Monday, September 30, 2013

you want yummy? you want black beans & rice.

i've had all these great plans for blogs.  blogging about food.  blogging about things i'm making.  sharing recipes for things.  i even took a fuckton of pictures for one of the blogs.  and of course, the thing i made didn't come out right *YET* so i can't do that blog until i get an acceptable finished photo.

so instead, i thought i'd share my recipe for black beans & rice.  i have a crock pot full simmering right now, and it's easy enough that it doesn't need a ton of photos.  and it's really hard to screw up.  but it's yummy as all hell.

i use a 3.5 quart programmable cuisinart slow cooker, which is perfect for most meals i make.  slow cookers work best when 1/2-3/4 full.  my black bean recipe fills my crock up about 5/6 of the way, but i cook so long and low that it's still fine.  every crock pot cooks a little differently, so it can take a while for you to get the hang of your particular model.  i also have a 6 quart that i keep stowed away for larger things.  i think the 3.5 quart (or a 4 quart) is perfect for families of 2-4.  i prefer a programmable slow cooker because i can set it and walk away.  when i worked outside of the home, i could set it for 6 hours and, after cooking at the selected setting for 6 hours, the unit automatically switches to 'warm'.  it will keep the food warm without continuing to cook!  perfect.  this slow cooker also has a simmer setting, which i haven't used yet.  i'm sure i'll tell you when i have.

this will make your mouth happy.  it's easy to make it spicier with a bit more red pepper or hot sauce.  i make a big batch of this and it lasts awesome husband @_antgas and i for the week.  

  • 3 huge ass cans of black beans (29oz) or 6 cans of black beans (15.5oz)
  • 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with jalepeno OR green chiles (i prefer petite diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • crushed red pepper
  • ground cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • black pepper
  • hot sauce
get all your shit together and clear a spot on your countertop.  slow cookers get hot on the sides, so you want to ensure nothing is up against it.  plug in your crock and get ready to go!
  1. open up each can of black beans and rinse the hell out of them.  i dump each can in a mesh sieve and rinse well under cool water, until the bubbles disappear.  this not only cleans off the bean gunk that settles in the can, but according to an article i read in cooking light magazine, can cut up to 40% of the sodium.
  2. open up the can of diced tomatoes.  dump the whole thing in there, juice and all.
  3. add the two cloves of chopped garlic.
  4. put in about 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper.
  5. sprinkle on cayenne and black pepper to your liking (i probably add about 1/4tsp of each).
  6. add 1/2tsp of ground cumin.
  7. shake on that hot sauce to your liking.  i probably put in a little under a teaspoon.  if you're not sure how hot you'll like it, leave the hot sauce out - you can always add it later!
  8. stir those beans up like mad.
  9. set your timer - i cook on low for 5+ hours.  i think five hours is the minimum to get smushy beans - i don't like them too firm.  i've left them on low for 8 hours without problems.

um, yummmmmm.

so now, you can either eat the hell out of those black beans, or you can make some rice.  i have used brown minute rice before, but i fell in love with the yummy texture and slightly nutty taste of trader joe's quick cook organic brown basmati rice.  i usually make eight 1/4 cup servings of rice.  i store the rice in one container, the beans in another, and pop both in the fridge when they cool.  then, each day, @_antgas and i can dole out some rice and some beans into our own lunch container.  i shake on a bit more hot sauce at this point; @_antgas has been known to sprinkle on some extra garlic powder.  about 1 minute, 45 seconds in the microwave is enough for me to have a nice, hot, delicious, filling lunch.

perhaps the best part about black beans and rice - for us, at least - is that it offers a complete protein panel.  what's that, you say?  protein?  we (try to) eat a mainly plant-based diet.  we eat meat approximately twice a week (once is usually fish) and drink almond milk.  we still enjoy the occasional cow's milk yogurt and, of course, a fuckton of cheese.  when you stop eating meat, protein can be harder to come by.  a 4oz serving of white meat chicken has, like, 30 grams of protein.  veggies?  not quite so much.  but eating rice and beans together can get you all the essential proteins you need... check it out here.  by our calculations, a 1/4 cup serving of brown rice and a 4oz serving of my black beans has 11 grams of protein.  it's recommended that about 10-30% of your daily calories come from protein.  if you're trying to gain mass or muscle, like @_antgas is, he'd tell you to eat one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.  or something like that.  i think a general rule of thumb is 50 grams per day for moderately healthy adults.  if you eat a well balanced, colorful diet, that shouldn't be too hard to come by.  

if you're not sure about your protein intake, adding a protein supplement might be an idea.  all those 'weight loss' or 'weight maintenance' shakes out there (please do not bother with them, ask me why) tell you they're chock full of protein to help keep you full.  that's true, protein does help you feel fuller.  i no longer recommend or condone fitness apps that help you track your food, but if you use one FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, like a couple of days, to track your food, you can get an idea of your protein intake.  then you can try to make adjustments, if necessary.

please notice my squirrel cookie jar peeking out behind the paper towels.  he holds mini kit kats on most days.

there you have it.  a staple of the gas household since meat went out the window.  except for one day when @_antgas was craving hot dogs (and, being a good wife and partner, i purchased kosher hot dogs and potato rolls), we have not purchased and brought raw meat into the house since january of 2013.  i have purchased, like, prepared meat (a sandwich from panera or something like that) but i don't cook it. ew.

having said that, i ate a beautiful filet mignon while out to dinner with family yesterday.  and had two baked clams.  which i will count as one meat-meal for the week.

i think the best thing about keeping black beans on hand is the versatility: add some to a quesadilla; make black bean enchiladas; dump some on nachos.  even if we don't finish the entire batch for lunch, these beans get used.

i'm considering purchasing my first stand mixer because i think i want to start baking A LOT more.  if that happens, expect way too many blog posts like this.

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