Slow-Cooked Fresh Black Beans & Rice

I’ll admit it. While tomatoes, corn and mushrooms can all be purchased at the Farmer’s Market mine came from Meijer. I was in Pennsylvania last week and had to pick up groceries mid-week because my fridge was fairly barren, so I cheated. However, had I not been prowling Meijer’s produce I never would have stumbled upon the package of fresh black beans and felt compelled to try and do something with it eventually leading to the existence of this recipe.

Slow-Cooked Black Beans & Rice

6 oz fresh black beans
1.5 cups rice
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (green tomatoes would work great as well)
1 cup diced portabella mushrooms
1 cup corn niblets
20 oz water
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp tsp cayenne pepper

Note: I used fresh black beans, so I didn’t need to soak them. I got them from the produce section of my local Meijer by the sprouts & tofu. Feel free to substitute canned or dried beans, just pre-soak the dried ones.

Toss all ingredients into your crock-pot. Cook at medium heat for 3-3.5 hours.

Mango Beet Soup

Be not deceived by the garnishment. There are no apples in this recipe. It is however full of betalains which have a whole host of beneficial aspects for the body. Much like cucumbers I’ll admit to having a bit of a beet prejudice growing up. My mom liked them but they were a strange purple colored thing that only seemed to show up at large family gatherings and events. I didn’t trust it. Then I decided that perhaps I was being unfair to them one day whilst eating a Greek salad. My prejudice now overcome I decided to give them a try in a different format after seeing them at Farmer’s Market.

Mango Beet Soup

5-6 beets peeled and diced
1/2 mango or about 2 cups sliced
dash of ginger
2 dashes of clove
2 tsp cinnamon

Boil beets until they soften in 3ish cups of water. You don’t want an excess of water but since this will take 30-40 minutes you’ll need to be able to boil it down.

Once softened, run through food processor with mango till about the consistency of apple sauce. I had to split mine into 2 batches through the processor due to size limitations.

Mix back together along with ginger, clove & cinnamon. Can be served hot or cold.

Lemon Cucumber Dill Dip

Cucumbers abounded at this past week’s farmer’s market. Despite our rough past (I choked on some seeds as a child and held a grudge for quite some time) I decided that cucumbers sounded good. I also had a cook out to prep something for, so I decided to go for a dip and crackers combo that I could easily grab between church and lunch.

Lemon Cucumber Dill Dip

2 cucumbers diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups plain Greek yogurt

Throw cucumber, lemon juice and spices into food processor and process to itty bitty pieces.

Drain off excess liquid (if you want a thicker dip) and mix with Greek yogurt. Serve fresh or refrigerate overnight to allow the dip to season.

Note: This makes A LOT of dip, as in several cups worth, so you may wish to 1/2 the recipe.

Summer Veggie Empanadas

Empanadas (at least from my American experiences with them) are like baby versions of what I refer to as pasties. In fact, now that I think on it, this recipe is really like a variation on the pasties that I shared several months back. Anyway, I wanted to do something with kohlrabi and saw some reference to it being in an empanada which reminded me of making Panamanean Empanadas in college and led to this recipe. I meant to post it earlier this week, but the record highs kept me from being very kitchen motivated.

Summer Veggie Empanadas

1 1/2 cups diced kohlrabi
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup diced summer squash
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced radishes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tbsp butter
3 cups flour
2 tbsp water
3/4 cup margarine

Mix together flour, water and margarine for pocket dough. You can also buy pie crust to use if you don’t wish to make your own. Set aside in the refrigerator (esp if it’s warm in the kitchen). Now clean and dice your veggies.

Mix together died veggies with salt, pepper and ginger.

Pull out dough and roll into circles of 5-6 inches. Fill with a spoon & a half of veggie mix, add a dab of butter, fold and crease edge.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Also, this recipe is linked in The Healthy Hop July Edition:

Baked Swiss Chard & Spaghetti

Since I wasn’t home to cook this past week, this week will feature a double serving starting with my first foray into swiss chard. My intention is to give green kohlrabi a try next. We’ll see how that goes.

Baked Swiss Chard & Spaghetti

3.5 cups chopped swiss chard
1/4 cup chopped Viadlia onion
14 oz diced tomatoes
8 oz canned tomato sauce or paste
1/2 lb spaghetti
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Garlic powder
Olive Oil

Using a large frying pan, set chopped onions to brown. Once those are started place swiss chard in a saucepan with just enough water to be even with their level. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Pour contents of the saucepan into the frying pan with the onions (being careful not to splash yourself). Add tomatoes & canned tomato sauce or paste. Mix together along a dash of clove, salt, fresh ground pepper and a tsp or so of garlic. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

I made my sauce the night before and refrigerated it to give the flavors more time to mingle, but you can also just proceed.

Partially cook your spaghetti noodles. I boiled them for about 5 minutes to be a little on the hard side of al dente, but I don’t like my noodles too soft.

Drain noodles and pour into an 8×8 pan along with sauce. Mix together well and top with shredded cheese.

Bake at 375 for 1/2 an hour or until cheese is beginning to brown.

Sliced Potato Bake

Mmmmm, potatoes. Fresh Michigan reds to be exact and in one of my favorite ways of making them. I can easily make a meal of them instead of several servings of a side dish. Of course, if you really want to make it more of a meal, switch out some of the potato for sliced zucchini for an alternate yet still tasty option.

Sliced Potato Bake

3 small potatoes, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
1/8 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tbsp dill

Thinly slice 3 red potatoes.

Arrange layered in an 8×8 glass dish. Drizzle melted butter over and season with salt, dill and Parmesan.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until browned.

Stewed Venison & Tomatoes

I really wasn’t sure what to call this recipe. I was thinking gumbo, but then I looked it up and it means ‘thickened with okra’. I don’t have anything against okra, but I haven’t had any in the kitchen of late so obviously that wouldn’t work. Feel free to give suggestions if you have a better idea of a classification.

Stewed Venison & Tomatoes

1 1/2 cups diced venison summer sausage
1 small to medium Viadlia onion chopped large
14 oz stewed tomatoes
1 cup water
3/4 cup roasted corn (or one ear cored)

Rinse and chop as necessary. Empty all ingredients into your crockpot and allow to simmer overnight or about 8 hours. My crockpot only has one setting so it would be at whatever the average setting is.

I chose to serve mine over rice which worked quite well, but I plan to experiment with pasta, gnocchi, etc. Also, feel free to add other vegetables and such the first time I made it on the stovetop with chopped zucchini (from the farmer’s market) and it was good as well.

Blueberry Rice Pudding

This isn’t an overly sweet recipe. I usually serve it with ice cream or whipped cream which balances that out, but for a sweeter pudding increase the agave (or sugar if that is used instead).

Blueberry Rice Pudding

2 cups cooked rice
1 cup milk
2 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cloves
Dash each of ginger

Mix together ingredients in a saucepan, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

5 Layer Mexican Dip

I have made this dip many, many times, but this is the first time I ever switched out store bought salsa for fresh tomatoes, onion, corn and peppers. Be warned, those peppers can be a bit spicy (as anyone at the Memorial Day party can attest).

5 Layer Mexican Dip

8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces of sour cream
3 medium tomatoes chopped
1/2 onion chopped (approx 3/4 cup)
16 ounces refried beans
1 cob of sweet corn
2 jalapanos
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

Roast corn and peppers. I did mine in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Chop tomatoes, onion and peppers. Remove corn from the cob. Mix together and refrigerate overnight. For me the mixture filled a regular (8 ounce) Cool Whip container just about perfectly.

Warm the cream cheese in an 8×8 glass baking dish until it’s spreadable. Mix with sour cream. Smooth flat.

Stir up your refried beans and spread as evenly as possible over the cream cheese/sour cream mixture.

Remove your chopped mixture from the refrigerator and spread evenly over the refried beans. Sprinkle cheese over until covered.

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until the cheese has browned. Allow to sit until cooled enough to not scald you and serve with tortilla chips.

I usually try to have some sort of serving picture, but I took this dip to a Memorial Day party and this is all I came back with:

Creamy Parmesan Asparagus Soup

Initially this was just going to be grilled asparagus with Parmesan & black pepper cream sauce, but at some point in the process I decided that I wanted to make a cream of asparagus soup instead. Never mind that it was over 80 out when I made this, I wanted soup. Besides, I had milk in need of being used up.

Creamy Parmesan Asparagus Soup

1 bundle of asparagus
1 cup shredded Parmesan
4 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Soak asparagus in water for at least 30 minutes. According to the farmer I bought it from this helps unfurl the ends and tenderize. He didn’t know I was going to end up decimating them in a food processor, but it can’t hurt.

Once they’ve soaked, grill them to green tenderness. Being an apartment dweller with no outside space I used my Foreman, but if you have a real grill go for the full out grill experience. Set aside to cool while starting on the soup base.

For the base start out like you would with a white sauce by melting the butter in the bottom of a saucepan. Once the butter is melted mix in the flour until it creates a paste. Add one cup of milk and mix until the paste clumps have dispersed. Add the Parmesan and a few spins of pepper from the grinder along with salt and nutmeg. Simmer.

Once that is set to simmering, slice your asparagus in half and throw it in the food processor with the last cup of milk. Process to the finest you’re able.

Add asparagus to your base. Mix well and simmer for at least 20 minutes. As with any soup, the longer you let it sit (or better yet refrigerate overnight) the more your flavors will co-mingle.

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