Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yummy Black Bean & Rice Salad!

I have been coined as 'Queen Bean' or 'Lady Legume'!  I laugh because it is a compliment and it is funny at the same time!  I think beans and legumes are an amazing food and they are so easy to work with once one learns to cook them right.  I remember the first times I would cook beans they would be mushy or hard.  What was I doing wrong!?!  Well, I believe it was not soaking them long enough and not using the right tools.  Honestly I think the easiest way to cook beans & legumes is in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker after they have been soaked overnight or up to 24 hours ahead of time.  And once one learns how to season them with herbs and spices they are amazing!  And then learning how to pair them with grains and vegetables is one step further.  What fun they truly are, those lovely tasty legumes!

So I came up with this recipe because I was in need of a dish for potluck at church.  And I did not have much of anything in the house and I was not about to go shopping on a Friday afternoon.  So this is what I came up with... I had black beans and rice made and in the fridge and I had a can of corn and a can of petite diced tomatoes and I always have cilantro on hand.  So I just mixed the flavors together and what a yummy treat!  The cilantro in this recipe makes all the flavors and textures come together.

I could have eaten it with the wooden spoon!
I actually had soaked and sprouted the black beans and the brown rice ahead of time and had it cooked and in the fridge.  On a side note I like to have a legume and a grain cooked for a quick meal on the nights I do not want to cook.  Or on the nights that it is 5 o'clock and my kids are starving and then I just add some vegetables to it and hey it's a meal!

My kids love rice and for now they love their pictures taken!  They love bean salads too as long as they can have a sandwich with homemade bread and peanut butter too.
So this is a quick and easy recipe if the beans and rice are cooked ahead of time.  Just add all the ingredients to a bowl except the cilantro and set aside.  Take the two large bunches of cilantro and mince up really well.  I like using a butcher knife because it gets the job done right.  And then I add the minced up cilantro to the bowl and mix really well.  This salad can be eaten right away or it can marinate in the fridge for several hours before eating.
Cilantro before...
I like eating my salads with tortilla chips.  Sometimes I just get a spoon and dig into the yumminess of the beans!

Black Bean & Rice Salad Recipe

3 c black beans, cooked

2 c brown rice, cooked

2 c whole corn

2 c diced tomatoes, canned or fresh

1 tsp garlic salt

2 large bunches of cilantro, minced


1.       Add black beans, rice, corn, tomatoes & garlic salt to a large bowl.

2.       Mince up cilantro with a large knife and add to the bowl.

3.       Mix all ingredients well and allow to marinate for 2-4 hours.

4.       Serve with tortilla chips, corn tortillas or just enjoy plain!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Time Means Fresh Garden Produce! Red Potato Salad Recipe

I love every season!  I love summer time because of the swimming, boating, picnics and fresh produce!  I think one of the best ways to enjoy summer is with family, friends and a picnic!  We always enjoyed going to Lake Michigan at Holland State Park (a favorite relaxing spot) and we always brought yummy homemade salads and fresh vegetables from our garden.

Growing up I always loved potato salad but the problem with the recipe is I am used to eating it with full-fat mayonnaise and that seems to be all I can taste.  So I decided to make up a fun, easy and tasty potato salad with no weird substitutes or fancy cashew mayonnaise just simple ingredients and something everyone will love!

I like to try my recipes out on family so I took it to my husband's parents house for supper one Friday night.  It was a hit!  The fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden made it taste the best.  I used some olive oil, which I will not do again because I can taste it too much and I want to taste the blending of flavors with the vegetables and herbs, and I used some vinegar which helped bring out the flavors.  

I used red potatoes, red onion, celery, fresh parsley, fresh oregano, garlic salt and balsamic vinegar .  I like the combination of the crunchy vegetables, the cooked red potatoes and the enhanced flavor of the fresh chopped herbs!  It was delightful!

I hope by the picture you can see the texture and the colors of the salad.  It is so easy and the potatoes can be cooked ahead of time and put in the fridge to chill before cutting.

Red Potato Salad

6 medium size red potatoes, cooked and diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 c fresh oregano, minced
1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp garlic salt
3 TBS balsamic vinegar (or favorite vinegar)

  1. Cook potatoes in water until soft.
  2. Dice up vegetables and fresh herbs and place in large bowl.
  3. Cool potatoes in fridge or on counter until cool and then dice up potatoes and add to diced vegetables and herbs.
  4. Add garlic salt (to taste) and add balsamic vinegar.
  5. Allow the salad to sit in the fridge for 2-4 hours for flavors to blend together.
  6. Serve with fresh vegetables!
Enjoy this wonderful treat!  We enjoyed it with fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans!