Posts Tagged: recipes

Recipes for People Who Are Tired & Grumpy: White Bean Soup

I like to cook. Really. And, as I’ve mentioned before, I like to meal plan. But don’t get the wrong idea…I don’t step into the kitchen every night with a spring in my step, just happy to be making a meal. I would say about half the time I actually enjoy making something. But the other half? Well, I like to eat, and cooking is just a means to an end. As I’ve mentioned before, that guy I live with doesn’t care at all about the quality of the food he eats (seriously, the other morning for breakfast he was eating pieces of bread with nothing on them…I AM NOT KIDDING), so I do the cooking. And honestly, sometimes I do not want to. Sometimes I’m just pouring things into a pot thinking, “WHEN WILL THIS BE READY I AM SO HUNGRY GOOD LORD,” and I don’t cheer up until I’m watching the X-Files and I’ve already eaten half my dinner.

In that spirit, here’s a recipe for you fellow tired and grumpy cooks. This one’s easy to make, relies on things you probably have in your kitchen, and really cannot be messed up.

WHITE BEAN SOUP FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE TIRED AND GRUMPY

1. Think long and hard about getting take out. Remember that you’re trying to save money on food and stick to your meal plan. Remind yourself that you purchased all the ingredients to make this and it won’t even take that long!
2. Rebel against yourself by sitting on the couch until you’re so hungry that you want to murder someone.
3. Stomp into the kitchen. Find your soup pot. Halfheartedly chop up half an onion and a few garlic cloves.
4. Heat up some oil in your soup pot, then dump the onions and garlic in. Stir them around a little until the onion is browned. Burn it a little bit and think to yourself, “That’s just caramelized. Don’t worry about it.”
5. Add in some spices. Which ones? It’s up to you! The world spice cabinet is your oyster! Thyme, sage, oregano, and rosemary are all good choices. Let the fragrant scent of the herbs carry you away to a place in which you’re already eating and in a much better mood.
6. Find some leftover, already chopped ham in your fridge. Dump that in the pot and let it get brown.
7. Pour in some water. Don’t bother finding a measuring cup. Ugh. Just use your drinking glass. You don’t even care! WHATEVER.
8. Add in 2-3 cans of white beans. Remember how much you inexplicably hate draining beans. Why do you hate this so much? It’s not even hard! Just dump in the first can without draining it, bean juice be damned!
9. Start to feel gross about that bean juice. Drain the other can.
10. Let soup simmer 20-30 minutes while you make Jiffy cornbread muffins because LIKE YOU ARE EVEN GOING TO BAKE SOMETHING FROM SCRATCH RIGHT NOW. There is just no way.
11. Mash up some of the beans a little with a potato masher.
12. Don’t salt the soup. Remember all that bean juice you dumped in there? Sodium city.
13. Eat. Apologize for all the things you said when you were hungry.
14. Definitely do not take a picture of anything because you don’t even want to deal with it right now.

Let’s Talk About Soup

butternut apple soup
Soup is the best. It’s cheap, it’s easy to make, and it’s the perfect thing to eat when it’s cold. I’m sorry to insult you by listing these very basic facts that you already know about soup, but I’ve been eating a lot of it lately. It makes me feel weirdly domestic to have a pot of anything (well, not anything…anything edible) cooking on the stove.

In honor of Soup Weather, here are some of my favorite soups, as well as one I haven’t tried yet.

Cabbage and White Bean Soup with Sausage
I make this soup all the time and it always makes the house smell so good. Well, after the house stops smelling like cabbage (farts), that is. This is easy and very filling.

Butternut Apple Soup
This one will make you feel super healthy. Bonus: you can eat it even if you don’t have teeth!

White Chicken Chili
I make variations on this recipe, from former HelloGiggles writer Carrie Murphy, all the time. It’s super easy to swap out any leftover chopped/shredded meat. Basically as long as you have cans of beans and corn on hand, you’re halfway there.

Veggie Chili
Okay, so this isn’t really soup necessarily, but it’s pretty close. Also it’s probably the cheapest thing I know how to make, which is why we have it every couple of weeks. It’s one of the few times that H. willingly ingests large quantities of vegetables.

White Bean and Bacon Soup
I just made this soup for the first time last week, and you guys! It was so good! I mean, most things are going to be good if they have 8 pieces of bacon crumbled up in them. I have a sort of embarrassing love of canned Campbell’s Bean and Bacon soup (I know it’s gross! I can’t help it!), and this is like a classier, grown-up version of that. Also, the cookbook I got this recipe from (The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook) is filled with baked goods and it’s FANTASTIC.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Okay, so I haven’t actually tried this soup yet, but it sounds great, doesn’t it?

The Pioneer Woman’s Beef Stew
There’s beer in PW’s beef stew, which is how you know it’s good.

You might be wondering what you should serve with your soup. Some crusty bread? A nice salad? Those are both perfectly fine options, but I’ll tell you what I love: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. Yes, the kind that comes in a box and costs about 40 cents.
jiffy corn muffin
I love everything about this. The retro font, the quotation marks, and the actual corn muffins themselves. Maybe you have the time and inclination to bake yourself a fresh batch of fancypants cornbread every time you want soup, but honestly, I don’t. Jiffy corn muffins for life. I’m so devoted that I’m thinking of getting a tattoo.

So what about you guys? What are your favorite soup recipes? Let me know in the comments! If you have any negative feelings about Jiffy, though, keep those to yourself. They’re America’s Favorite, don’t you dare speak ill of them.

What to Eat When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

photo (12)
Sometimes I worry about posting too many recipes or articles about food here. I mean, the title of my blog is “Welcome to Ladyville,” and I don’t want to sound like I think cooking is somehow a “ladylike” skill. It’s just a human skill. Also, since I’ve gotten married, I’ve become WAY more aware of people who seem to think it’s my “wifely duty” to cook. As if I subsisted entirely on Lean Cuisines before getting hitched, but now that I have H. I have to start thinking about cooking real meals! Give me a break. Look at Martha Stewart. That woman proves that cooking, entertaining, and crafting don’t have to be done within the confines of a family. You can do them for your own enjoyment!

But also, cooking’s just practical. As Rally’s commercials remind us all, you gotta eat. Theoretically, you could just order takeout (or Rally’s, I guess) every night of the week. I’m not saying that’s not a valid option! But, personally, Mama’s got bills to pay, and takeout gets expensive. Also, aren’t we all supposed to be worried about sodium? I feel like we are, and I know that most restaurant meals are hella full of sodium.

So what are you going to eat when you’re super busy, you don’t want to spend very much money, and you also want to be at least semi-healthy? Oh, and you don’t just want to give up on life and eat a bowl of oatmeal for dinner again (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Here are my quick, super-easy go-to meals when I don’t feel like cooking anything complex. So basically these are the things I eat every night except for like once a month when I feel like going all out.

Veggie chili
I’ve written about veggie chili here before because it is the easiest and the best. And it costs, like, three dollars to make enough to last for dinner and a couple lunches.

Bean burgers
Again, this is so cheap and so ridiculously easy. If you’re gonna be all, “But I only eat burgers made of meat!” please know that my husband, who has the most boring meat-and-potatoes taste in food ever, not only loves bean burgers but makes them as well. And he can only make, like, two things, the other of which is potato salad. There’s a lot of variation here, but really all you need is a can of black beans, an egg, some chopped up veggies (green pepper and green onion are what I prefer) and about 1/4-1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I usually use panko). Mash everything together, and add another egg or more bread crumbs if it’s too dry or too wet (you want to be able to form it into burger patties). Using your hands, make the patties into whatever size you want, but don’t make them too thin or too wide or else they’ll fall apart. Coat them in flour or more bread crumbs and bake them or fry them until they’re browned. So easy! But now your hands are covered in beans!

Tilapia
Tilapia is cheap and it’s easy. Just coat it in oil/butter and some spices (I like this recipe) and bake it at 375 for about 10-15 minutes. Have it with some sauteed brussels sprouts. You are so healthy!

Sausage and vegetables
This one’s super lazy and I’m pretty sure it still has a lot of sodium, but it’s really good. Get yourself some sausages (any kind! Smoked sausages are great, and I’m partial to those fancy chicken-and-apple sausages), slice them up, and brown them in a pan. Sautee whatever vegetables you feel like eating (broccoli, red peppers, and cherry tomatoes are my favorite). You can eat this as is or serve it with some sort of starch, like rice, pasta, or roasted potoatoes.

Salmon
Seriously, if you haven’t made the Pioneer Woman’s salmon yet, then what are you even doing with your life? You just take a big piece of salmon, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and put it in a COLD OVEN. Then, turn the oven up to 400 degrees and set the timer to 25 minutes. Somehow, it turns into perfectly cooked salmon every time. I still don’t understand this miracle, but I make it every week or two.

Any kind of meat + sauce in a slow cooker.
This is another “recipe” I’ve mentioned before, because it’s about as easy as it gets. Chicken thighs with salsa? Go for it! Pork loin with barbecue sauce? Pour it in! Basically, you can cover any kind of meat in any kind of sauce, cook it for 6-8 hours, and you’ll be left with a delicious meal.

So those are my quick, easy go-to options. What about you guys? What do you make when you don’t feel like cooking, but you still don’t want to get takeout?

Make This Tonight: Veggie Chili

You know how in romantic comedies, the lady always falls for the “bad” guy? The one who makes her feel terrible about herself, isn’t good for her at all, and is a real jerk? And, meanwhile, the good guy has been there all along and she’s just never noticed him?

That’s kind of what this veggie chili is like. Sometimes I think I want fast food that’s going to make me feel disgusting and greasy and awful, but what I really want is this chili. I tend to forget about it, but the ingredients are always there, waiting for me, in the cupboard. I’m not saying you have a perfect boyfriend in your cupboard. I’m hoping, for all our sakes, that you don’t. But, basically, am I saying this veggie chili is just as satisfying as the ending of a great romcom, when the main characters are kissing and there’s some sort of romantic, retro music playing? Yes. I am saying that.

Adam Sandler IS veggie chili.

I got the idea to make veggie chili one night after reading about it on A Beautiful Mess, but I modified the recipe to use what I had at my place. Originally, I saw this as a sneaky way to get some vegetables into my boyfriend’s diet, as I’m always afraid his body is going to fall apart because of his poor, Pop-Tart-centric eating habits. But, as it turns out, he absolutely loves this veggie chili and I didn’t even have to be sneaky about it. So now we have it about once a week and it’s great.

Here’s how I make it. It’s super, super easy and I’m sure you could make it “fancier” if you so choose, but why? I mean, really, why? It’s almost winter, we’re all tired, let’s just enjoy some easy veggie chili.

Veggie Chili That Will Love You Forever (Just Like Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer)

an onion
1 can of black beans
1 can of whatever other kind of beans you want (the sky’s the limit! As long as the sky is full of beans!)
1 can of corn
1 can of petite diced tomatoes (with jalepenos or not)
spices to taste: chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon if you’re into that

Sautee the onion for a few minutes, then add in the spices and stir those around for a bit. Dump in the tomatoes, with juice, and cook for a few minutes. Then add in the (drained) beans and corn. Cook it for at least 20 minutes to let things really meld together, but if you have less time than that, fine. I mean, I’m not going to track you down and make you cook it longer.

That’s it! The world’s easiest veggie chili! H. will only eat this on or under a bed of Fritos, as you can see in the picture. Honestly, it’s pretty great that way, even if it does remind me of my high school cafeteria and their concoction called a “Frito Flip.”

Make This Tonight: Coconut Chicken


One of the best things about switching jobs is that now I have time to cook (turns out it’s hard to cook when you’re always in a car; who knew?). Gone are the days of just eating a fried egg sandwich because it’s late and I’m tired. Just kidding. Fried egg sandwiches for life! But, lucky for me, now I can focus on cooking more meals that are actually relatively healthy. While there’s nothing I love more than going out to dinner, I’m gonna end up with an empty wallet and also sodium bloat if I don’t cook at home most of the time.

So I’m planning on sharing some of the things I’ve been making here on Welcome to Ladyville. Most of the time, I’m also cooking for my boyfriend. This presents a challenge, as he is a) lactose intolerant and allergic to shrimp and b) averse to a wide variety of foods (onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, probably more). I would prefer to make at least half my meals vegetarian/fish, while he could eat meat for every meal and think nothing of it. Sometimes when I see a recipe that looks good, I just have to bookmark it for a night when he won’t be around because dude’s picky. Or I can always just cook whatever I want and be like, “SORRY BRO, looks like you’re picking those red peppers out.” While I’m really understanding about allergies, I tend to be a little less forgiving of picky eaters. I can’t help it!

Last weekend, I finally tried a recipe I’d found on good old Pinterest a long time ago: coconut chicken! No dairy, relatively healthy, easy, and cheap…everything I want in a recipe.

I did make a few changes. I used chicken strips instead of chicken breasts, because strips cook faster and have you seen how huge chicken breasts are? Instead of flour I used panko, because my motto is “When in doubt, use panko.” I used significantly less butter (like, less than half that amount) because that is so much. I’m not afraid of butter. I love butter. But that is so much butter. And finally, instead of using apricot preserves I used apple preserves, because I had some that Mama W. canned. I’d think you could use lots of different jellies/jams, like peach, but maybe stay away from strawberry and grape because this isn’t a peanut butter sandwich.

This is the apple jelly. I think jars of preserves always look so gorgeous.

Coconut Chicken with Apricot Sauce

Recipe from Pennies on a Platter

Yield: 4 servings

1 egg
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup flour (or panko)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts (or chicken strips)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (I used about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup apricot (or apple, or peach!) preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly beat the egg in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix the coconut, flour/panko, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip the chicken in the bowl with the beaten egg and then coat with the coconut mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Once all chicken breasts are coated and on the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (less if you’re using strips), flipping once halfway.

To prepare the sauce, mix the preserves and the Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. When you’re ready to eat, pour it on the chicken or use it as a dipping sauce…whatever you want! Go crazy.

I promise this is super-delicious, and I hope you’ll love it as much as I did! I served it with rice and all the broccoli, because you can never have enough vegetables. You just can’t.