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Spice it Up with Chicken Tostadas with Spicy Mashed Black Beans

If you have been following along on my blog with me, you know that I like to use a lot of recipes from Cook’s Country. It is perhaps my favorite cooking magazine and I like to use the recipes because most of them are pretty easy, use basic ingredients, and taste great. the magazine only comes out every other month, and since their website is a pay website if you want to access the recipes, I don’t mind sharing the ones that I try out so you can see just how good they are. Such is the case with this chicken tostada recipe I made this week, which was in the latest issue of Cook’s Country. I have made tostadas before, and they are pretty easy to put together, and this one incorporated some nice spicy black beans into the recipe and since I love black beans personally, I knew I wanted to give this recipe a try.

Chicken Tostadas with Spicy Mashed Black Beans

2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

8 (5-inch) corn tostadas, warmed

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

2 radishes, trimmed, halved, and sliced thin

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and toss it with the ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat until it is just smoking. Cook the chicken until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent it loosely with foil to keep it warm.

Return the now-empty skillet to medium-high heat and add the black beans, tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Cook, mashing the beans with a potato masher, until the mixture is thickened and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the tostadas on a serving platter. Spoon 1/2 cup of the bean mixture onto each tostada. Evenly distribute the chicken, feta cheese, radishes and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro over the bean mixture. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges on the side.

A couple of quick notes about the recipe. The original recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes and green chiles, which I did not have, so I just used diced tomatoes and diced up half of a jalapeno pepper and included it in the mix. It tasted nice and fresh to me this way. I did not use corn tostadas, again because I did not have any on hand, but instead used small flour tortillas I had on hand and fried them in oil for a minute to crisp them up nicely. These worked fine for me as well and everyone seemed to like them. I also did not use feta since we aren’t much for feta in this house and instead I offered up some Mexican cheese blend for Michelle and Sean since they are the cheese eaters in the house. The tostadas were delicious and the bean mixture on the tostadas was perfect, giving just a little bit of spice and a nice refried beans texture to the dish. We gobbled up every last bit of them and I did make some easy Mexican rice to go alongside the dish, which I will post the recipe for tomorrow. The lime wedges and sour cream topped it all off, and even some fresh avocado would be nice along with these also. It’s a very easy meal for any night of the week.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Beans, Cooking, Dinner, Poultry

 

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A Chilly Day Calls for a Simple Soup – Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Just when you thought that winter might actually be over sometime soon around here, it seems to come roaring back over the last day or 2 with really high winds and really cold weather every time you step outside the house. Even though a lot of the snow that we have has melted away at this point, there is still a lot of ice out there because the temperature is not warmed up nicely. Cold and windy days call for a nice warm meal and this particular recipe is perfect if you do not have a lot of time to put a detailed soup together but want something that is going to give you that warm feeling. This recipe comes from Marcus Samuelsson and is for a very simple black bean and sweet potato soup that you can put together in about 15 minutes and then have it all cooked and done within another 30 minutes. With just a few ingredients necessary you be surprised just how much flavor you get.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into a medium dice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, black beans, diced sweet potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.

Serve the soup topped with the fresh parsley. Add a dollop of sour cream or avocado for extra texture to the soup.

You can pretty much make this soup with it just what you have around in the pantry and have it any night of the week. If you want to make it a more vegetarian meal you can use vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth. I really liked the combination of the black beans and the sweet potatoes together and the cayenne pepper added just the right amount of heat to give the soup a little bit of a kick. I did not have any avocado on hand but I think it would go really well on top for some added flavor and texture. The soup actually thickened up nicely over the course of a day or 2 in the refrigerator and was even better when I had it for lunch in the following days. I will definitely make this one again as it is easy enough to put together any time you feel like having it and it does make a great lunch with a half of a sandwich or a little bit of a salad or just on its own.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Make This Simple Summer Side – Black Bean Salad with Mango, Cilantro and Lime

Summer meals, whether you are cooking them out on the grill, in the kitchen or not cooking at all and trying to keep things cool and light, call for some easy side dishes that taste great. Sure coleslaw and potato salad are always great standbys, but I have found myself recently trying to make more use of different beans in my main dishes and side dishes. Beans are a great source of fiber and protein and can go really well with a lot of the summer vegetables and fruit that you find available right now. I came across this really easy recipe from the Cooking Channel for a black bean salad with mango, cilantro and lime and it sounded so easy and refreshing that I just knew I had to give it a try one night.

Black Bean Salad with Mango, Cilantro and Lime

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 small ripe mango, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 yellow, orange or red bell pepper, cut into a small dice

1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced

1 small red onion, cut into a small dice

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

In a small mixing bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, the lime juice, the honey and the ground cumin. Slowly whisk in the canola or vegetable oil until it is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the diced mango, diced bell pepper, black beans, minced jalapeno pepper and the diced red onion together in a large bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the ingredients and toss everything together until it is combined. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish the dish with the cilantro and serve.

I loved he freshness of this salad with the vinaigrette. The lime juice really made it all pop together, but to me the mixof the black beans, jalapeno, red onion and the mango are what really make this work. You get such a great medley of flavors with the freshness of the mango combined with the bite of the onion and the jalapeno that it all seems to go really well together. This salad works well as a side dish to just about any type of chicken, pork or beef dish and could even stand on its own as a vegetarian meal if you wanted it to. I served it as a side to some pulled pork tacos I made (which I ill be posting the recipe for tomorrow) and it was fantastic on the side or right on the tacos themselves. I think it would also work great with quesadillas or burritos.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Beans, Cooking, Picnic Fare, Produce, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

 

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A Quick Summer Meal That is Meat Free – Black Bean and Corn Tacos

When you are looking for something quick to make on these hot summer days and may even want to stay away from the meat for a dinner or for lunch, beans can be a great alternative for you. They can provide you with plenty of protein, vitamins and fiber and taste great in salads or as a taco or wrap. I decided to do this myself for lunch a few weeks ago and then brought it back as a dinner meal when we were looking for something quick and easy one night. All the ingredients can be things that you might normally have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator so you can have this ready to go in just minutes.

Black Bean and Corn Tacos

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 cup of cooked black beans)

5 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 cup onion, sliced thin

2 green onions, sliced thin

Corn or flour tortillas

Spinach leaves, for topping

Thinly sliced radishes, for topping

Sliced avocado or guacamole, for topping

Grated cheese (your choice) for topping

Sour cream, for topping

Diced tomatoes or salsa, for topping

Place the black beans and the cumin together in a small bowl and lightly mash the beans. Add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil along with the lime juice and mix together until well blended. In a saucepan set over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil until it is shimmering. Add the sliced onion and saute the onion until it is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn kernels and the bean mixture to the onions and heat until the corn and beans are completely warmed through and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. In a separate skillet, warm the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Warm the tortillas individually for about 1 minute per side. Remove the tortillas to a separate plate and place the bean and corn mixture in a separate bowl, sprinkling the beans mixture with the sliced green onions. Place any toppings you like on the table as well so people can assemble their own tacos to their specific liking.

You can really add anything you like to this dish to truly make it your own. Personally, I had tomato, avocado and radishes on mine while Sean put cheese on his and Michelle put sour cream and cheese on hers. The spinach was a nice touch as well. I actually have had this for lunch a number of times and they pack pretty well just as wraps if you didn’t want to cook the tortillas and just wanted to pack them up for a lunch on the go. you could certainly used dried beans that you have soaked and cooked beforehand in place of the canned, but the canned were convenient to use for my purposes and you can really make these with any type of beans you like, maybe throw in some chili peppers or hot sauce if you want some heat or any other type of vegetable you might like.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Another Great Summer Side Dish – Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

We are just about getting into summer in the area after a really long winter and that means the opportunity to get some of the really great summer vegetables that are around. For my family, that means eating a lot of corn and in all different ways. Yes,corn on the cob is great and it is certainly a family favorite for us, but one of the things that is even better is to roast some corn on the cob, strip it off the cob and use it in some wonderful side dishes. One of my favorites is a black bean and corn salad, which gives you the opportunity to combine some great flavors to get really good freshness for a side dish that is perfect for the summer. I found this particular recipe at TidyMom and decided to give it a try myself with some modifications of my own.

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

3 ears corn, cut off the cob
1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado sliced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 cup olive oil
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped

Cook the corn, bell pepper and the red onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until the vegetables are beginning to brown nicely all over, about 5 to 7 minutes. Toss in the black beans and cook until the beans are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to low while you make the dressing.

For the dressing, smash the garlic clove and sprinkle the smashed clove with some kosher salt. With the flat side of your knife, mash and smear the garlic clove and salt until it forms a paste. Whisk the garlic paste, lime juice, salt and chili powder together in a bowl. Slowly and gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with just a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream until the oil is incorporated into the dressing.

Add the dressing to the bean and corn mixture and toss the vegetables to coat them evenly. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the  corn and beans to a large bowl. Gently fold in the avocado, grape tomatoes, the basil and the blue cheese, if using, and serve warm or at room temperature.

That;s all there is to it and you get a really tasty side dish within minutes. You can certainly grill the corn first if you prefer instead of pan roasting it and then cut it off the cob, but since I don’t have access to a grill to do it this was my best option. I love the dressing with the nice bite of the lemon juice mixing so nicely with the corn, beans, avocado and tomatoes. This side dish can go with anything, from chicken, ribs, burgers and steak to all kinds of other meals. You could even use this as filling for tacos or quesadillas if you wanted something that is more of a vegetarian meal. It is certainly one we will use throughout the summer.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Fiesta Week Part 3 – Cabbage Slaw and Refried Beans

Now that you have some good taco recipes from chorizo tacos and chicken tacos, you need to have some good ides to go along with the tacos. Of course guacamole and salsa are always good choices and are pretty easy to make on your own at home. There are also a number of quality store-bought salsas and guacamole if there are some that you  like in particular and don’t have the time or energy to make them yourself. Personally, I always like the homemade better since you have more control over the ingredients and can make it just how you and your family like it the best. Anyway, I wanted to make a few different side dishes that could go well either right on the tacos themselves or right along side of them. Of course, I needed to have a classic refried beans recipe and I decided to use this one that I found on Food Network’s website from Ellie Krieger. It is very simple and can be done in minutes.

Refried Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the chili powder and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the beans and the chicken broth and cook until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Mash the beans coarsely with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher, adding more chicken broth to moisten the beans if necessary. Season the beans with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve.

The beans are very tasty and take no time at all to make. You could really do this with any type of beans that you like the best. I think black beans would be great for this well. The beans added great texture to the tacos overall and make a good side dish not just for tacos or other Mexican meals, but for things like chicken or pork entrees as well.

I also wanted to make a quick slaw to go along with the tacos, but I did not want a typical creamy coleslaw that I often make. I needed something lighter and simpler that people could put on their tacos or right on the side of their meals. This simple vegetable slaw from Bon Appetit fit the bill perfectly and only took a few minutes to make for the meal.

Black Bean and Cabbage Slaw

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 cups coleslaw mix

2 green onions, chopped

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place the black beans and the cumin in a small bowl and partially mash the beans. Mix the olive oil and the lime juice together in a medium bowl. Add the coleslaw mix, green onions and cilantro to the oil mixture and toss them well to coat them evenly. Add the beans to the coleslaw and toss to coat. Season the slaw with salt and pepper to taste.

Again, it is a very simple recipe that has a great fresh taste and flavor. This slaw could even be used as a taco filling all on its own if you wanted to go with something as more of a vegetarian option for tacos. All you need to do is heat dome tortillas, spoon the mixture onto the tortillas, add a little cheese and any other toppings you like, and you are good to go. I have actually been eating the slaw with my lunch the rest of the week and have added it into some salad that I made for lunch yesterday for an even better variation on regular salad.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Cooking, Holidays, Salad, Side Dishes

 

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A Spicy Side Dish – Tex-Mex Rice and Beans

When I made the surf and turf burritos last week, I wanted a simple side dish to go along with them and instead of making a standard rice and beans to go along with the meal,I decided to spice things up a bit and found a few different recipes for Tex-Mex rice, but I decided I wanted some beans in the dish too and made a minor adjustment to this recipe that I found from Cook’s Country. It is a very simple side dish that can go well with a bunch of different entrees and you can have it all done in about 30 minutes.

Tex-Mex Rice and Beans

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 poblano chile, seeded and chopped fine
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped fine 
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt

Process the tomatoes in a food processor until they are smooth; set aside. Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Rinse the rice under running water until the water runs clear, about 1 minute. Drain the rice well.

 Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion, poblano, and jalapeños and cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes; reserve ¼ cup of the pepper mixture. Stir in the rice, black beans, cumin, and oregano into the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is a deep golden, about 5 to 6 minutes.
 Add the chicken broth, the processed tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the reserved pepper mixture. Cover and let the rice stand for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and season with salt. Serve.
Just a couple of quick notes about this recipe. if you cannot find any poblanos or don’t want to use poblanos, you have lots of other choices as far as peppers. you can make this as hot or as mild as you want it to be. You could simply use some Anaheim peppers or just jalapenos or even just some bell pepper if you like. Also, rinsing the rice does make a big difference since it washes off a lot of the starch so you do not end up with gummy rice and get some nice fluffy rice instead. I liked the mix of the heat of the dish to go along with the burritos and adding the beans into the dish made it even heartier and they took on some of the flavor of the sauce and the peppers. This would work great for any Mexican or Southwestern dish you want to make, or even with pork, shrimp, a steak or some chicken. You get a lot of options with this dish and the recipe makes a lot of rice, so you will have leftovers to eat as well.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Side Dishes

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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