If you are a person like me, you know that cooking your own food is better for you, less expensive, and healthier, and yet we don't do it. I'm in my fifties and venturing into the kitchen to start cooking. If you want to learn along with me, come along for the ride as I talk techniques, recipes, strategies to create great food without losing my mind.
Slow Cooker Black Beans and Rice
I decided to try something that didn't have meat. I'm exploring eating a more plant-based diet. This is partly due to reading The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life.
THE RECIPE:Ingredients2 cups dried black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in plenty of water1 Tbsp. olive oil1 cup brown rice1 medium onion, peeled and chopped3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced4 cups vegetable broth1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes1 tsp. ground cumin½ tsp. salt⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
DirectionsStep 1Drain beans. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add rice; cook and stir for 3–5 minutes or until rice is fragrant. Combine in 4–5 quart slow cooker along with beans, onion, garlic, and vegetable broth. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, stirring every two hours.Step 2Then add tomatoes, cumin, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours longer until rice and beans are tender. Add cilantro and mix. Serve hot.
What I LearnedYou can ask Alexa "how many cups is one medium chopped onion." That was very cool.
I needed that as instead of buying the onion and using my food processor, I just bought it pre-chopped. This also goes for cilantro.
You also want to take the time to read the directions. I skimmed them and ended up putting everything into my Instant Pot hours before it was supposed to (this turned everything black)
When a recipe says to soak the beans overnight DO IT. I was BLOWN AWAY by how much water they soaked up. I needed up putting my two cups of beans into a giant mixing bowl (after singing them off). Do not skip that step.
Also, be sure to run water in your slow cooker (Instant pot for me) when you're done.
How it TastedThere are different scales I need to come up with. I guess these are:
I ate it but won't make it again
This was good, and I'll make it again
I want to make some more now.
This recipe has a bit of zip (enough to clear your sinuses, but not enough to make a dash for a glass of milk). It doesn't taste like anything else I've made because I've never eaten this before.
I was also amazed at how full I was with one bowl (about three servings spoons).
I put the recipe into my Cronomiter software and it was 168 calories for a bowl. (The recipe serves six).
Also Mentioned In This EpisodeI bought a Tavola Smart Oven. Get $100 of the oven
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Boneless Chicken Thighs in an Instapot
I bought an instantpot last year and didn't really use it. I got distracted by smart ovens (you can now control them with your Amazon Alexa). I remembered i had the Instapot with a smartphone app.
I also had a family pack of chicken thighs with no bones or skin. This should be easy and it was.
I just opened my cupboard and whatever was there I added so this included:
Onion flakesGarlic powderMrs Dash for ChickenLiquid smoke (see episode on Liquid smoke)Salt and Pepper.
I dumped in one cup of water into the instapot. Put the steam rack in the bottom and add the chicken on top. Add your spices and cook 10-12 minutes (I did 12).
The chicken was amazing. I had some thighs that were pretty thick and they came out wonderful. I put the chicken into a spaghetti strainer to let the grease get off the chicken. As I pick the chicken off after it had cooled, it just fell apart it was so tender.
Tomorrow I will eat one of the thighs that had the same spices listed about but I put a dab of KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce
I Might Attempt Going Plant-BasedI'm reading the book The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life by Robin Quivers (from the Howard Stern show) Robin had cancer and beat it. According to her doctor had she not previously changed her diet, she wouldn't be here.
I like the book because it's not preachy. She explains why plats are good for you, how you can get protein, and how processed food is horrible. I'm looking forward to trying some of her recipes.
The Rabbit Hole of Smart OvensI've been watching demos of "Smart Ovens" such as the June, Tovala Gen 2, and even Amazon has an over controlledd by Alexa.
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Souper Cubes: Great When You Cook For One
I just got done watching Shark Tank and there was this cool resource that looks like a giant ice cube tray for four giant cubes. The difference is the tray is made out of silicone. You can freeze your soup, chilli, pasta, etc and then push the item out of the cube.
For me (living alone) I often make pasta or soup, and then end up eating the same thing all week. Not any more. Now I can cook up a giant batch and FREEZE the rest. Then when I want a quick meal, I pop out a cube, and microwave a great meal in a few minutes.
I ordered mine from Amazon. (aff link)
New Recipe Episode ComingI'm going to try Bruschetta Pasta
InstructionsCook pasta according to instruction.
Toss pasta and all ingredients in a large bowl.
Ingredients1/2 box spaghetti
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped basil
1.5 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 green onion
Power XL Smokeless Grill Review
In Ohio, you can't grill outside in the winter months, so I needed a way to grill indoors.
Quick, Yummy Friend Egg Sandwhiches
How to make an Egg McMuffin at home for a fraction of the cost, and avoid the "Hash Browns" and coke.
Beef Veggie "Stuff"
Aimed at Stew and Ended up with Soup. Ended up with a cheap meal, and a lesson on reading the directions.
Great podcast if you’re learning to cook!
Dave Jackson is a great teacher and you’ll learn about whatever the podcast topic. Check out his other podcasts if you’re into podcasting.