So, you’re at your favorite bulk store – Costco, Sam’s Club — take your pick!
You made the mistake of coming hungry and the samples are only succeeding in amplifying your desire to consume everything in sight.
One item after the next, your cart slowly fills up. With what, you’re not even sure anymore.
You get through check out, load up the car, drive home, and drag your catches of the day into your cupboards.
Some of those items were useful, delicious even, being used up within weeks.
Others weren’t so lucky. They represent regret every time you see them peeking out at you from behind the bulk bag of rice.
Six months later, I’m still trying to get through the last several boxes of Kirkland Organic Southwestern Black Bean Soup.
I’ve got to be honest, the stuff is bland if you prepare it as intended. Bland enough to be kind of yucky.
Luckily, I found myself in a bind – sudden guests and nothing planned to feed them. Forced inspiration struck and I managed to wrangle the bland, kind of yucky soup into a large bowl of cheesy bean dip that was gobbled up in minutes. It was pretty darn tasty, if I’m honest.
If you have a bland black bean soup on hand (or even this Kirkland stuff I stumbled upon in my hungry Costco-emptying rage), you can dress it up into a really lovely dip. Here’s how!
Serves: About enough for a large bag of tortilla chips.
Bland black bean soup (I used Kirkland's Organic Southwestern Black Bean Soup, which is about 17 ounces)
1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1½ cups shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
Drain the liquid from the can of chipotle peppers directly into a medium saucepan (get as much of it as you can if you like things spicy, use less if you like it mild). Stir together with the rest of the ingredients over medium heat until cheese is gooey.
For some ungodly reason, it was 98 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday. We don’t have air conditioning and my good fan, a huge oscillating beast, broke down. The last thing I wanted to do was cook anything that required heat or that would make me feel any warmer.
Thankfully I’d had the foresight to ask Mark to pix up fixings for a simple tomato basil mozzarella salad. It’s slightly more labor intensive in assembly than I’d typically like, but the cool, fresh burst of cherry tomato mixed with the flavorful basil and delicious fresh mozzarella made the extra time investment worth it. The roomies were also pretty happy when I sprung it on them. (Brie was splayed out on her bed desperately trying to will herself to feel cooler, which, if I am honest, is how I spent much of my day, too.)
I usually pull these out for special summery occasions, but they work great as a weekday side. They look impressive, taste great, and don’t require as much effort as similar appetizers. Pair them with heavier foods if you’d like, but they also help keep things light.
Unless you eat 12 of them at once. (Shhh, don’t judge me).
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
½ cup well drained roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
8 slices provolone cheese, halved
⅓ lb deli sliced hot salami
¼ lb deli sliced ham
¼ lb deli sliced capocollo
½ cup well drained hot pepper rings (from a jar)
Heat oven to 375°F (350°F for dark or nonstick cooking sheet).
Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 8 rectangles. On ungreased 12-inch pizza pan, arrange rectangles in ring so short sides of rectangles form a circle in center. (Dough will overlap; half of each rectangle will hang over edge of pan. Dough ring should look like a sun.)
Spread roasted red bell peppers toward center of ring on bottom halves of rectangles. Top with half of the cheese. Layer salami, ham and capocollo slices over cheese. Arrange pepper rings over top. Cover with remaining half of cheese.
Bring each dough rectangle hanging over side of pan up over stacked filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around sandwich until entire filling is enclosed (some filling might show a little). Sprinkle with black pepper.
Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until dough is golden brown and thoroughly baked. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into serving slices.
We used three different kinds of salami, pepperoni, and nixed the ham. For the beef and cheddar sandwich, we soaked about ¾ of a pound of roast beef in an au jus overnight, and then drained it well before putting it on the sandwich. We then topped that with a very meltable cheese dip.
It’s not that homemade naan is especially cumbersome, exactly, but I still resent the effort that goes into making it. I just can’t be bothered with cooking one or two at a time in my largest pan when I want eight or nine on my plate post haste.
It’s delicious. I can’t not make it. A lot of it. Enough for dinner and more to heat up in the microwave later to slather with butter and some garlic. I put it off as long as I can manage and then make as much as I can until I’m annoyed again.
It’s delicious on its own, delicious dipped in thick sauces, delicious as a pizza crust. I bet it would even taste amazing with peanut butter and jelly.
We created this space in 2013 as a home for recipes, reviews, and entertaining tips for those on the nerdier end of the spectrum. We're on vacation at the moment, but there are usually new posts every Thursday. Sometimes more, if you're lucky.
With our powers combined, we represent a culinary school grad, an aspiring astronaut, a culinary school dropout, social nerds, gamers, cinephiles, bibliophiles, laqueristas, food fanatics, social anxiety disorders, and more. It’s fun stuff. Oh! And Brandie is wife to Adam who is brother to Brie who is cousin to Cat! Clearly nerdiness runs in this family.
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