Family Eats Challenge: Janet and Jim, Update 4

by Laura on February 14, 2010

in Family Eats Challenge: Janet and Jim

Chef Miki Hits a Home Run for the Super Bowl!

For Super Bowl week, Janet and Jim decided to prepareOutrageous Beans. This choice, would give Janet and Jim a dinner to enjoy while rooting on the Saints, and offer them a new meal that helps them reduce their consumption of meat. As Chef Miki noted, the recipe would be a great dish to prepare for a buffet but could also be used as an everyday meal, when paired with salad.

Overall, the meal was a hit with Janet and Jim – and since they were rooting for the Saints, the day was a total success!

Janet’s Update:

We are definitely having fun with all the cooking we are doing, and I have to say my other recipes are even better because of some tips you have shared. Recent ly, we prepared some chicken and made a gravy with mushrooms from the pan drippings. It is something we don’t typically do, but now that I understand how simple it is to do this, we will surely do it more often.

Shopping has become more manageable as well. This week’s trip to the market was short and sweet. I did have to ask for help on locating a few items such as dehydrated corn and fire-roasted chili. But Central Market was very helpful.

This week, we chose to make Outrageous Baked Beans because we felt that it would be a recipe to get us out of our food rut. Especially in the winter, I tend to prepare the same old comfort food. This would be something new for us, and would allow us to use baked beans in a different way. Typically, I would serve baked beans as a side dish, now we would be serving it as the main entrée. By trying this recipe, we feel that we will accomplish one of our goals, which is to eat less meat.

By adding the soyrizo to the baked beans and adding cornbread and salad as a side, we now have a healthy meal without the meat. I do have to say, the word soy, or anything that sounds like soy, is a little scary for Jim, but he is going to give it a try. I think he will really like it. I have cooked with soy before and failed to tell him, and he didn’t know the difference. We’ll be sure to share our results with you on Sunday night.

P.S. My cooking portions are getting better also.

Chef Miki offers some suggestions for preparation:

Outrageous Baked Beans: This recipe is REALLY good and is a great Super Bowl or Pro Bowl dish for the buffet.

The ‘guys’ on our staff had seconds when it was included in our daily product sampling, so I’m certain Jim will like it — beans, meat, beer, what could be better!  Measure what you’ll need of the beer and bring to room temp without letting it go flat.

Chug the rest!  Serve with a fresh salad incorporating sliced avocado (on top), tomato halves (try grape tomatoes, if available), hearts of palm (cut into 1/2 inch pieces) and the corn bread recipe below.

Outrageous baked beans does use soyrizo, the soy version of chorizo, a very flavorful, slightly spicy and fatty sausage.  Melissa’s soyrizo was created by a Mexican-American whose physician told him he had to quit eating regular chorizo for his health.  He loved chorizo so much that he and his wife collaborated and created Melissa’s soyrizo.  We have had many Hispanic and Latino consumers tell us that they couldn’t tell the difference between real chorizo, and Melissa’s soyrizo! Check with the market-I don’t know if they carry our brand, but it never hurts to ask or see if they’ll bring it in for you.

The soyrizo is not on your list of things to try, but as a component rather than the main ingredient, it’s pretty yummy, even for me!  Cons ider it for the full flavor it adds to the chili.  I must tell you, if you are subject to indigestion, you may want to ‘cut’ the soyrizo with very lean beef or ground turkey (leftover cooked hamburger is fine.  Just break it up well before adding); about 1 cup pre-cooked.  You’ll have a feeling of fullness from the beans and the richness of the broth.  Soy is, of course, a protein source.

I can’t help but recommend some grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream or Greek style yogurt (it’s thicker and richer!).  Use the remaining yogurt with a little honey, agave, or preserves stirred in and eat it with breakfast fruit and toast!  This dish will taste even better if you can make it a day ahead of time-the flavors marry!

Great White Northerns are really yummy, but if you want to try a firmer bean, then use Cannellini beans.  Just remember to rinse off all the juice/liquid from the can.  I put all the beans in a colander and rinse them off, give ’em a good shake, then continue.

The Salad:

This is an opportunity to try some of the fresh produce in a small quantity.  Also, Jim and you can pick out the item if it really doesn’t agree with you.

If you use only iceberg lettuce and like it for the crunch, then try romaine lettuce (Caesar Salad lettuce) for a change.  Romaine has more nutrients, flavor and body than iceberg.  You may wash the lettuce ahead of time, but use it within a few days or it will start to rust.  Otherwise, leave it in the crisper in a plastic bag.  When I’m ready to use it, I lop off the root end and place the lettuce in a sink or large bowl filled with cool water.  Swish and allow the sand to run off.  The sand will drift to the bottom.  You may need to do this a few times before the lettuce is clean.  Allowing the lettuce to lay in the cool water also allows it to absorb some of the water and ‘crisp’ the leaves back to life. Drain well and pat dry or put in a spinner.  Excess water hastens the rusting process.  Place in a container with paper towels to catch any excess moisture.  I like to just stack the leaves, run the knife down the center spine, then cut cross-wise into manageable pieces.

You can then add your other salad ingredients (except juicy ingredients like cut tomatoes, asparagus, pears, etc.) and cover with damp paper towel to keep crisp.  Add the juicy ingredients before serving and toss with a small amount of dressing. Because you’re having something heavy as the main dish, I’d recommend you try vinaigrette on the salad.  See if there is an olive oil or red wine vinegar dressing. You can even make your own using citrus juice, red wine or rice wine (sweeter) vinegar, olive oil.  Remember the 2:1 acid to oil and adjust.  Season with herbs, salt and pepper.  Toss in some nuts!

Red Corn and Green Jalapeno Cornbread: 

Red corn isn’t available this time of year, but you can sub with FRESH yellow corn, or well-drained, thawed corn.  If your store carries our dried sweet corn, hydrate it, drain, then add to the recipe as needed.  Buttermilk is sold in pints and quarts, so use the left over for pancakes, some frostings, marinating chicken for frying, etc.  If you’re in a pinch, then use 2 TABLESPOONS white vinegar or lemon juice to enough WHOLE milk to make 8 ounces of ‘buttermilk’.  Actually, now ‘clabbered milk’.  It won’t be as rich as the true buttermilk, but it will do.

Make certain your cornmeal is at least medium grind. If you’re using our recipe step by step, then please do not purchase cornbread mix, because your recipe will fail.

Bake items in a glass or metal pan if you want golden edges and crusts.  If you want a crisp crust, then use a dark pan.  Always lightly oil or spray unless otherwise instructed.

Measure the flour and the cornmeal by gently scooping into a dry measuring cup, then leveling off with a straight edge.  Don’t pack or scoop, then level.  You can end up with up to 25% more flour than the recipe calls for!

Since halving a baking recipe isn’t always successful (mad science going on there), I do take the leftover cornbread and leave it as large of a piece as possible, wrap it as tight as possible in foil (use heavy-duty for freezing), then store it with air removed in a marked freezer bag and freeze.

By folding the two ends over together and pleating as you would to wrap a gift, rather than overlapping, you’ll lock out the freezing air that dries and causes freezer burn.  Be certain, also, to squeeze out the air on the sides, then fold over the foil, again, locking out the air.  You can also be creative with leftover corn bread by cutting it into chunks and dropping into hot frying oil (360F) and frying until golden…..croutons!  Blot on paper towel.  Use them soon, once they are fried, to avoid rancidity.  The oil must be hot and ready to fry-test with a small piece of cornbread to see that the oil is ready.  Any sitting in the oil will make the cubes greasy and heavy as bricks!  You could serve them, once fried, as a dessert snack’em by sprinkling a little powdered sugar on them, too!

Sunday evening update from Janet and Jim:

I am writing this as I am finishing my dessert of ice cream left over from the Chicken dinner. It is halftime of the Super Bowl and wow, what a great football meal. Jim actually is still eating, working on seconds.

We were definitely in a winter food rut, preparing the same comfort food over and over again. This really changed it up for us, which was one of our challenges. Also, our goal for eating less meat was met by making the Outrageous Baked Beans the entree. The cornbread was just the right side dish. I liked this recipe because the beans had a hot taste, but not too hot for me.

We decided not to prepare a salad because it seemed like a lot of food, and we had a salad for lunch. Thank you Chef Miki for spending your time working on our recipes. This one was easy and enjoyable.

In between bites, Jim had this to say:

I enjoyed our meal with a beer, which made it good football food for me. The baked beans contained the mild to hot flavors that I like. It’s a hearty and tasty meal that I think I would actually like as leftovers. If there are any left, I certainly will give the leftovers a try. If not, we know that we will be preparing this recipe again soon.

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