Wednesday, January 26, 2011

These are a great easy side dish when you don't know how long the main course is going to take to cook. The green beans are trimmed; the red bell peppers are cut into strips. Boil the green beans for three minutes, rinse with cold water and set them aside. This will take about 15-20 minutes if you are slow at prepping. 


Then, dab 2 Tbsp of canola oil into a skillet. Turn the burner to medium-high, wait for the oil to heat up and throw in the peppers and green beans. Sprinkle them with a little soy sauce. After two minutes, turn off the heat, add 2 Tbsp sesame oil, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top (not pictured) and serve. Voila! 

Martha Stewart's Mediterranean Tuna Noodle Casserole

When my hubby had a sore throat, this was a real treat because it was smooth going down and easy to swallow. I thought it was a little bland, but some freshly ground pepper gave it a nice little kick.


1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound wide egg noodles
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 cans (6 ounces each) tuna in olive oil, drained
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and thickly sliced
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil two 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until 2 minutes short of al dente; drain, and return to pot.
Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer.
Remove from heat; add mixture to noodles in pot, along with tuna, artichoke hearts, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Divide between prepared baking dishes, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

To Freeze: Prepare through step 3; cool to room temperature. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and freeze up to three months.

To Bake from Frozen: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, covered with foil, until center is warm, about 2 hours. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes more.

To Bake from Thawed: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake, covered with foil, until center is warm, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes more.

Read more at Mediterranean Tuna-Noodle Casserole - Martha Stewart Recipes

Regarding Beans and their various forms...

I am so conflicted about the issue of beans. Canned beans are so easy and convenient, but they are more expensive and full of salt. Dried beans are supposed to be so healthy for you, but every time I cook them it take more than three hours. According to what's cooking america, "The best way [to soak beans] is to put them in cold water; bring them gently to a boil and then with saucepan off the heat, allow them to remain in the water for 1 to 2 hours only." The package had similar directions, but after an hour of soaking, and another hour of simmering, I still had crunchy beans. I had to basically boil the beans for an hour to get any effect at all, adding cups of water at a time. I think I will continue to use both dry and canned and try to make up my own directions for  soaking beans without leaving them overnight....


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 -3 cloves garlic
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans black beans
2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped or finely chopped (whatever you prefer)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins

1. Saute onion in olive oil.
2. When onion becomes translucent, add cumin.
3. Cook 30 seconds, then add garlic and cook for another 30 to 60 seconds.
4. Add 1 can black beans and 2 cups vegetable broth.
5. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
6. Turn off heat.
7. Using a hand blender, blend the ingredients in the pot, or transfer to a blender.
8. Add the second can of beans to the pot along with blended ingredients and bring to a simmer.
9. Serve soup with bowls of red onion and cilantro for garnish.
10. I add a bit of cilantro to the pot, too.
11. Can be doubled or frozen.

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