Beans & Rice

This was a kitchen happening–not really a recipe with given quantities of anything–just because I wanted rice and beans. Everything is flexible, depending on your taste and how many servings you need. (I wanted to have some extra to put in the freezer for quick side to grilled meat.)

It’s SO hot here that cooking just isn’t very appealing even with air conditioning on. One of my solutions is to eat things can be prepared without turning on the stove. I did this in the Krups multi-function pot that I love and use in so many different ways. (Tomorrow I’ll be using it to make tuna confit since my supermarket had lovely tuna medallions on a really special sale. That will keep me in tuna for my summer salads for a bit.)

Black Beans & Rice with Chorizo

Ingredients

  • rice (about 1 cup)
  • olive oil (healthy dollop)
  • onions, chopped (lots)
  • black beans
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • canned diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • red pepper flakes (dash)
  • pimenton (dash)
  • Mexican oregano (good healthy pinch)
  • pork chorizo (about 1/2- to 3/4-pound fresh)
  • water or extra tomato juice/V8 juice as needed for the rice

Preparation

  • Sauté onions in olive oil until translucent and starting to soften
  • Add red pepper flakes, pimenton, oregano, salt and pepper and sauté until the spices are aromatic
  • Add chorizo and sauté until it starts to turn opaque
  • Add canned tomatoes
  • Add rice and black beans (canned or frozen)
  • cook until rice is tender

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It’s hot and humid here, and I was being particularly lazy, despite my desire for food so I did this in the multifunction pot. I did make this as easy as possible–frozen chopped onions, canned tomatoes, and frozen black beans (these from 13 Foods) but Stahlbush Island Farms also has black beans and brown rice that make a good starting place for this. The result with frozen legumes is much better than with canned, though those will work as well.

A note on the oregano–it was Mexican oregano which is definitely not the same as Greek or Turkish oregano. If you don’t have Mexican oregano, then I would substitute thyme or cilantro. I can’t get my head around the Greek or Italian with this mix of flavors.  The pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) adds a bit of smoky flavor.

I first measured my rice so that I’d know how much liquid needed to be added to have it cook to proper doneness. Everything else was added (as indicated) by the dash, dollop, or pinch.

The chorizo that I used was fresh, made in-store from my Harris-Teeter supermarket, and not in casings so all I had to do was break it up into the pot to sauté.  Couldn’t get any easier. If you can’t find “loose” then just remove from the casing, or put the whole sausages in to make this a meat-centric dish.

Everything was sautéed using the rice cooker setting with the lid open. Quite quick and easy although it does require a little attention. Once the tomatoes (with juice) and beans were added, with just a bit of spicy V8 juice to give enough liquid to cook the rice, the lid was closed, and I went away to do something else–until my meal was done. The caveat here is that you do need to be sure that the amount of liquid is appropriate for cooking the rice–too much and you’ll have “blown out”, mushy rice; too little and it will still be crunchy–you’ll need to add more liquid and continue to cook until tender.

Quantities and totally flexible–maybe you like more rice than beans–or the other way round. I love lots of onions, but if you don’t, then just don’t use many.  The proportion of chorizo depends on how meat hungry you are–it can vary too, from almost a seasoning to a lot. Next time I make this I will add just a bit more than I used this time, although it was quite good this way.

A son gôut!

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A one-dish meal.

A lot of us eventually reach the point when we realize we are getting a bit rotund (or worse) and start thinking about watching (or losing) weight, or maybe just being more conscious about nutrition.  With several of those things in mind (or should I really say on my mind) I did some web browsing.

I found a website that I’d like to share with you:  A Slice of Nutrition.  I found this through another blog that I follow, My Imperfect Kitchen, that had a post by Avital Greenbaum as a guest blogger–Chicken, Zucchini, and Quinoa. 

One dish meals are very appealing to me–at least some of the time, because I can be lazy, have a good meal and not have to wash lots of pots and pans.  (No, Frankie refuses to do that!)  I’ve had quinoa in breakfast cereals, and things like that but after reading how healthy it is, I decided I need to try it in a main dish and this looked like a great place to start.

Garlic scapes lying next to a basket of strawberries

garlic scapes

I do have to admit that, as well as being constitutionally unable to make a small pot of soup, I seem to be unable to leave a recipe alone when I’m making it.  I did almost follow this one.  Instead of garlic powder, I had fresh, green garlic scapes from the farmers’ market.  Those went it, and I added some mushrooms; otherwise, I left it alone.  This one-dish meal is now in the oven (despite the heat) getting ready for my supper.

Since my veggies are included with the dish, I think that all I’ll need to add is some of those luscious ripe strawberries as dessert!

 

Baking dish with chicken and quinoa

Chicken, zucchini & quinoa

This is a keeper–only a few minutes prep, and it’s unattended cooking with tasty results. The quinoa is very light–good in hot weather.  I think that it might make some very tasty “salads” with lentils for satisfying summer meals when the weather is sweltering and I want a light meal.