Comfort with a Kick

I don’t know about you, but I am in major “comfort food” mode. I’m not sure if I should blame the weather or all of my cooking magazines, but I just want warm, cozy foods. Soups. Stews. Cheesy, baked potato dishes. Or baked mac and cheese. (Look, there I go, gravitating toward the carbs. Again. Shocking.) šŸ˜€

I am also in “easy dinner” mode, since our evenings have been pretty busy the last few weeks. I used canned beans this time because I wasn’t organized enough to have some cooked ones in the freezer. In fact, the most time-consuming part of dinner was chopping the onion! (Well, that and doing the dishes…)Ā 

The original recipe barely serves two people, so I always double it. After all, we like our leftovers! I also added more corn and pumped up the spice with a little jalapeno. And there you have it. Easy comfort food with a little kick. Who wouldn’t want this? šŸ˜‰

Why yes, that IS dessert hanging out in the background. Chocolate whoopie pies with marshmallow filling, in case you were wondering.

Black Bean Corn Chowder

2 15-ounce cans of black beans, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 lime
1 cup of salsa
2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 avocado, cut into chunks
shredded cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream and tortilla chips for serving

In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups of black beans and the half-and-half. Puree until smooth and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeno to the pan and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the reserved black beans, salsa, corn, lime juice and cumin to the pot. Bring to a simmer.

Stir in the pureed beans and half-and-half. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through, and then stir in the avocado chunks.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, cilantro and tortilla chips.

Adapted from Cooking for Two, Spring 2007

Click here for a printable version.


New Favorite Condiment

Or, at least, my favorite after some good guacamole.Ā (Apparently I like green dips. Who knew?) I discovered this one while I was searching for a solution to our squash situation. While the soup didn’t rate high enough to go into our regular rotation, this avocado lime cream blew me away. I ate it on stuffed peppers, in tacos, on pretzels and then proceeded to lick the container clean. (What? Waste not, want not! šŸ˜‰ )Ā 

It was a welcome addition to taco night, and Arron, Karen’s hubby and the master of sauces, gave it a thumbs up. Best of all, it’s super easy to throw together – always a good thing in my book.

I realize this isn’t a picture of JUST the cream. I also made homemade lime tortilla chips and salsa verde. It just happens to be my favorite of the photos.In case you’re wondering, the cream is on the left, the salsa verde on the right.

Avocado Lime Cream

1/2 cup sour cream (I used the reduced fat)
1 avocado, sliced
handful of cilantro, large stems discarded
juice of one lime
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor. (I use a glass bowl and my immersion blender.) Process until smooth and creamy. Store in theĀ refrigerator.

The flavors meld together after some time in the fridge, so I like to make this 12-24 hours in advance.

From Erin’s Food Files


I love, love, love guac. It took me a while to discover, but I’m hooked now. Guacamole is easily one of my favorite condiments. Whether it’s spread on a sandwich or wrap, dipped on a chip, or just licked eaten straight from the bowl, I can’t get enough of it.

Unfortunately, Andy doesn’t share my love of green-avocado-y goodness. (Maybe that’s a good thing though; if he loved it, I would probably make it a lot more often. And as good as those omega-3s are, I probably don’t need to eatĀ that much guac. Anyway…) So I try to make guac for those events where I know other guac lovers will be. Events like the Super Bowl, for instance.

When I saw this recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod, I was immediately intrigued. Guacamole on crusty bread? Sounds like a winner to me!

I used the Two Peas’ recipe as a guideline, since I like my guac a little less chunky than they do, and I always just eyeball what I put in the guac. But it was well received at the Super Bowl party (and I only ate two or three of them there)!

Guacamole BruschettaĀ 

1 loaf French bread, sliced about 1/2″ thick
3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
handful of of cilantro, chopped
1 Roma tomato, chopped
pinch salt
dash cumin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let slices cool completely.

In a medium bowl, combine the avocado chunks, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, tomato, cilantro, salt and cumin. Stir gently (so the avocado doesn’t become completely mushed) until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. (I couldn’t tell you how much cumin, lime juice or salt I add each time I make guac… I do it by feel/taste.)

Place a spoonful of guacamole on each slice of bread. Serve immediately.

Side note: If you have extra guacamole afterwards, save the pits from your avocados! When you refrigerate the leftover guac, throw the pits in the bowl. They’ll keep the guacamole from turning brown as fast.Ā 

From Two Peas and Their Pod