CREAM CHEESE BLACK BEAN DIP

This dip has been a favorite in our home for years, so the recipe card bears the marks of having been consulted often. The dip can be made with or without black beans, but the added texture of those little guys is worth one more time around with the can opener. Enjoy!

1-8 oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened

8 oz sour cream

8 oz salsa (I use medium heat)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 tbsp diced jalapenos

3 tbsp taco seasoning

1 can reduced fat refried beans

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Tortilla chips (Tostitos “Hint of Lime” is our chip of choice)

Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, parsley or cilantro, sliced jalapenos

1) To large, microwave-safe bowl, add: cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, cheese, jalapenos, and taco seasoning; stir well to combine; add refried beans and black beans; stir well

2) Microwave dip on high 5-7 minutes until heated through (pause and stir every couple of minutes); remove from microwave, add your favorite toppings, and serve with tortilla chips

Serves: 4-6 as dinner

Serves: 12-16 as appetizer

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SLOW-COOKER BLACK-BEAN AND LIME CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Tortilla soup in all its various get ups is among my favorites, and this recipe is right up there with others that have found their way into a bowl with my name on it. In this instance, it’s the lime that stands out. In fact, next time I think I’ll add a wedge to the bowl rim for those who want to give it more punch. Sorry, no leftovers…

4 cups chicken broth

juice of one lime

2 tbsp taco seasoning

2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh minced)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1-1/2 cups diced onion

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

1/2 cup instant white rice

1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, diced

Recommended toppings: sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, broken tortilla chips

1) Turn slow cooker on low heat and add all ingredients (excepting toppings, of course); stir to combine, cover, and cook 6-8 hours

2) To serve, ladle into bowls and, to make it extra special, pile on those toppings

Now wasn’t that easy?

Serves: 6-8

PINEAPPLE-BLACK BEAN-AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD WITH ORANGE-LIME VINAIGRETTE

Since I had pineapple left over from our Shrimp and Fish Taco dinner, it seemed a shame not to use it while it was still fresh. So what to make? I tossed some ideas around with Junior Too (AKA The Salad Eater) who lit up when I suggested using the pineapple in a salad–and brightened further when avocado and black beans were suggested. Then came grilled chicken, corn, red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro, all of which turned out to be one yummer of a salad. Though you can drizzle this beauty with your favorite vinaigrette, the orange-lime was really the frosting on the cake…or something like that 🙂

Pineapple-Black Bean-Avocado Salad with Orange-Lime Vinaigrette

VINAIGRETTE:

1/3 cup orange juice

juice of one lime

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

CHICKEN:

2 tbsp olive oil

6 chicken tenderloins, about 3/4 lb

sea salt

ground black pepper

SALAD:

5 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2-1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1/4 cup minced red onion

3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1) Place all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, secure with lid, vigorously shake 1-2 minutes, and refrigerate

2) To skillet (I used a grill pan to achieve lovely char marks) over medium-high heat, add olive oil; add chicken tenderloins to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and grill both sides until done, about 5 minutes total; remove from heat, dice, and refrigerate 15 minutes

3) To large salad bowl, add: romaine lettuce, pineapple, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, avocado, and red onion; lightly toss; scatter chicken and cilantro over top and serve with shaken vinaigrette

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions