Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sometimes its not all about paper....

While I love scrapbooking, I also love to cook!  It is another way I can create and be inventive.  I love making up recipes that I "taste" in my mind before they become a reality, and I think that 98% of the time, my "concoctions" come out the way I planned them!

My oldest son eats a Vegan diet, and I try to cook something that both he, and the rest of the family will eat as often as I can.  When I saw this big box of Black Bean Pasta at Costco a few weeks ago, I thought it would be a great healthy way for all of us to enjoy pasta, and get lots of great protein and fiber while we were at it.

Well, black beans make me think Mexican, so I FIRST took a block of Extra Firm Tofu and pressed it in a colander between paper towels, and with a heavy pot on it to squeeze out much of the water.  I let it sit for @ 1 hr that way, then diced it up in @ 1/2" cubes.  I then blended the following spices:
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika 
Salt and Black Pepper
I tossed the Tofu with the spice mixture then put it in the refrigerator for @ 2hrs.

When ready to prepare dinner - Add a little Olive Oil to a deep saute pan and add the Tofu.  Stir and cook until some of the sides are a little crispy - remove from pan and set aside.

To make the sauce - add a little more Olive Oil to the same pan with the left over seaonings and Saute the following:
1 Large Onion - finely chopped
1 Large Red Bell Pepper -1/2 finely chopped, 1/2 coarsely chopped
1 Med. size Jalapeno Pepper - NO SEEDS, finely chopped
3-4 Cloves of Garlic -finely chopped
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Coriander
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika 
Salt and Black Pepper

Once they are translucent / soft, add:
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
(1) 14.5oz Can of Diced Tomatoes - not drained
(1) 11oz Can (drained) of Green Giant Mexican Corn (with peppers)

Let it all simmer on low to reduce some of the liquid - if needed -thicken with a little arrowroot or cornstarch.  Then add the Tofu that you set aside.

Now cook the Black Bean Pasta according to the directions - I used about 3 handfuls - ( it came in a big box with just one big bag -so I guessed how much for 4 servings - we ended up with enough for tomorrow night too!)
I only cooked it for 7 mins - then drained it and rinsed it with cold water.

I then added @ 3 Tablespoons of fresh chopped Cilantro to the sauce and tossed it all together in a big bowl - sprinkling a little more chopped Cilantro on top.
We all enjoyed it and are looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

*Disclaimer - This Black Bean Pasta is NOT a substitute for regular pasta - if you try that, you will probably be disappointed. While it does not have a strong black bean flavor - does have a different texture than regular pasta.  I've done some research on Pinterest, and hope to try a version of shrimp scampi with it, and maybe a roasted butternut squash version too!  Stay tuned....  :-)

Thanks for stopping by, let me know if you try this -or if you have any other ideas!


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