Slow-Cooker Pork, White Bean and Fennel Soup

I love a lazy Sunday however most of them are packed with to-dos and running around. It’s nice to be able to spend 10 or 15 minutes prepping something with the sure knowledge that you’ll have a taste meal at the end of the day.

Slow Cooker Pork, White Bean and Fennel Soup
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 7 hours


  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. country-style pork ribs, excess fat removed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can canned small white beans, undrained
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar


  1. Combine broth, fennel, onion, garlic, pork and bay leaves in the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on low, for 6 hours.
  2. Bump the slow cooker up to high. Add the spinach, tomatoes and beans to the cooker. Recover and cook for an hour.
  3. Remove the pork (and bones) from the pot. Chop or shred into smaller pieces and return to the cooker. Add the vinegar, stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust salt/pepper as desired.

This soup is based on one from Campbell’s. I added a few things to bump up the flavor and reworked the instructions a bit as well.

My frozen spinach didn’t thaw much after 6 hours in the fridge. I took a chance and added the mostly solid spinach brick to the slow cooker. It heated up fine and the soup seemed no worse for wear.

Pinto and and Black Beans with Tomatoes

Pinto and and Black Beans with Tomatoes
Servings: 10-12
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 onions, 1/4″ dice
  • 2 bell peppers, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 long pepper (such as a pasilla or Anaheim), 1/4″ dice
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 x 15.5 oz. Pinto Beans (low sodium if possible)
  • 1 x 15.5 oz. Black Beans (low sodium if possible)
  • 1 x 28 oz. Diced Tomatoes
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium hot until shimmering. Add onions & peppers along with a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables cook drain and rinse the beans. Drain most of the liquid from the tomatoes as well.
  3. Add the garlic powder, paprika, cumin and coriander to the cooked vegetables and stir to incorporate. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans and about half a cup of water. Mix everything together. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for ~20 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, etc. to your liking.

Gnocchi with Swiss Chard and Beans

Weeknight meals can be tough. We both work and arrive home in varying states of tired, grumpy and whiny. An easy to prep, easy to cook recipe goes a long way to making dinner the start of a good evening.

Gnocchi with Swiss Chard and Beans

The recipe is based heavily on Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans. I modified it to fit what we had in the house, added some much needed additional flavoring and wrote it up in my own words.
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My parents introduced me to succotash in my early 30s. My dad was trying to come up with the “perfect” recipe to take to pot luck dinners they attended. I decided to give it a try one week when I was in want of something different. I turned to the recipe in the Joy of Cooking and liked the results.

Over the years I have developed my own recipe roughly based on that recipe from Joy of Cooking. It has become the default side dish we serve with pierogies.

Recipe under the cut

Egg Noodles with Roasted Mushroom and Pink Beans

I was watching French Food at Home and the host made a roasted mushroom salad. I liked the idea of roasting mushrooms and decided to incorporate it into a pasta dish.

[Egg Noodles with Roasted Mushroom and Pink Beans]

Egg Noodles with Roasted Mushroom and Pink Beans

You may ask, why pink beans. Well I wanted pinto beans however they aren’t available in canned, with low sodium. So I used the pink. Google results tell me they are considered a “meaty” bean. My not.

Recipe under the cut

Moroccan Beans

Like many I struggle with an addiction to cookbooks. I can spend hours in the bookstore looking at recipes and pictures. When I need some inspiration for dinner, be it a weeknight meal or our weekly Saturday night gathering, I know there’s an idea hiding away on the shelves of cookbooks.

This week’s find came from a book I picked up from Borders during their end-of-days clearance sale. The original recipe can be found in Modern Mediterranean Cooking.

Moroccan Beans

Moroccan Beans

Recipe under the cut

Vegetarian Chili

Week night dinners often end up being some leftover protein from the weekend paired with something on the side. When we don’t host a Saturday night gathering though I have to come up with something. Yesterday I decided I had most of the stuff to make a decent chili for dinner. A quick stop at the store for a red pepper, sour cream and shredded cheese sealed the deal.

Chili, the meated variety, was probably the first thing I sat down and figured out how to make from scratch on my own. Over the years the recipe has changed a bit as I find something new or read another recipe or just want to mix it up. I went for a vegetarian version tonight because we’re trying to eat a bit healthier and chili is hearty enough to stand alone without meat.

Recipe under the cut

Black Beans and Rice

This recipe is based on one from Cook’s Illustrated for Cuban-style Black Beans and Rice. They start with dried black beans. Since I’m using canned beans I needed adjust a few things to keep the great flavor. I also tend to make a vegetarian version of this dish.

Confession time… I have yet to make a bean dish from dried beans that didn’t taste not quite right. I’m willing to risk it when I’m just cooking for Ted and I however when company is coming I want some certainty in my ingredients. Thus I turn to canned beans. Properly rinsed they work great. A quick substitution for dried beans is four 19.5 oz. cans of beans equals 1 pound of dried beans.

My husband, who is not a fan of black beans, adores this dish. Your mileage may very.

Black Beans and Rice
Servings: 8 to 10 as a side dish
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 70 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 large green bell peppers, roughly cut into ~2″ pieces
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly cut into ~2″ pieces
  • 4 tsp. teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. ground chipotle
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 19.5 oz cans Goya black beans, thoroughly rinsed
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges


  1. Adjust oven racks so that your Dutch oven will fit and heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Put the rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, 3-5 minutes. Shake strainer vigorously to remove excess water; set rice aside.
  3. Place the pepper & onion in a food processor and pulse until you get 1/4″ pieces.
  4. Heat the Dutch oven with 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the pepper and onion mixture, cumin and oregano and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add the minced garlic, tomato paste and chipotle powder. Stir frequently until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat, about 30 seconds. Stir in beans, veggie broth, water, and vinegar. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and fluff with fork. If you wish to hold this dish before service remove the cover and place a clean cloth towel over the top of the pot. Place the cover back on top to secure the towel. The towel will present any steam from condensing and dripping onto the rice.
  7. Serve with scallions & lime wedges on the side.

Rinsing the rice seems to make a big difference in the end product. When I haven’t bothered to rinse the rice it seems to stick together much more resulting in a more clumpy end product.

When I am making a non-vegetarian version of this dish I use chicken broth in place of the veggie broth.  I also cook 6-8 oz. of salt pork, which is cut into 1/4″ cubes, prior to cooking the peppers & onions.  Try to use lean salt pork so you get more meat and less fat.