Here’s an easy, nutritious way to stretch a buck: BBQ Beef and Beans. I modified the recipe I got from my friend Chef Gary. If you take a little help from the grocery store (canned beans, rinsed and drained, and jarred barbecue sauce of your choice), you need only ten minutes to get this into the slow cooker. This is one of my favorites to take to a potluck dinner.
HASTY TASTY BBQ BEEF AND BEANS
I use the stainless steel Gourmet Slo-cooker by Americraft so everything is done in one pot. If you use a crockery slow cooker, you will need a skillet to brown your meat and onions.
- 1 pound chuck, cubed
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 4 cans beans (your choice of type. I like variety so I mix 4 kinds of beans)
- 12 ounces prepared barbecue sauce (avoid varieties containing high fructose corn syrup)
- nonstick cooking spray
- Spray skillet or pan with nonstick cooking spray. Salt and pepper the cubed chuck, add it to the skillet, cover, and brown over low heat.
- Open canned beans and drain, rinsing with cold water. Set aside.
- Add chopped onion to the browned chuck. Adjust heat to medium. Do not cover. Cook until all liquid has evaporated (about two minutes).
- In slow cooker pan or Crock-pot, add meat and onions. Slowly stir in the rinsed beans.
- Add barbecue sauce. Stir to combine. Cover and cook over low heat for at least four hours. Use lowest possible setting because all the food is cooked. Your only concern is infusing flavor.
- Serve warm.
Yield: 5 pints
Enjoy either as a side or main dish. Remember, beans are a great source of fiber and nutrition yet without the saturated fat of meat.
I’ve posted in the past about making salsa in my Vitamix. Today I have a special guest who offers a flavorful twist to salsa. As soon as I pick up a fresh bunch of cilantro, I’m making this recipe. I grow my own jalapeño peppers and herbs but fail miserably at keeping cilantro alive. 😦
Today’s recipe is a guest post by Kristin, a writer for PAM and other ConAgra brands. She resides in Chicago, IL and enjoys trying new recipes on the weekends. Her favorite dishes include poached eggs in the morning, throw-whatever-is-in-the-fridge salads for lunch, and vegetable-heavy stir fries for dinner. She’s always on the hunt for unexpected yet delicious food combinations. Please welcome food blogger Kristin Kruk:
August is the Sunday of summer. Friends and family are making the most out of their last few weeks of sunshine and blue skies before fall kicks in. When you get an invitation to that last minute summer barbeque, come prepared with a zesty appetizer to surprise everyone’s taste buds. Bring a bowl of grilled tomato salsa with a bag of your favorite tortilla chips as an appetizer to the party.
On a time crunch? Don’t worry about grilling outside. A cast iron pan will do the trick because it gets hot and retains heat.
How to grill inside:
- Evenly spray PAM Grilling Spray on the cast iron pan.
- Place pan on stove top on medium-high.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low once the pan gets hot.
Now you’re on your way to a quick grilled tomato salsa!
- PAM Grilling Spray
- 1½-2 pounds of tomatoes (try an assortment), sliced in half
- 1 jalapeño , sliced in half
- 5 green (or red) onions, chopped
- ¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Optional ingredients: ½ can of black beans or corn kernels
- In a medium bowl, mix cumin, garlic salt, onions and cilantro. If optional ingredients were used, combine as well. Set aside.
- See “How to grill inside” instructions above.
- Once the burner is set to medium-low, grill tomato and jalapeño slices.
- Rotate so each side is grilled for 3 minutes. When each side is slightly blackened, remove from grill.
- Chop tomato and jalapeño slices into cubes. Dump into the medium bowl (Step 1).
- Refrigerate until ready for use.
This quick and simple appetizer complements any picnic or outdoor outing at the end of summer. Enjoy!
(Cheryl note: I do all my indoor grilling on a Lodge cast iron grill pan (sprayed with PAM). It’s affordable, retains heat, and leaves nice grill marks on food–just like an outdoor grill but without the mess!)
I make my own mayonnaise because I can control its ingredients. It’s easy. Give it a try.
¾ cup egg substitute
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 cups safflower or canola oil
Add first four ingredients to the Vitamix container. Secure lid but remove plug.
Turn Vitamix to Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then high.
Pour the oil in a steady stream through the opening in the lid.
Run Vitamix just until mixture thickens.
Turn off Vitamix, pour the mayonnaise into a quart jar, and put a tight-fitting lid (or canning ring and lid) on the jar. Refrigerate. Keeps up to 4 weeks.
I love Nutella®, but it has refined sugar, a no-no for me. So I searched both books and online sources for a homemade version of chocolate hazelnut spread. None suited me, but one came close: Skinny Ms. “Skinny Nutella Spread – The Healthier Version.” I experimented with that recipe but soon went my own way.
This is my version of Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. My recipe uses the Vitamix. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you will need both a blender and a food processor. Read all the directions before you try making it. It looks complicated, but it really isn’t. Complicated recipes don’t qualify as “Hasty Tasty” meals. 😉
Hasty Tasty Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
Makes 2 cups
©2014 Cheryl Norman
- ½ pound hazelnuts, roasted and skinned*
- ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder (I used Special Dark because I prefer bittersweet chocolate)
- ¼ cup raw honey (select a light, mild tasting honey)
- 1 packet pure Stevia extract
- ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk will work)
- ¼ tsp. Kosher or other pure salt
- *Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet (Hint: I roast one pound then freeze half for later) and place in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes.
- While hazelnuts roast, combine cocoa, honey, almond milk, salt, and stevia in the container of the Vitamix (or your blender). Blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour cocoa mixture into a microwave safe bowl or pitcher and cover with a wet paper towel.
- Microwave the cocoa mixture in one minute increments, stirring after each minute, until mixture is hot (This takes about two minutes in a 1000 watt oven).
- *Remove roasted hazelnuts from the oven and allow to cool. Place them on a clean kitchen towel, fold it over onto the hazelnuts, and rub to remove the skins. They should slip off easily.
- Take one cup (1/2 pound) of the cooled hazelnuts and place in the container of your Vitamix (or food processor). Turn it on Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then High Speed. Process for thirty seconds to one minute or until the nuts become butter (You may need to stop once and use a spatula to scrape the nut mixture from the sides). Note: This step takes about 5 minutes in a food processor.
- Carefully pour the heated cocoa mixture into the Vitamix container with the hazelnut butter. Process on Variable Speed 5 for about five seconds or until well blended.
- Pour into glass jars
To be on the safe side, store your spread in the refrigerator. My recipe contains no additives to make it shelf-stable. Once you make this, you can add your own touches. If it’s not sweet enough, try adding additional stevia extract or sweeteners of your choice.
One final word: Don’t make hazelnut chocolate spread to save money. Homemade is better, but quality ingredients carry a higher price tag. I ordered organic hazelnuts and shopped for local honey. I doubt I saved a penny over Nutella® from the supermarket, but I love having total control over my ingredients. Enjoy!