Friday, June 11, 2010

Beans, Beans, are good for your heart...

Do you remember singing that lovely little rhyme as a child? Most kids don't eat a ton of how was it that we knew the result of eating too many beans would be excessive gas?? Guess we were just smart! ANYway, one of my all time favorite things my Mom makes is her Greek bean soup, aka Fasolada. Unfortuntely, I am not only out of the beans she uses for this dish, I also don't have a clue how to use the pressure cooker. That thing is SCARY...the way it whistles at you while it's cooking. And God forbid you try to open it "before it's time"...BOOM!!! I can see it laying unconscious on the floor of the kitchen after being whacked in the head by the metal top of the cooker. Thank you, but i'll leave the pressure cookin' up to MamaDeLuxe.

Since I'm out of greek beans, i decided to use this lovely bag of Trader Joe's 17 Bean&Barley mix.

I've had it before and it's delicious! There is a ton of variety in bean shape, size, and color AND there is a whopping 13grams of protein AND 13 grams of fiber (uh oh!) per 1/4 cup serving!! Ok, so here we go:

Step 1- Either plan ahead and soak your beans in a bowl of water overnight, OR procrastinate like me & simply rinse them in a strainer before you prep.

Step 2-Gather all your ingredients on the chopping board.

Step 3- Chop all ingredients

Step 4- Combine dry beans in a large soup pot and add 4 cups low sodium broth of choice (I use vegetable) and a small can of plain crushed tomatoes...Bring to a boil .

Step 5- Saute ALL other ingredients with a moderate amount of GOOD QUALITY extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Don't be afraid of using a good amount of olive oil. It won't harm you. Greeks have been using olive oil VERY liberally (without measuring) for hundreds of years and we are still some of the world's healthiest people.

Step 6-Combine sauteed ingredients into the pot of boiling broth + beans and lower to a simmer. Season with some S&P and cover for about an hour (until beans are soft). **Don't forget to taste & season along the way ** Also,check the liquid level may be necessary to add a bit of water just so the soup doesn't end up looking like the Sahara.
Step 7- Clean up your messy kitchen!! If you're anything like me, your kitchen will look like an explosion after you've cooked even the simplest of meals. Oh well.

Here is the final product!!

Combine with a nice salad & you've made yourself a hearty, healthy, and comforting meal.

KALI OREXI (Greek version of Bon Appetit)

What I used:
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 mushrooms
2 mini colorful bell peppers of choice
2 cloves garlic
Handful of fresh basil from the garden (a couple tsp of dried works as well)
Half a large onion
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
Eyeball amount salt & pepper
Liberal amount of Olive Oil
4 Cups low sodium Vegetable Broth (any brand)
Small can of crushed tomatoes (any brand)

xoxo- C.

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