Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Perfect Panera Bread Black Bean Soup

 

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I was thrilled to find the perfect dupe for my very favorite Panera Black Bean Soup.  You can make an entire pot of soup for what one serving in a bread bowl would cost.  And its SO easy. 

Ingredients

1 Onion finely chopped

4-5 Cloves Garlic minced

2 Ribs Celery finely chopped

1/2 orange or red bell pepper

1/4 Cup Chicken Stock

3-3/4 Cups Chicken Stock (this is the remainder of the 32 oz. box)

2-1/4 Cups Water

2 Cups Black Beans dried

1 Can Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chiles 10oz

2 tsp Mexican Oregano, I didn’t have Mexican Oregano, I used 2 tsp. of Italian Oregano

2 tsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Ground Cumin

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Ground Pepper

Directions:

Finely chop onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper and add to Instant Pot.  Saute veggies using SAUTE MODE until they are limp, using 1/4 cup of broth to saute them instead of oil

Stir in Oregano, Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt, and Pepper.  Slowly add remaining 2 cups of broth and the 3-1/4 cups of water and stir well.

Rinse 2 cups of dried Black Beans, removing any debris, and add to pot.

Pour the Rotel Tomatoes into the CENTER of the soup and DO NOT STIR.  The Rotel Original gives this a little kick, not a lot just a touch, but if you don’t want the heat, use Rotel Mild

Attach lid, make sure vent is set to SEALING, and set timer for MANUAL MODE for 50 minutes.

Allow to naturally vent for10 minutes before CAREFULLY releasing whatever steam is left - I just make early in the day and let it set for awhile

Using a slotted spoon, remove 1 cup of the beans & veggies and set side.  Using a immersion blender (or regular blender) carefully blend the remaining soup until smooth.

Add the beans & veggies you set aside back in and stir well. 

Notes

Jan's Notes - these were AWESOME.  Next time  think I will use Vitamix instead of Immersion Blender to get smoother consistency.  I followed recipe exactly, used regular oregano, didn't have the mexican..  Fantastic Recipe - SO GOOD! 

Garnish with Salsa, Lime Wedges, or Green Chile Sour Cream if desired. 

This is so simple to make in an Instant Pot.  I have the new 8 qt. Plus size, even for two people it’s not too big.  They’ve been out of stock everywhere in this new version, but you can find the 8 qt. Duo on Amazon.  Same pot, the newer version just has a couple more settings.

Here’s the link if you’re interested, this 8 qt. is a better price than the plus.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Awesome Plastic Wrap Dispenser

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Plastic wrap dispensers are, well indispensible.  Okay, it’s a play on words, but these things are just awesome.  I first saw them on Pioneer Woman and was impressed at how well they work.   And who doesn’t struggle with plastic wrap, sometimes I just totally give up because it always clings to the wrap instead of the bowl.  But this little gadget changes everything.  I sit what I’m wrapping beside the dispenser, pull out the wrap, attach it to the bowl and then use the cutter on the dispenser for a clean cut.  Works perfect every time.

This dispenser comes with 250 feet of plastic wrap, you can refill it with plastic wrap from the grocery store and it’s $15 from Amazon Prime.  It’s worth the $15 to just ease the frustration.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in it, too 

I’ll make it easier for you, here it is in action - different pattern, but this veggie one is cuter. 

 But I’m not finished yet, there is also a dispenser for Aluminum Foil.  This one comes with a 12x30 ft. roll of aluminum foil and it’s also refillable.  It has a magnetic closure, there is a video on Amazon’s site that you can watch.   I haven’t bought this yet, but I’m going to, today!

Here’s the link for the foil

You know how much I enjoy kitchen gadgets, and anything that’s a timesaver is worth the money.  This is a really good thing… ~ Jan

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sharin' the Good Stuff, Copy Me That!

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Who doesn’t save recipes from the Internet?  We all do it, I have a tons of bookmarks and a badzillion Pinterest boards and it’s a pain in the patootie to find something.  But recently I found a site called Copy Me That, and it’s fantastic.   If you’re on a desktop or laptop, you download a button that you add to the top of your browser and it’s so simple to use.  You can also use this on your mobile phone or your tablet.

First, you go to copymethat.com and create an account and make sure you sign in.  Then if you’re on a computer, you download the button, it’s a two spoons icon and drag it up on your browser, and you’re good to go.  When you find a recipe you want to save, just click on that button and you get a popup on the top right corner of your page that says Copy Me That, and there is a link to View Recipe.

When you click the link it takes you to your main page, and this is the important part, you want to Create a Tag.  In the picture above, my first recipe is Instant Pot Chicken and Rice, so I created three tags for this, Chicken, Grains and Instant Pot.  I clicked on the “Add Tag” bar and created those three tags.  You’re doing this, so that in the future, you can easily find recipes in a category you are looking for.  And once you create a tag, it’s always there, you just Click the Add Tag bar and you will see the ones you’ve already created or you can add new ones.  You can make your settings private or you can share with the public.  Mine is public, anybody can view it.

I’ve explained what I do, but the ladies in the video below will show you what to do.  This is fantastic, the best organizer I’ve found and it’s free. ~ Jan

 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hot Potato Salad

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I made this so often when the boys were little, lost the recipe and thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I just found it again.

We called it Hot Potato Salad, and made it exactly like this using Velveeta.  It was just SO good.

I was thrilled to find this recipe again and to add it here so I will always have it….

INGREDIENTS 

9 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced

1 cup mayonnaise

1 lb Velveeta cheese, diced

1 small onion, chopped

salt

pepper

1⁄2 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1⁄2 cup green olives, sliced

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325F.

Combine potatoes, mayonnaise, cheese, and onion, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Put into greased 9x13 baking dish.

Top with bacon and olives.

Bake 1 hour.

Nutrition

Monday, October 30, 2017

Southwest Sweet Potato Salad

This recipe is wonderful.  It’s so good for you and it’s simple to make and even better the next day.  It’s a new staple in my kitchen.  It’s that good!

Makes 12 (1/2-cup) servings


4-6 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cut into small dice

Salt and pepper to taste

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2/3 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 15 oz. can  black beans, drained well and rinsed

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoon jarred jalapeno slices


1. Preheat oven 425°F. Coat foil lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

2. On prepared pan, toss together sweet potatoes, salt and pepper and spray with cooking spray. Roast about 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are crisp and cool.

3.In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, corn, and black beans

4. In blender, puree lime juice, garlic, jalapeno and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  I used an immersion blender for this step, so much easier

Toss all together, let marinate a few hours and serve


*Nutritional information per serving: Calories 113 Calories from fat 28% Fat 4g Saturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 99mg Carbohydrate 19g Dietary Fiber 3g Sugars 4g Protein 2g Dietary Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat

*Nutritional Information is approximate, always double check to be certain of calorie count

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Apple Upside Down Pie...

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Ingredients

 

1
cup chopped pecans
1/2
cup packed brown sugar
1/3
cup butter, melted
1
box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
4
medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 3/4 lb), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
2
large Jonagold apples (about 1 1/4 lb), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4
cup granulated sugar 
2
tablespoons all-purpose flour
1
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2
teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, mix pecans, brown sugar and butter. Spread in bottom of 9-inch glass pie plate. Place 1 pie crust over pecan mixture, allowing excess crust to hang over sides. In large bowl, toss apples, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon apple mixture onto crust, packing tightly and mounding in center. Unroll second pie crust over filling; press edges together, fold under and crimp. Cut slits in several places
  • Place pie on cookie sheet on lower oven rack. Bake 50 minutes. If necessary, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until juices are bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cool on cooling rack 10 minutes. Invert pie plate onto heatproof serving plate. Remove pie plate; replace any pecans in pie plate onto top of pie. Cool completely.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The chili of my childhood...


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It wasn't until after I was grown that I realized not everyone ate pickles with their chili.  It was a staple at our house, and looking back, it was probably mother using what she had.  We always had sweet pickles and dill pickles with chili, no peanut butter sandwiches, no cornbread, just pickles and crackers and always in the fall apple pie.

I loved it then, and I love it now.  I make really good chili, you want to know how I do it?  Okay, here goes...

First of all, I’m a slow cooker kinda girl, it’s easy, you set it and forget it.  But if you don’t use a slow cooker, I’m a fan of putting it in a big pot, adding the lid and baking it in the oven.  You don’t have to watch it or stir it to make sure it doesn’t stick like you do if you cook it on top of the stove, I’m all about easy in my old(er) age.

2 lbs. ground chuck browned with a large chopped onion, two onions if yours aren’t really big, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 can of Brooks Chili Mix with Beans

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Thought you might like a picture, so you can see what it looks like.  If you can’t find this, just substitute a couple of cans of chili beans with sauce 

Now back to the recipe...

1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
2 or 3 cans of light red kidney beans, drained
sometimes I use 2 cans of light red kidney beans and 1 can of chili beans with sauce, I don’t drain the chili beans with sauce
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons of sugar to cut the acidity
1 dry packet of chili seasoning mix - I like Brooks best, it’s hard to find, but any dry mix will do 

Brown the ground beef and onions, stir into chili mixture and cook on high in your slow for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  If you bake it in the oven, cook it at 350-375 degrees for an hour.

If you like more heat, add a dash or two of cayenne pepper to the ground beef as you are browning it.  Then taste it after it cooks to see if you need additional chili powder.

The Hoosier way of eating chili is to stir in macaroni.  I don’t do this at first but a day or so later, I cook jumbo elbow macaroni, put it in the bowls and ladle chili over it like I did in the picture above.  I never chili mac as a kid, it’s strictly an Indiana thing, but it is good.

Mother didn’t make her chili like this, she just used hamburger, onions, a quart of her home canned tomatoes and added cans of chili beans.  Hers wasn’t highly seasoned, but the pickles took it over the top.

Oh, the pickles - the best pickles EVER, EVER, EVER are these - 

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Oh my, I can’t say enough about Famous Dave’s Signature Spicy Pickle Chips.  They are absolutely wonderful, just the right combo of sweet and hot, they are YUMMY!  We buy these at Costo in big jars, I add them to so many things. tuna salad, macaroni salad and sandwiches and they are gone before our next trip back.  Amazing pickles, if you’ve never tried them, look for them in your market, they are delicious!  If you can’t find them, of course Amazon has them, Amazon has everything...