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Tag Archives: Beans

Bobby Flay’s Beef and Black Bean Chili

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Last week felt especially fall-like, complete with crunchy leaves and crisp, cool weather – unlike this weekend, with baking hot sun and 85 degree temps. Obviously last week was the appropriate time to make chili. Thank goodness I did it before this heat wave. I knew I wanted chili, but I was looking for something new. I’ve liked most chili recipes I’ve tried, but I have no real chili loyalty, so I’m always on the lookout for something new. Food Network had a bunch of Perfect-For-Tailgating chili recipes on their front page, and that’s how I found this one.

I was intrigued by the beer and the use of ground chiles. It sounded like it ought to be flavorful – that’s Bobby Flay’s thing, right? Big flavor? I hate when recipes say things like 2lbs beef. I don’t buy meat very often, and I know nothing about what cuts are good for what type of things, so I’m always winging it. I think I bought some type of brisket for this. It probably could have used a more tender cut, but after reheating the next day, it was perfect.

This had great depth of flavor, and it had a slight kick to it, but I wouldn’t call it overly spicy. I followed the recipe exactly, except I might have had a bit less meat – like 1.5lbs and a bit more beans. I used Sam Adams Black Lager for the beer, and I was really happy with the way it came out. I would definitely recommend this next time the weather turns cool. I didn’t use the crema or the relish, but those both sound good, so if you’re not feeling lazy and cheap like me, you should probably include those. Oh, and I recommend making some cornbread to go with it. I did not do that, and I really wished I had.

Bean & Beet Burgers

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A few weeks ago Brent must have had a really slow day at work because he emailed me a long list of recipes to try out at some point. Included in that list was this link for the “Best Ever” veggie burgers. I like black bean burgers, but I was curious about the added beets and brown rice. I made a batch of them last night, and I don’t know if I’m willing to call them the best ever, but I really enjoyed them. Plus, they were pink!

I did, however, make a few changes. First, I shredded the beets rather than dicing them. It just seemed easier. Also, once it was all mixed, I had doubts about the ability of the burgers to hold together so I added 2 beaten eggs and increased the flour to 1/2 cup. I think my changes worked out for the best. A complete burger, topped with pickles!

At first Brent and I thought the burger seemed a little bland, but the more I ate, the more it grew on me. By the last couple bites, I was like “Wow. This is really good!” The burger held together beautifully. Along with some roasted orange cauliflower, this made for a very satisfying meal. We have leftover mix to make more burgers for a quick dinner tomorrow after clinical.

A Variety

We’ve actually cooked a few meals at our house lately (except for the super boring pizza we ordered tonight, but oh well). This weekend, with a few overripe bananas on my countertop, I finally found time to do a little bit of baking. I made vegan banana muffins based on the lower-fat banana bread in Veganomicon.

Notice the chunks of ripe banana? These were perfect as snacks to take to class this week.

Next up, some sort of stir-fry with tofu, broccoli, some Chinese cabbage type vegetable and pearl barley. Brent was responsible for making this one, and he did an excellent job. This was actually my first time having pearl barley (I’ve only had the quick cooking kind before), and I really liked it!

I really like “Meal in a Bowl” type meals like these. We made another one this week, a Mexican-themed bowl, based on my loved of the vegetarian fajita burrito bowl at Chipotle. This was brown rice with cilantro and lime juice mixed in, topped with sauteed peppers and onions, crock-pot black beans, and diced avocado.

Delicious. Brent actually poured blue cheese dressing on his! Boys are so gross sometimes.

I was telling Brent that lately I’ve felt so “whatever” about cooking and grocery shopping. It’s a shame. I know some of it is because I just don’t have the time to be super into it anymore, but I think it is also because I haven’t made anything fun and new recently. I think I really need to try to make time once a week to try a new recipe, or a new ingredient. Just something to keep me from forgetting why I like cooking. So if you have an idea for me, let me know!

Learning to love the crockpot

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I went on an actual date with my husband tonight! Out of the house and everything. I don’t know what it is about leaving the house, but I’ve found Brent and I always have better conversations and focus more on each other when we leave the house. The lack of TV, internet and iPhones is a big help! 🙂

I also met my friend Sheila for a workout at our school’s wellness center today. Such a good idea! I probably wouldn’t have worked out today, if I hadn’t planned on meeting her. We’ve planned to continue working out together a few times a week after class!

OK, onto the food. During school, I’ve been trying to plan at least one crockpot meal a week. It’s so convenient and I want to love my crockpot. My main problem with the crockpot is that so many of the vegetarian recipes I find for it are soups and chilis. While I obviously love a soup, we eat them so often for lunch that I’d like something different for dinner. While I was searching the internet for non-soup crockpot meals over winter break, I came across this recipe for Gingery Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Sauce.

I really liked this. I served it over a bed of spinach along with some half whole-wheat naan. Brent seemed to think it was “pretty OK.” Given the ease and convenience of the crockpot, I definitely think I would make it again.

Do you have a favorite (vegetarian, non-soup) crockpot recipe?

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

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I know eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is supposed to bring good luck, so I fully intended to make these cakes on Friday. I’m not sure what happened, or even if we had a dinner on Friday, but I made them today. It made for an easy dinner on a day when I’ve been lazing in bed all day with the “Brent’s going back to work and oh crap I have to start school soon again” blues.

This is only my second time ever cooking with black-eyed peas, so I still had plenty dried peas left over from my first try. Bean patties/cakes/burgers/etc… are kind of one of our staple dinners because they’re so forgiving and easy. I just toss in beans, breadcrumbs (or oats), a binder (egg or flax egg) and some spices. Tonight I used 1c. cooked black-eyed peas, 1/3c. panko, an egg, some salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and chili powder.

I pan fried them with a little olive oil on my griddle and topped them off with some Country Bob’s sauce, with some roasted orange cauliflower on the side. We enjoyed them as is, but I think they’d be even better with some cornmeal in place of the panko to give them more of a hush puppy type feel.


Catherine and I are going to work on baking more of the fantastic recipes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I mentioned in my 2009 round-up that I wanted to work my way through more of the recipes, so I’m excited to have company while doing it! If you want to join us, send either or both of us an email letting us know!

It’s been a crazy week

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Wow. I really wasn’t expecting the first week of school to be so crazy. That, combined with the fact our house is going on the market this week, has kept me insanely busy.

Lots of cleaning and reading, in addition to very little interesting cooking hasn’t inspired any blog posts, but I’ll try anyway.

Last weekend I went to visit my family for an extended family reunion. It was nice to see everyone, especially my brother Matt who was on leave from the army.We finally got a photo of my family all together. My mom has been trying to get one of all of us for over a year now.


IMG_0262Monday, my first day of school was a full day and I didn’t feel much like cooking so I dug into the freezer for some black bean burgers and homemade bagel buns. Brent made some cabbage-carrot slaw and we had some corn on the cob as well.

IMG_0264We had some realtor meetings along with some other boring meals throughout the week, but tonight I finally actually prepared something that took more than 5 minutes. I made Spinach and Artichoke Tortellini Casserole, which Brent and I both thoroughly enjoyed. It included a lot of my favorite ingredients.

Before baking:

IMG_0269I made a few minor changes to the recipe: 2% milk in place of cream, veggie broth in place of the chicken broth, and I was out of breadcrumbs so I just sprinkled a bit of Parm on the top. I would say the recipe made closer to 6 servings, rather than the 4 indicated. I put the casserole into two small baking pans, baked one and froze the other.

Served, along with some roasted green beans:


Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m going to watch some Gossip Girl and relax. Hopefully it won’t take me another 10 days to post!

Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas… and a Pantry Makeover

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Friday was one of those days where I came home and everything, absolutely everything, seemed disorganized, cluttered and messy to me. I immediately attacked the pantry. I actually consider myself a pretty organized person. I love lists, schedules, plans of all kinds, but my kitchen is a completely different story. My pantry especially. It’s deep, but very narrow. I can never tell what’s in there and anytime I endeavor to make a dish with a seasoning other than salt or pepper, I end up emptying most of the contents onto the counter while growling, “Where the hell is it?!?” I get easily frustrated with that pantry. So on Friday I emptied everything onto the kitchen counter so I could try to bring some order to it. HPIM3860I had way more than I thought. I actually made a whole inventory of it, (like I said, I love lists), so that I could refer to it when menu planning. HPIM3862My totally empty pantry. I kind of hate it, but I love the rest of my kitchen, so I make do. 🙂 And then I loaded it back up! HPIM3864It won’t stay like this for long, which Brent quickly pointed out to me. I’m going to try though, especially with all those spices. My baking stuff actually occupies the lazy susan cabinet in the corner under my stand mixer. It definitely needs its own area.

After doing all this organizing, I discovered a few ingredients I had nearly forgotten about. Case in point: two bag of dried chiles I had purchased for some recipe that I never made. I set about finding something to do with them, and decided on enchiladas. I made homemade enchilada sauce using this recipe. This recipe used about half of my chiles, but it made a ton! Enough for 4 meals worth of enchiladas for Brent and I. I froze a ton. With the portion I didn’t freeze I made some black bean enchilads out of mashed black beans, corn, green bell pepper onion and some cheddar cheese. HPIM3866I have to admit I was concerned after I made the sauce. It was HOT! I could barely handle it. It was definitely mellowed by the cheese and sour cream though. I really enjoyed these and it was fun to make something I normally wouldn’t. I don’t make much Mexican, except for the occasional fajita. It was a nice change. HPIM3868When I discovered how spicy the sauce was, I really loaded on the cheese and sour cream! 😀 This week should be interesting. My little sister is here visiting until Saturday. My mom, as usual, was concerned about the “weird food” I might feed her, so she sent Sarah with a box of Fruit Loops, a bag of Doritos, and a package of Chips Ahoy. Thank goodness the girl won’t starve!


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I was craving a burger for the past few days. I was originally just going to buy some veggie burgers, because I like them, but I can’t justify pending $1 per burger! So I turned to something I make a lot: black bean burgers! I make each of them with a full serving of black beans, so they big and hearty, but each one only has ~170 calories.

HPIM3536This was the first time I used a food processor for the burgers, which made them a bit more homogenized, but I didn’t pulverize them because I wanted to see some whole beans still. I’ve realized that the burgers stick together best when I refrigerate them for 20-30 before cooking.


These were pretty simple, and I didn’t have much to adorn them with, just a bit of CSA lettuce and some mayonnaise, all on a half whole wheat bun. On the side we had a simple slaw of cabbage, carrots and green bell pepper. I made a dressing from equal parts honey and lime juice, with some scallions thrown in. Super quick.

I forgot to do a CSA post this week, but most of it is repeats: lettuce, pea shoots, turnips!, pineapple mint, and basil. Lettuce is gone. The pineapple mint found it’s way into a few mojitos because Brent is off tomorrow, and the rest is still up for grabs. 🙂

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

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Brent’s inability to fully review and select a recipe and realize it’s complexity struck again. This one required a new purchase and frying! I suck at frying. This week he picked Black-Eyed Pea Fritters from Vegan Soul Kitchen.

The making of this recipe required me buying a new kitchen appliance (not that I mind). 😉 I bought a tiny 3 cup food processor and pulsed the batter together. I have a really random fact — the whole time I was mixing it together I kept telling Brent that it smelled like coleslaw. Weird, I know. Nothing in the ingredient list screams coleslaw to me, but whatevs. However, when Brent was preparing to fry the batter he also commented on the coleslaw smell.

Because my new food pro cost less than a meal at a fast food restaurant, I wasn’t expecting a ton in terms of quality so I wasn’t surprised that my batter did not get super smooth, but it definitely got into the “close enough” category. Overall the mixing wasn’t difficult, but it took a bit of time because I constantly had to stop and scrape the food pro and remix the batter. The recipe calls for the batter to be refrigerated for at least an hour, but to make dinner quicker, I just prepared it the day before. I shaped the fritters, but let Brent do the frying.

HPIM3395The recipe calls for five cups of coconut oil for frying, but that seemed waaayyyy too expensive (the jar I bought was $9 for 2 cups!), so we just used canola oil. In about 4 minutes we had super browned and crispy fritters.

HPIM3396I did not make the hot pepper sauce to go along side these. Instead I just used some Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce and Brent used sriracha!!

HPIM3401So… the overall consensus on these fritters was, to quote my husband, “a less flavorful hushpuppy.” I actually liked these, but I agree they could definitely use more flavor. Probably the accompanying hot pepper sauce makes up for that, but I could have used some spice and flavor in the fritters themselves. I asked Brent if they were a make again and his response was, “Probs not dude. Might as well just make hushpuppies instead.”

I have another recipe I’m making from the book tomorrow, so we’ll see if it helps me solidify an opinion on Vegan Soul Kitchen. Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

An Indian Feast

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Brent and I love Indian food, but, much like our love of sushi, it is relegated to the “restaurant only” category because I’ve never really been able to replicate it at home. Although, to be fair, I haven’t tried all that hard because I like our local Indian restaurant quite a bit. I guess I was feeling up for the challenge, so after finding a few highly rated recipes, I made the effort tonight.

HPIM3349I made Channa Masala which has been on my list of recipes to try for over a year. I’m so glad I finally got around to it. I was really tasty. The only change I made to the recipe was to eliminate the amchoor powder because I didn’t have any. I made the whole recipe, which makes a ton! To go along side the channa masala, I made some long-grain rice. I am seriously the world’s worst rice cook. It always just turns out fine, but not very great.

However, my other side dish was wonderful! I made some super simple, probably not authentic, Naan. I used some non-fat Greek yogurt for this recipe and I also added some garlic powder and a little bit of melted butter. This turned out amazing — actually better than I was expecting. Naan is pretty much my number one love (and downfall!) at the Indian buffet and I was impressed this was a decent approximation of the restaurant variety.

I made this dinner as a “date night” for Brent and I, complete with delicious red wine and I even convinced him to take me to Coldstone afterward and got the German Chocolate Cake creation. Yum! To round out our date night, we’re going to watch The Office and 30 Rock. 🙂

Busy weekend coming up. Tomorrow right after work Brent and I are heading to West Lafayette to see his brother graduate from Purdue Friday night, and then Saturday night we have dinner with his family to celebrate. Good thing we have leftover channa masala to eat quickly before we get on the road tomorrow.