SIRLOIN BLACK BEAN SOUP

I do believe we are coming out of soup season here in Tennessee, though I won’t be surprised if we get another cold snap before we settle into spring. In the meantime, may I present Sirloin Black Bean Soup–a flavorful dish full of veggies, our favorite black beans, and leftover sirloin steak. Thumbs up!

Sirloin Black Bean Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 bell pepper (I used orange), cored, seeded, and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1-1/2 tbsp tomato paste

4 cups beef broth

1-12 oz beer (I used non-alcoholic O’Doul’s)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup chopped tomatoes

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups chopped grilled top sirloin steak (I used leftovers)

1 tbsp parsley

1) To large soup pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add onion and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes; add bell pepper, celery, and carrots and cook 8 minutes, stirring often

2) Add cumin, paprika, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste; stirring continuously, cook 2 minutes; stir in beef broth, beer, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and black beans; cook 15 minutes

3) Stir in steak, cook a minute to warm meat through, and remove soup from heat; ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately

Servings: 4

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MAMMOTH CHICKEN QUESADILLAS

There’s no ladylike way to eat these quesadillas. They’re just too thick and chock full of good stuff. But they’re worth the mess. All gone! All thumbs up–duh 🙂

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2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1-14.5 oz black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

1 lb ground chicken

1/4 cup mild jalapeños (I used Mezzetta brand “Tamed”)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

12 small (6″) flour tortillas

spray olive oil

2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1) Preheat broiler

2) To a large skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp) and heat over medium-high; add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes; add black beans and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper; cook 3 minutes longer; transfer to a plate

3) To same skillet, add 1 tbsp reserved olive oil and heat over medium-high; add ground chicken, jalapeños, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring often, 5-7 minutes until cooked through; remove from heat

4) Place tortillas in a single layer on 2 baking sheets and spray with spray olive oil; broil 1-2 minutes until golden and just crispy and remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees

5) Assemble each of 4 quesadillas as follows, dividing ingredients equally between them : flour tortilla, chicken mixture, flour tortilla, vegetable-black bean mixture, cheese, flour tortilla; place quesadillas on baking sheet, return to oven, and cook 5-8 minutes until warmed through and cheese melts; remove from oven and cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges; serve with dollops of sour cream

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions; 8 appetizer-sized portions

BLACK BEAN-FETA SOFT BREAKFAST TACO

Don’t let the name fool you. This is dinner–in a big way. Not only is this breakfast taco fabulously easy and quick to prepare, but it’s incredibly tasty.

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Olive oil spray

4 large flour tortillas

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

8 eggs

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 green onions, sliced thin

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

1) Spray olive oil over large skillet and heat over medium-high; warm tortillas, both sides, until lightly golden; set aside

2) In medium-sized bowl, lightly beat eggs with salt, pepper, and green onions

3) Add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp) to same skillet and heat over medium; pour in egg mixture and, stirring occasionally, cook until scrambled and just done; remove from heat, cover, and set aside

4) Add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil to small skillet and heat over medium-high; add red bell pepper and black beans and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes; stir in salsa and, when warmed through, remove from heat

5) Assemble breakfast tacos as follows: divide egg mixture between flour tortillas, top with black bean mixture, feta cheese, and cilantro; serve

Servings: 4

BLACK BEAN-BACON-CHIPOTLE SOUP

Who doesn’t like black beans? Who doesn’t like bacon? Who doesn’t like those hot little chipotle peppers? Okay, some people don’t, but I believe most do. Combine the two in a relatively light soup and top with a dollop of sour cream. Total yum!

Black Bean-Bacon Soup

8 slices bacon, chopped

2 medium-sized red onions, chopped

2 cups thinly-sliced carrots (I used peeled baby carrots)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 cups chicken broth

2-15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1-8 oz can tomato sauce

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped

2 tsp dried oregano

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried thyme

sea salt

ground black pepper

Optional toppings: chopped parsley, sour cream

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisp

2) Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrot, and red bell pepper to soup pot; cook 5 minutes, stirring often; add chicken broth, black beans, tomato sauce, chipotle pepper, oregano, cumin, and thyme; cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally; season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with or without optional toppings

Servings: 4-6

SHRIMP-BLACK BEAN-AVOCADO SALAD

Though our summer here in middle Tennessee has been unusually rainy, it’s still been hot (and humid) enough to justify an overabundance of salads as entrees. This time, however, I nixed the lettuce (of course, this recipe can certainly be served on a bed of iceberg or romaine). Regardless, it’s a delicious summer meal that will have forks chasing around every last bean and avocado bit. Enjoy!

Shrimp-Black Bean-Avocado Salad

2-15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 lb cooked medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tailless

1 small red onion, diced small

1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes

2 tbsp minced jalapeno

2 tbsp olive oil

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

lettuce (optional)

Tortilla chips (optional)

1) To large bowl add black beans, shrimp, red onion, avocado, tomatoes, and jalapeno; gently mix

2) Add olive oil, lime juice, oregano, cumin, and sea salt; gently mix

3) If you go the lettuce route, first divide lettuce between 4 plates; divide shrimp salad between servings, sprinkle with cilantro, and add a few tortilla chips on the side (optional); serve!

Servings: 4-6

BLACK BEAN POBLANO RELLENOS

It’s been ages since I’ve made these Black Bean Poblano Rellenos, and what a mistake it was to wait so long to revisit them. Granted, a couple of my guys (I won’t name names) just like the black bean-chorizo-egg stuffing and the corn-onion-cheese polenta, but I like the whole enchilada–er, Relleno. Though it might not look filling, it is, so much that, regardless of which flavor of Ben & Jerry’s lurks in the freezer, I am not doing dessert 🙂

Black Bean Poblano Rellenos

4 large whole poblano peppers (dark green)

1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup frozen corn

1-1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup quick-cooking polenta

1/4 tsp sea salt

pinch ground black pepper

2 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese (or grated)

8 oz chorizo sausage (I used Ole Mexican Foods brand)

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

8 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup salsa (store-bought)

1) Preheat broiler; place poblano peppers on broiler-safe pan and broil 3-4 minutes each side until skin browns and blisters (keep an eye on them!); remove peppers from oven and place on plate to cool (leave broiler on)

2) In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add onions and corn and, stirring occasionally, cook 3 minutes; add milk and, stirring often, bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, add polenta, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese and, stirring often, cook 3-4 minutes until mixture thickens; reduce heat to lowest setting to keep warm

3) When poblanos are cool enough to be handled, peel away the tough, blistered skin, cut a slit in peppers, and scrape out seeds; place on broiler-safe pan

4) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add chorizo sausage and cook, stirring often, 4-5 minutes until cooked through and crumbly; add black beans and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes; pour beaten eggs in skillet and stir until lightly scrambled; remove from heat

5) Stuff peppers with chorizo-black bean-egg mixture and sprinkle Colby-Monterey Jack cheese over tops; broil 3-4 minutes until cheese melts (keep an eye on them!); remove from oven

6) Divide polenta mixture between 4 plates; place a stuffed poblano pepper atop each serving of polenta and spoon salsa alongside; serve it up!

Servings: 4

BLUE CORN CHIPS HUEVOS RANCHEROS

This huevos rancheros dish is a quick and easy solution to warm weather dining when the last thing the cook needs is to spend an inordinate amount of time running around a hot kitchen. It’s also pretty easy on the eaters—substantial without being heavy. Give it a try!

Blue Corn Chips Huevos Rancheros

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp butter

8 eggs

2 cups salsa verde sauce

3 cups blue corn tortilla chips

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced thin

4 oz crumbled queso fresco cheese

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1) To medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil; add onions and cook 5 minutes until softened; reduce heat to low and stir in black beans, chipotle chile, cumin, sea salt, and water and cook 5 minutes; reduce heat to lowest setting to keep warm

2) In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter; break eggs into skillet and cook to desired doneness (I cooked 3 minutes until whites started to set, added 1 tbsp water, and covered with a lid to allow the whites to set more firmly and the yolk to cook partway without flipping–yum!); remove from heat

3) Assemble each of four plates as follows, dividing ingredients between them: spoon 1/2 cup salsa verde on plate and scatter chips over it, top with eggs, scatter avocado, cheese, and cilantro over it all; serve it up!

Servings: 4