Red Chard & Kidney Bean Soup

Red Chard & Kidney Bean Soup

I had some fresh red chard the other day and wanted to make something simple. I decided on a simple soup with some sausage. I had some breakfast sausage so I worked with that.

I diced 1/2 of a yellow onion and two cloves of garlic and sautéed in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. I added salt, pepper and a couple teaspoons of oregano. Then, I added 6 ounces of breakfast sausage and cooked until it browned. I peeled and chopped 2 carrots and 1 potato and added them. Then I added 1 small 6 oz. can of diced tomatoes and about 12 oz of water and left it to simmer.

Meanwhile I cut the red chard leaves in thing strips and about 10 minutes before serving I added the chard and cooked until it was softened. I also added a can of kidney beans. I did not bother straining or rinsing the beans, knowing the liquid will just enrich the broth.

This made a delicious and simple soup that only got better the next day and the next. It made 4 servings.

Baja Bean Salad

Baja Bean Salad

This is a variation on my Cuban Bean Salad. I decided to call it a Baja Bean salad because I used limes and red peppers instead of lemons and tomatoes. It’s fresh, delicious and full of protein.

To start rinse and drain 1 can each of black beans, garbanzo beans and red kidney beans. Toss them in a large bowl. Clean and chop 3 stalks of celery, 2 red bell peppers and 8 baby dill pickles. Add and mix well. Set aside while you make the dressing in a separate bowl.

Crush 3 garlic cloves, sprinkle with salt and let rest while you add the other ingredients to your dressing in a small mixing bowl. Clean and finely chop one serrano chili and put in the bowl with 3 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP white vinegar, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne and the juice of 2 fresh squeezed limes. By now the salt will have made the garlic very juicy. Mince it and add to the dressing. Mix well and pour over salad. Put a lid and shake to distribute the dressing throughout the salad.

Now clean, strips the leaves and chop of 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro.

The salad tastes good right away, but it’s heavenly the next day. This is subtly spicier than the Cuban salad, with a bright, fresh flavor that’s addictive. This makes way more than a single serving, but it keeps its flavor, freshness and texture well. It’s a real win at potlucks.

Chicken Melt Sandwich & Cuban Bean Salad

Chicken Melt Sandwich and Cuban Bean Salad

This is a slightly modified version of the vegan Cuban Bean Salad I make quite often. First I opened a can of black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas and rinsed and drained them. I then chopped up a yellow onion, two red peppers, three roma tomatoes, three stalks of celery, a bunch of cilantro and about 10 small baby dill pickles and mixed them altogether. In another bowl, I mixed a small can of diced jalapeños (I usually use 2 fresh ones but forgot to buy them when I went grocery shopping) with juice from 3 squeezed lemons, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano and salt and pepper. I mixed all that together and dressed the salad and let marinate for a day before serving.

For the sandwich, I heated 2 tsp of olive oil in a small saute pan. I cut off a 1/4 inch slice from a medium onion and chopped it fine and minced on small garlic clove and sauteed them until brown. I cut off 1/4 of a red pepper and 1/2 of a large crimini mushroom and chopped them up and added them and let them cook until nearly done. Then I added some cold chicken that I had reserved from making chicken soup, chopped into small pieces (about 4 oz) and about 2 oz of pepper jack cheese shredded up. I just heated them long enough for the cheese to melt. Meanwhile I toasted a ciabatta bun and spread it with a little sandwich spread I make ahead that is 2 parts mayo, 1 part, mustard and 1 part chopped dill with a dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper all mixed together.

The sandwich was rich with a hearty umami flavor that was beautifully balanced with heat from the pepper jack and garlic.  The salad is a luscious, fresh tasting mix of tart, spice and veggie freshness.

Southwestern Bean Salad

  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 16 oz. pkg of frozen corn
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced thin and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 3 zucchini
  • 2 jalapeño or a can of diced green chiles
  • 3 lemons, reamed
  • 3 TBSP of olive oil
  • 1 TSP cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mix together and let sit overnight before serving. This makes a lot, but it keeps very well as it’s acidic and has no dairy or meat in it. The flavor is spicy and tart with the fresh taste of lemon giving it a lovely bite.

    Pork Chimichanga

    The only problem with that pork roast I got for $1.99 was that darn y-shaped bone. I decided to cut the meat off the bone this morning. By the time I was done, I had about 4 ounces of bits of pork that were not nice for slicing. I decided I would make some burritos or something and ended up making the or something. I had these multi-grain uber healthy tortillas that I thought were practically inedible that were languishing in my fridge. Recalling the chef who won Chopped the other night who when confronted with oni – something she knew nothing about – said there’s nothing that can’t be improved by frying, I thought I might use those burritos and make some chimichangas.

    First up was the filling. This was an easy thing to pull together. I chopped one slice of pepper bacon and tossed it in the skillet to give me the lard/fat flavor it would need. I tossed in a teaspoon of cumin and let it toast while the bacon cooked. I added 1/8 of a medium onion, chopped and let them soften. I chopped the pork up a bit, added it and 1 15 oz can of kidney beans (strained and rinsed). Then I added 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s Tomato-less Corn Chili and the other half of the olives I opened last night. I let this simmer until most of the moisture had been absorbed or evaporated.

    Now to making the chimichangas. I put 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a small pan and heated to just over medium. I put the 6 tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften them up. I had a bowl of water that I dipped my hand into and spread the water on the tortilla before putting the pork mix in the center and folding shut. The water helped to seal the tortillas shut. I worked quickly but still had to nuke half the tortillas a second time as they had cooled off.

    With the oil hot, I fried one at a time since that’s all that would fit in my small pan. They only needed to fry about 45 seconds per side just enough to crisp the tortillas since the filling was hot and cooked. They were delicious and this made six, enough for three meals or 2 meals and some snacks. Even the too healthy for their own good tortillas were tasty.