The Southwest Soup Bowl


It’s Fall, y’all ! The weather starts cooling off, we have a few chilly nights and bam…. I want SOUP! But not just any ole soup. I want comfort food without the excessive calories, if that is possible (and yes, it IS possible). I want flavor that makes my taste buds dance! I want passion and soul in my soup!! Ok, well, that last part might be a little much, but you get the idea. I don’t do boring! I like my food to be exciting and interesting. Life is too short to eat boring food!

So after looking to see what I might have on hand in the freezer and refrigerator… a Southwest Soup Bowl came to mind!  OHH yum, my taste buds were dancin! It’s really super easy and affordable. I hope you will try it or at least inspire you to do your own version!


1 lb. Ground Turkey (you could also use a lean ground beef)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed & minced with sea salt

1/4 jalapeno, fine chopped (save the rest of the jalapeno to slice for garnish)

1 can Goya black beans, drained

1 – 12 oz pkg frozen sweet corn

1 small can chopped green chiles

¼ cup red wine (totally optional but adds a unique flavor)

4-5 cups water

2 Tbsp. extra light olive oil

Seasonings: Adobo, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, salt, pepper

Toppings: Corn Chips, Sour Cream, Cilantro, Jalapenos, Avocado, Limes, Salsa, Shred Mexican Blend Cheese

SW Turkey Taco Soup4


Before you start, wash all your veggies in a vinegar/water 1/3 ratio rinse! Do all your chopping and prepping, then you are ready to rock and roll. In a stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute chopped onion, red bell pepper, garlic and chopped jalapeno. Sprinkle with adobo, cumin and garlic salt. I like getting almost a little char on it to intensify the flavors. Remove from pot and set aside. Add another tablespoon or so of olive oil to the pot and saute the ground turkey, breaking up the meat with your wooden spoon. Season with salt, pepper, garlic salt, adobo, cumin, chili powder. If its starts burning on the bottom of the pot, add just a little bit of water.  When the meat is cooked through, add the sauteed onions and pepper mixture back to the pot. Add in 1 can of drained Goya black beans and 1 pkg of frozen sweet corn. Stir together and let it saute for a minute. Add in 4-5 cups of water and the optional red wine (not cooking wine, bleh.) Taste to check your flavors as you may need to sprinkle a little more of each into the mixture. (Tip: If you start out a little light-handed on the seasonings, its ok. You can always add more but you can’t take any out. That is why I have lots of small plastic spoons by the stove so I can taste as I go. Just make sure you are tasting after you know the meat is thoroughly cooked.) Cover and let simmer for about an hour while you are preparing your toppings for your Soup Bowl Bar!

LET’S TALK TOPPINGS and how you serve the soup! This is where your soup becomes completely customized for each person! I love this part. If you want it all, then go for the gusto! Here’s what I put out for people to choose to put in, on, under, whatever, there’s no rules here ya know….its all about what you like: corn chips, sour cream, shred mexican blend cheese (alright, those were the 3 calorie busters… leave those off for a healthier eating experience…. moving on), salsa, sliced jalapenos, slices of avocado, cilantro, and lime wedges to squeeze over the top. There ya go! A fairly quick and easy dinner! Enjoy! Para la vida loca! (Here’s to the crazy life!) ~ mj

SW Turkey Taco Soup3


Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Preparing a healthy, flavorful, NON-BORING meal can absolutely be super simple and fairly inexpensive! Those are some of my favorite words when making a meal for the family or even for just myself…. and as a bonus, it is a healthy option!! That combination seriously makes my heart happy!!!!! Turkey can typically be very bland tasting, so be fairly liberal with your seasonings when cooking that part of it…but if you’re not sure how much, do a little at a time and once it has cooked thru, you can always taste and add more! Because it is a ground meat, make sure it is thoroughly cooked thru though!! So here’s what you will need:

1 lb. Ground Turkey (choose the lean version which is the breast meat)

1 small Sweet Yellow Onion, diced

1 small Red Bell Pepper, diced

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, crushed & fine minced

Extra Light Olive Oil

Garlic Salt

Adobo (latin spice blend)


Cajun Seasoning (I like Slap Ya Mama)

Lettuce (Either Iceberg or Bib Lettuce works well but iceberg is cheaper)

Baby Spinach

5 large Brussel Sprouts (yep I said brussel sprouts!) Chop into shreds


1 Roma Tomato, diced


Lite Sour Cream

Be sure to wash all your vegetables (we recommend a vinegar water bath) before prepping them! Chop up onion, red bell pepper, fine mince cloves of garlic…saute in skillet in a scant Tbsp of extra light olive oil, season with a little bit of garlic salt, adobo seasoning, cumin, till a lil charred. Remove from pan. Add another Tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and saute 1 lb ground turkey with same seasonings as you just did with the veggies. I actually added a little bit of cajun seasoning…depending on how spicy you want it. Add sauteed red bell pepper and onion back into skillet to incorporate flavors. Let them get happy together! 😉 Done! I then loaded my lettuce wraps with baby spinach, shredded raw brussel sprouts (cut off the hard stem then slice into shreds), cilantro, and then the meat and veggie mixture. You can top it off with a squeeze of lime, a tablespoon of sour cream and a little diced tomatoes. Deeeelish and very little guilt!

Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps with mixed greens, spinach & brussel sprouts

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

As I was looking for healthy options in our family dinnertime, and trying to stay away from too many starchy carbs, my teenage son requested sweet potato fries! I’ll be honest, I have never been a big fan of sweet potatoes, but found I really liked them cut into small sticks like this where there’s more outside than inside… does that even make sense? lol So this is the result that we came up with! By the way, the picky teenage son loved this recipe! I know there’s a lot of “approximates” but it really is up to you as you prepare this for your family and everyone’s tastes and preferences on seasonings!


MJ’s Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2-3 Large Sweet Potatoes

Extra Light Virgin Olive Oil for tossing (approx. 2 teaspoons)

Modena Balsamic Vinegar for tossing (approx. 2 teaspoons)

Sea Salt in a grinder (approx. ½ teaspoon)

Garlic Salt (approx. ¼ teaspoon)

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (approx. ½ – 1 teaspoon…this added the perfect little sweet & spicy kick) We get our blend from our awesome friends at Savory Spice Shop

Parsley Flakes

Green Onion for garnish (opt)


*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup!

Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Slice into ½” planks then cut those into 1/4”-1/2” sticks. Put in a bowl….Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar (just enough to coat), sprinkle with a little garlic salt, a little bit of parsley flakes and the Jamaican jerk seasoning. Grind some sea salt over the top and toss together till coated. Spread sweet potato sticks out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes, checking about halfway through and stirring it around a bit. When you pull it out of the oven, grind a little more sea salt over the top! I garnished them with just a few diagonal slices green onions and parsley. So simple, so good, and as a bonus, so very healthy for you! (serves 4-6)

Sweet Potato Fries

Its Time!

Time to get this party started!! I have been busy working to get a lot of the vital skeletal (had to throw that word in there since it is October) things in place to put a serious launch on this business! I hope you feel welcome to come in and take a look around the website. I will be blogging (hopefully!!) in between all that’s going on…giving you the low-down on recipes from my test kitchen, foodie news, events and anything else that I think you might be interested in hearing about…or whatever randomly comes out of my head! 🙂 Here’s to the future starting now! (clinks water bottles) Para la vida loca! Translation: Here’s to the crazy life!