admin / February 9, 2015

It’s Meatless Monday-Chunky Vegetable and Black Bean Chili

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When the weather turns extra cold there’s nothing better than a bowl of something hot and spicy. Chili always seems to fit the bill this time of year. In my latest venture into the world of the vegetarian variety, I kept the vegetables in large pieces, added some mushrooms for more depth of flavor. Final taste boost was a can of black beans. When you top it with sour cream, cheese, chopped avocado, salsa, and then pair it with brown rice, it’s a quick and easy Meatless Monday supper.

Ingredients

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 onion, peeled and chopped into ½ inch pieces

3 carrots peeled and chopped into ¼ inch pieces

1 ½ cups roughly chopped mushrooms

Salt and pepper

1 14 ounce can fire roasted chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon chili powder (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)

Water-I pour it into the empty can of chopped tomatoes and it’s just about the right amount

Oil

Method

In a large pan and over medium high heat, heat the oil and then add the onions, carrots, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for about five minutes until they begin to soften and turn slightly golden brown.

Add the onion and garlic powders, oregano and chili powder and cook a further five minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and then the water and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer for about five minutes and then stir in the black beans.

Cook for another five minutes, adding more water if necessary.

Taste test and add more salt if necessary.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

admin / November 18, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-Sweet Potato and Black Bean Risotto (Plus Arancini)

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There’s nothing I like better than cooking once and eating twice. It’s saves time and money and I think this week’s Meatless Monday double feature fits the bill. The first dish is a risotto and using leftovers you turn it into a tasty treat that’s great as a meal when combined with a salad, or even an appetizer for the upcoming holiday season. I used canned chipotle peppers. They’re hot so a little goes a long way and leftovers I keep in a container in the freezer and use when needed.

For the Risotto
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1 medium size sweet potato cut into small cubes
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup cooked black beans
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (use more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
Good pinch of salt
2 tablespoons oil

For the Arancini
Leftover risotto (I used 2 cups)
½ cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs, Panko style makes a nice crust
Oil for frying
Optional for a dipping sauce- 1 cup mayonnaise mixed with 2 tablespoons mango chutney

To Make the Risotto

In a large saucepan and over medium heat, heat oil and then add the onion and cook for a few minutes until slightly softened.

Add the sweet potato and cook for a few minutes and then add the salt and chipotle pepper and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the sweet potato is softened and slightly browned.

Add the rice and stir well.

Make sure that the vegetable stock is warm and slowly begin adding ½ cup at a time. Once it’s incorporated, add another ½ cup and repeat the process until all the stock is used. The rice should be cooked by now but check and if necessary add more stock.

Serve immediately.
Serves 4

For the arancini
Take the leftover risotto and roll it into balls (slightly smaller than golf ball size)
Place on a plate and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

On a plate spread flour, on another plate, place the beaten egg, on a third, the breadcrumbs.
Roll the risotto balls first in the flour and then then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs.
Set them on a plate and then put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

In a heavy skillet, heat oil (you need about a couple of inches of it or you can deep fry these too)
Add about four of the arancini at a time. They cook quickly, just a few minutes. Remove from pan and place on a plate onto which you’ve put a paper towel to soak up excess oil.

Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Serves 4

admin / February 18, 2011

Bargain Foods-Black Beans

One of my favorite budget foods are beans…and they’re good for you too. No fat,  lots of protein and high in fiber which experts say most of us don’t get enough of these days. Plus, with so many varieties you might never get bored.

Once upon a time I purchased canned beans thinking you couldn’t get much cheaper than that. I had tried dried beans but didn’t like the hassle of soaking them and then standing over the pan to make sure they didn’t boil over on the stove or worse still, stick to the saucepan.

Well, that was until I heard about using the slow cooker. Now I’m hooked and won’t go back to using canned beans other than keeping a few in the pantry for emergency meals.

Slow Cooker to the Rescue

If you have a slow cooker, cooking beans is simple. First of all I wash the beans and then soak them in the slow cooker. Add the beans and enough water to cover them plus about another inch. I let them soak for about four hours then drain and rinse them. I add them back to the slow cooker and add water to cover them plus about 3-4 more inches and let them cook on low for about 6 hours. I’ve been doing this overnight so when I wake up in the morning the beans are cooked and ready for any recipe I want to try.

They Go a Long Way

I estimated that the one pound bag of dried beans I bought for just 99 cents netted about 3 1/2 cans so it’s cheaper and doesn’t take that much time and effort.

Black Beans

This week’s focus is on black beans. They’re great in soups, Mexican dishes and even some stews.

Last week I cooked a one pound back of beans and netted eight black bean and roasted vegetable burgers, a batch of black bean soup for the freezer and some smoky black bean nachos which I’ll give you the recipe for. Not bad for my intial investment of 99 cents.

Black Bean Recipes

There are lots of black bean recipes out there and here is a link to some you might want to try-

http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/cat/365/

Smoky Black Bean Nachos

These are easy to make and taste great as an appetizer or even lunch, and if you wanted to make more of a meal you could add chopped leftover chicken too.

1 cup cooked black beans

1 package Tostitos roasted garlic and black bean flavored Artisan tortilla chips

2 slices Borden Singles Sensations-Hickory Smoked Swiss

2 slices Borden Singles Sensations-Chipotle Chedder

And if you like more cheese 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Sour cream and salsa for dipping

Set the tortilla chips on a baking pan, sprinkle with black beans and tear up the 4 slices of Singles Sensation evenly over the chips, then add the shredded cheese and heat in the oven for about 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until all the cheese has melted.

If you can’t find the Bordens cheese, try tossing the beans with some smoked paprika before adding them to the chips for a smoky flavor, same goes for the chipotle. If you can’t find this cheese trying sprinkling some chipotle seasoning over regular cheese.

Serves 2 as a meal or 4-6 as an appetizer

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