Calabacitas

Calabacitas is a quick and easy dish that goes perfectly with just about any meal.  With the addition of roasted green chile, it gives it a rich southwestern flavor you’re sure to love.  If you don’t have access to fresh green chile, you can usually find canned diced green chile in the International Foods aisle of most grocery stores.  If you can’t locate it or don’t like green chile, you can simply omit it from the recipe.

You can serve the calabacitas as a side dish to your favorite meal, use it as a delicious filling for enchiladas and burritos, or simply enjoy it all on its own.  It’s sure to become a fast favorite.

Calabacitas
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ pieces
2 fresh ears of sweet corn, kernals removed (or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 roasted, diced green chiles (or 1 – 2 small cans of diced green chile)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
2. Saute onion and corn for about 2 minutes.
3. Add zucchini and green chile, and continue to cook until zucchini is cooked but still firm, not mushy.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Pinto Beans

These luscious and creamy pinto beans will satisfy everyone, and have them coming back for more.  These are not the beans you get at your local Mexican restaurant; they are not refried beans; and they certainly are not canned pinto beans.  They cook low and slow which brings out all the wonderful flavor of the beans, and they become cradled in a smooth gravy-like sauce.  It may seem like a lot for a simple bean, but I promise you the time is worth it. They are quite literally the best pinto beans I have ever had.  I mean, seriously, I had them with my dinner and then had another bowl of them for dessert!

Now, let’s discuss the Magic Vegan Bacon Grease.  This is my new obsession.  This wonderful bit of heaven is made with coconut oil, spices, salt and, well….magic.  It’s true!  It’s even listed in the ingredients!  There are very few things I actually miss being Vegan, but one of them was the crispy little bits you would get off the bottom of the pan after you had cooked meat.  I always loved that for cooking my onions, potatoes, eggs in the pan afterward.  But NOW I can have it again!   This gives all of your dishes that added flavor and texture guilt-free.  My omni parents even love this stuff.  It isn’t the cheapest oil you can buy, but the additional cost is worth it if you can swing it.  It is not necessary for this recipe, so if you don’t have it, just use your favorite oil.

You can eat these plain alongside your favorite meal, wrapped in a tortilla with cheese and your favorite fillings, or simply in a bowl with your favorite toppings.  I like mine with a little red or green chile and cheese (as pictured).

It is hard to determine how many servings you will get out of this recipe because serving sizes vary depending on how you are serving it (as a side dish, as a burrito filling, as a dessert 😉 ), but we got enough for about 10 side-dish-size servings.  Enjoy!

Pinto Beans (Vegan)

Ingredients
1 – 16 oz. bag dried pinto beans
2 small yellow onions, diced small
4 – 5 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 Tbsp. Magic Vegan Bacon Grease (or 1 Tbsp. oil of choice)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt to taste

Directions
1. Pick through the pinto beans to remove any small stones or bad beans. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with 3 – 4 cups of water. Cover with plastic wrap and soak overnight.

2. Drain and rinse beans. Place beans in a large dutch oven, cover with about 4 cups of water and boil on stovetop for 45 minutes. Drain and rinse beans and set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Place onion and garlic in oil, and cook for about 5 minutes, just enough to soften. Add beans back to pot and cover with 3 – 4 cups HOT water. Stir in paprika, cover and cook over low heat for 3 hours. Add HOT water if/as needed to keep beans just covered. Stir occasionally.

4. After about 2 1/2 hours, take 3/4 to 1 cup of beans and liquid from pot and mash well. Stir this back into the beans. Taste for salt and add as needed. Continue to cook for another 1/2 hour or until beans are to desired softness and liquid is to desired thickness. Enjoy!

Notes:  

*This can also be cooked in a slow cooker or crock pot.  Just follow steps 1 and 2, and then put all the ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 4 – 5 hours or until beans are creamy soft.  You may want to add a little more water at the beginning if you are not able to keep an eye on the level while it cooks.  You will have to make these adjustments as I have not made these in a slow cooker.

**When adding water to your beans while cooking, always add HOT water as adding cold water will cause your beans to turn dark brown.