Tag Archives: beans

Slow Cooker Burrito Bowls

12 Oct

Every time the seasons change, I start hunting for new recipes. Anything I can toss in the slow cooker in the morning and have ready for dinner in the evening shoots straight to the top of my to-try list. When I came across a burrito bowl recipe from The Kitchn, I was pretty sure it was going to be a hit. It’s healthy, it uses ingredients I have in the house already and appeals to the adults and the foodNURDling. We topped the tender chicken, fluffy rice and kernels of corn and black beans with shredded cheese, avocado and hot sauce. You could also add sour cream, salsa and/or cilantro. I let everything cook for 6 hours, but you could certainly go 8 hours if that’s the timing that works for you. Cook up some rice on the stove, top with all the burrito-y goodness and you’re set!

Makes a lot. Unless you’re feeding a football team, you’ll have leftovers.

Ingredients

1-1 1/2lbs chicken thighs or breasts
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 c chicken stock (plus more for rice)
2 ts chili powder
2 ts salt
1 ts cumin
1 ts pepper
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
1 c corn
2 c rice
Optional: sliced avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce

Directions
1. Place the chicken, diced tomatoes, stock, chili powder, salt, cumin & pepper in the slow cooker. Ensure the chicken is immersed in the stock/liquid from the tomatoes. Add more stock (or water!) if necessary. Cook on low for 5 1/2 – 7 1/2 hours.
2. When the timer goes off, add in the black beans and corn. Stir everything let it cook for half an hour.
3. In the meantime, cook up the 2 cups of rice (I used jasmine rice, but you can use whatever you have in your kitchen). If you’ve got extra stock, use that instead of water. It’s much more flavourful.
4. When the 30 minutes are up (or are close enough to up) remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with a couple of forks, taking care to remove any small bones. Toss the chicken back into the slow cooker and stir.
5. Grab some bowls and spoon in some rice, then the chicken, beans and corn with a good helping of the sauce. Top with whatever appeals to you and enjoy!

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How I Learned to Love the Garden

27 Aug

I have always appreciated food though, admittedly, I have learned to appreciate it on new levels in the last ten years. I’ve certainly always enjoyed eating and reaping the rewards of others’ hard work; now, I understand just how much work goes into getting that food to my hungry mouth.  It’s not like I wasn’t exposed to food production as a child: my dad maintained a wonderful garden in our backyard that had carrots, beets, tomatoes, peas, beans, chives, rhubarb, cucumber and whatever else he felt like planting (like the year he tried corn. I kept hoping for ghost baseball players to appear. Sadly, neither the corn nor the ghosts deigned to show). We also had cherry, pear and apricot trees along with a raspberry bush and grapevines. Homegrown fruits and veggies we did not lack. We also had a walnut tree but in the 20+ years we lived in our house, no one ate a single, solitary walnut. We’d find them on the ground with six tiny, squirrel bites taken out of them. Tree rats are the worst. What I lacked was the interest in cultivating them. My parents would send me into the yard to pick whatever was ripe at the time and I’d inevitably come back with about 50% of what needed to be picked. What can I say? I was more interested in something SUPER IMPORTANT like whether or not Zack and Kelly‘s eternal love would be torn asunder by the evil Jeff.

Fast forward to 2007. I am now living in an apartment with J and ruing the lack of outdoor space to grow my own food. We would buy basil plants that would, inevitably, wither and die in record time. We did see some success planting mint in my dad’s garden. So much success, in fact, that the mint spread over the next few months and by the following summer, was rather intrusively making its way into the rest of the garden. That was bolstering, though. “I can actually grow things,” I remarked as my dad looked on, happy I’d taken an interest in gardening but dismayed by the herb that was now embedded in the chives and beans and peas and…

Jump to 2012. J and I are house hunting. We come across a house with a slightly wild but charming front yard and an absolutely lovely backyard with lush, red cherry tomatoes. “This has potential,” I think to myself excitedly. The sight of those gorgeous tomatoes has stirred something inside me and I can imagine spending quiet afternoons planting and weeding and watering and enjoying the fruits of my labour. The day we took possession of the house, I went straight to the yard and plucked one of the tomatoes from the vine and popped it in my mouth. “That’s it. I’m growing everything I can back here.”

Next spring, my dad arrived at the house with tomato seed packets and a container with soil pods to get them started. I took a surprising amount of delight planting the little seeds and watching them grow into full blown…seedlings. My dad planted them in one of the gardens and I tended to those things like I tended to foodNURDling. By August we had fresh, plump cherry, Early Girl and beefsteak tomatoes.

Wee tomatoes.

Wee tomatoes.

 

Emboldened by my success, I started to hatch plans for summer 2014. I planted beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, green, red and jalapeno peppers, basil, lemon thyme, rosemary and mint. When each ripened, I happily picked ALL of the fruits and vegetables and gave each to the foodNURDling. As he happily gobbled down cucumber and tomato slices, I called my mom:

“Mom! A thing I grew is eating a thing I grew!” I almost wanted to cry.

It was A Moment for me. Growing food for me and my family. This is how I learned to love my garden.

Warm Cauliflower & Herbed Barley Salad

21 Feb

I am always looking for new ways to incorporate grains and veggies into our diets.  This recipe appeared in an issue of Bon Appetit magazine and I thought it had excellent potential. Yes, the dressing has mayo but it’s only one tablespoon for an entire head of cauliflower and a pile of barley.

A lot of people don’t seem to care for cauliflower that much (“It smells like feet!” a friend once exclaimed), but I’ve always liked it. It’s especially nice here with little caramelized spots lending some sweetness to each floret. You can most definitely do this salad ahead of time and it’s even better the next day. I made mine without the beans as none of those goes over particularly well in our house, but I have no doubt they could work in the salad. Instead, I doubled the amount of barley.

Serves 4 with lots of leftovers.

Ingredients

1/2 c pearled barley
1 tb lemon zest
3 tb lemon juice
1 tb mayo
1 ts Dijon mustard
6 tb extra virgin olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 15-oz can of corona, gigante or butter beans
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
2 tb fresh tarragon, chopped
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Place barley and 1.5 cups of water (or broth) in a large saucepan with a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes. Set ‘er aside.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice, mayo, Dijon mustard and 5tb of olive oil until the mixture emulsifies.
3. Heat a large pan to medium and add the remaining oil. Toss in the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Turn the florets over occasionally and cook roughly 10 minutes, until you start to see brown spots appearing. Add in 2tb of water, cover and steam for two more minutes.
4.  Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. Add half of the parsley and tarragon, barley and dressing. (If you’re using the beans, this is when you would add them.) Stir to coat everything thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
5. Divide the salad among 4 bowls. Garnish with lemon zest and the rest of the herbs.

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Black Bean and Mango Salad

20 Jun

We made this salad up for Father’s Day and it was most definitely a hit! It can be done pretty quickly and makes a great summer dish. Add corn to it for a little more bulk, if you like.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 mango, peeled & cubed
1 red pepper, cubed
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 c fresh lime juice
2 tb vegetable oil
1 tb soy sauce
1/2 ts red pepper flakes – optional, but add a nice kick
2 tb cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, combine beans, mango red pepper and green onions.
2. Whisk together lime juice, oil and red pepper flakes. Pour over the bean mixture and toss.
3. Add in cilantro and toss again.

And, really? That’s it. Crazy simple, but incredibly delicious and healthy!

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