Thursday, March 8, 2012

Amazing Black Bean Soup


Wonderfully tasty black bean soup, modified from a food network recipe.


First, I prepped the beans, because I use dried beans.  Takes a while, but it's very little actual effort, and it's significantly cheaper than even the cheapest canned beans.


  • 1 1/2 cup dried black beans, soaked in water overnight.
  • Then drain, rinse, and put into a crockpot, filling with water (I have a mini crockpot perfect for small meals like this.  I think it's about a quart.)  
  • Cook on low all day. (important!!  Do not use the crockpot for the initial cooking of kidney beans.  They need to be brought to a boil to eliminate a potential toxin. After the initial boiling they can be cooking in a crockpot. But black beans do not have the same issue.)
  • Allow to cool and pop into the fridge over night.  I keep it in the same crockpot.

The next morning, drain off about half the water.  (The more rinse/draining you do, the last gassy beans will make you.).  It's time to prep the soup!

To the beans add:

  • finely chopped onion - I used 1/2 of a fairly small one.  Perhaps 1/3 cup.
  • chopped bell peppers - about 1/2 - 3/4 cup (I just use frozen peppers and chop them a bit more.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Vegetable "Better than Bouillon" paste (about 2 bouillon cubes worth)
  • Fill with water to brim of crockpot

Cook on low all day (for us that was about 10 hours)

I had no celery and I forgot the garlic and cornstarch!  While the cornstarch would have made the broth a bit thicker, it wasn't really missed.  The soup tasted perfect, so the garlic and celery weren't needed.  My husband raved about it and said all I needed was a homemade breadbowl to eat it out of!



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spanish Style Couscous

Another successful couscous recipe today - I loved it. My hubby only liked it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small (4 oz?) can chopped green chilis
  • 1 12 oz can no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp or so garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried cilantro
  • onion powder to taste (about 1/4 tsp was all I needed)
  • 1 12 oz can black beans, rinsed thoroughly.
  • 1 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 tsp Better Than Bouillion Vegetable base.
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat couscous

Instructions

  1. In nonstick skilled, caramelize onions and green peppers.
  2. Add green chilis, tomatoes, spices, and water with vegetable base.
  3. Bring mixture to boil.
  4. Add couscous and black beans, bring down to a simmer, and set timer to 5 minutes.
  5. Allow couscous to absorb moisture, stirring frequently to avoid burning.  
  6. Turn off heat after 5 minutes, allow to cool for another 3 minutes, and serve!
Couscous will be slightly al dente if the skillet was never covered. (My preference).

My husband decided he would have preferred a more well-cooked couscous.  In that case, the couscous should be cooked first in water, then added to the mixture and allowed to cook until moisture is gone.  Much soggier pasta, but he likes it better.