Super Beans


This is an easy-to-prepare classic side dish that my family has made for many years.

Ingredients:

3 cans (14.75 oz. each) cut green beans, drained
1 14.75 oz. can mushrooms (stems and pieces), drain 1/2 liquid off
1 small onion, chopped
4-6 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 tbs. white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the bacon until lightly browned and drain off rendered fat. Add the onion and saute until lightly carmelized.

Add the mushrooms, green beans and salt/pepper to taste after adding each can. (My dad insists that it tastes better this way.)
Add one tbs. vinegar and stir to incorporate. Place in a heavy saucepan or baking dish and cover. Cook on low for about 1 hour until the green beans are just tender.

Serves: 4-6

South-of-the-Border Sonoran Beans


A southwest favorite. My standing joke about refried beans is – why would you want to eat anything that wasn’t cooked right the first time?
Well, this recipe blows that statement out the window.

Ingredients:

1 large can fat-free refried beans (28 oz.)
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tbs. corn oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. mexican oregano
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1 or 2 dried cascabel peppers, stems and seeds removed – crushed in a mortar
Juice of one fresh-squeezed lime
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese for topping (Chihuahua or Monterey Jack)
1-2 tsp. salt to taste

Directions:

In a medium, heavy saucepan with a lid, heat the corn oil over medium heat. Add the minced onion, cooking 2-3 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.

Add the dry spices and chili pepper and cook, stirring for one minute. Add the lime juice, stir, then add the refried beans.

Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, and the sour cream and salt, starting with the lower amount.
Taste and add more sour cream or salt if desired.

Top with shredded cheese, a whack of sour cream and serve with your choice of Mexican entree. I may suggest the Green Chili Pork Tacos.

Makes 4 large servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Hearty Baked Beans


This is a very regional upper-midwest recipe. It takes on many forms and is always a crowd pleaser. Enjoy at your next fall get-together.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
2 large onions – chopped
3/4 lb. bacon – cooked, drained and crumbled
4 cans (15 oz. each) pork and beans
1 18oz. bottle honey BBQ sauce
1 can (16oz.) kidney beans – drained
1 can (16oz.) lima beans – drained
1 can (16oz.) black beans – drained
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbs. cider vinegar
1 tbs. liquid smoke (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper

Directions:

In large skillet cook the beef and onions. Drain off fat.
Cook the bacon, drain and crumble.

Transfer to 5qt. Dutch oven. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Cover and bake at 350° F. for one hour.

Stir and serve.

Makes 18 servings.

Red Beans and Rice


This is an easy version of Red Beans & Rice that goes well with a number of main dishes like ribs, chicken and even steak. Make it as hot as you’d like. The chimayo controls the heat.

Ingredients:

2 cups long-grain uncooked rice (basmati or other variety)
1 14oz. can chicken broth
1 14oz. can stewed tomatoes (plain)
1 14oz. can red beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 lb. bacon
2 medium Spanish or white onions – coarse chopped
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tbs. new-mex hot chimayo powder
1 tsp. mexican oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin from toasted seed
1/2 tbs. salt (go easy on the salt)

Preparation:

Saute the onions and bacon in a large skillet until slightly browned. You may want to start the bacon first.
Place in a 5-quart cast-iron dutch oven on medium heat.

Add broth and stewed tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes on the bottom of the pot with a masher. Add spices and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.

Add beans and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add dry rice and cover. Stir once and reduce heat to absolute minimum. Cook for 15 minutes more. Fluff and serve with Tabasco on the side.

Serves 6-8.