Healthy Cookie: Double Bean Enchilada Soup

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I didn’t think I’d be interested in enchilada soup of any kind when my mom made it for dinner a few nights ago. Her version was made with chicken, so I couldn’t have eaten it even if I wanted to. But when I walked through the door after getting home from the gym, my stomach growling like a ticked-off grizzly bear, all I could smell was the intoxicating scent of that soup, and I wanted it.

Of course, like I said, I couldn’t eat any because of the chicken. But I instantly decided I would make my own meatless version instead: Double Bean Enchilada Soup. I’m so glad I did too, because that wonderful aroma of the soup my mother mad would have haunted me forever if I never got to try it.

My soup is just slightly tweaked with two kinds of hearty beans taking on the role of protein in place of chicken. I also added some green chiles, which bring serious heat to the table. Make sure you have a big ol’ glass of water at the ready. The heat might slow you down, but the delicious, warm flavors will keep you pressing on, inhaling spoonful after spoonful in a state of soup-induced euphoria.DSC_2126

I can’t even explain how good this soup is, especially because one big fat cupful is less than 130 calories. Seriously? Yes, seriously. I wouldn’t believe it either if I hadn’t made it. This soup is so hearty and thick from the cornmeal, singing with saucy Mexican flavors, and it’s even got some creamy American cheese. Can all that goodness come with a teeny-tiny calorie count? Yes, sir!

This is officially my favorite low-cal soup ever. Why? Because it doesn’t taste like a really good low-cal soup; it just tastes like a really good soup period. I also adore how quick and easy it is; no day-long simmering required. Make it in under 30 minutes with just a few ingredients.

If you don’t have this Double Bean Enchilada Soup for dinner tonight, then you’re missing out. Down a big bowlful, and you can feel satisfied without feeling an ounce of guilt.DSC_2131

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Need your meat fix? Trade the beans for 2 cups shredded chicken.
  2. All black beans or all kidney beans is fine if you only have one kind on hand.
  3. Tailor this to meet your diet needs: use all vegetable stock if you’re a vegetarian instead of the combination I used.
  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro if you like. I hate the stuff, but some people love it.
  5. Red onion instead of yellow will kick this up even more.
  6. You can skip the green chiles and use a can of Ro-tel instead, which will give you the heat plus diced tomatoes.DSC_2033

Double Bean Enchilada Soup
Adapted from Eat More of What You Love

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (or use all vegetable stock if vegetarian)
  • ¾ cup enchilada sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. diced green chiles, drained & rinsed
  • ¾ cup black beans, drained & rinsed
  • ½ cup kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 4 slices 2% milk American cheese singles
  • Optional garnish: diced tomatoes, lettuce, crushed tortilla chips, sour cream

Directions:

  1. Add about ¼ cup of chicken stock to a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in both stocks, 1 cup water, and the enchilada sauce and bring to a low boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornmeal with ¾ cup water in a small bowl. Once soup is boiling, whisk in cornmeal mixture, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Let simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in green chiles and beans. Let cook for another two minutes then stir in cheese until completely melted. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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Mexican Sweet Potato & Bean Skillet w/ White Cheddar Queso

Nothing impresses me more than a multi-talented meal.

I’m talking about the dish that does it all. Quick, easy, nutritious, attractive, and above all, delicious. Sure, there are plenty of foods out there that cover one or two of those things. But how many foods do you know that possess them all? That’s what makes the jack-of-all-traits meal so extraordinary. It’s not something you see everyday.

I’ve got something for you that’s multi-talented and then some: Mexican Sweet Potato & Bean Skillet w/ White Cheddar Queso. It sounds elaborate and impressive right? It looks it too with all those colors and that creamy queso. But your eyes are playing tricks on you, because this beautiful dish is actually super simple. The ingredient list is basic, and you can make it in under 30 minutes. Plus, there’s no baking required. This is strictly stovetop, which makes it that much easier.

Does this skillet fall under “nutritious” too? You bet your butter it does. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and nutrients. And beans are a super food loaded with protein and other good stuff. So, the two of them in combination means crazy high nutritional benefits. Not to mention, this is one seriously satisfying and hearty meal. It actually filled me up, a rare and momentous occasion for my six stomachs.

Now, let’s address the most important component of a multi-talented meal: it’s got to taste good. Well I wouldn’t say this tastes good; I’d say it tastes mind-blowingly amazing. The taco seasoning that the beans and potatoes are cooked in packs such dynamic flavor, so zesty and just a bit spicy. Talk about an easy way to crank up the flavor level. Plus, our 4-ingredient queso sauce adds another dimension of heat and flavor between the spicy Rotel and sharp white cheddar cheese.

Your taste buds have never been catered to like this. Every one of them is being addressed: zesty, savory, sweet, spicy. Plus, the crumbled tortilla chip topping adds textural variation, so you get the crunch of  the chips with the soft potatoes, tender beans, and creamy queso. You can also use the chips to dip in the skillet. Whatever you do, it’s going to be delicious.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you want this dish to be really special, then make your own Homemade Tortilla Chips. It’s quick, easy, and you only need 3 ingredients.
  2. Top with salsa, lettuce, black olives, or whatever your heart desires.
  3. Corn would be delicious in here too.
  4. You can leave the skins on the potatoes. The choice is yours.

Mexican Sweet Potato & Bean Skillet w/ White Cheddar Queso
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 16-oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 10-oz. can Rotel
  • tortilla chips, homemade or storebought

Directions:

  1. Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate lined with paper towels. Poke holes in the tops of the potatoes with a fork. Microwave on high for about 14 minutes, or until fork tender. Peel and chop into chunks.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the chickpeas and black beans. Cook until they start to become tender. Add the sweet potatoes, taco seasoning, and a 1/4 cup of water. Stir to coat. Let cook until everything is hot and fork tender. If the sauce created by the seasoning becomes too thick, add more water, a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Meanwhile, make the queso. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until lump free. Continue whisking for another minute. Whisk in the milk. Cover and let simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the cheese until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the Rotel and remove from heat. Drizzle over the finished sweet potatoes and beans. You may reserve some for spooning over individual portions.
  4. To serve, spoon the sweet potato and bean mixture into a dish. Top with extra queso and crumbled tortilla chips. Serve with whole chips for dipping. Enjoy!

Sweet & Spicy Mexican Beans: A Side or Taco Topper

Some like it sweet. Some like it spicy. Me? I like both.

I’m the kind of girl who wants it all. I want to have my cake and eat it too. I don’t like making decisions because I’d much rather have both options. If you can have the best of both worlds, why would you ever choose just one?

These Sweet & Spicy Mexican Beans are for people who want it all. They start out with a sweet flavor from the sauce, then you start to experiene the zesty mexican seasonings. Finally, when you least expect it, the spicy cayenne kicks you in the taste buds on its way down. All of a sudden you’re like, “Whoa, that’s some serious heat!” The flavor is kicking, a zesty celebration that includes all your taste buds. Nobody’s getting left out tonight.

Oh, and we just might be using a can of Campbell’s soup to get the sauce started. Sounds crazy? Stay with me here. It totally works, adding awesome flavor with minimal time and effort.

The awesomeness of these beans extends beyond their delicious dynamic flavor; they’re versatile too. With all those tender, hearty beans, this makes an awesome side dish. However, since it’s packing such multi-dimensional flavor and mexican zest, it’s also an incredible taco topping. Sure, an average taco is tasty, but when you add these kickin’ beans, you get a party in a taco shell. Plus, these Sweet & Spicy Mexican Beans really aren’t bad for you. There’s no cream or cheese or butter, just protein-packed beans to fill you up good.

Are you feeling fiesta-ready? Then crank out these quick and easy banging beans and get ready to party. You can have it all, my friends.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can use any beans you like for this.
  2. Garnish with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, or sour cream to really get the party going!
  3. Besides being a delicious side dish and taco topping, these are also a great vegetarian meal.

Sweet & Spicy Mexican Beans
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can Campbell’s Harvest Orange Tomato Soup
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2-4 tbsp. vegetable stock
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp. green chiles

Directions:

  1. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soup, taco seasoning, pepper, and salt.
  2. Whisk in the vegetable oil, starting with 2 tbsp, and adding more to achieve desired thickness. Stir in beans, chickpeas, and green chiles. Stirring occasionally, let cook until beans are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Serve beans as a side or top tacos with them. Garnish with shredded lettuce, if desired.


Healthy Cookie: Loaded Taco Bowl

This is a vegetarian taco bowl. Why did I not mention that in the title? Because I know half of you will run away in fear at the mention of anything vegetarian. But I need you to trust me. I’ve never led you astray before. I give you my word that you will never be able to tell these bowls are vegetarian. And why is that? Because they’re packed with not one, but two kinds of protein!

First, we’ve got  hearty, tender beans, an obvious component when we’re talking mexican food. Then, we amp up the protein with a chopped-up black bean veggie burger. These burgers are made by Morningstar Farms, and I adore them. They’re so delicious, you’d never know they came out of the freezer. And when the zesty black bean burger comes together with the beans, you get one hearty and filling bowl that could trick even the biggest carnivore into thinking there’s meat in it.

Now, we’ve still got to bring more to this fiesta; it is a loaded taco bowl after all. So, I added kickin’ taco seasoning and some melty cheddar cheese. Then, I bring in my secret weapon: salsa. This really kicks it up a notch. Plus, when combined with the cheddar cheese, it’s almost like queso. Finish this big bowl of taco goodness off with fresh, crisp lettuce and tasty little black olives. The whole heaping bowl is less than 300 calories, but you’d never know it. It’s just too filling and too delicious!

This is lick-the-bowl good. Don’t try to fight it; just let the flavor fiesta happen.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Use whatever kind of beans you prefer.
  2. Don’t like salsa? Use fresh chunks of tomato instead.
  3. Don’t let the single-serving recipe stop you from making this meal for your family. Just double, triple, etc. according to how many mouths you’re feeling. It’s a great weeknight family meal because it’s quick, delicious, and nutritious!

Loaded Vegetarian Taco Bowl
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 Morningstar Farms Black Bean Veggie Burger
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. salsa
  • 2 tbsp. fat-free cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped lettuce (iceberg or romaine)
  • 2 tbsp. sliced black olives, drained

Directions:

  1. Place the veggie burger on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 30 seconds then flip and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Spray a small pan with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Cook the veggie burger until golden brown then flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and cut into chunks.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the beans into another small pan over medium heat .Add the taco seasoning and the water. Stir to combine. Cook until hot and sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. If sauce gets too thick, add more water. Once beans are hot, turn off the heat. Add the salsa and cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Pour the beans into a bowl. Add the burger chunks and stir. Top with lettuce and olives. Enjoy!


Chili Mac & Cheese w/ Roasted Squash & Beans

You like mac and cheese, right?

Of course you do. What an absurd question for me to ask. And if you somehow don’t enjoy starchy pasta drenched in cheese, then don’t walk away just yet. We might still be able to make our friendship work. You see, this Chili Mac & Cheese w/ Roasted Squash & Beans is unlike any mac & cheese you have ever experienced before. It’s going to alter everything you know about mac & cheese, but in a very good way.

First, we’ve got sharp cheddar and tangy parmesan cheese in a creamy sauce. That’s where traditional stops and zesty takes over. The sauce is laced with some seriously kickin’ spices, like in your favorite tacos or chili. All of a sudden, we go from ho-hum cheese sauce to holy-crap, this is one cheesy fiesta!

You see, this ain’t no side dish; it’s a full balanced meal. We invited beans to this flavor party, not only making the dish heartier, but amping up the mac with protein. Then, guess what? We’re oven-roasting butternut squash to bring out its sweetness and inviting it to the party too. So, you’re getting vitamins from that nutritious but delicious squash, plus tons of protein from both the pasta and the beans. The amount of benefits in this comforting mac and cheese makes you feel less guilty about eating it. Yes, you’re indulging in cheese-covered pasta, but you’re also consuming a well-rounded meal with a lot of nutrition. Let’s not forget that it’s also super hearty and satisfying. There is no other mac on the planet that will fill you up this well.

Of course, we have to crown this pasta with a final blanket of cheese, pepper jack to be exact. It’s that one final kick to really crank up the spice factor. So let’s review: an abundant amount of creamy, cheesy sauce full of zesty flavors, sweet roasted butternut squash, tender beans, and a layer of melty pepper jack cheese. Somebody call the fire department; this mac is on fire!

Forget boring mac and cheese and try this 3-cheese, kicked up, bulked up version instead.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. This is a great meal for the winter. It’s hearty and comforting.
  2. Don’t like squash? Go for sweet potatoes instead!
  3. I love kidney beans, but you could use any kind in this.
  4. Always go for sharp cheddar as opposed to mild. It’s got much better flavor.
  5. I am a huge supporter of whole-grain/whole-wheat pasta. It’s got a great al dente bite naturally, plus so many health benefits!
  6. Make sure your pasta still has a bit of bite to it. If you over-boil it, it’ll be totally soggy by the time it’s baked.
  7. You can forgo the pepper jack for monterey jack instead.

Chili Mac & Cheese w/ Roasted Squash & Beans
Adapted from Rachael Ray of Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more for the casserole dish
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced (or look for diced raw butternut squash in the produce department)
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound whole grain rigatoni or penne
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • One 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a casserole dish.
  2. Put the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Roast until the edges are browned, 17 to 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water to just shy of al dente, 7 minutes. Drain.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat in a large pot. Add the chili powder, oregano, cayenne, cumin, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk until lump-free. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the Cheddar and Parmesan and whisk until melted.
  5. Add the pasta, squash, and beans to the pot with the sauce and stir until evenly coated. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Top with the pepper jack cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes more.