Thursday, April 29, 2010

Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans

I never make beans, mostly because I forget to soak them overnight. A Mexican girl in my ward made these beans for a church event and they were so delicious I had to get the recipe. The best part is that they require no soaking. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup bacon fat, she pared it down to 1 Tbsp because she didn't like how the left overs congealed in the fridge. I eliminated the bacon fat all together and substituted liquid smoke to give it that smokey flavor. If you don't have liquid smoke, smoked paprika would also work. They turned out great. Adding the bacon fat back in would give the juice more body, which some people like, but I don't care. The girl who I got the recipe from said that she likes to make these the night before and have beans and eggs for breakfast and then make enchiladas that night. If you want to use fresh onion and garlic, you can, but I like the plain, chunkless beans. I made these with fish tacos and a side of asparagus, it was super delicious.

2 cups dry pinto beans
7 cups water
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp liquid smoke (more or less to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a slow-cooker and cook on low for 10+ hours. Makes ~7 cups beans.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Italian Pot Roast

I really should call this blog Lazy and Healthy Meals, because that is my real motivation. I was going to make Pot Roast with Rich Tomato Gravy, but was too lazy. I have had this recipe in my 'To Try' binder forever and decided to finally give it a go. My husband said this is his new favorite way to make pot roast.

   1 boneless beef bottom round roast (3 pounds)
   1 1/2 cups water
   6 garlic cloves, minced
   2 bay leaves
   3 Tbsp dried basil
   4 1/2 tsp dried oregano
   1 1/2 tsp salt
   1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
   1/2 tsp garlic powder
   1 Tbsp cornstarch
   3 Tbsp cold water

1. Place roast in slow cooker. Combine water, garlic and seasonings; pour over roast. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
2. Discard bay leaves. Remove roast to a serving platter; let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, for gravy, pour liquid into a small sauce pan. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; gradually stir into liquid. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice beef; serve with gravy.

Parmesan Popovers

I was supposed to make rolls tonight for dinner but forgot until about 4:30, not even close enough time to make rolls. So I pulled out this quick substitute. Popovers are light and don't require raising. If you don't have parm cheese, omit it for a classic popover. If you are a fancier chef then me, you may have a popover tray, I just make them in a muffin tin, putting about 1/3 cup of batter into each cup.


  • 1  cup milk
  • 2  large egg whites
  • 1  large egg
  •  2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup  whole wheat flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours and salt, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to milk mixture, stirring well with a whisk. This will create a thin batter.
4. Coat 6 popover cups with cooking spray.  Place popover cups in a 375° oven for 5 minutes. Divide batter evenly among prepared popover cups. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Baked Ziti and Bean Casserole

I have decided that I need to cook more meatless dishes. I was a vegetarian for several years and rarely ate meat before getting married. My husband doesn't think a meal is suitable unless there is meat in it, so I have learned to eat meat, probably too much. My challenge is to find meatless recipes that are hearty. This is a winner. My new goal is to cook at least one meatless dinner each week, so look forward to more meatless! The recipe calls for Great Northern Beans, which are white kidney beans. I didn't have them in my pantry, so I substituted Pinto beans instead. You can probably use any bean with excellent results.

   1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
   1 cup ricotta cheese
   1/4 cup red onion, chopped
   1 tsp dried parsley
   1 tsp dried thyme leaves
   1/2 tsp salt
   1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
   4 cups hot cooked ziti (8 oz dry pasta)
   1 can (15 oz) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
   sliced mozzarella cheese
   Grated Parmesan cheese

   Heat oven to 400. Spray 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, ricotta, onion, parsley, thyme, salt and red pepper. Carefully fold in pasta and beans.
   Pour pasta mixture into baking dish, spreading evenly. Arrange mozzarella cheese slices on top to cover. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until mixture is hot and cheese is golden brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 6 Servings.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fontina-Stuffed Potato Skins

This will be my contribution to Easter dinner. I love twice baked potatoes, but they are so unhealthy. This is a much healthier version but with that cheesy flavor you want. You can bake the potatoes up to 2 days ahead and fill them with stuffing. Cover and refrigerate. Before serving, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and bake. I halved this recipe to only have 8 servings. As per usual, I replaced the sour cream with plain yogurt. I also left out the buttermilk entirely. The lesson of the day: use what you have and don't stress too much.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 potato half)


  • 3 1/4  pounds  russet potatoes
  • 1  cup  whole milk
  • 1/3  cup  light sour cream
  • 1/4  cup  reduced-fat buttermilk
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/4  cup  finely chopped chives
  • 2  tablespoons  butter
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 6  tablespoons  grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out flesh, leaving about a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Combine flesh, milk, sour cream, and buttermilk; mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in fontina and next 4 ingredients (through pepper). Divide mixture evenly among shells. Place potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle potatoes evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until heated.
3. Preheat broiler.
4. Broil potatoes 2 minutes or until browned and bubbly.