A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about “go-to meals.” I define “go-to meals” as meals that we typically have the ingredients for in our pantry and meals I can make without planning and make quickly. I imagine you know the scenario: It’s dinnertime. Dinner hasn’t been started and you either don’t have a plan, the plan would take too long to get on the table, or you planned an easy meal because you knew it would be a hectic evening.
“Go-To Meals” Are Different for Different People
Last week, Elizabeth wrote a follow up post, “Go-To Meals – Part 2,” with her family’s “go to meals.” We got a kick out of each of our lists, because many on her list would probably be on my “standard meals” list. They are not “go to meals” for me, because I would think they would take too much effort for me to make. This highlights how we all have different skill levels and comfort in the kitchen and, thus, some meals seem harder for some than others.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, cooking and planning meals takes a bit more effort for me. I very much value it, but it’s something I have to be constantly working on. Elizabeth is an amazing cook and makes cooking look easy. She actually taught me how to chop vegetables when we were in graduate school. Her ability to be calm in the kitchen has helped me learn simple skills to make cooking a little easier for me. For example, I am no longer intimidated to make a really yummy salad. Putting together a salad has become a “go to side” for me. When, before, I would have felt like it was “too hard” or that it wouldn’t be very good. Having more experiences in the kitchen and having simple skills can make cooking feel a bit easier and can expand your list of “go-to meals.” However, the fact is, we all have our own strengths and what may be a “go to meal” for you may not be for me, and vice versa.
“Go-To” Black Beans and Rice
After my post about “go-to meals,” a reader asked me for my Black Beans and Rice
First, open 2 cans of black beans and pour them in a colander in the sink and rinse. I let them sit there awhile. Then, put 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized pot. At this point I don’t actually measure any of the items. 4 tablespoons is about four circles around the pot. Add 4 garlic cloves, minced and sauté for 1 minute. I usually use a garlic press such as this one. However, when I made this last week, I didn’t have any garlic and made it without it! Add the beans, 2 bay leaves, 1 cup of salsa, and 2 teaspoons of cumin.
Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve over rice.
We like to serve with shredded cheddar cheese and diced avocado and each person can top their bowl as they’d like. I’ve been recently making rice in my Instant Pot. It feels like one less pot to attend to during the busy dinnertime. I put the rice and water in the pot and then just set it.
The beans can also be very good with tortilla chips or inside a tortilla, as a burrito. This is not authentic black beans and rice. But quick and very easy!
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Simmered Black Beans with Tex-Mex feel. Very easy “go to meal”
4 Tbs olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa
2 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin
1. Heat oil in a medium sized sauce pan.
2. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute
3. Add beans, salsa, bay leaves and cumin
4. Stir and simmer fo 10 minutes.
5. Remove bay leaves and serve over rice