Black Bean Dip

BeanDip

 

I spent 4 glorious years on the Kansas State University campus. Studying, yes. Chowing down on delicious grub, yes. One of the ultimate stops in Manhattan, KS is So Long Saloon. I’m beginning to drool just imaging those burgers. A stop at So Longs was never complete without their ever-famous Chipotle Raspberry & Black Bean Dip. Being that we are a couple hours from Manhattan, KS,  I had to find a way to kick this bean dip craving. Here’s what I’ve got, see what you think!

Makes: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

15 oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup raspberry jam

1 jalapeño, diced

1 cup mozzarella cheese

4 oz cream cheese, block

tortilla chips

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the beans, jam, jalapeño and mozzarella in a cast iron skillet.
  3. Place the cream cheese in the center of the mixture.
  4.  Bake dip for 30 minutes or to desired warmness.

 

Notes

It’s a dip, so of course, you can enjoy with tortilla strips or other desirable dippers. BUT, you could also mix things up, enjoy this bean dip layered on a burger or sandwich, or even smothered over chicken or pork. You won’t regret it. I promise.

 


Re-purposing Leftovers

Most everyone has had the experience of opening the refrigerator to find next to nothing. Empty shelves and a variety of condiments isn’t going to make much of a meal.

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At this sight, it is easy to call it quits, throw in the towel, jump in the car and drive to the restaurant down the street for some quick eats. I beg you though, STOP! You haven’t lost all hope quite yet, and in fact, you can probably pull together a few scraps from here and there to build a meal at home.

It’s hard to imagine this in a world that expects the creme de la creme, but a meal doesn’t actually have to be perfect.

More than likely, you have a meat of some sort stored away. That could be leftover pork chops, frozen beef strips or canned chicken. Either way, there’s a protein.

Even though the fruit or veggie drawer may be barren, don’t knock the frozen or canned veggies. Pull those out for a semi-homemade meal.

Sandwich bread or tortillas or rice or a potato? Any of those will work to build a meal into. Pick one!

The key to re-purposing leftovers, no matter how empty your refrigerator or pantry shelves may be is creativity. Use your imagination and the meal options become limitless (and MUCH easier to throw together at the last minute).

When I am in a pinch, here are a few meal ideas I keep in my back pocket.

  • grilled sandwich
  • loaded baked potato
  • pasta
  • tossed salad
  • quesadilla or taco
  • tortilla pizza
  • soup
  • enchilada or burrito
  • stir fry

Hopefully these meals don’t sound too foreign. And more than likely, you have enough ingredients on-hand to throw one together.

Just the other day I was working with leftover rotisserie chicken and a spinach and artichoke dip. Well, nuking each for a couple minutes is okay, but how boring! Instead, I thought to boil pasta and combine the chicken and dip with the pasta for a delicious, creamy take on “chicken alfredo”. Strawberries and green beans were the fruits and veggies around that day, which will work. Now THAT puts a fun twist on those ingredients to make a meal.

What about the always-popular baked potato? It never fails, we have a bag of potatoes on hand and ready for action. Yes, wrapping the potato in foil to bake is an option, nothing wrong there. I’ll challenge you though, throw a curve ball in sometime by chopping the potato into cubes, tossing in a bit of olive oil and seasoning for roasting. Layer the roasted potatoes with leftover meat, a drizzle of BBQ, dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of cheese. Now you know why this is such a hit at our house 🙂 Served with a fruit and veggie to make a meal and balanced plate!

Or, earlier last week we had leftover pork tenderloin and romaine lettuce that needed to be used. After glancing through the pantry, I found tostada shells that would work as a perfect base. A little further below, corn and refried beans. Nailed it. Next thing you know, everyone is shuffling through the build-your-own tostada bar: chopped pork, canned refried beans, corn dip (cream cheese, ranch seasoning, corn and rotel), shredded cheese and lettuce.

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Does this look like something your family may enjoy?

It is important to me that I feed my family well. Sometimes though, I just don’t have the time or energy it takes to cook something fresh from scratch. By re-purposing leftovers, I able able to save LOTS of time and effort, and all-the-while, build a meal that I know my family will enjoy and is nutritious for us, too. Both are important to me, food that fuels and tastes amazing!

To build a more balanced plate out of these meals, bring on the fruits and veggies and dairy. Even if they aren’t fresh, no biggie. Pop open a can of low-sodium veggies or fruit packed in it’s own juice or a frozen bag to steam and serve. Those are fantastic, too! See a whole gallery of balanced plates here.

The ideas listed above are just a few meals that work for my family. Which of these could you try with yours? Or even better, can you add to my list? Share how you re-purpose leftovers at your house in the comments below!


A Hungry Cowboy’s Chunky Chili

Ever crunched for time and that special someone asks, “What’s for supper?” Rather than letting yourself begin to boil, may I suggest taking this as-easy-as-it-gets chili to a gentle boil instead? Dump. Dump. Dump. Stir. Enjoy as-is, or pour over chips with cheese and sour cream for a take on the ever-classic chili pie.

Makes: 8-10 servings

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cans chili beans, 15 oz

1 can black beans, 15 oz

1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz

1-2 cups of meat (chopped brisket, shredded chicken, ground beef, etc.)

1 package chili seasoning, 1.25 ounces (or homemade chili seasoning)

1-2 cups of water

 

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven or stockpot, sauté the onion in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the beans, tomatoes, meat and seasoning to the onions.
  3. Simmer on low heat for an hour.
  4. Add water to thin chili to the desired consistency.

 

Notes

For a more balanced plate, serve with a fruit or veggie or glass of milk! You could even be a little sneaky and stash some veggies in the chili. So sneaky.

 

CowboyChili


Farmer Food

Most relate “farm food” or “country cooking” to a meat-and-potatoes dining experience. While my family loves both of these things, we also enjoy eating our fruits and vegetables!

As you’ve seen on this site, either here or here or here, building a balanced plate is my niche. I want to take this opportunity then, to share with you what a balanced plate is and why I think it is important.

What better place to start researching something than Google 😉 First thing that pops up? LOTS of different plates, each divided into food groups. To some, this may be confusing, but I love it. No two plates are exactly alike, and they don’t need to be. All plates do, however, have several food groups represented on the plate: fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and milk. There are essential vitamins and minerals in those food groups that our bodies need.

To build a more balanced plate allows for variety and flexibility. Eat your meat and potatoes, but go ahead and enjoy a fruit and vegetable with it!

My family loves food, all sorts of foods. A balanced plate approach to eating does not expect perfection, but rather, moderation with all foods. A balanced plate helps me feed my family better.

The gallery of plates shared on this site is to be used as examples of what a balanced plate could look like, including foods my family (and hopefully yours) love.


Welcome

I am SO happy you stumbled upon Pastures and Plates! For this first post, I would like to share with you an inkling of what you can expect from this site.

I am passionate about food and feeding my family well. In doing so, I like to use a variety of foods, some fresh and other more convenient options as well. Always fruits and vegetables. On this site, you will find a gallery of (mostly!) balanced plates. I am posting these plates to demonstrate that you can, indeed, feed your family well…even with some country-cookin’!

Off and on, I would like to share these recipes with you. We don’t just eat to survive (at least my family doesn’t!). We eat because food tastes fantastic, and we truly value one another’s company around the supper table. Amen? On this site, you will find a few tried-and-true, classic recipes passed down through the generations.

Finally, the blog. Eating has gotten complicated. One of the reasons I believe this to have become somewhat of a tangled mess is a misunderstanding of where our food comes from. As a registered dietitian and a farmer’s wife, I have a unique opportunity to share with you the “other side of the table”. The final piece you will find on this site involves negating common agriculture and nutrition-related myths.

Again, my goal in writing is to help you feel more confident that you are feeding your family well. Savor the posts and share your thoughts. I would like very much to hear from you!