Archive for the ‘Rice, Grains, and Beans’ Category

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I got this slow cooker cookbook at a yardsale a while back, and now I’m ready to start trying out the recipes.  Winter is the perfect time for crockpot recipes.

The first recipe I tried out was “Beef and Bean Tamale Pie.” Basically, it’s chili with cornbread on top. You cook the whole thing in the crockpot, and the chili juices soak up into the bread. It turned out great!

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

I changed the recipe around a bit. First of all, they called for cornbread mix, but I made my bread from scratch. Also, I wanted more fresh ingredients than they called for, so I added a pepper and some tomatoes. Also, the recipe was originally for a 3 1/2 to 4 quart cooker. Mine is bigger, so I increased some ingredients. So here goes:

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10-oz can enchilada sauce (I used a “tomato and chiles” sauce)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, juice included
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is thoroughly cooked. Drain and place in slow cooker. Stir in beans, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, and bell pepper.

  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1/2 c flour (gluten-free folks can probably substitute cornmeal)
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk (or milk with vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include the seeds if you want it more spicy)

Mix all ingredients except cheese and jalapeno together, beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Stir in cheese and pepper. Pour into slow cooker over top of beef mixture.

Cook on low setting for 5-6 hours, or until bread is done. Cornbread is done when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Serve topped with sour cream and chopped green onions.

Salt: my worst frenemy

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Yes, I did just use the word “frenemy”.

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

I never really think of salt as being part of a recipe.  It’s in there, sure, and I take it pretty seriously in baking.  But I can’t remember the last time I actually measured salt into a recipe, whether baked goods or mashed potatoes.  You just kinda dump some in, right?  That’s looks like a teaspoon, right?  Right?!

And sodium freaks me out.  There’s so much of it.  Everywhere.  And it’s not good for you.  So I buy low sodium anything they have at the local grocery.  I drain and rinse my canned beans because so much of the sodium is in those tasty juices.  I often under-season my soups, and if I don’t, I feel like I’m going to die from some sort of sodium overdose.  Sodium is scary stuff, and salt… well, we’re not exactly the friendliest.

But I made this chili the other night.  It’s adapted from Jennifer’s adaptation of two other recipes, so I’m pretty sure the original recipe is completely unrecognizable now. It went like this:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (I used “petite” so they were smaller)
  • 1 can hominy (you could use corn, too)
  • 1 bottle of a full-bodied beer (Jennifer uses a stout, but that’s a bit too much for me to ever have around the house)
  • 1/2-1 cup of water (to desired consistency)

And I browned the meet with the onion, garlic, and pepper.  I added the spices, and then the cans of stuff.  Lastly, the beer and the water.  And I let it simmer for awhile.

And then I tasted it.  And I was not happy.  It needed more.  A lot more.  So I started thinking through which of these spices and how much to add.  The chipotle could be good.  And chili powder would certainly help.  And you know how much I love cumin.  And I was about to start throwing in more spices when I saw a note at the bottom of the sheet of paper Jennifer had given me.  Salt.  She added 2 tablespoons.  I opted for one.

But it was a big step for me.  I think I often add more spices, when a little salt would be more appropriate.  And boy oh boy, did the chili taste better for it.  I crumbled cornbread into it.  Topped with cheese.  Amazing!  Try some.  For reals.

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Also, look at what Rebecca did to my cornbread:

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

It was amusing at the time.  I’m pretty sure it still is.

Do what you wanna do

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Once upon a time, when culinary collaboration was alive and kickin’… my friend made some sort of weird burrito thing with pitas and sweet potatoes all mashed up and other yummy stuff I don’t really remember.  So when I made homemade pita the other day, it got me to thinking…

… and thinking.  And when I was grocery shopping, I thought some more.  And before you knew it, I had bought all the ingredients for this:

I was going to do a picture, but it basically looks just like brown goo… not very appealing at all.  But it was tres delicious.  Trust me.  It was a bean dip kinda thing.  Here’s what I did:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 green peppers, diced
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or just regular chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1  1/2 cup cheese (I used “mexican blend”, but I don’t think we really need to be picky here), shredded

Brown the beef along with the onions and peppers.  Stir in the spices, sweet potatoes, and beans.  Spread into a baking dish and top with cheese.  Bake on 350 until cheese is melted.  Serve with chips, tortillas, or pita bread.  Top with plain yogurt or sour cream (they’re kind of really similar).  Or do whatever you like.  That’s not a bad plan.

The Human Machine

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Do rock and roll dreams come true?

I told the boyfriend that I was going to make pita bread tonight.  He told me that I often make things that can only be made by professional chefs or machines.  Then he asked me which I was.  I’ll let you decide.

Also, I’ll let you decide what amazing high school indy band I’ve quoted above.  The winner gets a big smackeroo on the face.  Unless we’re related.  In which case, I promise to make the winner something gluten free next time I’m in Fayetteville.  High stakes.  Get on it.

Regardless, this pita was a breeze.  No seriously.  Maybe 20 minutes total spent on this, though longer, if you include rising time.  I ran across this smitten kitchen recipe, which was pretty much useless to me as it required me to let the dough rise for at least 8 hours.  Wasn’t gonna happen.  I almost gave up.  Then I saw this.  The word “easy” really stood out to me, and the recipe lived up to its promise.  I straight up stole this recipe, so I’m not going to bother writing it out and claiming that I “adapted” it.  Follow the link.  Follow instructions.  Scarf those babies down!

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

While the pita bread was in the oven (please note it bakes for 3 minutes), I processed some hummus.  It went like this…

Classic Garlic Hummus:

  • 1 big ol’ can of chickpeas, drained (19 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste (don’t be shy, though… it’ll need a good bit)
  • water

Process the chickpeas, olive oil, and garlic.  Add salt to taste, and water until the texture is just right (not too much, though!).  So simple.  So tasty.  Ordinarily, I’d feel silly posting such a simple recipe, but one of my coworkers asked for it, so it must be worthwhile.

P.S. Don’t forget to scoot yourself on over to my happy birthday post and get yourself entered in this contest.  No really.  Do.

Bringin Home the Bacon

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Let’s face it, when you’re bringin’ home the bacon, weeknight cooking isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  I can hear stay at home moms everywhere saying that it’s not easy regardless, but I’m not them, so I can’t say for sure.  But for me… an 8 hour day wears me out.  I don’t have the time or energy to put into making a real meal on a weeknight.  … but when you think about food as much as I do, good meals can’t always wait for the weekend.

So what’s a girl to do when she’s dreaming up grilled chicken with mango salsa?  Two things.  1) Talk your roommate into grilling the chicken.  Working inside and outside all at once is just not worth it.  Get some help!  2) Also, buy the mango canned.

The first is pretty self-explanatory.  If you don’t get it, I’m not explaining.

The second is a really important lesson.  Canned mango makes mango a feasible option for weeknights as it cuts out all the nasty pealing and pitting you have to do with fresh mango.  No, it does not taste as good.  How could it?  But it tastes delicious.  Trust me.

I like to put it on quesadillas, in salsas, etc.  See?

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

I promise you.  This meal couldn’t be easier.  Or more impressive if you were, say, trying to impress a boy you had over for dinner.  Hypothetically speaking.

The chicken was thrown into some store-bought marinade.  Then grilled half an hour later by the same Nathan Clendenin.  The beans?  Opened can, dumped in bowl, microwaved until warm.  The guacamole and mango salsa were essentially the same with a different base.  Avocados + red onion + jalepeno + cilantro + lime.  Mango + red onion + jalepeno + cilantro + lime.  Rice… dumped in rice cooker with chicken broth.  Delicious!