10-Second Recipes: Beans Are One of the Only Foods That Don't Bust Food Budgets
April 1, 2013
10-Second Recipes: Beans Are One of the Only Foods That Don't Bust Food Budgets
(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

Most curious family cooks who peruse Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine's list of the nine foods expected to have the highest price increases in 2013 probably would hope to hit upon an entire popular classification not affected and then plan menus around those less expensive options.

Good luck.

As the list goes on, one quickly realizes that virtually every major food group is among the nine: beef, pork, poultry, seafood, milk/cheese, fruit, vegetables, sugar, and bread/cereal.

Other than no-nutritive-value sugar, consumption of the rest is how most of us sustain ourselves. A bright spot not on this list seemed to be soybeans, the ingredient for vegan protein meal alternatives tofu and tempeh, as well as soymilk and many other selections. However, research shows that soy is one of the hardest hit crops of all, and it will have some of the most major price increases, including for its oil, which is a component of many additional products.

Like the other foods above, such as fruits, vegetables and grains, soy is drought impacted and in short supply.

Experts note that the one relief seems to be legumes, and home cooks should be relieved since they are such a nutritious, versatile foodstuff. Legumes and beans, which are their edible seeds, are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. They have been the best friends of vegetarians and vegans because of these excellent attributes.

Dried beans provide the best of everything and are soaked before use. Canned are convenient and only slightly more expensive and less nutritious. Use either (dried beans that you've soaked and readied, or canned beans) in any of the suggestions that follow.

Choices are vast. Just a few examples include black, white (cannellini), navy, pinto, kidney, and garbanzos. Lentils, peas and peanuts are also legumes.

Since beans and legumes range from flavorful to barely any flavor, they often can be pureed and used to "beef up" other dishes, like including them in meat burgers or meatloaf, thick soups or small dollops in smoothies also flavored by fruits.

Fun fare like this also proves cooking can be easy, nutritious, economical, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
Three-Bean Salad Lettuce Cups
Mix garbanzo, kidney and black beans with champagne vinegar and sesame oil, and marinate (covered) in the refrigerator overnight. Drain and reserve marinade for immediate use only. Place mounds of the bean mixture in pairs of butter lettuce leaves that first have been sprinkled lightly with Chinese five-spice seasoning (usually available in the spice aisles of supermarkets) and drizzle with the marinade.
Lentil Soup with Spicy Bean "Meatballs"
Puree pinto beans with black pepper, salt substitute and curry powder. In a bowl, mix puree well with egg or egg substitute and a small amount of whole-grain breadcrumbs. Roll into mini "meatballs" and lightly sauté carefully in a skillet in small amount of canola or olive oil until crispy. Heat store-bought or homemade lentil soup and add a few heated "meatballs" just before serving.
Cheers for this Peppy Peanut Chicken
Stir well into creamy peanut butter, finely minced garlic, red onions, red bell pepper, black pepper, and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper. Before baking skinless chicken breasts, brush the peanut sauce over them and brush carefully again halfway through baking, saving some of the unused glaze to serve on the side as a dipping sauce.
Yes, Those Are Beans in Your Brownies
Replace half of the fat in your brownie batter with a puree of black beans. Replace one-eighth of the chocolate with unsweetened cocoa powder, which is the type that stabilizes blood sugar and has antioxidants. Puree white beans (cannellini) with additional unsweetened cocoa powder and a natural sugar-free sweetener, like stevia, and pipe through the cut end of a plastic bag as a decorative frosting (e.g. making a spot decoration or border, not frosting over the entire brownie).

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Enjoy calcium-rich cheese - like the trim French do - as a dessert alternative on a platter where unusual, distinctive choices are featured. Pose a challenge to your family to see if they can notice when cheese, which has fat and cholesterol, is missing from their everyday sandwiches, burgers or other dishes when you instead have loaded up those items with vegetables and healthful spreads, like hummus, mustard, aioli, pesto or olive tapenade.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.

Posted by Staff at 12:01 AM