Mediterranean Veggies & Shells Salad

Mediterranean Veggies & Shells Salad

  • 1 c uncooked medium pasta shells
  • 1/2 c kidney beans
  • 1/2 c garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 c navy beans
  • 1 c Haricots Verts (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 c minced onion
  • 1 c chopped bell peppers (I used yellow, orange & red)
  • 1 small chopped jalapeño
  • 1/2 c chopped celery
  • 2 T capers
  • 3-4 T chopped fresh herbs – I used parsley, cilantro & thyme

Boil pasta in 6 cups heavily salted water for twelve minutes. Place the Haricots Verts in a colander. When the pasta is cooked pour into the colander with the beans, draining the pasta while blanching the beans. Set aside to cool. Place the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the pasta and Haricots Verts to the bowl and combine. Pour the dressing (recipe below) over the mixture and stir to combine. Eat now or refrigerate for later.

Dressing:

  • 3-4 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

I mixed this together in a Mason jar, shaking it vigorously before lightly dressing the salad.

Depending on what you have on hand, you could substitute ingredients for some of these:

  • cucumber
  • chopped carrots
  • green olives
  • basil, mint, oregano or chives

So go crazy and create your own combination- it’s all about having fun while making delicious, healthy food right?

Kidney Bean Stew

I’m sharing a family recipe from my paternal Grandma.  A favorite of mine, it’s very simple and I’ve changed it only slightly over the years as it was damn near perfect to begin with.  I lost this Grandma just after my 12th birthday, before I’d ever cooked it or discovered my love of cooking.  If I had my best guess, this recipe was born out of the Great Depression when meat was expensive and stretching a dollar was critical.  All I know it that the crunch of the celery, the sweetness of the onion, the creaminess of the beans, the salty crispness of the bacon and the spice and heat of the pepper and pepper flakes makes this a delicious and treasured family recipe.

KIDNEY BEAN STEW      

Serves 2-4

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1 1/2 – 2 c chopped celery

1 1/2 – 2 c chopped sweet white onion

1 c dark red kidney beans – rinsed & drained

red pepper flakes – to taste

coarse ground black pepper – to taste

1 lb cooked, crispy bacon – reserve 2 T bacon drippings in the pan you’ll use to assemble this meal

Using a deep frying pan, start by cooking your bacon until crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

With the reserved bacon drippings, saute your celery, onion, red pepper flakes and black pepper until the celery becomes brighter green and the onions are just starting to soften.

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Add the kidney beans and stir together, until they are heated through.

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After you dish up this mixture, crumble crisp bacon over the top and dig in!

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For more of my family recipes (think comfort food) go to the RECIPE menu above but I’ll make it easy and link you to another favorite by clicking here:

https://spencesgirl.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/grandmas-corn-beef-casserole/

Five Bean Salad, my way

Five Bean Salad
Five Bean Salad, my way

I LOVE FIVE BEAN SALAD.  So great to take to a potluck or picnic (no mayo), it’s a favorite of ours to have as our salad or veggie side with any number of meals year round. It makes a lot and only gets better each subsequent day.  It keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge but never  lasts that long!  I use my mom’s recipe but tweak it in my own way to give it a bit more pizazz!

Five Bean Salad, my way

serves 15                      Weight Watchers Smart Points 7

1 can garbanzo beans (or chickpeas as they’re also known)
1 can great northern or navy beans
1 can cut green beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can wax beans
2 large shallots finely minced or red onion finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4-5 finely chopped peppadew peppers (these come in a jar) or substitute 1 tablespoon chopped pimento
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeños (first removing ribs and seeds) or green pepper if you can’t take the heat.

Drain and rinse beans and put into a large serving bowl. Add the shallots, peppadew peppers and jalapeño, stir taking care not to break the beans.

Marinade:

3/4 c red wine or champagne vinegar
3/4 c vegetable oil (canola or olive oil)
1/2 c sugar
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Mix this together well – making sure that the sugar has “melted” into the marinade. Pour over the beans and stir together. Refrigerate. Stir every 30-60 minutes to further distribute the marinade. This is best made at least 8 hours prior to serving.