, ,

The title of today’s post is in reference to this post, where I talk about keeping it simple in order to spend more time with this sweet face:


Shameless showing off of Natalie and me at my sister’s wedding last month

Today, I have two recipes to share.  The downside is that I didn’t take any photos, as I didn’t antipate posting about them, but they turned out so delicious and were so cheap and easy that I had to share.  

Hearty black bean soup


  • 1 lb ground turkey, chicken or beef (I meant to get turkey but accidentally picked up ground chicken and it worked just fine)
  • Chili garlic sauce, to taste* (See note below)
  • 1 carton black bean soup (I used Trader Joe’s and it was AMAZING)
  • 1 jar Cowboy Caviar (for those of you not ITK (in the know), this is a delicious corn and black bean salsa sold at Trader Joe’s.  I was not ITK until I sampled it with their black bean soup recently, which is where I was inspired to make this recipe)
  • Optional: sriracha, sour cream and shredded cheddar to top


Brown meat in a small amount of oil with chili garlic sauce.  Drain off some of the fat.  Add soup and caviar and simmer for about 10 minutes on medium, stirring occasionally.  Top with sriracha, sour cream and shredded cheddar.  Eat with tortilla chips, over rice or by itself.  

This was one of the simplest and most delicious things I’ve made in a long time.  And perfect for those chilly winter days!


Meatball sandies


  • Frozen cocktail meatballs
  • Chili garlic sauce, to taste (can you tell I’m really into this stuff lately?)
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Jar marinara sauce (we usually get Trader Joe’s, but had a jar of Harris Teeter’s tomato basil sauce and it was so. good.)
  • Whatever bread you have lying around (buns, rolls, sandwich bread, whatever.  I’m sure hoagie bread or hotdog buns would work best in order to keep your meatballs from flying out, but we always have left over hamburger buns from other meals lying around that I wanted to use up)
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook meatballs with marinara sauce, chili garlic sauce and Parmesan cheese over medium heat until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes, stirring often.  Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and toast bread in oven until lightly browned.  Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Add desired number of meatballs to bread and top with sliced mozzarella.  Return to oven (without the top part of the bun, if using sliced bread or hamburger buns).  Keep an eye on the food and remove from oven when cheese is melted and starting to bubble.  Top with your other slice of bread and enjoy!

Maybe next time I make them I’ll take photos and add them to this post. Although, black bean soup never looks appetizing and I’m pretty sure you all know what a meatball sandwich looks like 🙂

*I’ve had a couple people ask me about chili garlic sauce.  And I’ve been meaning to add an addendum/warning about it anyway, so here ya go:

This is chili garlic sauce.  It’s sold in all grocery stores that I’m aware of, in the international section with the sriracha (it’s made by the same company and is actually the base of sriracha – there’s a sriracha documentary on Amazon Prime if you’re really interested).  The warning part is that it’s very spicy.  How spicy, I can not be trusted to say- according to my friend Valerie, I have a poor sense of what is spicy and what is not.  I’d give it a *very* small sample to see where your tastes lie.  I add it to chili, fried rice, pasta, eggs, pretty much anything.