Brown Beans

I love a good pot of brown beans cooked with a ham bone. It seems so obviously simple to me that I hesitate to even post this. However, my friends and colleagues remind me that what may seem like basic cooking knowledge to me is sometimes uncharted territory for people new to the kitchen.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of pinto beans
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Vegetable base
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

NIGHT BEFORE

Sort the beans and remove any stones or bad beans. Rinse the beans.

Place in the slow cooker and cover with water. Chop the onion and put aside.

NEXT MORNING

Drain and rinse the beans. Return to the slow cooker and add the ham bone, chopped onion, bay leaf, and Better than Bouillon Vegetable base. Cover with water.

Brown beans-- ready to cook
Brown beans– ready to cook

Cook on low for about 6 hours.

Brown Beans
Brown Beans

Remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Jambalaya

This is a Southern Living recipe I received with the jambalaya mix as a present from a PTA group. My opinion is that you can never go wrong by giving food to a teacher. It gets used immediately and doesn’t take up space nor collect dust. I have made only a few changes to the original recipe. I use brown rice; I use less water; I use bouillon cubes instead of granules; I usually bake it in the oven.

MIX INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon instant minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon green pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

OTHER INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 -8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chopped smoked sausage
  • 1 cup chopped ham

NIGHT BEFORE

Put the mix ingredients in a 3 quart sauce pan or oven proof casserole dish.

Jambalaya mix ingredients
Jambalaya mix ingredients

Chop the sausage and ham.

BEFORE SERVING

Bring the water to a boil. Add the water, tomato sauce, and meat to the mix.

Mix with other ingredients ready for the oven
Mix with other ingredients ready for the oven

If you are using a sauce pan, simmer for about 40-45 minutes until the rice is tender. If you are using an oven-proof casserole dish, cover and bake in an oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour or until the rice is tender.

Jambalaya
Jambalaya

Fluff and serve hot.

 

Mexican Cornbread

Although I am a big bread fan, I’ve never really had a passion for cornbread. However, I do eat Mexican cornbread. Normally, I’m a purist and make most of my baked goods from scratch. However, I make an exception for this because the Jiffy corn muffin mix is just to cheap and easy to resist.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped jalapeno or 1 can of chopped green chilis
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all the ingredients together.

cornbread ingredients
cornbread ingredients

Pour into a greased 8X8 inch casserole dish.

cornbread batter ready for the oven
cornbread batter ready for the oven

Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Mexican cornbread
Mexican cornbread

Shrimp ‘n Grits

INGREDIENTS

Shrimp

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heady cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  •  1 pound large shrimp, peeled, uncooked
  • Tabasco Sauce to taste

Grits

  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 1/2 plus 2/3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup old fashioned grits
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese

NIGHT BEFORE

For the shrimp, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the flour and stir constantly over medium heat until you have a dark roux.

roux
roux

Chop the peppers, onion, garlic, and celery. Saute vegetables in the tablespoon of cooking oil.

Sauteed pepper, onion, and garlic
Sauteed pepper, onion, and garlic

Add the vegetables to the roux.

Adding the vegetables to the roux
Adding the vegetables to the roux

BEFORE SERVING

To make the grits, bring the milk and chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.

evaporated milk and chicken stock in a saucepan
evaporated milk and chicken stock in a saucepan

Slowly whisk in the grits.

adding grits to the milk and broth
adding grits to the milk and broth

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until thickened.

Cheese Grits
Grits

Stir in the cheddar cheese.

Continue making the shrimp by slowly whisking cream in the roux over a medium heat.

whisking cream into roux
whisking cream into roux

Then, whisk in tomatoes and chicken broth.

adding diced tomatoes and chicken broth
adding diced tomatoes and chicken broth

Add salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Simmer until this begins to thicken. Add shrimp and cook about 5 more minutes.

Shrimp 'n Grits
Shrimp ‘n Grits

Serve over grits.