Thursday, November 29, 2018

Grandma's Texas Style Pinto Beans

Today I'm sharing my recipe for Texas Style Pinto Beans. Some might refer to these as Ranch Style Beans, but I grew up eating Ranch Style Beans, and these are definitely not that.

If you ask why I refer to these as "Texas Style Pinto Beans"?,  I really have no explanation.  But they do call for a jalapeño, salsa verde and chili powder, all of which, at least in my mind, make them distinctively Texan. But probably the most obvious answer is that I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas and I grew up eating these, or at least a variation of them. My grandmother loved beans and cornbread and she made it often. After she passed away I found this recipe among her things, worn with use and stained, but I could just make out the ingredients and measurements.  If I hadn't looked so bad I might have kept it, but just having her recipe was priceless to me!  Once I made them a few times to be sure I had transcribed everything right, I tossed the original.

My grandmother's recipe was good, and I made them and ate them just as she did for many years.  But then one day I came across a similar recipe that called for almost the exact ingredients with one exception, instead of a jalapeño, it called for a small can of salsa verde, and that sounded delicious!  However, being a Texan through and through and liking my food a little on the "spicy" side, I opted to not omit the jalapeño and just add the salsa as an addition, and my oh my!  I think my grandmother would agree, I have improved upon the original!

I make this recipe frequently as it pairs well with Mexican food and we eat a LOT of Mexican food in our house!  Like tonight, I am making Copycat Fuzzy's Tacos, SOOOO good, and do not omit the garlic sauce!  It is hands down what makes these stand out above the rest!  I love Fuzzy's, and they serve up some pretty decent beans as well, and those Latin Fried Potatoes!  I've been trying to replicate those for awhile now, and I've found a few recipes but they all seem to call for tomatoes, which I guess I could just omit, but I'd really just like to find the real deal, you know?

But now, on to the recipe, because that is why we're here, right?

1 pound dried pinto beans
1 can chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 fresh jalapeño pepper (chopped)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin (my grandmother used something called "Mexican Seasoning"? 
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Chili Powder (I sprinkle in enough to cover the top and add to taste, like my grandmother did)
1/2 cup salsa verde (green salsa)
Water (as needed)

Place beans in a large pot, and pour in the chicken broth. Add in the onion, jalapeno, garlic, salsa, cumin, pepper and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, Cook for 2 hours, stirring often, until beans are tender. Add water as needed.

This recipe is good all by itself topped with dab of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and a bit of cilantro.  You can also fry up a pound of hamburger meat and add it for a little more substance. Serve it with a side of corn bread, Kansas City Cornbread is my favorite, and pairs well with this.

And now I must be off, my friends, to check on my own pot of beans!

Until then,

Friday, November 23, 2018

You May Never Eat Canned Again! - Pilgrim Sauce

Growing up, I never cared for canned cranberry sauce.  But for many years that opinion was based purely upon sight.  I don't care for anything "jellied", unless it's spread on toast, and just the sight of that tubular, dark red, jiggling sauce made me dizzy! I was pretty sure it was plastic, and regardless of how "wonderful" others claimed it tasted, I wasn't taking any chances.

But then a few years ago by some twist of fate, a bit of it ended up on my plate, and in one small bite I was hooked! The only problem was, while I did love the taste, the texture still left a lot to be desired.

Enter, Pilgrim Sauce!  I came across this recipe in one of my Gooseberry Patch Christmas books shortly after that fateful encounter, and decided to give it a try.  Oh my goodness!  I could eat this stuff year round, it is just that good! It is a staple on my Thanksgiving menu now! It is so good with a slice of turkey! But my favorite way to eat it is the next day, in a turkey wrap!

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest. Once I had discovered the joy of fresh cranberry sauce, finding ways to use up the leftovers was important so that none of that goodness went to waste! The thing I love about these wraps is that I am not big on leftovers, so if I can find a way to create some variety using common ingredients, I'm all for it!  This recipe uses both leftover turkey and cranberry sauce and the combination of the almonds, celery, mayo and spinach wrap is just delicious!

I'm including the recipe for both of these today, but if you already have a tried and true recipe for cranberry sauce, or even if you like the canned stuff, just use what you have for the wraps!  Either way, you are in for a treat and it will help you use up some leftovers!

1 can frozen cranberry juice, thawed.
(I had a hard time finding this for several years, and I have used substituted cranberry juice in its place and it worked fine!)
1/3 cup sugar
12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
1/4 tsp. allspice 

Combine cranberry juice and sugar in saucepan. Boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and cook for about 7 minutes until fresh berries pop and dried berries soften. Remove from heat.  Stir in marmalade, orange juice, orange zest and allspice. Chill until ready to serve.

3 cups Turkey , cooked and shredded (or chicken)
1/2 cup almonds , whole or sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 - 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt), to taste
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (or dried cranberries)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 - 4 large tortillas

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into tortillas and roll into a wrap.

If you love cranberry sauce like I do now, you are sure to love these recipes!

Until then,