Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beans 'n' Rice Night

We are going to lighten things up around here with some dinner dialogue. Specifically (and all "paleo" diets aside), we've been eating a lot of beans lately.  Because beans are good!  How about them white beans--Great Northern beans?  Cannellini?  My goodness, those are yummy.  Saute them in oil with some greens and garlic and pour over pasta.  Or mash them into hummus.  Make soup!
My kids love beans, too, which has encouraged me to keep the cupboard stocked with pintos, chick peas, black and white beans (I'm not a fan of the kidney bean, a result of too much exposure to yucky three-bean salad in my youth).  One of our daughters' favorite dinners is Rice 'n' Beans Night.  I wish I could recall which friend's friend inaugurated this tradition so I could give credit where it's due, but we adopted the idea ourselves, with rave reviews from the Peanut Gallery every time. 
Beans 'n' Rice Night is the perfect solution for evenings when the fridge stores are running low; for when you need to feed 'em, fast (as fast as rice cooks); for when you're tempted by take-out but want to save some cash; for when a hearty or warm meal is in order; for when you're in charge of a crowd.  Here's what you do:  cook some rice.  Warm up some beans.  I like to mix pintos with black beans and add a tablespoon of salsa and some cumin to give the beans a little more dimension.  The rest of the excitement is in the condiments.  Depending on what's available, and the extent of your planning ahead, you can top your bowl o' rice 'n' beans with shredded cheese, salsa, diced green chilis, scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, avocado, shredded lettuce, olives, crunched tortilla chips (or serve with warm tortillas). 

Easy, peasy, crowd pleasy!

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