Corn-and-Black Bean Salsa

Got a last minute invite to watch the Superbowl somewhere and don’t want to show up empty handed? Well, I’ve got a really quick, hearty and tasty salsa that can be made in a few minutes with only a few ingredients. If you are someone like me who generally has canned food stocked away, this Corn-and-Black Bean Salsa will be a lifesaver when you need a quick dish or have a last minute guest to feed.

Canned corn and black beans are mixed with canned tomatoes (flavored with lime and cilantro), scallions, cumin, olive oil, and lime juice. This chunky salsa is fantastic with chips as a snack or as an addition to some chicken or in a healthy salad. And because everything goes in one bowl and can be made quickly, there is little time needed to throw this together and very little clean up. Sure, everyone can go to the store and buy some tomato-based salsa (“from New York City?!”) but you know this salsa is so much better.

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Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

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Cover and chill.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living magazine

Cajun Turkey Sliders with Spicy Remoulade

So the big game is this weekend. May you care. Maybe you don’t. I care only because I love football and hate to see the season end but don’t care because I could care less who wins. I won’t be attending any parties this weekend but if you are (or are hosting, you crazy person!), these Cajun Turkey Sliders with Spicy Remoulade are mighty tasty and who doesn’t love a slider for the big game?

Ground turkey is mixed with scallions and hot sauce and also spiced up with a little Cajun seasoning. After being sprinkled with even more seasoning before cooking, these sliders are cooked and topped with sautéed peppers and onion adding yet even more flavor. The remoulade, which is slathered onto the bun, packs its own punch with flavors from pickle relish, spicy mustard, parsley, hot sauce, and lemon. I used leftover remoulade on anything I could, that was how much I loved it. These sliders are packed with flavor and whether you make them for the game or not, they are sure to be a hit.

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In a very large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-low heat. Add sweet peppers and onion; cook about 10 minutes or until very soft and tender. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

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In a large bowl, combine turkey, green onions, Cajun seasoning, bottled hot pepper sauce, salt, and black pepper; mix well. Form into 12 patties slightly larger than the buns. Sprinkle both sides of each patty generously with Old Bay® seasoning. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add patties; cook about 8 minutes or until done (165 degrees F), turning once halfway through cooking time.

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For the remoulade, combine mayonnaise, pickle relish, capers, mustard, parsley, bottled hot pepper sauce, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

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Serve in buns with sweet pepper mixture and Spicy Remoulade. Makes 12 sliders.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Onion
  • Capers

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Better Homes & Garden magazine

Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili

As I’m sure you’ve heard, we are supposed to get a little bit of snow here in the Northeast. I’m not someone who panics and runs to the grocery store when a storm is coming (although maybe I should) but I did happen to pick up a few things anyway. I did a lot of cooking this weekend so I have plenty of food to get me by (assuming I don’t lose power). After a quick trip to the produce stand on Saturday, I decided to use some extra zucchini for this Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili. Warm and hearty, this chili will hopefully keep me warm while it snows.

Ground turkey (the recipe calls for beef), zucchini, black beans, onion, fire-roasted tomatoes and seasonings are combined in a slow-cooker where the meat melts into the sauce. Because I used ground turkey, I only cooked this chili for about 3 1/2 hours on high and it turned out perfect. The fire-roasted tomatoes given this chili so much flavor while the zucchini and beans help make it hearty. I’m really happy to nosh on this over the next few days. Now I just have to pray that I don’t lose power. Cold chili just isn’t the same.

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In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the meat, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, onions, tomato paste, garlic, chili powder, oregano, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

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Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).

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Serve the remaining chili with the sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Real Simple magazine

Sweet Chipotle Snack Mix

I’m trying to be a little bit smarter about my snacking. I’m someone who has no problem snacking on nuts…so long as they have chocolate chips and dried cherries mixed in. But eating plain old nuts is no fun. So many people don’t like to eat nuts because they are so high in calories but they are also so high in good fat. Like with everything else, it’s about watching how much you eat and be careful with portions. But with nuts, they easily fill you up so a small handful (a portion) is just enough to do what a snack needs to do: satisfy! This Sweet Chipotle Snack Mix is a perfect snack mix to have on hand when my stomach is rumbling and I need something quick.

Slivered almonds, pumpkinseeds, and cashews are mixed with a frothy egg white and a spicy mixture of sugar (or Splenda), chipotle chile powder, cumin, oregano, and chile powder and baked until warm and crispy. Spices are a fun way to add a lot of calorie-free flavor to nuts to make them a little more interesting. Mixed with sugar, this spice mixture is sweet, spicy and smoky without being overly sweet, overly spicy or overly smoky. The combination is perfectly mellow but completely flavorful that makes this snack mix a little bit addicting. But just remember, a little goes a long way so this snack will last you for days and days.

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Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine sugar, salt, chipotle chile powder, cumin, oregano, and chili powder in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

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Place egg white in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until foamy. Add the almonds, cashews, and pumpkinseeds; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with spice mixture; toss well to coat.

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Spread nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325°F for 15 minutes, stirring once. Turn oven off. Remove pan from oven; stir snack mix. Immediately return pan to oven for an additional 15 minutes (leave oven off). Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack; cool completely.

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Store snack mix in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Splenda

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

White Chocolate Mocha

Did you do a lot of baking around the holiday and still have partial bags of chocolate chips laying around your cabinets? Well I do. What do you do with those leftover chips? Sure, I could combine them all into a fabulous mega-chip cookie but I’m a bit cookied out after the holiday and need a break from that. I’m not inclined to snack on white chocolate the way I might regular chocolate so when I came across this recipe for White Chocolate Mocha, it seemed like the most perfect way for me to a)use up those chips and b) warm up!

White chocolate and milk are melted together with a little coffee, a tiny bit of rum, and a tinier bit of vanilla. The trivial amount of rum isn’t significant enough for me to consider this an alcoholic beverage and while you could leave it out, it adds yet another layer to this mocha that feels so deep and complex. I’m not usually the biggest of white chocolate fans. I mean, I like it but I’ll generally take any brown chocolate over white any day. But this! Oh my goodness! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved this. It was so boldly flavorful without being too sweet or too rich. The coffee flavor was just subtle enough to make this a mocha without making it overwhelming. This mocha was like getting a warm, sweet, childlike hug before bed. Please, if you have any white chocolate lingering in your cabinets, make this as soon as you can!

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In a large heavy saucepan combine white chocolate and 2/3 cup of the milk. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until chocolate is melted. Add remaining milk.

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Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Stir in coffee, rum, and vanilla.

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Serve in mugs topped with marshmallows.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Mexican Chicken Lime Soup

Sometimes, I like the cold. Sure, you think I’m crazy and that’s okay but as tired of the cold as I get by the end of winter, there are those moments when I enjoy it. I don’t like bundling up in a thick coat and layer myself up with gloves, a scarf and hat only to drive around town running errands feeling like Randy from A Christmas Story. But I do like the way the cold air makes me feel especially like on a clear and sunny blue sky day. The cold can be invigorating. It can also be brutal, I know. Cold days are the quintessential time to make a warm and spicy soup like Mexican Chicken Lime Soup.

Chicken thighs are cooked with onions and garlic before simmering with broth and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Cilantro, lime juice, avocado, and crushed tortilla chips add even more flavor to this comforting soup which really warms you up from the inside out. The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce really give this soup a vibrant kick while the avocado provides a creamy coolness. Also, the lime juice adds a welcome hint of citrus. Corn, black beans, or red and green pepper would be welcome additions but are unnecessary. This quick soup is flavorful enough that you’ll enjoy its bold simplicity. Go ahead, bundle up and eat this soup outside in the cold. Just kidding.

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In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, lower the heat to medium and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Increase the heat to high, push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the chicken and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes.

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Stir in the chipotles and adobo sauce, then stir in the chicken broth.

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Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming any foam. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

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Place 2 avocado slices in each of 6 soup bowls and pour in the soup. Top with the tortilla chips.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Pecan-Pumpkin Drops with Sriracha-Honey Butter

What is it about winter that makes baking so appealing? By the time the holidays roll around, I’m dying to start cookie baking. And even though that is all done with now and our lives are back to normal, baking is still appealing. Is it because of the weather? When it’s warm out, we don’t want to stay in the house, let alone to do something that requires turning on the oven. But in the winter, it just feels so right. Is it nesting? These Pecan-Pumpkin Drops didn’t require me hitting the grocery store for ingredients and neither did the Sriracha-Honey Butter I smeared on them! This combination of recipes was easy and didn’t require me going out in the cold for anything!

Pumpkin and pecans, along with a little nutmeg, make up the primary flavors in these petite little muffins which are a perfect on their own or as an accompaniment to your winter meal. Served warm with a little butter or cream cheese would be oh-so-lovely but the sriracha-honey butter I smeared mine with gave these muffins another jolt. The sweet and spicy butter blended with the mellow pumpkin makes for a flavorful melt-in-your-mouth combo. Eat these muffins, and the butter, however you like. Just make them. Both. And stay warm!

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Combine pumpkin and buttermilk in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

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Add pumpkin mixture and chopped pecans to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

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Drop batter in mounds of about 1/3-cupfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 425° for 14 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet; cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm.

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For the Sriracha-Honey Butter, combine butter, Sriracha, and honey in a bowl.

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Chill until ready to serve.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Sources:

  • Muffins: Cooking Light magazine
  • Butter: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine
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