Bean and Corn Vegetarian Casserole

This dish was originally going to be called Refrigerator Quesadilla because I thought I’d top ten 6-inch corn tortillas with whatever I had in my refrigerator and put them in the oven and that’s it. But, I had food in the pantry and half-empty sauces in the fridge I wanted to use because their respective expiration dates were nearing. I don’t like wasting food, but at the same time, I don’t want to store unopened, expired food in my pantry indefinitely either.

To start, chop 1 large onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Setting them aside, take out a medium or large skillet and over medium heat, put in enough olive oil to sauté the chopped onion and garlic. After a minute, pour in a 26.46- oz. carton of chopped tomatoes. After a minute, add a 16-oz. carton of refried black beans. Turn down the heat a little so they don’t stick to the skillet and keep mixing them all together. After 2 minutes, add 16 ozs. of frozen corn, and 1 cup of brown mixed with wild rice (these were my leftovers). If you have other leftovers in your fridge that you think would go well with a Mexican-themed dish, then add those in now. Stir them altogether for about 3 minutes and then turn off the stove and set the skillet aside.

Use an 8” x 13” Pyrex dish and spray inside with olive oil. I had 1 jar of black bean and corn salsa, so I spooned some of that into the Pyrex dish, just enough to cover the bottom. Then take five of the 6-inch corn tortillas and lay one in each corner, placing two in the middle. You can layer these any way you like, as you can see by now what will be happening.

Before layering the mixture from the skillet into the Pyrex dish, take out a 16-oz. block of white cheddar cheese and grate all of it, setting this aside as one of the layers.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Now the layering begins. Spread half of the mixture from the skillet over the tortillas, sprinkling some of the cheddar cheese over it and saving the last layer for an all-cheese topping.  Next, layer the last five 6-inch corn tortillas and spread the remaining jar of salsa over the tortillas. Follow this up with the remaining skillet contents, spreading them all around as evenly as you can. The last layer is the rest of the shredded cheese.

 Once you’re done and the oven is preheated, put the uncovered dish inside and time for 20 minutes. You can turn off the oven when the cheese is melted. Leave it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Then, take it out and let it set for another 5 minutes. Complement the dish with a bowl of salad greens.

¡Comér bién!

Yellow Split Pea Soup w/Black Beans & Vegetables

pea soup
Here’s a hearty soup for when you want something filling. For this delicious blend of legumes and vegetables, you can soak the black beans overnight. Then boil them the next day according to the instructions on the bag, or you can speed up the process considerably by using a pressure cooker. As a last resort, you can always use a can or two of black beans.
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Chicken Taco Casserole

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This is a complete meal with protein, vegetables, and grains. The beans used here may be canned or dry. Dry beans would require an overnight soaking. You can use a 16-oz. bag of black beans or pinto beans. Before rinsing the beans, pick off any particles that don’t belong there, such as small pebbles. Cover the beans with cold water and let soak overnight.

The next day, the beans will need to be cooked first. The fastest way to do so is to use a pressure cooker, which is a specially sealed pot that cooks food quickly due to the physics of steam and pressure. Without getting technical or sidetracked here, I suggest you Google pressure cooker to learn more about it. It is an excellent way to make certain dishes quickly. For example, if you wish to make beef stew and use a cheap cut of meat, you can easily and quickly tenderize the meat by using a pressure cooker. Also, the pressure cooker makes excellent shredded pork or chicken. Continue reading