Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the tag “beans”

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for…


Yes, that’s right.

Chili since its chilli outside.

But first, I have to tell you about Wednesday.  It’s probably my favorite day of the week (well, not really, but almost). Why?  Because it’s milk day!!!  I pick up milk, come home, change into some PJs, and pour a giant glass of delicious milk.  Now that I’m all settled, milk in hand, I’m ready to tell you about Chili.  So, pour yourself a glass and take a seat.

I am not afraid of eating hot foods all summer. In fact, as everyone knows, I’m not even afraid of soup in the summer. I rather enjoy it.  But that’s already been established.  There are a few things, however, that I just don’t make until Fall has started and I don’t make them after Spring has begun.  I’m talking about the Autumnal Equinox and the Spring Equinox.  This is serious and I mean it.  Ask anyone who has requested one of these dishes in the middle of the summer.  They’ll tell you.  The answer is, “Wait until the Fall.”

I don’t know why I’ve established these rules, but it just feels right and now it’s a mini tradition.  Plus it’s fun to make people wait for it.

Chili is one of those dishes.  It’s one of my specialties.  Seriously, this isn’t the best chili ever.  It’s not even a real chili, in the traditional sense.  I guess it’s a type of American Chili.  I’ve been debating on whether or not to even share the recipe since it’s one of my favorites to make for friends and family.  But, I’m feeling giving today 😉 so here you go!

One more thing, the ingredient list is a little bit daunting. I know that. Use what you have and forget what you don’t.  It’ll still be good.

Beka’s Chili

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup baked beans (wanna make your own?  Don’t worry, I’ll have a recipe soon)
  • 3 cups kidney beans
  • 3 cups pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or tomato paste

Are you ready for the seasonings?  I did warn you this list was long…

  • 2 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • dash Nutmeg
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick – Broken in half
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Ok, now let’s take a breath.

Ready? OK.

Chop the veggies and saute in olive oil until they are almost soft.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add the spices, except for the Vinegar and saute a little bit longer.  Add the tomato sauce.  Add all the beans and corn and a little bit of water or stock to loosen everything up.  Simmer this mixture while you cook and drain the beef and then add the beef in. Taste it and add salt and pepper as needed and maybe a little bit more of anything else it might be lacking.  Stare at your spice cabinet (ahem, wall) and something will jump out at you that just has to be added 😉  At least that’s usually my method.  Add a splash of Vinegar.

I recommend making this AFTER you’ve eaten dinner and waiting until the next day to eat it.  It’s much better that way.  Still good fresh, but better after a day.

So, there you have it! The Chili I make people wait for. I hope you like it as much as they do!

And a Kitty Cat picture, just ’cause I think she’s cute!


On the fly soup

You know it’s been too long since I talked about soup. 😉

I made an awesome soup with random leftovers the other day, which means the four meals I got from it were basically free.  It’s really simple to do.  Just freeze all your extras.  Yes, even if you only have enough to fit one of those little itty bitty containers.  I know someone who is irritated by those little tiny containers that only have a couple bites in them (you know who you are 🙂 ).  While I understand the frustration of having these tiny things hanging out in your freezer, they really come in handy sometimes.  Like On the Fly Soup.

I had two little containers with beans (a mix of black, pinto and lentils), some CSA jalapenos and garlic, frozen sauteed onions and green peppers and chicken stock.  I just let everything thaw in the fridge while I was at work. I came home and chopped, then sauteed the jalapenos and garlic in a little butter, added the other veggies, the beans and the stock.  I seasoned it with some thyme, salt and pepper and let it simmer for about ten minutes.  Soup’s ON!!


Add a fresh baked bun and some brie and you have a very happy Beka!

Even the cat wants some!


How to Feed Two People Five Dinners with $13 and 1/4 Lb of Beef

Sometimes I get tired of spending money, even if it is to buy food.  That might be my politically correct way of saying that sometimes there isn’t a lot of money to spend on food.  And Mom, before you ask, Yes, I would ask you for help if I needed 🙂

But really, it IS nice to not have to spend a lot on food.   I haven’t really gotten into the money aspect of food on purpose.  A lot of people think that eating from a CSA or the Farmer’s Market is always going to be more expensive than going to the grocery store.  I often hear people saying something along the lines of Oh, I went to the Farmer’s Market and spent SOOOOO MUCH.  Well, here’s a secret, you can also go to the grocery store and spend SOOOOO MUCH. Both of which I used to do, until I started paying attention to what I was buying.  Just go shopping at the Farmer’s Market with the same attitude (and list!) as the grocery store.  And Yes, have an extra $5-10 in case something you weren’t expecting looks SOGOODIHAVETOHAVEIT!  Even if you spend a little bit more than at the grocery store, at least the whole holy cow, how did I spend all the money at the market guilty feeling, won’t be as bad.

The Farm

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of ways to spend more money eating real food (yes, I know, define real food, I’ll be skipping that one fore now).  For example, milk.  Milk from a farm is always going to cost more than milk from a grocery store, why? The farmer is limited to the number of cows that they can actually care for and milk and has to charge accordingly.  Grocery store milk comes from giant farms who have money to invest in large feed areas, industrial sized milking machines, and hormones to make the cows produce more milk.

Meat: same idea as milk, so yes, meat directly from a farm will cost more than going to the grocery store.  Unless of course you happen to live near a large scale meat factory that will sell directly to you.

BUT, you don’t have to blow your entire budget on food, hence the ten meals for cheap post.  So, wait for it… wait for it… your mind might be blown when I tell you how easy this is:

STEAK QUESADILLAS (with cost, let’s talk about transparency)

  • 1/4 lb Flat Iron Steak (1.92)
  • package of tortillas (2.99)
  • 1/2 cup mix of black and pinto beans (made from dry beans .35)


  • salt and pepper (50? if that)
  • soy sauce for marinade (.20)
  • garlic clove (.20)
  • olive oil for marinade (.20)
  • 1/2 onion (.75)
  • 1 tomato (1.00)
  • pepper (.50)
  • block of cheese (4.00)

Total? 12.61

Season the beef with olive oil, salt and pepper, soy sauce and crushed garlic overnight.  Cook the steak. Cut up the steak.  Assemble quesadillas with a little shredded cheese on a tortilla, topped with a few pieces of steak, some beans, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped peppers and add a little more cheese, top with another tortilla. Or only put the filling on one half of the tortilla and fold it over to make a moon – I find this way easier to flip.  Fry the quesadilla in a pan until one side is toasty, then flip and fry until the other side is toasty and the cheese is melted.  These are good, really good, I know because I had one for dinner every night this week!


I don’t know about everyone else, but I get grumpy without breakfast.  So, I get up early enough to scramble or fry an egg for breakfast almost every single day before work.  Well, thanks to this recipe over at Farm Fresh and Active, I don’t have to anymore.  Just cook enough for a week, pull one out every morning, put it in the oven/toaster over for a few minutes while I’m getting ready, and go!  Plus, it means I get egg dishes dirty once a week instead of every day.  Wooohoooo!

Adapted Egg Muffins

  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/3 c of cheese
  • garlic
  • 4 slices of cooked and chopped bacon
  • 1/2 c lentils
  • salt and pepper

Scramble everything together and pour into 6 muffin tins.  Cook at 35o for 20 minutes and spend those 20 minutes being really excited about the extra sleep you’ll get every morning.

This recipe is awesome because you can add whatever you have/ enjoy having with your eggs and it’s one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever used.  Next week, I might put something different in each muffin so I’m surprised every day 🙂



Come check out Fat Tuesday to find lots of other ideas and recipes!

Pseudo Soup

We need to clear a few things up…

I love soup. I don’t think I can stress that enough. I will make any regular meal into a soup if I’m given the chance. If I had to choose between a million dollars and a bowl of delicious soup, the sole reason that I would pick the money is that it would buy me A LOT more than just one bowl of soup.

When everyone else is celebrating and rejoicing in the increasingly warm weather, I secretly lament the months and months I will have to go without soup. Maybe not so secretly. The first day of warm weather will see me scrambling about making one last batch of soup. And then another, and another, until finally someone will point out that it is just way to hot for soup. (Beka, it’s the 4th of July, don’t you think it’s a bit warm for that?)

So here we are in May and it’s been 90 outside and all I want is soup, but it IS seriously way to hot for soup. So, what’s a girl to do?


Swiss Chard, Beans, Bacon, Cheese, Irish Soda Bread – served NOT piping hot


Tonight we had tacos and guacamole on tortillas for dinner.  The past few nights we had white chicken chili with cabbage slaw.  Simple quick dinners, right?  Not so much.  It sometimes takes me three days to make one meal (one meal that can be eaten for a few days of course!).

White Chicken Chili – chicken, beans, peppers (and you’re probably asking how that could take soo long, don’t worry, I’ll tell you.)

For chili you need beans.  Beans come in a can, but cans are expensive, and wasteful, and who knows what is put in them.  So dried beans it is.  To eat the chili on Tuesday, the process starts on Monday morning.  Rinse and pick through beans and put them in a pot with a lot of water.  Monday night, drain, add new water. Tuesday morning, drain, add more water.  Put them in the crock pot Tuesday afternoon with some chicken stock (good thing I made that on Saturday so I have stock and chicken to put in the chili already), an onion, jalapenos, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and fresh garlic. Cook on high for a few hours, then add the chicken and heat on low for another hour or so.

One meal for the week done… now to start the next.

Tacos must have tortillas, and being me, I must make them.

Tacos on Thursday night means starting the tortillas on Wednesday night.  I use my sourdough starter, a cup of whole wheat flour and 1/4 of lard (yes, lard).  It’s a recipe for crackers that I found on Kitchen Stewardship, but it works awesome for tortillas.Mix it all together and let it sit in a tupperware until I’m ready to cook the tortillas.

Thursday night, make guacamole and taco filling.  I added an equal amount of refried beans to the taco meat to double the amount of filling I had. I made the refried beans the last time we had tacos and used half in that batch and froze half for later.

Can you tell half of that is beans?  Secret veggies!!!

On to the tortillas. After rolling them out, I put them in a cast iron pan and fry for a min or less on each side.

After you’re done, it’ll look something like this

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