Posted in Food, Home, Recipes, Seasons, Winter

Simple Dinner For a Cold Night

The wind’s been howling all day, sounding fierce and rattling windows. The snow has that windswept look to it. It’s supposed to go down into the single digits tonight. The house is cold.

It was almost spring a day or two ago. It was so warm I felt overheated in my winter coat. Now we’re back to freezing cold, blustering winds and snow. They’re expecting rain and temperatures in the 50s by this weekend. Go figure.

On nights like this I like to turn to my dinnertime staple: beans and greens. They’ve become our comfort food. It’s incredibly easy to make: saute kale or any other bitter or just-bitter green with four cloves of chopped garlic. Tonight it was kale, but in the past it’s been kale and Swiss chard or kale and spinach. You could do kale and collard greens, too. That would be good.

Step two: open two cans of white beans. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. I didn’t have any white beans tonight, so I substituted black beans instead. It tasted just as good. Combine the two when the kale is ready. I usually saute it for about 20 minutes or so. It’s up to you. Give the beans a few minutes in the pan to warm up and it’s ready.

beans and greens
Soon We’ll Be Dinner

I usually serve the greens dish over sliced and sauteed polenta. You can buy it in logs, as I did here. You can also make it from scratch, although that’s a lot of work and some very messy pans to clean up afterward.

This time I also decided to add some Brussels sprouts on the side. They were quite tasty, actually. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Both the black beans and the sprouts worked just fine.

After about 45 minutes of prep and cooking, dinner was ready. It was tasty, very filling and nicely textured. I loved the mouth feel.

beans and sprouts
Beans and Greens Over Polenta. Sprouts on the Side.

It looks a little weird with the black beans, but the end result was just as good. Try it and see what you think!

Posted in Food, Recipes

Cold. Snow. Lasagne. Yes.

I like to eat something warming and hearty on a weekend like this. Even with a empty-ish pantry, I was able to put together a very nice looking and smelling Quick Lasagne With Bean Sauce. The recipe comes from Jane Brody‘s Good Food Book. This book was published back in the day when high carbohydrate meals were all the rage. Yes, this has noodles and it’s delicious, thank you very much.

Jane Brody Cookbook

There ya go. Here’s the recipe:

Quick Lasagne with Bean Sauce

Bean Sauce:
1 tbs oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups cooked or canned red or pink beans
4 cups tomato puree or 2 cups tomato sauce and 2 cups puree
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Remaining Ingredients:
3/4 lb uncooked lasagne noodles
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella, thinly sliced or grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Prepare the sauce by heating the oil and sauteeing the garlic and onions for a minute. Add the beans and the tomatoes, oregano, basil and salt/pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

To assemble the lasagne, take a 9 x 13″ baking pan and spread a thin layer of the sauce over the bottom. Arrange the noodles over the top, so that they don’t overlap. Cover the noodle layer with half the ricotta and half the mozzarella. Then add about a third of the remaining sauce. Repeat with another layer of noodles, adding the rest of the ricotta and mozzarella and another third of the sauce. Layer the top, add the remaining sauce and sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese.

Cover the baking pan with a tight layer of aluminum foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. If the mixture still has too much liquid, uncover the pan and bake another 10 – 15 minutes.

Pan of Lasagne Sauce
Pan of Lasagne Sauce
Lasagne Layer One
Lasagne Layer One

It smells wonderful, even at this stage! Just keep going until you’re out of ingredients.

Lasagne Layer Two With Sauce
Lasagne Layer Two With Sauce

When it’s ready, toss it in the oven and forget about it for an hour.

All Done and Ready for the Oven
All Done and Ready for the Oven

Take it out of the oven and you’re done!

Let's Eat!
Let’s Eat!