Mia's Pinto Beans & Cornbread

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I have been MIA on two trips recently. I spent a few days with my mom in the Bahamas about a week ago, and more recently, the hubbs, Sydney and I flew to Louisiana for the weekend to go to the LSU/Auburn football game in Baton Rouge. So we've been busy!! And when not busy, we've been ordering DELIVERY!! haha. So not much cooking.

I did cook yesterday though...w/ my slow cooker.

One of my favorite meals also happens to be one of the cheapest and healthiest. Gotta love when that happens. ;) I can't say the same for a plate full of cheddar and jack cheese nachos with jalapenos. A bag of dried Pinto beans runs between 2-3 dollars, and feeds 3-4 easily. Corn Meal is equally inexpensive, but makes great cornbread. I grew up with this simple food - one that you can customize with all sorts of toppings and make it all your own.

I usually have the following toppings on hand: Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Jalapenos, Cilantro, Chopped Onions...

Mia's Pinto Beans

Here's what I used:

1 bag dried pinto beans
3 strips bacon, chopped into 2-3" pieces
1 onion, chopped into 1-2" pieces
dash: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
4-6 cups water

Here's what I did:

Rinsed the beans thoroughly in a colander to weed out any little rocks (yes, rocks) that might be hiding. Added beans, bacon, onion, seasonings and water to slow cooker and set to high. Cooked on high for 2-3 hours, checking occasionally. Added water when some of the beans began to rise above the water level. Turned to low and let cook another 2-3 hours. They were probably done after 1-2, but it didn't hurt to continue to cook them and keep them warm.

Cheesy Cheddar Cornbread

Here's what I used:

1 cup corn meal
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 deli slices cheddar, broken into 1" pieces (shredded is fine too - about 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt

Here's what I did:

Preheated oven to 400 degrees. Then I added all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and whisked to remove any lumps. Then I added the oil, milk and egg, and mixed just to incorporate. Lastly, I added my cheddar pieces and mixed them into the batter. I added my batter to a med-sized glass baking dish that had been sprayed well with PAM. After 20-25 minutes, the cornbread should be golden brown on top, mine was also oozing a little cheddar on top - YUMM.

I cut the cornbread into individual squares. This recipe mades about 9-12 good-sized pieces of cornbread.

On to reviews. My dad was over last night, and was pretty happy to hear I was making one of his favorite meals, too. Its his mom's recipe, so he's a long time fan. :) He added cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and broke his cornbread into his bowl. I like to add 2 big dollops of sour cream and a good amount of cheese - and then eat each bite with its own cornbread. And then pop a jalapeno here and there. Hubbs...well hubbs doesn't think beans are a REAL dinner. He was skeptical that BEANS stand on their own as an actual protein...but ate anyway. I think just because he was hungry. Oh! And Sydney Grace loved her beans and cornbread. She just popped those little puppies in one by one. I found a proten she likes! WHEEEE.

Whole Wheat Rotini Primavera

Saturday, October 10, 2009

We recently made our monthly pilgrimage to Costco, and picked up huge bags of cut broccoli and red/orange/yellow bell peppers. I wondered to myself how my little family of three would possibly consume all of it before it went back to God. I imagined all sorts of Broccoli soups, casseroles, steamed, etc. Not to mention that Sydney really won't eat her veggies, so she's out, in terms of help. So I decided to throw together a Pasta Primavera, in memory of a restaurant near my college that had an awesome Primavera with great veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, etc. in a light, fresh sauce.

Here's what I used:

2 cups broccoli flourettes
2 bell peppers, cut into 1" pieces
4 roma tomatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1 box Whole Wheat Rotini
1 cup chicken broth
4 tbsp butter (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch Red Pepper Flake
4-5 tbsp olive oil

Here's what I did:

Boiled water in a large stock pot with salt. Began to boil the Rotini.

Meanwhile, sauteed broccoli and peppers in a skillet with olive oil, garlic and butter. Once the broccoli and peppers began to soften, I added the tomatoes, chicken broth and red pepper flake.

After about 10 minutes the Rotini was cooked to al dente, and then drained.

I added my vegetable mix to my pasta, and mixed to incorporate. Served in large pasta bowls and sprinkled with shaved parmesan. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Spaghetti with Clams

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This is yet another EASY, healthy, South Beach Cookbook Recipe. And a dinner that can be prepared using mostly "staple" and pantry items. Which makes it a great just throw it together choice for dinner.

Spaghetti with Clams

Here's what I used:

2 small cans chopped clams in juice (separate clam meat from juice, retain juice)
1 box spaghetti (Whole Wheat if you have it)
1/2 cup Fat Free 1/2 and 1/2
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp red pepper flake (great for HEAT)

Here's what I did:

Brought a large stock pot of water to a boil. Added my pasta, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, I added my olive oil to a sauce pan and allowed to warm up. Added my garlic to the oil and let soften until fragrant, about 30 seconds. (Garlic is SO EASY to burn, don't ignore it!). Then I added my clam juice, 1/2 and 1/2, parsley and red pepper flake. Allow this to cook down and thicken a bit, about 10 minutes.

Once my pasta was al dente (still a touch of bite), I drained it, and added it back to the pot. Then I poured my clam sauce over the pasta to mix thoroughly. I served this in large soup bowls so that we could fish out all the clam pieces. Also, topped with shaved parmesan.

Very yummy and easy.

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