I love cooking and overall find it to be the most economical way to eat during the week. I really enjoy undertaking a new recipe, trying a new skill, or spending time experimenting on my own. However, cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day is super daunting and tiring. Therefore, I enjoy an easy short cut just as much as the next person.
Last week, I made my favorite ten minute tacos for dinner one evening. Afterwards, I had several cans and packages open that I hadn’t finished. I was suddenly struck with an idea. What if I could turn these leftovers from tacos into another meal?? Everything is pretty much all ready. In fact, I had this meal prepped and in the crock pot before Mike even finished the dishes from dinner (Yes, my man does the dishes and I love him for that). I put the full recipe at the bottom for your reference 🙂
You may want to adjust the green chilies and taco seasoning based on your heat preference. I like spicy but at the end of the day I thought this was even a little too hot for me. I might have scaled it back on the chilies and taco seasoning just a little bit.
I always keep a box of chicken or vegetable stock in my refrigerator. It comes in handy SO often. I used to buy the low sodium version but I found that it was so bland I just ended up adding salt. I’d rather cook with the salt then add it after. I think it tastes better. Very unscientific information courtesy of Christina… you’re welcome.
This provided several lunches for me and Mike throughout the week. Black bean soup is so hearty and filling, especially in this crappy weather we’ve been having!
Questions for you guys:
– Beans: love ’em or hate ’em? What’s your favorite one??? Personally, I love almost all beans except Red Kidney Beans. Those are really hit or miss for me. Consequently, I don’t love chili. I usually make white bean chili at home… which ROCKS.
– What recipes are you loving this week??
I love soup. I’m a soup lover! Besides liking the way it tastes, I like that soup often allows me to pack a ton of vegetables into a meal and keeps me feeling full for a long time (I think it’s all the liquid). I’ve taken recently to preparing a big batch of soup in the crockpot on Sundays and eating it for lunch at work all week. I have a couple rules for soups made at home. 1. Packed with veggies 2. A healthy base like stock of tomato (no cream based soups). In the last couple weeks I’ve made this White Bean and Spinach soup and this butternut squash and apple soup.
I love pureed vegetable soups because they remind me so much of when I was studying abroad in Ireland (I saved all my money to travel and drink beer, so I ate a lot of soup). However, I hesitate to make them at home because its SO annoying to transfer the soup into a blender and blend it up when it’s done cooking. I also overfilled the blender when doing my butternut squash soup, which resulted in a very cartoon-esque scene where butternut squash soup was exploding all over my kitchen (and face). HOWEVER, Mike, being the amazing boyfriend that he is, brought me an IMMERSION BLENDER! I was so psyched to try it out that I knew soup was going to be on the menu this week. Then when the hurricane hit, I had some extra time on my hands. I decided to try this recipe from Epicurious because it thickened the recipe with potatoes as opposed to adding cream! The recipe was a little bit more intricate than I would normally choose for a slow cooker meal, but with the extra time I figured I would give it a try. It’s amazing what a little TLC can do for a dish 🙂
I started out with shallots, ginger, and an orange. I zested the orange and minced the ginger and shallots with the help of my handy dandy Euro Chopper (I REALLY need to get a food processor). It didn’t turn out half bad actually!
Then I got started on the potatoes and carrots. I decided to use pre-cut and peeled carrots for the recipe, but I still cut them in half to make the pieces smaller. I figured there was already so much peeling, cutting, mincing, and zesting in this recipe, I would give myself a break on the carrots.
KITTY ATTACK!! Luckily we were able to play quick defense and keep Fig out of the crock pot.
I used vegetable stock to make the recipe “vegan”. I don’t eat strictly a vegetarian or vegan diet. I personally believe (and I may get dinged by some for saying this) that just because something is vegan or vegetarian, doesn’t automatically mean its healthy. Conversely, I believe that just because a recipe includes meat doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. I choose to eat a balanced diet that combines sometimes eating meat and sometimes not. If you call me a “flexitarian” I will find you and slap you in the face.
I continued to mess around in the kitchen while the soup cooked, and Fig sulked by laying on my computer.
In my experience, this soup took way longer to cook than the recipe said. It said cook on high for 2 hours, but I ended up cooking it on high for 6 hours. It was just easier to let all the veggies get really soft. Then it was time to IMMERSION BLEND IT! Mike was a super kitchen helper… I think he was also pretty excited about the immersion blender.
VOILA! The result was a supremely delicious ginger carrot soup. I added some hot sauce and tamari for flavor but left off the sour cream / yogurt garnish. This baby didn’t need it 🙂 I am really glad I decided to take a stab at this recipe. I was especially thankful to have it for lunch on Wednesday, which prevented me from inhaling any more candy that I really did not need 🙂
Well friends… I’m off to NYC! I’ll be back with blog updates on Monday 🙂 Happy Weekend!
I don’t normally do two recipe posts in one week but I’ve had this one in the bank and since I’d like to only post pictures of my awesome NEW kitchen, I thought I’d get this guy out of the way. I thought I was making eggplant parm, but when I actually started assembling it I realized I was more making a lasagna with eggplant instead of noodles. But it wasn’t exactly lasagna either… so I ended up making this cool eggplant parm / lasagna hybrid. I didn’t use a recipe for this, so I’ll provide a little more detail than usual.
– One Eggplant
– One Jar Tomato Sauce (any flavor works)
– One 15 oz Container of Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
– Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
First I sliced up a whole eggplant. In retrospect, I should have maybe pre-cooked the eggplant a little in some boiling water and removed the skin. But that’s a texture preference on my end. Then I went to town with some layering. First tomato sauce, then eggplant, ricotta, and herbs. A coworker has a very active herb garden at home and was kind enough to bring in extras. I scored a big tinfoil packet of fresh rosemary and thyme.
Repeat until you’re out of everything.
Top with delicious amounts of cheese, and don’t forget to protect your herbs from the cat. My mother is going to cringe when she sees that picture (Hi Mom!).
Bake in the over for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. That’s kind of an estimate. I just cooked it until the cheese was melted and the eggplant was soft. Served with a side of brown rice. Kitties also attack the plate when you’re done. Everyone in the family likes this meal 🙂