Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Old Favorite

Sometimes what you plan to cook doesn’t end up happening. I used to get all upset over this, but after a few times of not having a key ingredient, or discovering the key ingredient has gone bad, I decided it’s better to either just try something new or fall back to an old favorite. Luckily, my laid-back husband has already adopted this policy. Last night I had to work late because of a meeting. The plan was for Justin to cook a whole chicken, and we would eat some of it with leftover pasta salad and coleslaw. The rest of the chicken we would use later in the week or freeze (whole chickens are great deals, as my sister had been telling me for years). Unfortunately, I far underestimated the time it would take for the chicken to defrost in the fridge. Justin had to defrost it in many changes of water. He realized that by the time it was defrosted and baked, it would be bedtime. So he whipped up one of our old favorites: rice and beans. He still made the chicken, and it was done by bedtime, but we just threw it in the fridge to pick apart later.

I discovered my love of black beans while spending time in Central America. Oh, they are so delicious and healthy. They’re packed with fiber and, when paired with rice or another grain, are a great source of protein. Studies have been showing that fiber helps fight fat. When the fiber is digested, it actually takes some fat out of the body with it. (I’ll dig around for the article and post it here when I get a chance). This is great news if you’re trying to lose weight, or even if you’re not trying to lose weight but want to enjoy a small dessert, like I do just about every day.

So back to the rice and beans. It’s basically the recipe from the back of the Goya can, but I’ll post it here so you can be inspired to make it yourself. (And actually, it’s a much better deal if you buy dried beans and prepare those according to the package directions. Less sodium too.)

I like to have rice and beans with cheese quesadillas on the side. Use whole wheat tortillas and a few slices of cheddar. Add some crushed red pepper if you’re adventurous. Fold it over and cook on a skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes on each side. You can also chop up a tomato to have on the side, slice an avocado, make salsa…this old favorite can be dressed up in many ways!

Rice and Beans
(Serves 4-6)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup minced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup minced green pepper
2 cans, or 32 oz., black beans
1 cup water
2 teaspoons oregano
2 packets Sazon Goya (a seasoning found in the Hispanic section of grocery stores)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 cups brown rice
4 cups water

1) Make brown rice (I use a rice cooker – if you don’t have one, combine rice and water in saucepan, bring to a boil uncovered, then cover and reduce heat to low. Rice will take about 45 minutes).
2) Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and pepper; cook for about 8-10 minutes until tender.
3) Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken a bit.

4 comments:

LynnaeEtta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LynnaeEtta said...

Mmm, rice and beans! You're inspiring me, Becky. :) Another super easy way to do it is to heat one can of black beans, about a cup of your favorite salsa, and a cup of sweet corn. As soon as it's warm enough, serve over rice! Might not be as cheap as starting from scratch can be, but it's definitely fast (and delicious!).

About frozen chicken - does cooked chicken freeze and unfreeze well? I've only ever frozen raw meat, but whole chickens are such a good deal I might start trying it!

Becky Smith Kuk said...

Yes, you can freeze cooked chicken. I've never thawed cooked chicken and then eaten it straight, but I usually put it in other dishes, and it's great.

LynnaeEtta said...

Nice! I'll have to try it. :)