Black Bean Balls

Over the past couple years I have had a lot of practice cooking for one. Living in an apartment withroommates has given me the opportunity to work around two obstacles…space and time.

Space you ask? When living with people outside your familial realm you realize the concept of sharing cabinet, fridge and freezer space. Often time space is tight and it puts a limit on grocery purchases, meals prepared, etc.

Time…no not the time it takes to cook but the time it takes for all the wonderful food you just bought to go bad before you can consume it. Cooking for one is hard if you’ve never done it. It’s all about being creative with what you buy, how much you buy and how many different meals you can stick the same ingredients into!

So with these obstacles methods in mind, I came up with Black Bean Balls….questionable name I know. These are similar in preparation to a meatball, but made with black beans. I love black beans in tacos, quesadillas or rice dishes but I only ever find myself able to eat about a half a can before they go bad on me! So with that I created bean balls which I can eat right away or freeze for later use. I generally estimate the quantities of my ingredients and I usually only use half a can, but for these purposes I have “doubled” what I believe I used in my own bean balls.Image

You will need:

  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 Medium Carrot, peeled and roughly
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 Cup Corn (optional) I always have it on hand so I threw some in
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Panko Inside Mix
  • 1/4 Cup Panko for Rolling

Preheat oven to 350

Begin by throwing peeled carrot, corn, onion and garlic into food processor. Process until finely grated. Add in black beans, olive oil, lemon juice, chili powder, salt and pepper and continue to pulse in food processor. Once everything has been combined the consistency should be somewhat gooey. Now is the time to add in Panko. Start with about about 1/4 cup Panko and incorporate into the mixture. This should thicken up the mixture, if you feel you need more slowly add more. I wouldn’t recommend more than a 1/2 cup as it will get really dry. You should be able to easily roll a ball (a somewhat sticky one) out of the mixture.

ImageIn a flat dish pour 1/4 cup Panko. Roll formed balls in the panko, lightly coating each side. Once all the balls have been coated, spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat to a medium heat. Place balls into the pan and cook each side as you would a meatball, lightly browning them. Once all the balls are evenly browned place them on a baking sheet and pop them in oven for 15-20 minutes.

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I often pair these with brown rice and edamame or salsa and warmed tortillas. Feel freeze to serve them all or freeze them for a later date!

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Pizza with a Pizza Stone

I absolutely love a nice homemade pizza. There is something about spending a friday evening in with a glass of wine, and a delicious pizza; void of a delivery charge, that seems truly comforting to me. I have been making homemade pizza with my family for years and years but my boyfriend and I have finally figured out the secret to a perfect pizza…a Pizza Stone! This stone makes all the difference in the texture and crunch of the pizza. I swear it won’t taste homemade!

What you’ll need to replicate my pizza picture above. Of course feel free to make your pizza any way you like it!

  • Premade Whole Grain Pizza Dough (I got mine at Whole Foods)
  • Pizza Sauce (I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a homemade or quality sauce, it makes all the difference. I used Don Pepinos which I can only find in ONE supermarket near me. It worth it though….find one you love!)
  • Flour
  • 1 Green Pepper, cut into thin slices
  • 1 Small Onion, sliced in rounds
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Cornmeal

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F with stone inside for at least 30 minutes. I often do this while I construct the pizza.

Sprinkle a small handful of flour onto a  large flat surface. I often use a cutting board for this. Lightly coat the pizza dough with flour. Begin to roll out dough, working from the inside out. Apply more flour as needed in order to keep the dough from getting sticky and tearing. I like to roll my dough out pretty thin. I have found that if the dough is thick the cooked product is often too doughy and less crispy for my palette.

At this point I often transfer the dough to a pizza board. Cover the pizza board in corn meal, lots of it! This keeps the dough from sticking before transferring it to the pizza stone. I use about a half a can of Don Pepino sauce (and freeze the rest), just enough to cover to thinly cover dough. Sparingly distribute some onions and fresh basil on top of the sauce. I then begin to coat the pizza with the mozzarella cheese. Again this is up to your discretion, I love cheese so I get a little heavy-handed with it. Save a little cheese though for the final topping. I now place the peppers and the rest of the onions and basil on top and finish it off with the last sprinkle of cheese.

I’m not using units of measurement because making your own pizza is really about eyeballing and understanding what YOU like!

Now here is the tricky part. My boyfriend and I have almost mastered the art of transferring the pizza from the board to the stone. My recommendation is to take the pizza stone out of the oven and place in a safe place, as it will be very hot. Take your pizza board and angle it up with the edge of the board almost touching the far side of the pizza stone. Give the board a gentle of but firm shrug. If there is a enough cornmeal on the board it should slide right off. Be careful at this point because the pizza often sticks to the board and needs some nursing or comes off super quick! Sometime you have to push some overhang back onto the stone. Don’t worry what it looks like! The picture above had its faux pas and you can barely tell and certainly couldn’t taste it.

Pop the stone back into oven for about 10-12 minutes. Check the crispiness of bottom of the pizza and make sure it has cooked through. If it seems soft or doughy on the bottom  allow it to cook for a few minutes and continue checking on it. Once the pizza is cooked though take it out and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting in.

Enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Hello Friends.

I apologize for my absence. I came down with a stomach bug; much thanks to the little ones I work with, and haven’t really been able to kick it. With that, I haven’t had the opportunity to make anything new but I figured as I laid here wasting away in bed I could post a little something new that I have come to love. What is it you ask?

Homemade Chocolate Pudding!

Now that I’ve made my own pudding from scratch I’m not sure I will ever go back to the boxed stuff. I found this recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com and made a few tweaks.  I apologize now for the sloppy picture below, as I hadn’t meant for it to be posted on the blog, but I supposed you have to work with what you got, right?

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Depending on how chocolatey you like your pudding
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter Chips, Chocolate Chips, Fruit, Whipped Cream (optional)

Mix together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Place in a saucepan over medium heat and add milk slowly, whisking continuously as you pour. Bring mixture to a boil and stir constantly! If you stop whisking you will end up chunky pudding. Make sure you are scraping the bottom of the pan from the moment you stir in the milk. Allow pudding to thicken up and remove from heat. Add in butter and vanilla and stir until incorporated.

If you are looking to add some texture or extra flavor to your pudding now is the time to plop in some of those chocolate or peanut butter chips. They get just melty enough before popping the pudding in the fridge.

If you prefer your chocolate pudding just the way it is, pour it into small bowls or ramekins and pop into the fridge. Top with whipped cream or fresh fruit!

A dirty little secret of mine: This recipe is easy to quarter in order to make individual pudding anytime you want….which I have definitely done.