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Veganomics – Black Beans and Rice – Recipe

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Black Beans and Rice

½ lb. of dried black beans (soaked and cooked)
or 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 chili, diced (I like serrano, but jalapeno would definitely work)
1 clove garlic, diced
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
½ can water
Cooked Rice (start with 2 cups, uncooked and then cook any way you like)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 handful of cilantro, rinsed and chopped

Saute onion and pepper until softened, then add chili and garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomato sauce and then ½ can of water. Simmer for a few minutes and then add beans and rice. Stir until combined and heated through. Season as you go with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Serves 4 as a generous main course and 6 – 8 as a side.

Note: You don’t have to combine the rice and beans in one pot. You can keep them separate and serve them that way. I just really like it this way.

Leftover Tip

This also makes an awesome burrito filling with some salsa or guacamole.


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Veganomics – Beans

realishrealfood.com

realishrealfood.com

I came across an article today about making a vegan diet more affordable. At first, it seemed odd because I think of vegan diets as being very affordable. Rice and beans are the poster children for veganism. Right? After much consideration, it occurred to me that the sudden popularity of “green juices” and some of the prices that I see at the farmer’s market, can make it difficult to eat well on a budget. Let’s face it, most of us can’t afford micro-greens at $5 per ¼ lb. You’re not fooling anyone. That’s $20 per pound – for lettuce.

This has inspired me to share my first Veganomics series. This week, I will provide you with one recipe every day highlighting beans. Beans are versatile and affordable and delicious.

I will also share some thoughts and tips on beans to help you plan and executive these recipes. Here are a few to get you started.

  • I like to use dried beans. I find that you get more value, but they do take considerably more time and planning. Of course, you are welcome to use canned. They are still very affordable and easy and nutritious.
  • A one-pound bag of beans works out to roughly four cans of beans. If you are buying in bulk, one cup of beans is roughly ½ pound or the equivalent of two cans.
  • You should always sort through dried beans and rinse them thoroughly before soaking or cooking.
  • You don’t have to soak your beans but it will shorten the cooking time dramatically.
  • You can soak your beans overnight to shorten cooking time. If you are going to soak them for longer than 12 hours, I would swap out the water at least once. Just drain and rinse and cover with fresh water. You can soak them at room temperature for up to 24 hours. You can also soak them in the fridge for up to 2 days if you think you might not get to cook them right away. Just swap out the water about every 12 hours or so.
  • You can cook an entire bag of beans and then freeze any that you are not using immediately. A good plan is to cook them all and then divide and store in four parts. Consider each part the equivalent of one can of beans.

Normally I wouldn’t share 5 recipes in 1 week, but I want you to see that you can make these recipes all in a week and have delicious, nutritious options for lunch and dinner and never get bored. And if you are cooking for one or two people, you can even freeze portions for the future, which will save you time and money in the long run. I’ll provide leftover tips along the way. At the end of the week, I will provide a shopping list to show you how, by having minimal and affordable ingredients on hand, you can eat really well.

You can Relish Real Food!


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Pulled Chicken

Well, I know that summer has come and gone, and what a beautiful summer it was. In my neck of the woods it remained around 80 degrees most days. I don’t think we ever even got close to 100 degrees. That’s my kind of summer.

Now autumn is here and while I’m eager to start thinking about how to use apples and pumpkin, I’ve got to share my pulled chicken recipe. Even though we associate barbecue with summer, there’s no bad time for barbecue. This is the perfect recipe for football season, potluck parties, and any time you have a large gathering. I substitute the chicken for the more traditional pork. You will need a little more “sauce” at the end for tossing as the absence of fat in the chicken will make it dry out a little faster than pork shoulder.

In keeping with my mission of cooking with “ingredients” I wanted to show you how easy it is to make your own rub and even, in effect, your own barbecue sauce. There’s no reason to buy ready-made products when you probably have most of the ingredients on hand anyway.

Another recommendation I have for those of you who avoid gluten and wheat is to skip the sandwich and serve this over a baked potato, a baked sweet potato, fries of any kind, and even over tortilla chips to make a unique nachos dish. While I like to use fresh ingredients as much as possible, there are some great frozen fries out there both made from potatoes and sweet potatoes. I like the Alexia brand. Just seek out a brand with limited ingredients like only potatoes or potatoes with salt. Avoid any product that has a long list of ingredients or ingredients that you cannot pronounce.

Of course feel free to pile it on your favorite bread with cole slaw and pickles. Don’t mess with success if that’s what makes you happy.

Pulled Chicken

3-4 lbs. Chicken (boneless/skinless breast or thighs or combo)
Rub (recipe below)
Tomato puree (15 oz. can)
Apple cider vinegar – 1/3 cup
Worcestershire sauce – 2 tsp.

Rub:
Coarse Salt – ¼ cup
Cumin – 1-2 tbsp.
Chili Powder – 1-2 tbsp.
Cayenne – pinch or 2 according to taste
Black Pepper – pinch or 2 according to taste
Cinnamon – pinch or 2 according to taste
Agave (or brown sugar)- ¼ cup

Rub the chicken. Put the chicken in a slow cooker or large heavy pot. Cover with tomato puree, apple cider vinegar and worcestershire sauce. Cook on low for at least 3 hours or until chicken shreds easily.

You will have an excess of cooking liquid at the end. I like to reduce it and toss the chicken with it instead of using barbecue sauce, which is the more traditional route. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side or, to switch things up, serve pineapple salsa.

All measurements are approximate. Adjust according to your taste.

Serving Suggestion: Top your pulled chicken with pineapple salsa.

Enjoy!