If you crave New Orleans food, you love Red Beans and Rice. It was traditionally served on Mondays in Louisiana, which was Wash Day, because a pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer all day long while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. Now, with the invention of the Instant Pot, Red Beans and Rice can be prepared and served in about an hour or two from start to finish (and most of that time is just waiting for the Instant Pot to do its magic). This authentic, yet simple, New Orleans recipe is great for parties and large gatherings and it actually tastes better the next day.
Soaking beans overnight before cooking is recommended to remove some of the indigestible sugars responsible for beans’ infamous flatulence issues, and it’s also said to reduce cooking times. I found that a quick-soak of the dry red beans in the Instant Pot (see directions below) is just as good as an overnight soaking and allows you whip up a delicious pot of red beans on the spot, without having to remember to start soaking them the night before.
I love chickpeas…they’re inexpensive, healthy and incredibly versatile. Awhile back I posted my favorite recipe for Crispy Roasted Garbanzo Beans, but here are some other great ways to use them, courtesy of one of my favorite websites, Serious Eats. Follow the link below to check them out.
After you’ve grated your block of Parmesan right down to the hard rind, don’t you dare throw it out. Place it in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer. Next time you make stew, soup or spaghetti sauce, just toss in a big chunk of rind as it’s cooking, and that great intense, salty unique Parmesan flavor will infuse the sauce…just don’t forget to remove it before serving! If you do forget, please click here immediately. 🙂
I use tomato paste quite often in recipes to thicken up and give great flavor to pasta sauces, chili and soups, but seldom (and by seldom, I mean never) need an entire can at once. Simple solution…take an approx. 8″ square piece of plastic wrap, drop a 1 tablespoon dollop in the center and fold up the sides and twist closed. Stick these in a freezer bag and place in the toaster (just kidding…in the freezer), and, in the future, when a recipe calls for tomato paste, unwrap what you need (each one weighs about 1/2 oz.) and drop them in…it works great and there’s no waste. And, since they look like little hearts, they also make a somewhat disgusting Valentine’s Day gift.
Isn’t it great when you find a recipe that’s easy to make, healthy, inexpensive and, on top of all that, also tastes incredibly good…the kind of good where you want to keep eating more even though you’re really full? Well, this is one of those dishes. I know that some chili aficionados think that turkey chili is for wimps, but I’m telling you, this is the real deal. While it’s incredibly good the day you make it, I find that, like most chili, this actually tastes better after sitting in the in the refrigerator overnight. It also freezes really well…then, all you have to do is just stick it in the microwave, and when it’s hot, top it with some grated cheddar cheese and maybe a dollop of sour cream (low fat, if you’re still thinking healthy), and you’re good to go. It also goes great with a thick slice of buttered toasted Sourdough Bread.
Once again, it’s been snowing like crazy here on the east coast, and there is nothing more satisfying and delicious after shoveling out your car (for what seems like the bazillionth time this winter) then this Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew from Cook’s Illustrated. I think it’s best when made with kale (pictured here), but a mixture of greens is also great. This is one of those simple, healthy, pretty much foolproof recipes that seems to come out perfect every time (the secret is cooking it in a good, heavy duty dutch oven). If you’re more into soups then stews, just add another cup of chicken broth and 3/4 cup of water when you add the greens. A big bowl of stew, topped with grated Parmesan cheese and served with a toasted piece of crusty garlic bread makes an amazing meal. I also always add a couple of squirts of Sriracha sauce for a little spicy, garlicky kick.
Another great thing about this stew is that it freezes perfectly. Just divide it into serving size portions, freeze, and when you get a craving, just pop it into the microwave for a couple of minutes and it tastes as good as the day it was made.
Please click here for a printable copy of the Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew recipe.