Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Black Beans - 3 Ways

First in my series of beans a la crockpot - black beans.
I really geeked out on this little project. It all started because I was reading this blog. and was inspired by the beautiful bean salads and a local bean grower with a real passion for beans (here).
I decided, we were going to do a day trip to Napa and one of my stops would be this bean shop. Each bag of beautiful, fresh beans cost about $5.50. I thought - ok, before I totally muck this up on my pretty beans- let's make sure I know what I am doing and use a cheaper bag.
So I also went to the store and bought a few cheaper bags of beans so I could test the cooking times and my abilities. I suggest you do this same thing - each crockpot can be different so you are going to want to test the timing on yours. And buying good quality beans is important because you want something that is fresh and you know how/where it was grown.
Another experiment was freezing the beans. I didn't think it would work, but it's better than canned!

What you need:
Black beans

The night before you want to cook your beans, cover them with a lot of water in a bowl and leave on the counter. I used the whole bag because I didn't want to do this multiple times and freezing works great for beans!
Drain and rinse. Dump into your crockpot and cover with 2 inches of water.
For my crockpot it took 5 hours on high for black beans (again, these were pre-soaked). I like mine tender and not mushy.
Set it, and forget it.

When your beans are cooked, you can use them immediately or let them cool and freeze them.
Just place them in a storage container and put the lid on and freeze. If you are not going to use them this month I would recommend vacuum packing them after they have formed in the freezer in the storage dish.

Black Beans My Way #1 {Black Bean Corn Summer Salad}

Black beans
Corn, grilled
red onion
olive oil

(no measurements here because some might like more corn and less onion, or more lime, etc) Just toss together and enjoy!

Black Beans My Way #2 {Refried}
An awesome use of the frozen beans - literally take them out, put them in a pot with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and over medium low heat defrost them. As they defrost mash them as much as you like your 'refried' beans and you are done.
Serve on homemade corn tortillas and guacamole for a yummy vegetarian snack!

Black Beans My Way #3 {Plain}
Plain with some salt - great side dish with some protein and veg!

{I am on a bean rampage so keep your eyes out for more black bean recipes!}

Monday, July 16, 2012

Easy Skillet Chicken and Rice

This was inspired by an America's Test Kitchen recipe - but made GF/DF and some added umph it needed. It's such a comforting meal. So simple to make and so simple in taste. And I like that sometimes. This is a great weeknight meal and it takes only 30 minutes and can be mostly made from things I usually have in the freezer and fridge.

**Notes: I would really urge you to use a flavorful rice like basmati here. And good basmati. The dish is quite plain and the yummier the rice the better. Also, I always use a Le Crueset here. You can use any heavy bottom pan, but my preference for even cooking is always LC.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tbls olive oil
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
pinch of chili flakes
1/2 cup white wine of your choice (always cook with something you want to drink)
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped green olives
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 lemons, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan heat the oil (make sure you've picked a pan with a lid). When good and hot - sear one side of the chicken. Take out and set aside.

Next warm up the onion and cook until soft. Add the chili flakes and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add in the rice and let it cook until most of the kernels are white. Stir in the wine. And you are going to do a risotto type thing here where you really let the rice soak up the wine before adding the stock in.
Once the wine is absorbed, put the stock in and place the chicken back in the skillet. Cover and cook until the chicken is done - about 10 minutes.
Throw in the peas, green onion and olives. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Enjoy with a hearty serving of chard. 

Catching up with a Crockpot and Skillet Meals

It's been a busy and sleep deprived past two weeks and when the baby is peacefully sleeping in my arms (because that is the best feeling in the world and because when that is the only way she will sleep - you let her!) I have caught up on some blog reading (thank goodness for iPads making it easy to multi task like that).
So I come to you this week with a host of skillet and crockpot fixings. My new inspiration comes from a few places. One - has to be easy. Two - has to be nutritious. Three - has to make something that reheats well. Four - as usual, has to be gluten and dairy and nightshade free, but can't taste like that. Five - You will see a lot of beans. I always use canned beans and I don't mind it too much, but I really prefer to soak all my grains and legumes, but you can't get that with canned. It's also cheaper and tastier if you make your own.
Beans are also really great for the crockpot - because they take so long and also they don't taste like the crockpot when they cook. My crockpot recipes I pick and post do not taste like crock pot (possibly you don't know what I am talking about here - but some things, especially chicken - don't cook up well in the crockpot and end up tasting like the pot itself. It's weird and not pleasant). My crockpot postings will also not be your typical chili type deals because pretty much all of those recipes call for tomato - and lots of it - and that being a nightshade I steer clear.
The other recipes are soups (mostly lentil based) and the one skillet deals have been fun to play with too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stroller Snack

This is so simple and so good. It's what I pack myself to have on hand in the stroller when the nursing hunger attacks me (but non-nursing folk love it too!)

2 ingredients. Yes two. You can add more dried fruit or other seeds - which actually this started as a store bought no nut trail mix I was buying. I decided I only liked these two parts so to save money and satisfy my craving, I now make my own.

1 cup Raw or raw sprouted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup Enjoy life brand mini chocolate chips (or your favorite brand but his one is soy, nut,dairy,gluten etc all of the common allergens free)

Mix in a baggy and take to go

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Quick Indian Cauliflower & Green Bean Curry

This is so quick and requires that you just have a few of the basic Indian spices on hand. And you can use this same method on a lot of vegetables, but this happens to be my favorite. Usually it's done with cauliflower and potato and peas, but I don't eat potato so this is my version - Hashimoto friendly!

2 tbls canola and/or peanut oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1-2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 head of cauliflower, core taken out and cut into smallish pieces (your choice)
2 cups green beans
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp garam masala (store bought or you can make your own)
1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 cup or so of water

In a pan (that you have a lid for) warm the oil over medium low heat. DON'T go crazy with the heat. Indian cooking is all about managing that so you can just lightly toast the spices.
When you think the oil is warm, put in one mustard or cumin seed. If you see it bubbling on the sides, put in the rest of the seeds. Cook until just fragrant (that literally means until you can smell it - don't let them burn if you do - start over).
Then toss in the ginger and onion.

When the onion is soft, toss in the cauliflower, green beans, spices, salt and water and cover with a lid.

Cook until the cauliflower is nice and soft. Keep adding water as needed.

Serve over basmati rice.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Powerful Quinoa

Quinoa is in itself one of the greatest grains for anyone - but a Celiacs best friend. You can do this up any way you want, but what makes it 'powerful' is the blend of veggies you get from the farmer's market and the addition of coconut aminos and seeds.
If you are not familiar with coconut aminos, read here. (I have found it at New Leaf and Whole Foods, but you can also get it on Amazon I think). They are awesome. Adds umami like soy sauce but is not soy. So for the allergen sensitive folks - this is the PERFECT alternative. You can also use it to dip sushi, toss with rice noodles. Delish.

1 cup quinoa, soaked overnight and rinsed
1/2 bunch arugula or spinach, cleaned and chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower and/or broccoli
2 small zucchini, chopped or sliced
1 good handful of green beans trimmed and chopped
1 cup shitake mushrooms
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 lemon
coconut aminos
salt and pepper
olive oil

Part 1
Heat your oven to 400 F and roast the broccoli/cauliflower and/or zucchini on a sheet pan until golden with olive oil, salt and pepper

Part 2

While the oven is heating...
Warm the olive oil up in a pan and cook the onion until it's soft. 
Toss in the mushroom and cook until everything is just as you like it.

Part 3
While the oven is going and the pan is going...
Cook the quinoa and toss in the arugula - let the heat of the quinoa wilt the greens.

Toss together and squeeze the juice of the lemon, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and coconut aminos to your taste; Add the pumpkin seeds.


This is perfect cold or room temp - I actually don't eat it warm except the first time I make it.