Category: Cheese

Black Beans Rice and Vegetables

Back to School Dinner #4

 

Our final back to school dinner #4 is Black Beans Rice and Vegetables!

When Claire was preschool age, we frequented a wonderful Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood, El Mirador, with very authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine.

Claire, the ever-picky eater, was happy ordering rice with cheese and the refried beans. Since the combination of the rice and beans is a complementary protein mix that offers all amino acids, it was a plus in my mind as she mostly ate cereal and pasta with butter!

After Margot was born and we moved to the ‘burbs one of our babysitters made a Portuguese version of black beans and rice that both girls loved. That made me think going vegetarian for the last dinner idea; simply omit the cheese for a vegan entree.

This is a simple recipe and it’s filled with fresh vegetables: scallions, tomatoes, zucchini, corn and frying peppers. I chose to use oregano and Spanish smoked paprika  as the primary spices. Include this in your meatless Monday repertoire if you have one, or start a new weekly trend!

A wide skilled (12- by 2 inches) is the perfect size and can go from stovetop to table, saving you an extra dish to wash.

The first thing to do is set up your rice, which can cook while you prep the other ingredients. I use the easy pasta method to cook the rice, a short-grain sweet brown rice.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, corn, zucchini, scallions, peppers, salt and pepper, stir to combine, cover and let cook for five minutes.

Back to School Dinner #4

Stir in the garlic, oregano, paprika, coriander and cumin for 30 seconds.

Back to School Dinner #4

Turn on the broiler.

Fold in the beans and rice and cook  until the beans are heated through, about two minutes.

Back to School Dinner #4

Top with cheese and slip under the broiler on a low shelf until melted, about one or two minutes. Garnish with pickled jalapeno peppers.

Back to School Dinner #4

This recipe can be made a day ahead omitting the cheese. Cool the skillet, cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, cover with the shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with the pickled jalapenos and serve. Use any leftovers for black bean tacos!
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Back to School Dinner #4 - Black Beans, Rice and Vegetables
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
 
This recipe can be made a day ahead omitting the cheese. Cool the skillet, cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, cover with the shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with the pickled jalapenos and serve. Use any leftovers for black bean tacos!
Ingredients
  • This recipe can be made a day ahead omitting the cheese. Cool the skillet, cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, cover with the shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with the pickled jalapenos and serve. Use any leftovers for black bean tacos!
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup rice, either brown or white
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomato halves
  • 3 ears of corn kernels only or 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 bunches thinly sliced scallions including green tops
  • 3 chopped frying peppers, any color
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Garnish: pickled jalapeno slices, mild or hot
Method
  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice, return to the a gentle boil and cook according to the suggested timing on the package .
  2. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, corn, zucchini, scallions, peppers, salt and pepper, stir to combine, cover and let cook for five minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, oregano, paprika, coriander and cumin for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn on the broiler.
  5. Fold in the beans and rice and cook until the beans are heated through, about two minutes. Top with cheese and slip under the broiler on a low shelf until melted, about one or two minutes.
  6. Garnish with pickled jalapeno peppers.

 

Back to School Dinner Recipe #1 – Baked Cheddar Cheese & Ham Omelet

Back to School Dinner Recipe

 

Mornings are hectic and it’s unlikely that a home-cooked robust breakfast is appearing on the table. Everyone is in hurry to grab a bite and catch the bus or head off to work. This is a very good time to have breakfast for dinner with a Baked Cheddar Cheese & Ham Omelet!

Eggs are nutritious and versatile. You can prepare them simply by frying, scrambling or poaching. Serve with toast and ham or sausage on the side and some steamed vegetables. Simple, quick and easy.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

You can also make heartier preparations like baked omelets. I recommend cooking extra vegetables on the weekend, cut them up and put in a container. Buy a slice of ham and dice it up and save in a container or pre-cook some sausages, dice up and save in a container. Sauté a diced onion and save in a container. Having roasted root vegetables this weekend? Save the leftovers in a container.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

Don’t have leftovers? No worries. Take advantage of the pre-cut vegetables most grocery stores offer these days: thinly sliced bell peppers, little buds of broccoli or cauliflower. Buy a zucchini or some green beans and cut into bite-size pieces. Best of all, there is no need to precook these vegetables. Pick up a package of your favorite shredded cheese and you can prep dinner in 20 minutes or less.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

What to serve on the side: toasted English muffins, a nice crusty bread, muffins or scones; you don’t have to bake, pick them up with your morning coffee!

Warm the bread, muffins or scones in the oven after you remove the omelet, which needs to sit a good 10 minutes to set before slicing. A nice green salad or a side of steamed vegetables rounds out this meal nicely.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

While the omelet bakes you can set the table, or perhaps the kids can do that when they get home from school ☺, check on homework status, get into some comfortable after-work clothes and maybe even have a glass of wine!

You’ve made a delicious, nutritious meal in a very short time with very little cleanup after and it’s economical. If you have any leftovers, send it the lunchbox!

Baked Cheddar Cheese & Ham Omelet Recipe

Baked Cheddar Cheese & Ham Omelet
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
 
Mix the proportions of the filling to your liking. Here I used 2 cups cheese, 2 cups vegetables and one-cup meat. If you’re steaming vegetables as a side, go half and half with the meat and cheese. The recipe is designed to have five cups filling of your choice and one dozen eggs with a little half and half (milk or cream are fine) mixed in.
Ingredients
  • one dozen large eggs
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup small pieces broccoli florets
  • 1 cup small pieces cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup diced ham
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease an 8- by 8- by 2-inch cake/brownie pan.
  2. Beat the eggs, half and half, salt and pepper until frothy.
  3. Scatter the fillings across the bottom of the pan and cover with the scrambled eggs.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. The omelet is done when puffed, solid in the middle and a little golden on the edges. Let sit 15 minutes before slicing.

 

Greek-Style Lamb Burgers

What’s better on a beautiful summer evening than burgers, grilled corn, and a mélange of roasted eggplant, zucchini, red bell peppers, red onions and cherry tomatoes tossed with cubes of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. I’m making a Greek-style lamb burger with Kalamata olives, pine nuts, nutmeg, fresh herbs, garlic, goat cheese and lemon. We’re celebrating EJL’s birthday (62!).