Hubby Dear had a very long, hard day at work yesterday. His job is stressful on the best of days, but he got in a heated situation with a difficult colleague and it ruined his day. (Editorial comment time: I don't understand why some women want to be treated as equals in the workplace but demand special treatment and privileges because they are a woman. Sometimes you just have to suck it up, buttercup, and do the job you were hired to do. But what do I know? I'm "only" a stay-at-home mom...) When he came home depressed and discouraged, I knew just how to cheer him up. How about a bowl of warm, savory stew seasoned with the essence of summer?
My Quick Red Bean Stew uses food storage-friendly ingredients and gets its delicious flavor from the addition of a generous dollop of basil pesto. I make and freeze pesto from my garden every summer. I cannot describe to you how wonderful it is to have the goodness of fragant basil captured for use in the dead of winter! I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays; one batch of pesto fills 5 cubes. I store the frozen cubes together in a ziplock bag and simply pull out what I need for a given recipe. I use two cubes for this recipe.
My kind of frozen assets
Unfortunately, it appears thatit is not safe to can your own pesto. Bummer! I'd love to be able to make my pesto shelf-stable. The stuff you can buy at the store is OK, I guess, but it has a bunch of fillers added to it and does not taste remotely as good as homemade.
I think the stew helped to get Hubby Dear out of his funk. The chocolate ice cream he chased it down with might also have had something to do with it, but I'd like to think it was mostly the stew!
Quick Red Bean Stew, based on a recipe published in Cooking Light magazine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms OR about 1 1/2 c. dehydrated mushrooms, rehydrated according to package directions*
1 cup diced carrot OR about 1/3 c. dehydrated carrot dices, rehydrated according to package directions*
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained OR about 2/3 c. dry kidney beans, cooked
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14-ounce) can beef broth OR beef bouillon prepared to equal 2 cups broth, according to package directions
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons pesto (homemade, homemade frozen, or commercially canned)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh or the sawdust variety in the green can that lasts forever)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and carrot; sauté 4 minutes. Adjust sauteing time as necessary if you're using rehydrated products (you don't want your veggies super-crunchy or mushy). Stir in water and the next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Stir in pesto; if you are using frozen pesto, stir it around a little in the stew and give it some time to thaw before serving. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups stew and 1 tablespoon cheese)
I was once pretty clueless when it came to "prepping". Follow my journey towards self-reliance as I explore gardening, food storage, canning, animal husbandry and other homesteading and survival-related topics.
Our Sad Harvest stats for 2012 - The Year of the Big Drought
1,645 chicken eggs & 124 duck eggs
-4 large bundles of oregano
-40 heads of garlic, some of which I dehydrated and processed into garlic powder
-1 bushel of onions
13 half-pints of blackberry jam
1 gallon of green bell peppers
4 pints of frozen blackberries
2 heritage turkeys (and after we ate them 8 pints of turkey bone broth)
Harvest 2011 (not counting what we ate fresh)
16 family-sized packages of green beans 4 gallons of green peppers 1 gallon of jalapenos 1 gallon of poblano peppers
9 pints of blackberries
Several batches of basil pesto
5 c. pumpkin puree
24 half -pints of blackberry jam 5 pints of dilled green beans 1 half-pint of dried parsley 3 pints of dried oregano leaves 8 quarts and a pint of spaghetti sauce 5 half-pints of salsa jam 5 pints of salsa