Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Week 5: Canned Refried Beans, Cannellini, Black and Pinto Beans

I love cooking towards specific holidays and events.  So, while no one here actually watches the Super Bowl (aside from the commercials that we DVR to watch later), it does feel like an appropriate time for chili!  My recipe is heavily adapted from the original Weight Watchers "Spicy Turkey-Bean Chili" in Simply The Best (page 144, 1997)

I've made many chili recipes over the years.  I crave this one.  It's superb.  It can also be made vegan with Boca Crumbles... I simply sub Crumbles for the turkey, scale the Crumbles back and increase the beans...still superb!

Ariella's Four-Bean Chili

  • PAM
  • 3 lbs lean ground turkey (or Boca Crumbles for a vegetarian version)
  • 2 large or 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 6-12 cloves garlic, minced, to taste
  • 1.5-2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 + teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ~1 Tablespoon salt (to taste)
  • 1+ Tablespoon(s) sugar
  • 1 15-oz can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans
  • 1 15-oz can black beans
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans
  • 2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies
  • 1 8-oz can tomato paste
  • 3 15-oz cans diced stewed tomatoes

  1. Heat large dutch oven over medium heat.  Once warm, cover bottom of pot with PAM.  Add chopped onions, ground turkey (or Crumbles), minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, bay leaves and salt.  Cook, stirring as needed, until turkey is cooked through.
  2. Add refried beans and tomato paste.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add tomatoes, beans and chilies; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring as needed, until flavors are well blended, ~1 hour.  Add sugar, to taste, once it has cooked a while, to get a better idea of how much to add.
  4. Will be tastier after 24-48 hours.
  5. Serve over rice or cole slaw, with a side of cornbread.  This is also delightful over a baked potato!

Have a great week!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Week 4: Canned Chickpeas

My good friend Karin gave me a recipe this week.  For Chocolate Chip Cookies from Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.  The trick...they had chickpeas in them.  Yes, chickpeas.  I couldn't help but be curious, and so I had to try them.

I followed the recipe, as seen below.  I didn't use the optional ingredients.  I made two dozen as the recipe called for and then I added dry finely grated coconut and made the remainder.  While I didn't love the original, the coconut addition is superb.  

  • 1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 3/4 cup trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread (I used Earth Balance brand)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups (12-ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional - I didn't use)
  • 3/4 cup raisins (optionals - I didn't use)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (my optional addition)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and margarine with a wooden spoon or on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the egg whites and vanilla, then the chickpeans and chocolate chips.  Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.
  3. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.  Press gently with a fork to flatten.  Bake until the cookies are golden brown and just set, 11 to 13 minutes; do not overbake.  Transfer to a rack to cool.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Coconut version, ready to bake:

Plain version, baked:

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Week 3: Christmas Lima Beans

As seen in my most recent post, I placed a sizable order to North Bay Trading Company, which arrived this past week.  Staring at 32 different choices of what to try this week was a bit daunting.  And exhilarating.

After staring at the choices for longer than I had time to do so, I picked "Christmas Lima Beans".  They are beautiful beans!  

They are also Beans of Unusual Size:

I sorted, rinsed and then soaked overnight, at which point they became ginormous, and changed color slightly:

Not entirely certain what I was going to make with them yet, I decided to plainly cook them...after draining them from soaking overnight, I placed them in a pot, covered with a couple inches of water.  I added a bay leaf and brought them to a boil.  Then I lowered the heat and they simmered ~hour, until soft.  I took them off the heat, added ~2 teaspoons of salt and let them sit ~10-15 minutes.  Finally, I drained them (as I was certain I didn't need the soup-liquid).

They changed color once again, but were still beautiful.  And delicious.  They're nearly meaty, yet creamy, in texture with a nutty / chestnut flavor.  Did I mention they're delicious?

Well, that's all well and good, and I am certain I could eat the entire pound one by one as a snack, but that's not going to feed my  After searching, I had found a recipe on Culinate out of the book Heirloom Beans by Vanessa Barrington and Steve Sando.  The only problem is...I don't like beets.  Or at least not much.  And my husband feels even stronger against beets than I do.  But, I was intrigued with the idea of the recipe.  However, as I went the more it morphed from the original (for instance, after a taste-test, I can't imagine adding the dressing to my version) and into what follows, which is probably influenced by my Texan youth and love of guacamole...

Christmas Lima Bean, Quinoa and Avocado Salad

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups cooked, well-drained, Christmas Lima Beans
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 10-15 grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • salt, to taste

  1. Cook your quinoa (I use my rice cooker)
  2. Cook your Christmas Lima Beans, plainly (see above)
  3. Chop your red onion, grape tomatoes and avocado
  4. Mix all ingredients.
  5. Salt to taste.
  • I am serving it with a green salad and corn chips.

Also, the three cups I put in this left me with ~3+ more!  Woo-hoo!! Some to snack on make something else with!

Have a great week!

Beans, Beans, Beans and Lentils, too!

Admittedly, I may have gotten a bit carried away.  After searching online for a place to order a variety of dried beans, my mother suggested North Bay Trading Company.  I may have spent too much time searching and too much money buying, but hey, this is my schtick for the year, right?  Right!

Shortly after placing my order (far faster their their "will-be-there-by" date) a heavy box arrived!  I was giddy.  Thankfully, I will spare you the picture of me being giddy.  But I will show you the contents!

That's right!  A total of 32 pounds of future goodness!  Twenty-five different beans and seven different lentils!  Yum, yum, yum! 

The biggest challenge is what to choose for Week 3!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Week 2: Brown Lentils

Another week, another legume!  I placed a huge order this past week for a variety of various legumes, but for now I am sticking with what was already in my pantry / recipes I've made for years.  Which leads us to brown lentils and Spinach Lentil Soup.  I thought I originally got this recipe from a Weight Watchers cookbook ~10-15 years ago.  I went through all of my Weight Watchers cookbooks and none of the recipes resembled this one.  And by resembled...this recipe has morphed, drastically, over the years.  Below is it's current iteration... 

Spinach Lentil Soup

  • 1 pound brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1-2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 8-12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-10 dried hot peppers (to taste)
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 4-5 cups spinach, raw, washed, drained & chopped

  1. Place sorted and rinsed lentils in large pot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender (~25-35 minutes). If too much water cooks out, add more.  Have lentils a little "soupy"/excess water prior to adding the tomato/onion mixture.
  4. While lentils are simmering, warm oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add cumin seeds and sizzle until fragrant, 20-30 seconds.
  6. Add the thinly sliced onion and minced garlic and stir-fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, hot peppers, salt and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil. Simmer 3-5 minutes.
  8. Once the tomato/onion mixture has simmered, pour into the pot of lentils, simmering the combined mixture, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended (~15 minutes).
  9. Stir in spinach just before serving.
  • It is delicious served over rice.  
  • Cornbread is another delightful accompaniment.

Hopefully by next week my order of legumes will have arrived and I'll try something I've never tried before.  If I get my act together, I'll also try to take pictures of the order, once it arrives!  Until then, have a great week!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Week 1: Black Eyed Peas

Growing up in Texas, it was traditional to eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day, which is likely where the concept for this blog / year of legumes grows from.  I remember my mother and grandmother making Rio Grande Black Eyed Peas most of my youth, specifically for our New Year's Day tradition.  Over the years I've adapted the recipe to suit my needs (including during my vegetarian & vegan years).  Sadly, I do not have a proper attribution for this recipe, although I can say with certainty it was via Texas...

Rio Grande Black Eyed Peas

  • oil (olive oil, PAM, etc)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6-9 cloves minced garlic
  • 2-10 dried hot peppers (to taste)
  • 10 oz ground sausage (turkey works perfectly)
  • 1 lb dried black eyed peas
  • 2 cans crushed/diced/stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

  1. Heat pot over medium high heat, adding PAM, or small amount of oil to coat bottom of the pan.
  2. Add minced garlic and hot peppers to heated oil in skillet.  Cook a few minutes, to "release the flavors".  
  3. Add onions and loose sausage.  Cook over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through.
  4. Add peas and seasonings and water to cover by ~1 inch.  
  5. Cook until peas are tender (length of time depends whether you soaked them overnight or not).  
  6. Lastly, add tomatoes & their juice and cook for ~10 more minutes.
  • For a vegetarian version, I've used Boca "crumbles" and been thoroughly content with results.
  • It is delicious served over cole slaw or rice.  
  • Cornbread is another delightful accompaniment. 

Happy New Year!