Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I started making this recipe 7-8 years ago when a co-worker made it and brought it to work. It was delish and an extra bonus? I already had the cookbook that she got the recipe from!

Since then I have made this salsa for cookouts and take it over to dinner parties as an appetizer on numerous occasions. My Mom even makes it too! Of course when this dip gets around my brothers and my son what would typically be enough for a “big party” is devoured in no time. I’m lucky if I get a couple of chips worth!

Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn

I hosted our neighborhood book club last night and made this salsa. I had a couple of people ask for the recipe…always a good indicator that it was enjoyed!

The yellow peppers were on sale where I shopped so I substituted them for the red pepper. In the past I have used cumin powder instead of cumin seed and it works well. I bought cilantro and used parsley from my herb garden. The lime juice, garlic and red pepper flake…yummmmm…I think I’ll have more for breakfast!

Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn


Recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken and chips and veggies all whirled(is that a word?) together means yummy soupy-goodness. I have seriously made this so many times that I realized not sharing it here was like I was lying to you somehow. I think my spoon goes into my bowl so fast that I just don’t think about you. Sorry. I think.

It easily doubles to feed your 2 brothers, 2 sisters, their husbands and kids…ummm…a big crowd…

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white/yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • (you can add a diced red pepper here…I didn’t have one)
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • pepper-jack cheese
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2-1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 3/4 cup Mont Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers
  • 1-2 roasted chicken breasts or meat from one small rotisserie chicken, pulled
  • 1 cup frozen corn


  • Mont Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Limes
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • more crushed tortilla chips


  • Heat oil in dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat and add vegetables (next 6 ingredients). Season with salt & pepper. Saute until tender or about 15 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, seasonings, fresh cilantro and chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and let cook down for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the crushed tortillas and simmer for 10 more minutes or until soft.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Blend it! Trust me. It somehow tastes better when the soup is smooth!
  • Add the shredded, roasted chicken, corn and the cheese and stir around to incorporate.
  • Spoon into bowls and finish with your favorite toppings.

Roasted Cabernet and Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Can I still use the word “Cabernet” in this recipe when I substituted Malbec? Yep!

roasted red wine and citrus cranberry sauce

This “Roasted Malbec and Citrus Cranberry Sauce” is the cranberry sauce you should make for Thanksgiving (or really Christmas since it’s Thanksgiving day now and you probably already have your sauce ready). I’ve eaten a couple spoonfuls already!!

Roasted Cabernet and Citrus Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (plus half it’s juice)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (plus half it’s juice)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (plus half it’s juice)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Cabernet (or Malbec)
  • 2/3 cup water


  • Preheat over to 425 degrees
  • In an 8×11 baking dish add the washed cranberries, zest and juice from all the citrus and all other ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Roast for 25 minutes. Carefully remove and smash cranberries gently with a spoon. Let cool, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
  • Lasts a week (or more) in the fridge. Enjoy!

From Simply Scratch

Smashed Avocado and Shrimp Salad Sandwich

easy shrimp salad

A lot of people talk about how they make breakfast/brunch or special dinners on the weekends but I don’t really see LUNCH getting any attention.

I usually always have a smoothie for breakfast…and in the past couple of weeks sometimes overnight oats…and especially on Saturday mornings after working out and showering I want a really good lunch. Something fresh, no re-heated leftovers.

I’ve been making this shrimp salad for a few years now. I got the recipe from a friend and she prepared it as a topping on a toasted english muffin, then she would top that with some sliced havarti cheese then place it under the broiler for a minute or 2 to get it all melt-y. YUM! I had a large ripe avocado that needed to be eaten so I decided to substitute that for the cheese…glad I did!

Smashed avocado and shrimp salad sandwich

With creamy avocado, plump shrimp bites and crunchy-fresh celery it’s a very satisfying and flavorful lunch. I had my previously mentioned favorite summer fruit — a nectarine — on the side.

Smashed avocado and shrimp salad sandwich

Perfect thing to eat before heading to the pool. Only a few pool days left before it closes after all…

at the pool

Smashed Avocado and Shrimp Salad Sandwiches

  • 1 pound cleaned and deveined shrimp (fresh from deli if possible, or frozen/thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise (or your fav mayo – I prefer the taste of Vegenaise)
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon country style mustard (or dijon)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 teaspoons white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • wheat bread or 12 grain bread


  • In a large non-stick skillet add a small drizzle of EVOO and cook shrimp with a little salt and pepper for no more than 5 minutes for large shrimp. Let cool.
  • In the meantime in a bowl stir together Veganaise, dill, mustard, shallot, celery, wine and S&P. Dice each piece of shrimp into 4-5 pieces and add to bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl smash the avocado with the lime juice.
  • To prepare sandwich smear avocado on toasted bread and top with about 1/4 of the shrimp salad. Serves about 4.

“Eat Your Greens” Asian Chicken Salad

"Eat your greens" Asian Chicken Salad

I used to write down recipes that I made and liked enough to think that I would make them again. I first made this salad back in 2008 and unfortunately when I copied it down I didn’t note where I had gotten it from but I did write down the date and put a smiley face beside it!

The recipe as I copied it called for green onions but I have tons of fresh spring chives so I decided to substitute them. A delicious choice!

“Eat Your Greens” Asian Chicken Salad

  • 1 small head napa cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 bag frozen edamame, cooked then rinsed with cold water
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 chopped chives
  • 1 small english cucumber, cut into julienne
  • 6-7 radishes, cut into julienne
  • 1 pound chicken (about 2 breasts)
  • 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice


  • In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, honey and lime juice. Whisk to combine.
  • In a medium skillet add a bit of extra virgin olive oil, heat to medium or so and add the cubed chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Right before the chicken is done cooking add about a tablespoon of the dressing. Continue cooking until done, turn the burner off and let come to room temp while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • In a large bowl add sliced napa cabbage, cilantro, chives, cucumber, edamame and radishes. Add dressing and toss to combine. Let the salad sit for about 10 minutes while the chicken is cooling…the dressing will wilt the cabbage a bit making it softer and helping the flavors to combine. Lastly, add the chicken, toss salad again and enjoy!

Healthy Baked Crab Cakes

We love to eat ceviche! My two favorite versions from our recent vacation were from Cvi.Che 105 in Miami and Santiago’s Bodega in Key West. At Cvi.Che 105 we had the Ceviche in Cream of Pisco 100…shrimp, sweet potatoes, Peruvian corn and a large portion…excellent!! On Santiago’s website the picture under cold tapas is the yellowfin tuna ceviche that we enjoyed so much. The large pieces of tuna, mango and avocado are sweet and flavorful and are melt in your mouth good.

What does ceviche have to do with crab cakes you may ask???

Well yesterday, I tried to make a version of ceviche inspired by Santiago’s and I tried to use shrimp instead of the tuna. I diced avocado and mango. Added sliced jalapenos for a little heat. Used 1 pound of peeled, deveined shrimp. Multiple limes. All wasted. It didn’t turn out. We had a few bites only to make ourselves feel better about the wasted ingredients and effort. Better luck next time!

For lunch today I stuck with a recipe that I have made multiple times. Baked crab cakes. I adapted the recipe slightly from the recipe I originally found on skinnytaste. This recipe superbly highlights the lump crab meat without a bunch of fillers. I love them!

Healthy Baked Crab Cakes

Adapted from Skinnytaste

  • 9 ounces fresh, lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion OR chives (today I used chives)
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light mayo
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil cooking spray


  • In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, egg, onion, red pepper, mayo, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix well. Fold in the crab meat gently so that it doesn’t break up. Gently shape into patties using a 1/4 or 1/2 cup mixing cup (depending on the size you want them to be). Spray the bottom of a 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Chill in the fridge for a half hour before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake about 15- 20 minutes. Serve with the remaining 1/2 lime cut into wedges.

Lime and Raspberry Squares

There weren’t any actual “father’s” in my house on Father’s Day this past weekend but we celebrated none the less. Devin had a friend from school stay over Saturday night and we took them out to eat Hibachi. Sunday we played at the pool and made chicken wings and deviled eggs for lunch. I decided that having an extra mouth to feed in the house was a good excuse to make dessert!

You can see the little specks of pistachio in the crust. YUMMMM!!!

How good does this look?

Travis got a bite while I went to get my camera 🙂

These bars are tangy from the lime juice and sweet from the raspberry jam. The crust is to die for! I can’t wait to try the crust with a cheesecake-like topping. Surely these would be a hit at any party, event or just an ordinary afternoon.

Lime and Raspberry Squares with Pistachio-Graham Cracker Crust

From Fearless Homemaker


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8×8 inch pan. Line with parchment paper (I skipped this because I used the rest of my parchment paper for baking the wings).
  • For the crust, in a food processor, grind pistachios, graham crackers and sugar together. Add lime zest and cold butter cubed and process until it’s a sandy/clumpy texture. Dump into the bottom on the greased pan and press down into the bottom of the pan (since I used a slightly bigger pan than the recipe called for I only covered the bottom of the pan and not the sides). Bake for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cook for 30 minutes.
  • When crust has cooled cover with raspberry preserves (I added the whole 12 ounce jar). Put in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until set.
  • Meanwhile, combine lime juice, condensed milk and egg yolks and wisk together until smooth. Remove dish from freezer, pour filling on top.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until set. Cool in the dish on a rack and then chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Cut into squares, wipe knife with damp kitchen towel or paper towel between slices to clean (resist urge to lick the knife). Serve and enjoy!

Citrus Margaritas

We had friends over tonight for a drink. After the drink we were headed out for dinner and a guitar concert. The “one drink” before going out was a nice reason to take 30 minutes of my time squeezing citrus (yes, that was a little bit of complaining…mainly because one of my fingers still stings hours later). The drinks were fun, though next time I will make them when someone else helps me squeeze. I did 6 limes, 2 oranges and 2 grapefruit all by myself. It is a reminder why we go out to pay $10 for a cocktail at our favorite bar!

They were delicious and refreshing and sugar free…and I got lots of compliments 🙂

Citrus Margarita

From Two-Tarts


  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce tequila
  • kosher salt for rim


  • Mix the zest of 1 or 2 limes into a couple tablespoons of kosher salt and stir together with a fork on a saucer.
  • Combine juices all the juices and tequila in a shaker with ice and shake until frothy and combined. Serve in a glass rimmed with the lime zest salt and more ice.