Tag Archives: spicy

Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup

11 Oct

Well, hello Fall.

I will admit, I’m happy to see you. I’m ready for jeans, cute boots and chunky scarves. If you’re a follower of my Pinterest page, you’ll see I have a one track mind for all things fall.

Has anyone tried Meatless Monday? I’ve got some Veggie Friends out there who told me about this concept. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. All good things in my book.

I made this Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup on Monday and I was sad when the Hubby finished it off on Tuesday. This recipe will definitely be in rotation a lot for me this fall & winter. The smokey-ness from the chipotle peppers and cumin just warmed me up. Pureeing a small portion of the soup allowed thick chunks of peppers and black beans to make it a hearty meal, but not weigh me down. Also, this soup comes together really fast which is great for a weeknight meal.

So when you’re planning your meals for next week, skip the meat on Monday. This soup will make you forget about anything mooing, snorting or clucking any day of the week.

Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup, serves 4 -6

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced & with sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 (29 ounce) canned black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4-5 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Greek Yogurt


  1.  Warm a soup pot to medium heat. Add olive oil, diced onion & the peppers. Saute until the onions are soft. Add garlic and chipotle pepper, stir for 2 minutes. (You may want to add a few chipotle peppers at a time, depending on your spice level.)
  2. Add black beans, cumin and lime juice. Stir until the cumin distributes.  Taste and add more cumin or chipotle peppers if needed. Pour in stock/water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. If you have an immersion blender, blend about 1/4 of the soup. If you have a blender, puree about 1 cup and add it back to the pot. If you want a smoother soup, feel free to puree more. Simmer for 5 minutes. Give it a taste – add S&P if needed.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, top soup with cilantro, diced tomatoes and a dollop of greek yogurt.
  5. Go back for seconds 🙂

New Recipe: Shrimp Burgers with Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce

8 Aug

I’m not sure why, but every time shrimp is involved in a meal, I think “OOOh, classy.” Shrimp Scampi. Shrimp Cocktail. Shrimp Fajitas… all things shrimp seem to “dress up” a meal.

I could have made a burger for dinner, which would have been great. However, to make a burger blog posting, it’s really gotta be unique and rock your socks off.

Then I had my “Ah-ha” moment and thought Shrimp Burgers would be a great variation to your everyday burger recipe. Since it was Monday, I didn’t want to spend all night in my kitchen making dinner. If you have a good blender or food processor, this meal will come together very easily.

The second best thing about a burger are the toppings. I didn’t want to go over board since I was using shrimp as my burger….but i didn’t want to go the easy route and top it with just mayo. I thought a citrus and spicy BBQ sauce would be a great thing to try out with this recipe…and of course, top it all off with some avocado. I really think avocado is the new bacon. It makes everything better.

The shrimp patties have a shrimp cake texture. If you’re looking for an alternative appetizer to a crab cake, this recipe would definitely work.

If you make the Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce, you’ll have a lot of sauce left over. It’s awesome, so you’ll want to use it again. It would be great to put on some chicken or pork… or you could add some greek yogurt to it and it could be used as a salad dressing. Trying using it as a sauce for a pizza or spice up a taco. It’s pretty versatile and just different enough to make people ask, “whats in this sauce??!!!”

So go ahead and “class up” your everyday burger…. I promise you’ll love it!

Shrimp Burgers & Chipotle BBQ Sauce, makes 4-6 burgers

  • 1 lb uncooked, deveined shrimp (remove tails)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Handful of parsley leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne red pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Burger Buns
  • Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce (recipe to follow)
  • 1 avocado, sliced


  1. In a food processor or strong blender, add 1/2 of the shrimp. Blend until the consistency is like a paste. Transfer shrimp to a bowl using a rubber spatula. Add the rest of the shrimp to the bowl.
  2. Add all of the veggies, garlic and parsley to the blender/food processor. Pulse until the mixture comes to a fine chop. Add it to the shrimp bowl.
  3. Add cayenne pepper and zest to the shrimp bowl. Give it a good stir. Season with salt & pepper. Add in the panko crumbs. Panko will help the burger mixture to firm up.
  4. Make 6 burger patties and add olive oil to a warm skillet. Cook burgers 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Toast your burger buns and top with Chipotle BBQ Sauce. Add burgers and avocado.

Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce, makes 2 cups

  • 2 mangos, chopped
  • 2  chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


1. Put all ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Add sauce to a sauce pan and cook for 10 minutes.

Coconut Curry with Shrimp

31 Jul

I was planning on making this meal on Friday night. It didn’t happen. I pigged out at our mexican fiesta at work. It was too authentic to pass up…and it didn’t help all of the ladies who work in our packing house were pushing what they made in my face. I couldn’t turn them down. That would be rude.

So here I am on Monday night and I must say my dinner was pretty awesome. I love making food I’d order at a restaurant at home. This coconut curry was so goooood. I would have have had a second helping but I really wanted left overs for lunch tomorrow.

This recipe has a couple of secrets.

  1. Instead of using your everyday veggie oil, use coconut oil. It will give the curry a deeper coconut flavor than just using coconut milk.
  2. Don’t be afraid of spice. Store bought Thai curry pastes aren’t always hot (as I would like!). If you don’t have Sriracha Sauce in your fridge, this is a time to buy some. Adding Sriracha to this curry adds some wonderful heat without being overpowering.
  3. Don’t forget the lime wedges!! A little squirt of citrus is a game changer.

One of the best things about making carry out food at home is you have the power to add what you want. You get to pick the veggies, how much of a spicy kick you need, if you want salt… If you think curry comes best in plastic Tupperware, make this recipe and bring it work with you for lunch the next day. 🙂

Coconut Curry with Shrimp, 4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons(or more) Thai curry  paste
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced, white and pale-green parts and dark-green parts
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1-inch piece peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups mixed 1/4-inch-thick sliced vegetables (I used 2 sweet potatoes, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper and 3 carrots.)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bottom third only, tough outer layer removed,  bruised with the back of a knife or a rolling pin
  • 2 cups (or more) chicken broth or vegetable  stock
  • 1 13 1/2-oz. can light unsweetened coconut milk
  • Sriracha Sauce, use as much as you can handle
  • 1/2 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 5 torn basil leaves plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fish sauce (such as  nam pla or nuoc nam; optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Steamed rice  (optional)
  • Lime wedges


1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp. curry paste and cook,  stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring often and reducing heat if  necessary to prevent browning, until softened, about 4 minutes.

2. Increase heat to  medium; add vegetables (I waited to add sweet potatoes, didn’t want them to get too mushy) and lemongrass. Cook, stirring occasionally, until  vegetables are just beginning to soften, 5–10 minutes. Add broth and coconut  milk (add additional broth if needed to cover vegetables) and bring to a simmer.

3. Add sweet potatoes (if you’re using them) and torn basil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add 1 Tbsp. fish sauce, if desired. Season to taste with salt or more fish sauce or Sriracha for extra flavor and spice, if  desired.

4. Add shrimp. Cook until shrimp have turned pink on both sides, about 5 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves. Serve with rice and lime wedges for squeezing over.

Bays English Muffin Pizza Challange

23 Apr

This post has been loooong overdue….but I’m happy to say I won’t be homeless come June 1st. We signed our new lease for a 2 bedroom apartment in Bucktown last week. I was VERY happy not to be looking for apartments this weekend. Instead, I made 3 new recipes! Here is the first.

“What is that,” do you ask?? It’s a very delicious Thai Chicken Pizza on Bays English Muffins. My sorority sister/Kendall Alum/Fellow Blogger, Rebecca from Homemakers Habitat, informed me of a recipe challenge with Bays English Muffins. Here are the details from Bays Website– Beginning April 1 through May 31, 2012, enter your original Bays English Muffin pizza recipe online at and begin competing with others for a chance to win a VIP trip for 2 to Italy, the place where pizza was born.  In addition to the grand prizewinner, five finalists will win a case of Bays English Muffins.  The winner will be announced on their webpage and on Facebook page in mid-June of 2012.

What’s your favorite pizza? Have you tried a Bays English Muffin? I must admit, I don’t buy english muffins too often. But after eating several Bays English Muffins, they are my new favorite brand. Why? This may sound strange, but I LOVE how easy they are to separate in half. No knife needed, no crumbs all over the place. And they taste really good!!

I’m challenging all of you to give this recipe contest a try. It’s so easy! Just think of your favorite foods and make it into a pizza on a Bay English Muffin. My only request is if you win the VIP trip, you have to take me. I promise I’ll be a very entertaining traveling companion. 🙂

Thai Chicken Pizza on a Bays English Muffin, serves 1

  • 1 Bay English Muffin, halved
  • 2 tbs Spicy Thai Chili Sauce
  • 2 tsp shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp basil


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread Thai Chili Sauce all over the english muffins. Top with shallots, zucchini, red chili flakes and chicken. Cover with cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  2. When the cheese is melted, top pizza with additional Thai chili sauce. Sprinkle cilantro and basil as a fresh finishing touch!

Very Veggie & Chicken Tortilla Soup

27 Feb

Hi!! Things got pretty busy for me last week…. I started a new job at a fresh herb company, Infinite Herbs. I’ll be doing sales & business development for their Mid-west clients, handling social media & recipe development. It’s the perfect job for a girl like me!

I’ll be traveling a couple of times a month but I’m still going to try to post 3 blog entries a week. That’s my goal and I hope it’s a realistic expectation.

There are a few things I find more convenient than a slow cooker. I love coming home from a long day at work and my dinner is ready for me. One less thing to do when I get home!

Tonight’s meal — Very Veggie & Chicken Tortilla Soup. I find restaurants that make this soup miss so many elements I love. Spice & veggies. This soup has a variety of vegetables, so you could omit the chicken and make it vegetarian. I included several layers of spice to this soup by using enchilada sauce, a jalapeno with the ribs & seeds and some spicy seasonings.

Every spoonful had so much flavor!! Have fun with the garnish for this soup. Bake your own tortilla chips, squeeze some lime juice into it, sprinkle cilantro or add a dollop of sour cream… or do it all!!

This soup was a delicious way to enjoy my dinner while watching E! news and get my Oscar red carpet recap. (Emma Stone was my favorite! J-Lo, a close 2nd.)

Have a great week!!

Very Veggie & Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 2 (14 oz) cans of chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (4 oz) can green chilis
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 2 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tps salt
  • garnish – tortilla strips, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges


Everything goes in the slow cooker except for the garnishes. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Eat & enjoy.

If you’d like to “make” your own tortilla strips, all you need are corn tortillas, cooking spray & salt. Cut the tortillas into strips, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes (or until crispy) at 350 degrees. I made strips & chips!

Chicago Style Italian Beef, made in your kitchen

19 Feb

One of my favorite things about Chicago is the food. We’ve got our own style of hotdogs & pizza. Chicago has areas around the city which highlight ethnic cuisines – Little Italy, Chinatown, and Little India. If you forced me to eat only one kind of Chicago food for the rest of my life, I’d pick an Italian Beef.

I’m sure you can get an Italian Beef sandwich in many other cities, but Chicago does it right. There are Italian Beef Restaurants that battle it out for the Best Beef in Chicago.  Personally, I’m a Portillo’s Girl. I grew up eating it and all of the other restaurants fall short in comparison.

I was out of town this weekend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bring the taste of Chicago Beef with me where ever I go. I think my popularity level rises when I make things like this for other people. 🙂

If you have access to a crock pot, there is no reason why you can’t make this. I needed the beef to cook for 10 hours, so I put everything in the crock pot when I went to bed. I happened to wake up in the middle of the night, all I could smell was the Italian beef cooking away. I could hardly wait until lunch!

Lunch time finally came. I couldn’t have been happier. The beef was juicy and perfectly seasoned. If this is the only thing I could eat for the rest of my life, then sign me up!

Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwiches (10 servings)

  • 2 (14 oz.) cans beef broth
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 (.7 oz.) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 5 pound rump roast, seasoned with salt & pepper
  • Crusty hoagie rolls
  • Giardiniera (if you like things hot!)


  1. Put everything in the slow cooker except for the rump roast.  Stir it a few times so the seasonings are distributed throughout the crock pot. Add the seasoned rump roast. Cook for 10 hours.
  2. Shred meat. Skim the cooking liquid for fat. Add the shredded meat back into the slow cooker. Serve on crusty hoagie rolls & top with hot giardiniera.

Do you like exotic & hot?

4 Feb

Of course you do, who doesn’t…. but I’m talking about flavors. Curry & Mango Chutney to be exact. If you like the combo of a slow burn with some sweetness, then you should make these wings. ASAP.

Make them tomorrow for your Superbowl Party. You know someone will bring the same old buffalo wings. Why don’t you be the star of the show who brings the flavor no one has had before.

Besides these wings being absolutely delicious, they’re baked. No deep-frying needed yet they still get perfectly crispy. Jack up your oven to 500 degrees and you’ll get a chicken wing that has the crunch of being fried, minus the calories. I love that.

The dry rub on the chicken is the base of the heat. The sauce provides the hint of sweet. You can eat these wings alone or add a side of Ranch dressing for dipping.

Drumsticks will take longer to cook than the wings. Drumsticks = 40 minutes. Wings = 25-30 minutes.

We all know Superbowl Parties are all about the food. Make these wings and you’ll be the hero, not some Hot Quarterback.

Mango – Curry Hot Wings

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons hot Madras curry powder
  • 2 pounds chicken wings and drumsticks
  • 5 tablespoons red hot sauce, preferably Frank’s Red Hot
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons Major Grey Chutney
  • Chopped Cilantro, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and curry powder. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Spread the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with vegetable oil. Roast the chicken for 25 – 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the hot sauce with the butter and chutney. Add the chicken wings and toss. Sprinkle with cilantro.