Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Corn & Black Bean Chili with Cornbread

I thought it was supposed to be Spring?  The snow just keeps coming here in cold Ontario and I am so over it - dreaming of days relaxing on the patio sipping a cold bevvie.  Instead of making yet another soup for dinner (to stay warm) I decided to go with a corn and black bean chili. It is so easy to make and takes very little energy to whip this up after a day at work.  The cornbread is super easy to and takes only 20 minutes in the oven.

Ingredients & Preparation: Serves 6
  • 1 large can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 10-12 large white mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • Old cheddar cheese for garnish, shredded
  • Cilantro for garnish, chopped
  • 4-5 tbsp of chili powder or to taste
  • 1 cup of tomato juice
In a large pot, add olive oil and onion. Cook until translucent and then add the mushrooms. Cook another 5 minutes and add the corn.  Cook for about 7 minutes and then add in the black beans, tomatoes, chili powder and tomato juice.  Cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes until all the flavours are incorporated. While the chili is simmering, preheat the oven to 400F for the cornbread.

Cornbread Ingredients & Preparation: Serves 6
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 400F.  Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Then combine the remaining ingredients in another bowl. Grease a 9"x9" baking dish (I prefer glass). Mix ingredients from both bowls together for about 15 seconds until dry ingredients are moistened but don't over mix.  Pour batter into the pan and bake immediately.  Should take about 20-22 minutes in the oven until the top is golden brown. Insert a toothpick in the centre to make sure it is done (if it is, the toothpick will come out clean). Serve with the chili, cheddar cheese and cilantro.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekly Meal Planning

What will you be eating this week? I'd love to get some new ideas and inspiration...

Here is what we are eating this week (or close to it):

MondayCorn & Black Bean Chili with Cornbread

Tuesday - Pea & Mint Soup with Lemon Cream and Gouda & Prosciutto Paninis

Wednesday - Shrimp, Olive & Artichoke Salad with Chickpeas

Thursday - Toad in the Hole 

Friday - Grilled Calamari (Greek Style) with Vegetable Kebabs

Saturday -Out for dinner

Sunday - Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Homemade Maple Baked Beans

As the daughter of British parents I have had my share of beans on toast.  I do love a can of Heinz Vegetarian Beans in Tomato Sauce but I thought I would give my own a try.  I used a recipe from Michael Smith's The Best of Chef at Home and adapted it slightly.

The beans were very good, the texture just right and the taste not too sweet.  Definitely more of a Quebec-style baked bean (Feves au Lard) with the maple syrup giving a nice sweetness to them vs the more common Boston-style baked beans made with molasses and brown sugar. Great for any meal - dinner, breakfast or brunch!

Ingredients & Preparation: Serves 4-6

  • 2 cups of dried white or navy beans, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of real maple syrup
  • 6 slices of thick cut fried bacon, diced, fat reserved (can omit if vegetarian)
  • 1 or 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 tbsp powdered ginger
  • 2 tbsp of any mustard (I used Dijon)
  • a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of any vinegar just before serving
Preheat your oven to 325F.  Strain the beans from their soaking water and rinse well.  Put the beans in a sauce pan and cover with cold water. bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until beans are tender - about 45 minutes to an hour. Cook the bacon and set aside.

Drain the beans and put them in a 4 litre oven proof baking dish with a tight fitting lid.  Add the maple syrup, bacon, onions, ginger, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper. Add as much or little of the reserved bacon fat as you care to. Stir well.

Cover and place in the oven and bake until the beans have absorbed most of the liquid and are tender.  My beans took about 3.5 hours.  You can cook them longer but I would turn the heat down to 300F. Stir in the vinegar just before serving.