Black bean soup

Based on a recipe at

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream


  1. Sauté onion in olive oil.
  2. After onions become translucent (3 to 5 minutes), add cumin. Cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add garlic and jalapeño. Cook 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Add black beans, diced tomatoes, broth, and red onion. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Turn off heat and let soup cool a bit.
  6. Add soup in blender. Blend and return to pot.
  7. Reheat soup. Serve with cheese and sour cream.

This soup is simple to make, delicious (I found myself eating bowl after bowl), and nutritious—packed with fiber, iron, calcium, protein, and vitamins A, E, and C. The soup can also be frozen.

Garlic-clove shrimp

Based on a recipe in Good Housekeeping

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4


  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp
  • ¾ Tbsp Creole seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp plus ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ c. of sherry (or sake)
  • 1 roasted red piquillo pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup shrimp or seafood stock
  • parsley, finely chopped

For the Creole seasoning (based on recipe at

  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ salt


  1. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels.
  2. In large bowl, toss shrimp with Creole seasoning. Refrigerate until cooking shrimp in skillet.
  3. In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of oil on medium low. Add garlic and shallot. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until shallot starts to soften, stirring frequently.
  4. Add sherry, piquillo peppers, sugar, red pepper, and kosher salt. Heat to boiling on high. Boil 3 minutes or until reduced by half.
    Watch the sauce; it will reduce quickly on high.
  5. Add stock and ½ cup oil. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 2 Tbsp of oil on medium high until hot.
  7. Arrange half of shrimp in single layer. Cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side until deep golden brown.
    Transfer cooked shrimp to plate while you cook the remainder of the shrimp.
  8. Back to the garlic-shallot sauce. When it is reduced by half, turn off heat.
  9. Add shrimp to sauce. Stir to coat.
  10. Serve topped with parsley.

This recipe turned out to be a very tasty dish. It reheats OK but tastes best freshly made.

I used cooked shrimp and only needed to remove the tails. I suspect smaller shrimp would work just as well.

I didn’t find Creole seasoning at my local American grocery store so I made Creole seasoning from a recipe I found online. I created a batch of the seasoning to have on hand for future cooking.

I routinely use sake in place of sherry in my cooking so I substituted sake for sherry.

I had trouble finding red piquillo peppers so I used roasted red peppers instead.

For the shrimp or seafood stock, I used Hondashi, a Japanese seafood stock that I bought at an international market.

The original recipe called for serving the shrimp with toasted baguette slices. I served it over rice instead.

Greek chicken wrap

Based on a recipe from Midwest Living

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4


  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 3 chicken breasts, shredded
  • ½ cup roasted red sweet peppers, chopped
  • 4 pita

For the spread:

  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place chicken breasts in pan with 1/4 cup of water. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Let cool and then shred.
  3. Slice cucumber.
  4. Wash baby spinach.
  5. Chop roasted red sweet peppers.

In the meantime, prepare the spread.

  1. In a small bowl, mix yogurt and feta cheese.
  2. Chop chives. Add to mixture.
  3. Mince garlic. Add to mixture.
  4. Add pepper. Mix ingredients.

To assemble:

  1. Warm pita for 10 seconds in a microwave. Add spread to one side of pita.
  2. Add spinach, cucumber slices, roasted red pepper, and chicken.
  3. Fold in half and serve.

I found jars of roasted red sweet peppers at Trader Joe’s. Probably you can also find these at American or international grocery stores. I used plain Greek yogurt.

Chicken satay with coconut-lime sauce and jasmine rice

Based on a recipe from Oprah

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4


  • Canola oil
  • ½ cup shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp dried lemongrass
  • 1 red jalapeño, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 can (13 ¼ ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 4 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves


  1. Cook jasmine rice per the package instructions.
  2. In a medium pan, heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add shallot, lemongrass, and jalapeño. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, ginger, and sugar. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and cook for 6 minutes.
  6. Add fish sauce and lime juice. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.
  7. Dice chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl.
  8. Pour ½ of the coconut milk sauce over the chicken. Stir. Let marinate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Heat lightly oiled skillet on high. Add chicken and cook thoroughly until slightly browned, about 10 to 11 minutes.
  10. Serve chicken on rice. Pour the remaining coconut milk sauce over the chicken. Add mint and basil.

I made the mistake of tasting the coconut milk sauce as it was cooking. It was utterly divine. I was worried that the jalapeño would make the sauce too hot, but it didn’t. Then I worried that I wouldn’t stop tasting the sauce.

You can find shallots, dried lemongrass, sliced red jalapeños in a can, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, and lime juice in American grocery stores. You can find fish sauce in an Asian or international grocery store.

The original recipe called for grilling the chicken, but you can also broil it for 10 minutes (stirring halfway through) or pan fry the chicken.

Korean pancakes

Based on recipes from and LiveWell Network Recipes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cup cold water
  • ½ cup kimchi, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 8 to 10 stalks green onions, sliced into 2-inch segments
  • canola oil

For dipping sauce:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds


  1. Whisk flour, salt, and cold water together in medium-sized bowl.
    Mixture should not be thick but pourable. Add water as needed.
  2. Chop kimchi. Add to mixture.
  3. Beat egg in mixture.
  4. Slice green onions diagonally into 2-inch segments.
  5. Brush skillet with oil. Heat over medium. Add ¼ of the mixture to the skillet.
    Make sure it spreads out evenly as a thin layer. Add ¼ of the green onion pieces.
  6. Cook until batter looks firm on the top and slightly brown on the bottom. Flip and cook the other side.
    Each side should take 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Repeat steps 5 through 6.

While the pancakes cook, prepare the dipping sauce.

  1. In a small sauce bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
  2. Mince garlic. Add to the sauce bowl.
  3. Stir and let set.

Eat warm right away or reheat later! This recipe is a great way to use up any green onions you have lying. I love the kimchi and egg in the mix.