Posts Tagged ‘beans’

When Meatless Isn’t By Choice {Coconut, Kale and Sweet Potato Stew}

Monday, April 8th, 2013

food bloggers against hungerI’ve said before that one of the reasons we participate in Meatless Monday is to allow our budget to accomodate better meat when we do eat it — local, grassfed meats are significantly more expensive than your average supermarket selection but it’s something I believe very strongly in. After all, I believe the farmers who grow and raise our food deserve to earn a fair living so they can feed their own families. Today, though, I’m joining other bloggers to once again raise awareness of the critical need for food assistance for far too many children and families in our communities — and attempting to make a healthy family meal for under $5. While there are ways to stretch your budget at the farmers market, it’d be nearly impossible to eat meat seven nights a week on a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) budget.

The good news is that there are a growing number of farmers markets that take SNAP dollars, and better yet, markets that offer matching dollars (including several FRESHFARM Markets here in DC) that can help those receiving assistance to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. The recipe below uses sweet potatoes and kale which are still in season at local markets, but I bought the ingredients for this meal at Giant, a local supermarket chain. It was disappointing to see how difficult it is to buy organic produce on a budget. Many organic items are pre-packaged — which is fine if you can fit five onions into your weekly menu, but I only needed half of one. Same with the sweet potatoes. In canned goods, the store brand organics were more in line with conventional. And when it came to the coconut milk, one Thai brand in the Asian section was significantly less than the American brand (yet the coconut comes from Thailand regardless).

Here’s a quick price check at the supermarket:

organic at the supermarket from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

And here’s how my recipe added up:

1/2 bunch organic kale ………….. .38
1/2 yellow onion …………………… .47
1 sweet potato …………………….. 1.34
1 can organic garbanzo beans .. 1.29
1 can coconut milk ……………… 1.69
= $5.17 ….
and that’s assuming you have olive oil, chicken stock, curry powder and brown rice on hand/in the pantry.

Get the recipe for my coconut, kale and sweet potato stew below — but first, here’s how you can help.

TAKE ACTION: Charity is not enough. The only way for hunger to be eliminated in America is if policies change, so it’s important we make our voices heard.

1. Take 30 seconds and send a letter to Congress asking them to support anti-hunger legislation. The more letters we submit, the better!

2. See the film A Place At The Table in your city or on demand through iTunes and Amazon. (Watch the trailer below.)

3. Spread the word. Share this post, or the link to contact Congress, on Facebook, Twitter (#TakeYourPlace), or through good old-fashioned email.

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And now for the recipe…

coconut kale sweet potato stew ingredients

Recipe: Cocount, Kale & Sweet Potato Stew
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 bunch (about 1/3 pound) kale, rinsed, steams removed and coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Cook rice according to package instructions.

2. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add curry powder and stir, cooking 1 additional minute.

2. Add sweet potato and stock and bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender when pricked with fork.

3. Add garbanzo beans, coconut milk and kale. Stir and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Remove from heat, season with salt to taste. Serve over brown rice.

coconut kale and sweet potato stew foodietots

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Hope all you mamas out there had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend!

I’m not sure if he heard about it somewhere or came up with it on his own, but around the start of the school year the boy declared that Tuesdays were for tacos, and so our Taco Tuesday tradition was born. Now we’re fortunate to have a great taco place in the neighborhood (District Taco for you locals), but I try to do it at home most weeks. The kids are really into bean and cheese “tacos” (they’re really more of a quesadilla or burrito, but no need to get technical) which makes it even easier as I can make a pot of beans ahead of time, and then quickly cook some chicken breasts or fish when we want a little more protein. For meatless nights, we just use a generous scoop of beans, fresh avocado and tomato and some queso fresco. Having recently conquered my fear of the slow cooker, it was high time to try beans in the crock pot.

I’ve read conflicting things about soaking dried beans and Rancho Gordo recommends cooking the beans in the soaking water to retain nutrients, so I took their advice. You can drain and fill with fresh water if you prefer. Rancho Gordo makes gorgeous heritage bean varieties unlike any beans you’ll find in the supermarket, so they’re worth seeking out if you can. Or, just use your favorite brand of dried beans. The Rio Zape beans I used here are like pinto beans, but bigger and very flavorful. I just added a few things to season the cooking water and let them go all day. They were perfect by dinner time.

slow cooker rio zape (pinto) beans

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pinto Beans (or Rio Zape)
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Rio Zape or pinto beans
  • water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 4-ounce can mild Hatch green chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt

Instructions:

1. The night before: Rinse and pick over beans. Place in slow cooker bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight.

2. In the morning, add garlic, chilies and bay leaf. Add additional water to cover beans by one inch. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours, until desired tenderness.

3. Season with salt to taste and serve. Can freeze leftover beans; be sure to include some of the liquid to keep them from drying out when reheated.

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Do you have a themed dinner night at your house? If not, try it! It’s a fun way to get kids involved in planning the meal. Getting to have chips and salsa at dinner, just like at our favorite Mexican restaurant, makes our Taco Tuesday extra special.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Monday, March 5th, 2012

When she heard I was finally conquering my slow cooker phobia, my friend Jill was quick to share her favorite black bean soup recipe. I made a few substitutions, starting with vegetable broth instead of chicken to make it Meatless Monday-friendly. Instead of the spicy serrano pepper I used a canned chipotle pepper with a bit of the adobo sauce, which gave it just a subtle flavor kick. (In fact, I may serve it with some sliced jalapeños for the adults, next time.) And as Jill noted in her instructions to me, don’t skimp on the lime juice, which really brightens the flavors of this soup.

slow cooker black bean soup

Tofu-fearing- and bean-adverse-husband wasn’t wild about it (“needs bacon,” he suggested), but both kids devoured their bowls — which counts as a definite win in my book. We were out of tortilla chips so I toasted some corn tortillas to serve on the side.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2009

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (chipotle canned in adobo sauce)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

Rinse beans, place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak overnight, then drain.

Combine beans, broth, onion, garlic, water, cumin, bay leaves, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 10 hours.

Discard bay leaves. Add lime juice and salt, then serve. Top with sour cream and chopped cilantro.

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This post is shared with SoupaPaloozaCome join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset.

20 Minute Cider Black Beans with Bacon

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

A confession: I avoided black beans for nearly a decade, after being scarred by my mother’s frequent cooking of them during my high school years. Thanks to the open floor plan of my childhood home, the scent wafted throughout the house relentlessly. I don’t know why it was so offensive at the time, but just the mention of black beans made me nauseous for years after I left home.

Fast forward a few years, with a new baby in the house, and it became unavoidable as I researched real food options for babies that I would, in fact, have to learn to cook black beans. (Black beans are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium and folate.) It was one thing to order black beans on the side when out to eat, but I still shied away from making them at home.

cider black beans with bacon

Recently, the boy requested that we start observing “Taco Tuesday.” Now, he doesn’t eat tacos, but that didn’t deter him from the idea. He figured I’d make him a quesadilla and the rest of us would have tacos. For week one, I made these cider baked beans and pork carnitas. Week two I had less time, so used chicken breast for the meat — but the boy was so excited about the beans that he decided to try a bean and cheese “taco” (really, more like a burrito). And last night he asked for it again — so I think we have a winner on our hands. Now, I also used bacon in the beans — so it’s not a meatless recipe — but it won praise from my previously bean-adverse husband as well.

You could use dried beans and cook this the slow way — but thanks to my favorite Eden Foods canned beans (BPA-free and no added salt), this can be ready in 20 minutes flat. Just enough time to warm tortillas and prep the other taco fillings and accompaniments. (I think half the reason the boy requested taco night was for the all-important tortilla chips and salsa.) Thanks to the Washington Post, whose recipe for cider baked beans inspired me to add the sweet boiled cider here.

Recipe: Cider Black Beans with Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons boiled cider*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch salt and black pepper

Instructions:

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add beans, stir and cook one minute. Add boiled cider and water and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring just once or twice, for about 15 minutes (until most of the liquid is absorbed). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with brown rice, tortillas, and thinly sliced peppers, shredded carrots or other favorite vegetables. Makes 4 servings.

[*Note: if you don't have boiled cider on hand, replace the boiled cider and water with fresh apple cider. Alternatively, you could swap it for pure maple syrup.]

Do you have a theme dinner night at your house?

Panzanella with Cannellini Beans

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Looking for a no-cook summer supper idea? How about one that uses up almost-overripe tomatoes and stale bread? Panzanella is an Italian summer salad that is best made with the ripest summer tomatoes you can find — and the perfect way to use those tomatoes sitting on your kitchen counter.

Panzanella can be served as a side dish or the main course — because I was serving this for Meatless Monday, I added cannellini (or white kidney) beans to boost the protein content. A good quality cheese — parmigiano reggiano or my personal favorite, a sharp pecorino — is a great finishing touch. Because I use canned beans to save time (see note below), I like to cook them with a little garlic first to add flavor. You can omit that step if you prefer, or if you’re more organized than I and cook dried beans ahead of time.

Recipe: Panzanella with Cannellini Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf day-old Italian bread
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans*
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large, very ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • parmigiano or pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus 1 tablespoon for the beans)
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper

* I use Eden brand organic, BPA-free canned beans

Instructions: Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Rinse and drain the canned beans, then add them to the pan, stirring to combine with the garlic. Cook on low for 5 minutes.

In a large salad bowl, pour the bread cubes, cooked beans, tomatoes and basil. Separately, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Drizzle over the salad and toss gently to combine. Let the salad sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes to let the flavors meld before eating. Just before serving, grate some cheese over top. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

Note: this recipe depends on juicy tomatoes to moisten the salad — if your salad seems dry, add additional olive oil and vinegar to taste.