30 October 2012

Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

After traveling for two weeks, I can't get enough of being in the kitchen and eating healthful foods. In my attempt to prepare, if not, eat, all of my accumulating CSA produce before the next share arrives, I decided to finally try out the sweet potato and black bean combo. Now while this could easily be served inside or along with the carb vehicle of your choice (rice, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, etc.,), I've opted to serve mine on top of a bed of shredded lettuce. Come to think of it, I bet it would be pretty tasty atop nachos, but that'll have to wait until a later day.

The flavors you use to season the potatoes and beans is up to you, but the combo I present to you today is a little out of the ordinary, in a sort of, dare I say, extraordinary way. I freehanded it, though, so all of my measurements are extremely approximate. However, it's crucial that you don't omit any of the spices! Also, I should draw your attention to the fact that the recipe that follows is meant to serve one, because I made it fresh for dinner. I can't say to whether it would reheat well, but I'm certain it could be made in larger quantities quite easily!

Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans


  • 1/2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, diced into quarter inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup drained, but NOT rinsed, black beans
  • Two or three shakes of chili powder
  • Three or four shakes of cumin
  • One to two dashes of cayenne pepper for mild heat (go crazy, if you want!)
  • One to two shakes of dried parsley
  • Liberal amounts of salt and pepper 
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • 1 oz (or more) of shredded Monterey and Colby Jack cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup of shredded lettuce (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a small- or medium-sized pan on medium.
  2. Once oil has small bubbles form within it, add in minced onion.
  3. Allow onions to crisp up and brown before adding in the sweet potatoes. Cover the mixture with a lid, and allow the sweet potatoes to steam up.
  4. In 3-5 minutes, check the sweet potatoes with a fork. Once a fork is easily able to prick the potatoes, add in the black beans and stir.
  5. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and parsley, before stirring and putting the lid back on for another 2-3 minutes. (You should add more cumin than any other spice, followed by chili powder, salt and pepper, and cayenne. The other spices are crucial, but as subtle flavor notes!)
  6. While the mixture is finishing cooking, prepare your plate as desired. I put a layer of shredded lettuce down on mine, which I then layered evenly with the mixture. Lastly, I topped it all with cheese and allowed it to melt over before diving in.

Eat your heart out, Chipotle!
(Except.. don't. I'm totally coming for your $2 Halloween burritos tomorrow!)

28 October 2012

"Why is this so good?"

No matter what you call this dip (taco dip, nacho dip, crack dip), it's undeniably delicious. It's been a favorite in my family for as long as I can remember and I'm so happy to see others loving it as much as the Roach crowd does!

Taco Dip


  • 1 pint (16 oz) sour cream
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1 roughly chopped green pepper
  • 1 roughly chopped red pepper
  • 1 roughly chopped yellow onion
  • Taco seasoning package
  • Shredded Monterey Jack and Colby cheese or "Mexican" cheese, really whatever you're craving!
  • 2 deseeded, diced tomatoes (optional)
  • Shredded lettuce (optional)
  • Garlic powder (optional)
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Mix together sour cream and cream cheese. It's easiest to do so when they've been sitting out for a bit and had time to soften up. You can also get the reduced fat cream cheese or whipped cream cheese, both of which tends to be easier to mix with the sour cream!
  2. Incorporate taco seasoning until flavorful enough for your liking. I usually use around half packet of it. I find the El Paso brand seasoning (I think that's the name.. it comes in a yellow packet) weaker than the Ortega brand (comes in a blue packet), though, so feel free to taste as you mix! 
  3. Store and chill this mixture until right before assembly/consumption. No one wants soupy dip
  4. Spread the taco seasoned cheese mixture into the bottom of a 9x13" pan evenly. If you desire, lightly top with garlic powder and cayenne pepper for an extra kick at this time.
  5. Layer selected vegetables on top of mixture.
  6. Top with shredded cheese. 
  7. Dig in with a serving vehicle of your choice (chips and hard, crunchy vegetables are advisable). 
p.s. The combo of cheese and taco seasoning are what make this a winner, but really anything that combines those are good in my book. In fact, I think I'll use the leftover seasoning and cheese with some black beans and call it dinner!