Hibernation Time

(am I the only one that has this running through their head now?)

With the onset of colder weather and darker days, visions of comfort food have been dancing in my head.

Since I am no longer gainfully employed, I am able to make more of an effort in the kitchen.  I have been eating better food, more consistent meals, and throwing away less rotting mulch out of my fridge.

It has been nice.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy eating something other than peanut butter.

Living on an artist’s income, I have amassed a growing collection of dishes that are favourites for this time of year.  I’ve noticed a trend in the recipes that get repeat performances.  They tend to have the following criteria in common:

Do I need more than one cooking pan/pot?
Does it require ingredients I already buy regularly?
Can I substitute ingredients without botching it up?
Do I like how it tastes?
Is it inexpensive to make?
Does it have no more than 12 ingredients?
Will it take me less than 15 minutes to prep?
Will it cook without supervision so I can go do something else for 2 hours?
Will there be leftovers?
Do the leftovers freeze well?
Am I getting enough food groups to be healthy?

Here is one of my all time fav’s:


2 cans black beans, drained and well rinsed

1 cup sliced onions

1/2 can diced tomatoes (buy the big ones on sale = cheaper, freeze half for the next time you make this dish and for gods’ sake, DON’T drain them)

1 can of broth (if you buy condensed, don’t forget to mix it with a can of water – freeze the extra for next time, hell, freeze it with the tomatoes;  the original recipe calls for chicken, but I have also made it with veggie broth and beef broth, in my esteemed opinion it is actually tastier made with beef)

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces  (I have never made this with bacon – who the f#@k has two slices of bacon kicking around on a regular basis?)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic

Turn the oven on to 350.  Throw everything into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  FYI – I never sub or omit the seasonings.  Give it a stir.  Shove it into the middle of the oven.  Give a quick stir through again every 30-40 minutes (or every hour if you are very distracted by More Important Matters) for a total of 2 hours.  Remove from oven.  While dish cools to not-burn-your-stinkin-mouth-off temperature cube fresh tomato and avocado, and grate some cheddar cheese.  Get sour cream out of the fridge (not the low fat stuff, you freak).  If you are feeling especially fancy, and you’ve got some on hand already, chop up fresh cilantro as the crowning glory.  Serve beans on cooked rice topped with cold acoutrements, or don’t use rice at all and scoop it up nacho-style with Que Pasa organic tortilla chips (they must be Que Pasa, or you will be disappointed).  This will make 6 servings and freezes real, real well.

Which is good, ‘cuz no one wants to eat beans six days in a row…know what I’m saying?

Anybody out there got a favourite they’d like to share?

*This recipe has been bastardized from the Treasury of Country Heritage Meals & Menus (sponsored by Land O Lakes)

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