Monday, June 27, 2011

Black Beans and Rice

{Meatless Monday}

I have used the same, simple recipe for YEARS to make black beans and rice.  I have also had another recipe in my box from years ago that I cut out of Better Homes and Garden.  For some reason, I have never gotten around to making this one until now...and I will never go back!  It is so flavorful.  My old one has diced tomatoes in it and it was a little more bland.  But this one has red wine vinegar and cumin that gives it a wonderful taste.  It is very simple and a very inexpensive dinner!

 I recently canned black beans with the help of my mother (since it was my first time with a pressure canner--I thought I'd enlist some experience!).   My 26 lb. bag of dry black beans cost me just under $17.  Unbelievably...I got the equivalent of 100 pints out of that bag!  Can you say cheap??  So for one pint (a bit more than one can worth), the beans cost 17 cents!
This is about half of what I got...the rest are already down in storage in our crawl space.    I use A LOT of black beans since I started using black bean puree as an oil substitute in my muffins, quick breads, brownies, and my banana or zucchini cakes.  It makes them SO moist and works TONS better than applesauce.  AND you are adding protein instead of extra sugar!  (More on that later!!  I am planning on posting my favorite recipes to substitute!)

Here's what you need:
2 cups long grain rice--cook to your preference.  I use 2 tsp. bouillon and 4 cups water.

1 med. onion, chopped
1 large green or red pepper, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 15 oz. cans black beans--undrained
1 c. chicken broth
2 T red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup green onions, optional for garnish

Saute the onion, green/red pepper, and garlic in 2 T olive oil until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the beans, broth, vinegar, bay leaves, black pepper, cumin, and salt.

Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.  ( I actually don't cover mine at all...I let some of the liquid boil off while it simmers.)

Remove the bay leaves.  Serve over rice, topped with green onions.

Super easy and a quick inexpensive thing to throw together!  We will be having this at least every other week now.  It's a great way to stretch the food budget since I've already got the canned beans!! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spinach and Feta Pasta

Wow...this summer has thrown me for a loop!  I just cannot get anything accomplished and have 5 kids at home!!  We are having a good time and the kids have been enjoying art/dance classes and some swimming lessons.  But I am having the hardest time getting the things done that I need to get done!

Here's a recipe I made quite a while ago from Our Best Bites.

Here's what you need:
8 oz. Penne Pasta
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (with your favorite seasonings)
3 c. fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4-6 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 oz. feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta according to directions.  Meanwile, heat a little oil in a skillet over medium and add onions, garlic, and mushrooms.  Cook until tender. 

Add spinach and cook until just wilted.


Add tomatoes, and heat through. 

Mix with drained pasta and feta cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Heat and serve warm with some fresh bread!

This is a really easy, healthy meal.  Plus, I think everything (well, almost everything!) tastes better with some feta!
Hope you are having a great summer!  And if you aren't accomplishing much (like me!), well...
hopefully you are at least enjoying some time with your kids!  I am!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Greek Spinach-Pasta Salad

{Meatless Monday}

I got this one from my Better Homes and Gardens that magazine!  I have been subscribing for well over a decade and I just don't think I'll ever stop!  ; )

Here's what you need for this salad:

6-oz. pkg. fresh baby spinach
1 can (15 oz.) Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), snipped
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh oregano
1 T fresh lemon thyme or thyme
1/2 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
12 oz. dried cavatappi (twist) or farfalle (bowtie) pasta
 Shaved or shredded parmesan

In a large serving bowl combine spinach, beans, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, lemon peel and juice, oil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover; let stand at room temperature while preparing pasta or up to 2 hours; stirring occasionally. 

Shortly before serving, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Toss cooked pasta and pasta water with spinach salad mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.
I only had elbow macaroni the first time I made it, but have since made it with the twist pasta and I liked it better.  This is a light and fresh salad that is perfect for summer.