Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our favorite meal... for now

In an effort to save money, I have started to make black beans and rice once a week. In order to make it more fun and less bland, I make fresh salsa and guacamole to go with it. Add some sour cream, chips, and cheese and it's a feast. The salsa is more my sister's creation, or at least her version of a true Mexican salsa (approved by our friend Damien, who is from Mexico). I'm sorry Katie if this is missing something. If it's horribly off, we'll call it something else. ;) Also, for people who like spicy food, you can add as many peppers as you want to make it spicy. We don't, because we want the kids to eat it, but knock yourself out.

Here are the recipes...


Fresh Salsa

1 ½-2 lbs. tomatoes, diced
½ lb. *tomatillos, diced
**nopalitos (1/2 a jar), rinsed and diced
1c. diced red onion (or more)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and minced
jalapeno peppers (1-3, or more OR leave them out), seeds removed and minced
juice of two limes
salt and pepper to taste

*tomatillos look like tiny green tomatoes covered in green paper-like leaves, usually found by the tomatoes and avacados at the grocery store
**nopalitos are found in the Mexican food section in a large jar—they’re green strips of cactus, which sounds weird, but they’re delicious

Wash all of the produce and cut them as small as you can. Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. You may want to cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for a bit in order to let the flavors mix, but you can also serve it immediately. It’s usually better the second day.

Also, if you want to save time, you can use your food processor to cut them instead. This will make the salsa more pulpy and less chunky, but it will taste the same. Just be sure to process them one ingredient at a time.

My sister Katie portions it out into mason jars and gives some away, but I think she makes a bigger batch too. You could double this and make it for gifts though.


Fresh Guacamole

2 soft avacados
1 clove of garlic, smooshed with your knife
juice of one lime
1/4c. of salsa (fresh salsa above works great)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper

Place all ingredients into the food processor and process until uniform. You may also smoosh it up with a fork if the avacados are soft enough, but then you will need to mince the garlic too.

Black Beans and Rice

½ bag of dry black beans
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, smooshed and minced
bay leaf
2 T. olive oil
4 t. chicken soup base*
3-4 c. water
1t. cumin (lots more if you like it)
1t. chile powder
salt and pepper to taste

Place beans in crockpot and cover them with about 3 inches of water. Cook on high until soft (about 3-4 hours). Then, add the next five ingredients to a dutch oven and sautee just until the onions are translucent. Drain and rinse the beans. Add beans, water, soup base and seasonings to the pot. Simmer until thick and heated through. Serve over hot white rice along with sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese, salsa and guacamole. Yum.

*most black bean recipes call for a ham bone, esp. the authentic Cuban ones, but we don't eat pork (that's the royal we). This is an attempt to break the pork-only black bean mold. So, pork lovers can throw a hambone with the beans in the crock pot and then you can get your toxin fix. ;) All in fun of course.


diber said...


I make taco salad every week just because I love it. The sauce is largely black beans, though.

Darla said...

I'm so excited to have these recipes! After I enjoyed these things at dinner that night, I was sorry I had left without the recipes. Thanks!

Keri said...

So after the salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cheese and chips, does it really save that much money? Just wondering...

It sure made me hungry. :)

Lynn said...

Dave Ramsey would be so proud of you.

Karen said...

Keri--It really does save money, especially, because we get two meals out of it and Matt eats it for a week for lunch. Now, I know most people wouldn't want to eat the same thing for lunch every day for a week, but he's weird like that. When everything is factored in, we get a big huge meal and plenty of leftovers for little money.

Lynn--thanks ;)... most of the time, I think he would give me a thumbs-down, just because I'm such a wimp... and I'm pretty whiny about money

John and Katie Flanagan said...

Karen-- nice job on the recipe. I love Nopalitos! Stay tuned for a blog. I finally have some house pictures. Miss you.

John and Katie Flanagan said...

and... I actually had my recipe written down, so here's what I do. pretty similar.

Chop all into fairly small pieces:

3 baseball sized Tomatoes

4 average sized tomatillos (husked)

1 medium Vidalia onion

2-3 Serrano chilis (seeded for less heat. If you like heat, leave the seeds.)

1 big bunch Cilantro (probably 1 cup chopped)

3/4 jar nopalitos (cactus-- get it in the Mexican food section at the grocery)

Put all chopped veggies in a big bowl and add the following:

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced. (I use the mini chopper. I hate the smell of garlic hands)

The zest and juice of a lime

1 tsp black pepper (apprx.)

2T Olive Oil

Mix and let sit over night. This makes 4 cups and is really delicious.

Keri said...

Ok, so we just had your beans and rice for lunch. David's quote, "This is even better than Mojo."

Thanks for the recipe!! :)

Karen said...

Wow! Better than Mojo!? Thanks ;). I'm glad you liked it.