Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Black Bean Soup

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cuban Black Beans & Whole Wheat Tortillas

I will write this as a pressure cooker recipe, because that's the way I do it...but you can definitely use a crockpot and just cook however long you need until the beans reach your desired tenderness.

For pressure cooking, if you're ever curious how long to cook beans, I like to use the bean chart on this website:

I tend to mostly soak my I still need to cook them longer than truly soaked beans. :) And I usually do a half natural/half quick release on the pressure...just depending on when I started them cooking and when we're actually eating. I will throw in a shout out at this point to my electric pressure cooker. I think that it is amazing. If you're ever in the market, let me know and I can tell you more about it. :) All that being said, I usually cook my beans on high pressure for about 15 minutes. But different pressure cookers cook differently and it all varies depending on how soaked your beans play around with it until you find what works for you. :)

Onto the recipe: Cuban Black Beans
  • 2 c. dry black beans
  • 5 c. water
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I never do that much...I just do however much I feel like)
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. sugar
  • dash of olive oil

Add ingredients together and mix, cook on high pressure until done. If you want to add salt (I never do) wait until after they are cooked, otherwise you will end up with hard beans.

As an option, if you'd like when they are done you can take out a cup of cooked beans, and blend it with 2 T. vinegar and 2 T. red wine (or broth) and then return it to the pot and mix with other beans. I have never done this, but the original recipe calls for it, so I figured I'd throw it in there. :)

We love these beans on burritos with cilantro lime rice, but they're good with just rice too. :)

I didn't actually serve these tortillas at the recipe group, but I do make my own whole wheat tortillas and I think they're pretty good, so I'll throw that recipe in here too:

Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (you can obviously use white flour if you're not into whole wheat stuff, but I prefer the whole wheat ones :) )
  • 1 T. vital wheat gluten (if you don't have gluten around, you can substitute 1/4 c. white flour for wheat flour and that should do the trick)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 3/4 c. warm milk

Mix together the flour, gluten, baking powder, salt and oil.
Slowly add the warm milk.
Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done. (I do this on my electric griddle or a frying pan.)
Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.
While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.
Makes eight tortillas.

(I always double the recipe.)

To give credit where credit's due, I got the tortilla recipe from this blog: and tweaked it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Bean Balls

I usually start my sauce, then make the bean balls and after I put them in the oven, I start water boiling for my noodles.

Marinara Sauce

1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes, stewed or any other kind
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or 1 TBS dried
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt (optional, canned tomatoes are pretty salty!)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 TBS olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2 - 1 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup white wine or veggie broth

1. In a food processor or blender place tomatoes and tomato paste. Blend until smooth.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion and diced green bell pepper for several minutes.

4. Add salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and parsley and saute for a minute or two more.

5. Add the white wine or veggie broth and scrape off all the little bits into the pan and let it cook down.

6. Add the blended tomatoes and paste and simmer covered for 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally.

Bean Balls

1 20 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (~3 cups)
2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS steak sauce or tomato paste
1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 TBS whole wheat flour
2 TBS wheat gluten
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mash the kidney beans in a mixing bowl until no whole beans are left, using a potato masher, a fork or your own hands.

Add all the other ingredients and mix everything together with your hands for a minute until everything is combined well and comes together.

Form small balls, about 20-25 and put on an olive oil greased baking sheet (I put a silpat on mine). You can drizzle them with olive oil at this point if you're feeling decadent.

Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip and bake another 10 minutes. Pull them out of the oven and pour 1/2 cup of marinara sauce over them, flipping them around to coat. Bake for 5 more minutes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cafe Rio Rice aka Cilantro Lime Rice

1 c. uncooked rice (long grain is best. I use brown rice)
1 tsp. olive oil (or butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz.) chicken broth
1/2 c. water
1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 T. fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, oil, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low until rice is tender. (Time varies for brown/white rice.) Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

**My notes:
I always make this in a rice cooker. I add the everything except the T. lime juice, sugar and cilantro and push a button to cook it. Then I add the other ingredients when its done (except not as much lime juice as is called for).

I always make this x5 or 6. We're big eaters in my family. :) But honestly, just one cup is not very much.

I have made it with less oil and it turned out fine. I have made it with no sugar and its turned out fine, so feel free to tweak as needed. I usually use lime juice bought at the store, as opposed to a fresh lime. And I never add a whole T. of lime juice at the end. I find the lime juice at the beginning gives it a strong enough flavor, and so I just add a dash at the end.

I also typically use bouillon as opposed to broth and use WAY less. I usually half the amount called for (and make up for it in water). It is still plenty flavorful and way less salty.

I love this rice. It makes every burrito taste better. :)

Corn and Black Bean Salad

There are two versions of this recipe...the original version, and the one I make. I'll give you both recipes for the olive lovers out there. :)

My recipe:
  • 1 can corn (or equivalent frozen corn)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced (or a little red onion, diced)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8. tsp. pepper
  • a splash of lime juice
  • a little cilantro cut up, to taste

Mix everything together. Chill. Serve with chips either cold or at room temp. (When I make it with frozen corn, I usually just put the corn straight into the salad from the freezer, but you can thaw it first too.)

My friend Betsy's recipe (that I modified to make my own)

  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 4 shakes Tabasco sauce

Mix everything together. Chill. Serve with chips either cold or at room temp.


  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 2 T. - 1/4 c. olive oil*
  • 4-6 T. water*
  • 1/4 c. tahini (ground sesame seeds)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
  • a splash (or more) of lemon juice (optional)

In a food processor (or blender), mix the beans, oil and water. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

*The original recipe calls for 1/4 c. olive oil. You can cut down the olive oil to cut down on the fat/calories by doing 2 T. olive oil and water to still make it fluffy. Start out by adding 4 T. of water to see what the consistency is like - add more if needed. If you use 1/4 c. olive oil, you don't need to add the water. (I actually usually add more water because I like it that way. :) )

--A couple notes. I usually cook the beans from dry (instead of using cans), so I use 1 1/2 c. cooked beans per can called for in the recipe. Also, I always just use regular salt, not kosher or sea salt. And when I don't have tahini on hand, I add a spoonful of peanut butter to replace the tahini. Also, I found that when I make it in my blender, I need to add more water to keep my blender from overheating.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Two-Bean Tamale Pie (Better Homes and Gardens)

This turned out really yummy--even Simon said I could make it again :) I put 3/4 of a cornbread recipe on top (a full recipe normally fits in an 8x8 or 7x11 pan), which ended up being pretty thick so you may want to adapt the thickness to your preference.

Makes: 6 servings Yield: 6 main-dish servings
Prep: 25 mins Bake: 400°F 25 mins

1 cup chopped green sweet pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 15 ounce can kidney beans or black beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed
1 6 ounce can vegetable juice (2/3 cup)
1 4 ounce can diced green chile peppers, undrained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 8 1/2 ounce package corn muffin mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro or parsley

1. Grease a 2-quart square baking dish or 10-inch quiche dish; set aside.
2. In a medium skillet cook sweet pepper, onion, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in kidney beans, pinto beans, vegetable juice, chile peppers, chili powder, and cumin; heat through. Spoon bean mixture into the prepared dish.
3. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions. Add cheese and cilantro to muffin mix, stirring just until combined. Spoon cornbread mixture evenly over top of bean mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven about 25 minutes or until golden. If desired, serve with salsa and sour cream.