Category Archives: black-eye peas

Happy New Year

Are you a traditionalist about eating a new year’s day meal for good luck? Or are you superstitious? For me the tradition is an excuse to eat a bunch of favorite southern foods. This year’s menu will be pork chops cooked with collard greens, served with a side of Hoppin’ John. Here are the recipes:


Hoppin’ John


1 cup dried black eye peas
1 cup uncooked brown rice
3 cups water
½ cup chopped onion
1 can tomatoes and green chilies
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Cajun spice seasoning

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a 4-6 quart/liter pressure cooker and bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients, bring to pressure, lower heat, and cook under pressure for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, allow pressure to drop for 10 minutes, then quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions. Carefully open cooker, fluff rice mixture with a fork, and serve.

Serves 4-6

Pork Chops and Collard Greens


4 boneless pork loin chops
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups water

16 oz. collard greens, washed, stemmed, and chopped
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar or sweetener of choice
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. ground nutmeg


Preheat the pressure cooker pot (use at least a 6 quart size). Brown the pork chops in oil on each side. Remove the pork chops and add salt and pepper to the chops.

Add the water to the pot, bring to a boil, then add the collard greens in bunches, allowing each bunch to wilt down. Add the vinegar and sugar to the greens. Place the pork chops on top the greens.

Secure lid, and bring to pressure. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove pressure cooker from heat and release pressure according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove pork chops, toss the greens with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, then serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Secure lid and bring to pressure.

Secure lid and bring to pressure.

This menu won’t guarantee a prosperous, trouble-free 2013, but it will provide you with lots of fiber and nutrition. Enjoy!

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Creative Leftovers

Those who know me, know I’m all about cooking ahead.  I have at least two meals (often three!) in mind when I cook one.  This is a great creative outlet for me, but it also saves money.  Times are as tight as they’ve been in years and years, so read on even if you don’t like to cook.

Leftovers don’t have to be last night’s dinner warmed in the microwave oven, or what I call cuisine deja vu. 😉 My favorite leftover recipes are burritos.  I don’t limit us to Mexican burritos, either.  (The difference between a burrito and a wrap–as I see it–is hot and cold.  A wrap is like a sandwich rolled in a tortilla; a burrito is like a hot casserole rolled in a tortilla.)  One of my favorite recipes is the Hoppin’ John Burrito.  It’s Cajun, and here’s the sequence.

Meal One: I make a Cajun dinner.  I cook lots of brown rice and black-eyed peas, about twice the number of servings I need for this meal, along with some greens, cornbread, and blackened catfish.  If you don’t mind a little spice, season the catfish with lots of Cajun spices.

Meal Two: I make dinner the next day with green beans, steamed kernel corn, grilled chicken breasts, and Hoppin’ John.  After dinner, stir the leftover corn into the Hoppin’ John and refrigerate.

Meal Three:  Two or three days later–you don’t want to wear out the Cajun cuisine’s welcome by having this meal on the heels of the first two–mix the Hoppin’ John and corn with a cup of salsa (or a can of green chilies and diced tomatoes) in a two-quart saucepan.  Add a cup of diced onion.  Bring all ingredients to a simmer over medium-low heat until heated through.  Meanwhile, warm eight whole wheat tortillas in the microwave oven.  Remove Hoppin’ John mixture from heat.   Divide the mixture into eight equal portions.  Spoon one portion into each of eight whole wheat tortillas, add 1 ounce of shredded Monterrey Jack (or any cheese you like) to each,  fold tortilla over, and serve.

I have many variations of the burrito theme, but let’s move on to another cuisine: Italian-American.

Meal One: Make veal Parmesan with breaded veal cutlets covered with your favorite recipe pasta sauce (I usually make my own) and serve over whole wheat spaghetti cooked al dente. Make at least a cup more of the pasta sauce than you’ll need and refrigerate.

Meal Two: Place four whole wheat tortillas on cookie sheets.  Brush on two ounces of the leftover pasta sauce.  Add toppings of your choice, including shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake in a 400° oven just until cheese melts, approximately ten minutes, depending on the type of pan used.  Voilá!  You have four individual pizzas.

You’ll notice I use whole grains, but that’s my choice. I like the taste of brown rice over white, and whole wheat pasta over semolina, but use whatever you like. Also, don’t forget the more obvious leftover dishes, like stir-fry, stew, and vegetable soup. My husband and I once brought back leftover steak from a restaurant dinner. The next night, I cubed the steak and made fajitas, another dish using the tortilla wraps.

Regardless of who does the “cooking ahead,” use your imagination and develop dishes for leftovers. Your family won’t know, or if they do, they won’t mind!

(originally appeared June 22, 2009, as a post for the Clever Divas)

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Anemic? Be an Iron Chef.

When I say “Iron Chef,” I’m not talking about the competition hosted by Mark Dacascos on Food Network (although that’s an entertaining show). I’m talking about cooking to add iron to your diet.

The common response to the person suffering anemia is “eat more liver.” Unfortunately, liver is high in cholesterol, too. What other strategies can you use in your kitchen to boost the iron in your diet?

First, don’t overlook cast iron cookware. It’s heavy and it isn’t dishwasher-safe, but it imparts iron into the food as it cooks it. Currently, only Lodge brand is made in the USA, so buy Lodge. Foreign-made cast iron isn’t made to USA standards and may contain impurities in the metal. Lodge is available online, at Cracker Barrels, at Wal-mart, and at their factory store in Tennessee. New cast iron cookware comes seasoned, so it’s ready to use.

Second, focus on foods that supply iron to your diet, which include: dried, unsweetened apricots; raisins; lima beans; spinach; broccoli; whole wheat breads; brown rice; cooked dried beans such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney, or white beans; pumpkin seeds; nuts (black walnuts, almonds, cashews); pine nuts (pignolias); clams; shrimp; trout; mackerel; fortified cereals;  lean beef.

Next, try to avoid iron blockers, like carbonated sodas or any foods containing oxylates and phosphates. Do eat food rich in vitamin C, as they help you absorb iron. Sneak wheat germ or brewer’s yeast in your smoothies.

Finally, remember some anemia isn’t caused by inadequate iron consumption. If your attempts as an iron chef don’t increase your blood iron levels, talk to your doctor.


Minestra (Beans & Greens)

Here’s a southern twist on an Italian favorite.


1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas
1 14½ oz. can spinach or greens, any kind
1 packet beef bouillon (Herb Ox brand is sodium free)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse and drain black-eyed peas.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir.

Immediately add the canned black-eyed peas and the canned greens. Stir to combine.

Sprinkle the beef bouillon over the greens/peas, cover, and simmer for ten minutes.

Taste test and add salt and pepper as needed.


Yield: 4 servings

Variation: Grate nutmeg over the dish before serving.

From Recipes for Recovery ©2011 Cheryl Norman

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A New Year’s Day Soup

This recipe originally appeared in Hasty Tasty Meals in the RV (© 2006)

I created this recipe especially for my mom. She loved blackeye peas, and she loved this soup. It’s a great use-up of your turkey stock if you make it from your Christmas turkey bones. I prefer dried blackeye peas, but canned works, too.

You can make this recipe either in the pressure cooker in half an hour or slow-cook it half a day. Either way, there’s no need to presoak the blackeye peas. Make it up ahead and re-heat to serve. (Soup’s always tastier the next day!)


Blackeye Pea Soup


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot grated
1 potato, cut up into 1” pieces
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 quart low sodium chicken broth
1 can blackeye peas, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups water and 1 cup dried blackeye peasadd cooking time)
1 can Rotel® tomatoes and green chiles

1 bay leaf


Preheat the oil in a 4-quart sauce pan (I use either the Gourmet Slo-Cooker or the pressure cooker) on Medium and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add celery, carrot, potato. Sauté another 5 minutes. Add the carton of chicken broth, can of Rotel®, and can of blackeye peas (or dried peas and 2 cups water). Bring to a bubble then reduce heat.

Slow-cook method: Remove pan from burner, add bay leaf, and place on the electric base. (or pour into a Crock Pot® if you prefer) Slow-cook on a medium-low setting for 5 hours, or longer if using dried peas. Remove bayleaf, check and adjust seasonings, then serve.


Pressure Cooker Method: Secure lid of your pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook 15 minutes for canned blackeye peas and 30 minutes for dried blackeye peas. Remove from heat, release pressure according to your manufacturer’s instructions, then carefully open the cooker.

Check the peas for doneness. If necessary, return pot uncovered to the burner and simmer until the blackeye peas are cooked. Remove bay leaf, adjust seasonings, then serve.

Happy new year!

Slo-cooker soup

The slow cooker cooks all day while you are away

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Start the New Year right!

If you’re southern, chances are you have some kind of greens cooking up with some cut of pork, along with a pot of black-eye peas and a skillet of cornbread. Maybe your black-eye peas are part of a Hoppin’ John dish, which is mixed with spices and rice. It’s a New Year’s Day tradition and believed to bring good luck.

There are other traditions, worldwide, but I grew up with the southern version. I resisted it, too, until my adult years when I discovered the food tasted good together. Legumes and leafy green vegetables are healthful, so eating them on New Year’s Day starts off the year on a positive note, at least nutritionally. But where did the ideas that such cuisine brought good luck originate?

Who knows for sure. There is a theory that because the pig digs with its snout in a forward motion, the pig symbolizes progress, or forward movement. Conversely, eating poultry on New Year’s Day was thought to bring bad luck because fowl scratch and move backward as they eat. Greens symbolize money, wealth, or financial health. Anything from cabbage to spinach qualifies as the traditional “greens.” Black-eye peas represent wealth, too, in the form of coins. Mixing greens with the black-eye peas covers all currency, bills and coins.

I like the idea of a one-pot meal that covers all the good luck bases, so I experimented with three versions of New Year’s Day dishes. One is a pressure cooker meal that cooks pork chops, black-eyed peas, and cabbage together yet I serve them separately with the traditional cornbread. Another is a skillet meal combining the pork and black-eye peas, wilting in greens (collards, turnip, spinach, etc.) at the end. Cooking rice, peas, pork, and greens separately is too much work and dirties up too many pots for my liking. Finally, I cook a one-pot Hoppin’ John with Greens in the pressure cooker. So here are three hasty tasty meals for New Year’s.


One Pot Dinner
Serves Four

Prepare this in a 4-quart pressure cooker. Why mess up three pots when one will do?


4 pork chops (bone in, preferably)
nonstick cooking spray
½ cup water
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 can black-eye peas, drained and rinsed
1 head cabbage, cored and quartered
1 tsp. Cajun spices


Spray bottom inside of cooker with cooking spray (I prefer Canola oil spray). Heat cooker over medium heat, add the rice and stir until rice is browned. Add pork chops and brown on both sides. Add water and spices and bring to pressure. Cook under pressure 15 minutes, then quick-release.

Carefully open cooker (remove lid away from you to avoid steam burns) and add black-eye peas and cabbage. Close lid, bring to pressure and cook 5 minutes. Remove cooker from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own.

Open lid and plate food with one cabbage quarter and one pork chop each, then stir rice and peas together for Hoppin’ John. Adjust seasonings as needed. Serve each plate with ¼ the Hoppin’ John. Enjoy!


Skillet Pork Chops, Black-eye Peas, and Collards
Serves Four


4 pork chops
nonstick cooking spray
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup chopped onions*
1 cup chopped bell pepper*
1 can black-eye peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup broth or liquid of choice (can be wine, beer, water, etc.)
1 pkg. collard greens, washed and ready to use
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste, depending on the desired heat level)
pinch of sugar, salt and black pepper to taste


Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Place chops in skillet but do not move or turn. Brown the pork chops on each side approximately 4 minutes or until the chop releases easily to turn. After turning the chops, add the peppers and onions.

Sauté chops, peppers and onions for 3-5 minutes, add garlic and stir. Then add the black-eye peas and broth. Using the back of a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan until all the cooked on pork chops is incorporated into the broth. Place the greens on top in small bunches, wilting the greens into the mixture before adding more. Gradually all the greens will fit into the skillet.

Cover the skillet and reduce heat to low. Simmer until greens are tender but not overcooked. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar according to taste. Serve with a side of brown rice and some cornbread. Have a happy new year!


*Or use 2 cups of frozen pepper stir fry, thawed


Hopping John and Greens
Serves 4-5

1 cup dried black eye peas
1 cup uncooked brown rice
3 cups water
1 onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic (or to taste–we like more!)

1 packet Goya® ham seasoning
½ cup cubed lean cooked ham
1 Tbsp. Cajun spices (or to taste)
1 package greens (your choice–I use collards)
1 tsp. sugar


In a 6-quart pressure cooker, add all ingredients in the order listed, sprinkling the sugar over the greens. Greens will fill the pot, which contradicts most pressure cooker instructions of filling the pot only 2/3, but greens cook down quickly. Close lid and bring to pressure. Cook for 15 minutes under pressure.

After 15 minutes, remove pressure cooker from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own for 10 minutes. Release pressure then carefully open. Stir the greens into the peas and rice thoroughly then serve.

Leftovers make great burritos. Just add salsa and cheese, wrap in a warmed tortilla, and enjoy!  Prospero año y felicidad.

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