Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dinner Week #1 Black Bean & Avocado Salad

A few weeks ago my friend did a recipe week on her blog. Each day she posted one or two recipes that are her go-to dinners. We all have our favorite recipes that are easy, and awesome, and that we know our families will eat (for the most part.) But until I read Lindsay's Recipe Week, I guess I assumed everyone had the same ones as me. Not so. Every single thing she posted was new to my rotation and offered a welcome reprieve from our same old dinner rut.

So as I sat the next Tuesday night, painfully trying to put together a menu and shopping list for the week, I realized that although I don't think twice about my standby's, they might be new to someone else. Someone like you. I immediately listed 15 off the top of my head, so proud of that, and then edited for variety to give you 7 days of maybe-different-than-you-always-make dinners. Fall always seems to bring tight scheduling, so it might be nice to have at least one week of meal planning done for you! A short word on that (meal planning). I've visited this before, but I know you don't want to go back in the archives. Here is how I kind of do it:

  • I keep a file folder of all the scribbled weekly meal plans I've made over the last two years or so, so I often turn to that for ideas. The recipes you'll get this week feature often on those papers.

  • I also usually try to do one slow cooker dish a week. I have a binder of crockpot recipes that I collect from everywhere - magazines, online, friends, cookbooks. Believe it or not, I have been trying new ones ever since Slow Cooker Week two years ago, and still don't have enough good ones for another Slow Cooker Week. But I keep at it. Once in awhile there is a gem. When I get seven, I'll let you know.

  • One night is always leftovers. If there are no leftovers in the house, which is rare, it is hot dogs or pancakes or grilled cheese or whatever else can be thrown together.

  • I subscribe to a few cooking magazines. When they come, I flip through and tear out recipes I like. Then I file them in a hanging file box. It's more fun to go through the file box than a cookbook because I already know I like every recipe.

  • Spaghetti or pancakes every Monday night. On paper plates. Or else we would never have Family Home Evening.

  • Finally, I have a new favorite cookbook - America's Test Kitchen's The Best 30-Minute Recipes. These guys make great magazines and great cookbooks and I have had a lot of success with this one, though I've only had it a few months. So I often pull one or two recipes from there. The ingredients are generally simple, they do not take long to make, and so far they've all turned out well.
I am starting the week with one of my newest favorite recipes that I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF this summer. My friend Ashley brought it to an end-of-year thing for our Peewee group and I wanted to eat the whole bowl. Since then I have made it at least five times. Ed and I eat it with Scoops chips for dinner and that's it. And it's totally healthy. Unless you eat it with a whole bag of chips. Which we do because it's sooo good. The girls will eat a little but the flavors are a bit mature for their taste. All the more for us.

Ashley's Black Bean & Avocado Salad

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
1 red pepper, minced
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/8 cup olive oil
2 avocados, cubed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine first 8 ingredients (black beans through cumin) in a large bowl. In a small lidded container shake lime juice and olive oil until blended; pour over salad. Add avocados, salt and pepper just before serving and toss gently with clean hands. Serve with tortilla chips and some awesome drink, like Coconut Lime Chiller.

Coconut Lime Chiller

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup lime sherbet
1/4 cup frozen limeade concentrate (not thawed or diluted)
Lime slices and/or mint, optional
Place milk, sherbet and concentrate in a blender; blend until smooth. Pour into frosted glasses; garnish with lime slices or mint. Makes two servings.


tona said...

This dressing looks easy, but if you want to go even easier... this dish is a standby in our after-church "choir snacks" rotation and our friend makes it with all the same veggie ingredients you list, except plus a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis, and then the dressing is just Wishbone Lite Italian. I know, it doesn't sound like Italian would go with it, but it works amazingly.

I can't wait for the other ones! I am one of those time-strapped people in September and thank goodness I have someone else to help me plan, with all-new-for-me recipes! Love.

Emily said...

I heartily agree that menu-planning is painful. So, besides the chips, do you eat this with anything else? It sounds great. Looking forward to your recipes! I've already cut and pasted your skinny joes one b/c i hate Manwich sauce.

Disco Mom said...

I say we just eat them with chips because it makes a big bowl, and if just Ed and I are eating it, it's a big dinner. But if this is truly a side salad type dish, serve with grilled chicken or maybe tacos, you know, anything in that flavor palate. Maybe along with Lindsay's Baja Tilapia Tacos!

Shells said...

Black beans and avocados are two of my favorite things in the world. And coconut is in the top 10, so I have got to try this.

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