You know, I have to admit, I’ve always been a little torn on black bean soup. Yes – it almost always tastes delicious, but as far as aesthetics go? Let’s just say it’s not the most attractive soup out there. It can tend toward … sludge-looking tendencies. Delicious sludge, but sludge nonetheless.
So I decided to make a black bean soup recipe with a little more oomph to it and a little less sludge. I pureed it like your traditional black bean soup, but then I add some whole beans and a couple of cups of brown rice at the end. Prettier! Though … okay, fine, still a little sludgy.
I really wasn’t sure if I should call this “Tex-Mex” or “southwestern” or just “mac and cheese with black beans, corn, chilies, and a bit of a spicy twist with optional chicken if you want.” The first felt too generic, the last clearly too long and too, well, dumb … and so the middle-of-the-road it was: southwest mac and cheese.
Which is not to say this recipe is middle of the road. I think it’s … well, there’s really no place in the road to describe something as being better than middle of the road, is there? It’s better than middle of the road.
In our house, one of the biggest stresses of late is our teething toddler who often refuses to eat what we put in front of her. She suspiciously eyes her sunflower butter sandwich, her carrot sticks, her banana slices, her organic grapes, her whole-wheat pancakes … and then tosses the bite-sized pieces, one-by-one, to the hovering (and, incidentally, very happy) dogs.
Pumpkin chili has been around for at least a few years. In the beginning of my awareness that such a thing existed, I thought, as I suspect many do, “Pumpkin? In chili? That’s weird.”
Then I tried it. Not half bad, I thought. Still a little weird, but also sort of perfect too. Perfect weird. A harbinger of fall, pumpkin, along with pretty much the best spicy, hearty dish to serve on a cold, frosty October evening? Not such a crazy idea, maybe.
So I worked on it. I tweaked and poked and made countless versions of pumpkin chili, all the while really coming around to this stuff. It’s so, so perfectly delicious.
Still looking for the perfect Cinco de Mayo dinner? Look no further. These grilled burritos make an easy, delicious, and festive meal – especially when served alongside some icy fresh lime margaritas.
These burritos as much about a new-to-me method than an exact recipe. Prep a hearty filling, roll it inside a tortilla, and grill the burrito for a few minutes in your panini press. Delicious. Though I’ve got to say I’m going to find it hard to vary from this combo of black beans, corn, rice, chicken (if you want), and scrumptious cilantro-jalapeno sauce.
Tostadas, a Mexican dish that consists of a crisp corn tortillas layered with refried beans and all kinds of other good things, lend themselves well to a variety of palates. Diners can assemble their own, adding what they want, leaving off what they don’t.
So, naturally, they’re perfect for the mixed veggie/carnie house. In this version, the meat-eater gets a healthy dose of spicy, tender shredded chicken slow-cooked in beer; the vegetarian still gets plenty to eat, including delicious, smoky homemade refried black beans. Win all around.