Chorizo Butternut Black Bean Soup

How’s that for a title, eh?!  And that isn’t even mentioning the leek, or cabbage, or garlic…this soup is just CRAMMED with good stuff.

 

This soup also makes me laugh.  You want to know why?  Well…it came out of this beautiful book (I don’t think I’ve showed you this one yet, also from my favorite store 5 Below…which means I probably paid $4 for the thing!)

 

100 Best Fresh Soups

(If you are interested in it and don’t have a 5 Below, it’s on Amazon, I just checked!)

Anyways, back to my laughing…you see, I SAY this recipe came out of that book…but it was originally Sausage and Red Cabbage Soup…with potatoes and black eyed peas and cream…

Then one thing led to another…and now it is nothing like the original!  But I must still give credit, because this beautiful soup never would have happened without the inspiration of this lovely little book!

It started with the potatoes… Mr. Rodgers can’t have potatoes!  My first thought was “Well, I can just use sweet potatoes…wait!  Mr. Rodgers can’t have sweet potatoes either…what is kind of like a sweet potato???  Butternut squash!  We’ll try that.”  Step one in the transformation.

Then came the black eyed peas.  They are probably fine…but the husband has a specific list of what beans/legumes he can and cannot have…some are “eat every chance you get,” like black beans.  Some are “in moderation,” like chick peas.  So I just wasn’t sure about the black eyed peas, I’d hate to make something he couldn’t eat, or would be a bit of a compromise.  So I decided what the heck, I have a pantry full of black beans, we’ll use those instead.

Then I went to 3 or 4 stores looking for sausages without sugar or corn syrup or dextrose…NOTHING!  So annoying!!  But I grabbed some chorizo for a meatloaf recipe I will make later…NO SUGAR!  Hmmmm…I’ll use that for my soup too!

Then I went to add my almond milk instead of cream…and it was expired.  I guess this will be a brothy soup.

And there you have it.  Soup transformation.  I was so nervous because of all the changes…but this soup was BEAUTIFUL!  I can’t even describe how great the flavors worked together, and how comforting it was!  And I have to tell you…the day I made this was just the best day ever!!  I will tell you more about it in my pictures!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Grassfed Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Leek, Sliced (I had never used a leek before!  Life changing!  YouTube will show you how to cut them if its your first time!)
  • 6 C Chicken Stock
  • 1 Small Butternut Squash, Cubed (About 1 lb)
  • 1/2 lb Chorizo (or more…it was enough, but I might add more if I make it again to be more “paleo”)
  • 1/4 Large Red Cabbage, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it!

Note:  I used the chorizo in a way I am sure it was not intended, but I loved the outcome!  If you prefer to use it as a ground meat, feel free to brown it up before hand and add it back in right before the broth!  I wanted larger bites of meat, so I cooked it like you would a dumpling….and it worked!  I was so excited!!

  1. Prep all your veggies!  It’s easiest to have them all ready in bowls so you can dump as you go…but if you prefer to chop as you go that’s up to you!
  2. Melt your oil/butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes, until starting to get tender
  3. Add the leek and cook another 3 minutes or so.  Doesn’t it smell good?!
  4. Stir in the broth, add the butternut squash.  Now comes my crazy chorizo cooking method.  Since it came in a tubular shape, I cut it into small bite sized pieces and dropped it into the soup like dumplings and let it boil!  And it worked!  I was left with little chorizo bites throughout the soup!  Yay!!  Some oil from the chorizo will rise to the top of the soup…if this bothers you, use a spoon to remove it!  I left it though and it was perfectly fine.
  5. Add salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Stir in your red cabbage and black beans and cook 5-10 more minutes until the cabbage is starting to get tender.  Check your squash and make sure it is tender (but preferably not falling apart).  Spoon into bowls and top with some fresh cracked pepper!!

 

 

Peectures!

 

Chorizo Soup 1

The great gathering of the ingredients!

Chorizo Soup 2

Prepped and ready!

Chorizo Soup 3

Sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes, add leeks and repeat!

Chorizo Soup 4

Add broth…

Chorizo Soup 5

If you’re curious, this is how I cut my chorizo…just little bite size pieces…

Chorizo Soup 6

Add squash and chorizo and simmer for 20-25 minutes…

Chorizo Soup 7

Look at that beautiful color that comes from the chorizo!  Since I had never used it I did a little research, and that red color is from the peppers they use!

Chorizo Soup 8

Add cabbage and black beans, gently stir in, and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender but the squash is not falling apart.

Chorizo Soup 9

Bam!  Scoop into bowls and serve!

Chorizo Soup 10

See my little chorizo meat balls?  Delicious!!

Chorizo Soup 11

I was so pleased with how the flavors played off each other…not to mention all the great textures!

Chorizo Soup 12

Yummy.  I’m sad it’s gone now.  Didn’t last long.

 

 

And now you get to see why I had the best day ever.  You know the first part…I adapted a recipe, took lots of risks, and it was successful!!  Great feeling already!!  Not only that, but I had been instructed to sleep in by my fabulous husband so I felt rested (it’s amazing you should try it!).  Then the sun came out and I got to lay in the grass near my flower bed, eat yummy soup, and spend time with my sweet Jesus.  Lately I have really been trying to cut back on the movies and tv shows, and spend more time just “be-ing.”  Having real moments, be they productive moments, thoughtful moments, “connected with others” moments (I’m bad at that one, Lord help me!),  prayerful moments…let me tell you, it’s only been a few days, and already I notice a difference.  My home is full of peace when I focus on abstaining from distractions and instead just “being.”  You guys should try it.  Aim for moments like these:

 

Chorizo Soup 13

I don’t know why I ever forget how good life can be when you stop to enjoy the weather (all kinds,) to enjoy a good hearty meal, and to talk to my Creator!!  Speaking of…wanna see some of the lovely flowers I got to enjoy on this “best day ever”?

 

Chorizo SOup 14

Pink!

Chorizo Soup 15

Stripey!  I love how full the stripey ones get!

Chorizo SOup 16

And my beautiful sunflower, the only one that has bloomed so far…she’s a survivor…broken nearly in half and still grew up from the ground and bloomed!  There’s gotta be a lesson in that!!

 

Okay, forgive me, this blog is getting way too long.  I will bid you goodnight…I hope you love my soup, and feel inspired to enjoy it in quiet, undistracted peace!!

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Lemon Garlic Asparagus

If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE asparagus.  Freakishly.  Last night I was shoving some in my face telling Mr. Rodgers “I could seriously eat this every day of my life!”  Because of said passion…I jump at every new way to prepare it!  This method seemed so simple, I just had to try it!  And I definitely was not disappointed…with taste or appearance!!  It was just so stinking cute!  It made me happy!  Did I mention it was simple?!  Beautiful.  You ready?  Here we go!

 

You may have guessed, but this is adapted from one of my favorites!!

Meditteranean Frittata 1

Yay for this book!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • 1/2 Lemon, Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.  Spread the asparagus out in a single layer.  Spread the lemon slices over the asparagus.  Sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your asparagus.  It should be tender-crisp.

 

 

And there you go!  Bingo zingo…super easy!!  Do you love it?!  I love it!!

 

Asparagus 1

See?  Lay it out nice and pretty…

Asparagus 2

Sprinkle with garlic…

Asparagus 3

Salt and pepper…and cook until tender crisp!

Asparagus 4

Yummy roasty toasty garlicky lemony goodness!

Asparagus 5

Asparagus 6

 

Sweet and Tangy Slaw for All Seasons

Coleslaw.  I thought I hated it.  But over the last few years, my adoration for cabbage has grown and grown.  I now can barely make a salad or stir fry without it!  But cabbage is not the ONLY thing I was convinced I despised that I have changed my mind about as of late.  The other ingredient never absent from my salads?  Spicy brown mustard!!  Never make a vinaigrette without it!

 

Why am I telling you this?

 

Because…I found a recipe for Three Cabbage Slaw with Honey Mustard Dressing!  And I just HAD to try it.  Turns out…I LOVE COLESLAW!!

Hallelujah, who knew?!  🙂

 

Now this recipe was adapted from another one of my awesome cook book finds!!  This was a thrift store gem!!  See?

Eat Well Stay Well

 

Slightly old school (I was 8 when it came out!)…but tons of good stuff crammed in here…and the recipes are easily adapted to different health standards.  🙂

 

So…let’s get down to it!!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 C Red Cabbage, Shredded
  • 3 C Green Cabbage, Shredded
  • 2 C Napa Cabbage, Shredded
  • 4 Carrots, Shredded
  • 3 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 C Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • 3 Tbsp Raw Honey, Melted
  • 2-3 Tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard, depending on tastes
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Prepare your veggies…get a-shreddin!  Put them all together in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients, drizzle over the veggie mixture, and toss to coat.
  3. Taste, and adjust to your liking.  And you’re done.  Easy peasy!  And delicious!

 

Peectures!

Slaw 1

Shreddy Veggies…

Slaw 2

And dressed!!

Slaw 3 SLaw 5 SLaw 4

Yeah baby!!  Let me know how you like it!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Teryaki Chicken Burgers

Paleo.  It has been the most rewarding lifestyle we have tried.  Not to mention, it is quite satisfying since you get to eat so much protein.   The only issue I have run into is figuring out enough interesting ways to cook meat.  One fail-proof option is burger patties!  You just have to be constantly thinking of creative new ways to prepare them to keep it interesting!

Lucky for me, I found this book at my favorite store for cook book shopping, Five Below:

 

Grill It

(Feel free to check it out here)

 

Since it is a book of grilling recipes, most of them are protein-based.  And there are plenty of burger recipes, just waiting to be adapted to clean-eating standards.  Now I would like to share one of those with you!!  I love how there is a great flavor…but also veggies snuck in there!  And another thing I just adore about burger patties is that, even though we are transitioning to cooler days, you can still rock these puppies!  Be it an outdoor grill, grill pan, or a good old fashioned cast iron skillet…burgers will satisfy your tummy and your taste buds!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb Ground Chicken
  • 1 Carrot, Peeled and Grated
  • 2 Green Onions, Minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Ginger Paste (or fresh grated)
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • A few shakes Red Pepper Flakes
  • Toppings of choice

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Combine all the burger ingredients in a large bowl.  Divide mixture into 4 even portions, and form into patties.  If needed, you can form them right on your plate over some foil or wax paper, because the mixture WILL be more moist than regular burgers.  Place them in the freezer just a few minutes until you are ready to grill.  This helps them stay formed.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill, or a cast iron grill pan or skillet with a small amount of grass-fed butter in the bottom.  Place burgers on your cooking surface and cook for 6-7 minutes per side, until juices run clear and the temperature is at 170*.  I’m sure you know this, but these are not beef burgers so they MUST be cooked all the way through!
  3. Top with whatever you please and eat away!!

 

Peectures!

 

Mix everything together and form your patties:

 

Teryaki Chicken Burgers 1

 

Cook 6-7 minutes per side, or until done!

Teryaki Chicken Burgers 2

 

And devour!!  Pretty easy, right?!

 

Teryaki Chicken Burgers 3

Fall Lentil Carrot Soup

As much as I HATE to admit that summer is coming to a close (no no no no no no nooo!), the first day of fall has been announced, and so I am determined to look at the bright side!  I will refuse to think about the impending 7 months of subzero temperatures and snow measured of feet.  Instead I will dwell on this positive point: DELICIOUS, COMFORTING FALL FOOD!  First up?  Lentil Carrot Soup!

I actually made this months ago, but have been waiting for just the right moment to post it!  The moment is now, yay!   The funny thing is, since I made this in the heat of summer, I had intended it as I side dish to accompany our main dishes for a few days.  However…it was SO delicious that both Mr. Rodgers and I gobbled it up as is, unaccompanied.  That’s gotta tell you something!

 

Side note, remember this book?

Meditteranean Frittata 1

This $4 treasure I found at an Ollie’s Outlet?  That’s where this recipe originated (with some Rodgers family tweaks of course!).  You really should go online and snag one for yourself!

 

So, enough talking!!  Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, or Grass Fed Butter
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 3 Carrots, Shredded
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
  • 2 C Lentils, rinsed
  • 8 C Chicken Broth (Or water)
  • 8 Green Onions, sliced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Prep all your veggies!
  2. Heat your oil in a large pot and dump in your veggies.  Cook and stir until they are tender.
  3. Add lentils, water (or broth), salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, probably about 10 minutes.  Add the green onion and cook for another minute or so.  And you’re done!  Just adjust as needed, and enjoy!!

 

 

Peectures!

Lentil Soup 1

Prep your veggies and start them cooking!

Lentil Soup 2

Look!  It must have been a “comfort” day for all…because these little ladies would not get more than a foot away from me!  Look how frumpy they are!  They’ve both had hair cuts since then.

Lentil Soup 3

And lentils, your liquid, salt and pepper.  Simmer until lentils are tender.

Lentil Soup 4

Add green onions…

Lentil Soup 5

Stir it all together and cook for another minute or so.

Lentil Soup 6

Lentil Soup 7

Lentil Soup 8

 

 

 

Chronicles of a Chipotle Pepper; Entry 3: Four Cheese Chipotle “Macaroni” and Cheese

Yum.  This little experiment has been in my brain for a long time!!  Ever since I first posted on facebook asking my friends what their favorite recipe is with Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce, in fact!  A wonderful, genius-in-the-kitchen lady from my church commented and told me about how her family blends chipotle peppers into their macaroni!  I have only tried to make home made macaroni once before…it didn’t work too well.  It was in the crock pot, and the recipe had an option where you mix eggs in.  Well, being a young cook at that time (well, honestly…I’m still a young cook)…I didn’t think about how that could be weird.  I like to use everything in the recipe the first time I make it, to make sure I get the full flavor.  So I put in the eggs.  Yeah.  Eggs.  Macaroni.  Crock pot.  Not a good combo.  It was like scrambled egg macaroni.  Gag.

This attempt was the opposite of gag.  It was super successful and delicious!  And I am proud to say that this is very nearly “healthy macaroni!!”  I say “very nearly” because…well, frankly, it’s macaroni and cheese.  The “diet” we try to loosely follow, The Maker’s Diet, says that dairy should be raw and less than 25% of your daily intake.  This exceeds the dairy limit according to that standard.  However…as far as macaroni and cheese goes, this is pretty phenomenal because of the substitutions I used in place of some of the more traditional ingredients.   Curious?  Read on!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/4 C Ezekiel Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 C Almond Milk, divided
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash (Alternately, apparently you can find frozen winter squash puree)
  • Small amount of butter or coconut oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb (2 Boxes) Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pagodas
  • 1 1/3 C Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 2/3 C Monterrey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 C Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Powdered Mustard
  • Pinch of Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan, Grated

And here’s how you do it:

  1. First, you gotta get your squash started, because it takes the longest.  Obviously, if you are going the “frozen puree” route then you can skip these next couple steps.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Very carefully cut your squash in half long ways.  You may have to cut into the squash as far as you can, then use a rubber mallet or something similar to tap the blade through.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  3. Place on a foil-lined pan.  Rub with a small amount of butter or coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper!
  4. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes.  When done, turn your oven up to 375* for your macaroni.
  5. Grate your cheese.
  6. In your food processor, dump your ricotta, 1/2 C of the almond milk, 1 chipotle pepper with a tsp or so of the sauce (depending on how spicy you like it), garlic cloves, salt, mustard, and chipotle chili powder.
  7. As soon as your squash is cooked, spoon the flesh into your food processor.  Pulse until smooth and creamy!
  8. Time to start your noodles!  Cook them according to the package directions.
  9. Now, pour your squash puree into a pan over medium heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 C of almond milk.  Stir until combined and creamy
  10. When squash mixture is getting bubbly, mix in your ricotta/chipotle mixture and stir until combined.  When your noodles are cooked and drained, you can stir in the cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese.
  11. Dump in your noodles and stir to coat.  Dump into a baking dish (9X13 or comparable)
  12. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, and parmesan.
  13. Sprinkle on top of the macaroni.  Slide into your preheated oven and bake about 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.  Flip your oven on to broil if you want more brown…but watch it close and only leave in there for a minute or two.  It’s amazing how fast things burn in the broiler!

Chipotle Macaroni .5First, you gotta get your squash started, because it takes the longest.  Obviously, if you are going the “frozen puree” route then you can skip these next couple steps.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Very carefully cut your squash in half long ways.  You may have to cut into the squash as far as you can, then use a rubber mallet or something similar to tap the blade through.

Chipotle Macaroni 1Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Chipotle Macaroni 2Place on a foil-lined pan.  Rub with a small amount of butter or coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper!

Chipotle Macaroni 6Bake until tender, about 40 minutes.  When done, turn your oven up to 375* for your macaroni.

Chipotle Macaroni 3However, that is a long time, so while you are waiting, prep everything else!!  Grate your cheese…which is really easy if you a fancy little grater attachment.  🙂  Gotta love wedding present goodies, even two and a half years later 😛

Chipotle Macaroni 4In your food processor, dump your ricotta, 1/2 C of the almond milk, 1 chipotle pepper with a tsp or so of the sauce (depending on how spicy you like it), garlic cloves, salt, mustard, and chipotle chili powder.

Chipotle Macaroni 7As soon as your squash is cooked, spoon the flesh into your food processor.

Chipotle Macaroni 8Pulse until smooth and creamy!

Chipotle Macaroni 9Time for your noodles!!  Now, I know that these technically aren’t “macaroni’s,” but as far as pasta goes, I have found these to be the best noodles as far as health nerds go…they have quinoa flour in them, they are gluten free…and yet they are still a great texture and taste!

Chipotle Macaroni 10Cook according to directions on your package.

Chipotle Macaroni 11Now, pour your squash puree into a pan over medium heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 C of almond milk.  Stir until combined and creamy

Chipotle Macaroni 13When squash mixture is getting bubbly, mix in your ricotta/chipotle mixture and stir until combined.  When your noodles are cooked and drained, you can stir in the cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese.

Chipotle Macaroni 14Dump in your noodles and stir to coat.

Chipotle Macaroni 15Dump into a baking dish (9X13 or comparable)

Chipotle Macaroni 12In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, and parmesan.

Chipotle Macaroni 16Sprinkle on top of the macaroni.

Chipotle Macaroni 17Slide into your preheated oven and bake about 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.  Flip your oven on to broil if you want more brown…but watch it close and only leave in there for a minute or two.  It’s amazing how fast things burn in the broiler!

Chipotle Macaroni 18Yummy!!!  Doesn’t that look heavenly?!

Chipotle Macaroni 19Crispy, creamy, cheesy…

Chipotle Macaroni 20Doesn’t that look amazing?!  It is!!  The perfect amount of heat…not overwhelming like a Chipotle Pepper has the potential to be…but just a kick at the end.  A fantastic saltiness from 4 favorite cheeses…and just a hint of sweetness from the squash.  And more than a hint of health because of that same squash!