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Chicken and Butternut Squash Tortilla Soup Under Pressure

1 Dec


I love soup! The warmth and comfort you can get from a bowl of soup is unsurpassed. Making soup for a crowd is a great way of showing the love too! This is a super easy brothy flavor packed meal. If you have a pressure cooker then you know the ease and speed at which you can pump out meals. If you are making this on the stove top is will be just as easy but takes a bit longer. Either way, enjoy.

Chicken and Butternut Squash Tortilla Soup Under Pressure

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 very large ripe tomato, diced
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
6 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)
2 tsp. chili powder more to taste
2 tsp. ground cumin more to taste
2 tbs oregano
1 bay leaf
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbs tomato paste
2 cups diced peeled butternut squash

To serve:
Crushed tortilla chips
fresh cilantro
Green onion
Fresh avocado
fresh lime juice
Lactose free sour cream

Add broth and all ingredients to pressure cooker except the beans. Cover Pressure cooker and set to sealing position. Select Soup Mode and manually adjust the time to 15 minutes.
Do natural release when soup is finished.

Remove the chicken breasts to a plate cut in half and and use two forks to shred the meat apart. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Add the drained beans. Check for seasoning, add more chili powder or salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and the crisp tortilla and avocado.
(To cook on the stove top, follow directions, cover and simmer on medium low for 45 minutes.)


Mucking it up in Spring!

3 Mar

Article from: Edible Marin and Wine Country — Spring 2011

Stone’s Soup Corner

For those of us who live in Northern California, spring is all about waiting for the rains to end and the sun to arrive again, and, thankfully, it always does. During this time of year, there is a lot to be done to prepare the garden for summer planting. It’s also a great time to talk to your kids about what you are going to plant so that they will be excited about taking care of the garden and harvesting and eating what you have grown–and getting dirty in the muddy veggie patch! So, put your rain boots back on and go get dirty with your kids in the Spring muck!

Try my recipe below for “Swamp Soup,” and I bet you will get your kids to not only eat their vegetables, but love them. The trick here is to hide a few beans in the bottom of their soup bowl and tell the kids to eat to the bottom of “the swamp” to find the “muck beetles”–and yes, I made that up. By the time they get to the bottom of the bowl, the soup will have magically disappeared. The soup itself is delicious, packed with green vegetables and will warm you and your kids up on a chilly Northern California spring day.

Swamp Soup

Yield: 4 servings


4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided in half

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups zucchini, thinly sliced (about 3 whole squash)

2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and with the pit removed

½ teaspoon salt or to taste A handful of cooked organic black or pinto beans Prepared pesto (optional)


In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of the broth to a boil with the onion, garlic and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the remaining 2 cups of broth and the zucchini and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, re-cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the soup to cool slightly.

In a blender, purée the slightly cooled soup mixture with the avocado, in batches, until it reaches a smooth consistency. Return the purée to the saucepan, add salt to taste and warm gently. To serve, place a few of the beans in the bottom of the bowl and gently pour in the soup. When you serve it make sure to tell the kids to eat to the bottom to find the muck beetles!


• If you don’t want to open a whole can of beans for this recipe or take the time to soak dried beans and cook them separately, just pick up a few at your grocery store’s salad bar.

• Add a dollop of pesto to this soup after you purée it for an extra punch of flavor and a green color.

• Float strips of toasted bread or crackers on top of the soup and place a bean on one so your kids can make the “bean bug” “jump” from log to log.


Looking for something fun and educational to do with your kids over a long weekend or spring break? Try this project using dried beans that will teach them a little science and gardening know-how. Setting it up is a great inside activity on a rainy day. Beans sprout very quickly so they are fun to watch and this experiment works well for kids of all ages.

In this version of the old-school experiment you use different liquids–milk, water, salt water and sugar water–to find out which one causes the beans to sprout in the shortest amount of time.

Things you’ll need:

4 empty cups

1½ cups of water

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 paper towels

20 dried beans

4 plates

Steps of the experiment:

1. Fill 3 cups each with ½ cup of water, and a 4th cup with ½ cup of milk.

2. Add the sugar to 1 of the cups that contain water and add the salt to another, leaving 1 with just plain water.

3. Soak 1 paper towel in each cup for 1 minute, or until saturated.

4. Label each of the 4 plates with one of the following: water, milk, salt-water and sugar-water.

5. Place 5 beans on each plate, and cover loosely with the saturated paper towel that corresponds to the label on that plate.

6. Observe the growth of the beans each day for several weeks, making notes on the number of beans that have sprouted on each plate, as well as the length of the sprouts. Determine which liquid was the most successful at causing the beans to sprout.

7. Once the beans sprout, you can plant them in dirt and keep them growing!

Harmony from Hominy…A light meal during the holiday frenzy

20 Dec

With Hanukkah swiftly approaching I thought I’d get out my oil and start frying! I figured my kitchen would smell like oil for the next few days so what is one more day? With all the preparations going on sometimes we just need something quick and  easy.  We love soup, the flavorful brothy kind the best when you are sick or cold kind. 

I talk a lot about texture for kids, I think it is important to teach them about different textures. This is a perfect soup for that, crisp tortillas, soft beans, chewy hominy and zucchini, makes a perfect warm meal. The flavors are mild and simple,  when your kids decide they like it,  you can add more ingredients the next time you make it.

I did not write a recipe for this but here is what I did:

Add about 1 inch of vegetable oil to a straight sided pot or skillet. Heat on high until it shimmers, reduce to medium high.

Stack about 5 corn tortillas and cut them into strips. Drop one in the oil to test, it should sizzle and cook quickly. When you fry, the faster the food cooks the less oil it sucks up, the better it will taste.
Drain them on a paper towel and set aside.

This is a quick soup so,  I started with canned chicken broth and added some ground chicken and onions to improve the flavor. Adding ground chicken will give you great chicken flavor in a flash. After the chicken is fully cooked strain it out and save it to use in hash or something else. You can leave the meat in but some kids find the texture strange.

Canned broth can be salty so taste before you add salt.
Add drained Great Northern beans, a can of drained Hominy and  a few diced zucchini.  
Cook it on medium until the zucchini is tender but still holds it’s shape about 10 minutes.
Serve with a handful of tortilla strips and a sprinkle of dry cheese if you want.

Yes, Beans for Thanksgiving!

15 Nov

About 6 months ago I was asked by The Vegetable with More to create some recipes for Thanksgiving and give people new ideas on how to work with beans. They wanted a stuffing recipe that would be somewhat traditional but also include beans. Here is what I came up with, Cranberry Rice and Bean Stuffing.

The second recipe was to include something green to replace that old standard, green bean casserole. I also thought why not change up the mashed potatoes for gnocchi?
Here is what I came up with,
Gnocchi with White Beans and Pesto

It is said that the Pilgrims didn’t have most of the foods we now eat on Thanksgiving such as, sugary pies and an abundance of fruit and vegetables, so why not add beans to your table?

Music to my ears, I think?

24 Sep

Here is a super challenge for you and your kids your family is sure to get a few laughs.

This is a contest to encourage America to reinvent the classic schoolyard chant, “Beans, beans the musical fruit.”

For years, children and parents have recited variations of this memorable chant, but what they don’t realize is that something in the lyrics is wrong – beans are a vegetable, not a fruit! While 3 out of 4 adults know the bean chant, only 1 in 4 know that beans are actually a vegetable. It’s time to set the record straight!

We’re inviting the public to grab a video camera and record an original bean chant. The requirements are:
· Begin your chant with the phrase “Beans, beans”
· Convey somewhere in your lyrics/chant that beans are a veggie or vegetable

People can visit Bean Chant until Dec. 12, 2008 to upload their videos for a chance to win the grand prize – $5,000 and a trip for four to perform the winning chant at a February event in Times Square hosted by Drew Lachey, multi-platinum recording artist, bean fan and dad.

Here is some inspiration
Beans, beans have protein to spare
Call them a fruit? I won’t even dare
They’re a veggie that makes you grow up big and strong
And with beans on the table, your meal can’t go wrong

The fruits or vegetables of our labor…or not

11 Sep

A few months back I did a post about our Magic Garden, well the time has come to show it off.

Here is a shot of some of our beans in different stages and our Echinicha flower.  The reason we call it our Magic Garden is because a while back my dad sent me an envelope marked Irv’s magic beans. Of course I thought he was just being silly, he usually is.  When we spoke he told me that he had a photo of he and his sister in the 30’s in front of a bean plant. He’d been searching for the same heirloom bean and found it, that is what was in the envelope!  We planted them and they grew beautifully and without much attention in our garden. It is so nice to be growing something that I can pass to friends and has a great history to it.
My daughter likes to make soup from the beans, she gets out her spices and adds herbs from and vegies. Tonight she made up a “soup” with curry, cinnamon cherry tomatoes, beans and basil, it wasn’t half bad!
So when you need a quick meal don’t forget about beans even if you did not grow them yourself!

Incr-Edible Facts About Beans

7 Aug
Throughout the year I will be helping my friends over at The Vegetable with More get the word out about beans and the benefits of eating and cooking with them. You will learn a lot about them and I will pass on some easy kid friendly recipes, so make sure to check back for bean updates!
For more bean recipes go to TVWM.

Most Americans need to triple the amount of legumes 
they eat, such as beans, to meet the 3 cups per week the numbers show that they have tons of protein and fiber. 
I bet you knew that!

Beans By The Numbers
(amounts based on ½ cup x 3)

White Beans (Navy, Great Northern) *Protein: 8.5 g, Fiber: 5.5 g

Garbanzo Beans Protein: 7.8 g, Fiber: 7.1 g

Red Kidney Beans Protein: 7.4 g, Fiber: 6.4 g

Cooked Broccoli Protein: 2.2 g, Fiber: 3.0 g

Frozen Corn Protein: 2.1 g, Fiber: 2.0 g

Fresh Carrots Protein: .6 g, Fiber: 2.2 g

Here is a recipe from The Vegetable With More
I love what the author said about praying for cold days so they can make this soup, that cracks me up!
As always alter the recipes to your family’s taste.

White Bean Chicken Chili

“This recipe was passed down from a friend, and now it is one of our favorites! It’s great to make whenever there is left over chicken or turkey around! We pray for colder weather in California just so we can make this soup! You can substitute additional diced tomatoes for the tomatillos. If you would like the soup to be spicier, you can add some red chili flakes or salsa. Serve with these toppings for people to choose from: limes, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.”
Submitted by: Thea

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound diced, cooked chicken meat
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (18.75 ounce) can tomatillos, drained and chopped
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (7 ounce) can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15 ounce) can white beans
2 ears fresh corn
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 lime, sliced
Heat oil, and cook onion and garlic until soft.
Stir in broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
Add corn, chicken, and beans; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with these toppings for people to choose from: limes, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

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