Two weeks ago, I posted a links to several recipes that I have made as well as our review of them (likes, dislikes, changes to recipe, etc.) I want to try and keep up with posting this information for several reasons:
- You, the reader, can learn about new recipes and give them a try.
- For those readers who live in Chile, you can not only learn about new recipes, but how to adapt them for the ingredients that we are able to get in Chile.
- It makes for good documentation in case I forget whether or not we liked a certain recipe, or what changes I made, etc.
Maybe the recipe round-ups will be weekly, maybe every two weeks. But I’ll try my best to keep up with it! For now, I’ll leave you with a few of the recipes that I have made in the past two weeks (there are too many for 1 post).
- Vegetarian Paella: I posted the link to this recipe and the changes I made in this post, but since we hadn’t technically eaten it, I thought I’d elaborate a bit more. The paella was really good. The flavors intensified overnight and both Christian and I like it. I felt it needed a bit more though. Maybe chicken on the side (although that defeats the purpose of being vegetarian), or some beans or something else. The next time I made it, I might add in some other vegetables or perhaps add chickpeas and see what it gives the recipe.
- Quick Black Bean Soup: My friend, Kathy, who I studied abroad with in 2006 gave me this recipe. I think she made it for a party once and I really liked it and asked her to send it to me. That was 4 years ago and I just now made this recipe! The recipe states that it makes 4-6 servings, however for some reason we only got 3 servings out of it. I don’t have a link for it since I don’t know where she got it from, but I put the recipe at the bottom of this post with my changes in parenthesis. I will definitely make some version of this soup again, but I think I will tweak the recipe a bit.
- Butternut Squash & Fried Sage Pasta: When I came across this recipe, I thought “oh what a unique way to use butternut squash”. I kept imagining that this dish must have great flavors, even though I had no idea what sage tastes like. When I went to the grocery store last Saturday to buy the sage, it was nowhere to be found. Thanks Lider Express! I decided that it probably wouldn’t make a huge difference and plus we didn’t have anything else to eat. So I set out to make it. I followed the directions as they are (minus the sage) and the only change I made was to use some gluten-free pasta (rice based) instead of typical pasta. Why? Cuz we had it on hand and it was already open. I had eaten this pasta before and didn’t have any issues with it, but in this dish it was all wrong. Everything about this dish was wrong and neither Christian nor I could eat it. I was sad to throw away the butternut squash, but really there was no saving it. It had been mixed with the strange pasta and everything was contaminated. We aren’t sure if the sweetness of the butternut aided in making this a bad dish, but we won’t be making this again. It got filed under “Thumbs Down Recipes”.
- Black Bean Brownies: Yes, you read that right—brownies with black beans. See the beans covered in honey and cacao? I saw this recipe a while back and have wanted to make them for a long time, so last Sunday was the day. I had to use old fashioned black beans since canned ones don’t exist here in Chile, and I think I measured out about 1.5 cups. I used ripe bananas and honey instead of the agave nectar. The first time I made them I did add the additional sugar, however with the honey and ripe bananas, it was too sweet. I topped them with sliced coconut too! These brownies came out really fudge like and only got more fudgy and “wet” as the week went on. Don’t get me wrong, they had great flavor and I really liked them, but they needed more oats to dry up a bit of the moisture. Here are some pictures of the first set:
I told Christian they were just brownies and he ate one. Then I told him what was in them! Hahaha. He liked them anyway and was surprised that you couldn’t taste the black beans. This past Friday I was invited to a friend’s house for girls’ night and I decided to take another batch of these brownies with me to see what they thought about them (again, not telling anyone what was in them until they had tried them). While everyone agreed that these healthy brownies don’t taste like your Betty Crocker childhood brownies, they all liked this “brownie” on its own. The second time around I increased the recipe a bit and changed the amount of oats, hoping they would come out more cake-like than fudge-like. I used 2 cups of black beans, 4 bananas, 1/3 cup of honey, about 1 TBSP of sugar, double the unsweetened cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla extract. I also started off putting in 1/2 cup of the oats and then increased it another 1/4 to 1/2 cup because they still seemed so wet. In the end, they baked quickly (whereas the first time around it took longer for them to cook) and while they were drier (but not too dry) they were dense. So you most definitely only needed to cut them into small squares to serve. I recommend trying this recipe and I will keep making them because while they may not have a “typical” brownie flavor, I bet heated up with vanilla ice cream, they would still be amazing!
- Lighter Sesame Chicken: As indicated in the recipe, I made brown rice (arroz integral) to go with the dish, which takes longer than white rice to cook. So if you do the same thing, make sure to plan ahead. I found out a few weeks ago that the ratio on the back of the brown rice bag is off. They say 1 cup of rice to 2.5 cups of water. That is only if you want soupy rice. We make 1.25 cups of rice to 2 cups of water and it turned out perfectly. So keep that in mind. Back to this recipe—it was awesome! We both really liked the flavors and lightness of it. The changes I made were to not cook the chicken in the egg and cornstarch. Instead, we just cut up the chicken, added a bit of sesame oil to the wok and cooked it with salt and pepper. Once it was done, I added in the sauce and the green onions (instead of scallions). I’d say cooking the chicken like this made the dish even lighter than it was intended. In the end, I plated it up with the broccoli and rice and the husband loved it (I did too)! Next time I will make more sauce as we felt adding more sauce over the broccoli and rice made everything even better!
Quick Black Bean Soup Recipe
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (I used old fashioned cooked black beans)
- 14 oz. can chicken broth
- 15 oz. can corn, drained (I used frozen corn)
- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with herbs (I used cut up fresh tomatoes without the seeds.)
- 2 bay leaves (didn’t use b/c I don’t have it)
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
Preparation: Cook onion in oil in a large soup pot. Open one can of beans, mash the beans using a fork, and scoop out of the can into the pot, along with the can of whole beans, drained corn, chicken broth, and stir in seasonings. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the soup for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove bay leaves and serve.