I woke up this morning to a delicious aroma wafting ever so delicately into my bedroom. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I thought about what this smell could possibly be…. after about five minutes of sniffing and drooling, I finally realized…
“Oh yeah! Overnight Black Beans!”
Last night, I pulled out the slow cooker and set it up so I’d have lunch ready at 6 am. Special thanks to Aunt Terry for our sweet crock-pot. So fancy!
You see, I am all about food prep/easy cooking these days. I’ve been ridiculously busy and I don’t see any signs of my schedule opening up…in fact, it’s only going to get busier in the next few months. So, in order to keep myself (and Farmer Ben) sane, I’ve been scouring some of my favorite food blogs, and discovering new ones, to find easy-to-put-together meals…and when that fails, I pester the hubs.
Luckily, we keep a supply of good staples in our house and that makes the whole food prep thing a lot easier. I can take no blame for this, Farmer Ben is totally responsible for keeping the kitchen well stocked and for that I am so thankful. He’s the best…and not a total space cadet like his wife.
Anyway, I was going to do a chicken crock-pot meal…but I over-estimated our chicken supply (see space cadet note, above). Black beans were next on the list.
Let me tell you, these beans were the such a good idea! So easy and soooooo gooooooooood.
The beans came out perfectly, just a little bit of crunch but not too hard and not too soft.
What you’ll need:
- ~2 cups dried black beans
- **3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (water will also work)
- About half an onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 Serrano peppers (I was going to chop but after squirting pepper juice all over myself, I threw them in whole).
- 1 tbsp. taco seasoning (cumin, pepper, paprika, salt, pepper, etc.)
- About 1/3 cup of Farmer Ben’s JD Barbecue Sauce (you could also use a hot salsa, chili sauce or a savory/spicy barbecue sauce–avoid the sweet stuff!)
What to do:
Rinse and drain beans. Pick out any stones/non-bean items.
Throw all the ingredients into crock-pot and give it a quick stir.
Turn crock-pot on low and forget about it for 8 hours (I started mine before I went to bed).
Serve over rice, with a fried egg or with tacos/nachos. Perfection.
**Note: Depending on how dry/wet you like your beans, adjust the liquid. These would have been just as good with 2 cups of chicken stock for a drier bean, I had some extra liquid but the beans were still firm and so not mushy. If you’re using 3 cups of beans (or a 16 oz package), use 3-4 cups of liquid.
I’ve been really into salads lately. Farmer Ben and I went grocery shopping on a rainy Monday night because I desperately needed to eat something green. We purchase Olivia’s Organics brand when the greens are out of season, they are an (awesome) east-coast based company. Check them out!
Since Monday, I’ve eaten approximately 47 salads. Now, I know this sounds crazy. But I get creative.
Yesterday, my salad consisted of leftover chicken, avocado, tomato (grown in VT!), radishes, red onion, sprouts, a Serrano or two…and some spring mix/spinach as an after thought.
You see, I belong to the school of thought that believes that the salad is not about the lettuce. It’s about the toppings. Some days, I’ll cover my greens with bleu cheese, other days, I’ll pick seeds, nuts and other crunchy goodness… Lately, I’ve been loving Serrano peppers and cranberries. Tomorrow it could be steak. Most of the time I have so much on my salad that I don’t even use dressing. That would be overkill.
I guess I’m just trying to say that salad is delicious.
Today, my greens are covered in a tasty pasta salad and a few other veggies.
I opted to use olive oil instead of mayonnaise (mayo would work just as well and probably be
more just as delicious) to make it a bit healthier. And per usual, I didn’t really measure, so this recipe is more of a guideline.
Easy Peas-y Pasta Salad
*Makes about five 1-cup servings (because if you’re like me, you usually have seconds).
What you’ll need:
- About 8 oz (half a box) of pasta uncooked. I used elbows.
- 1 can tuna fish, drained
- About 3/4 cup peas (I used the canned variety)
- Green Olives, pits removed and chopped, about 1/4 cup…or more.
- Spices of your choice, to taste (I used dill-lots, smoked salt-just a pinch, smokey paprika-about 2 tsp, garlic powder-a couple of pinches, and a lot of cracked pepper)
- 2 Serrano peppers, chopped (These are super hot, jalapenos would also work really well)
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped (I left this out because a certain husband doesn’t like raw onion, sigh.)
- A few splashes of Worcestershire Sauce
- ~1 tbsp.Dijon Mustard
- ~1 tbsp. olive oil (enough to coat the pasta)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- A splash or two of balsamic vinegar (This was a brilliant afterthought…that I forgot)
What to do:
Cook pasta according to package. Drain and let cool (I stuck mine in the fridge to speed up the process).
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a fork, be sure to break-up tuna fish and stir.
Serve over a giant salad, as a side dish, or… right from the bowl.
*Nutrition Highlights According to MyFitnessPal:
265 calories, 31 carbs, 7 g fat, 16 g protein, 2 g sugar, 285 mg sodium, 27.5 mg potassium, 4.3 g fiber, 20.1 % Daily Value iron