Category Archives: Beans, Rice

Ham & Vegetable Porridge

Ham & Vegetable Porridge

Ham & Vegetable Porridge

As with a lot of our country we are experiencing an unusually cold winter. Unfortunately it’s been filled with lots of ice. So on those days that you just can’t get out of the house, let alone out of the driveway to get to the store, making porridge is a good way to bring up the mood in the house. For this porridge I used up vegetables that were on the edge of going bad and some leftover ham that I had in the freezer.


  • 1 bag of Cajun 15 Bean Soup Mix
  • 2 Fennels, white part only, sliced
  • 12 Brussels Sprouts, quartered
  • 16 Baby Carrots, cubed
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • half a yellow onion, diced
  • half a bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 5 handfuls of kale, chopped
  • 3 cups or more of ham chunks
  • 2 quarts chicken broth

First of all rinse the beans the night before you’re going to make the porridge pick any debris from them. Then soak the beans over night in a large bowl covered by water. The next day drain and rinse and add with the other ingredients to the cooking pot.

In a heavy bottom large pot combine all of the ingredients, stir in the Cajun spice packet. Heat over medium heat until it starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer slightly covered for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The porridge needs to maintain a simmer and the moisture needs a place to escape. Stir a few times during the cooking process. The porridge is finished when the bean are extremely tender and fall apart when pressure is put on them. Generally my porridge is thicker than a stew.


Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Beans, Rice, Pork, Soups and Stews, Vegetables


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Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas with a Butternut Squash Chicken Sauce

Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas with a Butternut Squash Chicken Sauce

Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas with a
Butternut Squash Chicken Sauce

While we were enjoying our “Leftover Delight” dinner of Butternut Squash & Chipotle Chicken Stew Mark said “This would be great in an enchilada type thingy.” So that’s exactly what you have here in this recipe. We absolutely enjoyed this new spin on enchiladas.


  • about 3 cups of butternut squash soup that has been combined with shredded chipotle chicken. (Both recipes you can find here on my blog) OR  just use the leftover soup as the sauce.
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • about 3 cups shredded spinach
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cups re-fried Black Beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ground black pepper
  • about 2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese

Pre-heat your oven to 350 and butter a casserole dish. You can use a non-stick spray if you want.

Mix together the spinach, parsley, tomatoes, onion, re-fried beans and garlic. Season with a bit of black pepper. Make sure your corn tortillas are warm and soft to ensure easy assembly. I microwave mine for a few minutes working with 6 at a time. Put a heaping tablespoon of the bean mixture in the middle of the tortilla and roll up. Place each one side by side in your casserole dish. Once all 12 have been assembled, spoon the butternut squash soup over them and top by sprinkling the shredded cheese. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with a non stick spray, this will keep the cheese from sticking. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve over a bed of shredded spinach and kale with a dollop of sour cream on top.

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Pork & Beans

Pork & Beans

Pork & Beans

Oh how my son loved pork & beans growing up, and still does today. Back then I would open a can of baked beans, slice up some hot dogs and call it done. Things change over the years and the desire to cook from scratch kicked in. Well, I also take the time to do so. Here’s my recipe for Pork & Beans. I hope you all will enjoy them as much as we do.

Ingredients:     yields 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 pound bag of Navy/White beans
  • 1/2 pound of bacon, diced
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 onion, diced, divided use
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 to 3 German Hot Dogs, cubed (mine are from Dewigs Meats in Haubstadt)
  • 1 cup hot water (for de-glazing)
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup mustard, just regular ole mustard
  • 2 TB Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

DSC_1307 (2)Pick through the dried beans looking for rocks and debris, discard along with any discolored beans. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with lots of water. Let them sit overnight on your counter to soak.

The next day drain and rinse the beans, place in a large pot, add water until it rises about 1/2-inch over the beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour or so until the beans are soft and mush easily between your fingers.

DSC_1306 (2)Over medium-high, heat a dutch oven or heavy pot that can be covered and go from the stove to the oven. Add the Olive Oil and diced bacon. Fry the bacon until it just starts to brown then remove them from the pot and set aside. Add the diced onion and celery, reserving the additional half of onion for later use. Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onions until they have browned, remove these from the pot. Now add the diced German Hot Dogs and cook these until they have just started to toast. Return the bacon, onion and celery back into the pot and add the 1 cup of hot water. Using a wire whisk scrap the bottom of the pot to loosen all of those wonderful brown flavor packed bits. De-glazing the pot is essential for developing flavor for the beans.

Preheat your oven to 350. Ladle in the simmered beans including the water they are in. Stir in the salt, molasses, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce until everything is mixed well. Cover you pot and bake for 2 hours, until the beans have absorbed all of the liquid. Just before serving stir in the Cider Vinegar.

I promise there is nothing better than homemade Pork & Beans and your kitchen will smell so wonderful while it’s baking.

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Black Bean & Carnitas Nachos



Here’s my stab at recreating the nachos I found at “The Rum House” in New Orleans. Try it with friends and enjoy.


  • freshly fried corn tortillas chips. see my recipe under “Corn Tortilla Chips”
  • Black Beans see my recipes under “Crockpot Beer Black Beans”
  • shredded pork, see my recipe under “Crockpot Pork Carnitas”
  • “Cilantro Jalapeno Crema”, see my recipe
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Red Onion, diced

Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a baking dish with pan spray.

Put a heaping layer of fried corn tortilla chips, then sprinkle the shredded pork carnitas and black beans over the chips. Drizzle the Cilantro Jalapeno Crema, then add the crumbled Queso Fresco and shredded Cheddar Cheese over all of that. Sprinkle with the half of the diced red onion then start the process all over.

Once completely assembled bake until the cheese is melted and starts to bubble a bit.

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Suggestions: Take this recipe one step further and serve with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole, slice jalapenos and diced tomatoes.

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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Beans, Rice, Casseroles, Pork, Snacks


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Crockpot Beer Black Beans

Black Beans

Black Beans

Here’s an easy way to cook your black beans. They are perfect eaten all alone and absolutely wonderful in nachos.


  • 8 oz dried Black Beans, that’s about half a bag. Stones picked out, rinsed and soaked in water overnight. Drain before putting in the crockpot.
  • half a good-sized onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • half a jalapeno, minced
  • 1 heaping TB Chicken Base
  • 1 bottle of Beer, 12 ounces
  • 2 cups water.

Place all the ingredients in your crockpot, stir well. Cook on high for 2 hours, then reduce the heat to low and cook the rest of the day. (At least a total of 7 hours). Season with salt and pepper if needed before serving. They are ready to eat when they are soft and fully cooked. Try using them in Nachos, burritos or all on their own. These beans are also great for re-fried beans.


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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Beans, Rice


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Ham & 15 Bean Soup

15 Bean Soup

15 Bean Soup

Our winter has been mild this year, but I don’t need snow and the temperature to be in the teens for inspiration to make a nice crockpot full of Ham & 15 Bean Soup. Just a little rain can inspire me.

Ingredients: Makes about 16 servings.

  • 3 to 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 summer, yellow squash, sliced or chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tb chicken base (I use Das Dutchman Essenhaus)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 3 to 4 thick ham slices or ham steaks, cubed
  • 1 bag of 15 bean soup, put the seasoning packet aside
  • salt for seasoning

DSC_0792In a large crockpot combine all of the ingredients and pour in enough water to cover all of them well. Cook on high for 6 hours or more. Once the beans are very soft, season with salt if needed or add in the seasoning packet if you would like. I generally just throw the packet away.

This recipe makes a lot of soup, but it freezes great for future cold days.


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Homemade Chili in a Crock Pot

Homemade Scratch Chili

Homemade Scratch Chili

I make “Texas Chili” from scratch, but why don’t I make regular Chili from scratch? People love my chili, but generally I throw cans of this, cans of that and a package of seasoning together with some browned meat. Not this time. This time I made a Chili while developing it’s made from scratch recipe. A little bit more work, but it was well worth it.

Ingredients:  yields 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 pound dry Kidney Beans
  • 6 dried Chilies, that’s 2 Pasillas, 2 New Mexicos, and 2 Ancho, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, roasted
  • DSC_03073 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB Mexican Oregano, ground
  • 1 TB Cocoa Powder, sweetened
  • 2 TB chicken base
  • 2 1/3 cups chile water, divided use, made within the recipe
  • a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease or salted butter
  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 to 4 fresh tomatoes, peeled & chopped

The night before rinse the kidney beans and pick out any stones, debris and mis-colored beans. Place the beans in a very large bowl and cover with water, at least 2 inches above the beans. The more water the better. Let this sit overnight.

DSC_2537The next morning, place the dried chiles, stems and seeds removed in a heavy bottom saucepan, cover with water and a lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Remove the softened chilies, reserve the chile water as you will need it. Using a butter knife gently scrap the chile flesh from the skin. Discard the to skins and put the flesh in a food processor.

DSC_0295Roast the garlic cloves in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until they are soft and the outer skin is blackened in places. This takes about 10 minutes. Cool, peel and put in the food processor.

Now add to the food processor the chipotle peppers with the adobe sauce they came in, cumin, black pepper, salt, Mexican Oregano, Cocoa Powder, chicken base and 1 cup of the chile water. Process until well blended and set this chili sauce aside.

Melt the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add some of the beef cubes, but don’t overcrowd the pan, lightly brown on all sides. You may need to brown in batches. Place the browned beef in the crockpot. Continue on with browning the ground beef and add this to the crockpot also.

DSC_0299When you are finished browning all of the beef, reduce the heat to medium and cool the skillet slightly. Add the onions and saute these until they just start to soften. Add these to the crockpot also.

Now drain your pinto beans and add them along with the chili sauce and the remaining chili water to the crockpot. Stir the entire mixture until well mixed. Top with the chopped tomatoes and cook over low for 10 to 12 hours, or high for 7 to 8 hours until the beans are completely fork soft.



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