These New Year’s Beans: Lucky or Just Plain Good?

By on January 1, 2013

By Jennifer Cote –

If your New Year’s Resolutions include healthy eating, make it easy on yourself by packing the freezer with a few emergency meals you can depend on in a fix. It’ll be easier to stick to those resolutions when the stomach’s growling and the clock’s ticking, if all you need to do is pop something healthy in the microwave.

A few other foods can help ward off impulse eating; I always keep the cupboard stocked with almonds (and other nuts, plus dried fruits). Even a handful of nuts will stave off hunger pains if you feel like you can’t make it to dinner time. Give it twenty minutes and yes, any stomach growling will subside. You might even become inspired to make a fancier dinner!

But if time’s run out, having a few healthy options in the freezer can buy you time until the next, more elaborate meal. I like to stock our freezer with portions of Black Bean Chili (recipe below). But any favorite bean recipe will do. Beans freeze quite well without any adverse change in texture, and they’ll add protein to a meal.

Black Bean Chili

Make extra of this to store in the freezer for quick last-minute meals; nourishing, economical, and tasty. Freeze portions in plastic wrap, and microwave later for soup or burritos. Add tortillas, perhaps avocados, cheese, and tomato, for a simple dinner.

Many recipes call for canned black beans, but it’s easy to start them from scratch. Dry beans are most economical too, and organic beans are often available at health food stores. This recipe starts out thick; for Chili, just add water when heating up, to desired thickness. Top with grated cheese, yogurt (or sour cream), and fresh chopped tomatoes as desired. This mix is versatile; use for burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas. Serves 7-8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • scant 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. dry basil
  • 1/4 c. dry oregano
  • 2 TBS. cumin seed
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Optional: Grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and cilantro

Bring to a boil, then simmer 1-2 hrs., until tender: > 1 lb. black beans (in approx. 2 qt. water)

Strain cooked beans, returning to pot & mashing some w/ potato masher. Set aside. In iron skillet, saute’ the following on med. heat until tender (an hour or so): > 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions > 2 TBS. minced garlic > 3-4 TBS. olive oil

Meanwhile, in a hot, dry skillet, stir  the following until toasted, setting aside when done: > 1/4 c. each, dry basil & oregano > 2 TBS. whole cumin seed

Finally, mix the following all together: > Cooked, mashed beans > Sauteed onions and garlic > Toasted herb mix > 1/2 c. tomato paste > 1 TBS. each, salt and paprika > 1/4 tsp. cayenne

For Chili, add water to achieve desired thickness, sprinkling w/ grated cheddar cheese and yogurt (or sour cream), or use as is in burritos, etc.

 

Jen offers simple strategies for preparing healthy, homemade meals for family and friends. She runs The New Deli café with husband Tom, working on her 2nd cookbook in her spare time. More can be found at gratefultable.com; email Jennifer at [email protected].

About Jennifer Cote

Jennifer's love of cooking with natural ingredients is inspired by the organic garden she's cultivated for over 25 years. A cutting garden provides flowers for The New Deli Cafe, an herb garden lends herbs for culinary creations, and twenty-some fruit and nut trees are scattered throughout her fairly urban back yard. New Deli compost keeps the garden flourishing, as Jen and her family carry on the family business, established in 1985. A blessed grandmother, mother, and wife, Jen gets much joy from sharing recipes (and perhaps an occasional basket of figs or platter of home-baked goodies).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

These New Year’s Beans: Lucky or Just Plain Good?