parmesan cheese

Baking Potato Wedges

Baking Potato Wedges

Boil the potatoes for about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool until you can handle them. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the potatoes into thick wedges. In a large bowl, add the olive oil and garlic. Now in another bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients well. One at a time, add each wedge gently in the oil and garlic and roll around to coat, Make sure you press in some of the garlic into the potato. Lay each wedge in a single layer on an oil-sprayed foil-covered baking sheet. Using your fingers, sprinkle the cornstarch mixture onto each wedge, turning and sprinkling more to coat and rubbing in a bit. This can get a bit messy at this point. Just for good measure, I used some spray olive oil to coat lightly one last time. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden-browned. Delightfully crispy outside, and nice and fluffy on the inside. At the last minute I sprinkled on a bit of grated real Parmesan cheese after I took them out of the oven. That’s optional but it’s a nice addition. They were a little on the spicy side, but some sour cream on the side helped mellow it out.

p.s. I snuck a bit of sea salt onto the top of the potatoes before putting in the oven. I mean really, these just called out for some salt. I do try to cook salt-free for hubby, but what the heck. Every once in a while he even eats fast food… ūüėČ

%d bloggers like this: