Tag Archives: beans

African Hominy and Beans

February is Black History Month. I think we are all aware of traditional Southern United States dishes that get mentioned this month. But it is interesting to look further into the roots of those dishes and the origins of African Americans. Most of us haven’t been to Africa or an African themed restaurant, with the possible exception of Moroccan food. It’s great to change things up and learn about new foods.

This hominy and beans dish is very easy to put together, uses common ingredients, and tastes great. My kids are big beans fans, so they downed this. If you are worried about a spice level, you could halve the curry powder. Depends on if you have a sweet or spicy curry. Enjoy!

African Hominy and Beans (serves 6)

African Hominy and Beans//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed well
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
1 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken stock

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 4 to 5 minutes until soft.

2. Stir in garlic and sauté 30 to 60 seconds until fragrant.

3. Add tomato paste, oregano, curry powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Stir in hominy, pinto beans and vegetable stock and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid is mostly absorbed.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 136
Protein: 5 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 18 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 181 mg

Recipe notes: This is great served over rice.

Source: Slightly adapted from Food and Nutrition Magazine

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Beans and Cornbread

Quick apologies for my absence. I recently moved. Just a few miles, but into a house. A grown-up house. It is amazing and stressful and overwhelming and fun. Not only did that take a bunch of time, but I was cooking out of a microwave and electric skillet for several days. Sadly, this photo was an improvement on the unpacking of my kitchen at one point. But now I’m all unpacked and ready to go!


Last week, I had a guest post on The Kitchen Professor on Cornbread in a Cast-Iron Skillet. It is one of my favorite uses for cast iron skillets. Check it out!

And, if you are looking for something to go with that cornbread, I have a recipe featuring another specialized pot quickly becoming one of my favorites. The pressure cooker. Several food blogs I follow have posted about pressure cookers in recent months. Last summer, as I was packing my kitchen, my friend commented on how nice my pressure cooker was. I told her it was because I had never tried it. Now that I’m all unpacked, I’ve been testing it out. It’s pretty great. Brown rice only takes 20 minutes to cook! With the recent demise of my rice cooker, this has been a life saver.

But my real favorite is beans. While the beans in my crockpot are great and easy, pressure cooker beans are so quick. I have generally soaked mine, but you don’t need to do so. Beans are a nutritious, filling, and affordable meal. Beans, cornbread, and a side of greens. Very Southern and very delicious! Enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Beans

This isn’t an exact recipe. Just some ideas and resources I have found helpful.

1 pound of dry beans
Aromatics: large chunks of onion or dried minced onion, celery, garlic cloves or powder, bay leaf
Salt: either up to 1 teaspoon salt or you could add a few slices of bacon (yum)
6-8 cups water

1. Optional: soak beans in 6-8 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain water.

2. Combine beans, aromatics, salt, and water in pressure cooker. Make sure you don’t fill your pressure cooker more than about ½ full.

3. Cook according to your cooker’s guidelines. Here is useful information about cooking times and adjusting for altitude, etc.

4. VERY IMPORTANT!! Let the pressure release naturally, which will take 10-15 minutes. You can put the cooker under cool water to fast release the pressure. However, you will have weird beans. The beans in my picture were cooled that way. Some were slightly underdone. Lots of cracked beans. Have patience and let it release naturally. Totally worth the extra time.

What do you like to cook in a pressure cooker? What do you wish you knew how to cook in a pressure cooker? Let me know in the comments and I’ll experiment for you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes


Recently, we were having a chili dinner fundraiser at my church. The person in charge of the food asked if I had a good, basic chili recipe, and I suddenly realized that I didn’t. They used a recipe from someone else, but I did help cook some of the chili. It turned out tasty, but the whole experience got my brain going.

This recipe is inspired by the recipe we used for the fundraiser, but trying to raise the health level a bit. I was shocked at that amount of meat and the lack of vegetables in that recipe. This recipe tries to ramp up the health level without sacrificing on the flavor. Next week, I’ll show you my new favorite way to eat this chili, too. Enjoy!

Chili (Serves 8)


½ tablespoon canola oil (if needed)
10 ounces lean ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced carrots
½ jalapeno, diced (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
½ tablespoon oregano
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can low sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn
1 can tomato paste
1 (8 ounce) can no salt added tomato sauce
¼ cup masa
½ cup water

1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add turkey; cook until browned. Add onion, pepper, carrots, and jalapeño. Saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. Saute for about 1 minute more, stirring constantly. You want the spices to begin to be fragrant but not to burn.

2. Add in both beans, corn, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine well. Bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 1 hour, up to 3 if you have the time.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, mix ¼ cup masa with the water until not lumpy. Stir into chili. Cook for 30 minutes more.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Saturated Fat:

Recipe Notes: If you don’t get lean turkey, then you won’t need the oil. I usually aim for 90/10 or 93/7 turkey. If you can’t find that, you can use a higher fat percentage. Just don’t add the oil, and make sure to drain some of the excess fat before adding the vegetables. All you need is a light coating to prevent sticking. You could easily substitute kidney beans, which are more traditional. I happened to have pinto and liked the taste. The step with the masa and water is somewhat optional. I think it adds good flavor and thickening. But if you don’t have it around, don’t stress out about it. This is pretty thick chili, but I liked how hearty it was.

Source: Adapted from Joy of Cooking and The Pioneer Woman

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

Right after I got married, I got my first real job. I actually needed to cook dinner consistently for the first time AND didn’t have a lot of time to cook. I found myself turning to my slow cooker a lot. But we could only eat so many meals doused in cream of chicken or mushroom soup, so I began to look around for other ideas.

The great thing about these peppers is that they are very adaptable. Change up the ingredients as much as you’d like – corn, different beans, olives, different peppers, etc. The only downside I have found is the timing. If you leave these to cook for a long time, they kind of fall apart. They still taste great, but the presentation leaves something to be desired. I do think these taste better than peppers in the oven though, since they have more of a sauce.


Crockpot Stuffed Peppers (Serves 6)

crockpot stuffed peppers

6 bell peppers (any mix of colors)
½ yellow onion, diced
1 can of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed per preference, diced
½ cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 cup brown rice
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
¾ cup salsa

1. Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds, stems, and cores. Dice pepper tops and place in a medium bowl.

2. To pepper tops, add onion, beans, corn, jalapeño, cheese, rice, taco seasoning, and half the can of tomatoes. Stuff peppers with mixture. Place peppers in crockpot. If you have an filling left over, pour it over the peppers in the crockpot.

3. Combine remaining tomatoes and salsa. Pour over stuffed peppers. Put lid on crockpot. Cook for 4-6 hours on low.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 263
Protein: 10 g
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 9 mg
Carbohydrates: 47 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sodium: 436 mg

Recipe Notes: You can use any color of bell peppers. I tend to prefer the flavor of red or yellow peppers, but green are usually cheaper. The recipe originally had ground beef instead of beans. It was tasty that way, but I like the vegetarian version. You could also split the cheese in half, mixing half in the stuffing and sprinkling half on top. I have found the cheese on top often gets lost when you are serving, so I don’t bother. Also, I ALWAYS have extra stuffing. If you could fit an extra pepper or so in your crockpot, you might want to use them.

Source: Adapted from Semi-Homemade Cooking 2

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

White Chicken Chili

I have a confession to make: I don’t make chili very often. I make soup all the time. But not really traditional chili. Why? Because I always find myself somewhat underwhelmed no matter what recipe I try and resort to adding all sorts of mix-ins. If you have to add a million ingredients at the table, why bother. I’m always game for a veggie chili, turkey chili, or something like that.

This white chicken chili is my favorite though. Even though there are no tomatoes, it still manages to hit all the right notes to satisfy a “chili” craving. And you can adjust the seasonings to be as spicy as you would like.


White Chicken Chili (Serves 8 or more)


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 ¼ cups chopped red bell pepper
1 minced jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed to your preference
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups cooked, chopped chicken (boneless, skinless chicken breast)
2 cans of great northern beans, drained and rinsed well
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 small can chopped green chiles
1 cup frozen corn
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup skim milk
½ cup chopped cilantro

1. Melt butter in large stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes or until beginning to soften.

2. Add chicken, beans, broth, chiles, corn, cumin, chili powder, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Stir in milk. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until beginning to thicken, stirring frequently. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 243
Protein: 25 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 45 mg
Carbohydrates: 27 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 139 mg

Recipe Notes: This doesn’t become as thick as a traditional chili. Just cook it until it thickens a little beyond a brothy soup. You really do need to stir it to keep the milk from forming a skin on top, which isn’t the best.

Source: Adapted from a friend’s recipe


Filed under Recipes

Fiesta Pasta Salad

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the colors, the cooler weather, the flavors, the football and bands, and my birthday.  But this year, I find myself wishing summer would linger a little longer.  We had a very full summer of fun activities.  But I want just one more grilled hamburger, one more picnic, one more swim party.

If you feel the same way, this pasta salad screams summer.  It is light but still filling and delicious.  It works great as a side dish, but could also be eaten as a main dish.  It is great for taking to a  pot luck, because it makes a ton of food.  Enjoy!

Fiesta Pasta Salad (Serves 20-25 as a side dish)


1 package Fiesta Ranch dip mix
2 cups fat free buttermilk
2 cups plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice, optional

1 (13.25 ounce) package whole wheat spiral pasta, cooked
½ small red onion, diced
1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 bell peppers, diced (a mix of colors is best)
½ cup grated colby jack cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro

1. Combine dressing ingredients. Set aside.

2. Combine salad ingredients except cheese and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir in dressing until salad is well coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, overnight is best.

3. Stir in cheese and cilantro right before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 155
Protein: 9.6 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 7 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 110 mg

Recipe Notes: I never buy buttermilk. I just make my own with vinegar or lemon juice. If you have lime juice, that would work well for making the buttermilk, and you wouldn’t need to add the extra tablespoon. You could really change up or add the ingredients. I think I would prefer black beans over kidney beans in the future. Fresh tomatoes or avocados would be delicious. If serving as a main dish, some shredded chicken would be a nice mix-in. This salad gets better as it sits, so really plan ahead when making it.

Source: slightly adapted from a family recipe

Low-iodine adjustment: Use beans you prepared yourself rather than canned. Omit the cheese. Make a vinaigrette dressing, like this or this.

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie

I hated shepherd’s pie when I was a kid. I have never liked canned green beans, and my mom always used those for the layer between the meat and the potatoes. When I tried it with different vegetables, I liked it a little better. Then I found this recipe, which blows regular shepherd’s pie completely out of the water.

We do eat white potatoes occasionally, but our family eats sweet potatoes regularly. They have so much flavor and don’t go bad as quickly if you don’t use them right away. Sweet potatoes are good sources of potassium and vitamin A, and their naturally sweet taste makes them kid friendly, too.


Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie (serves 6-8)


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb ground turkey, ground beef, or chopped chicken breast
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1 cup corn
1 (15 ounce) can of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 lbs sweet potatoes (enough to make about 5 cups of mashed sweet potatoes), peeled and diced
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons chili powder

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When water is boiling, add sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 15-30 minutes (depending on how small you cut the potatoes).

3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic powder; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add meat and cook for about 5 minutes.

4. Add tomato paste, 2 tablespoons chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until spices become fragrant. Add tomatoes, salsa, corn and beans. Simmer until liquid reduces, about 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Spoon into one 9×13 pan or two 8×8 pans.

5. Mash sweet potatoes with butter, milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons chili powder. Spread mash over meat mixture.

6. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until heated through and top is beginning to brown.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving with 8 servings):

Calories: 409
Protein: 20 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 51 mg
Carbohydrates: 60 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 483 mg

Recipe Notes: In this picture, I made this dish with chicken. I prefer it with ground turkey or ground beef, but the chicken is very tasty as well. You could add 1 diced jalapeno with the garlic powder for even more heat. I usually divide this into 2 pans and freeze one of the pans for later. After freezing, I bake it at 400 for at least an hour, until it is heated all the way through.

Source: slightly adapted from Parade Magazine

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes