Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Dinner

I've been rolling around the idea of incorporating cooking/recipes into this blog. I feel like I spend half of my life in the kitchen. And since this blog is about my life...

As y'all know, I've got two wild maniacs (MM & Li), not to mention the Big Man, who require feeding everyday. Last year when I started living healthier, I started cooking healthier. But here's the rub, we're Cajun. And most Cajun people will tell you the reason they don't eat better is because of taste. So my goal has been to revamp the classics and add new family favs.

On tonight's menu was white beans. Both of my girls love beans.The recipe below works for all dried beans; red, white, black, etc. I usually double the recipe. Beans are even better the 2nd day and freeze great.

White Beans
2 quarts water
1 pound dried beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb of meat; turkey sausage; grilled chicken, alligator sausage
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I'm going to start by saying something controversial.  You don't have to soak your beans. I know, a lot of people are going to disagree. But you don't. Having said that, I do soak my beans. I prefer the texture of the final product with soaked beans. 

To soak your beans, pour the beans in a bowl. Cover the beans with water. Be sure to measure keep track of how much water you use.

Place the veggies (onion, bell pepper, celery) oil in a lg heavy bottom pot (cast iron or stock pot) on medium-high heat. Add the salt and pepper. Cook, stir frequently, until the onions, celery, and the bell peppers are tender.

Add the garlic and cook for about a min. Add the meat. You can use what ever meat you choose; grilled chicken breast, sausage, ham, or the traditional pickled pork.  But you have to use cooked/smoked meat or cook it separately. Tonight, I used smoked alligator sausage and browned it in a pan.

Add the remaining water, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high.

Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil. Decrease the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1.5hrs (at min) stirring every 30mins. You can continue to cook all day. The longer you cook the better the favor. Just remember to stir.

Serve with brown rice. 

This is one our family favorites (and every other Cajun family). It's healthy and everyone loves it. Hope y'all enjoy!

If you have any question/comments about this recipe, pls leave me a comment or email at megmehell at yahoo.


EricaH said...

Yay I am excited that you are incorporating recipes i love food. :) and like your girls i love beans but did you say alligator sausage???? Sounds very interesting not something I think you will find to much of out where I stay at but I am definitely gonna give this recipe a try. :)

Anne Marie said...

What a cooking post! It's like Pioneer Women blog meets Running Mom blog. Nice pics and all the info on making it.

Jill said...

I have never heard of smoked alligator sausage...for that matter, I've never heard of allegator meat!! You don't find that stuff in Colorado - we have a lot of Mexican :). It looks awesome, though. I will make it with turkey sausage and br rice...well, I will "attempt" to make it cuz I can't handle much more than grilled chicken, br rice and steamed broccoli. My kids are about ready to move out. haha. Have a great week!

Tricia said...

Thanks for sharing!

Libby said...

Ooh...sounds yummy! I haven't had alligator meat yet- but I did see some alligator jerky or meat sticks just the other day. Naturally I didn't believe it was real, but I guess it is..

Staci Dombroski said...

Seriously, that looks amazing!!! Thanks for sharing :-) I have never heard of smoked alligator sausage before?

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing! And I love beans too! And I am NOT a good cook at all but I think it even looks like something I could do. I like this recipe sharing idea of yours! (although there's no way I'm gonna find alligator in Illinois LOL)