Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Week Of Beans challenge - recipes 1 & 2

A couple of blogs I like have mentioned the Week Of Beans challenge. Beans are super cheap, bulk up a meal, and are good for you. Plus, we have a large family so I decided to see if we could eat beans every night for 7 nights and see how much money it would save. It is only night 3 and we have already deviated but, as you will learn below it wasn't really avoidable.

It helps that my husband loves beans and is happy to accept this challenge with me.

Monday night we had Italian Bean-Bean Chili. This is an recipe-by-Mel (me) and turned out really, really good.
  • About 5 cups of large beans - just an estimate, I didn't measure them.
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cans vegetables
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes

Seasonings to taste:

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Italian seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • steak seasoning
  • chili powder
  • salt and pepper
I soaked the beans over Sunday night - navy beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
Monday morning I poured them into the crock pot with the ground beef, a can of corn, a can of green beans, and 2 cans of diced tomatoes and the seasonings. The amounts of seasonings used really depends on how seasoned you like your food. We like our dinners very flavorful and use a generous helping of seasoning - especially the Worcestershire and steak seasoning.
I set the crock pot to high and let it cook all day long, stirring it occasionally. We had red skinned baked potatoes with it and it was delicious. We are condiment people and adding a little sour cream and shredded cheese to the chili added to the taste, too.

To bake a perfect red skinned potato:
(you can use russet if you like but our favorite is red)

Set your oven to 350. Prepare potatoes by gently scrubbing them but not so much that you skin them. Then poke a bunch of holes all over them with a fork. Next, with your hands rub each potato with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle them with salt.
When your oven is preheated you will want to put your potatoes directly on the center rack. Make sure to put a cookie sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drippings. Cook them for about an hour.
Just add your favorite potato toppings for perfect baked potatoes! But be careful, potatoes stay hot for an exceptionally long time. My mom once told me that when she was growing up they used to bake potatoes in the morning and put them in their coat pockets for the walk to school to keep their hands warm on cold Maryland mornings.

Now, the bean recipe made a lot of food and we only ate half of it. The other half was refrigerated for tonight's dinner, recipe #2, and I will add a couple cups of rice to it to create a new dish, Rice Chili. Any rice will do - we buy white rice in 20 lb bags at the commissary so that is what we will use. You'd be surprised at how much just rice can change the taste of something.
Friday night we are having homemade bean burritos! I will post that yummy recipe later.

What happened to Tuesday?
Last night our neighborhood was putting on a safety night with fire trucks, a helicopter display, fun stuff for the kids, and free hot dogs and hamburgers. We were on our way out the door when we learned it was postponed due to weather. We decided to take a walk anyway and ran across some friends who were expecting to eat dinner there, too. We decided to get together to cookout - so there wouldn't have been beans last night either way.
The safety night was postponed until tomorrow night so we won't be having beans then either. Our bean week will run over by two days and that is perfectly fine with me!