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    Creamy black bean soup

    This soup is actually pretty simple and it lasts a long time for leftovers. The only tricky part is blending the ingredients and transferring the hot soup. But don’t worry! I’ll walk you through it.

    You will need:

    • 2 tablespoons vinaigrette
    • 3 chopped carrots
    • 2 bunches green onions
    • 2 15-oz cans black beans
    • 1/3 cup sour cream, and salt and pepper

    First, chop the carrots and green onions. Then heat the vinaigrette on the stove over medium high heat. Add carrots and green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add beans, 3 cups water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until carrots are tender, 12 to 14 minutes more. Carefully transfer contents of pot to a blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat over medium low heat until hot throughout. Stir in sour cream, salt and pepper and serve.

    Pasta with roasted tomatoes

    Every time I visit home, I make a bunch of meals for my mom to last her after I leave since she never has home-cooked meals. Now that Cailey is off at UC Berkeley, my mom doesn’t have anyone to cook for her during the week.

    This recipe was really simple and it did really well with leftovers. You will need:

    • 6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
    • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
    • 1/4 cup chopped basil, divided
    • 1/2 pound fusilli
    • 2 zucchini or yellow squash (grated)
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes on a large parchment-lined sheet tray, cut-sides up. Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Scatter 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil evenly over top. Roast until juicy and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook fusilli according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add zucchini, lemon juice, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta onto four plates, top with tomatoes and serve.

    Easy baked penne with ricotta and basil

    Hello, weekend!

    I am celebrating with a big plate of pasta and red wine. Shannon came over and we had dinner and a movie! This recipe was so easy and the ingredients were simple.

    • 1 lb penne pasta
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 tsp dried basil
    • 1 25 oz jar marinara sauce
    • pepper
    • 3/4 shredded mozzarella cheese

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    I boiled and drained the pasta. Then I mixed the ricotta cheese with the dried basil, pepper and 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce with the pasta. Then I put 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, spooned the pasta over it, then drizzled the remaining marinara sauce and sprinkled 3/4 mozzarella cheese on the top! Mmmmmm!

    Then I placed it in the oven and left it in there for about fifteen minutes – just long enough for the cheese to completely melt through! Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.

    To alter this recipe and make it easier and quicker, I would just mix the ricotta, basil, marinara and pepper with the cooked pasta and have that as the pasta sauce! However, if you have the time and the desire, baking it melts the mozzarella on the top and makes it golden brown and bubbly.

    Feel free to crack open a bottle of red wine to have with this lovely pasta!

    Flank steak with roasted veggies and wild rice

    The final exam for my Gourmet Foods class was an Iron Chef competition. My lab group was given four main ingredients to use: a flank steak, asparagus, wild rice and asparagus. We were given 30 minutes to discuss and prepare our meal and then we had an hour to cook with any help from our professor or from a recipe. 

    For the flank steak, we did a red wine reduction. We put 2 cups of red wine, 2 cups of acai juice, 3/4 cup molasses and 1/2 cup chopped prunes in a sauce pan on the stove over medium heat for 45 minutes.

    When the reduction was ready, we pan-seared the steak in butter over the stove. To do this, you melt the butter in a pan and wait until it bubbles. When you place the steak in the pan it should sizzle. Cook the steak for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional two minutes. Once you cook each steak, add the steak back into the pan and pour the glaze over it, coating it completely. After you glaze each steak, place one on the plate and pour the remaining glaze over the top.

    Then we decided to melt 1 cup of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese to 1 cup of wild rice. To do this, you simply boil water and cook the wild rice, then add the cheese and stir until it melts evenly throughout. For extra flavor, we added 3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary.

    For the vegetables, we toasted almond slivers to later add to the asparagus. We roasted the asparagus with zucchini in butter over the stove, then added the almonds.

    We had so much of the prune glaze left over that we added more prunes and golden raisins and poured it over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    The meal was absolutely amazing, and the judges though so as well, because they announced us as the winners! You can now refer to me as TCU Iron Chef Carissa.