Tag Archives: beans

Sides Show

10 Jul

Everyone needs some good summer sides, right? IMG_2014Either for a BBQ at your place or a summer potluck, it never hurts to have a few more recipes for tasty, healthy dishes, right? So, as promised yesterday, here are the sides that completed last week’s birthday barbeque-less BBQ dinner menu. Both are from the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine.

Red Coleslaw with Grapes – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp fat-free Italian dressing, to lighten things up even more)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large head red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, chopped

Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, mustard, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until well blended.

Add the cabbage, parsley, scallions and grapes to the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours before serving.

Baked Beans with Swiss ChardIMG_2026 – serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small bunch Swiss chard or mustard greens, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced smoked turkey or lean ham (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can navy beans, undrained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and golden, about 7 minutes.

Add the chard, turkey and 1/4 cup water to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the chard wilts slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, increase the heat to medium high and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the pinto beans, then add the navy beans and their liquid. Add the parsley, thyme and oregano and return to a simmer.

Coarsely mash about one-quarter of the beans in the skillet with a potato masher or fork to thicken the mixture; season with salt. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake 45 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes.

*Public service announcement: Please ignore the apple cider vinegar in the ingredients shot for the beans. For some reason, I got it in my head that there was vinegar in there, but clearly, there’s not. I only realized this once I had already started the recipe. Thank you for your cooperation (not like you have a choice Smile with tongue out).



Mashing up part of the bean mixture with a potato masher.






This is what it looks like when it’s ready to go into the oven.







…and when the beans come out.




Now the coleslaw was great, I really enjoyed it. But…I CANNOT say enough about these beans! Seriously…I. LOVE.THEM. Now, these are not what you would typically think of as “classic” baked beans (molasses/brown sugar, bacon etc) but I love this twist on them. And if you are lucky like me, you’ll have a good amount of leftovers.

The leftover beans were a standout in the salad I showed you yesterday. IMG_2056Also delectable on Friday stuffed inside a pita with garden-fresh lettuce and arugula (I almost forgot I had that stuff for a while…SO good), mustard, onion and tomato, with a bit of leftover coleslaw and a big old pile of roasted garlic scapes on the side.IMG_2063

Saturday, the beans made another star turn in a delicious tofu shirataki “pasta” dish. I sautéed a boatload of fresh veggies (zucchini, asparagus, orange pepper, garlic scapes, sliced portabella) and a minced garlic clove in a teaspoon of olive oil, then added part of a can of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand, salt and pepper, reduced heat and simmered a bit, and at the last minute, added chopped fresh basil.  I made HG girlfredo, and stirred this in, along with 1/2 cup of the beans, simmered for a couple of minutes just to heat through and served – voila! This was SO tasty and filling with all the veggies and protein and fibre-packed beans.


Speaking of awesome uses of the leftovers from Wednesday’s birthday meal, I just can’t sign off without showing you this simply AMAZING pizza I made Friday night: Slightly Spicy BBQ Chicken Pizza. By now, you know what I did for the crust.



For the sauce/meat component, I mixed 1/2 cup of the leftover pulled chicken with just a bit of light ketchup and BBQ sauce, a couple of dashes of the hot sauce I bought in Mexico (‘cause I like to live dangerously) and some cumin (I like it smoky).

I spread this on top of my crust, then topped with 1/3 cup light shredded Tex-Mex cheese, chopped red bell pepper, Vidalia onion and chopped jarred jalapenos (there I go living dangerously again).




When the pizza came out of the oven, it looked like this. But I didn’t stop there.




After slicing it up, I topped with the rest of the leftover coleslaw and some chopped fresh cilantro. I have seen enough BBQ recipes where you put slaw on the bun to think that this might be a good idea – and it was! The sweetness and coolness of the slaw contrasted perfectly with the spicy, smoky chicken – I’d definitely do this again!

Just to recap the birthday menu, since it was broken down over 3 posts, I thought I’d bring it all together for you here:

HG Guacamole with veggies and Guiltless Gourmet Chips

HG Crockpot Pulled Chicken on Buns

My Mom’s Potato Salad

Red Coleslaw with Grapes

Baked Beans with Swiss Chard

Chocolate Cappuccino Cake

Try some (or all of it)….it was really good!


Full of Beans

5 Jun


Have you ever heard that expression before? I remember my mom using it growing up to say that me or my sister were kind of silly/crazy. Although I would describe myself as being “full of beans” in the crazy sense quite often, that’s not what this post is about, it’s more in the literal sense. Winking smile The beans in question? Garbanzos (aka chickpeas). I am a BIG fan of canned beans. For 99 cents (if you buy no-name), you can get 4 servings of a protein and fibre-packed food that is both tasty and extremely versatile. Win, win! So that’s one layer of the post title. The second meaning comes later on, keep reading and scrolling.

I love healthy eating/cooking blogs (and some not-so”healthy” ones too). Seriously, I don’t know what I did without them. While I come up with many of my own meal ideas, I love getting ideas and inspirations from all you other brilliant bloggers out there. I sometimes think there’s not enough hours in the day to read all the blogs I love! So when I saw this recipe over at Oh She Glows, it immediately piqued my interest. Fresh herbs? Chickpeas? Lime and cumin? I’m in. But the funny thing is, Angela adapted it from another blog, then I adapted it from her. Follow the link for the original recipe, below is what I did.


Cilantro (and other herb) Lime Chickpea Salad (adapted from Angela who adapted it from Heather)

Makes 2 small or one large serving

1/2 can chickpeas, drained

Fresh cilantro, parsley and chives (I didn’t think I had enough cilantro yet in my garden to go ALL cilantro. Also, the original recipe called for fresh spinach, which I didn’t have, so I upped the herb-age).

About 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped red onion

One clove garlic, chopped

Small spoonful of Dijon mustard

Generous pinch of cumin

Lime juice

Fat-free Italian recipe (original called for olive oil, I swapped it out for this)

Splenda (swapped in for sugar in original)

Salt and Pepper to tasteIMG_1623

Process all ingredients except chickpeas, onion, salt and pepper in food processor (action shot). 

Combine the dressing with the chickpeas and onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit in the fridge for a bit if you have time to develop flavours.

I used this in lunches 2 days in a row last week as part of a larger, “enhanced” salad (I know, more salads, but I warned you)!








Salad one (on the left) was a basic Romaine and fresh veggie salad (plus more fresh herb-age) with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side, which I poured over right before serving. Good, but not WOW.

Salad 2 on the other hand, really hit the spot. This one was a “combine-with-dressing the night before and let sit” kinda deal. Lightly cooked asparagus, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, fresh parsley and chives, broccoli slaw mix, red pepper. Dressing: the “juice” from the chickpea salad, a bit more lime juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon, fat-free Italian, salt and pepper. Mmmmm! Those flavours combined and marinated to absolute perfection. This was Friday’s lunch, where I was supplying at a track and field day, so my multiple ice packs kept this nice and chilled in my bag and I was SO ready to dive in at lunch time!

My only “downside” to this chickpea salad was that I wish that I had enjoyed it on its own/in something that allowed its flavours to stand out a bit more. I liked what I did, but I don’t feel like I really let the chickpea salad take the starring role that it could have.IMG_1627

Now, if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I DO NOT like letting food go to waste. You also might know (although I haven’t mentioned it as often) that I have sort of a fear/paranoia about slimy canned beans. So, once a can is opened (sometimes even before), I am thinking about how I can incorporate the rest of the can into upcoming meals. Case in point: the aforementioned garbanzos.

I had seen the idea for the salad and wanted to make it, but didn’t want to make the whole one-can batch as originally posted. What to do with the other half of the can? Make a seriously delicious veggie-packed vegetarian (and even vegan if you leave off the cheese)-friendly pasta dish, naturally! Here’s how it all went down (this recipe serves 2). IMG_1628

I sautéed chopped asparagus, mushrooms, onion and garlic in 2 tsp olive oil in a non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, then added the remaining little bit of a can of tomatoes that was in the fridge. I reduced heat, added salt and pepper, then let it simmer away.


Meanwhile, I cooked 4 ounces whole wheat macaroni. Towards the end of the sauce cooking, I added in a cup of chickpeas (the other half of the can), and generous portions of fresh oregano, basil and parsley. *Fresh herb tip: add fresh herbs right at the end of cooking time. While you can add dried herbs in early, fresh herbs have a more delicate flavour, which can be cooked out if you add too early.IMG_1630

Add the cooked pasta, and a bit of that starchy cooking water (thanks Rachael Ray), crank the heat back up, and simmer for just a few more minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.





Spoon into bowls to serve, and top with crumbled goat cheese (unless you’re going vegan). Mmmm….so good! Fibre-packed and full of veggies. Healthy, fresh, and incredibly delicious. I believe my mom’s words after eating this were: “that was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t know it yet.” Smile

Now for the second meaning of this title….










Know what these are? If you guessed the bean plants in my garden, you’re right! This is what they look like 1.5 weeks after the seeds are planted. One is yellow, one green (can you guess which is which Smile with tongue out?). I just love planting things and watching them grow! Even better when I know I will get to eat them eventually!

What is your favourite bean dish (using canned beans or otherwise)?