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Southern Indiana is almost the least snowy place that I have ever lived. Indiana in general is far less snowy than anywhere else that I have lived.

“But wait, that’s a good thing, right?”

Not so fast. You see, each place has had essentially the same winter temperatures.

Place Avg. Yearly
Snowfall
Avg. January
Temperature (F)
Southern Indiana 15″ 20
Upstate NY 65″ 9
Northern Indiana 14″ 16
Southern Tier NY 55″ 15
Happy Valley, PA 46″ 19
Northern NJ 41″ 17

Data Source

If we could equate lack of snowfall to balmy warm weather, the “no snow is a good thing” argument would hold some water. But, when we have to deal with chilly temperatures but not receive enough snow to do anything fun outside…

…well, that’s just a bummer.

Lucky for me, we are experiencing record snowfall here this winter and we have already made two trips to our local “mountain” for snowboarding. After a long day on the snow, this warm, comfort-foody dish really hit the spot!

My only complaint is that the cooking time is a bit long to follow a day out on the ski slopes. Definitely a lazy day meal. (Or should that be not a lazy day meal due to the cooking time?)

Adapted from Cara’s Cravings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb dry cannellini beans
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 lb peeled, diced rutabaga
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp yogurt butter
  • ~ 1/4 cup milk, as needed (I used skim.)
  • 1 pound bitter greens, such as dandelion, broccoli rabe, collards, or turnip greens

Directions:

  • Prepare beans by soaking them overnight in several inches of water.
  • Drain and rinse the beans, then begin to boil them in a large pot covered by a few inches of water over a high heat.
  • Add the rutabaga and a sprinkle of salt and reduce the temperature to medium-high.
  • Stir occasionally as the beans and rutabaga continue to boil, adding water as needed.
  • While the beans and rutabaga cook, prepare the greens.
    • Wash and chop the greens, then place them in a large pot and cook them over a medium-high heat, covered, for about 30 minutes until they have wilted.
    • Stir the greens occasionally, adding water as necessary to keep them from burning.
    • When they have finished cooking, drain the water off of the greens, season to taste with salt and pepper, then set them aside. (Try to keep them warm for serving.)
  • After about an hour, the beans will begin to break down and the rutabaga will become tender.
  • Continue cooking until the water has evaporated.
  • When the consistency has thickened, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Add the butter, then beat with a hand mixer until smooth adding milk as necessary.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Divide the cannellini and rutabaga purée into five bowls, and top with the warm, tender greens.

Servings ~ 5
Calories ~  235, Fat ~ 3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 40 g, Protein ~ 15 g

Indiana has been getting pounded with snow this winter. I’m not complaining, I like the snow. We should have a second Saturday in a row of fresh snow for snowboarding. ::Pumps fist in air.::

I suppose that the only downside to the fluffy white coating on the ground is that Chris and I have been sharing a car. Our long snow-covered driveway and unplowed rural roads pretty much make 4WD a requirement and while we are the proud owners of two 4WDs, we have been operating with just one.

Chris broke his. Notice a theme? 

At first I wasn’t all that amused by the idea of sharing a car, but I think we’ve finally figured it out. Communication and flexibility are key. It helps to know that we’re not alone. Mostly, it helps to know that Chris’s Jeep should be back in commission any day now.

On our way home from work yesterday, I made a big announcement: “I am going to use the rest of the shredded chicken in the refrigerator for a recipe.”

Chris wasn’t having it. “But I had plans for that chicken!”
Ok, I thought. “Can I use half of it?”
“What are you going to do with it?”
“I want to make enchiladas. What are you going to do with it?”
“It’s ok, just take it.”
“I just need half. What are you going to do with your half?”
“Eat enchiladas. It’s all yours.”

So we had enchiladas for dinner last night. They were amazing even without taking the nutritional stats into account. Another “tastes way worse than it is” dinner! 

Ingredients:

  • 18 corn tortillas
  • sour cream sauce
    • 1 tbsp yogurt butter
    • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used 99% fat-free, low sodium broth.)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used reduced-fat.)
    • 1 small can green chiles
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (Ours came from mammoth chickens, this was about 1 lb. raw.)
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 oz baby spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup Manchego cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup tomatillo sauce (I doubled this recipe here, but any tomatillo sauce should work.)

Directions:

  • First make the sour cream sauce:
    • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
    • Add the flour, whisking until fully combined, about 2-3 minutes.
    • Slowly whisk the broth into the flour mixture.
    • Stir in the sour cream, whisking if necessary to remove any lumps.
    • Add chiles to the sauce, then simmer until sauce thickens.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • As the oven is heating, place the tortillas in the oven for several minutes until they soften.
  • Spray a large casserole dish (or a large one and a small one in my case) with spray oil, then set aside.
  • Coarsely chop spinach, then combine the chicken, spinach, salt, pepper in a medium to large bowl.
  • Gently stir in beans.
  • Once tortillas have softened, fill the tortillas one by one with  the chicken filling, rolling them, then placing them seam side down in the casserole dish.
  • Repeat until all tortillas have been filled.
  • Spoon sour cream sauce over the enchiladas, evenly distribute the shredded cheese and tomatillo sauce.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Servings ~ 9
Calories ~ 267, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein ~ 20 g

I’m going to be quite frank with you here. I was pretty sure that Chris would hate this dinner.

Not that there is anything wrong with these tacos, there sure isn’t, but Chris has very specific requirements for his tacos.

I started toiling away in the kitchen while Chris made a run into town for beer flank steak. By the time he got home, I was mashing and smashing pinto beans like nobody’s business.

FYI: If you do not own a potato masher, your meat tenderizer will work wonders for smashing pinto beans.

I just realized that I don’t even know what a potato masher looks like and that the above comment may not make sense at all. ::Off to Google.::

Oxo Good Grips Wire Potato MasherOxo Good Grips Meat Tenderizer

I’m sure that I am not alone in being somewhat culinarily challenged (ok, maybe I am). The device on the left is a potato masher. The device on the right is a meat tenderizer, also works as a potato masher in a pinch.

In my defense, I always thought potato mashers looked like this:

Cuisinart HM-70 Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer, Stainless and White

Ok, so it turns out that those two tools should not be billed as interchangeable. (Trust me, they totally are.) No wonder Chris looked at me so quizzically when he saw what I was doing.

Anyway, when Chris walked into the kitchen, in typical Chris form, he tasted the “refried” beans. “Did you make beans with lard in them? They’re so creamy!”

I immediately knew that at the very least the beans were a home run! And no, I did not use any lard.

I have always said that refried beans with no lard are no good. Why bother eating them? And that refried beans made with lard are supremely unhealthy. Won’t eat those either.

It turns out, that lard-free “refried” beans can be amazing! Thanks Elly!

The big test was to see if our house taco expert would give this creation a thumbs up. Win! They even won the ultimate Duke’s House accolade “Good enough to serve to other people.”

 

Inspired by Elly Says Opa!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth (I used 99% fat-free.)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 6 oz beef, flank or skirt steak would work well
  • 1 tbsp steak seasoning (Just use your favorite kind.)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 oz Manchego cheese, shredded or grated
  • 3 scallions, sliced

Directions:

  • Saute onion in a heavy skillet until tender.
  • Stir in the garlic until fragrant, and then the chicken broth, cumin, beans, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring the mixture to a light boil and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Begin to sauté peppers in a second skillet.
  • As the bean mixture is cooking, cook the beef in a third skillet (or grill pan if you have one), seasoning somewhat aggressively with steak seasoning.
  • Set your oven to 275 degrees and place the corn tortillas inside to warm them slightly.
  • Use a potato masher to press down on the beans, and mash to your desired consistency. If necessary add more broth, or simmer longer to remove moisture.
  • When the beef has finished cooking, remove it from the skillet and chop it very finely.
  • Remove tortillas from the oven, fill with beef, refried beans, sautéd peppers and onions, and top with the Manchego cheese and sliced scallions.

Servings ~ 4 (two tacos per serving)
Calories (per serving) ~ 387, Fat ~ 21 g, Carbohydrates ~ 38 g, Protein ~ 20 g
Calories (per taco) ~ 194, Fat ~ 11 g, Carbohydrates ~ 19 g, Protein ~ 10 g

I am a bit behind in writing my posts, but the Squash ‘Hummus’ and Black Bean Burritos that I proposed last week were fantastic! Not all that surprising, I mean who has ever heard of a bad burrito?

Seriously though, I only made four of them and it was not even close to enough. Exercising careful restraint we were able to stretch them to last for two meals, but like their Sweet Potato and Black Bean counterparts, one is never enough.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Carefully mix the black beans into the squash hummus without smashing up the black beans too much.
  • Place about 1/2 cup of the black bean and squash mixture in each tortilla and fold up burrito style.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 209, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37 g, Protein ~ 14 g

We went all out for breakfast yesterday morning. Ok, maybe not all out, but this was way fancier than our typical breakfasts.

I am an oatmeal girl, at least five days per week. Lately I have been making overnight oats with almond milk and blueberries. Chris favors bagels, two whole wheat un-toasted, no toppings. I don’t think his breakfast choice is exciting enough for me to eat week in and week out, but it is efficient, that’s for sure. As long as he is happy, I am happy!

The divergence from our normal breakfast was due mostly in part to me being sleepy and trying to put off mountain biking for later. I successfully delayed us for at least an hour or so.

These things were awesome! I made mine with four scrambled egg whites instead of the two over-medium eggs pictured, but I understand that egg whites are not so popular with everyone.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cups corn (I used frozen.)
  • 2/3 cups black beans
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 oz jalapeño cheddar, shredded
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 8 tbsp sour cream (I used reduced fat.)
  • diced tomato (optional)
  • hot sauce to taste
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Chop onion, then sauté in a skillet with olive oil spray.
  • Just before the onions turn translucent, add the corn and black beans and continue to cook until all of the ingredients are evenly heated.
  • Cook eggs, over-medium.
  • While eggs are cooking, place tortillas (lightly sprayed with olive oil) in a broiler to heat them until they are pliable.
  • Top each tortilla shell with one egg, several spoonfuls of the black bean mixture, 1/8 avocado (sliced), 1/2 ounce of shredded cheese, and 1 tbsp of sour cream.

Servings ~ 4
Calories (with whole eggs) ~ 553, Fat ~ 34 g, Carbohydrates ~ 41 g, Protein ~ 26 g
Calories (with egg whites) ~ 490, Fat ~ 26 g, Carbohydrates ~ 41 g, Protein ~ 35 g

We made two batches of Black Bean and Mango Salad last week. We finished the first one really quickly, so quickly that I did not feel satisfied that I had eaten enough of it. Within a day or so, I was back at it making more.

The first batch of Black Bean and Mango Salad was eaten as a side with chicken, then again for lunch as a burrito filling. I prefered it as a side, Chris seemed to like it better in a burrito. Figures. We know that he loves burritos in any form and favors foods that do not require him to use plates or silverware.

We ate the second batch of Black Bean and Mango Salad in its first two incarnations and also used it as a salsa with guacamole. The possibilities are endless. I have a feeling that we will be making this stuff often!

Adapted from Branny Boils Over.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 cup diced sweet white onion

Directions:

  • Dice mango, avocado, and onion.
  • Combine with drained black beans.
  • Season with salt and chili powder.
  • Mix in lime juice and cilantro.
  • We are some right away, but it was much better after it was left to marinate for a few hours.

Serves ~ 4
Calories ~ 213, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein 8 g

Mango on Foodista

It has been a while since I did a cooking post. The last few weeks have been crazy at Duke’s House and we are doing well to feed ourselves, let alone try cooking new things. I think our crazy schedule is about to settle down some, so I expect to be back in the cooking game!

As I have mentioned before, Chris loves Mexican food, so when I saw this recipe on Branny’s website I couldn’t wait to try it out. I knew that it would be tasty and healthy and it did not disappoint.

While I was preparing the enchiladas I told Chris, “Just to set your expectations, these are going to be veggie enchiladas. They don’t have any meat in them.”

He replied with, “Brit, most enchiladas are veggie.”

“Yeah, but not quite like these.”

He finally made his way into the kitchen to see what I meant. He had been envisioning gooey, cheese filled, enchilada bliss. What he saw, was a skillet full of squash.

He also saw that I was roasting tomatillos and garlic and making green sauce from scratch. “Brit, you know they sell cans of that stuff, right?”

Of course I know that, but what fun would that be?

The verdict, these were great. I will consider doubling or tripling the recipe for the green sauce next time. I will also consider incorporating queso fresco.

From: Branny Boils Over.

Ingredients (enchiladas):

  • 3 cups (cooked) black beans, about 210 g dry if cooking from dry beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 12-14 5″ corn tortillas
  • (optional) sour cream and hot sauce as a garnish

Ingredients (tomatillo sauce)*:

  • 6-8 tomatillos, husks removed and washed
  • 3 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • water as desired (I did not add any.)

*I will consider doubling or tripling this recipe next time. We like sauce a lot.

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. 
  • Place tomatillos and garlic in a pan for roasting, and spritz with olive oil spray. 
  • Cook 35-40 minutes, turned once or twice, until the vegetables soften.
  • Dice peppers, onion, zucchini, and squash. 
  • Saute vegetables over a medium heat in a pan sprayed with olive oil for several minutes, until the veggies soften.
  • Season with all chili powder, cumin, oregano, and lemon juice. 
  • Add black beans and cook 3-4 minutes longer. 
  • For the green sauce, combine tomatillos, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor. 
  • Process for a few seconds and check to see if water is needed. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency and continue processing until desired texture is achieved.
  • Place 1/3 of the sauce in a saucer or shallow.
  • Slightly warm the tortillas by placing them in the oven briefly.
  • After they are warm enough to be pliable, dip the first corn tortilla into the tomatillo sauce so that it is covered on both sides. 
  • Fill tortilla with several spoonfuls of the bean mixture. 
  • Fold over tightly and place seam side down in a baking pan that has been sprayed with olive oil spray. 
  • Repeat as needed until no filling remains. 
  • Spread the remaining 2/3 portion of the tomatillo sauce over the enchiladas and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Servings ~ 4-5
Calories ~ Difficult to estimate. Branny estimated hers at about 94 calories per enchilada. I think 100 calories per enchilada is a fair ballpark figure, but it is hard to calculate because of varying zucchini and squash sizes, different brands of corn tortillas, different amounts of filling, etc. I would eat 2-3 enchiladas plus some sides for a reasonable dinner.

 This week is a refrigerator clean out week at Duke’s House. Everything (perishable) must go! This should make for some interesting meal combinations.

I decided to tackle the cabbage first because it is least likely to be eaten on its own, and most difficult to come up with creative uses for. Black Bean and Cabbage Burgers are a winner in my book, both in terms of being a great faux burger and an excellent use for cabbage.

On the list for refrigerator elimination this week:

  • Dairy
    • 4 cups plain yogurt
    • 8 cups cottage cheese
    • 1 gallon of milk (well, most of it anyway)
    • 12 oz queso fresco
    • 1.5 cups sour cream 1.25 cups sour cream
  • Fruits and Vegetables
    • 1 jalapeño
    • 3/4 of a green pepper
    • 1 bag scallions
    • 3/4 head cabbage 1/2 head cabbage
    • 1/2 lb. baby spinach
    • 6 apples 5 apples
    • 4 bananas
    • 1.5 cucumbers
    • 2 plum tomatoes
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro
    • 2 avocados
    • 3 onions 2 onions
    • 2 sweet potatoes

I’m taking ideas to use the rest of this stuff in the next 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners. I do not have a solid meal plan in place. I am toying around with taboulli, fish tacos, peanut butter cheesecake mousse, and maybe Curried Lemon Quinoa with Avocado, Craisins, and Raisins. Then again, I like to try new things. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

These burgers held together fairly well, especially the leftover ones and they tasted great. I ate my “burger” on a sandwich thin with spicy sour cream, avocado slices, and spinach.

Chris destroyed his cut his up and ate it as a burrito (as he does with most foods) stuffed with hot sauce, sour cream, raw cabbage, and avocado.

Adapted from The Portobello Kitchen.

Ingredients:
  • 1.75 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of a small head of cabbage
  • 1 tbsp yogurt butter (or your favorite butter or oil to sauté veggies in)
  • 1/2 medium apple
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • splash Tapatio (or other hot sauce)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup bread crumbs

Directions:

  • Sauté the onions and garlic in 1 tbsp yogurt butter.
  • When the onions begin to turn transparent, add the finely sliced cabbage and diced apple.
  • Add the red wine vinegar and the honey to sweeten.
  • Braise on a low heat until the cabbage is soft, around 20 minutes.
  • In a food processor, add the black beans, braised cabbage, the egg, Tapatio, chili powder, and tomato paste and process until well combined.
  • Stir in bread crumbs gradually until mixture reaches desired consistency.
  • Form into patties with your hands.
  • Fry lightly – around 3-4 minutes – on each side. (I sprayed my frying pan with olive oil spray to cook the burgers.)
  • I served this with a spicy sour cream, spinach, and avocado slices on a whole wheat sandwich thin.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 201, Fat ~ 3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 36 g, Protein ~ 9 g

What is even better than falafel in a pita? Falafel in a burrito of course! Everything is better in burrito form, or at least that’s what Chris and I seem to think.

Ingredients (per burrito):

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 4 falafel patties
  • 3 tbsp tzatziki sauce
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced

Directions:

  • Break up falafel patties in small chunks.
  • Fill burrito with falafel, avocado slices, and tzatziki.
  • Enjoy!

We had falafel for breakfast this morning. Not quite a typical breakfast, but that’s ok. I don’t really care which meal we eat at which time of day and I don’t think Chris does either.

I have always liked falafel, but I had never made it before because I did not like that it is usually fried. A few days ago it occurred to me that baked falafel might be an option.

Google says: ‘Yes. Totally possible.”

Cool. Check it out.

 

Adapted from Jewish Recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium potato, baked
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the baked potato into several large chunks.
  • Combine all ingredients in food processor until they are mixed into a chunky paste.
  • Form small patties on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until patties are firm.
  • Serve in a pita with tzatziki sauce.

Servings ~ 5
Calories ~ 190, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 30 g, Protein ~ 8 g