I’m simply adding this preface to an old post to replace the original introduction. This past blogless year I was diagnosed with early heart disease. Things are okay, but I need to take some steps to stay okay. One of these, much dreaded, was reduce the salt in my diet. I’m slowly learning to adapt favorite recipes, and have been blessed by the recent introduction of get this — LOW-SODIUM OLIVES!!!!!!
For me this is the equivalent of winning the Publishers’ Clearinghouse contest. Life is sweet again. So, I’ve been encouraged to work on a few of my favorites. Simple fixes like tons of dill in tuna salad or green beans, lemon on nearly everything, and more cumin in lentil soup have become the norm, but a few items have eluded me. One is the red beans and yellow rice dishes I developed a few years ago. Tonight I’m using a stray can of red beans that’s moderate in sodium (320mg per serving), but I’ll be making a batch salt-free next time. I’m also stretching the premixed rice by adding a cup of uncooked plain rice in with a cup of the rice mix. More garlic and some sodium-free diced tomatoes with the juice should cover the needed changes.
The savory update will have to wait til this weekend, when I’ll shop and get more olives!
The Original Recipes
The emphasis this week has been on convenient, healthy, frugal foods. I’ve been eating variations on yellow rice and beans all week.
I cooked a pound of red beans in the slow cooker overnight. Then cooked a family-sized package of yellow rice (makes about 8 cups). I took about 4 cups of the beans and packaged them in Ziplock baggies in the freezer, and refrigerated the balance in a covered bowl. The rice was also refrigerated.
Meal 1: heat medium skillet, add splash of olive oil. While oil heats, quickly dice zucchini and mushrooms. Pulverize 1 clove garlic in press or under knife, add to veggies sauteing along with parsley and a little oregano and thyme. Stir in 1 cup yellow rice and 1/2-2/3 cup beans. Mix until ingredients are hot. If they are too dry, drizzle broth, tomato or V-8 juice in while stirring to proper texture. Season with grated cheese or a splash of lemon juice.
Meal 2: Microwave lunch: Put 1 cup rice and 1/2 cup beans in a microwaveable container. Grate directly into container: 1 small zucchini, 1 small carrot (or half each larger ones). Again, splash generously with V-8 or other tomato based juice or soup. Refrigerate until lunch. Heat, add grated cheese and enjoy.
Meal 3: Savory version. Dice Zucchini, saute with minced garlic in olive oil. Saute yellow rice and beans (same 2:1 proportion as other recipes). with the squash. In food processor, roughly chop a large handful of green stuffed olives, a can of drained artichoke hearts, some capers, a few black olives, a clove of garlic and fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, or rosemary might work well). Lightly pulse these ingredients along with a handful of red beans. top sautéed beans and rice with a dollop of this tapenade and enjoy.
Whatever combination of savory ingredients (add almonds, diced tomatoes, or the classic anchovies, for example) can be handled this same way for a wide array of flavors, all based on simple red beans and yellow rice.