Full Dinner Menu: Black Bean Soup

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Mouthwatering Photo by JeffreyW

Believe it or not, they are forecasting snow by the end of the week. From 90 to snow in 4 days. Fall in Colorado. If it does snow it will be quick and brief I’m sure, then back to warm days and fall leaves. But cool weather means soup to me, so that is what I chose for this week’s menu.

This is a recipe from a restaurant in Ouray, CO that was in an old bank. They gave it to me 20 years ago on my honeymoon and I make it all the time. This was my first experience at having to change a recipe meant for 60 into one for 6-8. It’s spicy, so ease up on the cumin and chili powder if needed, you can always add more during the last 30 minutes if needed.

On the board tonight:

  1. Spicy Black Bean Soup
  2. French Bread
  3. Red Grape Salad
  4. Apple wedges & Cheese

Black Bean Soup

  • 4-14 oz cans black beans
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 tsp to 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine (opt)
  • 1 lb chopped smoked sausage
  • 12 cups water

Slow-cooker

Add all ingredients to slow-cooker and cook according to directions (usually 8-10 hours on low). Just before serving, take a potato masher or hand blender and blend/mash slightly to thicken

Red Grape Salad

  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, torn
  • 3 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 4 oz shredded carrots
  • Poppy Seed dressing

Serving bowl

Toss ingredients together, chill and serve

Shopping List:

  • 4-14 oz cans black beans
  • 4 -6 carrots or equivalent shredded carrots
  • ½ onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 oz dry red wine (opt)
  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 cups seedless red grapes
  • 1 pear
  • Poppy Seed dressing
  • French Bread
  • Apple wedges & Cheese

Also: salt, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, chili powder, beef bouillon, cumin, pepper

Originally posted December 2009

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Dinner Menu: Beef & Pepper Subs with Walnut Pear Salad

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Photo by JeffreyW

Lots going on. I picked up a new client last week, but still need to wrap things up this week with one of my other clients in order to make room for the new client. I’m putting together a trip to Los Angeles and Nebraska, plus I’ve got three personal projects I’m working on, which are at least two, too many.  What I’m trying to say is, it’s busy around here, just the way I like it, which is why I looked for something simple for tonight’s dinner menu. I especially wanted to find something with pears, because right now they are abundant at the store and I wanted to take advantage.

So that’s my Monday…any suggestions for Friday’s Recipe Exchange??

Tonight’s menu is pretty simple, for those lazy nights when you don’t want to cook an elaborate meal.  I usually let everyone assemble their own sandwich at the counter – less cleanup. I didn’t put chips on the menu, but they would probably show up last minute at my house anyway. The walnut pear salad is a nice treat this time of year, when you can usually find fresh pears at a good price. Pears and bleu cheese are a winning combo, and spinach seems to be on sale everywhere this week. If you can find it, drinking chocolate is like hot cocoa on steroids. We have a local coffee roaster who also makes drinking chocolate. It’s as if someone melted a chocolate bar in your cup and added some cream. A little goes a very long way.

On the board tonight:

  1. Beef & Pepper Subs
  2. Walnut Pear Salad
  3. Hot cocoa, marshmallows and graham crackers

Beef & Pepper Subs

  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced*
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 large crusty Italian sub rolls, sliced
  • 8 oz Provolone or American cheese, sliced

skillet

Heat oil in skillet, add meat, garlic, onions & peppers. Allow to cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add immediately to rolls. Top with cheese. If desired you can also then pop under the broiler to melt the cheese (keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn)

* it’s easiest to do if it’s slightly frozen when you slice it

Walnut Pear Salad

  • 3 pears, thinly sliced
  • Bibb lettuces & spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp walnut oil (opt)
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey (more if needed)
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese

large platter and saucepan

Arrange lettuce leaves on platter, add pear slices. Combine walnuts, oil(s), vinegar & honey in saucepan, mix well, and heat until honey is melted. Taste and add more honey or vinegar as needed. Pour over pears. Crumble cheese over salad.

Shopping List:

  • Hot cocoa
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham crackers
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 large crusty Italian sub rolls, sliced
  • 8 oz Provolone or American cheese, sliced
  • Bibb lettuces & spinach leaves
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 oz walnut oil (opt)
  • 4 oz honey
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese

Also: crushed garlic, salt & pepper, vinegar

Originally posted January 2011

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Thursday Night Menu: Keeping it Simple

I know many of you are snowed under and I’m sorry about that. I’m wishing for spring as hard as you. Meanwhile we’ve had a suspicious 60 degree day with the promise of an ugly storm soon to follow.  Can I just say, “yippee.” (I’d say more, but I try to keep it PG). One other note: our intrepid blogger/photographer JeffW is on crutches after knee surgery, so everyone please wish him well.

Tonight’s menu is pretty simple, for those lazy nights when you don’t want to cook an elaborate meal.  I usually let everyone assemble their own sandwich at the counter – less cleanup. I didn’t put chips on the menu, but they would probably show up last minute  at my house anyway. The walnut pear salad is a nice treat this time of year, when you can usually find fresh pears at a good price. Pears and bleu cheese are a winning combo, and spinach seems to be on sale everywhere this week. If you can find it, drinking chocolate is like hot cocoa on steroids. We have a local coffee roaster who also makes drinking chocolate. It’s as if someone melted a chocolate bar in your cup and added some cream. A little goes a very long way.

On the board tonight:

  1. Beef & Pepper Subs
  2. Walnut Pear Salad
  3. Hot cocoa, marshmallows and graham crackers

Beef & Pepper Subs

  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced*
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 large crusty Italian sub rolls, sliced
  • 8 oz Provolone or American cheese, sliced

skillet

Heat oil in skillet, add meat, garlic, onions & peppers. Allow to cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add immediately to rolls. Top with cheese. If desired you can also then pop under the broiler to melt the cheese (keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn)

* it’s easiest to do if it’s slightly frozen when you slice it

Walnut Pear Salad

  • 3 pears, thinly sliced
  • Bibb lettuces & spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp walnut oil (opt)
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey (more if needed)
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese

large platter and saucepan

Arrange lettuce leaves on platter, add pear slices. Combine walnuts, oil(s), vinegar & honey in saucepan, mix well, and heat until honey is melted. Taste and add more honey or vinegar as needed. Pour over pears. Crumble cheese over salad.

Shopping List:

  • Hot cocoa
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham crackers
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 large crusty Italian sub rolls, sliced
  • 8 oz Provolone or American cheese, sliced
  • Bibb lettuces & spinach leaves
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 oz walnut oil (opt)
  • 4 oz honey
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese

Also: crushed garlic, salt & pepper, vinegar

Larissa’s Curried Fruit

This has become one of my favorite Christmas Eve dishes from my friend Larissa.

Larissa’s Curried Fruit

  • 2-15 oz cans Peach halves
  • 2-15 oz cans Pear halves
  • 1 can Apricot halves
  • 1 small jar Maraschino cherries
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup butter melted

9×13 glass baking dish

Place fruit side by side, in one layer, hollowed side up in a 9×13 baking dish. Place a cherry in the center of each piece of fruit. Stir together the brown sugar, curry, cornstarch and melted butter. Pour sugar mixture evenly over the fruit. No need to be too exacting with the topping, it will melt down and even out nicely in the oven. Bake in 325 degree oven for 1 hour.

Thursday Night Menu: Spicy Black Bean Soup

Continuing our theme of quick and easy recipes for the holidays, here’s a slow-cooker meal you can set up the night before and have ready at the end of a busy day of holiday events. This is a recipe from a restaurant in Ouray, CO that was in an old bank. They gave it to me 15 years ago on my honeymoon and I make it all the time. This was my first experience at having to change a recipe for 60 into one for 6-8. It’s spicy, so ease up on the cumin and chili powder if needed, you can always add more during the last 30 minutes if needed.  On the board tonight:

  1. Spicy Black Bean Soup
  2. French Bread
  3. Red Grape Salad
  4. Apple wedges & Cheese

Black Bean Soup

  • 4-14 oz cans black beans
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 tsp to 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine (opt)
  • 1 lb chopped smoked sausage
  • 12 cups water

Slow-cooker

Add all ingredients to slow-cooker and cook according to directions (usually 8-10 hours on low). Just before serving, take a potato masher or hand blender and blend/mash slightly to thicken

Red Grape Salad

  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, torn
  • 3 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 4 oz shredded carrots
  • Poppy Seed dressing

Serving bowl

Toss ingredients together, chill and serve

Shopping List:

  • 4-14 oz cans black beans
  • 4 -6 carrots or equivalent shredded carrots
  • ½ onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 oz dry red wine (opt)
  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 cups seedless red grapes
  • 1 pear
  • Poppy Seed dressing
  • French Bread
  • Apple wedges & Cheese

Also: salt, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, chili powder, beef bouillon, cumin, pepper

Farmer’s Market Week: Pear-Raspberry Salad

Fresh and fruity.

Pear-Raspberry Salad:

  • 8 oz walnut halves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • 16 oz baby greens
  • 2 ripe Bartlett pears
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing

baking dish & serving bowl

In baking dish, toss walnuts with oil, soy, ginger, salt & garlic.  Heat in a 250° oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are crisp. In serving bowl add lettuce.  Seed and slice pears, add to lettuce, along with raspberries, bleu cheese, & walnuts.  Toss with dressing.