Bacon & Blue Burger with Sweet Potato Buns

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You may need to wipe up that drool on your face…

Ok, now you can finish reading about how to make this AMAZING burger! Not to toot my own horn, but one of the best burgers I’ve ever made! This would even be good without the blue cheese, if you’re not into stinky cheese.

You may be asking yourself, why does she keep posting food with bacon and blue cheese? Let’s just say I got a generous amount of Iowa bacon (the best) and Maytag blue cheese from my mother in law and went all out! It’s not every day when you can have these brands at your disposal, unless you live near Grinnell, Iowa. So I may have gained a few lbs this week, but it’s been worth it!!

I wanted to stick to my Paleo diet as much as I could (hence the cheese part) and I saw on Pinterest some people making their buns out of sweet potatoes. Genius! Like I said in my previous post, I love anything sweet and savory, and this is it to a T! I actually thought it tasted better than a regular bun, but I could eat sweet potatoes everyday so I am slightly biased. I will say it’s even messier with the sweet potato buns, but every good burger needs about 20 napkins along side it!

A couple of facts to make this burger taste the best:
1.When picking out your sweet potatoes, make sure they are thick and round enough for a nicely sized “bun”.
2. When buying your meat, get 80/20 ground beef. I prefer organic and grass fed, so the only option I had was 85/15, which was still good. For meals like tacos or casseroles you should buy lean ground beef, but for burgers, 80/20 is best. You need that fat to give it the good juicy flavor you want… trust me!

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To start, preheat your oven to 425°. Take your sweet potato and peel it, then slice to the thickest, most round part of the potato. Take a small plate and pour in some olive oil and salt and pepper. Rub both sides of the potato with the olive oil until evenly coated, then place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, turning once halfway through.

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You want to make sure they’re cooked in the middle and crispy brown on the outsides. Mine look a little burnt in the pictures, but they’re not, they are perfectly roasted!

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Take a large bowl and add your meat, seasonings, Worcestershire, Sriracha (trust me), and blue cheese. The best way to mix burgers and meatballs is with your hands, don’t be afraid to get in there! Once everything is mixed evenly, form into patties. When I make burgers, I don’t skimp on size, so mine were about a ½lb. each.

Since I am home while my husband is deployed, I don’t have all of my awesome kitchenware so I had to settle for a cast iron skillet. If you have a grill or grill pan, I would recommend that. If you have a skillet like me, spray with some olive oil PAM and turn on medium high heat. Wait a few minutes and make sure the pan is nice and hot before placing your meat down. For medium burgers cook on each side for 5 minutes flipping only once (this keeps all of the juices in). Depending on your stove and kitchen appliances, cooking times can vary.

If you have bacon already made from a few days before (#fatgirlproblems) take that out and throw it in the pan for a few minutes to get it crispy and hot again. If not, you better make yourself some bacon! Place on a paper towel to soak up excess grease, I also did this with my burgers (this helps the sweet potato buns stay solid, the grease can make them mushy and fall apart).

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Before assembling, take a small bowl and mix together your blue cheese sauce. I didn’t really measure anything, but I can use my own terms. I mixed two spoonfuls of sour cream, two of mayo, about a tbsp worth of crumbled blue cheese and about three long squeezes of sriracha. Just taste it and see how you like it, add more of whatever you think until it tastes just the way you like it!

Warning: You may acquire a major food coma after consuming this burger, but your going to have a very happy belly!

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What you’ll need:
For the buns:

1-2 very round sweet potatoes (I only made 1 burger, so I only needed 1 potato)
olive oil
salt and pepper
For the burgers:
80/20 ground beef ( I prefer organic grass fed) ½lb. per burger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cajun
4 dashes of Worcestershire
a few squeezes of Sriracha (sorry I didn’t really measure!)
a handful of crumbled blue cheese (just judge the ratio of meat to cheese and add more or less based upon that)
Bacon
Greens
For the mayo:
2 spoons of light sour cream
2 spoons of olive oil mayo (Hellmen’s of course, Miracle Whip is just plain sacrilege !! )
1 tbsp or so of blue cheese crumbles
a few squirts of Sriracha, the spicier the better in my opinion, but taste as you go.


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Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche

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Paleo approved breakfast quiche?? Yes please!

Ok, so I lied.

It isn’t technically Paleo because it has blue cheese in it. This girl got herself some Maytag Blue Cheese from her mother in-law and there’s no way she can turn that down!

So, if you want to be all hardcore Paleo about it, you can omit the cheese part, but let’s be honest, what’s a good quiche without cheese?!

To tell you the truth, if you’re looking for a nice crispy bread-like crust, you won’t find it here, but that doesn’t mean this version isn’t good! In fact, I prefer this crust instead of the normal flour filled crusts. I’m a huge sweet potato fan, and to seal the deal with why I liked this quiche so much, I love anything sweet and savory.

Sweet potato + bacon + kale + blue cheese = sweet & savory!

If you like chicken and waffles, or you tend to dip your bacon and sausage in your maple syrup, (seriously, who doesn’t?!) then you will love this dish!

 Preheat your oven to 400°. Let’s start by peeling then slicing your sweet potatoes as evenly as possible, or use a mandolin if you have it. Make sure they are thick enough to make a nice crust. Once sliced, arrange your sweet potatoes in a greased casserole dish as evenly as possible and covering the bottom and sides of the dish. As pictured below.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are nice and golden brown.

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While the potato is baking, start on your bacon and filling.

I really shouldn’t have to tell you how to cook bacon! Get it nice and crispy.

Sauté your onion and garlic for 5 minutes on medium heat, then add your kale and sauté a few more minutes until it’s soft and wilted.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk your eggs, blue cheese, spices, and water. Add your veggies and crumbled bacon until mixed evenly (careful not to over mix the eggs). Pour the mixture into your dish and gently shake it to evenly distribute the mixture.

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If you love cheese, like me, add a little shredded cheddar on top. (C’mon you know you want to!)

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Turn your oven down to 350°. Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbling.

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Let sit for 5-10 minutes (if your taste buds will let you) and serve!

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What you’ll need:
2-3 sweet potatoes (I only used 2 but my dish was rather small)
butter to grease the pan, or PAM

½ lb of bacon, center cut 
½ diced sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ bunch of kale, omit the stems and tear the leaves off into smaller pieces 
¼ wedge of blue cheese, crumbled (Maytag brand if you want to go all out!)
4 eggs
(this is my go to mixture for any scrambled egg type of recipe, it’s the best!)
1 tsp pepper 
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cajun
2 tsp parsley
1 tbsp water (this helps the eggs get fluffy)
I omitted salt since blue cheese and bacon are already very salty on their own!
Shredded cheddar cheese, just enough to cover the top

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Chorizo Chicken Burgers

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Can I just say, this burger may not be made from angus or kobe beef, but it is so good! By far the best chicken burger I’ve ever had! I took the original recipe from my favorite food blog annie’s-eats. I added a few more ingredients to make it my own, and to give it more flavor and spice! What I love about burgers is you can make so many unique flavors, for this recipe if you want more heat you can add more jalapeño, or leave it out for a more mellow taste. The chorizo and green chilies I added produce a lot of heat and flavor! I also mixed things up and used a pretzel bun. I found them in the bread aisle, it’s aunt millie’s brand and they turned out great! There’s also a cheese and buffalo brand i will try soon.

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To get started, mix together all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Be careful not to over mix and make sure the ingredients are mixed evenly. The chorizo tends to stick together in clumps so try to get those separated. I find it’s best to use your hands! It may be gross, but it’s the best way to mix the ingredients!

Take a grill pan or non stick skillet and spray lightly with PAM. You do not need to use any oil, the chorizo is oily enough for the burgers to not get stuck in the pan. Cook on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side. Flipping once to prevent any loss of juices and flavor. With a few minutes left of cooking, add your sliced cheddar cheese and place a lid over top to melt the cheese. I found my burgers to be a bit on the oily side when they were done cooking, so I laid them on paper towels to soak up some of the oil.

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Assemble with toasted pretzel bun, homemade guacamole (here is the link for my holy guacamole! recipe), and salsa! Serve and let your tastebuds go to a happy place!

This recipe makes 4-5 burgers.

What you’ll need:
1 lb. ground chicken
2 links of chorizo, casing removed
½ yellow onion, diced small
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 jalapeño, seeded, cored and minced well
2 oz.(half a 4oz. can) mild green chilies (I like La Preferida brand comes roasted, peeled, and diced)
1 tsp. cajun seasoning 
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
Juice of ½ lime
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
Assembly:
Pretzel bun, or your bun of choice
Sliced cheddar cheese
Holy Guacamole!
Salsa

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Quick&Easy Pulled Pork BBQ

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I had a few days off from what seemed like a long time, so of course I had tons of errands and chores to do. I wanted to make dinner, but didn’t know how much time I would have at the end of the day, so I thought I would make things easy and make a crockpot meal. I have had a craving for pulled pork recently, and happened to come across this Hormel pre packaged pork shoulder. Already marinated and ready to go! All you have to do is get out your crockpot and put in the pork and cook! Instead of using some fattening coleslaw, I decided to try something different to put on my sandwich. I decided to try this corn & jalapeno “slaw” with feta cheese. I lost the recipe so I kind of just made it up as I went (with lots of taste testing) It ended up tasting better than I thought! The sandwich and “slaw” give you an amazing combination of sweet and spicy. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Not only does this meal taste great, it’s super quick and easy and involves very little dirty dishes! (Something my husband was thankful for.)

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This is the pork package that I found at the grocery, directions are on the label and very simple! Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. I decided to add some honey on the pork with the pre-marinated sauce which ended up being a very good idea!

After the pork has been cooking for a few hours, take a fork or spatula and shred the pork in the crock pot. Doing this will break up the meat and it’s juices and help the marinating sauce absorb the meat better. I also added more honey at this time and mixed well.

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Once the pork is done, take a medium size bowl and get out all of your ingredients for the “slaw”. I bought frozen roasted corn so I didn’t have to buy corn on the cob, cut it, then roast it. It’s a huge time saver and tastes just as good! Cook your frozen corn according to package directions. Take your jalapeno and mince into small pieces. You can use more or less depending on how spicy you like your food. Add your feta, lime, and siracha. (Siracha is spicy, so if you’re not big on spicy foods I would omit it or omit the jalapenos).

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I would suggest adding red onion to this recipe, I forgot to buy one at the store and had to do without! Add half a red onion, minced. Once done mixing, place on your sandwich and enjoy a healthier way to eat bbq sandwiches!

What you’ll need:
boneless pork shoulder (pre marinated or you can marinate your own!)

1/3 cup of honey (give or take, I didn’t measure it out)
1 package of whole wheat hamburger buns
For the “slaw”:
1 package roasted frozen corn
1/2-1 jalapeno, minced 
crumbled feta cheese (just go by how much you’d like in your mixture)
juice of 1 lime
1 generous squeeze of siracha sauce
salt & pepper

A Twist to Chicken Pot Pie

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Who doesn’t love pot pie? I decided to mix it up a little and throw in some vitamin K! I also added chorizo and some chili’s to give it a little kick! This is definitely no ordinary pie, so if you’re afraid of a little spice or something different, you may just want to check out my plain pie recipe.

To get started, you’ll want to boil your chicken for 20-25 minutes, then set aside to cool. You can also use rotisserie chicken which is a little messy, but is easier and takes less time to make. While your chicken is cooling, preheat your oven to 350° (or according to your dough‘s packing directions).

Take a skillet and place on medium high heat. Slice your chorizo keeping the casing as intact as you can. After 2-3 minutes add your onions. Cook until the chorizo is slightly browned on both sides and the onions are translucent. Set aside.

In a medium to large size pot, on medium heat, melt your butter and gradually stir in the flour in bits. Careful not to place too much flour at one time or it will become clumpy. You also don’t want to boil the butter and flour. Once melted and the flour thins, add your milk and half and half. Next add your chicken broth, stir to combine.

Once your chicken is cooled enough to handle (or if you’re impatient and hungry, like I usually am, you can use two forks) and shred the chicken. Place in all of your ingredients except your squash, peas, and spinach. 

To make life easier, I had all steam in bags, so I microwaved my spinach, peas, and squash. Once they’re done place in the pot and stir until incorporated. Careful not to stir too much or your veggies will make the mixture mushy.

Get out your pot pie pan, you can also use a basic square baking dish. Place your dough on the bottom layer, then pour in your filling and place your second layer of dough on top and seal. Take a butter knife and make in four lines to create air pockets. Place in the oven according to package directions of your dough of choice. I like Pillsbury and I also like Whole Foods whole wheat pie crust. After the first 15 minutes take foil and cover up the edges of your pie crust, this prevents it from burning when the rest of the dough isn’t ready to come out yet.

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That’s it!! You’re all done and I promise you’ll love the end result! If the chorizo is too spicy for you, I recommend leaving out the chili’s or vice versa. I tend to like the spicier things, so if you’re new to trying spicy foods, I would suggest just starting with the chorizo.

What you’ll need:
1lb boneless skinless chicken breast (or rotisserie chicken if you’re pressed on time)

1 link of chorizo sausage
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp flour, add more if needed based on sauces consistency (if too thin add more)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
A dash or so of half and half
1 cup chicken broth
1 square of chopped chili DOROT seasoning (freezer aisle at any natural/whole foods store)
1 tsp each or so (add more to taste) of cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper
2 peices of your favorite pie crust or dough

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Chorizo stuffed meatloaf

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Meatloaf can be so boring, and often times it’s that go to staple when you don’t have anything else to make. This meatloaf recipe will change your opinion about meatloaf and will make you realize how much you can do with these recipes! Next time you think of making some meatloaf put something different in! You will be surprised with what you come up with!

I wanted to make a sweet and spicy meatloaf, the chorizojalapenos, and sweet chili sauce are so good together! If you aren’t a fan of spicy, you can certainly leave out the jalapenos.

To get started preheat your oven to 350°. Take a large mixing bowl and add your pork, beef, spices, onion, pepper, garlic, eggs, cream, and bread crumbs. I mix with my hands but that’s a personal preference. Make sure you mix well, but try not to over mix. Take half of the mixture and place on the bottom of a loaf pan and press down evenly. Take your chorizo and remove the casing carefully, to keep mold intact. Lay the chorizo down in the middle. Take the other half and place on top being sure to press down on the outsides to mold together into one loaf.

Once this is done place in the oven for 60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°. Baste the top with the pan juices and chili sauce every 15 minutes or so. Place the jalapeno slices on top for the last 15-20 minutes. Once it is done baking, let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

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What you’ll need:

1/2 lb ground pork
1lb ground beef
1/2 minced onion
1/2-1 (depending on how much you like) green bell pepper minced with seeds removed 
1 clove garlic minced
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4-1 cup plain bread crumbs (add more if needed)
1 tsp each of cajun, cayanne, cumin, chili, salt & pepper seasoning (add more if needed)
1 Chorizo link, casings removed
slices of jalapenos 
sweet chili sauce for basting and dipping

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Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana from your kitchen!

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Who doesn’t love Olive Garden?! Personally my favorite things there are the cheddar bay biscuits, salad, and the Zuppa Toscana. I have made the biscuits before so I figured why not try to make the soup! Kale has become my new favorite vegetable, and it is so good in this soup! It gives it a sort of crunch and a slightly bitter bite. I promise you will not want to go back to Olive Garden when you can make it at home!

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Start out by breaking your kale into small pieces and washing it thoroughly. Set it aside to dry.

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Next slice up your potatoes and boil them until they are very tender, you want them to almost fall apart at the touch. Drain and set aside.

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Next take a large pot or use a cast iron skillet and put on medium high. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Add your onions and sausage. Next add your awesome Dorot crushed garlic!!

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I found this at Whole Foods in the freezer aisle. It has ginger, garlic, basil, and garlic and herbs. I’m hoping they will have cilantro soon! Just think of how many times you throw out fresh herbs because they go bad quick?? This will last years and one square equals 1 tsp. I am so excited about this find and it is definitely going to be a staple in my kitchen for the days to come!

Stir until the sausage is browned and the Dorot is dissolved. Once browned, add the chicken broth, crushed red pepper, whole milk and half and half. Stir and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

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Add the kale and potatoes.

Stir and simmer for another 10 minutes. If you like a thicker soup, you may add some heavy whipping cream and mash up some of the potatoes. Taste and make sure it is to your liking, add more milk or seasonings as needed.

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Now all that’s left is to devour!!!

What you’l need:
1 large bunch of kale
1 lb ground italian sausage
10-12 potatoes (I used some spanish potatoes at a farmers market!)
1/2 yellow onion minced
1 square of Dorot crushed garlic
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
4 cups half and half
pinch of red pepper flakes
black pepper

Shrimp & Pork Spring Rolls

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I decided to have a Christmas party with a White Elephant gift exchange, so I wanted to make a lot of yummy and different appetizers! You get tired of the same old dips and crock pot foods at these gatherings so I decided to branch out a little and serve some tasty foods you don’t tend to see very often. I ended up finding myself looking at the Martha Stewart recipes (she’s one of those people I wish I didn’t like, but I can’t help but love everything she makes!). These spring rolls were seriously gone as soon as they were set on the table! I was lucky enough to have a piece before it was all gone and it was so good! Next time I make these, I’ll be sure to leave a few pieces for myself 🙂

To get started, heat a small amount of oil on the pan and cook the sausage and break up into crumbles, cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion, cook until soft, then add the celery, carrot, garlic, and fish sauce. Cook until soft about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, snap peas, and shrimp until it’s pink and cooked through (about another 2 minutes.) Add the pork and salt and pepper. Set aside off heat and let cool for a bit for easier rolling.

Take your wrappers and if they are a bigger size you can pre-cut them, or you can do what I did and cut the spring rolls after they’re cooked.

Whisk the yolk and water in a small bowl. Place one wrapper on a cutting board or flat surface and take one wrapper with a corner facing you. Keep the rest of the wrappers covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Place a tbsp or so of the filling in the middle of a wrapper and fold the bottom corner over the filling and fold the sides in halfway. Roll the wrapper to form a tight cylinder, leaving the top corner exposed. Brush the top corner with the egg wash and press to seal. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat until done.

Martha’s recipe calls for frying, but I chose the healthier route by baking.

To fry: heat 1/2 inch of oil in a deep skillet until it reaches 350°. Fry in batches until golden brown about 2-3 minutes rolling each side. Add more oil if needed, drain on paper towels.

To bake: Turn oven on 425°. Bake on baking sheets turning once halfway through baking. Bake until golden brown on all sides, about 30 minutes.

Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce, you can buy this in the international section at local grocery stores.

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed and for frying (or not needed if baking)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated cabbage (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas (2 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 spring-roll wrappers (8-inch square)
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Turkey Bacon

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I wanted to make something that was quick, healthy and tasty! You can never go wrong with pork tenderloin, always juicy and tender! I bought the pre-marinated apple bourbon and it was fantastic! To give it a different taste, I wrapped it in turkey bacon (jennie-o style!). Nothing goes better with pork than mashed potatoes and roasted veggies! I chose asparagus. Because I wanted to make it a quick dinner, I bought instant mashed potatoes, and they turned out really good surprisingly!

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Pretty simple, preheat your oven according to package directions on the pork. Mine was 350°.  Just wrap the pork with the turkey bacon and enclose the bacon with toothpicks. Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the bacon is crispy on the outside and the middle is cooked through. While your pork is roasting, take a pan and cover with olive oil, lay your asparagus on the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover a little more with olive oil over top. Roast for 30 minutes or until the asparagus is soft but crispy on the tips. Make sure to turn them around with a spatula every 10 minutes. To make the mashed potatoes, cook according to package directions. And you’re done!! Pretty easy, and healthy!! Great dinner for a night after a long day at work and much healthier than buying some take out!

What you’ll need:

Pork Tenderloin, pre marinated if you’re looking to save time
Jennie-O Turkey Bacon
Bunch of Asparagus, washed and ends snapped
Instant Mashed Potatoes (I used Idahoan)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Toothpicks

Baked Black Bean & Chorizo Rice Bowl

Mexican food is definitely one of my favorites. What I love best is there are so many different directions you can go! There are about a million different combinations of tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc. This type of food gives us cooking lovers a chance to be creative and unique, and come up with some seriously tasty food!

This recipe is one of those examples.

So simple to make! Half of the time is spent in the oven to bake. And the chorizo is perfect with the black beans and cheese. I will definitely be making this again!

To get started, preheat your oven to 425°. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat with oil, swirl to coat. Add the chorizo and saute for 2-3 minutes, remove from pan onto a plate with paper towels to soak up excess grease. Coat the pan with cooking spray and add the onion and jalapeño, saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the seasoning, garlic, broth and beans, stir and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Mash the black beans to form a paste, sort of like refried beans. Spoon into a round baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and top with the chorizo, tomato, and cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Top with green onions and serve!! I had a bag of Archer Farms cilantro-lime rice with corn and green chilies, so I steamed that up in the microwave and served my black bean and chorizo goodness on top of the rice with a side of tortilla chips for dipping! You could also try this inside a tortilla and baked in the oven like a burrito! I think that’s what I will do next time.

You will not be disappointed on this one, I guarantee it!

What you’ll need:
1 tbs olive oil
2 links spanish chorizo, casings removed (I got the spicy kind)
Cooking Spray
half an onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp cajun
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 c fat free low sodium chicken broth
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped, seeded tomato
1/2 c Monterrey jack and sharp cheddar cheese
sliced green onions
tortilla chips
rice, see above for what I used