Friday, April 18, 2014

Perfect Black Beans

There is something wonderful in the simplicity of beans and rice!  I love how easy this recipe comes together.  It takes boring canned black beans and makes them into a meal!  They are so flavorful and satisfying!  I can't remember where I got this recipe from, so I apologize for not linking to the original recipe! We like these plain, over rice, or even topped with chicken, guacamole, cheese and salsa. The options are endless!  We refer to this meal as Chipotle style.  Start with beans and add what you want!

Perfect Black Beans
4-6 servings

4 t olive oil
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used orange, any would work)
1 onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (16 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup water
1/4-1/2 cup fresh, chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté until soft and tender, stirring regularly. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, broth, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes.  Stir in the fresh cilantro and salt and pepper (to taste).  Discard the bay leaf. Serve as desired.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crockpot Pasta

I found this recipe on Pinterest and then changed it to what I had on hand and liked.  Such a great, easy crockpot meal!  Now who can argue with that!

Crockpot Pasta
1 lb. Italian seasoned ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t oregano
8 ounces campanelle pasta, cooked
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup mixture of Parmesan and Romano cheese, grated

Brown the ground turkey.  Drain and then add onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Put into slow cooker with tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and spices.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Add cooked pasta, fresh spinach and cheeses.  Stir until cheese is melted and spinach is wilted. Serve hot with this Artisan bread!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chocolate Nutella Strawberry Trifle

I think the name says it all!  This is really such a yummy dessert! Be prepared to share, it makes a ton! I found the original recipe here, but tweaked it a bit.  Besides being delicious all together, this is the best "from scratch" chocolate cake recipe I have ever made!  It really needs its own post but I couldn't wait to share this with you!

Chocolate Nutella Strawberry Trifle


2 cups (250 g) cake flour
1 t (6 g) salt
2 t (10 g) baking soda
1 t (5 g) baking powder
3/4 cup (69g) unsweetened cocoa
2 cups (400 g) sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil (I used avocado oil, it is healthier and you can't tell at all)
1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee (I am not a coffee drinker so I used Choffy.  It is roasted cocoa beans, seriously amazing stuff!)
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 ml) cream
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2, 9inch round cake pans with parchment paper circles. Spray with cooking spray.
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Add the *hot coffee or Choffy, oil, milk, cream and buttermilk and beat for 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and eggs. Beat for 2 more minutes. It will be very liquid-y.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes.  The cake is ready when the cake springs back when lightly touched or when a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pans.  Loosen the sides and remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

*This needs to be really hot to help dissolve the sugar and flour

Nutella Mousse

1 cup (250 ml) Nutella
5 T water
2 T (30 ml) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (250 ml) whipping cream

Set a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water (The bottom of the bowl should NOT touch the water) and melt the Nutella with the 5 T water.  Mix until smooth.  Add the butter and mix until combined. Remove from heat.

In another bowl, whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the melted Nutella.  Now add the rest of the whipped cream and fold until fully incorporated.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Whipped Cream

2 cups whipping cream
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients together until stiff peaks form.

2-3 cups sliced strawberries


Cut cooled cake into pieces.  Using a trifle bowl place a layer of cake on the bottom.  Spoon on 1/2 of the Nutella mousse. Top with 1/3 of the sliced strawberries.  Add another layer of cake, them the rest of the mousse.  Add another 1/3 of the strawberries.  Add another layer of cake and then top with whipped cream.  I left the last strawberries whole to put on the top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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