Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Greens


Pinto beans and sautéed greens are two of my favorite southern sides, and they also make a great combination in this easy, no-fuss meal. This is a bowl of comfort food that will provide warmth on a cold winter night. Add a hot skillet of cornbread, just like your grandmother made, and you have a delicious meal that’s worth writing home about.

I used dried beans in this vegetarian meal that’s sure to please even the meat lovers in your life. Dried beans are a great bargain and you can control how much salt is added. Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Kale is packed with vitamin A and C, and also a good source of calcium and potassium. Enjoy this nutritious bowl of goodness.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
9 cups water, divided
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bunch kale
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
20 hot and sweet jalapeño slices

Directions:
1. In a large pot, add dried beans and 5 cups water. Heat to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least an hour. Drain beans.
2. In a slow cooker, add pinto beans, onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, turn to high heat and cook for 3 hours.
3. Wash and chop kale, removing tough stems. Add kale to pinto beans, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional hour.
4. Stir cilantro into kale and pinto beans, serve in bowls and top each with 5 hot and sweet jalapeño slices.

Serves: 4

Note: This is a fast soaking method for beans, and you can always soak overnight if you prefer. You can substitute kale for other greens, such as turnip, mustard or swiss chard.

 

 

 

 

Open-Faced Turkey Burgers

There is something about eating a burger with a knife and a fork that makes it seem more classy than something you would order at a burger dive. And who can resist the freshly made bread these turkey burgers sit on. This recipe will elevate your next backyard cookout.

The secret to creating open-faced burgers is topping them with delicious ingredients. And you don’t have to worry about cramming all those ingredients under another slice of bread. Get creative and try piling on your favorite seasonal vegetables, like grilled zucchini and asparagus.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound ground turkey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices fresh bread, preferably homemade or from a local bakery
4 slices smoked gouda cheese
2 cups arugula, tightly packed

Directions:
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
2. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar and set aside.
3. Form turkey into patties and season with salt and pepper. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Grill burgers until turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. During the last three minutes of cooking, top each burger with a slice of cheese and allow to melt while burgers continue cooking.
4. Grill bread slices for about a minute per side, until light brown grill marks appear. Spread each slice with balsamic mayonnaise. Top with turkey burgers and equal amounts of caramelized onion and arugula.

Servings: 4 ~ Serving size: 1 burger

Winter Vegetable Salad

Butternut squash is the star of my Winter Vegetable Salad, creating a hearty meal that is satisfying for lunch or dinner. Caramelized onions, toasted pecans and creamy goat cheese give this salad a mixture of sweet, savory, crunchy and velvety goodness.

This colorful bowl of nutritious ingredients will brighten your mood, even on a cold and cloudy winter day. Enjoy it with ingredients warm from the oven and stove top or with chilled squash and onions that you have prepared in advance.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 ounces (about 4 tablespoons) goat cheese, crumbled
Bottled salad dressing, such as Champaign vinaigrette

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over squash and toss to evenly coat. Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
2. In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
3. Add 2 cups of lettuce to each plate and top with equal amounts of squash, caramelized onions, pecans and goat cheese.
4. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing and serve.

Note: You can substitute baby spinach or your favorite leafy greens for romaine and any type of winter squash for the butternut. Use whatever fresh produce you can get your hands on in February.

Servings: 4