GF/DF Black Bean Soup

blackbean2This month, as you know, is Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free for me! I’ve caved a few times, not gonna lie. Some of them may, or may not have been after a bottle of wine…or because I’m pretty the bag of chips ¬†started speaking to me (I ate 3…lol). Although it’s been a challenge to completely change my diet, I feel SO much better than before I started it. I was just sick to my stomach, EVERY time I ate, and I definitely feel more alert and not tired during the day.

This lifestyle change is absolutely inconvenient, haha! It’s almost impossible to snack, and breakfast has been a real challenge which is heartbreaking, since it’s my favorite meal. I really miss my eggs+french toast…like, a lot.
Or…my homemade Pepperoni Egg-McMuffins. Sad.
The flip side of feeling better is just about worth it though ūüôā I don’t miss feeling like a filled up balloon all the time, and dropping 10 lbs since last week didn’t exactly break my heart either! Heading to Mexico in a couple of weeks, so getting the summer bod back is an absolute necessity!

Going out to eat-is a pain in the butt, and tempting,¬†so I’ve been staying home…A LOT. I miss being able to pick out anything on the menu, and the only things I want are things I’m not supposed to have. I try to force my eyeballs immediately move to the salad section, and I try not to glance around any further for fear of ordering and eating a whole plate of french fries.

I’ve found myself coming home and getting irritated that I haven’t planned ahead enough for dinner. Having something thawed out, or recently purchased and ready to go is not something I’m real skilled at ūüôā I’m a professional “wing it” kind of dinner person. ¬†I’m going to have to start pre-planning my weeks a little better, remembering to plan meals so I have things already thawed out, or make my trips to the grocery store verify specific to that week, so everything is fresh.

A night this week, I stumbled in the door after a long day at work, I was exhausted from the gym, and starving. I wanted someone to make ME dinner… but that ain’t gonna happen, so I started fumbling thru the cabinets. Everything convenient (aka awesome) was pasta, cheese, or pizza related. I¬†just stood there¬†aimlessly staring¬†at the same items in the pantry and fridge…for a good 15 minutes, by minute 14 I was convinced that God actually hated me¬†for taking all my favorite things away. After checking the¬†fridge now…for the 13th time, my eyes finally set on a Tupperware of beans I’d soaked the night before in attempts to try dried black beans for the first time. hmmmm….

I’d eaten enough salads to bore a cow this week, and it was an entire 3 degrees outside… and then….* light bulb *. SOUP. Boom, on it.
Black bean soup, is just so…different. It is its own category of soup. I’m not even real particular about the consistency, since there are so many varieties of thin to creamy.
I glanced around online at a few recipes and then just started playing around in the kitchen- which turned into a fantastic new recipe!!
Awesome new recipe accident? Check. This was phenomenal.
The in-depth flavor profile completely took me by surprise. For me, what really made this one a home run, was coffee. Weird right? I’d used a little instant coffee packet the day before for a protein shake additive, and had a half packet leftover-which just gave me a little wink in the cabinet. The warm simple flavors were good, but the coffee really brought it around and turned it into decadent dish. It doesn’t overpower anything, but you can taste the resonance at the end of your spoon, it’ll make you happy. Promise

Black Bean Soup
Serves 2
2 cups Black Beans, cooked. This is a half pound of dried.
(I soaked mine overnight in water, and then boiled them for 10 minutes) I would not recommend using canned here, they won’t stand up as well.
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups of beef broth
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
2 jalapenos, slice in half, remove the seeds
1 tsp oil (I used sesame oil)
1/2 packet of single serving instant coffee
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
s/p to taste

1. Take the black beans you soaked overnight, and boil them for about 10 minutes if they’re not tender enough and drain
2. In your pot, add oil, garlic, and onion on medium heat, let cook for about 10 minutes, then add the beans back in
3. Dump in the rest of the ingredients (that was easy…wasn’t it)
4. Simmer for about 20 minutes
5. In your food processor or blender, blend! Add back into your pan and simmer again for 5 minutes to bring the temperature back up.
** You can pick your consistency here, if you want to thin it out, just add more water/or broth!

Southwest Tater Tot Casserole

Got married this weekend.

Made our wedding party the Chocolate Zucchini Bread in mini loaf pans from the previous post.

Huge hit.

Love him.swtatertotcasserole

Tots!! ¬† It’s just one of those nights, no energy, but you don’t want your husband to cook, aka the ‘Drive-Thru’. It’ been a busy week and you want something hearty but don’t have a lot of spare time to get to fancy. ¬†Do you also have 20 cans of Cream of _________ you need to get rid of, and you’re actually afraid at this point they will go bad because they’ve been in there for….years? I do. ¬†Ooops. If Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom, Chicken, or Tomato for under 50 cents, I can’t not buy at least….5 ūüôā It’s just something that happens, and I just now have the place to store the excess, where as before I didn’t.

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, sort of. They’re all quick adds though, so don’t let the long list steer you away from making this. You can also cut out as much as you want, really the key ingredients are Cream of Chicken, Beef, TaterTots, and Cheese. From there you can add, remove, or substitute as you wish and it will still turn out great! Another thing I would recommend is spreading this out over a shallow dish. If you have the tater tots on a single layer instead of stacked it will be more visually appealing as well as less mushy.

*If you’re making this at home, it’s a great dish to include your kids with, you can’t mess up a casserole, and it’s fun for them to add ingredients, pour, and mix.

REHEAT~~ This will easily feed 4 people if not more, so if you’re like us and don’t finish even half of it, freeze it!! It warms up great if you take the time to put it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Southwest Tater Tot Casserole

1lb of beef

1/2 onion, diced

1/4 cup or smallest can of tomato sauce you can find

1 can of cream of chicken

1/4 cup milk

1/2 can black beans

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 can of corn (use the rest of the cans of corn and beans for quesadillas or burritos the next day!)

3 cups of frozen tater tots

2 handfuls of your choice of yellow cheese

1 bag of mozzarella (or another white cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. With a tablespoon of oil in a pan, add your onions, let cook for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to become translucent. Once translucent remove onions and set aside.

3. In the same pan, brown the beef, drain and return to pan. Add the tomato sauce, the onions, corn, and black beans; heat now to low.

4. In a bowl add your milk and Cream of Chicken, whisk together. Then add your chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper. Whisk again until completely combined.

5. In a shallow dish, (I used an 8×10 casserole dish, or any shallow casserole dish), spread the hamburger mixture evenly. Then add your yellow cheese, just enough to cover the hamburger. (this will give you a nice but slightly cheesy middle).

6. Then over the hamburger pour over the soup mixture, then top with half of the mozzarella.

7. Finally add your layer of tater tots. I did just enough to cover the surface but not enough to double layer. Then sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tots.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the ¬†mixture is bubbly. If you need to brown the cheese on top just a bit more and you’re bubbling, set your oven to broil for about a minute.

9. Top with parsleyswtatertotcasserole2