Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grandma Herr's Favorite Swedish Baked Beans

Bean month has been a great month. I really didn't think I was going to like beans. I mean c'mon. The texture alone has always been repulsive. But I think that I have been able to find several recipes that have done away with the repulsiveness and left me with a desire to have beans. I've been fascinated with how full I feel when eating them and how easy they are. I'm excited to continue to incorporate beans into our diet. Especially those Roasted Garbanzo Beans... yum.

For my last post, I'm doing an extra special one. Upon hearing of bean month, my Aunt Linda emailed me a family story/treasured recipe. It just so happened that it was for a recipe that I wanted to do, but frankly dreaded. Baked Beans have always been a "oh no thank you" for me. The email from my aunt was perfect as it linked Baked Beans with a family I would do anything for. Made it impossible for me to ignore this type of bean! 

I was a very lucky kid. My grandparents lived in our house with us. They had their own entrance and own little apartment and we lived upstairs. As a result, I was very close with them. They lived below us until they passed and were in essence my second set of parents. I still miss them every day. So when my aunt emailed with stories of them and their favorite Baked Bean recipes, I knew it was something I must try!

Grandma Herr's Favorite Swedish Baked Beans 
4 cups (32 oz. total) Canned Baked Beans
1 large apple (Green Granny Smith) pealed, cored, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Raisins
½ cup Yellow Onion, finely chopped (or half of a med. Size onion)
¾ cup Brown Sugar
1T. Yellow Mustard
¾ cup Catsup
Four Slices Crisp Bacon, Chopped

Drain excess liquid from canned beans.  Stir all ingredients together and place in a oven safe casserole dish with lid. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 ½ hours until bubbly and hot

Basic ingredients all ready.
Please note the new Le Creuset 9 inch oval dish... in red, of course.
Liquid portion of the dressing, ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.

Pre oven. I unfortunately didn't have a lid,
but aluminum foil worked great!

Looks just about the same when you take it out, but it was bubbling!
Like I've said, I was not excited for Baked Beans. And even making this all I could think was how unfortunate it was going to be when I didn't like them. They came out of the oven and I dipped my spoon in almost immediately. I was so surprised, they were delicious! No joke, I was blown away. This is the first recipe in My Year of Vegetables that I have had such a surprise result. The boyfriend couldn't stop eating them! I am so pleased that they are this good! We will definitely be having them with anything barbequed like my aunt suggests. Thanks Aunt Linda for sharing a very special memory and tradition.

Stay tuned for my next post in which I'll announce the vegetable for March!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Genie, wake up and smell the hummus!

Can anyone name the movie? Think Disney. Think 1992.

This hummus recipe was emailed to me from my friend Susan. I have been so lucky to have Susan and her husband Mike in my life and they have been huge guiding forces for me. I was really excited to get a recipe from them.

The hummus was great and I look forward to playing around with the basic recipe she sent. She suggested cilantro or roasted peppers and I'll definitely be trying both in the future! Thanks Susan!

Last bean post tomorrow! Thank goodness 2012 is a leap year... one more day of beans!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

This weekend the boyfriend and I went up to Seattle. We went up to see the greatest musical ever: Oklahoma! and to celebrate my brother's birthday. I dare you to resist watching this marvelous clip of Hugh Jackman singing the opening song "Oh What a Beautiful Morning". Unfortunately we didn't get to see Hugh Jackman, but he will be in the upcoming movie version of Les Miserables later this year. Lucky us!

Back to beans. I've been doing a lot of white beans and garbanzo beans and need to sprinkle in some green beans. My mom picked this recipe from to compliment the birthday dinner she was making my brother. It was incredibly simple and very easy.  The Green Beans were delightful and we will definitely be making these again. The recipe has one of my favorite qualities: customization. I followed the recipe this time with garlic powder and parmesan cheese, but there is a wealth of options you could sprinkle on these pretty green sticks.

 February is coming to a close very fast! I have two more recipes to try, so keep reading!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Fourth time is sort of the charm.  I'm sure I will be working on these tasty little treats for a long time, but each batch makes it worth it. If you haven't yet done a Google search of Roasted Garbanzo Beans, you really should. I first found them on Pinterest, shocking I know. There are a ton of different tutorials and recipes, all of which seems to vary greatly.

The first time I did it I followed the majority of recipes and put the oil and seasonings on before roasting. Just couldn't get them quite right. I tried again, still nothing. They just came out as very bland, despite the amazing amount of seasons I had put on. The third time I had some luck and put the oil and seasonings on after the roasting. Bam! Tasty treats!

This fourth time is so close to being great that I figured it was time to post. The beauty of these little guys is that you can customize however you want. Each oven will vary and each taste bud is different. So season and roast away!

Roasted Garbanzo Beans
basic recipe compiled from multiple online sources

1 can of Garbanzo Beans (I've used the 50% less sodium ones three times, but the best batch I made was with the full strength sodium)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse beans. Pat dry on paper towels removing excess skin (see photos below). Put beans on small cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for approximately 45-55 minutes depending on oven and crunchiness desire. In separate bowl mix together other ingredients. Pour roasted beans in to bowl and mix. Enjoy!

Drain and Rinse

Can you see the "skins"? Some posts say you can leave on...
let's be real... they're outta here!

Tried on large cookie sheet and pizza tray, small one worked great!

Yes... I did eat 3/4 of these all by myself.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chili Goodness and a Treat for Reading

This next recipe is one of my new favorites. I never ever thought I'd say that a chili recipe is even in the same vicinity of a favorite. But this is so quick, easy and good it's hard not to have it in any sort of "top" list. Still doesn't compare to buttered noodles, but what does I ask you?

I first had this with the Knitting Ladies at Janine's house. This easy recipe is fun because each person gets to customize it. And we all know how society likes to customize! Sidenote: Indi Custom Jeans isn't all it's cracked up to be. Good thing I'm not writing a fashion blog.

I cooked this for our friends Spencer and Erika. Even though I messed up the quantities, they still ate it and raved about it. I completely forgot to take photos, I was just so excited to have them over and cook! So I made it again tonight, but in a much smaller portion.

The recipe is called White Chicken Chili... but don't worry you can use Dark Chicken too ;) I believe the White is referring to White Beans, so I propose a recipe name change... White Bean Chicken Chili... yum!

White Bean Chicken Chili
Thanks Janine!

4 cups chopped chicken
1 tblsp olive oil
2 medium onions-chopped
3-16 oz cans of White Beans or Great Northern (do not drain/rinse)
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 oz can of green chilis
1 clove garlic-minced

Saute chicken with onion in olive oil until fully cooked. In large sauce pan or crock pot add the chicken and the remaining ingredients. Heath through until ready to eat.

The first thing I did wrong with Spencer and Erika was start to drain the beans. It dawned on me half way through that that is the only source of liquid for the chili. So both times I've had to add in some chicken broth... not the end of the world and I actually really enjoyed it. I also couldn't find a 2 oz can of green chilis, only a 4 oz can. No problem, I thought, I'll only use half the can. Well I got can happy and dumped the whole darn thing in. Again, turned out great. I believe this is a VERY forgiving recipe. I've also never put in the oregano nor the cayenne pepper. Oops!

I served this with several different bowls of goodness such as: chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocados, and crushed tortilla chips. This is where the customization comes in! It's fun to watch what others put on and each ingredient just puts the chili over the top. I have a feeling this will be a new favorite dish for company as it's so fun and easy. Enjoy!

Bonus! If you've read this far, here's another treat. This one is a HUGE stretch... but it is green, so I think by some standards it totally counts as a vegetable ;) These are delicious and worth the tiny amount of effort. Thanks for reading!

Easy No Bake Creamy Chocolate Mint Bars

For the crust I used Mint Oreos... mint overload!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Colorful Kielbasa (sans cheese)

What a great response to my first few posts... thank you! I have added a "Follow by Email" link to the left and you can always follow me on Google at the end of the posts.

I know I did some cheating with choosing legumes for February in My Year of Vegetables and I appreciate you all forgiving me. But to make sure I'm keeping in line with the intent of this year, and as promised, I am incorporating true green beans in to February.

Tonight I made a recipe from my Mom. The fact that my Mom likes green beans, blows my mind! But I think anyone would like them if they had this recipe ;) I remember her cooking this when I was probably in high school or college and not being a fan. I will say my taste buds have morphed and this was quite tasty! I could see me experimenting with this super easy recipe in the future.

Colorful Kielbasa

1 can of Cream of Celery Soup
1 1/2 cups of water
1 lb smoked kielbasa, cut into 1/2" pieces
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
Some frozen green beans, cut into 3/4" pieces
4 1/2 ozs sliced mushrooms
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In skillet, combine soup, water and 2 tablespoons of butter; bring to a boil. Add kielbasa and rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 18 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Stir in beans and mushrooms. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender and beans are heated through. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand until melted.

As I was typing this I discovered that I completely forgot the cheese! Dang... that would have pushed this recipe from "tasty" to "very tasty".  Well I'll just have to add the cheese next time :) I "halved" this recipe just in case we didn't like it. We haven't been eating any leftovers, so I didn't need a ton of this stuff in the fridge for later disposal. We had more than enough for two of us!

You'd be surprised at how much healthier the Turkey stuff is!

Before I added the green beans and mushrooms and before the rice plumped up.

The recipe says "some" green beans, I just made it the same as the mushrooms,
I used Baby Bella mushrooms, not canned :)

The end result with a whole wheat dinner roll!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

White Bean Puree

February is Bean Month!

The BF, his brother and I all went to a restaurant in Portland called Aquariva. It's a great (albeit pricey) Italian restaurant down on the waterfront. With their basket of bread they served a white paste which was delightful. I asked what it was and was given a vague answer of white beans and olive oil.

Beans have always scared me and I've never really given them a chance. However, they've recently been creeping in to meals. I thought maybe there's something to this magical/musical fruit. However, I'll not only try those types of beans, but green beans as well to make this more definitively a vegetable. 

To start on February 1st I made my own version of a White Bean Puree. 

I started with the following ingredients:

White Beans, Olive Oil, Garlic, Grated Parmesan, Salt and Pepper

I basically just started throwing stuff in the food processor and seeing how it tasted. 

The above is what came out. This is roughly what I threw in:

One can of white beans 
3 tbs of olive oil
2 tsp of minced garlic
3 tsp of parmesan cheese
dash of salt and pepper

It turned out great and the BF loved it too. Will probably make another batch to take to a Superbowl Party. We served it with a sliced baguette.

Happy Bean Pureeing!

January Chard Flashbacks

Welcome to my blog. I have made it my New Year's Resolution to try more vegetables... one each month. I not only have to try them, but learn how to cook them and try several different methods. You can check out details in my "Blog Introduction" page to your left. I encourage you to read it since it explains a lot about me and my motivation. If you don't read it, please note that I call my Boyfriend Trevor "BF" for Boyfriend or Best Friend. Didn't want you to get confused.

For my first post, I'm taking you back to last month. Get your time travel party pants on... it's veggie time!

January was deemed "Chard Month" in the Pelto/Baldwin household. After one month of having Chard at least twice a week, we are now BIG fans of Chard.

For those of you who don't know anything about Chard, I'll give a brief synopsis but encourage you to do a google search. Chard is a large leafy green and is actually related to the beet. It is high in fiber, vitamins A, K, C and E among others. The large leaves are always green, but the stalks come in a variety of colors. Swiss Chard typically has a white stalk, while Red Chard typically has a red stalk (bet you couldn't have guessed!)

The one that amazed me was Rainbow Chard. Click here to see a Google image search. Amazing, right?! That's naturally occurring. CRAZY. That's crazy people. Who needs genetic engineering when that's natural? Ok enough about Rainbow Chard... my nerd alert is going off.

I had a difficult time finding Swiss Chard, but was told by the nice produce man at Fred Meyer's that "they're basically all the same", ha! We mostly used Red Chard and some Rainbow Chard for fun. The leaves are huge! Like two-produce-bag-four-hands huge. You basically just wash and tear the leaves up. If you want to use the stalks (very similar to celery but with a different taste) you can just chop those up as necessary. I started throwing the stalks in often because they tasted good and I felt throwing them away was a waste.

The recipes I tried:
Tortellini Soup (made this twice, it's that good and easy)
Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese (made this at least three times, great side dish)
Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Swiss Chard  (this was more complicated than anticipated, but delicious)

The last recipe was a great segue to February's vegetable. Drum roll please... dududududud... BEANS. Now I told you all in my blog introduction that I might take some creative liberties with the definition of a vegetable. I want to explore beans, which are legumes, which for this veggiephobic (my term) is close enough. I'll throw in some green beans and we'll be ok.

I've included some photos below as a summary, but normally I will post about one recipe at a time and my experience with it. Since I'm a month behind, I had to play some catch up, I hope you all don't mind!

Chickpea Soup with Chard (and parmesan and garlic toast)

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard (the BF wanted mozzarella on one half)

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