Sunday, February 27, 2011

Easy Black Beans and Rice

I've been posting a lot of simple recipes lately. In that same spirit, here's some beans and rice.  I don't mean to be boring; this is just my current favorite way to cook beans and rice.  It takes about only 10 minutes of active time and has the taste of real comfort food.

On the upshot, since we do a lot of our own cooking, when we go out, we don't feel so bad about being swanky.  Here's where we went last night!  The atmosphere is really urban and the walls have some great exposed brick.  Will definitely be back for Moscow Mules and foie gras bon bons.

Black Beans and Rice 
(slightly adapted from Simply Recipes)
About 6 servings
  • 2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced 
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 16-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained (note: we accidentally picked up refried black beans the last time we made this, and it was AMAZING!!)
  • 4 Tbsp white vinegar
  • About 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Cook rice (about an hour).
2 Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high. Sauté onions and bell peppers for 3-4 minutes, until just beginning to soften, then add garlic and sauté a minute more. Add the black beans, vinegar and Tabasco. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
3 Stir in rice and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, February 25, 2011

(never home)maker: Blogtastic Open Mic Submission

Hey all!

I'm participating in (never home)maker's Blogtastic Open Mic Day!  Basically, bloggers submit a post of them do something creative.  So, here's a video of Todd and I lindy-hoppin!

This dance, like social dancing, is not choreographed, which is one of the things that makes lindy-hop so fun!  Lindy hop started as a street dance in the 1930s.  Check here for some awesome old school lindy-hop clips!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

I'll tell you right now, this meal is not the most appetizing one to prepare.  Ideally, someone else will make it for you.  It gets a little funny looking when you add the cream cheese, which kind of eeked me out to begin with---cream cheese in a Mexican themed casserole?!?

This dish is rated highly on Cara's Cravings, so I thought I'd give it a shot, and it's actually pretty good!  Todd especially enjoyed it because it's different from the things we normally make.  It has about 15 grams of fat, so I won't be making it everyday, but aside from that, I think this recipe's a keeper.

Note: The 15 grams of fat is for FOUR servings (i.e. split your 9 x 13 dish into four servings!).  That's a lot of food!

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole
(serves 4 ridiculously hungry people, from Cara's Cravings)
1 diced onion
2-3, cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced 
1 medium summer squash, diced 
1 large red bell pepper, diced 
freshly ground salt & pepper
1-2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder (or, to taste)
1 tsp oregano
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
mini can of green chilies
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
8 6" corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring. Add zucchini and garlic, and cook for about 8 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Season with salt & pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir to coat.

Add the black beans and diced tomatoes with green chiles. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and scatter over the vegetable mixture, and stir until all of it is melted in and nicely combined. Remove from heat.
Lightly spray your casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place some of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of the dish and top with four of the tortillas. Top with about 2/3 or the remaining vegetable mixture and half of the shredded cheese. Add another layer of tortillas and the remaining vegetable mixture.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Top the casserole(s) with the remaining cheese and bake for about 5-7 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Curried Vegetables and Pork with Rice Noodles

This dish is practically perfect in every way.  

When we first started making it, it felt like we were really cooking.  Now, the atmosphere in the kitchen has lightened up and making this is really fun.  

We used rice sticks this time. They like to stay together even once they're cooked, so be prepared to spend time combing through the noodles in order to combine them with the vegetables.
Curried Vegetables and Pork with Rice Noodles
(adapted from Cooking Light, makes 5 servings)
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large coarsely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups (2-inch) sliced asparagus
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 bag frozen sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons red curry paste or sriraacha (I like to add more when I serve myself)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 1/2 cups hot cooked rice sticks or vermicelli (about 5 ounces uncooked rice-flour noodles)
Dried/chopped fresh basil (optional)

Heat 2 teaspoons peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork, and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the onion, asparagus, bell pepper, and peas, and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and keep warm.
Add curry paste, sugar, and coconut milk to pan, and stir well. Bring the curry paste mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pork, asparagus mixture, and rice noodles to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with basil then slurp with chopsticks.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Poor Man's Jambalaya

Thursday?  But you came so soon!   It's been a busy week in this corner of the world, juggling my time between teaching charleston, figuring out when you can be arrested without a warrant (probably more often than you think!), and brushing up on my legal citations (go ahead, ask me anything!).  

I'm definitely ready for the weekend, but at UA Law, a 1L's work is not done yet!  We're ending the week with a career fair.  So, please, please, if you can spare a moment, think good thoughts for me.  It would mean a lot.

Once that hurdle is done, we have a great weekend to look forward to, filled with lots of dancing, wonderful friends, and what is certain to be an exciting game of Fugitive (and maybe even a little homework... ;)).

But about this jambalaya.  It's poorman's jambalaya because I omitted the shrimp, but if you're in the mood to class things up, go for the shrimp!  This recipe is dirt simple.  

Serves 4
(adapted from Cooking Light)
1 chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
 2 chicken andouille sausages, sliced
1 cup uncooked brown basmatti rice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook sausages in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, and minced and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add rice and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 2 minutes. Add broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 1 hr and 10 min (until rice is plump.  If you want to cut down the cooking time by about about 40 minutes, use white rice). If using (cooked) shrimp, add it now.  Let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Corn, Squash, Zucchini, and Onion Side and Late Night Bacon

Hi guys.  Tonight's meal was basically meat and potatoes - way simple.  I think that Todd likes this kind of food because it hearkens back to his Midwestern roots.  

Plus, since each item takes so little effort to prepare, it means you can make more food!  So fancy!  I made a combination of squash, zucchini, onion, corn, and taco seasoning for a side.  I realize it probably sounds incredibly weird, but in fact, it's pretty good! 

Some of the prep...
But wait..there's no garlic in my veggies and we didn't add it to the pork or potatoes.  I know, but we got this big tub of garlic this weekend, and I was just so excited that I had to share it with you!
 Do you think we'll be able to use it up by next summer?!?

UPDATE: if you don't have enough time to make these vegetables, you might try Rachel Ray's new and innovative recipe for Late Night Bacon (don't forget to check the comments, which kind of made me laugh).

Jennifer's vegetable mix-up
1 onion (red or yellow - red makes it look prettier), chopped
2 zucchini, sliced (1/4inch)
2 yellow squash, sliced (1/4 inch)
1 can of corn/1 bag of frozen corn
Taco seasoning to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot (test by touching rim of skillet), throw in onion, zucchini, and yellow squash.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until mostly softened, making sure to scrape brown bits off bottom of pan with a wooden spoon all the while.  When vegetables are softened, add corn.  Cook for about 5 minutes longer, then season to taste with salt, pepper and taco seasoning (give it a couple good shakes).  Stir a few minutes longer to integrate then serve.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Curried Ground Turkey with Potatoes

I could eat food like this all day everyday, no problem.  There is 10 out of 10 chance that if I eat vegetables with anything curry, I will love it.  

But this dish isn't a staple in our home simply because I think it's tasty.  It's lightening fast to make, and it's the kind of food that makes you feel good when you eat it.  What's more, adding the green peas and tomatoes right at the end makes it turn out real pretty lookin'.

(slightly adapted form Simply Recipes)
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or ground chicken)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1-2 chopped fresh red chiles (optional)
  • A 1-inch piece of peeled ginger, grated fine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala (or curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 Roma or other plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bag frozen peas
1 Heat large pot.  Add the ground meat, spreading it out over the pan. Try not to crowd the meat (you may need to cook in batches). Cook the meat without stirring, until it begins to brown.
2 Add the chopped onion and chiles. Stir and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion begins to color a bit. Sprinkle salt over everything.
3 Add the grated ginger and garlic, mix well and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
4 Mix in the spices, water, and the potatoes. Stir to combine and cover. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
5 When the potatoes are tender, add the diced tomatoes and peas. Mix well and cover the pot. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add salt, if needed, to taste.
Serve alone or with brown basmati rice.