Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I recently brought this easy Black Bean Soup to a pot luck lunch party at my office.  It was a breeze. I actually threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning in my office and let it cook there until lunch time. The big problem was that I let it cook in my office next to my desk. I nearly ate my arm off trying to not dive head first into the slow cooker and devour the entire thing.

But thankfully I had enough self control to hold off until it was time to serve so that everyone could try it. You’re welcome people!

I recommend this recipe for anyone looking for something super easy and cheap during the weeknight, weekend, or even for entertaining. This is an all around great soup! If you are going on a ski vacation and want to come home to something hearty and wholesome… this is your soup.  If you are just coming home from a long work week, this is your soup.  If you are having some friends over for game night, this is your soup.

I promise it to be a winner. It will satisfy both meat eaters and veggie eaters! It also will be easy on your pocket book and be super stress free.

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Easy Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 4 cans of black beans (undrained)*
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup salsa of choice (I use Trader Joe’s salsa)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (reserve half of cilantro for topping)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • Toppings: greek yogurt, chopped scallions, lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Place two of the four cans of black beans (with liquid) in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Puree for about 15 seconds. Add pureed black beans and remaining ingredients through salsa into a slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  2. Just before serving, stir in half of cilantro and juice of 1 lime. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve with greek yogurt (or sour cream), chopped scallions, lime wedges, and additional cilantro.

*Note – this recipe can definitely be made with dried black beans but will take about 2 hours longer to cook.   Rinse and soak them overnight. Drain them and then puree half of them (about 4 cups) with 2 cups of water. Add all ingredients to slow cooker as mentioned above.  Cooking time will increase by 2 hours, with it taking 8 hours on low and 5 hours on high.

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Carne Asada Salad (Paleo Friendly and Gluten Free)

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Have you ever lost your mojo? Felt lost?

If you are frequent reader or friend of mine or even someone I have passed on the street, it has been a bit too obvious that I have lost my mojo.  I’m typically so goal-driven, mega type A, and awesome…or anal, whichever you deem it. But not for sometime. For a while I have felt like a feather in the wind with no direction, which is TERRIFYING to me. I think we all have a threshold of how much willpower we have and how much we can endure. And then one day you snap…for me it was the lack of ketchup in our house when I had made sweet potato fries…. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY CAN”T I HAVE WHAT I WANT!

Too dramatic? naaaah.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But there has to be a certain point when you just have to realize that life just is what it is. We get handed certain things in life and we can either roll around in it like a stinky pile of poop or we can make poop pie and throw it at someone that deserves it. I’ve decided to quite rolling in poop and throw it. Wait…I don’t think that came out right.

Well, you get what I’m saying right?  Take out your frustrations on others, am I right? That’s what friends are for? right? Friends? Thanks for being there for me. 🙂 No really. Thanks.

This week has been operation “get my mojo back”. If you have often felt like your mojo is gone, I challenge you to get it back by realizing that we can’t compare ourselves to others (even past versions of ourselves). We are where we are and we have to try to enjoy these moments, even the hard ones, because our time is short and our love is vast.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Here are a few of the things I did to get mojo back this week that you can try:

  • Exercise – Go for a walk. Listen to the birds, see the trees in bloom, embrace the now.
  • Treat Yo’ self – Hello mani/pedi.
  • Cook – Try something simple and fresh for yourself and family. Your belly will thank you.
  • Laugh – This is the most important thing of all.

As part of my “get my mojo back” week, I decided to cook something fresh and simple. I thawed out a strip steak from our purchase of 1/4 of a COW. (I don’t know which fourth I got, but he’s tasty.)  Strip steaks are nice and thin and are great for carne asada! So I whipped up a quick carne asada marinade when I got home from work. Fresh limes are key to the marinade. Let your steak marinade for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. Fresh greens are abundant in the farmers market and in my garden so I decided to create a fresh salad instead of tacos.  I used fresh baby butter lettuce, baby kale, and cilantro that is growing in our garden and some other goodies that I picked up at the market to create a Carne Asada Salad that was quick, delicious, and something that I will be making many times during this grilling season. Feel free to modify your toppings, but focus on fresh and good quality items.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Strip steaks are thin and will not require a long time on the grill. For medium, you will likely only need to grill it 4 to 5 minutes per side, or less. Keep an eye on it. You could even cook your steaks inside in a cast iron skillet or grill pan if you don’t have a grill.

Carne Asada Salad (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 lb strip steak (flank steak would work too)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, etc)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • crumbled feta (optional)
  • fresh limes
  • avocado
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. Place the strip steak in a large glass bowl or baking dish.  Do not use metal because it may react with the acids in the marinade. Salt and pepper on both sides. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the steak. Make sure that all of is covered and saturated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. Pull out of the refrigerator and allow the steak to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). 
  2. Preheat your grill or grill pan using medium-high heat or flame. Brush the grates of your grill with a bit of olive oil so that the steak does not stick to the grates. Remove the steak from the marinade and place onto the hottest part of the grill and cover the grill. Grill until the underside of the steak is browned, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak.  Flip the steak and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal. This will help the steak from being chewy.
  4. Prepare four salad bowls and place sliced steak on top. As another option, prepare these as tacos using grilled corn tortillas. Mmmmm! Happy eating!

 

Miso Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets with Kale

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

I spent last week in the great city of Omaha for a new project at work. There is something amazing about being able to get out of the office and work with my hands, learn new things, meet new people, and wear my favorite boots…steal-toed boots. Ya, that’s right. Grrrrr!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

My biggest problem of being on the road is trying to eat well. Seriously, you put big plates of food, and booze, and fries in front of my face and I will inhale them! You’d think that I was a ranch hand or a growing teen boy from Nebraska. I tried to order grilled salmon and salads whenever I could, but…. oh fries…and ketchup…and breweries!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

Needless to say, my body and belly are thankful to be home, eating more wholesome foods and detoxing. To help with the wholesomeness, I roasted a butternut squash and beets with a miso-harissa dressing. Toss the roasted veggies with some fresh kale and extra dressing, and that, my friends, is a bowl-full of healing greens!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

Miso Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets with Kale (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium-sized beets, scrubbed, stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 Tablespoon harissa paste
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and destemmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a shallow roasting pan and set aside.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, miso paste, harissa paste, lemon juice, cumin, and honey in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, combine the cubed butternut squash and the cubed beets with 1/3 cup of the miso-harissa mixture. Once the cubed vegetables are well coated, spread evenly on the roasting pan in a single layer. Roast the vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 F, stirring halfway through. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven.
  3. Chop the washed and destemmed kale into 1-inch pieces. Place the kale into a large bowl and stir the remaining miso-harissa mixture into the kale until it is well coated. Add the warm roasted vegetables to the kale.

Strawberry and Cucumber Ribbon Salad

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My husband pulled the trigger this week. Four years of waffling on my end.  But he just woke up one morning this week and decided it was time. He jumped in and started pulling up the 85 layers of laminate and tile and fiber board that covered our kitchen floors. Good thing he stopped just before hitting the asbestos tile. What a man!

He sent me pictures of the destruction while I was at work. Needless to say I was shocked. And then kind of excited. But then it hit me…

“Wait… You JUST did this???? Are you kidding??? No stove? No fridge? No floor?  Is that asbestos? Are you dying? Is that a respirator? Are you drinking water???? Don’t eat the floor! Don’t die on me.”

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I guess this means I’m GETTING A FLOOR!

What do you eat when you don’t have a kitchen and your garden is going gangbusters with cucumbers? Cucumber salad!

Let’s get fancy….cucumber ribbon salad! Oooooh gurrrrl!  Ya, I did it. I used a vegetable peeler for something besides collecting dust in my kitchen utensil crap drawer. Boom!

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I also threw some fresh strawberries, basil, mint, and feta into the mix. Personally, I think the fresh herbs and feta really bring this dish together. I also drizzled a little bit of good balsamic vinegar on top. This has been my go to lunch of choice this week. Summer in a bowl!

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This also is a perfect picnic salad! Because I’m basically picnicking every meal until our kitchen floor installation is complete.

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Strawberry and Cucumber Ribbon Salad

Makes 4 side salads or 2 large salads

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh mint and/or basil, slivered
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler or or mandolin slicer, cut the cucumber lengthwise into long thin ribbons. Stop before you get to the seeds.
  2. Place cucumber ribbons in a bowl with sliced strawberries, crumbled feta, basil, and mint. Drizzle with good balsamic vinegar when ready to serve.

Swiss Chard Wraps

Quick and easy meals are the focus in my house lately. And for the coming future….well, for the next three months.  I am feverishly preparing to take the professional engineering (P.E.) exam this coming October. The PE exam is the final step in the licensure process for engineers.

It’s a massive 8 hour exam and I am quite out of practice in the studying department.  SO to dedicate the most time and be as efficient as possible, I study every ounce that I can and end up taking only a few breaks to eat and squeeze in a few runs. I’m basically M.I.A. So if you need me in the coming months, send smoke signals or slide a note under the door.

My recipes and posts in the coming months will likely reduce in quantity but not quality. I will be featuring quick breakfast/lunch/dinner recipes for folks on the go (or chained to a desk studying).  I got ya’lls back people.

These swiss chard wraps were a quick linner (lunch/dinner) that we enjoyed over the weekend using leftover smoked chicken and a few chard leaves.  They are similar to burritos, except the chard leaf serves as a fresh “tortilla”, making it both gluten free and grain free. They come together in a snap.  You could use whatever leftovers you have on hand such as taco meat, or grilled veggies, or even scrambled eggs.  Top similar to tacos, using avocados, fresh tomatoes, salsa, and cilantro. 

Swiss Chard Wraps 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 large swiss chard leaves, cleaned and extra stem removed
  • 2 cups of grilled veggies (red bell pepper, zucchini, onion, etc) 
  • 2 cups shredded chicken or beef
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado
  • cilantro
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet or microwave, reheat veggies and meat.
  2. Assemble the swiss chard wraps like tacos, layering the shredded chicken mixture with the desired toppings. Wrap the chard leaf around the filling and dive in!