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Archive for the ‘DF’ Category

Red Beans and Rice

Here’s another super simple cool weather comfort food in which you can use homemade or canned beans! A traditional New Orleans flavor party, but not so spicy that nobody can handle it! This came out so super yummy, and at a D-level heat, is acceptable for anyones spicy preference! Of course, if you’d like to increase the heat to S&J level, you can always add in a jalapeño or other favorite hot pepper. Although you serve this with rice, you could also serve some corn muffins or a whole wheat tortilla along side it just to increase the comfort factor. To me, cornbread is always so comforting…

Ingredients:

2 TBSP olive oil
1/2-1 a large yellow onion, finely diced
2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 C tomato sauce
1/4 C water
few dashes hot sauce (like tobasco) *optional, I’m personally not a fan so I omit
2 15-oz cans kidney beans, rinsed well in a strainer
1 TBSP fresh cilantro
4 C hot cooked rice (from 1 C raw rice)

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and green pepper, and saute until the pepper is very tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Sprinkle in the chili powder, oregano, and paprika, and cook 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato sauce, water, hot sauce, and kidney beans, and simmer about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and fragrant. Stir in the fresh cilantro and serve over rice, sprinkled with any extra cilantro if you like.

Instead of serving corn muffins, I opted for corn, green beans, and a whole wheat tortilla to serve alongside the red beans and rice. I also used brown rice, but white would be acceptable if you’re running short on time. Just remember that if you use brown rice and you don’t already have some made, start the rice before you start chopping the veg for the red beans, then it should be ready at the same time the red beans are done.

Happy Cooking!

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Three-Bean Chili

This is a quick bean chili…quick to make, and goes quick! It’s so tasty and comforting – even though it’s not even winter, let alone autumn..but I guess you can’t argue with Mother Nature. When she brings a cold spell, eat chili regardless of what the calendar says! Now, all I had on hand were garbanzos, black, and cannellini…and even though it still tastes good..I think I would’ve opted for pinto over the garbanzos if I had them. It just goes to show that sometimes when you make do, good things can happen! 🙂 Maybe even toss in kidney beans in place of the cannellini next time for a change of pace! It pairs well with cornbread or even homemade flour tortillas. Mmm..I’m hungry all over again! Time for seconds…

S&J-level heat (see below)

*Note: I used 1/2 C dried beans, which I assume equates to about 1-1.5 C cooked bean…and play around with bean combo’s!

Ingredients:

2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2-1 onion, cut into 1/4-in dice
1 jalapeños, minced (or diced if you don’t mind the texture); optional seed removal for heat control
1 thai pepper, minced and optional seed removal for heat control
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C chili powder
2 TBSP cumin
1.5 C cooked (or 1 15-oz can) Kidney or Cannellini, drained and rinsed
1.5 C cooked (or 1 15-oz can) Garbanzo or Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 C cooked (or 1 15-oz can) Black beans, drained and rinsed
3.5 C (or 1 28-oz can) diced tomatoes
1/2-3/4 C frozen corn
2 C vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

Directions:

*if you’re using dried beans, soak overnight submerged in water. the following morning, cook per bean cooking times (garbanzos, black, and cannellini all take on average 1-1.5 hours; pintos take about 2-2.5 hrs)
1. In a medium soup pot, heat the oil until hot. Add onion, jalapeños and garlic. Cook over moderately high heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add chile powder, cumin, and corn. Cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Stir in the cooked beans, tomatoes, broth and bring to a simmer.


4. Simmer the chili over moderately low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cilantro and a slice of cornbread.

**I would say that for those who aren’t partial to super spicy, go with 1 jalapeño with most seeds removed and no thai pepper – this means you Dad..and Nikki 😉 Maybe I should start labeling things “Dad-level” vs. “Sara&Jo-level” when discussing how hot and spicy something is..hmm…excellent! As written, this recipe is definitely of the S&J-level..and should be toned down by approximately half (by eliminating one pepper, and full seed removal of the other) for D-level heat – of course, you can always work your way up to S&J, and if it gets too spicy for your palate, add more broth and tomatoes and definitely eat this with cornbread or some other bread, or even tortilla chips to cool your palate.

Happy Cooking!

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Strawberry Sorbet à la Dad

So over the weekend, I went to Houston to visit dad and help him with doing some finishing touches on his new back porch. And by finishing touches I mean, plant a plant or two and spend hours in the kitchen making yummy food for him to eat on for the rest of the week after I leave. At least I know he’s eating healthy and vegan for a week, if nothing else. One of the things we did this weekend was learn how to make sorbet. We went to the farmers market and picked up the veg I needed, but they had some strawberries that couldn’t be passed up. Dad’s vote for the strawberries – sorbet! So later that night after dinner, he said…”give me 20 minutes and I’ll be ready for sorbet.” To which I replied, “well, we better get in the kitchen then, since it takes about 20 minutes to make.” So we go into the kitchen, I guide him through the steps, and voilà…sorbet! And he did it all himself!! Good show Dad! 🙂

Ingredients:

1 pint strawberries, washed and hulled
up to 3 C (final volume) margarita (or lime juice)
agave nectar to sweeten to taste

Directions:

1. Wash and hull the chilled strawberries, and place in blender. Blend until smooth, and check the volume.
2. Add enough chilled margarita or lime juice to bring it up to 3 Cups liquid. Give it a taste, and sweeten it to your liking with nectar if necessary.
3. Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Either divide into serving glasses and eat, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 20 minutes before serving to let it set up.

You can opt to top with sprinkles like Dad wanted to do…which creates a festive dessert!

Happy Freezing!

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I know that the kids of my generation will remember those Orange PushUps from the ice cream man, with the polka dotted cardboard and pushing up the sorbet before it could melt all over your hand from underneath! Ah, the good old days…summertime and sticky hands…ah! So what is an adult to do when you want to recapture a bit of youth – make orange sorbet with an optional shot of vodka! Ha ha! And best of all, I didn’t have to make any simple syrup since I used agave nectar!! This sorbet comes out so slushy good, you’ll wish you had a pushup container to eat it from!

Ingredients:

1.5 C fresh squeezed orange juice
1.5 C orange juice (prepackaged)
1 C agave nectar
1 TBSP vodka *optional

Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Mine took about 25 minutes. Place in freezer-acceptable container, and freeze for about an hour before enjoying!!

Happy Freezing!

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After chatting with Jo about this new dish I came up with over the weekend, we’ve decided to create a whole new category. The current category, SOP, is for those recipes that should be standard operating procedure in any kitchen. This new category, DF, will be for those recipes which are ‘Dad-friendly.’ The criteria for DF recipes are as follows: minimal input ( <5 minutes prep), maximum output (multiple meals from one prep, tons of veg, super healthy). I was chatting with Dad on Friday night and he was all excited about the sun tea, yada yada. And I asked him if he’d made the red beans and rice soup recipe I posted just for him! His excuse, ‘I’ve been so busy with the back porch that I don’t have time to cook.’ This prompted me to circumvent this excuse by concocting something so simple that he wouldn’t be able to say he doesn’t have time or energy to cook. This category will take neither time nor energy to put together! For our maiden voyage into DF-territory, I give you Baked Rice Casserole! There is minimal prep (maybe 5 minutes of effort), but it does take some time in the oven, so plan accordingly (at least 1.5 hrs) – hey, there is no perfect system, we’re not the Jetsons 🙂 ! This recipe makes about 6-8 servings…

Ingredients:

1 C brown basmati, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, slightly drained (but you’ll want some of the juice)
1 TBSP pre-minced garlic
1 TBSP pre-minced shallots
2 C vegetable broth
1 C grape tomatoes
3/4 C frozen corn
1 C baby spinach
fresh herbs, 1 tsp each: oregano, thyme, sage; torn with fingers
1 sprig, fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 C frozen peas (all depends on how much you love peas – I like about 1 C)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Dump all ingredients, except the peas and cilantro, into a deep casserole dish or dutch oven. Stir to combine.


2. Bake in oven, covered, 1 hour 15 minutes. After 1 hour 15 minutes, uncover and cook an additional 20 minutes.

3. Add peas, and cook an additional 10-15 min – until all the moisture is absorbed and the rice is done.

4. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes, stir in fresh cilantro. Serve with steamed or grilled vegetables or even tamales (I’m jealous), wrapped in a tortilla topped with fresh pico de gallo or tomatillo salsa for a burrito meal, or over tortilla chips topped with salsa for a nacho-style meal. You could also squeeze some fresh lime juice onto the finished dish for a tangy kick! This would also make a good stuffing (once baked) for stuffed peppers… The possibilities are endless!!

If you have some leftover rice (already cooked), use it (about 1.5-2 C)! It’ll cut down on the baking time…
Possible veg additions if you don’t mind chopping: tomatillos, red bell pepper, spicy pepper (if you want heat), even red potatoes cut into small cubes…
Possible spice additions: 1 tsp of chili powder, garlic powder (for extra garlicky goodness), cumin…any favorite spice you like! Or even use Indian spices for a more curry flavor..mm…

Variations: You could exchange out the brown rice for millet or quinoa – which I suspect would cut down on the baking time. You could check at 1 hour, and either option would probably (but hasn’t been personally tested) be done, but you’ll have to check. Using either millet or quinoa would also make this gluten-free

Happy Baking!

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Continuing with National Men’s Health Week… I’m giving you healthy items for the grill – allowing you to grill without that pesky death getting in the way.

Yesterday I gave you Black Bean Burgers, to which I suggested serving with potato wedges. But here’s a twist on a personal favorite. I love potatoes, and I love Jo’s Favorite Potatoes with spices like cayenne & garlic. The twist is that you can grill them instead of roasting. Yes, grilled new potatoes with yummy red pepper seasoning.

And since this is National Men’s Health Week – let’s talk about a few of the health benefits of cayenne, shall we. (We like our men healthy, but these benefits apply to women as well!) Cayenne has traditionally been used to improve circulation (including blood pressure) and stomach aches. It is known as a stimulant, and since it induces perspiration (but only in hot temperatures, not cold), it can help rid the body of toxins. As a stimulant it helps induce the peristaltic motion of the intestines, aiding in assimilation and elimination.

So put on that sweat-cap and cook up some veggie burgers, corn on the cob, and these spicy potatoes! This recipe serves 4 as a side.

Ingredients:

Olive oil for coating
24 small new potatoes (if you can’t find new potatoes, use red potatoes but cut to about 1-1.5 inch cubes)
2 Tbs. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or hot paprika, or to taste
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat and oil the grill rack. If the potatoes are very small, have ready a grill basket to keep them from falling through the grill rack into the fire, or use skewers.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook them just until they can be pierced with a knife but are not completely tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and pat dry.
3. Put the potatoes in a large bowl and coat with oil. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and salt. Toss the potatoes with the spice mixture until well coated.
4. Grill the potatoes directly over medium-high heat, turning often, until nicely browned and tender, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Garnish with fresh cilantro & serve immediately.

Happy Grilling!
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SOP: Margarita

There are certain things everybody should have in their recipe repertoire, and should know how to make properly as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Anyone who knows me, knows how particular I am about my margaritas. First of all for those of you outside the state of Texas, this may come as a shock, but you need fresh lime juice – NOT SWEET AND SOUR! If it’s not lime juice, it’s not a margarita! If you don’t feel like juicing limes, use limeade (frozen or bottled, but not that bottle of ‘lime juice’ that comes in the shape of a lime). The recipe is not hard and doesn’t contain a multitude of ingredients, which is why I’m often surprised at life’s little quirks and how people have trouble making this satisfactorily.

Ingredients:

1 C high quality tequila (Patron is preferable; Jose Cuervo is never acceptable)
3/4-1 C triple sec (DeKuyper’s is my personal preference)
2 C lime juice or limeade

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a shaker. Shake to mix. Pour into margarita glasses and enjoy!
*You can salt the rims of your glasses; I prefer not to salt my glasses – I don’t want anything tainting my enjoyment of such a lovely refreshing beverage.

Variation: This can be turned into frozen margaritas by blending with ice. They decrease in potency when you blend them with ice – so if that’s what you’re after, fine, but if not you’ll need to increase the liquor.

This recipe will serve 3-4 girls (one round) while getting dressed for the evening. If you want to make a pitcher, scale up the recipe. The key is to keep the lime juice to tequila ratio at 2:1 (and I usually add equal amounts of tequila and triple sec – but I’ve been told my margarita’s can knock the socks off AND blow up the skirts). If you like a more limey tart ‘rita, go with 3/4 C triple sec; if you like a more blended sweet-yet-tart appeal go with equal parts liquors. If using fresh squeezed lime juice, and it’s to tart for your delicate palate, add a smidgen of sugar or nectar.

Mix responsibly!

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