by Rhonda Dragomir
I’m a planner, not a pantser—for my novel writing, that is. For meals? I’m the take-out queen. Since quitting my job to write full-time, those last-minute forays out for dinner are cost prohibitive. Whether I like it or not, I need to think about dinner in the mornings instead of 5:05 p.m.
One ally in my meal-prep war is my trusty Crock-Pot®. It was a wedding gift, and it didn’t quit working when I set it on the stove and accidentally turned on the wrong burner. It works just as well on three feet instead of four. I’ve been married 41 years and my husband still likes to tell that story!
I’m fond of dump-and-go recipes, but I also don’t want to turn into a stereotypical overweight writer who can’t squeeze through a doorway without using Crisco. I’ve created a delicious, healthy, quick recipe that helps the bottom line. Literally.
Most recipes begin by soaking dried beans, but canned beans are more convenient. Another boon is that canned beans cooked slowly have lower amounts of the undigestible sugars that turn you into a rootin’ tootin’ clown of the solo rodeo.
Here’s my recipe:
- 4 cans black beans, drained (I like Member’s Mark Organic Black Beans from Sam’s Club, only $10 for a package of 8 cans.)
- 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic (Leave this out if you like kissin’.)
- 1 medium sweet onion (Dice and pitch; no need to sauté. I hate fancy French cooking lingo.)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (Say “cilantro” out loud ten times as you chop—it’s relaxing.)
Throw all the ingredients in the crock pot, cook for 6-8 hours on low, and they’re ready. I’m OCD enough that I don’t like bean juice contaminating my other food, so I drain them first. If you find they are too dry, you may leave the liquids from one or two cans.
Do you want to spruce up your beans? Try these add-ins:
- ½ pound taco-seasoned ground beef
- 2 tablespoons jalapenos or diced bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
You may serve the beans as a main dish because they have so much protein, or you may use them as a side dish for other meals. They are delicious tucked in a burrito, added to a taco salad, or mixed with rice in a traditional African or Caribbean recipe. When serving, try these beautiful garnishes:
- A dollop of sour cream (Say dollop out loud as you add it, just because it’s a fun word.)
- Fresh chopped cilantro (Can one have too much cilantro? No, I say—NEVER!)
- Chopped green onion
- Shredded cheese, any flavor
- Crumbled feta cheese
- A spoonful of salsa (Just a spoonful of salsa makes the black beans go down, come on, sing along!)
- Your favorite red hot sauce (Add as much as you dare.)
My final advice? Even if your family does not eat these all in one meal, they freeze well for later consumption (To clarify, I’m using the word to connote eating, not tuberculosis—I write historical romance).
If I am to be completely honest, when my pantser genes kick in, I’ve made these on the stove top at the last minute. The onion is still crunchy, but variety makes life interesting.
Whether you are a pantser or a plotter, I wish you healthy eating and happy writing!
Writing prompt: How many “b” words can you slip into one sentence with the words “black beans”? Share your sentence in the comments.
Rhonda Dragomir and her family live in Kentucky horse country, in the idyllic small town of Wilmore. A graduate of Asbury University with a degree in Social Work, she is a committed pastor’s wife and Bible teacher. Rhonda is also an award-winning writer, with published works in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and Spark magazine. She also wrote an opinion column in her local newspaper for four years, in which some views garnered national attention.
Rhonda and her husband formed The Dragomir Group to offer websites, typesetting, and design services to writers. She also writes a blog, Find the Pony, building a platform for a career in traditional publishing. Her newsletter Writers LifeHacks, shares tips and insights to encourage other writers and simplify the writing process. Rhonda has won many writing awards, including being named the 2019 Writer of the Year by Serious Writer, Inc.
Websites: www.rhondadragomir.com (Author site)
www.dragomirgroup.com (Writers’ services)
Blogs: www.findthepony.blog (personal inspiration)
www.writerslifehacks.com (tips for writers)