An alternative title for this post was My New Dogfood… but I thought that could be a turnoff? This is my new basic recipe that forms the foundation for eating a healthy diet of super foods on a regular basis– I could eat this every day (hence my new dogfood). The recipe comes from Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats cookbook which I’ve had for a number of years. Since I’m still a cook-in-training (aka- still trying to live down the “pepper casserole” I seriously over-seasoned in my earlier attempts at cooking a meal for me and Chad), I try to just pick something out of her books every now and then and if I find something good (aka- I can manage making it without too many tears), I make it again a few more times so it starts to get simpler and the whole follow-every-direction-don’t-mess-up!!! stress starts to subside.
This particular recipe is actually meant to be a “warm corn and black bean salad” that serves as a bed for a piece of grilled salmon. But I have found it to be pretty nice by itself as a light lunch to take to work, a side for dinner and really you could serve it under a piece of fish, chicken breast, whatever you like. You need to chop up some veg first— but it doesn’t have to be perfect chopping, just aim for everything to be between the size of a corn kernel and a pen cap (couldn’t think of a food example, sorry). I usually don’t care for bell peppers, but they’re great in this super food mix, so I cut one in half, rip out the guts with my hands…
… and chop up in small-medium pieces. I did two peppers for this round because I was doubling the recipe & Aldi’s bell peppers come in yellow + red packs. The recipe calls for red, for those of your who are recipe purists. I’m more a ‘use what you have’ kind of gal, and if that works, I’m sold.
Chad usually does a lot of the chopping in the household (for some reason, he gets nervous watching me wield sharp objects near my fingertips?), and he came up with this corn trick. I like to split up my veg in the order I have to cook them using my multisize melamine bowls from Crate & Barrel (kind of like these, but from a different season), so I just start out using a pair of them to stand the corn cobs up and cut off the kernels like this.
You could use frozen or canned corn, but of course the fresh off the cob stuff will taste best and will probably have the most nutritive value (tho frozen is pretty good in retaining nutrients too). For this recipe, I divide the red onion + garlic into one bowl (yellow below) and the corn + peppers in another (purple below) and get the EVOO heating up. Again, I was doubling this recipe so these amounts are bigger than you would need for a single dose. For a single recipe, I would use 4 ears of corn, 1 medium red onion, 1 clove of garlic (or whatever you like depending on how much of a fan you are) and 1 red bell pepper. (warning, blurry photo below!)
Sweat down the red onion and garlic for a few minutes until they are softened (medium-high heat). While they are sweatin’ you season the pot up good with salt, pepper, a bit of red pepper (to taste, gives it nice heat without being too “spicy”) and cumin (~ 1 teaspoon).
Then add the corn and peppers to heat up for a few more minutes and all start to soften….
Then you add about 1/2 cup (eye ball it) of chicken stock for a single recipe- or veggie stock- to the mix and let it bubble up. I actually add more stock, almost double that, to make it a little more soup/stew-ish. Depends how you plan on eating it. And after each of these additions, you just let it cook for 2-3 minutes more. These are perfect time intervals to wash up! So, even though I chop ahead of time and mess up a bunch of bowls to hold everything, I just wash and dry them between each of these little cooking periods, so by the time the food is finished, my dishes are cleaned up.
Once the stock has bubbled up for a couple minutes, add a can of rinsed, drained black beans and let them heat through.
Then you’re almost done! Turn off the heat, and add several handfuls of spinach leaves. Once you press them into the hot liquid, they wilt quickly…
After this, add a few splashes of lime juice (fresh or out of the bottle in the ‘fridge), adjust the seasonings (add more salt, fresh pepper and possibly more red pepper) until it tastes yummy. If you like cilantro (which I do), that makes a tip-top addition at this point as well. Meanwhile, Ollie helps with clean up, making sure any bits that bailed out between the cutting board, veg bowls and the stove are accounted for.
And once the pot of deliciousness is done, the kitchen looks like this– yes, my recycling is sitting around to go out, but all the bowls are washed, dried, put away, along with my knife, and my cutting board is drying. Anything else is already in the dishwasher. I really don’t like cleaning up after, so washing up during the 2-3 minute cooking times makes cooking worth it to me!
And just so you know I’m not cheating, here’s the sink. Again, the recycling (just keeping it real), but all cooking implements are taken care of!
And voila! Here’s the tasty dish that is so so super good for you! I cannot express how happy it makes me to eat this up. The only fat is the olive oil (which is a super healthy, good for your heart fat), every calorie is accompanied by great vitamins, phytonutrients and fiber. The onion, garlic, black beans and spinach, in particular, are super nutritious foods. If we all ate this everyday, the world would be a thinner, healthier place. Seriously. How hard is it to incorporate 3-5 vegetables in your diet every day? Well, here’s atleast 2 servings in a dish of this! It was great when we made it with the grilled salmon on top (but still working out the kinks when it comes to cooking fish…) and I like to eat it just by itself, or with some feta cheese on top for a little extra something.
This double batch got split up into several of my Pyrex storage dishes and frozen to conveniently take for work lunches. For the actual recipe, see here or here or get Rachael Ray’s book! Does anyone else have recipes they make in mass to eat on throughout the week? This is my way of eating really healthy food regularly by capitalizing on one easy (and brief) investment in time spent cooking per week!