Posts Tagged 'Easy Recipes'

Southwestern Two-Bean Salad

As promised, here’s the recipe for Southwestern Two-Bean Salad that completes my grilling menu from the other weekend.  I chose this salad to go with the Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken and the Hill Country Coleslaw because it’s hearty, generally crowd-pleasing, and it contained the one ingredient that tied all three dishes together: cilantro.  Its fresh summer flavor would make it right at home on just about any picnic or barbecue buffet, though; I’ve served it with pulled pork sandwiches and burgers as well.

Southwestern Two-Bean Salad
Serves 12

Dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Salad ingredients:
2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (1/4 – 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro

Method:
For the dressing, whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, cumin, oregano, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.  Set aside.

For the salad, drain and rinse beans.  Place beans in a large bowl.  Drain corn. Chop bell pepper and add corn and bell pepper to beans.

Chop onion and jalapeno peppers.  Snip cilantro using kitchen shears (or chop it). Add onion, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and dressing to bean mixture.  Mix gently. Cover and refrigerate 2 – 3 hours to allow flavors to blend.

Source: Pampered Chef’s Casual Cooking

Southwestern Two-Bean Salad

I just love this salad.  It’s light and fresh, and I like the way the tender texture of the beans contrasts with the crunch of the peppers and the corn.  Plus, it’s inexpensive to make, it keeps wonderfully, and it adapts well for a variety of menus. Give it a try!

TIPS:  Since it’s summer and fresh corn is readily available, I substituted fresh corn for the canned.  I cut the kernels off of two cobs, placed the corn in a colander, poured boiling water over it, and drained it before adding it to the salad.

Also, since my mom recently fell victim to “jalapeno eyes,” a note about working with jalapenos: After handling jalapenos, always (!) make sure you wash your hands (or wear gloves).  If you have jalapeno oil on your hands and you touch your skin (or heaven forbid, your eyes), it will burn.  I accidentally touched the corner of my mouth recently with jalapeno hands, and while it wasn’t excruciating, I could definitely feel the heat.  If you’re generally cautious about spicy food, though, don’t let this scare you out of using jalapenos in the salad.  Removing the seeds and membranes tones them down considerably.  I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food, and I could barely taste them.

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All-American Baked Potatoes

Get ready, ye who fear the kitchen… It rarely gets easier (and yummier) than this.

For me, baked potatoes invariably taste better when I eat out. Why? Because they’re BAKED. I grew up on microwaved potatoes, which make complete sense when time is at a premium. Oven time is essential, though, for soft, evenly cooked potatoes. Crispy skins are an added bonus.

Last night, I made All-American Baked Potatoes from the September 2007 issue of Everyday Food. I started by scrubbing my potatoes, pricking them all over with a fork, and then rubbing them with olive oil and salt. (I like Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt best.) While they baked for an hour at 400 F, I cubed a quarter pound of ham (2 minutes), thawed a cup of frozen peas (2 minutes), and conned Dr. O into shredding the Monterey Jack (0 minutes).

When the hour was up, I cut a cross into each potato, pushed the sides together, and topped them off:

all_american_baked_potato2.jpg

Holy smokes, these potatoes were good. Add a side salad, and dinner is done. The recipe in the magazine actually has three other flavor combinations – Scandinavian, Tex-Mex, and Italian – and they all look fantastic. Let me know if you try one!

TIPS: Whenever I need to cube ham for a recipe, I ask the person at the deli counter at my grocery store to cut one thick slice, shooting for the amount (weight) of meat I need. If you tell them you plan to cube it, they usually get the idea.

Recipe link: All-American Baked Potatoes




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