Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper Dip

Quite a few years ago a friend of mine made this Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper dip for a party and I found it was one of those dips that once I tasted it, I had to use every once of will power to walk away so I wouldn’t devour the entire bowl. I of course got the recipe from her and have since shared it with friends, cousins, and a number of party guests because once you try this dip you want to make it over and over. We had some friends over to watch the Patriots game yesterday and we served 2 versions of mac & cheese for dinner. When we thought of a couple appetizers to serve first this dip came to mind – it’s full of veggies and black beans and even though it’s pulled together with a creamy sauce, it tastes light and fresh – a perfect starter for our heavy, cheesy dinner. And then I realized I had never shared the recipe here – blasphemy! And I am pulled out of my (always) unintentional blogging hiatus with a fabulous dip recipe to share with you for the current football Sunday season and upcoming holiday party season.

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PrepĀ  your veggies, all the chopping is the only time sync of this recipe.

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Prep your sauce and pour over all the veggies.

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Get your sous chef to stir…

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…and enjoy with your favorite tortilla chip!

 

Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper Dip Recipe (source unknown)
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 C frozen corn, thawed
1C finely chopped red pepper
3/4C finely chopped green pepper
1/2C diced red onion

1 Tbs parsley
1/2C sour cream (we use light)
1/4C mayonnaise (we use light)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp chili powder
s&p

Follow directions above!

Taco Tuesday

Taco Tuesday is the best night of the week, right? And I’m talking about old school, ground meat, crunchy tacos and toppings – tacos (not fancy tacos like these pork carnitas tacos). Taco Tuesday is a crowd-pleaser in every family dinner schedule. We had tacos recently so I decided to finally share the recipe we use for our own taco seasoning.

taco-tuesdayA store bought seasoning packet is fine but they are full of SO much sodium, it’s ridiculous. And making your own taco seasoning is so quick, I bet you have most infredients in your spice cabinet/shelf/drawer. Here’s the mix I use, based on this recipe.

1 Tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic salt
pinch crushed red chili flakes
s&p

Mix spices and add to 1 lb cooked ground beef or turkey. Add 1/2C water and let simmer for 5 minutes.

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Serve with your favorite toppings, here are ours! And no, I don’t have any photos of assembled tacos because I ate them too quickly… Now all I need are these taco holders to make taco Tuesday complete. Enjoy!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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At a little seafood restaurant in Newport, RI called Scales & Shells they serve the very best ever shrimp fra diavolo – technically it’s seafood fra diavolo (with lobster tail) for 2 and it is just phenomenal. You get tons of fish but it’s the sauce that you remember, it’s the best with just a touch of spice and they serve it over linguini. It’s the type of dish that you find yourself thinking about weeks later remembering just how good it was. In fact, a man I used to work with told me he and his wife used to get in the mood for Scales & Shell’s fra diavolo and make the round-trip hour-plus drive for dinner to satisfy their very specific craving, it’s that good.

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Fra diavolo is a tricky recipe to make at home to get the right flavors – spice, tomato, fishy flavor (in a good way) and is usually best to order out. However, I recently bought an issue of America’s Test Kitchen with the top recipes of 2015 and they shared the shrimp fra diavolo recipe from Cooks Illustrated. It was the first (of many) recipes we’ve tried and it’s a good one. The recipe is slightly complicated and laborious (cooking the shrimp shells in the tomatoes to add a deeper flavor, for example) but it so worth it. We served our shrimp fra diavolo with crusty bread as the recipe recommended and it was certainly a meal to remember. Let me know if you try it!

Roasted Broccoli

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Maybe I’m the last person to try this, but have you ever roasted broccoli? Broccoli is a family favorite in our house – well, in terms of green vegetables and we usually steam it and serve with a dash of garlic salt. Very good and obviously good for you. In the summer we make a broccoli slaw, we put broccoli in stir fry’s, but I wondered what else we could do with broccoli? Then I thought, gee – we roast so many other vegetable, let’s roast some broccoli? I found a simple recipe on epicurious to get an idea of oven temp, etc… and it came out so great.

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Don’t worry if the garlic smells like it’s burning, it caramelizes and tastes great with the browned broccoli. Roasted broccoli feels like a heartier side than our normal steamed broccoli – try it, let me know how you like it!

Beet Pesto Recipe

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We are always look for interesting recipes to try and recently we found one recently that was totally awesome – beet pesto. You may think that word combination is actually an oxymoron, but let me tell you that this recipe was so interesting and delicious. Just like any pesto, the beets (almost the replacement for the basil in a traditional pesto) were blended with nuts (walnuts instead of pine nuts), oil, and cheese. What was most interesting was the use of beet juice in place of much of the oil so it wasn’t so heavy and oily – I think that’s part of what I liked it so much. I included the beet pesto recipe below because I can’t find the recipe online to link to.

Beet Pesto (serves 4)

1/4C Walnuts
8 oz. can red beets (save juice)
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4C Grated Parmesan cheese

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Toast your walnuts in a non-stick pan.

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Blend walnuts with next 4 ingredients and mix in beet juice until desired consistency is reached. I used our Magic Bullet and it worked fine.

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Mix blended beet mixture with cheese.

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As directed on the original recipe we served the beet pesto over salmon. So good, so interesting! Enjoy!

Ps. Galic scape pesto is good, too!

Homemade Granola Bars

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Granola bars are a staple in our house – a good, nutritious (most of the time), and filling snack. It’s fairly simple to make your own granola bars so I thought I’d share my favorite recipe that we use when we make them. Plus, you can completely customize the dried fruits you use so it’s exactly the flavor you want – or even throw in some chocolate chips if that’s more your speed! I base my recipe on Ina Garten’s Homemade Granola Bar Recipe.

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You need to use oats and wheat germ for granola bars but everything else you add is really up to your own taste. For this recipe I used coconut, dried cranberries, and apricots.

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This recipe calls for 2/3C honey which feels like a lot but really helps bind everything together. Heating it with the butter and brown sugar makes it easy to mix up with your dry ingredients.

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I used a 9 x 13 inch pan (Ina’s recipe calls for an 8 x 12 pan) because I like a thinner granola bar. These are super sticky so I just used the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

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Wrap in parchment paper if you’re taking on to go. These are so good, enjoy!

Not Your Mother’s Pot Roast

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Ok, it’s dipped below 20 degrees this week (and that’s during the day, it’s in the single digits at night!) so we’re pulling out all our favorite winter recipes to make for dinner. One such favorite is Tyler Florence’s Pot Roast with Vegetables recipe. I’ve always been a huge fan of Tyler’s – we even made it a point to dine at his Wayfare Tavern when we were in San Francisco a few years ago (if you go there/live there eat there immediately!). And recently Ty’s been interesting to follow on Instagram where he shares all sorts of ideas/recipes from his test kitchen. Did you hear about his roasted french toast? Read through each photo, what an awesome idea.

tyler-florence-pot-roast-1Any way, back to pot roast. The most important step to this recipe is searing your meat. This locks in the flavor and is so important when braising anything so that it doesn’t become flavorless mush.

tyler-florence-pot-roast-2We simplify the recipe and just use tons of carrots, tons of onions, and a bunch of garlic (such precise measurements).

tyler-florence-pot-roast-3It’s so easy to just toss it all in your dutch oven and let it cook for hours! A great Sunday dinner for sure.

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We don’t artfully display ours on a platter to serve they way Ty suggests, rather, we serve it over good ‘ol fashioned egg noodles. And it’s so. good. Enjoy!