I like cooking. I really like baking. And I love trying new recipes. I am going to share 3 of my favorites, all pretty easy and all pretty inexpensive, and all definitely delicious.

Black Bean Soup – quick, easy, and if you double or triple the recipe you enjoy it today and can freeze and save the rest for later.


The best way to serve this soup is to puree about half of it, then pour it back into the pot. But you can also just mash the contents of the pot with a potato masher or large fork to get a similar smooth-chunky effect. I don’t have a puree-er (are you reading this, santa?) so I mash with a potato masher.

2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
3 cups drained cooked black beans
4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water, preferably warmed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
Sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish
Minced cilantro leaves for garnish

2 Chopped tomatoes


1. Place the oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring, another minute.

2. Add the beans and stock or water and season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the soup just about to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.

3. Force half the contents of the pot through a food mill or carefully puree it in a food processor or blender; or just mash the contents with a potato masher or large fork. (You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover, refrigerate for up to 2 days, and reheat before proceeding.)

4. Add the lime juice and stir; taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve, garnished with sour cream or yogurt and minced cilantro.

Black Bean Lasagna (what can I say? I love me some black beans!)

1 – 15 oz can black beans, drainged and rinsed ** I use 2 cans
1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup salsa (optional) ** I use 1 cup
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup light ricotta cheese ** I use 2 cups
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
10 uncooked lasagna noodles
6 oz shredded cheddar cheese ** I use 8-12 oz

Heat oven to 350. Spray 13×9 inch baking dish.
In large bowl, mash beans slightly. Stir in tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, salsa, chili powder adn cumin; mix well.

In small bowl, combine ricottag cheese, garlic powder and egg; blend well.

Spread 1 cup of the tomato mixture over bottom of sprayed baking dish. Top with half of the noodles, overlapping slightly. Top with half of the remaining tomato mixture. Spoon ricotta mixture over top; spread carefully. Top wtih half of the cheese, then with remaining noodles, tomato mixture and cheese. Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray; cover baking dish with foil, sprayed side down.

bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until noodles are tender. Uncover; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

So now you’ve eaten a yummy dinner and are ready for dessert! Introducing the yummiest dessert ever! 🙂 My best friend introduced this to me a couple years ago and it’s been a favorite since.

Apple Pie Cake

Serves 8 * Prep time: 45 minutes* Total Time: 2 hours

2 cups flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 pounds tart apples, such as Granny smith (about 12)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Note: A springform pan works best for this recipe. All you have to do is release the sides to remove the cake from the pan. Or use a 9-inch round baking pan, with sides at least 3 inches high.

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Using an electric mixer or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture forms pea-size pieces. Press two-thirds of the mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Peel the apples, cut into thin slices, and place in a bowl. Pour off any accumulated liquid. Toss the apple slices with the remaining teaspoon cinnamon and the lemon juice, and put them in the prepared pan, pressing down gently as you pack them in (they will mound above the edge of the pan). Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top.

3.Put the pan on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and let the cake cool in the pan to set. Serve at room temperature.

**Serving suggestion– Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Also, a scoop of vanilla ice cream goes perfect with this.