Monthly Archives: March 2010

Black Bean Salad

I am a crappy blogger. I just can’t get my stuff together enough to post very often. Oh well. That just makes it all the more special when I do. 🙂 I made this salad this past weekend to go with grilled chicken. My dear friend Amy LOVES black beans and avocados, so I made this for her. It is the perfect warm weather salad and we eat it all summer long. It is also super yummy with tortilla chips. I had to keep the boys from eating it all with chips before we ate so we would have some to go with our lunch. I really wanted to make homemade tortilla chips to go with it but my crew shot me down with “Get off the crazy train woman”. Maybe next time.

Black Bean Salad

Adapted from

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 cup of corn, frozen or canned
3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 small purple onion, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I used 2)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Whisk together lime juice and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add corn, black beans, and remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours.


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Filed under Beans, Salad, Side Dish, Spicy

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I adore pulled pork sandwiches. I am, after all, a good Southern girl. We Southerners take our barbecue very seriously. In fact, I can name at least 5 barbecue joints within a 5 mile radius of my house. My favorite thing to get is a pulled pork sandwich and put coleslaw on top of it. Now, to the uninitiated this probably sounds revolting, but trust me, it rocks. You must try it at least once. Even my cabbage-hating hubby loves his sandwiches this way. The other thing that makes this sandwich kick butt is the Coke BBQ sauce. I am from ATLANTA, home of Coca-Cola, so I only use Coca-Cola. Coke. The Real Thing. Please, for the love of all things good and holy, do not use Pepsi. If you must, do not tell me about it.

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork

Adapted from Southern Living magazine

1 (3-4 lb) boneless pork picnic roast

1 can of Coca-Cola (do NOT use diet!)

1 bottle of cheap barbecue sauce (do not spend money on the good stuff, save that for the sandwich)

  1. Place pork in 6 qt. slow cooker; pour barbecue sauce and Coke over roast. Cook on high 6 to 7 hours or until meat is tender and shreds easily.
  2. Remove pork from cooker and shred with 2 forks. After shredding you can add a little of the juices from the slow cooker to keep the meat super moist, but this isn’t imperative.
  3. Serve on buns with good barbecue sauce and coleslaw.

Coke BBQ sauce

From Steven Raichlen

1 C. Coca-Cola  (Do not use diet)

1 C. Ketchup

ÂĽ C. Worcestershire sauce (I always use Lea and Perrins)

ÂĽ C. A-1 steak sauce (I used Bold and Spicy A-1)

½ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.   Reduce heat to gentle simmer and simmer until reduced by ¼, about 6 to 8 mins.

Creamy Spiced Coleslaw

Adapted from

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons hot sauce, if desired

1 (16 ounce) package shredded

coleslaw mix (If you use an angel hair type of slaw, grate up some carrot into the mix)

1. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar, salt, pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, onion powder and cider vinegar. Toss coleslaw mix with dressing to coat. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

***I usually halve the amount of dressing because I don’t like my coleslaw too creamy or soupy.


Filed under Pork, Sandwiches, Sauce, Spicy

Spinach Dip with Feta and Garlic

This is one of the tastiest dips EVER!!! I have been making it for about 10 years and I never get tired of it. It is simple, quick and uses readily available ingredients. Plus, now that Stacy’s Pita chips are so easy to find, I don’t have to make my own like I used to. The best thing about this dip is you are eating spinach so it is actually health food. 🙂

Spinach Dip with Feta and Garlic

from Cook’s Illustrated August 1999

Âľ c. sour cream (regular or light)

¾ c. mayonnaise  (reg or light)

4 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled (I used Greek sheep feta and more than this.)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 10 oz pkg. frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry (I used 2 packages because I don’t like it super creamy.)

  1. In a large mixing bowl mix everything but the spinach very well. If you like big chunks of feta, be careful not to mix too hard so the chunks don’t break up too much.
  2. Mix in the spinach very well. Season to taste with fresh black pepper. Chill well for an hour so the flavors have time to meld.

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Tamale Pie

This is the first time I have ever made Tamale Pie. I have had this recipe for 5 years and just never could get it together and make it. Every time I try a new recipe I have this moment of total panic as I am about to serve it. I always worried it is going to suck and then I have wasted my time, energy and ingredients making a crappy dish. Well, my worries over this one were for naught. It was really good. I wouldn’t say it was my all time favorite recipe ever, but it is definitely something I will make again. The only thing is, it was a bit of trouble to make on a weeknight. But, it was tasty. The topping doesn’t taste like cornbread. It is more like an authentic tamale flavor. I know, I know, it isn’t a real tamale, but the topping has the same flavor. I think Ren really loved it because he is from Arizona and adores tamales.  This would also be very good with some shredded chicken instead of beef. Oh yeah, one other thing, if you are a salt-a-holic like me, this will need some serious salting. If you are normal, just ignore this suggestion.

Tamale Pie

from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound 90% lean ground beef

1 onion , minced

1 jalapeno chile , stemmed, seeded, and minced (I used 2)


2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried (I left this out)

2 cloves garlic , minced

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans , rinsed

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

Ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup coarse cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (I used more than this. I love cheese.)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up large clumps, until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in the onion, jalapeño, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, the tomatoes and their juices, and corn and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

3. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and then slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking vigorously to prevent clumping. Turn the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the cornmeal thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

4. Stir the cheese into the beef mixture, then scrape into a deep-dish pie plate (or other 3-quart baking dish). Spread the cornmeal mixture over the top and seal against the edge of the dish. Cover with foil and bake until the crust has set and the pie is heated through, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Beans, Beef, Casserole, Cheese, Spicy


Well, you can’t eat hummus without tabbouleh. I’m not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to make 2 time-consuming dishes on a weeknight, but I guess I had a bug up my butt. Either way, I wanted some tabbouleh with my hummus. This is one of the best tabbouleh recipes I have ever made and I have tried quite a few. It is an Ina Garten recipe and it is pretty perfect. I love watching Ina’s show on the Food Network but I don’t think I have ever actually made one of her recipes. One of the reasons I love her show is that her laugh super irritates Ren. He gets so annoyed by it which is strange because he is so laid back. It just makes me giggle. Anywho, this is a great recipe and it won’t be the last Ina recipe I try.


from Barefoot Contessa Parties!

  • 1 cup bulghur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (I only used 4 scallions)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I just used regular tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

2. Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

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Filed under Grains, Salad, Side Dish

Crazy Train Hummus

This hummus was almost the death of me. First, let me just say, I love hummus. LOVE it. I eat it several times a week for lunch with Stacy’s Crack chips. Until I had kids, I had never even eaten store-bought hummus. I always made my own. Now, I buy boat loads of Trader Joe’s Spicy hummus. Even though I don’t think that store-bought hummus tastes as good as homemade, I really love the creamy texture. So, in a crazy quest to make mine creamy, I searched the internet and my cookbooks to find out how to get mine super creamy and smooth.  Well, I found in a cookbook, Kitchen Sense, that peeling the garbanzos will give you the best hummus ever. SWEET!! No problemo! I can do that!! Um, yeah. Try peeling 2 cans of garbanzo beans with a 5 year old and a 2 year old running amok in your house.  But, I was determined. And, perhaps, a bit manic. When Ren got home, I looked like I had been in a war, but you know what??? That was the creamiest hummus EVER. So.dang.good. So, the moral of this story is that if you want awesome smooth and creamy hummus, you must peel the garbanzo beans. But, be prepared to board the crazy train if you do.

A little note: This recipe is all mine and the measurements may not be exact. I don’t really measure so much when I make hummus.  You should make your hummus to fit your own tastes. We love garlic and lots of lemon juice, so I put quite a bit. This recipe is just a guideline.


2 cans chickpeas drained, reserving liquid

4 cloves garlic

ÂĽ C. fresh lemon juice

ÂĽ. C. tahini

ÂĽ C. olive oil

Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Drain chickpeas over a bowl, reserving liquid. Place chickpeas on a tea towel or paper towel and cover with another towel. Roll and gently press chickpeas to loosen skins. Remove as many skins as possible.
  2. Mince garlic in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and process until very smooth. You may need to add some of the chickpea liquid or extra olive oil to get it to your desired consistency.

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Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

Unfortunately, I can’t think of one clever thing to say about this orzo, so suffice it to say, this is, quite possibly, one of the yummiest side dishes ever. I love it because it is quick, delicious and you can kill two birds with one stone because it has your starch and veggie all rolled into one side dish. Perfect. I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe since it only serves 2.

Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

2 TBS pine nuts

1 clove garlic, minced (I used more)

1 TBS butter, melted

1 Âľ C. water

Âľ C. uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

ÂĽ tsp. salt

1 C. tightly packed chopped fresh spinach

ÂĽ C. grated Parmesan cheese

½ C. crumbled Feta cheese (optional, but awesome)

  1. Spread pine nuts in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often.  Set aside.
  2. Sauté garlic in butter in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute. Add water, orzo, and salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Stir in spinach, cheeses, and pine nuts. Serve hot.

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Filed under Cheese, Pasta, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggie