Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

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Shrimp is a really quick protein to cook so it’s ideal when you want to make a fast weekday meal for dinner. Although not as inexpensive as ground beef or chicken thighs, it’s cheaper than beef right now and a fresh alternative when you want to change it up.

I found this recipe on the Food Network and is guaranteed not to fail. Just don’t step away from the skillet. First off, gather your ingredients. I purchased shrimp that were already peeled and deveined, without the tails. I hate cleaning shrimp and frankly, I do a terrible job at it so I buy them ready to go. Worth every penny. Thinly slice up an onion. Drain and rinse your canned beans. Measure out the rest of your ingredients.

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Start out by cooking your onions until they are soft and a little brown.

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Stir in your seasonings and garlic. Cook until the garlic is soft and fragrant, just about a minute.

Add the tomatoes and boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for a couple minutes. You’ll notice that the sauce is a bit thicker, which is what you want.

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Add the shrimp and beans.

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Watch your shrimp! It’ll take only about 2-3 minutes until they start to turn pink. You don’t want them fully cooked yet. You’re not done. Stir in your spinach (which your kid will pick out with the deftness of a surgeon, but hey, you tried!). Cook for another couple of minutes. Your spinach will be wilted, but a bit green, and your shrimp are completely cooked.

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Remove the pan from the heat, pile on some feta on top, and cover the skillet for another couple of minutes while the cheese is warm. Now you’re done!

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Your family will be impressed at how fancy this looks. Ooh! Shrimp! But what they will really like is how tasty it is. This recipe uses only a half a pound of shrimp so another opportunity for you to stretch your dollars by using beans, which add a creaminess that is out of this world. The salty feta on top finishes it off. Enjoy!

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Shrimp, White Bean, and Feta Skillet

Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces large shrimp peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • 14 ounces cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach packed, about 2 1/2 ounces
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to turn brown in some spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir until the garlic is softened, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp just start to turn orange, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is just wilted and bright green, and the shrimp are cooked through and opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle the feta over top. Cover until the cheese is warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Lora’s Pressure-Cooker Red Beans and Rice

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No, it’s not a typo. This is is Lora’s recipe, not Flora’s. It’s also the last dish I made to finish off the Christmas ham. You’ll find this recipe to be super tasty and easy to make plus there are tons of leftovers that are good to freeze. The hardest part is to remember to soak the beans the night before. Make yourself a little reminder so you don’t forget.

Before you start prepping your ingredients, make some rice. I use my Instant Pot as rice cooker, which is what I did, but you can obviously make it over the stove. I just recommend getting this out of the way before you make the rest of the meal.

While your rice is cooking, start on your chopping. There’s a lot of chopping, but that’s ok. You’ve got this. For instance, chop up an onion by using this little trick of cutting the onion in half, leave the root attached, slice into strips up to the root, and then across. You’ll end up with perfectly chopped onion pieces.

Red Beans and Rice

After you’ve chopped your ham and veggies into bit-sized pieces, start adding everything to your Instant Pot.

Red Beans and Rice

The only changes I made was to use Italian-style sausage instead of andouille and the only hot pepper sauce I could find in my fridge was sriracha.

Toss everything in the Instant Pot pot except your rice, which should be done by now. I keep two stainless steels pots so I can switch them out for this very purpose. Pull the rice pot out and put the beans pot in. Seal it up and cook on high for 30 minutes. Quick release and you’re done. Seriously that easy.

Maybe this is a preference, I did find a lot more liquid than I would have liked so I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the bean mixture before serving it over rice. If I made this again, I’d experiment with 2 cups of water instead of 4.

Red Beans and Rice

This recipe makes 10 servings so you should have plenty to freeze for another time. I froze a couple containers without the recipe so I can make fresh rice next time.

Red Beans and Rice

Lora’s Pressure-Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounces dried kidney beans
  • 2 cups cooked ham cubed
  • 12 ounces Italian-style chicken sausage or other sausage sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • hot cooked rice

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and sort beans. Soak overnight according to package directions. Drain, discarding water, and rinse with cool water.
  • Prepare rice ahead of time and set aside.
  • In a 6-qt. Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker), combine beans, ham, sausage, vegetables, sriracha, garlic, salt, and water.
  • Lock lid and close pressure-release valve. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. Quick-release pressure. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Ham and Bean Soup

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I made an 8-pound ham for the three of us for Christmas dinner. Needless to say, I have more ham than I know what to do with. After eating plates and plates of sliced ham and leftover sides, I decided we needed to change it up a bit. I tried a ham and peas tortellini dish that needs a lot of improvement so I’ll share that once I’ve worked out the kinks. For now, we’re going straight to comfort food: Soup.

I got all ambitious and made my own ham broth, but that’s completely not necessary. I only did this because I had a ham bone and making broth is super simple to make in the Instant Pot. Here’s what you do. Take the meat bones (ham, chicken, turkey, anything really) and stick it in an Instant Pot along with chopped carrots, celery, and onions. Throw in some peppercorns if you have them and a bay leaf. Cover with water. Cook on high for 60 minutes and natural release. Done. Let it cool, strain all the stuff out, bag it in 2 cup servings, and freeze flat.

Now back to the soup. The base of the soup is from a recipe on the back of a bean package, but I made it better by adding ham and using broth instead of water. Always use broth or stock when you are making soups. Water just isn’t going to cut it if you want the depth of flavor. I don’t cook soup all day so using broth really makes the difference.

The hardest part is remembering to soak your beans overnight. I completely forgot so I soaked them all day instead. It was all good, but I was a little nervous there for a moment. I used cannellini beans because that’s what I had, but you can use any (pandemic) beans you happen to have.

Gather your ingredients. Rinse your beans in cold water and drain. Chop up everything that needs chopping.

Ham and Bean soup

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up some olive oil and saute your chopped veggies. Throw in some garlic powder (because you completely forgot to mince up some garlic…hey I’m not perfect, but try to use minced garlic instead) and a little black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes so the onion is softened.

Ham and Bean soup

Add chopped ham and mix it around a bit, cooking for a few minutes.

Ham and Bean soup

Then, add beans and 5 cups of broth. You can use more or less broth. Start with 5 cups and if you want your soup to be thinner, add more broth at the end.

Ham and Bean soup

Bring the whole thing to a boil and then reduce the heat until it’s simmering, which on my stove is the lowest setting. Cover and cook for a couple of hours. The longer you cook it, the creamier it’ll get. I was too impatient for that so cooked the soup until the beans were tender. Before serving, add more broth if you want. Taste it. Add salt and pepper if it needs it. Usually, I salt sooner, but the ham is already salty so you want to be careful not to over salt it. Serve in bowls and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese on top because like bacon, everything’s better with cheese.

Ham and Bean soup

I really like how this recipe is simple, healthy, and comforting. Nothing beats a hot bowl of homemade soup on a cold winter day. Sorry canned soups. This is much better.

Ham and Bean soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 4 cups ham broth or other type of broth such as chicken or vegetable
  • 1/2 pound chopped ham
  • salt to taste
  • grated Parmesan

Instructions
 

  • Soak beans overnight in a bowl with at least 3 cups of water. Rinse beans with cold water and drain.
  • In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic powder, and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes until onions are softened.
  • Add ham and saute for another 5 minutes or until ham starts to cook a bit.
  • Add drained beans and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 90 minutes or longer, until the beans are soft and the soup is as creamy as you want it. The longer you cook the soup, the creamier it will be. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
  • Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with a little grated Parmesan on top.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

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I really love shrimp, but since my bad prawn experience and that I’ve tested positive for a shrimp allergy, I decided I better stay away from the whole crustacean family. I know there’s a difference between shrimp and prawns, but I don’t trust that the labels are being used correctly. I’m probably being too extreme because there was a time when I ate shrimp cocktail with wild abandonment. But a potential trip to the ER is not my idea of a good time so I think this isn’t much of a sacrifice.

As a result of my recent distrust of shrimp, I never make it anymore, which disappoints my husband a little. Plus with his innocent “chicken again” comment about dinner, I felt a little sorry for him. On top of that, my super picky son actually likes shrimp so I don’t want to stop serving it. Supposed he suddenly stops liking it?!

I’ve been making a lot of beans lately. I had a lonely single can of beans staring at me from the pantry. I needed to use it somehow. I googled shrimp and beans and found a delicious Kitchn recipe with the world’s longest name. It looked really easy to make. Bonus points.

When you buy your shrimp, keep in mind the cleaning situation. I usually splurge to buy shrimp that has been cleaned, have no shells, and deveined. Some would say to leave the shells on for more flavor, but that’s not my style. I don’t want to spend more time preparing the shrimp than actually cooking the shrimp.

Gather your ingredients. Mince some garlic and then slice even more. It’s definitely going to be garlicky. Zest a lime, cut it in half, and set the halves aside for later. I love using lime even more so than lemon with shrimp. Reminds me of shrimp tacos. Ok, this is going to be a little harder than I thought. Must get those delicious thoughts out of my head as I play the world’s smallest violin.

Chop up fresh cilantro. Set half aside and with the remaining half, add your seasonings (I used a little less red pepper flakes, but I encourage you to use the full amount) and some olive oil. You’re basically making a delicious marinade.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Mix it up and add your shrimp to it. Let it marinate for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile stage the rest of your ingredients. You want to be prepared. Shrimp cooks super fast and the worst thing you can do is overcook it. In fact, I usually cook it a touch under (like 30 seconds) because it’ll continue cooking when you remove it from the heat.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Start on your tomatoes. I like using a cast iron pan, but any skillet will do.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Cook them until the skins pop. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. The shrimp will start to turn from translucent gray to a hint of opaque pink. No more than that! I would have taken a picture for you, but I would have overcooked the shrimp. Throw in the beans and sliced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately. The shrimp should no longer be gray at all. It’ll be slightly pink on the outside, opaque inside, and firm (not chewy or rubbery).

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Serve over rice with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Because I can’t taste it, I had to depend on the boys for feedback. My husband made me laugh when he said the dish was a “medley of flavors.” I guess he’s been paying more attention to my cooking shows than I thought. The boy thought the sauce was weird (the tomatoes probably freaked him out), but thought it was a “make again” meal. Two thumbs up!

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large garlic cloves divided
  • 1 medium lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 pound medium peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes about 10 ounces
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans drained and rinsed

Instructions
 

  • Grate 4 garlic cloves into a large bowl. Thinly slice the remaining 1 garlic clove and set aside. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into the bowl, and then cut the lime in half and set aside. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems. Place half in the bowl and reserve the remaining half.
  • Add dried oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp, and toss to coat. Let the shrimp marinate 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or heavy-weight skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pint grape tomatoes, and then season with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skins start to pop, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp with marinade and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the drained/rinsed beans and sliced garlic. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the shrimp are just cooked through and the tomatoes have burst open, 3 minutes total.
  • Remove from the heat. Season with kosher salt and squeeze the lime halves over the shrimp. Garnish with the reserved cilantro, and serve immediately over rice.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

I made this really delicious slow cooker recipe from The Food Network a few weeks ago when the weather started getting a little chilly. Hey, it’s slow cooker season! Then again, when is it not slow cooker season? Regardless, we are in pandemic mode, working and studying at home. Having the awesome smells coming the kitchen was an extra treat while plugging away. The end results were delicious plus it was super simple to make.

I didn’t change a thing. Not much more to say about that. Sometimes a recipe is just right.

I gathered my ingredients, but put aside the cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. You’ll add that later at the end. There were a lot of ingredients, but nothing too exotic.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Slice an onion in half and stick a clove in each half. Ok, that’s a little strange, but it turned out not to be weird after all. The clove gave it a hint of spice that I wouldn’t have thought of. Next, slice the apple chicken sausages in half lengthwise. Throw everything in the slow cooker (well, measure first, of course) and mix, making sure the onion, sausage, and beans are all nestled in together. Cook on high for 6-7 hours until the beans are tender.

Remove the onions. They were there only to add flavor. Stir in vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Then let it sit for at least 15 minutes. This last addition really gives it a tang.

And that’s it. Seriously. The hardest part was waiting. The apple sausage gave the dish a sweet taste that complemented the honey mustard and molasses. The dish was a perfect blend of tangy sweet and completely comforting. With the soft texture of the beans, everything felt like it was melting in your mouth.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

I will definitely make this again. We managed to eat most of the sausages in one sitting, but there were plenty of beans leftover, which we enjoyed as sides until they were gone.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning blend
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 pound dry navy beans rinsed and picked over
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 small onion halved
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken apple sausages halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the broth, water, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, barbecue seasoning and garlic in a slow cooker. Add the beans. Push a clove into each onion half. Tuck the onions and sausages into the beans in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender, about 6-7 hours.
  • Discard the onion halves. Stir in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Let the mixture sit, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. (The longer the beans sit, the more flavorful they will be.)

Taco Soup

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You know I love a good taco (mmmm…carnitas), but I also love a good soup, especially when it’s cold outside. So what happens when you can’t decide between two radically different meals? You combine them, of course! Meet taco soup!

The beauty of this recipe is that you just dump a bunch of cans into a slow cooker, let it do its thing all day, and then you eat loads of taco goodness. If you don’t have 6-8 hours to slow cook this soup, you can also simmer it in a pot on the stove for about an hour.

The original recipe comes from Paula Deen. I’ve made it so many times, but I’ve made a couple substitutions and clarifications. I’ll explain along the way.

First, in the slow cooker (if you have a saute setting) or in a pan, brown some ground turkey and chopped onions with some salt and pepper. The original recipe did not call for the salt and pepper, but I think it’s important to season your meat or it could taste bland. This recipe also calls for beef, but turkey is so much better. The beef overpowered the other ingredients and made it too meaty, if that’s possible. But this is just my opinion. Feel free to use any type of ground meat.

Next you’ll be doing some labor intensive can opening. About 9 cans worth. I’m not kidding. This recipe has a ton of ingredients, but isn’t that better than chopping 9 different ingredients? Seriously, the can is your friend.

Taco Soup

After opening all these cans, add the browned meat to a large slow cooker and then start dumping each can in. Be sure to drain the olives and corn, but not the beans. You’ll need that for the liquid, which is something the original recipe doesn’t mention. Learn from my mistakes. This is soup, not some sort of defiant bean chili that would make every Texan cry. You’ll also add packets of ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning. Ranch?! Yes! Trust me. As with bacon, everything is better with ranch. This soup is no exception.

Taco Soup

This is a pretty mild soup so if you need something with more kick, don’t use mild canned tomatoes with chiles. Buy the hot stuff. If that’s not spicy enough, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce, a couple pinches of red pepper flakes, or a couple chopped up jalapenos. Sliced pickled jalapenos would be good too.

Mix it all together and slow cook on low for at least 6 hours (or simmer for an hour). When it’s ready, mix it up again and ladle it into soup bowls. Garnish with your favorite taco toppings or even top with some corn or tortilla chips.

This soup is so satisfying on a cold winter evening or even in the middle of summer when you want a taco but you’ve run out of tortillas (but you happen to have 9 cans of stuff…okay, a stretch of the imagination, but work with me here!). It’s so delicious that you’ll even forget to take pictures of it served. Like I did.

Taco Soup

This recipe makes a lot of soup. Freeze leftovers or refrigerate to enjoy throughout the week.

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Servings 16

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds turkey
  • 2 cups onions diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 15.5 ounce canned pinto beans undrained
  • 15.5 ounces canned kidney beans undrained
  • 15.25 ounces whole canned corn drained
  • 14.5 ounces canned Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounces canned tomatoes with chiles hot or mild
  • 9 ounces canned diced green chiles
  • 6.5 ounces canned black olives sliced and drained
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 package ranch salad dressing mix
  • taco toppings see recipe

Instructions
 

  • Brown the ground turkey and onions on the saute setting of a slow cooker or in a skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • If needed, transfer the browned turkey and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot.
  • Drain the corn and olives. Do not drain the rest of the cans. Add the beans, corn (drained), tomatoes, green chiles, olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix.
  • Cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.
  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top with corn or tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, green onions and/or jalapenos.