Friday, January 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Black Bean & Quinoa Soup

Well, I finally got the real definition of "craptastic" from the source. In case you were wondering, craptastic is a description of when you have a really crappy day, but you want to use a "nicer" way of saying it. Yup, that is from the second grader herself. The last few days have not been totally crappy, but more on the craptastic side. I am really glad I had this soup to fuel me through dinners Wednesday and Thursday night, as well as lunch today. The flu bug has hit our school. Lots of people have been out, which makes for a pretty craptastic experience for a special education teacher such as myself. Kids are off their schedules, I am trying to fill in the gaps, all while trying to teach, grade papers, test kiddos, plan for next week, complete paperwork, and hope that I don't get the flu myself. That would be even more craptastic. It is really just fun and makes me laugh to say it. Hee, hee! Craptastic!

Just when you thought black been soup couldn't get any healthier, Sara Nickel swags it up another level with the addition of quinoa. Spicy, smoky, and absolutely vegetarian this soup is a wonderful way to get the nutrients you need to fuel yourself through a cold winter's day. I am very proud of this soup if I do not say so myself.

Slow Cooker Black Bean & Quinoa Soup

1 cup dried black beans (rinsed & soaked overnight)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 14.5 oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup dried quinoa
Sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and avocado for garnish if desired

Place all ingredients to quinoa in your slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on high for 6-7 hours stirring every so often so the beans do not get stuck to the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the quinoa and stir. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the quinoa has softened. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, or avocado if you wish before serving.

* Noteworthy tips: To soak the black beans, simply place the black beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let the beans soak overnight or until you are ready to cook them. I made this soup over the weekend. It actually gets better over time.

To make the baked tortilla chips, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cut the tortillas into wedges using a pizza cutter or knife. Place on the baking sheet. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Flip and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until browned on the other side. Super easy and fewer calories than chips from the bag!

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