Saturday, September 25, 2010

Black Bean Dip

IT'S GAME DAY! Gooooo GATORS and War Eagle! I am being such a good wife saying War Eagle on the blog... wow, my bday must be coming up soon so I have to be nice!!!

Here is a great and delicious game day dip. This recipe was to be featured in my "Healthy Tailgating" workshop at the Pilates Studio. So, with that being said, it is relatively healthy as long as you don't dip too many chips. It is easy to make your own baked tortilla chips instead of the processed fried ones, or look into buying baked tortilla chips instead. Also, I only used about 1/2 to 3/4 of the cheese so don't feel like you have to use all of it if you are trying to cut calories!

Black Bean Dip

Recipe from Aggie's Kitchen, originally from She Wears Many Hats


2 15 oz cans organic black beans, drained
1/4 tsp ancho chile powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
3 Poblano peppers, roasted
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, packed
1 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup corn, drained if from a can
1/3 cup diced tomato (I didn't have a fresh tomato... so used Rotelle Tomatoes = yummy)
1/2 cup of salsa - medium if like it spicy!
4 oz divided queso or Monterey Jack cheese - shredded


To roast the peppers: click on this link . Please be careful when handling peppers... I accidentally touched my eyes after handling this hot babies and I wasn't happy!

Heat the beans in a saucepan over medium heat, add the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, combine well. When warm, mash the bean mixture (I used a potato masher). Add 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese and mix well. If the mixture gets gummy then add some of the juice that you strained earlier from the beans. Get your food processor, place the cilantro (FRESH), peppers, and 1 tbs of olive oil and process until you reach a smooth consistency. Get an oven safe dish, spread the bean mixture on the bottom then spread a layer of the salsa, then add the pepper mixture on top, then the tomato and corn, and sprinkle the top with cheese. Place into a heated 400 degree oven, and cook until the cheese melts. The original recipe called for 10-15 minutes but it took me almost 25 minutes (I had prepped the whole dish the night before so it was cold from being in the fridge overnight so I think that is what caused the increase in cooking time).

We also have to serve anything mexican related with sour cream... my husband loves sour cream so if you love it as much as he does, it of course goes well with this dip!

I had some leftovers of this dip after the football party so I put this mixture in a quesadilla and it was delicious... can be added to tacos, burritos, salads.... get crazy!

Enjoy and of course enjoy your game day... whichever team you cheer for! Please pass along any yummy dips that you like to make for tailgating! My absolute favorite one is Lauren's Taco Dip!!! Lauren- want to be a guest blogger for your dip????

Thursday, September 23, 2010



This eggplant was harvested from our garden! Can't get much fresher than that

Eggplant is one of our favorite vegetables so I wanted to share some fun health facts about eggplant in hopes to persuade you to give them a try and use them frequently in your kitchen!

Health benefits of eggplant:
  • Flavonoid Nasunin - A powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger = protection of cell membranes against damage (found primarily in the skin)
  • Dietary FIBER - keeps you "regulated" and acts against cardiovascular disease
  • Chelates Iron - protects blood cholesterol from peroxidation which reduces the rate of free radical damage in joints and also prevents cellular damage which promotes cancer formation
  • Potassium (K+) - balances with salt which maintains good hydration levels in the body and regulates the blood pressure in the body
  • vitamins and minerals galore!
  • low in calories and carbohydrate but still high in fiber = win win for weight loss
I will share a quick and easy recipe that I have made TWICE this week...

Eggplant Bake
  • 1 regular sized eggplant (will make one large servings or two small servings) sliced into cubes (i.e. Bite size pieces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • couple of hand-fulls of baby bella mushrooms - washed and dried
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • sprinkle of mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tuscan Sunset (Penzey's) or Italian seasoning if don't have access to Penzeys
  • Sandwich Sprinkle (Penzey's) omit if no access to Penzeys
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Prepared tomato sauce - I used Organic Basil Tomato Sauce
  • olive oil
Pre heat oven to 400. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Then add the chopped onion to the pan for a few minutes until translucent in color, then all the garlic until the garlic speaks (i.e. the garlic aroma fills your kitchen). Once garlic speaks, add the eggplant and mushrooms and saute in the pan until the eggplant becomes slightly tender. Add the salt, pepper, and spices, including the red pepper flakes to taste. I just kind of sprinkle these over the mixture. I like spicy so I give a few extra shakes of the red pepper flakes. Then, remove from heat and add the tomato sauce - coating the mixture but you don't want your veggies to be swimming in the sauce! Add a sprinkle of the mozzarella cheese on top. Put in oven safe dish and put into the oven. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and dish is bubbly. Take out, let cool a couple of minutes and then VIOLA! I usually just eat this on its own, but sometimes if I feel like it will serve it over whole wheat organic pasta....

On a side note... I love Penzey's Spices. They make delicious salt free seasonings (like the Tuscan Sunset below). So, go to their website and order a catalog. They send out great coupons in the catalog as well as yummy recipes. I have a drawer full of their spices and still would love to have more!

My drawer filled with spices (and I have more in the cabinet these are just my regular go-to ones!
I could snort these seasonings! Seriously put on everything from eggs to sandwich bread (Sandwich sprinkle makes a mean garlic bread)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pasta Primavera and new niece Ella!

WHEW! Been Busy!
I have been in Florida the last week celebrating the birth of my niece, Ella. While I didn't get to spend tons of time with her (babies sleep and eat the whole day!) I did get lots of time with my nephew, Johnny! I love him so much and we had the best time! I really miss him A LOT!

Here is John Pierce with his new baby sister, Ella... He loves giving her kisses!

Baby Ella holding her daddy's hand!

Me and baby Ella - look at those eyes! Can't wait till she is ready to play!

John Pierce welcoming baby Ella home!

He loves cows and his cowboy hat!

My buddy

He has to hold his pants up when he runs... so funny


He cooperated for pics, this was my favorite!

Moving on to a good recipe....
Now that I am back in bham, I needed veggies and wanted to take advantage of the last summer produce before fall (officially fall on Wednesday!) This recipe makes a TON so you might want to cut it in half or cook for friends and plan for leftovers! And, if you want to go lighter and not make the pasta part, sometimes I just make the vegetable medley for a side dish and it is super super yummy by itself!

Pasta Primavera:

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
24 ounces of precooked grilled chicken pieces
1 (16 oz) box of bow tie pasta, cooked, and drained

Primavera vegetable medley:
1-2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
1 (8 oz) container of baby portabella mushrooms
1 large onion chopped
2 red bell peppers - cut into chunks
2 large carrots - peeled and sliced
2 tbs minced garlic
2 large yellow squash
2 zucchini
1 bunch asparagus
1 (8 0z) package sugar snap peas
1 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme
1 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

For the sauce: In a dutchoven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add cream, egg, pepper, sugar, salt and whisk to combine well. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes - or until it is getting slightly thickened. Add cheese slowly, stirring constantly until melted. Then add the cooked chicken and cooked pasta. Stir together until well mixed and heated.

For the vegetable medley: Heat 2 tbs butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until the butter is melted. Add the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes which stirring constantly. Add the squash, zucchini, asparagus, snap peas, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes or until the veggies are crisp tender. Then add the basil, thyme, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir to combine well. Remove from heat.

To serve this dish. spoon the past mixture onto a plate and top with the vegetable medley!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Roasted Potato Salad

I am from the South, I like mayonnaise and egg in my potato salad!  However, while looking for "healthy tailgating" recipes - I was given this recipe from my pilates' client.  This potato salad is so delicious that I have made it twice... yes 10 pounds of potatoes.  I have entertained with it and served it both warm and cold, it makes a delicious little snack also!  

Roasted Potato Salad:
5 lbs new potatoes (I have used red potatoes and red and white fingerling potatoes - both are good)
1 bunch fresh sage (about 1/2 cup sage leaves)
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs finely chopped shallots
1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves

Place potatoes, sage, and garlic (clove left with skin on) on a large cookie sheet.  Drizzle 1/4 cup of the olive oil over this mixture and toss gently.  Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool potatoes.  Then cut the potatoes in quarters.  Remove the garlic cloves, take out of skin and set aside.  Collect the sage leaves and crumble over potatoes, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper, limited salt).  Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, shallots, thyme, and the roasted garlic (mash so it can mix into the dressing).  Once well combined, drizzle over the potatoes.  Toss gently.  Can serve warm or chilled.  This yields approximately 15 servings, so be ready to share!

Sorry that it has been so long since I have blogged... things have been crazy busy around here which is typical for us during football season!  Also, my beautiful niece was born yesterday so I am here baby sitting my nephew and enjoying our time together!  Let me know if you try this recipe and enjoy the "healthier" type of potato salad!