I love the feeling of having had a perfect weekend. There’s just something about rocking a weekend that makes me feel excited and energized for the coming week. For me, a perfect weekend can mean a lot of things. It’s circumstantial and varies with age and mood. For instance, a perfect weekend 3 years ago could maybe mean 1) not losing anything or doing anything embarrassing while out 2) getting laundry done and 3) finding a new brunch spot with good food and a bottomless mimosa option. Now days, a perfect weekend could mean 1) catching up on Real Housewives episodes and sleep 2) trying some new recipes and 3) fitting in a workout or two. No drama, no hangover, and plenty of Me-Time. That pretty much sums up this weekend for me. I even took a personal day on Friday and used it to get my haircut (very short) and to treat myself to a lovely deep tissue massage.
Matt went out of town this weekend for a few days of skiing with college friends in Colorado. I stayed in Brooklyn and got brunch with my girlfriends, watched lots reality TV, sweat it out a little bit and, of course, cooked…a lot. Saturday night I decided to make myself a vegetarian Mexican fiesta. The whole meal turned out delicioso. I made homemade whole-wheat tortillas and a spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese filling to stuff inside them. However, I will share those recipes later this week because right now, I’m focusing on the side dish of my meal – my scrumptious Fiesta Black Beans. Colorful, fiber-ful, and packed with veggies, these beans were both out-of-this-world-yum and super healthy. Although I used these beans as a side dish to my burritos, today (Sunday) I ate the leftover beans as my whole lunch and I was nothing short of totally satisfied. I’d say that this recipe serves four people as a side dish and two people as a main dish, a good thing to keep in mind as it works as either.
My fiesta beans recipe gets its substance from organic canned black beans, subtly sweet carrots, and spicy red onion. Then, garlic, a simple blend of spices, and fresh jalapeño add even more flavor. Now let me say that the beans are perfectly wonderful with just these ingredients. But last night I couldn’t resist adding a bit of freshly grated white cheddar to the mix for some creaminess and decadence (it’s just a ¼ cup and it’s what I call ‘balance’).
I also want to point out that this is a very versatile recipe to have in the repertoire. It’s gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly, and low in carbs. And there will definitely be times in the future when I leave the cheese out to make this an ultra healthy (and vegan) dish. I tried the beans before adding the cheese (obviously), and they were spectacular. So we’ve satisfied the restrictive diets. But I can also use this recipe in a variety of ways other than as a side dish. Try this as a filling for enchiladas, a dip for tortilla chips, or as a topping for taco salad. This is a winning dish for a winning weekend. Speaking of winning, The Oscars! Good Luck, Leo!
Fiesta Black Beans
Serves: 2 (as a main dish) to 4 (as a side dish) Start to Finish: 25 minutes
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
1 cup diced Carrot
1 cup diced Red Onion
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Jalapeño (I removed the ribs and seeds), cut into short strips
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Onion Powder
½ teaspoon Paprika
1 can Organic Black Beans, drained & rinsed (I used no-salt-added variety)
¼ cup grated Cheddar Cheese (optional)
Prep all veggies. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add carrots and onions and season with salt and pepper (I used 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper). Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add garlic and jalapeño. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup water and spices, chili powder through paprika. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and simmer until liquid has mostly evaporated, about 6-8 minutes. The longer the beans simmer, the better. Add at least 1 cup, but add more as desired and cook until a thick consistency is reached. This time I added 1½ cups of water total.
When liquid is sufficiently evaporated, remove from heat. Stir in shredded cheese (optional). Serve hot and garnish with more cheese, red onion, and diced avocado, if desired.