Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Caribbean Black Beans with Mango Salsa

I was really excited to try this new heart healthy meal and we were not disappointed! Evan even liked it. The bonus was that I did everything in the microwave so I didn't have to turn on the oven at all - so nice! Obviously, you can do it easily on the stove, too, but if you're like me and don't want to heat your kitchen up, then this is a good go-to meal on hot nights. The flavors in this dish went together so well and we loved the mango salsa! I think I'll be making it by itself sometime soon because it was just that good. I put all of this on some quinoa and it was very filling. You could put it all on brown rice, too.

As a note, you can make the salsa ahead of time (or even freeze for later!) to let the flavors mingle more, and you can make the rice ahead of time, too.  If you do these things, this meal comes together in less than 15 minutes!

Caribbean Black Beans with Mango Salsa
serves 4

Active time:  20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  A hearty green salad and/or a simple soup.

What you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice + 3 cups water
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 TBLS onion powder OR 1 cup chopped
  • 3/4 tsp powdered ginger OR 2 tsp fresh grated
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped mango OR frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 TBLS lime juice
  • 2 tsp herbs de provence OR your favorite combination of Italian type spices (on the sweeter side)
  • chili powder to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)

What you'll do:

  • Make your rice.  
  • Meanwhile, make your salsa.  Put all chopped mangoes in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.  You don't want juice, but you want it in at least small chunks. If you don’t have a food processor, just dice them fine.
  • In a serving bowl, combine the mango with the diced red pepper,cucumber, lime juice, and spices.  Let chill in the refrigerator until dinner is ready to serve.  
  • In a microwave safe dish that has a lid, mix the beans with the orange juice and spices and microwave for about 5 minutes.  Mash the beans with a potato masher (or large spoon) until halfway mashed.
  • To plate - put a bed of rice down, topped with the bean mixture, and then further topped with the mango salsa!  Enjoy
If you want to use raw ingredients, you can saute the onion and ginger in a little OO on the stove.  Then just add the beans, OJ, and spices and cook until heated through.

Time Tip:

  • For a really quick meal, you can prep the rice and salsa the day before and then just whip together the bean mixture.  This dinner can be ready in less than 10 minutes from walking in the door!

Nutrition Facts (per serving, 1/4 of recipe):
Calories 461 (Calories from fat 23); Total Fat 3g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 840mg; Potassium 1193mg; Total Carbohydrate 94g (Dietary Fiber 21g); Sugars 18g; Protein 18g; Vitamins/Minerals - Vitamin A 2296 IU; Vitamin C 107mg; Calcium 128mg; Iron 6mg; Folate 210mcg

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chicken, Rice & Black Bean Salad

This is not technically 100% "heart healthy", but Scot said since there's not a whole lot of chicken in it we can use it as one of our "heart healthy meals" from now on. Whew! It was fairly easy and tasty. I did a lot of tweaking from the original recipe as far as the spices go because for this entire thing, they only wanted me to add a little cumin. Psh. I don't think so. Not in my house. I may be doing this diet that limits me on what foods I use, but my taste buds are still going to have fun! It ended up having a slight eastern taste to it. It's was great! It was even better the next day!

Chicken, Rice & Black Bean "Salad"
Feeds 6-8 main servings
  • 1 cup rice - uncooked. I used brown rice, and will do that or quinoa in the future
  • 4 c shredded chicken (I used 2 boiled chicken breasts)
  • 1 can black beans, rinse and drain
  • 4 scallions - thinly sliced
  • 6 plump tomatoes. Halved, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 T EVOO
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t mixed herbs (I used herbs de provence, but Italian would be just fine, too)
  • s&p to taste
--Cook rice and then lay on a plate or cookie sheet and place in the fridge to cool.
--Meanwhile, shred chicken and chop and slice veggies.
--Place everything in a bowl and toss to combine.

A couple notes: I put the leftovers in a whole wheat tortilla today for lunch and it was fabulous! You could use pitas, too! Also, Scot and I were both curious what a can of corn would do to this dish, so next time I'm going to try it.

Another note: You can add a can or 2 of rinsed/drained garbanzo beans instead of the chicken to make this heart healthy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

This is our first meal on our new heart healthy diet.  If you're afraid that the blog is going to completely change -- don't. It will be even healthier, but I am still going to making "normal" meals that you would typically be on here. If anything, there will be more posts for you all to explore and enjoy!

This is called a salad, but I used it as a main dish. When I do this again I will serve it over quinoa or brown rice to bulk it up a bit. Scot was hungry after a few hours, so the bread and salad I served with it were obviously not enough. Trial and error, right? The dish, though, was amazing. It had quite a bit of heat, but the combination of everything was almost addicting! There is almost no oil in this dish and it's packed with nutrients! We will be making this one again.

I revised the recipe on 6.24.13 after making it several times.  Most of the revisions are just measurements (ie: 6 cups cubed potatoes instead of 2 large), but I hope you keep on making this!  It was a great introduction to eating healthier for us, and has continued to be a mainstay in our house.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad
As a main dish, serves 4. As a salad, serves 6.

  • 6 cups (2 large) cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 T OO
  • 1 T coriander (or Herbs de Provence or Tarragon)
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 can corn OR 2 cups frozen, thawed
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained -- 1/2 cup black beans reserved
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (opt, but lovely) 
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 6) - sliced thinly
  • 2 T sweet chili sauce (I didn't have this on hand, so I used 1.5 T ketchup, 2 t honey, some hot sauce and a splash of soy sauce)
  • 2-3 T water
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice (I use half of each and LOVE this flavor combo!)
  • 1/2 cup reserved black beans
--In an 8x8, toss the sweet potato chunks in the OO, coating everything. Add all the spices and microwave for 5 minutes. Transfer 8x8 to oven and roast (at 400) for 15 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Set aside and let come to room temperature.
--Meanwhile, put black beans, corn, bell pepper if using, and scallions in a large serving bowl.
--Put all dressing ingredients in a small bowl (or blender) and combine with a hand-blender until smooth and creamy looking. Add to the bean/corn mixture.
--Once the sweet potatoes have cooled enough, very gently stir them in with the bean/corn mixture, making sure everything is coated by the dressing.
--Let sit for 15-20 minutes to let all the flavors blend. It's even better the next day.

Ideas: serve over brown rice or quinoa for a main dish. Or even put it in a whole wheat tortilla!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

We first had this soup at a friend's house and when we got into the car, Scot turned to me before we even started to drive and said "You have to get that recipe!" So I did. And I decided to make it before the weather turned too warm to have the stove on. I love the addition of the noodles, it gives it a hearty feel without being heavy. Have some bread and a salad ready and you're set. As a side note, I had this once over a baked potato and it was amazing!

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Feeds 10

  • 2 T oil or butter
  • 3/4 c chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 c chicken broth
  • 8 oz thin spaghetti noodles
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 - 10 oz pks frozen broccoli florets
  • 5-6 c milk
  • 1 lb Velveeta cheese- cubed
-- In large dutch oven (or large stock pot) heat oil and saute onion and garlic 3 minutes - until onions are translucent
-- Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Slowly add pasta so that the boil is uninterrupted. Cook 3 minutes.
-- Stir in broccoli, milk, cheese and salt/pepper to taste. Stir until cheese is melted.

NOTE: I have this personal thing against Velveeta. I don't mind eating it in dishes made for me, I just don't like buying it and cooking with it, so I substituted a lb of Colby Jack in this dish, but that didn't turn out as smooth and creamy as I would have liked. So next time I make this, I'm going to do the whole butter+flour+milk+cheese=creamy cheesy goodness trick and see if that works better.

The whole pot-full...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Pie

I made this last night for a dinner party we went to and it got rave reviews. Seriously. Everyone loved it. And I'll admit I was a little nervous about it since I had never made it before and I sorta combined 3 different recipes and tweaked even that version. It was just the right blend of sweet and tart, though -- so satisfying. It was not runny (thankfully) and instead was this amazing creamy fruit consistency. We didn't have any ice cream with it, but I think next time I'll make sure it's there. Not because it needs it. Oh no. But just because it's one of those summer fruit pies that seems to require it. I did make my own crust for this, but that's only because I forgot to buy those pre-made ones at the market. Surprisingly, too, it turned out. So I'll include that recipe here as well.

White Chocolate Raspberry Pie
  • 4 c raspberries (thawed if you use frozen)
  • 1 c white chocolate morsels
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2 pie crusts
  • milk
-- Place raspberries in a bowl and very gently mix in the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.
-- Add the white chocolate and gently stir until evenly dispersed.
-- Pour into crust, lay top crust on, vent, and brush with some milk.
-- Bake for 15 minutes @425 and then 25 minutes @375

2 c flour
1 t salt
1 T sugar
2/3 c butter
white vinegar

--Pulse together in food processor. Transfer to a bowl.
-- Add 5 T of ice cold water
-- Add a splash of white vinegar to make it flaky
-- Separate dough in half
-- Roll out into two circles