Snack Crack(ed) Beans

We were in the mood for something salty and crunchy- and potato chips/pretzels/crackers were nowhere to be found!

These certainly filled that niche, and now we are addicted to them! Fortunately, they’re pretty healthy as well.

Ingredients (makes enough for a snack for two!):

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • (1 tbsp olive oil)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (or 425°F).
  2. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Layout on a stick-free oven-safe pan. The layer should be only 1 bean deep.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. Take out, toss. Do a little taste-testing here (and don’t burn your tongue!). Add a bit more salt/cumin/garlic for more flavor only if needed.
  4. Drizzle the second tablespoon of olive oil over the beans. Put back in oven and bake for 5 more minutes.
  5. Remove from oven & enjoy!

Snack Crack(ed) Beans

 

Winter Cold-Prevention Tea

I’ve been drinking this almost every morning… And I’m convinced that it has played a role in protecting me from getting sick this winter.

Ingredients:

  • 500mL water
  • 5-10 cardamom pits, smashed
  • 1 tbsp ginger, sliced/crushed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 slices of lemon

Preparation:

  1. Bring water, cardamom & ginger, to a boil in a small sauce pan. Use the backside of a spoon to smush the ginger- ensuring the flavors are being released. 

    Boiling water, cardamon, & ginger.
    Boiling water, cardamom, & ginger.
  2. Let water boil for about 5 minutes, then add the cinnamon. Stir. Let boil for another minute or so.
  3. Pour your tea into a cup over a strainer to keep all of the particles out. Add lemon slices & enjoy!
    Straining the tea into cup.
    Straining the tea into cup.

    Tea

Guac-some-more-le

We eat guacamole almost every night, and because it browns rather quickly, we whip up a new batch every night. So this recipe is about enough for two people on your dinner of choice:

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 medium clove garlic, chopped lightly
  • 3 tbsp salsa (we use it from a jar… very fancy)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Toss all ingredients in a food processor. Process til smooth. (If you don’t have a food processor and own an immersion blender, that will also do the trick!)
  2. If you like chunky guacamole or don’t own any type of blending equipment– mash all ingredients with a fork!!! (but don’t forget to chop up your cilantro and garlic into finer pieces)
  3. Serve with anything and everything.
Mmm... guacamole goes on everything...
Mmm… guacamole goes on everything…

 

Barbecued Lentil Soft Tacos

The man of the (female-dominated) house did not find lentils too palatable the last time I made them. So we had a big bag of lentils hanging around the house that were collecting dust… and this turned out to be a sneaky way to make them again! So delicious that it can turn anyone into a lentil-lover.

Lentil Soft Taco

For the full soft tacos you will need:

  • Soft taco shells
  • Leafy greens of choice
  • Chopped and de-seeded tomatoes
  • Guacamole
  • Barbequed lentils (see below)

Ingredients for the barbequed lentils:

  • 1 cup of lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive/sunflower oil
  • 2 medium-sized onions, sliced in half-moons
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (we used a yellow bell pepper, any color will do)
  • *1 tbsp chili flakes
  • *1 tsp garlic powder
  • *1 tsp paprika
  • *1/2 tsp salt
  • *2 tiny cans of tomato paste (if in Holland– the Euroshopper kind of 0.07€/can!), about 1/2 cup in total
  • *1/4 cup ketchup
  • *2 tbsp syrup
  • *1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • *1 vegetable bouillon, crushed

You can omit everything with a * and replace with 1 cup of barbecue sauce if you are in a time or ingredient crunch… or are afraid of too many ingredients (like my mother).

Preparation:

  1. Start by cooking the lentils. Put the lentils and water in a pot, bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer. They should cook for about 30 minutes or so, or until they get to be a little tender. (We will finish them off in the sauce, so they don’t need to be completely done.)
  2. Sauté onions in oil until they get translucent. Then add bell peppers. Sauté until peppers begin to get soft.
  3. Then add in the chili flakes, garlic powder, paprika and salt. Toss.
  4. Add in the tomato paste, ketchup, soy sauce & syrup.
  5. Take your mostly-cooked lentils and add to the sauce. Add in the water and the crushed vegetable bouillon.
  6. Let the lentils simmer until the water has been absorbed and the lentils stick together in the barbecue sauce. If lentils are too hard still, then add a bit more water. You are done when the lentils are cooked to your liking, and everything is sticking together!

Preparing!

Many-Bean Chili

I had the worst craving for veggie chili a few days back, and thus the many-bean chili was born. This makes enough for about 6 hungry adults. Any leftovers can be frozen and heated up as desired!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 4 bell peppers (any color will do, an assortment is nice), chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes (add a bit less if you’re afraid of spicy food, and more if you love it!)
  • 2 vegetable bouillons, crushed
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 4 cans of beans– your choice! In this chili we used 2 cans of brown beans (very cheap in Holland), 1 can of black beans, and 1 can of kidney beans; strained and rinsed
  • 4-5 large tomatoes, chopped and de-seeded
  • 1 cup water
  • 700g tomato passata (or just plain tomato sauce)

Preparation:

  1. Sauté onion in the oil in a big pot. Add in the garlic, then the bell peppers, and sauté until the onions begin to get a little translucent.
  2. Add in the chili flakes, crushed bouillon, and cumin. Toss.
  3. Add in the rinsed beans, then tomatoes. Toss again. Finally add in the tomato passata and water and mix well.
  4. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat and simmer for as long as you can wait. (At least 30 minutes.) Stir occasionally.
  5. Can be served on its own, or with rice, cornbread, or couscous! We served it with couscous and it turned out well. We stuck the leftover couscous in the chili and let it all absorb, and it was delicious on day 2!
Many-Bean Chili
Many-Bean Chili

Baked Mushroom Risotto

Another thanksgiving dinner favorite… our baked mushroom risotto! Photos will come the next time we make this.

Ingredients (Risotto):

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 250g mushrooms of choice
  • 200g risotto rice  (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 2 vegetable bouillons
  • 1.5 cups (350mL) white wine
  • 2 cups (500mL) of hot water (perhaps a bit more, depending on the type of risotto rice)

Ingredients (topping for risotto baking)

  • 1 tbsp melted margarine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat oven to  200°C (or 400°F), and grease a baking/casserole dish.
  2. Heat the margarine and olive oil in a pot big enough to make the risotto in. Add in onions and leeks, and saute on medium high heat. Once the onions start to become translucent, add mushrooms and bouillon.
  3. Add in the risotto rice until the rice is coated and shiny with the liquid off the cooked veggies. Pour the wine in, and let the rice simmer until it has absorbed most of the wine.
  4. Add in the hot water about a half cup at a time, letting it absorb before adding more. Once the rice is tender, you are done. If liquid is absorbed and the rice is still too hard, keep adding water.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the melted margarine with the salt and breadcrumbs. Scoop all of the risotto into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over risotto until it is well covered in a thin layer.
  6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs start to brown.
  7. For extra deliciousness, serve with mushroom gravy (hopefully R will share his fantastic gravy recipe here soon…)

Two-way Bruschetta

This was a hit at Thanksgiving as our appetizer. Unfortunately no imagery, but I will be posting pictures the next time we make this!

Ingredients (makes enough for appetizers for 12 people):

  • 2 baguettes, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, for brushing the bread
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

For the tomato basil bruschetta topping:

  • 6 tomatoes, chopped & de-seeded
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

For the mushroom & onion bruschetta topping:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8-10 mushrooms of choice, chopped
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 vegetable bouillon block
  • 1 tbsp flour

Preparation:

  1. Arrange all of your slices of baguette face-up side-by-side on cookie sheets. Brush the tops lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & garlic powder.
  2. Place cookie sheets in oven on grill/broil setting & toast until the edges/tops start to brown (about 4-5 minutes).
  3. Prepare tomato basil topping: Combine the chopped tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt together.
  4. Prepare mushroom onion topping: sauté onion in a bit of olive oil. Add in mushrooms. Once mushrooms are soft, add in water & vegetable bouillon. Finally, add in the flour a bit at a time to thicken the sauce. Keep cooking until enough water has evaporated and the mixture is no longer runny.
  5. Put about a tablespoon of tomato basil mixture on to half of the slices. Put the mushroom onion mix on the other half of the baguette slices.
  6. Serve immediately!