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Baked Black Beans with Sausage and Rice

Most of this recipe came from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: The Basics. The sausage was my own idea.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
6 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup of black beans, picked over and soaked the night before
1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 12-oz smoked sausage
Salt and pepper

Put the oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften.

Stir in the beans, add enough water to cover them by about 2 inches, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary to keep the beans submerged, until the beans are softening but still hard in the middle, 45-60 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roughly mash about half of the beans in the pot with a fork, the back of a spoon, or a potato masher. Cut the sausage into pieces and add it to the pot, along with the rice, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. The beans and rice should be covered by 1 inch of liquid. If there’s not enough water, add more to the pot. If there’s too much water, spoon some of it out and save it to add later.

Transfer the pot–uncovered–to the oven and cook until the rice and beans are tender, about 1 hour, adding water (or the saved cooking liquid) 1/4 cup at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Easy Beef Stir-fry

I made this stir-fry tonight. It’s very simple and very quick, perfect to make on a busy day.

1 lb flank steak, cut in 1/4-inch slices about 2 inches long
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
6 to 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion or piece of ginger, sliced

Mix the first 5 ingredients and set aside. Put 1 Tbsp of oil in a hot wok or skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and salt. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are brown and tender. Remove from the skillet. Add the remaining Tbsp of oil to the skillet and add the onions or ginger. Keeping the skillet on high heat, add the beef mixture and cook, stirring, until the beef is completely browned. Add the mushrooms and mix well. Serve right away over steamed rice. Makes 2-3 servings.

All About Avocados

Avocado Health Benefits

Who’d have thought avocados would be so good for you? Now, I’m used to hearing about how fatty they are, so I’ve always been careful about avocado intake. But it turns out they do have other benefits.

Readers, how do you like to eat avocados? My favorite is guacamole (of course!), and I also like them in salads and on sandwiches, as long as they’re seasoned or covered in dressing. I always thought they were pretty bland by themselves.

Has anybody had a chocolate-avocado dessert? I heard chocolate and avocados was a thing now, but I’ve never tried it; it seems a little weird.

(I would have reposted this article, but the Food Revolution Network doesn’t let you repost on this site.)

Friday Foodie: B Spot

The Love Bungalow

Apparently, there exists a celebrity chef named Michael Symon who started a chain of “industrial-chic” burger spots after a successful run on Iron Chef. Never heard of him. But I have heard of spiked milkshakes, so after learning they were being served at the newest B Spot location on the north side of Indy, I made a trip to the Ironworks building to try them out.

Moral of the story? Don’t go.

B Spot offers “gourmet” burgers, but the toppings are nothing new, unless eggs, BBQ sauce, and chorizo suddenly became gourmet while I was on Christmas vacation.


And that’s all they serve! Like you better like burgers or you’re left with a couple salad options or a chicken sandwich. And the boozy milkshakes? You get 1 oz liquor compared to the 20 oz milkshake, so the taste is long lost in chocolate foam.

My friend and I split the…

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Ground Beef Tostadas

(from pages 51 and 53 of The Mexican Cook Book by George and Inger Wallace.  Published by Nitty Gritty Productions, Concord, CA, 1971)

Some weeks ago, I got a package of corn tortillas at work and didn’t know what to do with them.  Lucky for me my parents had this cookbook!  I found this 43-year-old recipe for delicious, albeit messy, tostadas.

For tostadas
8 tortillas                                                          1 large sliced avocado
Vegetable oil for frying                                     1/2 c shredded cheese
2 c refried beans                                             1 pt sour cream
2 c ground beef filling (see below)                   Sliced black olives
2 c shredded lettuce                                        Pickled or canned chiles
2 sliced tomatoes

For ground beef filling
1 T vegetable oil                                   2 oz black olives, chopped
1/2 onion, minced                                 1 envelope taco seasoning
1 clove of garlic, minced                       Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb ground beef

Brown beef in the vegetable oil.  Remove from skillet and add onions and garlic.  Saute onions and garlic until tender.  Add meat back to skillet and mix in other ground beef filling ingredients.  Set aside.

Fry tortillas on both sides in hot vegetable oil until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Spread the tortillas with refried beans and then meat filling.  Add lettuce, tomato, and avocado slices.  Sprinkle with cheese, and then top with sour cream, olives, and chiles.

Fannie Farmer Meatloaf Recipe

This is by far, the best meatloaf I’ve ever had.  It’s an old recipe, but it still works.

2 cups breadcrumbs
1 onion, chopped fine
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, using your clean hands.  Pat into the loaf pan and bake for at least an hour.

Fresh & Creamy Guacamole

A delicious-sounding guacamole recipe–I’ve made guacamole of my own before, but I’d be interested in trying this.

nom and nom

Not much beats the freshness of hand-made guacamole. If you have 10 minutes and a handful of simple ingredients, this green beauty can be yours to dress up your tacos, salads, sandwiches, or chips!

Guacamole! Guacamole!


1 1/2 Persian limes, juiced

3 Haas avocados, peeled and pitted

Handful of cilantro (smaller stems are okay!)

1/3 yellow onion

1 large clove garlic, peeled

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp Kosher salt


Combine all ingredients in a food processor, pulsing to achieve the level of creaminess or chunkiness you prefer. I use (and adore) the Ninja Master Prep system. Serve fresh or chilled. Great with chips, on tacos, or as a tasty garnish to enchiladas or soups.

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