Homemade Salsa & Smashed Beans

Meal planning ideas and inspiration come from everywhere for me. Other food bloggers inspire ideas often, restaurant dishes, cravings, the Food Network and it’s many shows that are often [read always] playing on my television, walks down the grocery isle, or just crazy brainstorming.

This meal plan inspiration was a combo! First my friend and fellow blogger Emily made my mouth water and cravings begin with a salsa recipe she posted. She adapted hers from the Pioneer Woman‘s homemade salsa recipe. Once I knew I had to make salsa, I was on the lookout for other ideas to make it into a meal. Along came Melissa D’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners’ chile episode. I used her Smashed Black Beans as an inspiration to make my own version.

Note – I also added stuffed peppers to this meal that were a total flop. Melissa made cheese and corn stuff peppers, battered and fried. I tried to do a veggie stuffed pepper idea with corn, spinach and tomatoes, baked. Some recipes are great! They work out, I share them, I make them again. Some just aren’t! Real life folks. Everyone creates recipes that don’t work, even people with food blogs.


Green! I told you this week’s recipes could be summed up with one word, green. But seriously, how can something not be good that starts so fresh!?

Homemade Salsa

  • Servings: lots
  • Difficulty: EASY
  • Print

(Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s recipe)


  • 1 – 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel, I used Great Value brand)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of jarred/bottled minced garlic (or 1-2 cloves to taste of fresh chopped)
  • 1 whole jalapeno, sliced (I left the seeds, but if you don’t like spicy, discard them.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup cilantro (You either love or hate cilantro, I love it. If you hate it, leave it out or add less.)
  • juice of 1 lime


I made mine in a big food processor, but Emily made hers in a blender. Either would work. Toss everything in and pulse/blend! Do it to a consistency that you like. I like it pretty thin. It’s like your favorite Mexican restaurant’s salsa, but BETTER! Yes. I said it. I like this made at home salsa even better than the Mexican restaurants’ versions.
Refrigerate for at least an hour. Yields about 5 1/2 – 6 cups. GUILT FREE! 0 points. Serve with chips.


Look at that seed! It’s got a kick. I like it, but if you are sensitive to spiciness you might want to leave out the seeds. That said, I’ll never leave them out. I was quite proud of my taste buds for handling/liking it.
I don’t know why I’ve never braved salsa before! I always thought it was some long expensive process involve blanching and skinning tomatoes plus more. The canned tomatoes in this recipes and the simplicity won me over forever. Don’t count on me serving jarred salsa to anyone again, unless I’m in an unplanned pinch.

Smashed Mexican Beans

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: EASY
  • Print

CALORIES:  260 for 1 serving (via MyFitnessPal)


  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (I left the seeds in)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons jarred/bottle minced garlic (or 3 cloves fresh minced)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid


Cook the onions and jalapeno in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add cumin, oregano, salt and garlic. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the beans and stock and bring to boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes.

Remove the beans from stove top and strain, reserving the cooking liquid. Smash beans with a potato masher. Add in vinegar and cooking liquid and continue to smash until combined and a consistency that you like.

Yields about 3 cups. Each 1/2 serving is 2 points (6 servings). Slightly larger 3/4 cup servings are 3 points each (4 servings).


And what do you do when the main dish to go with your two yummy sides that are way better than the main dish doesn’t work out? Made the sides into their own main dish of course. Nachos! Layered with good corn tortilla chips, beans, a little cheese and avocado chicken warmed in the oven at 350 for 7-10 minutes. Topped with fresh chopped avocado and served with abundant salsa for dipping.


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