What I Cooked Last Night

Sometimes I make up these crazy meals that turn out to be wonderful. When that happens, i think it is worth sharing. Occasionally something turns out to be a total disaster, then it is the story, rather than the recipe that is worth sharing. My kitchen creativity is best used on leftovers. I can work tasty magic with leftovers. Be sure to read the first post, "About My Cooking Style" which will help in following recipes when given, or to recreate meals from my prose.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Beef & Beans

Thursday night is bean night at our house. There is something very satisfying about coming home to a Crock-Pot full of simmering beans. Served up with brown rice and a salad, it is a tasty, healthy meal that requires very little work. I had some cubed steak in the icebox, and thought that a little beef with the beans might be a nice treat. So I cut the cubed steak into thin strips, like for a stir fry perhaps, and browned them well in a saute pan in a little bit of oil. Meanwhile, I had soaked a 16 ounce bag of pinto beans overnight, so I drained them and poured them into the Crock-Pot. Then I added my standard seasonings for pintos. One large onion; diced, a couple of bay leaves, six peeled & halved cloves of garlic, a pinch of thyme, a few shakes of Tabasco, salt and pepper. When the beef was brown, I threw it in, added water to cover, set the switch to low and went about my day. After work I put a dish of brown rice in the oven, let it bake for an hour and dinner was ready to enjoy.

The cubed steak was tender and rich and provided just the right change of pace for this week's beans. I had only used a comparatively small amount, so the bits of meat were mostly an accent to the meal, but they were exactly right. The beans were deeply flavored by the herbs and aromatics, and had picked up far more flavor from the steak than I had expected. The broth was thick and intense, coating the rice easily and blending the tastes and textures perfectly. Though implicitly simple, the meal had many layers of flavor and was delicious and filling.

Tonight we will heat up some tortillas, combine the beans and rice, add some chopped hot peppers and enjoy bean & rice burritos with less then ten minutes of work.

In all, these meals cost less than $10.00, total, to feed two people, twice. My husband will even have some to take to work tomorrow for lunch! The best part of all, this is a very healthy dinner. Not high in fat, very high in fiber, filled with good nutrients. Go dig out the Crock-Pot you got as a wedding present and get beaning.


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