Black Bean Fiesta!
I am loving having so many black beans in my meals! I am turning into a bean-a-holic. I made more of the salad from the other day and have been chowing down on it for lunch mixed with some lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber. Yum! I get a little sadder inside every time I make a meal and my stash gets smaller and smaller. At least I know a simple and quick way to make 8 cups all at once 🙂
My love of black beans probably stems from my love of Mexican food. For a long time Mexican has been my favorite food. What kid doesn’t love cheesy nachos and loaded burritos (on that note, what 24 year old doesn’t love them too?!). On burrito night my body would magically give me hollow legs and I could down three giant burritos in one sitting. Or an entire bag of tortilla chips and jar of salsa. Or just a can of refried beans. Oh, the years before I worried about my thighs!
Meals of tacos, nachos, and quesadillas are great for a quick work night meal, which is why so many people love them. The additional perk that they all contain the same ingredients constructed in a variety of ways makes Mexican night a one stop shop for 3 or 4 difference recipes. As I’ve become more and more of a foodie, I realize that I can do more with my Mexican dinners, more complex and fancy dishes. And they are not that hard to make, still quick and easy, and would impress a guest more with about the same effort as cooking up that taco filling and grating some cheese.
The black beans in this meal really express my love of refried beans. Let’s confess, refried beans are amazing! But the canned variety is often cooked with lard, loaded with sodium, and really loses its nutritional value. Lucky for us, not only are they easy to make from scratch (mash them in a frying pan) but at home you can doctor them up into quite a tasty and impressive side dish.
Golden Chicken Tenders with Spicy Refried Beans
For the Chicken:
8 chicken tenders
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the Beans:
2 cups black beans (leftovers!)
1 small onion, chopped
1 hot pepper (you can used jalapeno, I used Thai chili)
3/4 cup salsa
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese (or mix of both!)
Sweet pepper medley to serve (leftovers from portobello cheesesteak!)
Preheat the oven to 350*
For the chicken, mix together the spices in a bowl. Dredge each chicken tender and rub the spices over so they stick. Place on a baking rack and bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
While the chicken is cooking, fry up the onion and hot pepper with some Pam. Add the black beans and cook until heated through. Then add the salsa, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until hot.
Put the bean mix into the food processor and pulse for about 5 seconds. Leave it chunky if you like it that way, or pulse until smooth. (You can also just mash them with a potato masher or a fork. Depending on your puree-level desire or pain getting out your processor on a Wednesday)
Scoop into a bowl and mix in the cheese until fully incorporated.
Fry up the sweet pepper strips until they are soft.
Serve all together, with a little extra cheese on top.
Without going in to excessive detail about how good those black beans were (awesome, flavorful, and spicy!), this just goes to show that a Mexican meal does not have to involve corn chips and ground beef. I am so excited to try more Mexican inspired dishes, especially since Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching! I felt that everything here was well balanced and healthful, but also a ton of fun with a good kick to it. Time to have more of these beans for dessert 🙂
How do you mix up your Mexican?