Ummy Yummy Beans

I’m not a fan of beans, in general. Recent changes in our economic circumstances have made me reevaluate them as a viable energy source. Oh, wait, no….WIC told me I had to eat them. Which was it? Heck, I don’t know, but I did make these incredibly tasty pinto beans, and that’s speaking as one who doesn’t really like beans all that much.  I promise I will start posting recipes that don’t have beans in them!

We happened to have a ham bone and some extra ham left over that I had frozen from Easter. If you don’t have that, then I recommend tossing in some bacon about halfway through.

  • 1 pound uncooked pinto beans
  • 1 onion
  • half a bell pepper, green
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes
  • half a bunch of fresh cilantro
  • seasonings (salt, pepper, Cajun spices)

After you have picked through your beans and thrown away the broken ones, place them in the bottom of your crock pot.  Slice the onion and bell pepper and add them to the beans.  Add the leftover ham (or bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces), then pour the Rotel tomatoes over that.  Chop and add the fresh tomatoes.

Chop the cilantro and discard the stems, adding only the green leaves to the pot, along with the salt, pepper, Cajun spices, and possibly just a tiny bit of rosemary.

Now cover everything with about 3-4 inches of water.  If you have to add more water, be sure it is hot, because adding cold water to already cooking beans can cause them to split.

Put the lid on and cook on low for 7-8 hours (better) or on high for 5 or 6 (still ok).  These make great burritos or a great side dish!

Thanks, cooks.com for this recipe!

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Black Bean Burritos

Yes, it seems I’ve gone on a bean kick, which is surprising for me, since I never thought I liked beans.  But I promised you healthy and tasty, cheap and easy.  This recipe fulfills all of those requirements, and then some, I think.  Credit where credit is due — I nabbed it off Allrecipes.com.

  • butter
  • 1 small onion
  • half a bell pepper, green or red
  • minced garlic
  • three or four slices of jalapeno, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • salt
  • cilantro
  • tortillas
  • chopped lettuce and tomato (optional)

Chop the onion and bell pepper.  Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Saute the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno in the butter for 2 or 3 minutes.  You can use this time to rinse and drain the beans.  Add the beans to the pan and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.  Cube the cream cheese and stir that in.  Once it’s melted, sprinkle salt and cilantro over everything and stir.  You are now ready to make burritos.

Place a tortilla on a plate and spoon a smallish amount of beans into the middle.  Add your chopped lettuce and tomato, fold both sides in, and roll it up.  Enjoy!

Southwest Middle East Burritos

Lately I’ve been much more adventurous about trying foods I always thought, based on limited experience, that I hated. Brussels sprouts, for example. This recipe is an example of that. I tried hummus once and didn’t like it. However, I found that homemade hummus, with a tweak or two, is FAR superior to the store-bought stuff. I call these Southwest Middle East Burritos because I use cilantro and cumin in the hummus.

This meal takes under 30 minutes, and makes 3 burritos. You will have leftover hummus, though, so feel free to make more chicken than I did, and you could probably easily serve 4 or 5 with this recipe.

You will need:

for the hummus:

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), 15 or 16 ounces
1/4 cup tahini (basically, a paste made out of sesame seeds)(this is a little harder to find — in my area you can’t get it at Wal-Mart, but you CAN find it at Kroger, either in the organic food aisle or the Asian food aisle, and our health food store has it, so if you have a Whole Foods, I bet they’ll have it)
1 lemon
1 heaping spoonful of minced garlic
cilantro, cumin, and salt
olive oil

for the chicken:
butter
1.5 boneless skinless chicken thighs (I just grabbed some out of the freezer and got a whole one and a half and decided it was enough for the two of us) (or 1 breast if you prefer)
1 heaping spoonful of minced garlic
lemon juice (i just used the lemon juice from the store rather than juicing another lemon)

for the burrito or wrap:
tortillas or flatbread — tonight i used some spinach tortillas that I found at Wal-Mart — fantastic!
1 tomato (actually, you really only need half a tomato or so)

First cut your chicken up into little cubes. Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, until you start to see the garlic brown a little. Toss in your chicken, and squirt fairly liberally with the lemon juice. Stir once in a while you’re attending to the rest of the recipe.

Pour the entire contents of your can of chickpeas into a small saucepan, juice and all. Bring to a boil and boil for about six minutes.

While your chicken is cooking and your chickpeas are boiling, juice your lemon (I had a medium lemon and it yielded just under 1/4 cup of lemon juice). If you have a juicer attached to a cup to catch the juice, like I do, add the lemon juice to your food processor last, to make sure that everything that is going to drip through has had a chance.

Measure your 1/4 cup tahini and place into your food processor or blender. Add cilantro and cumin. I didn’t measure those (I rarely measure herbs) but if you’re not used to using them, be careful. They are both pretty potent, and you don’t want to overdo it. Be especially careful with the cumin. Now add your juice of the lemon. Don’t blend yet.

Chop your tomato.

When your chickpeas are done, drain them in the colander. I’ve found that you don’t want to add all of them to the food processor at once, at least if you have a smallish one like I do. So add about 1/4 of the chickpeas, blend, stop, mix it up, maybe add some more, blend, stir. Here’s where the olive oil comes in.

Originally this recipe called for more tahini, but we didn’t like quite ALL that sesame flavor, so I cut back on the tahini and I substitute olive oil as needed to make the consistency come out right. So I would add some chickpeas, blend, stir, add some olive oil, some more chickpeas, and so forth. I know this sounds complicated and time-consuming, but it really isn’t. I was done with this part in a matter of minutes. I wasn’t measuring the olive oil, but I’m guessing I used 1/3 cup or so, when all was said and done.

Don’t worry about trying to get it completely smooth. You will end up with a few chickpeas still intact, or nearly intact, but it actually enhances the dish, in my opinion.

By now, your chicken is cooked, so drain that too. Now lay out one of your tortillas on a plate.  Basically, you make a burrito by smearing some hummus on the tortilla, topping with chicken and chopped tomato, then rolling it up.   Once you have your toppings in the tortilla, pick two opposite side to be the ends.  Fold them in, and roll the burrito.  You may have to re-tuck the ends to make it nice and tight.  You can either eat it whole, or cut in half like a wrap, as in the picture.

One more thing! The recipe that I adapted the hummus from called for 1/2 a lemon, not a whole lemon, and they weren’t expecting it to be served with garlic lemon chicken. So, if you’re not crazy about lemon, season your chicken some other way, and cut the lemon back to a half. Just know you might have to add more tahini or olive oil to make the consistency come out right. As it is, this recipe is NOT a subtle one. 😉 But it is SOOO tasty! Like I said, I didn’t think I liked hummus at all, and I polished off my dinner burrito. Oh, and this reheats pretty well, as I discovered when I decided to eat half of the burrito in the picture later. 😉 It was that good. I challenge you to try it!