Recipe: Black Bean Salsa

19 May

Ah, festive food. Food to watch a sports game on TV by. (Who am I kidding, I don’t watch sports.) Amendment: Food to watch Grey’s Anatomy by. (That’s more like it.)

What, my friends, is more festive than a fresh salsa? I mean really. It looks like a party, and I’ll be darned if it doesn’t taste like a party.

You may not know this, but I worked at Chipotle for a time. Yes, it’s true- I rolled burritos with the best of them. (In fact, I could roll a perfect burrito behind my back at the height of my glory days- no joke.) I loved that job. There were several reasons for this.

  1. The restaurant was within walking distance of my dorm.
  2. I pretty much picked/chose my hours according to my schedule.
  3. My boss let me eat one free burrito a day- an allowance that quickly became my “bread and butter” when the university cut off my meal plan due to late payments on my tuition. (The job didn’t pay too terribly well, I’ll admit.)
  4. I learned how to make salsa. Kick-butt salsa. Bona-fide, make your mouth water salsa.

With my amazing knowledge gleaned from one of the best fast-casual restaurants on earth, (thanks, Steve Ells, for putting me through my sophomore year of college both financially and physically- I may have starved without those free burritos), I now give you all a gift: black bean salsa done right.

Black Bean Salsa


  • 1 can black beans, rinsed/drained
  • ½ bag frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • ½ large purple onion, diced
  • 1 fresno pepper, diced (tiny)
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced (tiny)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Allow juices to drain for 5-10 minutes.
  2. DEVOUR.

Do you have a favorite salsa recipe? Share it in the comments!

Download the .pdf of this recipe: Black Bean Salsa


Just the Basics with Jenna: Food Allergy Awareness Week

18 May

Last week, May 8-14, 2011 was Food Allergy Awareness Week. How many of you were aware of that? How many of us, when presented with the term “food allergy” even think of ourselves? While some food allergies are easy to diagnose and then eliminate from our diets, diagnosis is not always so easy. Most foods cause a much milder reaction and more and more people are entering adulthood without ever realizing their food allergies and sensitivities. I have a strong conviction that certain foods just should not be consumed by anyone, whether diagnosed with an allergy, or not. One of the main reasons that I became Paleo was because I wanted to improve my skin and eliminate stomach pain caused by food sensitivity. However, the reason I have remained Paleo is because of the research I have done regarding the post-agriculture foods that the human body consumes. Through this research, I have found that an allergen-free diet is not only for the food sensitive, but for any person with the desire to be stronger, healthier and ailment free.

I constantly come back to this thought: The most common food allergies in America are milk, wheat, soy and peanuts. The Paleolithic Diet restricts milk, wheat, soy and peanuts. Coincidence? I think not. Some people joke that the Paleo diet was just the effects of someone playing a cruel joke. “Let’s eliminate all the tasty foods and see who will last.” Instead, consider why four staple food items in the American diet happen to cause severe allergic reactions in millions of children and adults, and then ask yourself why you’re continuing to eat them. Sure, not everyone who smokes cigarettes ends up with lung cancer, but does that make cigarette smoke any less harmful? Do we not believe that cigarettes lead to lung cancer? While I know there are several people who can tolerate milk, wheat, soy and peanuts, exactly what does it mean to “tolerate” something? Does it just mean not feeling an immediate ramification? What if these foods were causing something to happen, below the surface? Perhaps an auto immune disease that doesn’t present itself until we are much older? I rarely preach The Paleo Diet, I am a strong believer in eating what you believe works for you. But that’s to the people who have tried to find out what works for them. There are still several people who have yet to even tune into their body, never mind listen to it. Though I’m a week late, it’s never too late to evaluate what you are eating, what your children are eating, and what that means in the long-term.

I’ll leave you with this note from the Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Network, “Between 1997 and 2002, peanut allergy in children doubled. The estimated number of Americans with food allergy has increased, and we don’t know why.” Maybe its only a matter of time before we’re all diagnosed…

Jenna comes to the Frugal Flambe with delicious allergen-free recipes for the busy family. A writer (see her blog: The Paleo Project) and experimental photographer, after several years of food sensitivity and skin problems, Jenna decided to begin a paleolithic lifestyle. Paleo eaters tend to stick to the pre-agriculture food groups: meat and fish, vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, nuts and herbs. No sugar, no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no peanuts, nothing processed. Just whole, organic, healthy foods that work well with the human body, eliminate auto-immune diseases and improve food related ailments. This allergen-free diet is Jenna’s new way of life and she is constantly teaching herself new ways to cook and feed her body what it needs.Every Wednesday, she’ll share her her dishes with families who suffer from allergies, or people who are looking to change their eating habits.  No sugar? No dairy? No grain? No problem!

Man Food with Mike: Mushroom Risotto

17 May

I can’t say I’m the most sophisticated foodie that ever walked the face of the earth. Most days if you place a piece of grilled meat in front of me I’ll say you just served me one of my favorite foods. However, last summer my wife and I ate a beautiful anniversary dinner at Crave restaurant in the Mall of America, and I ordered salmon, on top of the most glorious side dish I think I’d ever tasted: Mushroom Risotto. Having been a loyal Hell’s Kitchen junkie, I’d seen risotto come out of that kitchen many times, but I’d never actually eaten it before last summer. If you’ve never tasted a really good mushroom risotto before, my best description of it would be to take all of the joy and happiness of your favorite ice cream sundae, and put it into a rice dish. It’s wonderful. Although if you cook it correctly, it does require that you stir for almost 20 minutes straight, but I assure you it’s worth every bit of effort. I wish I could say this recipe was mine, but this one came from a chef who really knows how to create some amazing food: Emeril Lagasse. We like to make this dish with Chicken Saltimbocca because the flavors of both dishes compliment to each other. Enjoy!

Mushroom Risotto

Originally by Emeril Legasse


  • 5 to 6 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 ounces assorted mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons truffle oil, optional
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to very low to keep hot.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil and melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring until fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until wilted and their liquid is evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in the thyme.
  4. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until nearly all evaporated.
  5. Add 3/4 cup of the stock, the salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the stock is nearly all evaporated. Continue adding more stock 1/2 cup at a time as the previous addition is nearly absorbed, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy, 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in cream, 1/2 cup of the cheese, and the parsley and mix well. Remove from the heat and the seasoning, to taste.
  7. Serve immediately, topping each portion with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and ham.

There’s all kinds of ways to make risotto, if you’ve got a link or favorite recipe for it we’d love for you to share it!

Download the .pdf of this recipe: Mushroom Risotto

Mike Guthrie is married to Shellina, and together they have completely changed their way of thinking when it comes to eating. Not only have they stopped eating out, but they also try to do so in fun, relatively healthy ways. The typical male, Mike loves meat; grilling it, basting it, frying it, and, of course, eating it. Every other Tuesday he’ll share a new “Man Recipe” (usually a general list of ingredients because, according to him, recipes are for chicks).

Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Bell Peppers

16 May

It’s spring. It’s perfect. The breeze is playing gently in the trees, the bunnies are starting to come out to play, and the mosquitos haven’t hatched yet. The sky is that delightful blue, kids are playing outside, and this pregnant lady isn’t holding so much water she can’t wear her flip flops (yet). Yes, it’s a beautiful time of year.

And, as you know, there are culinary benefits to the beautiful changes in climate as well. I could name a thousand brilliant foods that are at their peak right now, but just a few are those used in this recipe: tomatoes, bell peppers, and… well there’s feta in it too (albeit it’s always in season).

This is the kind of meal that not only looks beautiful, but encourages a beautiful self-image as well. I mean, it’s super healthy, super satisfying, and super amazing in all ways possible. Also: easy. WINNING!

Tomato & Feta Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 2 large yellow bell peppers
  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil


  1. Cut peppers in halt. Remove and discard seeds and white membranes.
  2. Arrange peppers, cut sides down, on the rack of the uncovered grill for 4 minutes.
  3. Fill peppers with tomatoes, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
  4. Grill for 4 more minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with feta cheese, grill 2 more minutes, or until cheese is soft.
  6. Remove from grill, sprinkle with basil leaves, serve immediately.

 Do you have a fave grill recipe? Share it in the comments!

Download the .pdf of this recipe: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Dessert Recipe: Blondies

15 May


Heaven’s gift to mankind, especially the pregnant folk.

But what to do when one has no cocoa or chocolate to speak of? Dig out the brown sugar and go to town.

I recently tried this recipe (originally from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook) when I realized that I had promised a dessert to my husband for a dinner party and had yet to come up with any ideas. Not only had I procrastinated on the idea-making process, which is normal, but I had also left myself less than one hour until the dessert was required to make an appearance and “wow” the diners. As you can imagine, I was in a bind. No time to run to the store, no time to bake a cake. No time to even brainstorm about it. I needed to make something delectable pronto- and with whatever was in the cupboard.

After about three minutes of recipe-scanning, I found this one- and oh my word- they really are blonde brownies- and you know what… they might just be more fun.


Originally from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.


  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f)
  2. Grease a 9×13 pan, set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, stir together brown sugar and butter until smooth.
  4. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes or so.
  5. Stir in eggs, one at a time.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Add baking powder.
  8. Add baking soda.
  9. Add flour.
  10. Pour into baking pan.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Do you have a favorite dessert to make in a hurry? Share it in the comments.
Download the .pdf of this recipe: Blondies

Recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes

14 May

Not all potato dishes are equal.

I don’t mean to be racist against some potatoes, but really, there are just so many varieties and ways to prepare them- some just rank higher. You’ve got mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, bakes potatoes, cheesy potatoes, potatoes with bacon, chives, sour cream, and other terrible (yet thrilling) additives… the choices are endless. But then there are those potatoes you make for especially special events- those potatoes that sing the cook’s praises, that echo the heartbeat of the passionate lover of food, and seem to transcend the ranks of mere carbohydrates into a level of bliss one can only hope for.

Don’t agree? Think I’m being overdramatic? Then you haven’t eat these potatoes. Period.

Twice Baked Potatoes


  • 8 medium potatoes
  • ¾ of 8 oz jar cheese whiz
  • 8 oz sour cream with chives dip or tater topping
  • dab of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bake potatoes. (typically 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees (f))
  2. Cut baked potatoes in half and scoop out the insides. (preserve the integrity of the shells)
  3. Beat ingredients into the potato insides, refill shells with mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees (f) until heated. (20-25 minutes.)
Do you have a favorite potato dish? Share it in the comments.
Download the .pdf of this recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes

Recipe: Naked Turkey Burgers

13 May

Exciting news, y’all: one of our photos, the one of the Chickpea and Tomato Salad, was accepted to both Tastespotting and Tasteologie! This is exciting because these sites typically only accept photos that are awesome. So, you know, I’m feeling a little proud of myself this week.

Once that one was accepted, I felt the bite of the “food porn” bug. Oh man, I can’t explain how excited I get now when I have something freshly made that I can photograph. A couple of things I’ve learned over the past two months about food photography:

  • Always use natural light. The light source should come from behind you, preferably over one of your two shoulders.
  • Never use flash. It makes it look cheap.
  • Try to “set the stage” for the food- a lot of mine I keep simple (on purpose) but you should see the awesome set-ups some people do for their photos, and it helps!

Those are just a few tips, of course. As you can see, I applied these tips to the photo of our recipe today: naked turkey burgers. A note about these: we had never cooked turkey burgers before, let alone on the grill. So, we overcooked them. They still tasted good, but they were a bit dry. It’s nearly impossible to see if the meat is cooked through, (and when using super lean turkey, there aren’t any juices to run clear, thus taking away that hint that they’re done), so time it. 6-8 minutes should be about perfect on the grill- we did 10 minutes per side and they were a step above hockey pucks.

Otherwise, this meal was awesome.

Naked Turkey Burgers


  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey burger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp sage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Mix meat with all ingredients.
  2. Form into patties (we made four)
  3. Cook on the grill, 6-8 minutes per side.
  4. Devour.

Do you have a fave turkey burger recipe? Share it with us!

Download the .pdf of this recipe: Naked Turkey Burgers

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