Tight supplies have helped push U.S. retail prices higher. Chickpeas on U.S. grocery shelves jumped 12% from last year, nearly 17% higher than prior to the pandemic, according to the most recent NielsenIQ data. Hummus prices have increased 6.9% since 2019.
The past week has been one of those terrible horrible no-good weeks that hit the checking account hard. I won’t list all of the things that stopped working but one thing hurt the most.
The side by side refrigerator/freezer died. I think this appliance was over 30 years old. it functioned as our second unit, a place to keep drinks cold and to stock up on frozen foods to prepare for the future food shortages and higher costs. Buying mass quantities of frozen vegetables as a hedging strategy against higher prices works well until your freezer dies.
I managed to STUFF a large number of frozen bags into our primary freezer. But I have to cook and eat a large number of these frozen bags of goodness to make room. So I started with a bag of spinach.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large sweet onions sliced thin
8 oz white button mushrooms sliced thick
2-3 garlic cloves minced
12 oz frozen cut leaf spinach
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium high heat.
Add mushrooms and saute for five minutes. When browned…
Add onions. Reduce heat to medium. Saute for five minutes. When browned…
Add garlic. Saute for one minute.
Add frozen spinach (no need to defrost). Saute for 15-20 minutes. You want the spinach to be drier but not too dry.
Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.
You are done. Now decide what you’re going to do with this stuff.
What to do?
mix with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses for stuffed shells
melt some cheddar for a quick sandwich/tortilla filling
toss with pasta for a quick meal
open a can of white beans, drain/rinse and mix with broth for a quick soup
No surprises this time. I make these tacos differently now. Time for another revision.
1 15-ounce can organic low sodium black beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (maybe more)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium size lime juiced
1 large clove garlic minced
pinch oregano, dash celery salt (trust me on this one)
1 14 ounce bag cabbage slaw mix
1 tsp dried cilantro
onion and garlic powders, a dash apiece
salt and pepper
juice of 1.5 limes
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 T honey
4 white or yellow corn tortilla shells, crispy
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (cheddar is OK too)
Your favorite hot sauce or salsa
Drain and rinse the black beans, set aside.
In a small saucepan, saute the onion on medium flame until soft and slightly browned. Add oregano, cumin, and garlic. Saute until the spices are fragrant, about a minute or two.
Add the well drained black beans. Add juice of half a lime. Heat until warmed through. Mash the beans with a spoon but leave some beans whole and chunky. Season with celery salt. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and juice of 1.5 limes. Mix in honey. Add olive oil to create a smooth dressing. Season to taste with onion/garlic powders, salt and pepper.
Add the cabbage slaw mix. Mix well, adjust for seasoning, and set aside.
This recipe will make enough for 4-6 tacos. If you need more servings, double the bean recipe and buy more taco shells. You will not need to double the cabbage slaw portion. You’ll have plenty.
Construct your tacos.
We recently discovered La Tiara authentic Mexican taco shells from Gladstone Missouri. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as you until I tried these shells. Use bagged sliced slaw for pure convenience. Fresh cabbage? Only if you have the time and eschew convenience. Fresh avocado would be nice. Beer is also a perfect side dish for these tacos.
This is another post in my world famous Beans for Breakfast series.
I post links like this to remind readers no one can possibly teach you everything. There is a ton of information on the internet to research and read to improve your food and nutrition knowledge. But you have to take the time and be motivated to find solid, good information. Avoiding fad diets would be a good thing too.
The last time I wrote about zucchini was back in 2019 when the same question was asked (probably by the same friend) which motivated me to write down how I make Zucchini, Corn & Red Pepper.
This super simple recipe is the perfect side vegetable when you have your grill fired up and ready for your perfectly seasoned chicken using the world famous Iki Marinade. Three squash will be enough for six side servings.
three large zucchini
salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
pinch dried basil
grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend
Heat up your grill.
Scrub and rinse the zucchini. Dry thoroughly.
Cut the ends off then slice each squash lengthwise and each half in half. You want four nice sized chunks each about 3-4 inches long.
Arrange the squash in a baking dish and coat liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Flip the pieces so that they are cut side up.
Lightly sprinkle with salt, onion and garlic powders.
When your grill is nice and hot place the squash pieces onto the grill skin side down. Angle them if you want to make grill marks.
Close the lid and grill for 1-2 minutes. Reposition the squash (for those grill marks) close the lid and grill for another 1-2 minutes.
Flip the squash to cut side down. Repeat #7.
The squash should be firm and cooked through after 8-9 minutes. Remove and place back into the baking dish cut side up.
Lightly sprinkle black pepper, dried basil, and grated cheese.
The zucchini can be served at room temperature or kept in a warmed oven prior to serving. If you use the oven to keep the zucchini warm remember they will continue to cook and might get mushy.
Tips and Otherwise Random Thoughts
You’ll note that the black pepper, basil, and cheese are added after grilling. I do this so that these ingredients don’t get burned/grilled off in the cooking process. For the Veganistas out there, leave off the cheese. I happen have a preference for Spanish extra virgin olive oil. The private label brand I buy sneakily substituted EVO from Portugal instead of Spain. Now I like Portuguese olive oil too. I specifically used a baking dish to hold the squash before grilling because I did put the veggies in the oven to keep warm.
The next time I grill zucchini I plan on grilling twice the number of squash. I’ll use the leftover squash in a pasta dish.
New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) finds that the consumption of healthy plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, and legumes, is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) in generally healthy people and support their role in diabetes prevention…The study found that compared with participants who did not develop T2D, those who were diagnosed with the disease during follow-up had a lower intake of healthy plant-based foods, as well as lower scores for PDI and hPDI. In addition, they had a higher average BMI, and were more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, use blood pressure and cholesterol drugs, have a family history of diabetes, and be less physically active.
Journal Reference: Fenglei Wang, Megu Y. Baden, Marta Guasch-Ferré, Clemens Wittenbecher, Jun Li, Yanping Li, Yi Wan, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, Deirdre K. Tobias, Clary B. Clish, Lorelei A. Mucci, A. Heather Eliassen, Karen H. Costenbader, Elizabeth W. Karlson, Alberto Ascherio, Eric B. Rimm, JoAnn E. Manson, Liming Liang, Frank B. Hu. Plasma metabolite profiles related to plant-based diets and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia, 2022; DOI: 10.1007/s00125-022-05692-8
Sunday is a good Beanday. A day of rest. Maybe a few, but not too many errands. Hang out the rest of the day at home and make a pot of beans for the week.
This morning I was compiling a dried bean inventory so that I wouldn’t buy more of what I already have on hand. My beans are in various containers in the pantry and on the kitchen counter. Some packages of dried beans are unopened. My quick inventory told me I had green split peas, adzuki, black beans, black eyed peas, red and brown lentils, chickpeas, pinto, mayacabo, white beans, and an unidentified variety which I had to research to figure out I had Cranberry beans!
The white beans were stored in a plastic baggie and fearing they may have been in the pantry since the last time I made Wing and Leg Navy Bean Soup I thought I would cook them. After a triple rinse I quick soaked them (rinse, drain, pour boiling water over all and cover for one hour). Drain again, cover with fresh filtered water, a little onion powder, garlic powder, one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to super low, and simmer for several hours.
Now I had a pot of beans before deciding what dish to make. After exhausting the possibilities I decided upon a White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew. My inspiration came from the same source as Spanish Style Lentils. So if you’re a visual learner, here you go:
1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium sized stock pot
Add the onion, bell pepper and carrot. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and both paprika powders. Saute briefly for about a minute.
Add the tomatoes, vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
Add the beans, sweet potato, and two cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for around 30 minutes. Check and stir throughout this process and add more broth to desired thickness and to prevent sticking/burning of the stew.
When the potatoes are tender the stew is done. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
Makes approximately six large servings.
Now I need to figure out what to make with the butternut squash I baked in the oven.
And since I’m feeling lazy today (while giving credit where credit is due) check out either the video or website for ingredients and instructions for the Classic Spanish Lentil Stew, known in Spain as Lentejas.
no red pepper because I didn’t have one in the fridge
only two cloves of garlic plus granulated garlic to taste
1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce (adds sweetness)
2 carrots instead of one (because I like carrots)
2 bay leaves instead of one
One quart organic vegetable stock instead of five cups (thicker stew, less soupy)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika (watch that smokey paprika because it can be quite strong and overpowering)
no added salt
This is an excellent recipe if you are gradually adding vegan dishes into your diet.