Weekly (Crockpot!) Recipe Recommend: Salsa Time with Refried Beans!

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I have been avoiding running because of my plantar fasciitis (mostly in my right foot), and the serious lack of endorphins (practically as good as laughing gas!) is probably contributing to my missing sense of humor.  Tomorrow during John’s lunch break I’ll be going to the gym nearby on base to ride a stationary bike for 45-60 minutes.  I plan on getting in about an hour on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday as well before we leave Tuesday afternoon for our Thanksgiving break up in Massachusetts.  Hopefully there will be some way on Thanksgiving Day and the day after to get in a bit of strenuous exercise for my own well-being that doesn’t require me to bear my own weight on these troublesome feet!  We went to our homeschool co-op again and had a nice day as usual, and this evening I attended a meeting of the homeschool support group “LCEAH” for my local area at which we exchanged holiday traditions and shared some yummy snacks.  It was nice for me to meet some homeschooling ladies who live a bit closer to us, as everyone we have met at the Co-op lives about half an hour away from us.

Now I’m home relaxing a bit before bed and sharing a few recipes with you. 🙂  I was just going to share one, but it’s kind of a complete package, so here you go: Homemade Crockpot Refried Beans, and Homemade Salsa!  We put it together in a simple way for a yummy dinner – but I forgot to take a picture of it.  Placing 6 corn tortillas onto a cookie sheet, I then layered on a pre-sliced piece of Tillamook cheddar cheese (yum!) and broiled them til the cheese was hot and bubbly.  Once out of the oven I scooped on the hot refried beans and ladled a hefty scoop of salsa on top.  It was a bit messy to eat, as the salsa juices wanted to drip out and down my hand and wrist, but we managed to choke it down. 🙂

Starting to boil down (“refry”) the beans with a little olive oil.

First I’ll give you the low-down on the beans, since making them is basically just “manning the pan.”  I used the bacon grease from one package of bacon which we had just cooked, along with 2-3 bags of pinto beans (There was an oddly-sized box of beans thrown in with two bags of beans, but normally I would have just used the two bags.)  Of course, you need to soak the beans overnight first.  Then DUMP THAT WATER, and put them into the crockpot along with the bacon fat, and cook them on low for about….ten hours?  That’s how long I cooked them, then I just put them in the fridge overnight because I needed to go to bed.  I had to stir a bit throughout the day because the water level couldn’t be high enough to completely cover all my beans (too many beans – oh well) or it would have overflowed every time I put the lid back on to the crockpot (like it did the first time I tried to put it on.)  The next day, I added about 3 Tablespoons of olive oil to a huge skillet (3 Tbsp to each of the two skillets I used) and then scooped in beans and the bit of water left to “fry” them in the oil.  This is the only reason I can imagine that they’re called “refried” – because you boil them and then fry them in some sort of oil.  At least, that’s how I do it. 🙂

Cooked down a bit and adding spices

Now you just add your spices, and then mash!! You could put them in a food processor, but that’s not how I roll.  I like my refried beans and my mashed potatoes nice and lumpy, so I can remember that I made them from scratch! 🙂

The same spices I used in the salsa – garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder, along with salt.

Mix in the spices — this is how much I used per skillet, so a rough estimate for one average sized (24 oz) bag of beans.     I added 3- 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp Cumin, 1 -1/2 tsp chili powder, and 1- 1/2 tsp garlic powder to each pan.  Then I mashed, mashed, mashed.

Here’s how they turned out:

If you continue to cook it, the beans just dry out, so eat it right away.  I then bagged it up in 2 cup portions and ended up with 7 baggies, 2 cups apiece, plus the beans we had for dinner and the ones we ate at lunch the next day.  Score.  When you reheat them in the future, add in some extra water as you stir.

Now for the Salsa – the KEY to my salsa, which has always been a hit with my husband, is that I put certain stuff in the food processor first and chop it up til it is no longer recognizable, and then I chop tomatoes up coarsely in the machine just with a few pulses and add them to the green glop.  That way it’s properly mixed but still chunky.  First off I process the jalapenos, cilantro, garlic cloves, green onion, lime juice and spices together, along with 1 tomato for added juice.

On the way to becoming green gloppiness

Put the green stuff into your salsa container.  It should be unedible because it is both too salty and too spicy.  Then process however many tomatoes you need and add them to the bowl of green stuff and then stir.  Simple!  I sometimes have to add more tomatoes to dilute the spiciness.  Amounts really vary of all the ingredients, so I can only list them as “best guesses.”

Homemade Crockpot Refried Pinto Beans

2 bag beans

grease from one pack of cooked bacon

spices:

2 Tbsp Cumin

7 tsp salt

3 tsp chili powder

3 tsp garlic powder

Homemade Salsa

4-8 tomatoes

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch green onions

6 cloves garlic

2-6 jalapenos

salt, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder

juice of two limes

CUMIN is the do-not-leave-it-out spice in this recipe!

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