Black bean & Pork {Slow cooker Soup}

Happy Saturday!

This week the weather has been beautiful!  I welcomed back cooler evenings with this classic Black bean soup – slow cooked with pork, chipotle peppers & onions.

If you don’t have chipotle peppers on hand, I recommend it!  I use them a lot for flavoring beans or chili.  My husband loves to use the sauce as a condiment, too.  You probably will never use a full can for one recipe.  I use what is needed, then store the rest in a glass jar in the fridge (old spice jar or jam jar will work perfectly!).


black bean pork slowcooker soup

Black Bean + Pork Slowcooker Soup

6C chicken broth
1 red onion, chopped
1lb dried black beans (rinsed)
4 cloves of garlic, minsed
1 tbsp chopped chipotle chiles + 2 tbsp of the chipotle sauce
2 tsp ground cumin
1.5lb pork shoulder (boneless)
kosher salt

for serving : sour cream, avocado, cilantro, red onion

Add all ingredients to slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours (6 on high).
Remove pork and shred.
Using an immersion blender, puree beans until you reach deserved consistency.
Add shredded pork.
Top with sour cream, red onion, avocado & cilantro.

Bonus : Before pureeing the soup, I save around a cup of the beans and use them for Pork quesadillas for another night’s dinner!

Recipe adapted from Woman’s Day magazine.  I could not find a link online, so I retyped it here for you!


Homemade : Mozzarella Sticks

In our house, we love snacks and appetizers.  Dinner parties and cook-outs are perfect for whipping up our favorite guilty pleasures.  What other time can you justify a plate full of homemade-deep-fried-cheese-sticks?  Well, Sunday afternoon football might be the other time.  And we have taken advantage off both occasions with this delicious recipe!

Homemade mozzarella sticks (Bonus : marinara dipping sauce!)

homemade cheese sticks

These seriously are so easy to make!  And they taste way better than their mass produced cousins. Only 4 ingredients – cheese, bread crumbs, eggs and flour!  In fact, this one is really more technique than recipe.

1.  Take one block of mozzarella cheese, the big block, but not the fresh ball.  And get the whole milk version.  Trust me.  The low fat variety will yield a less tasty stick.  It’s not like you are gonna eat these every day.  Its ok.  🙂   Cut the block into sticks.  I usually cut it into 1/4’s across then each slice into 4-5 pieces.
2.  In a bowl, whisk one egg and a splash of water.  On a separate plate, measure our 1 – 1.5c of flour.  Finally, on a 3rd plate 1.5 – 2c of italian breadcrumbs.
3.  Take each cheese stick, roll it in the flour, dip it into the egg, roll it in the bread crumbs.  Place on a freezer proof plate.
4.  Repeat with each piece of cheese.
5.  Ok, this is an important step – Freeze the sticks for 10-15 mins.  This helps the cheese stay together when fried.
6.  Warm (2-3 inches) oil in a deep fryer or dutch oven to 350 degrees.
7.  Fry each stick for just a few mins – until golden brown. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

If you want to, you can leave these sticks in the freezer, before frying, for a week or so.  We served them last weekend and had a few leftover that we fried today.  They came out just as yummy.  No thawing needed, but you will need to fry a little longer – so watch the temp to insure you don’t burn them!

Bonus : Marinara Dipping Sauce

1 14oz can of crushed tomatoes with basil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sugar (or to taste, depending on your tomatoes)
salt to taste
1/2c diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic

Saute onion and garlic together.
Add tomatoes, seasoning and sugar.
Let simmer together for 15 mins – or you can let it hang out until you are ready to use (on low setting). If it gets too thick, add a splash of water and stir!

Wake Up Wednesday link up here!



Spicy Sweet Bacon Rub

Salty + Sweet = Amazing in my book.  Add a little spicy and I am in heaven.

I love using this rub on thick cut bacon whenever we are feeling a little indulgent.  The bacon is good as-is for breakfast or mixed into sweet baked goods! (We will also be using it on Grilled Chicken salads for dinner this week!)  Oh the possibilities.  When you want something that gives a little extra zing, try this rub!

spicy rub header

Mix together : 1/4 C lt brown sugar, 1/4 tsp ground red pepper, and 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper.  Rub onto raw bacon.  This will cover around a pound of bacon.   Bake at 400 degrees until crispy!   Keep an eye on it.. depending on the type of bacon it could go a little faster – and since there is sugar involved, you don’t want to burn it!

You MUST bake the bacon.  Otherwise you will end up with a mess.  All of the sugar rub would just end up in the grease.  Then you would have a pan full of hot sugar grease. Not what we are going for here.

I find baked bacon to be better.  It is crispier and holds its shape a little better than when fried.  Plus you don’t need to stand over a hot pan spitting grease!

spicy bacon after

Here is it .. hot crispy bacon on top, all the grease to the bottom.  Now, when I don’t use the sugar, I pour the grease into a glass jar and store in the fridge to use for other recipes.  Don’t judge.   : )

Let’s get rubbin’!