Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora
Coming from someone who co-owns a catering business, Meat-me-at-the-Grill with her husband, the term “Meatless Monday” in the food blog world sounds sacrilegious. I love meat. All kinds of Meat, but I do agree, we all need to give our body a rest from Meat at least once a week. As a matter of fact, I was raised not eating much meat. Days that we didn’t have meat with our dinner, it was usually some type of bean. Pinto, Kidney, Navy, Black-eye peas, Lima or Black beans, you name it, I ate them all. Still do!
Not only are beans a great source of a fiber filled diet, they are a great energy booster and incredible for lowering blood sugar levels. Who doesn’t need a little energy boost after shopping for family and friends and then entertaining them too! Maintaining a healthy sugar level during the holiday’s is extremely important, this is the season when most of us over indulge a bit on all the homemade cookies, cakes and pies from grandma and auntie, and yes the men that bake too! My husband can bake a mean “Sweet Potato Pie”, but I digress.
Kwanzaa is officially beginning in a couple of days and many of us are uniting with family and friends for celebrations, which is the first principle of Kwanzaa, “Unity” of community. I thought about a favorite snack I usually make for family and friends gatherings. It’s quick, easy, and nutritious and is always enjoyed around family and friends. Although I don’t have an official name for it yet, I call them beanie bites, until I can think of something more appealing. All of the ingredients are cooked in a crock pot. Once the required cooking time is complete, you can serve as a dip with chips or as I’ve incorporated using flour tortillas in a muffin sheet for a hard shell to fill my base of ingredients. If you want to make it even quicker, you can use canned beans and just drop them into your crock pot.
You can add or delete ingredients to this recipe, countless ways to make this your own special dish. And yes, you can add meat too. I usually add smoked chicken breast or smoked turkey which adds a special flavor to the beans along with a special secret ingredient, which I’m going to share… African Smoke Spice! If you can find it at your local market, you can order online or use any Cajun seasoning. The main staple of this recipe calls for three types of beans (black, pinto and kidney) you can add your favorite, be creative.
I like to cook my own dry beans. Depending on how many types I’m adding to the recipe, I will just cut half of the portion of each of the beans (pinto, red, kidney) in a 16 oz. bag and cook them all together in the crock pot. I normally cheat and just add a can or two of black beans, since you don’t want the black beans to cook completely with the other beans. The beanie bites would quickly become over-powered by the black bean flavor.
Beanie Bites (Quick and Easy Way)
1 can of black beans*
1 can of pinto beans*
1 can of dark kidney beans*
1 can of red beans*
1 to 2 cans of whole corn
1 lg. can of diced tomatoes
1 sm can of Rotel (mild or spicy)
1 pkg of ranch Seasoning Mix
1 pkg of taco Seasoning Mix
¼ tsp African Smoke Spice or Cajun seasoning (season to your preference)
Mix in all of the ingredients and simmer in your crockpot for about 3 hours.
*Note: You can substitute any bean you prefer.
Heat oven to 350
Spray your muffin pan and cut a large enough circle out of your flour tortilla to cover your muffins. Shape your tortilla in your pan and place in the oven to brown and slightly firm for about 5 mins. Take out of the oven and start to fill tortilla cups with your bean mixture. Place back in oven for about 10-15 mins. Remove and top with shredded cheese or add your favorite garnish.
Enjoy this time with family and friends. Unity is what keeps our family and community strong.
Joi Disroe is a grazer of good, sustainable food. Joi has been married to the Pit-Master of Meat-Me-At-The-Grill Catering for over 20 years, you can call her the CFO (Chief of Food Officer -Planning, Styling, Designing, & writing). As a Health and Wellness professional, Joi is learning to appreciate all things healthy and sustainable. “It’s not easy, a daily challenge, but certainly achievable.” Grilling and entertaining family and friends is her true passion. Lover of Rustic Culinary kitchens… You will find Joi somewhere in one… Creating, Cooking and Writing… doing what matters most. Follower her on Facebook/Meat-me-at-the-Grill and Twitter @Joiful and @MeatmeatheGrill.