Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Bean Soup

Nick is working nights this month. Yep, we're back to an incredibly crappy schedule. Sometimes the 15 minutes that we have together isn't worth trying to cram down an early dinner, so Siena and I have been flying solo most nights. I made this the other night when all I wanted was to order pizza or drive to Chipotle- but Siena was already in bed and I couldn't justify the cost at the time. Besides loving black beans, I love this recipe because it is right up my alley: ingredients I almost always have on hand, easy to adjust quantity, and no measuring. I ate it just as it was, but I think you could pair it with lots of things if you prefer it as a side rather than the main dish.


olive oil
1-2 red bell pepper, chopped
medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cans black beans (reserve 1/2-3/4 of one can), mostly drained
1/2 can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2-1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. coriander
fresh cilantro, to taste


1. In a saucepan or pot, over medium heat, add olive oil and saute bell pepper, onions, and garlic until tender (about 5-6 min).

2. Add beans (reserving 1/2-3/4 of one can), diced tomatoes (in some juice) a bit of chicken broth-I splashed some in, but start on the lower end knowing you can always add more.

3. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander (I approximated above, because I like to just shake 'em in). Bring to boil, reduce heat to low/medium low and simmer uncovered til carrots are tender. Add fresh cilantro (1-2 Tbsp. chopped)

4. Using an immersion blender, or a traditional blender, blend the beans to desired consistency. Add chicken broth as needed to get desired consistency. Add reserved black beans and return to stove to heat through.

5. Garnish with fresh lime juice, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, dollop of sour cream, and/or fresh cilantro.

If you are fortunate enough to have leftovers, this reheats really well. It may need a little broth added the next day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


When we were in Italy we tried these amazing risotto balls called arancini. They are are native to Sicily, so Nick hadn't tried them before this trip. We made these as a big indulgence- the first fried food I've ever made- but they were so good I'm sure we'll justify making them again. Most of the ones in Sicily are the size of an orange or so -arancina means "little orange," but ours were quite a bit smaller to make them easier to prepare. Since they are larger, they can fill more inside and typically have ragu or tomato sauce, cheese , and maybe peas. Next time I'd love to try a butternut squash risotto with Gruyere cheese tucked inside.


vegetable oil, for frying (slight wince)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups day-old risotto
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs, I used flavored Panko
2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (or a bit smaller)
optional: favorite ragu


1. Pour enough oil in a heavy, large saucepan to reach depth of 2-3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. {I didn't have a way to measure the temp and it was fine.}

2. Stir eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place
remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl.

3. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

4. Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 2-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

*If using optional ragu- place a spoonful of ragu when you add mozzarella to inside of risotto ball.

adapted from Giada

Creamy Parmesan Risotto

I should've taken a picture of this while it was nice and hot...this is actually the remnant two days later which was half of the reason I wanted to make risotto--to use some of the leftovers for arancini. This is certainly tasty on it's own (paired with salad and possibly a little something else), but it is a very tasty treat in arancini form as well!

5 cups hot good quality chicken broth       
¼ cup butter (I will use less next time, but I'm not a huge butter fan)
1 large onion                    
1-2 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
1 ½ cups Arborio rice              
3 Tbsp. butter (again, I'll use less)
1 ¼ grated Parmesan cheese 

2-3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan; reduce the heat, to low and cover the saucepan to keep hot.

2.In another heavy-bottomed saucepan melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-low heat, add in onion and saute until very tender but not brown (about 8-10 minutes).Add in garlic and stir for about 2 minutes.Increase heat slightly and add in the rice; stir for 1 minute.

3. Slowly add in 1-1/2 cups hot broth with a ladle; boil gently, stirring until the broth is absorbed. Add in another 1 cup broth, and stir until absorbed .Add in 1/2 cup broth at a time allowing the broth to absorb before adding in another 1/2 cup (do this until you have used up all of the broth) stirring frequently until the rice is tender and creamy (this should take between 25-30 minutes).

4.Stir in 3 tablespoons butter and 1-1/4 cup (or less) grated Parmesan cheese; mix to combine.Season with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


Stacked Roasted Veggie Enchiladas

I was a little hesitant to try this, but having seen this recipe (or very similar) over and over I figured there must be something good about it! It was a great meatless dinner, even Nick approved and was pleasantly surprised. Honestly, we made this so long ago I can't remember if I changed much from the original recipe- I'm pretty sure I used a little less red sauce and only 1/2 a jalapeno since I didn't want too much spice for a 2-year-old.


1 large red pepper, chopped, seeds removed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups red enchilada sauce
9-10 small corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and onion on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until vegetables are coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 30-40 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool to room temperature. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

2. Grease an 8x8 square baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine roasted vegetables, black beans, cumin, chili powder, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. Stir and season with salt and pepper.

3. Spread 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortillas, to completely cover the bottom of the pan. You might have to cut the tortillas to make them fit. Top with 1/3 of the vegetable/bean mixture and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the pan.

4. Bake enchiladas for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are bubbling. Remove enchiladas from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

from twopeasandtheirpod