Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Slow Cooker Black Bean & Rice Soup

This week I made black bean and rice soup in my slow cooker. I found two similar recipes for inspiration.
http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/07/slow-cooker-black-bean-soup/
http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2006/12/black-bean-and-rice-soup-with-lime-and.html

Slow Cooker Black Bean & Rice Soup
2 cans (30 oz) black beans, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 c salsa
3 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 T ground cumin
1 T dried oregano
1 T chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 c long grain white rice
1/4 c lime juice
Put beans, tomatoes, garlic, onions, celery, carrots, salsa, broth, cumin, oregano, chili powder, coriander, paprika in 3.5 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Turn cooker on high and add rice. Cook 30 minutes or until rice is done. Add salt and lime juice and cook 5 minutes more. Makes 8- 10 servings.

Verdict:
Hagbard- Tastes like chili. Would eat again. (Yes, you will because we have a bunch!)
Amethesto- It’s okay. (High praise from her.)
Lounmoun- Easy to prepare. We’ve been eating the leftovers and it reheats well. We discussed blending it but decided we preferred it chunkier.

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Taco Casserole

This taco casserole recipe is based on a post on the Mothering message board from March 2007.  The topic of discussion was cheap meals. I actually found the thread even after all this time and there are lots of good ideas.  I’ve adapted the recipe a bit.

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Taco Casserole

1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
2 c cooked rice
1/4 c salsa
1/3 c taco seasoning
1/4 c water
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish. Dump all ingredients except cheese into dish and stir well. Sprinkle top with cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes.

You can serve it with chips, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, etc if you like.

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Falafel

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Falafel is a ball or patty made from chickpeas and spices and fried. It is a middle Eastern food and typically would be served in a pita with lettuce, tomato and a yogurt or tahini sauce.

I live in small town Kansas. I can’t go out and buy falafel at a restaurant. I have tried to make falafel at home several times somewhat unsuccessfully. I really feel it has become something of a quest. We got a falafel mix once that you just added water to. That was not great. I’ve tried a few recipes and the taste would be good but they would fall apart. Last night I tried again and was pretty successful. So successful that Amethesto devoured all the falafel. If you have been reading this blog you might have noticed that my daughter is not an adventurous eater… some might even call her picky.

I looked at several falafel recipes on the internet and noticed a few were refrigerating or even  putting the batter in the freezer for a time before cooking. Some added flour and some had eggs.  Some recipes insisted that you absolutely must start with dried chickpeas and soak and cook them but other recipes did use canned which is what I had.

My inspiration recipes are http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25309/seans-falafel-and-cucumber-sauce/  and http://www.marthastewart.com/349175/falafel


Falafel

15 oz can chickpeas, drained

1 onion

1 T dried parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 eggs

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 c flour

1/2 c bread crumbs

cooking oil (I used peanut)

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except oil. Puree until it is a thick paste consistency.  Freeze batter 20 minutes or refrigerate an hour or more. Heat 1- 2″ of cooking oil over medium high heat to 350 F. Drop 1 tablespoon size portions of batter into the hot oil. Cook until browned on both sides.


Verdict:

I didn’t make a sauce or have pita bread. We just had these plain with some Greek rice on the side. The outside of the falafel was brown and crispy and the inside was soft and fluffy. They held together very well this time. I think I got about 24 falafel balls so maybe 3-6 servings.  My family loved them. No leftovers!

 

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Baked Spaghetti Olivetti

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I found this old recipe the other day for spaghetti olivetti. I remember it was one of the first things I cooked for Hagbard before we got married 16 years ago. We haven’t had it for years so I decided to make it and see if we still liked it.

I don’t know where I originally got the recipe but I found it on Food.com when I searched for it. http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-spaghetti-olivetti-63612 I made a few changes like reducing the cheese and skipping the oil and salt in the pasta water.

Baked Spaghetti Olivetti

6 oz dry spaghetti

6 oz. muenster cheese, shredded

6 oz. green olives, sliced

6 oz black olives, sliced

1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

4 c spaghetti sauce

1/4 c dried parsley

Cook the spaghetti about 1/2 the time the package calls for. Drain. Mix with sauce. Mix cheeses and parsley together. In a greased baking dish layer 1/2 of spaghetti, 1/2 of cheese and 1/2 of olives. Layer the rest of spaghetti, olives and cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Makes 5-6 servings

Verdict:

Hagbard- It was tasty.

Amethesto- It was okay. (She picked out the green olives)

Lounmoun- I think it was pretty good but in future I would probably just mix the olives with the spaghetti  and sauce and just put all of the cheese on top instead of trying to do layers. Everything got separated and mixed up when served anyway.

 

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Lasagna Zucchini Boats

I’m pretty new to eating zucchini. We never had it in my home growing up. I was aware of it but it just wasn’t something I made an effort to try until a few years ago. Now I’m thrilled with this versatile vegetable and love to find new ways to eat it.

My recipe for today is this-http://www.cookingclassy.com/2015/06/lasagna-zucchini-boats/

I was excited to try this recipe for lasagna zucchini boats. I know lasagna is in the name but it is more like manicotti or stuffed shells to me. I  followed the recipe except made my sauce meatless.

The verdict:

Hagbard- Very good. Would eat again.

Amethesto- <scraped off cheese and ate it, scooped out filling and left most of it and all of the zucchini on plate>  Not a fan.

Lounmoun- I liked it. It was easy and pretty quick to prepare. It was also fairly low calorie.

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