beans, glorious beans.

need a cheap, easy, healthy meal ~ all made in a frying pan?

the answer is:  BEANS!

nothing is cheaper, quicker or healthier than stocking your pantry with beans.  don’t like beans?  if you think you don’t like beans, you’re wrong.  try them again.  here’s the formula…

1. open a can of beans, strain, and rinse.  meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan.

2. add seasonings to the olive oil, and some veggies, and let it all marry together.

3. add the beans and something liquidy, like a can of tomatoes, or water and bouillon.  or all!

4. let simmer and go do something productive, or just stare into the pan while drinking a glass of red.

5. add some spinach at the end or kale, herbs, some parmesan cheese, whatever.

this is a recipe that can be changed up in many ways.  have black beans?  use mexican spices, etc.  want indian food?  that can be arranged.  but the italian beans are my personal favorite, so far.

for instance:

italian formula:  garlic, onion, crushed red pepper, oregano, etc.  use great white northern beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, etc.  finishing touches are the obvious ~ basil, parmesan, whatever you have.

mexican formula:  garlic, onion, corn, goya seasoning, cumin, chili powder, etc.  add black beans, my fave!  finishing touches ~ lime juice, cilantro, etc.

indian formula:  garlic, onion, carrots, mustard seed, turmeric (which i hear is amazing for you), garam masala, tandoori seasoning, whatever.  if you don’t know what these things are, but are interested, just go to the indian/ethnic section and invest in a couple seasonings.  you will get a lot of use out of them and they last forever.  add garbanzo beans.  finishing touches ~ cilantro.  so good in indian food.

american country formula:  start with one piece of bacon, or turkey bacon, onion, celery, carrots.  add pinto beans or whatever.  finish with spinach or kale.

invest in a jar of “better than bouillon”, veggie stock.  this stuff is amazing.  add a teaspoon of that, and some water and let the veggies and beans do their thickening thing.

i think we all know how to dress up a can of beans, but i really hadn’t thought of doing it all in a frying pan.  i always used cans of beans in soups or salads, but i love the idea of making a hearty side, or main dish of beans, veggies and dark greens and letting them stand on their own.

i made the indian version yesterday and it was good.  not as good as the italian, though.  when i was in italy, i ordered beans whenever i could.  they were so incredible and filling and flavorful.  i know those beans were simmered all day long, by an old italian grandma who is probably using her special magical italian powers to make it amazing.  but i really got the hearty, delicious, comforting feeling when i made the dish in a pan, in 5 minutes.

good enough for me.

let me know if you try any of these, and what you think!!!

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