Tuesday, April 19, 2016


This is a terrific potluck dish. It can be made ahead, is healthy, and is inexpensive. Just make sure to allow for plenty of time for the beans to soak and cook.

Championship  Beans
Serves 12

1 pound dried pinto beans

¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 jalapeño chiles, seeded, pithed, and minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Sour cream and tortilla chips

1. Rinse beans with cold water. Transfer to heavy large pot. Add enough water to cover by several inches. Let soak overnight. Drain beans. Rinse again in cold water.
2. Combine beans with water to cover by several inches in heavy large pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer until tender, adding hot water as necessary, about 1 to 3 hours. Drain beans thoroughly.
3. Rinse and dry heavy large pot used for beans and use to heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 8 minutes.
4. Stir in chiles, entire can of tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, oregano rubbed between palms of your hands, and some salt. Increase heat to high and stir until liquid mostly evaporates.
5. Stir in drained beans. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Place half of bean mixture in 3-quart casserole dish. Top with Jack cheese. Add remaining bean mixture. Top with Cheddar cheese.
7. Bake in 375°F. about 30 minutes or until heated throughout.

8. Serve sour cream and tortilla chips alongside beans.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


The jalapeños may seem an odd addition to this pasta salad that otherwise seems Greek in spirit. However, as long as the peppers are pithed and seeded completely and then minced, many consumers of the salad may not even recognize them as being jalapeños. Also, note that salad should be served at room temperature for the fullest flavor.

Pasta  Salad  With  Feta  and  Olives
Serves 6

½ cup Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons drained capers, optional
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
2 large jalapeños, seeded and pithed
3 cloves garlic
1 large lemon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
20 pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 pound farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ cup sliced green onions

1. Put salted water for pasta on the stove over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, mince parsley, capers if desired, oregano, jalapeños, and garlic.
3. Place minced ingredients together in large serving bowl. Finely grate zest of lemon into bowl. Stir.
4. Add olive oil to bowl and stir.
5. Cut lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice into bowl, straining seeds and pulp. Stir.
6. Add pasta to boiling water and return water to slow boil. Cook al dente. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.
7. Add feta cheese and olives to bowl. Stir.
8. Add drained pasta to bowl. Stir.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in green onions. Serve at room temperature.

NOTE: May be garnished with tomatoes.
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