Sunday, September 19, 2010

Creamy Black Bean & Corn Soup

I decided to make something a little festive for the Steelers-Titans game today for the family: Creamy Black Bean & Corn Soup. Yes, in support for Pittsburgh. I was definitely in the mood for soup and black and gold ingredients?! It seemed like a win-win decision. However, I have never made such a creamy bean-based soup before, so it was a bit of an adventure in the kitchen. I knew it would work theoretically, but I sure made my grandmother go in a tizzy in her kitchen cooking without a recipe!

First, I decided to heat up some minced garlic and extra virgin olive oil in the soup pot. Meanwhile, I grabbed a food processor and blended 16 oz of rinsed and drained black beans, a handful of fresh parsley leaves (from my little herb garden! yay!) and 1/2 cup of sour cream (and you can use low fat if you'd like, I did and it worked fine). You don't want this mixture to be incredibly soupy, just enough that it's cohesive like a dip.

Mix in the black bean dip substance from the food processor into the soup pot with the garlic and olive oil. Then, add another 16 oz. of drained black beans and 16 oz. of drained corn (you can also get a can of the Southwestern corn which often comes with peppers and onions) into the soup pot and stir together. 

The next step is optional, but I chose to do it to make the soup a little thicker and cohesive. Get an immersion blender and blend the soup for 30-60 seconds, depending on how mushy you want your ingredients. You can use this blending method with any kind of soup with any ingredients, which is nice and it really helps everything come together. 

Serve hot with your choice of toasted bread! Go Steelers!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not Yo Momma's Banana Pudding

Growing up a southern girl, pudding is often on the dessert buffet at family gatherings. My eyes always light up when I find it is of the banana variety. So what is it about this very simple dessert that satisfies my belly and makes me smile? Maybe it's slices of fresh bananas. Anything with fresh fruit is yummy, in my opinion.

In honor of a favorite dessert of mine, I began searching for a new recipe that really revamps the pleasure of enjoying banana pudding. I was not surprised to find that my favorite recipe was from Paula Deen. This woman knows how to make any southern favorite EVEN BETTER and of course, more unhealthy! But everyone needs to splurge every now and then, right? :)

1   12-ounce container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whip
1   14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1   8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cup milk
1   5-ounce box instant French vanilla pudding
6-8   bananas, sliced
2   bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies

Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish [I used a triffle dish] with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a hand-held electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: none!
Difficulty: Easy
Show: Paula's Home Cooking/Just Desserts cookbook/Mar/Apr 2006 issue