January 29, 2010
About one night a week I have the place to myself while the Mister is off partaking in some extracurriculars. If you agree to keep a secret then I’ll divulge that I look forward to my date with an empty house once a week. Because, let’s face it, sometimes I don’t want him crashing my aerobic dance party, mocking my turbo jam session, or throwing off my Wii Fit ultimate hoola hoop groove. Sometimes I want to watch back to back episodes of Propery Virgins or House Hunters, even if I’ve already seen them, while flipping back and forth to Real Housewives or Project Runway. Sometimes I just want peace and quiet. No TV. No talking. Just staring at walls. (Ok, I agree, that last point is a little weird, but after a long day don’t you sometimes want nothing more than to stare at walls?) And sometimes, I just want beans and rice for dinner without the pouting.
In my ideal world we’d have beans and rice for dinner at least once a week. But a certain fussy carnivore will have nothing to do with an entirely plant-based dinner, try and try as I might. I’ve learned to pick my battles, but I do (secretly) fist pump when he returns to the kitchen for another round of roasted Brussels or cauliflower without being nudged (and it is a very rare occurance that I nudge). Happily eating his vegetables when served alongside something that previously swam, moo-ed or clucked is victory enough for me. I’ll take what I can get.
This is one of my favorite rice and bean dishes. It comes together in no time. Perfect for when I have the entire couch to myself and don’t want to waste time fussing in the kitchen. It also freezes well. I make an entire batch and freeze 1-2 portions (without rice) for an easy lunch or husbandless dinner.
Cuban Black Beans and Rice
- 1 T olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
- 3 cups cooked black beans (from 2 14.5-oz cans, rinsed and drained, or 1 cup dried)
- 1/3 cup water
- few splashes of hot sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- cooked brown rice
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, ground cumin and oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Add the next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf) and continue cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve over brown rice. Top with additional cilantro if desired.