Austin Black Beans
Hey everyone! Only a week since my last SRC post thanks to May’s bonus week. This week is my “normal” group A post – but there is nothing normal about the blog I was partnered with. I’m very lucky in that I’ve had Leslie’s Cocina de Leslie blog twice so far, once as my regular assignment and once when I decided to adopt a blog while 38wks pregnant. Leslie’s blog has soooo many amazing recipes that when the powers that be offered to switch me for a “new” blog I told them there was NO NEED to be hasty – that I could happily and easily find something new to make. With that, this post was supposed to be all about her Mole Ranchero. While the ingredient list is a bit daunting, the dish came together in no time at all. However my camera man got a bit peckish and ate the sauce set aside for the photo as a post dinner snack. So…back to my very long list of recipes! I had marked her Austin Black Beans when I adopted Leslie’s blog so was thrilled that some nasty weather made it the perfect time to give them a whirl. I used the vegetable oil instead of lard and left out the lime juice due to my allergy. I also added the cilantro straight to my bowl as it tastes metallic to hubby and totally omitted below.
Another great recipe from Leslie! So glad there was an oops and that I got another excuse to explore her blog – think I have a good dozen recipes to try! This meal would also freeze well for the slow cooker, just add the 8 cups of water directly to the slow cooker along with all the ingredients. Instant dinner!!!
Another one of my awesome freezer meals – this time one that also doubles as a great way to clean out the fridge/freezer! Once we had finished prepping my list of meals, I checked what I had left and decided I could squeeze out at least one more meal. This hodge podge of ingredients was fantastic last weekend when Mother Nature decided we needed another round of cold weather, to include snow!
We topped this with cheese but chives, sour cream, guacamole or nothing would also work. As for the vegetables, whatever you have on hand will work.
Spring it starting to make it’s appearance, and with that soup season is slowly coming to an end. We had a chilly blast this past weekend so I decided to do up a batch of minestrone – which is about as simple as it gets. The ingredients are ones I almost always have on hand, if anything just have to buy the tomato juice. Which makes it perfect for the “it came from a can” challenge over that /52weeksofcooking. Instead of using frozen vegetables, just use a can of each: peas, corn, carrots, lima beans, etc – the point of this soup is to show that simple can be tasty.
Nothing like a dish that comes together in record time and only requires one pot. I know that some people aren’t a fan of cooking pasta in soups but I love how doing so gives the pasta some extra flavor. Plus the smaller pasta holds it shape better than the larger guys and don’t get as mushy. However, for those who want more of an al dente taste – cooking the pasta per instructions and then place in the bottom of a bowl before pouring the soup over top. For a real protein punch, add some garbanzo or great northern beans when adding the pasta or use lentils in place of the pasta.
In an attempt to get my kitchen mojo back, I’ve once again joined the /52weeksofcooking group in the hopes that their weekly challenge would get me going again. They are now on week 10 while I’m just now doing my second post – needless to say I’m still a work in progress! This week the challenge was Japanese and while I debated doing a tempura I couldn’t get over the idea of trying a Japanese curry similar to one I had in Pittsburgh a few summers ago. Luckily the internet provided me with lots of ideas, so I took the common ingredients from all of them and then winged the rest of it!
I could say this was a huge hit but that doesn’t begin to cover it – this is one of the only curries where husband has wanted seconds! He couldn’t get over how savory it was – all the flavors working together. So good he didn’t believe it was vegan, BIG bonus there.
Make sure to come back Monday for February’s BONUS Secret REcipe Club post. It’s the 5th Monday of the month and this time the special theme is Spring & Bunnies.
Northern Bean Cassoulet
Quick and easy, or in the very least easy, is what I’m all about these days. Which is why each week since the arrival of our little girl, I’ve made at least one of our freezer meals. Just pop it in at some point around lunch (whenever that is) and there will be something warm to eat come dinner (whenever that happens). I tried to add as many vegetables as possible to these meals in an attempt to maintain a balanced diet – even tho there is nothing wrong with having ice cream for breakfast! I’ve made bean casseroles before but for this I want to jam as many veggies in as possible and with it being late fall when I prepped these meals, I went heavy on the root vegetables.
For a gluten free option just use your favorite GF breadcrumbs or go for something like hemp seeds. Protein, vegetables, and the perfect sauce for some crusty bread makes for a fantastic dinner. To really speed things up, use Gourmet Garden garlic pastes and their Italian Herb paste – tho be warned these do contain whey so are not suitable for vegans but are gluten free.
Carrot Potato Mash
During my pregnancy I did my best to eat all the colors of the rainbow, and got a bit creative towards the end. Possibly because I was due on Thanksgiving, I kept getting cravings for traditional Thanksgiving foods – especially mashed potatoes and stuffing! While I didn’t have the patience to make stuffing from scratch, I was totally up for making some mashed potatoes. However I couldn’t just make normal mashed potatoes so I grabbed some carrots and combined the two to make a very colorful dish. As a bonus, I used redskin potatoes for an extra burst of color.
I served this up with some BBQ tofu but it would also make a bright addition to any holiday spread. I have a feeling these ingredients have the potential to make a fantastic latke and hope to test that theory at some point!
It feels so good to be back in the kitchen and on the blog again. I’m still in shock that after three years of trying and two years of treatment we finally have our little girl! She has already changed our lives in some many amazing ways and is only 16 days old – can’t even begin to imagine all the joy heading our way.
Offal Vinegar Veggies
There’s one thing for certain: /52weeksofcooking challenges certainly force me to think outside the box. This week the challenge was “offal”, aka the parts of the animal that even the craziest of meat eaters tend to avoid. While I have indulged in a few of them, mostly while overseas and always while a guest, I knew that I was going to have to be creative when it came time to find a way to vegetarianize this challenge. Thankfully the mods are very flexible and open and extended the definition to includes parts of the vegetable that aren’t typically used. While I generally save my scraps for vegetable soup, I had a lot of cabbage pieces and so decided to toss a bunch of scraps and peels in a pot with vinegar. To make it a bit more substantial, I added some cannellini beans but these veggies would be fine sans beans along with some bbq tofu.
Certainly not your typical offal dish, but a great way for using up ingredients that might otherwise have been tossed. It’s not often that we have leftover cabbage in the house but this was a great way to use those last few leafs – and the beets scraps turned everything a fantastic shade!