Black Beans

This is one of our most delicious bean recipes. It freezes beautifully and can be served in just about any way, including in tortillas, with rice, as a dip…

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups black beans, soaked overnight in 8 cups water and drained
8 cups more cold water
2 teaspoons chicken broth
2 teaspoons cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
16 ounces tomatoes
rice, cooked as directed
green peas, cooked and cooled
scallions, chopped
yogurt or sour cream

Directions:
Soak beans overnight.  Drain.
Combine beans, water, chicken broth, cumin, garlic, bay leaves, oregano and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 2 hours.
Add onion, green peppers, lemon juice and tomatoes.  Cook 20-30 minutes more.  Discard bay leaves.

To serve, ladle 1 cup bean mixture into bowl.  Scoop ball of rice on top.  Sprinkle with peas, scallions, tomatoes and sour cream.
This can be served in tortillas or in Mexican fried rice.
This can also be pureed and used as a dip.

Spinach Pie (or Spanakopita)

This delicious recipe makes me drool just thinking about it. Layering several sheets of pastry and then doing the “Flag fold” around the filling makes little pockets which are great as appetizers.

Ingredients:
2 cups onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 10 oz packages frozen spinach, thawed, rinsed and squeezed
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon oil
6 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not the powdery stuff), grated
3/8 cup seasoned bread crumbs, best if made from croutons (if regular bread crumbs are used, add salt and pepper)
1 pound feta cheese (can try other cheeses as well or use a blend of different cheeses), crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans or pine nuts, chopped in medium pieces, optional
1/2 cup butter
1/2 or more package phyllo dough, thawed, opened, laid flat, covered with a damp towel

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Warm a skillet.  Add 1 teaspoon butter and oil.  When melted, add onions and garlic and cook them till slightly browned.  Remove from heat.
Put eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in spinach.  Add feta, Parmesan, nuts, nutmeg and bread crumbs.  Add onions and garlic.  Mix well.
Brush each sheet of phyllo with melted butter as you layer them on the bottom of pie plate.   Use six sheets of phyllo, leaving some overlapping edge and shifting each piece to overlap a different section of the pie plate.
Put spinach mixture in the dish and mound it evenly.
Layer six more sheets of phyllo on, buttering, layering and shifting  each as you go.  Roll the overlapped edges in to form a crust.  Brush edges with butter.
Bake for about  55 minutes or until the inside is set.
Let set 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Baked Lentils With Cheese

Don’t just this by the name… Even though this is a bean dish, lentils none the less, it is delicious. We usually make a full hotel pan (around 20×12″), eat half for dinner and freeze the rest. We always serve ours with chips, salsa and sour cream, but hot sauce and cottage cheese also taste pretty good on top. Another way to serve it is with steamed cabbage.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups lentils
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomatoes, canned
2 large carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 9″ X 13″ pan.
Combine in pan: lentils, water, bay leaf, salt, pepper, spices, onion, garlic and tomatoes.
Cover tightly and bake 30 minutes.
Uncover and stir in: carrots and celery.
Cover tightly and bake 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Sprinkle cheese on top.  Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Split Pea Soup

This is one of those recipes that always sounds disgusting, but it is so delicious, warm and comforting.

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Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups dry green split peas
8 cups cold water
8 teaspoons chicken bouillon
1 meaty  ham bone (optional)
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup corn

Directions:
Rinse peas.
In a large pot combine the peas, water, chicken bouillon, ham bone, onions, pepper and marjoram.  Bring to
a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove ham bone.  Cut off meat and return it to the pot.
Add carrots, celery and corn.
Cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Season.

Italian Enchiladas

This is a delicious vegetarian casserole. The name is because it is Italian fillings in tortillas, but don’t worry, it is actually a good combination! Again, no picture, because of the way we prepared them (to be frozen) so as soon as I can, I’ll get pictures up!

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Ingredients:

1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well (I squeeze it with my hands)
1 8 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15 ounce carton ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 8 ounce packages shredded Italian cheese blend (I just used cheddar), divided
8 flour tortillas
1 15 ounce can stewed Italian tomatoes (I used regular and added more Italian spices), with liquid
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian spices (oregano, marjoram)
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
3 ounces Parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine spinach, corn, ricotta cheese, egg, meat (if used) and half of the cheese.
Lay all tortillas on counter and divide spinach mixture among them in a line down the center of each tortilla.  Roll tightly and arrange, seam-side down, in a greased 9 X 13″ pan.
Use same bowl to combine tomatoes with liquid, tomato sauce, Italian seasonings, basil, garlic and a little salt.  Spoon mixture over tortillas.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese
Bake uncovered a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.  Return to oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Can add cooked chicken.
Freezes really well.