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: Color It Orange

Blood Orange1snap

In the heat of summer, I like to keep the menus out of the kitchen to keep things cool. So break out the grill and the chocolate.

Sometimes I really want oranges. Orange juice, orange popsicles, orange dreamsicles, orange chicken, and oranges, lots of oranges. When I originally put this menu together, I worried that there would be too much orange with both the chicken and the salad. But the chicken flavor is subtle; more of a tangy citrus and the orange salad compliments it nicely. Instead of bread you can try couscous or a nice variety of rice, I’m into brown Jasmine these days. Chocolate is the perfect finish to an orange themed dinner, so fire up the grill, get out your sticks,  put on your scout cap and make some S’Mores.

On the board tonight:

  1. Orange Grilled Chicken
  2. Orange Salad
  3. Artisan Bread with garlic butter
  4. S’Mores

Orange Grilled Chicken – Marinate Overnight

  • ½ cup orange juice concentrate
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried mint, crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt & pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts

zip-lock bag, bowl, brush & saucepan

Mix together all ingredients and marinate overnight in a ziplock bag or sealed container. Remove chicken from marinade and set aside. Add marinade to saucepan and boil until reduced by half, stirring constantly. Grill chicken over medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until no longer pink in the center (170ºf). Baste frequently with sauce after the first 5 minutes.

To keep chicken from drying out, sear both sides (about 3-5 minutes) over direct heat and finish cooking away from direct flame.

Orange Salad

  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 oranges, peeled, remove pith and slice in thin circles
  • 1 cucumber, peeled & sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced rings
  • 4 oz slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp ea. Oregano, cumin & salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

serving bowl

Tear leaves and arrange in bowl. Layer oranges, cucumber, onion and almonds. Whisk together remaining ingredients and drizzle over lettuce mixture.

Menu serves 4

Shopping List:

  • Loaf of Artisan Bread
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 16 oz box of graham crackers
  • 1 bag marshmallows
  • 4 chocolate bars (okay, to be authentic I think they should be Hersheys)
  • 6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 3 oz limejuice
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 oz slivered almonds

Also: lots of crushed garlic, dried mint, oregano, ground ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, white wine vinegar, honey

Originally published June 2010

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Thursday Night Menu: Rhymes with Orange

I’m travelling, so if you’re reading this, it actually posted itself. Yay! Sometimes I really want oranges. Orange juice, orange popsicles, orange dreamsicles, orange chicken, and oranges, lots of oranges*. When I originally put this menu together, I worried that there would be too much orange with both the chicken and the salad. But the chicken flavor is subtle; more of a tangy citrus and the orange salad compliments it nicely. Instead of bread you can try couscous or a nice variety of rice, I’m into brown Jasmine these days. Chocolate is the perfect finish to an orange themed dinner, so fire up the grill, get out your sticks,  put on your scout cap and make some S’Mores.

On the board tonight:

  1. Orange Grilled Chicken
  2. Orange Salad
  3. Artisan Bread with garlic butter
  4. S’Mores

Orange Grilled Chicken – Marinate Overnight

  • ½ cup orange juice concentrate
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried mint, crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt & pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts

zip-lock bag, bowl, brush & saucepan

Mix together all ingredients and marinate overnight in a ziplock bag or sealed container. Remove chicken from marinade and set aside. Add marinade to saucepan and boil until reduced by half, stirring constantly. Grill chicken over medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until no longer pink in the center (170ºf). Baste frequently with sauce after the first 5 minutes.

To keep chicken from drying out, sear both sides (about 3-5 minutes) over direct heat and finish cooking away from direct flame.

Orange Salad

  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 oranges, peeled, remove pith and slice in thin circles
  • 1 cucumber, peeled & sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced rings
  • 4 oz slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp ea. Oregano, cumin & salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

serving bowl

Tear leaves and arrange in bowl. Layer oranges, cucumber, onion and almonds. Whisk together remaining ingredients and drizzle over lettuce mixture.

Menu serves 4

Shopping List:

  • Loaf of Artisan Bread
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 16 oz box of graham crackers
  • 1 bag marshmallows
  • 4 chocolate bars (okay, to be authentic I think they should be Hersheys)
  • 6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 3 oz limejuice
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 oz slivered almonds

Also: lots of crushed garlic, dried mint, oregano, ground ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, white wine vinegar, honey

*BTW, still looking for a really good orange smoothie recipe. Please and thank you.

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