Stove-Top Baked Beans

The other night I made these baked beans for supper accompanied by a mixed green salad and biscuits. It was delicious, nourishing, and filling. I usually think of baked beans as a side dish, but we love this recipe so much that it’s our main course (since I first made this a couple months ago, it’s been in regular rotation). And Jeremy happily anticipates the leftovers in his lunch the next day.

I typically soak and cook my own beans, but canned work just as well, feel free to add more beans if you want them a little less saucy–I often do that. I love that this is so full of flavor and spice with just a hint of sweetness. Try this recipe, for a main dish or a side, you’ll be glad to have it in your repertoire.

STOVE-TOP BAKED BEANS
(slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger)
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1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz can tomato sauce
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (opt.)
1/4 tsp black pepper
15 oz can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. water

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add all the ingredients up to the beans and whisk to combine. Add the beans and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid thickens, about 30 minutes.

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Easy Lasagna

My mom is the one who introduced us to this easy version of lasagna. The layers are beautiful and it is such a delicious dish. I like it for company, providing a meal for someone, Sunday dinner, or even as a non-traditional holiday main dish – this is probably how I most remember having it growing up. I gave my husband a choice of things to serve for a dinner we were hosting recently and I didn’t get past the lasagna suggestion 🙂 – I don’t make it often but it is definitely a family favorite.

Lasagna can be involved with bechamel sauce, meat sauce and more but this version will achieve the levels of flavor and takes a fraction of the time. I always use sausage because I think it adds incredible flavor! Also, the spinach is optional but I like the color it provides and, of course, the nutrients. Serve this with garlic bread or homemade breadsticks, and a lettuce salad. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

EASY LASAGNA
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1 – 16 oz. pkg. lasagna noodles
1 qt. spaghetti sauce (jarred or make your favorite homemade!)
1 lb. sausage or ground beef
1 c. water
1 – 15 oz. carton ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten
8 oz. shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
6-8 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1 Tb. parsley flakes
dash nutmeg
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

Brown meat, add spaghetti sauce and 1 c. water, bring to a boil.  In mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, mozzeralla, spinach 1/3 c. water, 1/4 x. parmesan, parsley flakes, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE: Use uncooked lasagna strips bu rinse in hot water before layering in a 9×13 pan (about 4 lasagna strips fit in a single layer – 3 lengthwise, 1 crosswise). Layers: 1 2/3 c. sauce, lasagna strips, 1/2 cheese mixture, 1 2/3 c. sauce, lasagna strips, remaining cheese mixture, 1 2/3 c. sauce, lasagna strips, remaining sauce, top w/1/4 c. parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375 degress covered w/foil for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Black Beans and Rice with Fresh Apple Salsa

I love black beans and was excited to find this recipe in the most recent Bon Appetit magazine, which takes the humble bean and ups the ante with a fresh apple salsa. The original recipe called for topping the dish with shredded chicken, but I wanted a vegetarian dish. This was full of flavor and I didn’t miss the meat. Plus this is a cinch to throw together, so you can enjoy this healthful, seasonal, naturally gluten-free, vegetarian meal on a busy weeknight.

BLACK BEANS AND RICE WITH FRESH APPLE SALSA
(slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2012)
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1 c. chopped apple (I used Fuji because that’s what I had on hand, though Granny Smith was the original suggestion)
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/3 c. finely chopped red onion, divided
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 c. finely chopped bell pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
dash of red pepper flakes
3 c. chicken broth or water
2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 c. cooked brown rice

For the salsa: combine apple, 1/4 cup cilantro, 2 Tbsp onion, and lime juice in a small bowl. Toss to coat. Set aside.

Combine remaining onion, bell pepper, and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until completely softened, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes; stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in broth or water and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer briskly, mashing about half the beans with a potato masher or the back of a spoon, until sauce is thickened, 8-1o minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

On plates layer rice, beans, and apple salsa. Top each with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

All to often I have pull-open-the-fridge-what-do-I-have-for-supper moments. For reasons I truly can’t understand, I’ve yet to be able to tackle regular meal planning. With my bent towards organization and order, this baffles me. However, the fact remains. Therefore, I frequently find myself flying by the seat of my pants for weeknight meals. Thus, this recipe came to be with ingredients I had on hand and in the time I had available.

Not only are stuffed peppers a lovely presentation, but they are tasty and nutritious. I used pizza seasoning and flavors as my inspiration; however, if you’re the type of person who keeps pepperoni around, feel free to chop some up and add that to the filling for an even “pizzaier” flavor. Many of the measurements are approximate, so use this recipe as a guide to create your version of pizza stuffed peppers. If you want the filling, saucier, add more tomato sauce or jarred pasta or pizza sauce. If you want more meat than rice, or vice versa, increase accordingly. If you want more veggies, chop them up and cook with the meat. You get the idea. And, as I used mini peppers, I can’t tell you exactly how many larger peppers you would need here, maybe 4 or 5?

I hope you enjoy this quick weeknight meal for a taste of a little something different!

PIZZA STUFFED PEPPERS
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1 c. cooked brown or white rice
3/4 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 small can tomato sauce
1 tsp pizza seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheese of choice
Whole bell peppers, large or small, tops cut out and seeded
Prepared pasta or pizza sauce (opt.)

Cook rice according to package instructions.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

While rice is cooking, brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and chopped bell pepper and continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Mix in the cooked rice, tomato sauce, pizza seasoning, and garlic. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in as much grated cheese to suit taste.

Spoon mixture into prepared bell peppers and place them standing up in a lightly greased 8×8 baking pan. If you like, pour some prepared pasta sauce over the peppers and sprinkle with additional grated cheese.

Bake peppers for 20 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.

Simple Supper: Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

On Friday, at the end of a long day (and after it’d been awhile since the grocery store and I visited), I was thankful for the frozen bag of shrimp in my freezer. Within 20 minutes I’d cooked up this light and simple shrimp dish for supper. I used rice in place of the orzo and substituted mixed, chopped fresh herbs in place of the parsley. This meal will definitely be added to our supper rotation. To balance out the meal, add a green salad, or other lightly sauteed veggies.

LEMON PEPPER SHRIMP SCAMPI
(from Cooking Light)
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1 cup uncooked orzo (use rice to make gluten-free)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp (I actually used medium shrimp)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

While orzo cooks, melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

Melt remaining 1 Tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

Simple Super: White Bean-Spinach-Quinoa-Bacon Salad

The other evening suppertime approached and the only ideas I had involved ingredients in my refrigerator. I took those ingredients–bacon, spinach, quinoa, cannelini beans–and went to find a recipe. The result was this delicious hot salad! I used leftover cooked quinoa (cajun spiced!) and the meal came together in a snap. The red wine vinegar added a tasty, unexpected zing. And come on, anything with bacon and asparagus is pretty darn tasty.

WHITE BEAN-SPINACH-QUINOA-BACON SALAD
(slightly adapted from Closet Cooking)
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1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 sweet onion, sliced
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound of asparagus, woody stems broken off, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 (6 ounce) package baby spinach
1 (19 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed

Cook the quinoa as directed on the package.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a pan, about 4-6 minutes, and set aside, reserving 1-2 Tablespoons of bacon grease. Caramelize the onions, mushrooms, and asparagus in the remaining bacon grease, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Add the vinegar to the pan and deglaze it. Mix in the reserved bacon grease, sugar, mustard, garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
Add the spinach and the beans and cook until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in the bacon and veggies. Spoon over the quinoa, or mix it all together in the pan before serving.

Simple Supper: Cajun Shrimp and Rice

Before I jump into today’s recipe, I want to announce that the winner of last Friday’s Table Inspirations book giveaway is….Amanda! Her favorite summer meal is a BLT and sweet corn. Sounds delicious!

 

I’ve taken to purchasing a package of frozen shrimp about once a month on my quest to teach myself to like shrimp (I’m getting there!). They make a quick supper, which is a huge draw for me at the end of a long work day. I really enjoyed this dish; it’s filled with spice. And aside from researching and mixing up my own Cajun seasoning, this came together super quick. Jeremy was more than happy to take the leftovers for lunch the next day.

CAJUN SHRIMP AND RICE
(from Food Network Magazine, April 2010)
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1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 bunches scallions, chopped
3 cups cooked rice
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat the butter, olive oil, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Cajun seasoning and shrimp and cook, stirring until the shrimp begin to curl, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes and scallions to the skillet and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the rice and 1/4 cup water and continue to cook until the rice is warmed through and the shrimp is opaque, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Simple Supper: Curried Meatballs

I found this meatball recipe on the Everyday Paleo blog. We love curry around here and I enjoy trying different recipes that use curry. These meatballs are full of flavor and fabulous served alongside some curry-spiced stir-fried veggies. The sauce that coats them is just enough for the meatballs, if you want to serve these over rice or pasta, you may want to double or triple the sauce recipe to allow a little extra yumminess to mix in. 🙂

CURRIED MEATBALLS
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1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1/3 cup finely diced apple
1/3 cup quick oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gf)
1 egg
1/2 – 1 Tablespoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, place all of the meatball ingredients and mix well (if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, I find it best to mix meatball ingredients with your hands). Form into golf-ball sized meatballs and place in a glass baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Makes 8-10 meatballs.

CURRY SAUCE

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth

In a large skillet saute the garlic in the coconut oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the honey, curry powder, and tomato paste and whisk together. Add the chicken broth and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth. Bring to a simmer. After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce and turn to coat well. Cover and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Simple Supper: Hawaiian Rice

This recipe is one of Jeremy’s top favorite meals! The original recipe only called for green peppers. I’ve added mushrooms, carrots, onions, colored peppers, and even once a little fresh spinach. So, use whatever veggies you like. If your rice and chicken are already cooked, then this meal comes together super fast!

PINEAPPLE CHICKEN AND RICE
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3 cups cooked rice
1-1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup mustard (yellow or a mix of yellow and Dijon)
1/4 cup white wine, chicken broth, or pineapple juice
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 green pepper seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the honey, mustard, and wine. Stir to combine. Add pineapple and veggies. Allow the sauce to heat through and the veggies begin to cook for a few minutes.

Lightly grease an 8×8 pan. Spread the rice in the bottom. Top with the chopped chicken. Pour the sauce over everything. Sprinkle with paprika. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until everything is heated through.

Simple Supper: Bacon-Wrapped Salmon

Salmon is a staple simple supper in our house. (If you have an Aldi close by, that’s the perfect place to buy salmon at $4 a pound in their frozen food section!) I usually just wing the seasoning, but occasionally I like to try out a “real” recipe. 🙂

This recipe is delicious and so simple. In just 20 minutes supper was on the table. The bacon keeps the salmon super moist. And seriously, who doesn’t love bacon-wrapped food?!

BACON-WRAPPED SALMON
(adapted from Epicurious.com)
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4 center-cut pieces skinless salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
4 bacon slices
Special equipment: 4  metal skewers (which I didn’t have, but would have made it all easier!)

Preheat broiler and place broiler pan about 4-6 inches from heat.

Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then spread curved sides with mustard. Lay 1 bacon slice lengthwise along top of each fillet, tucking ends of bacon under fillet (ends will not meet). Thread 1 skewer through length of each fillet, entering and exiting through bacon to secure it.

Arrange fish, bacon sides down, on preheated rack of broiler pan and broil 3 minutes, then turn over and broil until fish is just cooked through and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more.

(Cooks Note: If you are using frozen fillets, let them thaw slightly first so they cook evenly.)

As a bonus, I’m going to share a roasted asparagus “recipe” to cook and serve alongside the salmon.

LEMON PARMESAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS
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asparagus, woody ends removed
olive oil
salt
lemon-pepper
Parmesan cheese
fresh lemon juice

Break off woody ends from asparagus. Wash and pat dry. Lay asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper. (Use your discretion with quantities.)

While salmon is broiling, slide asparagus into oven. When you take out the salmon to flip it over, remove asparagus and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, continue to broil until salmon is cooked through. Just before serving, sprinkle asparagus with fresh lemon juice.

(Cooks Note: If you’re not making this alongside the salmon, preheat oven to 425°F instead of to broil. You’ll have to cook just a couple minutes longer.)