Ingredient Spotlight: Beans 2012

Beans are such a great food to keep on hand.  Both canned and dry beans can be stored in the pantry and have a long shelf life.

Beans are inexpensive and they’re a great way to add protein to meatless meals.

Here are a few of my favorite bean recipes:  [Read more…]


Velma’s Chili from Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader

Have you read the Mitford series books by Jan Karon?  Father Tim and Cynthia feel like old friends and so do all the other characters that populate the small town of Mitford.

On my last library trip, I spotted the Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.  It’s full of recipes mentioned in the books (Orange Marmalade Cake, anyone?) and also lots of excerpts.  Food and stories is a hard combination to beat.

One recipe that caught my attention was Velma’s Chili.  I did make a few changes to it.  For one, I used half the meat it called for.  Two pounds of meat for 6-8 servings sounded like too much.  I doubled it and made a few other alterations as well.  Here’s what you’ll need to make my version: [Read more…]


Bean and Bacon Soup – Ready in 10 Minutes

This soup is really just assembly only, as long as you’ve got the bacon and onions in the freezer. It’s a good one to keep in mind for those nights when you really don’t have time to cook, but everyone needs to be fed.

The bacon, onion and tomatoes add a lot of flavor to the beans.  It reminds me of the flavor of Italian Sausage and Bean Soup.

Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]


Bramble Beans

A friend gave me this recipe years ago.  I make it every once in a while and we like it.  The only reason I haven’t shared it with you before is that it isn’t very photogenic.  Some of my past attempts to photograph it have been dismal.

One reason I like this dish is that it can be cooked on the stove top or in the oven.  I’ve never tried it, but I bet it would work in the slow cooker too.

Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

Red Beans and Rice with Ham

red beans and rice with ham done

This recipe is a great way to use leftover ham.  You could also make it with smoked sausage if you like.  I had grilled ham slices the day before and needed to use up the extra.  The recipe makes enough to feed about 8 people, so if your family is smaller you may want to only make half.

Here’s what you’ll need:

[Read more…]

Refried Beans

My husband said these are the best refried beans he’s ever eaten.  I agree.  So good and easy, and much, much better than the kind that come from a can.  The recipe comes from Bethany’s blog, For the Love of Grub.  She says she found the recipe in a Pillsbury cookbook.  I made a few minor changes, but it’s still quick and easy.  I’ve made them twice already.  They’re a new favorite for us. [Read more…]

South of the Border Skillet

I have to watch myself when I’m putting together a weekly menu, because I have a tendency to put lots of Mexican meals on the list.  Mexican and Tex-Mex foods are just so good, but I try to only make the style meal once a week.  My daughter likes to point out that Mexican people eat Mexican food every day. I can’t argue with that logic.

This dish is an easy week night supper.  It’s healthy and budget friendly. Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

Mexican Beans and Rice

This recipe was given to me by a friend a long time ago. What more can you ask for from a recipe? It’s yummy, healthy, cheap and fast. It’s vegetarian and can even be vegan if you forgo the cheese and sour cream garnishes.

Here’s what you’ll need:
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Mexican Beans and Rice
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 3 cups brown or white rice, cooked
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • sour cream, if desired
  1. Cook onion and garlic in oil in a large skillet until onion is soft.
  2. Add spices, beans and salsa. Cook several more minutes until it's all hot.
  3. Serve beans over rice. Top with cheese and sour cream, if desired.