Thursday, August 16, 2012

Greens & Beans - Not your ordinary recipe, frugal recipe and thoughts...

I am attempting to cook from the pantry/freezers only this week.  My pantry is literally overflowing and so are my freezers.  With the "oncoming drought warning", I am trying to stockpile and make sure my family can and will be blessed with amazing foods and we will be prepared for the upcoming price increases!!   However, I have to rotate the stock, and make room for more.  I  am not trying to scare you or be the bearer of bad news, alas my friends, this is the truth and it's all over the news!!
I know that I will be making more "one pot meals", from scratch bread and baked goods and keep a good supply of basic ingredients.  I will also freeze more, and starting this weekend I will be canning some chutney's etc.  America as we "knew it" has changed, the news are stating that, the world has already stated it, so let's get prepared!!!

One of my ultimate favorite blogs for ideas and inspirations is:  Mr. Food website found here
His website is one of my ultimate "to go to for  ideals"!!  Every time I am looking for inspiration or better yet an explanation, I always visit the website.  It's bookmarked and highly used!!!

As for my "frugal blogs"; my favorite frugal blog "frugalmakescents" introduced me to the second blog listed, and I gotta tell you, I'm hooked!!
The menus and ideas these amazing women have and prepare literally blew me away.  Great meals prepared at home all without breaking the bank on simple pantry ingredients!!!  Links are below.


theprudenthomemaker - how to eat beans every night

So back to the recipe...
step dad had given me a giant garbage bag full of picked Vlita (aka wild greens)  Vlita   .  Mine were wild from our 2 amazing farmer friends that have absolutely adopted my mom and aunts to clean their fields of  "weeds"!!    Vlita greens are so mild in taste reminiscent of spinach!!  They can be found also at such markets as Trader Joe's!
Now mind you, I do not like bitter greens of any kind, I will go only as far as broccoli rabbe, that's it.  Bitterness in a food does not thrill me or my family anyway, so when I tell you I love these greens, know that they are mild and slightly sweet in taste. They are organic and delicious!!  Trust me, I wont' steer you wrong!! *grin*
So, as I was washing and re-washing and bagging and freezing... dinner ideas crept into my mind. I knew the task of preparing the greens was time consuming, so I wanted something very fast, easy and delicious for dinner.

I have to tell you, "greens and beans" do not necessarily have to be "white beans" and "escarole"!!  They can be dandelion greens and pintos, they can be spinach and garbanzo beans, they can be beautiful swiss chard and lentils, kale & quoina, mustard and black beans...
You see where I'm going with the yes??

For tonight, I had 3/4 of an Italian loaf of bread that was starting to get stale.  Aha... I had ideas already!!  The girls and I would of been perfectly happy with the vegetarian versian of greens & beans  and bread, but I had to make "meat" for hubby!!
This is where my B1G1 Rosina meatballs come into play.  I save them for quick dinner and emergencies.  I counted this as an emergency!!!

So we start off with the bread to which I  basted with olive oil and sprinkled granulated garlic over the bread and a smidgen of sea salt.  Why did I baste my bread with olive oil?  Because the olive oil seeps right thru the bread and makes the entire bread slice crusty, not just the "top" as it does with butter only... YES! YES!!!  Bake at preheated 375F for 15-17 minutes... voila, the most crispiest, golden bread with amazing garlic olive oil flavor ever!!

Ready for the Greens & Beans recipe?  Here we go:

8 cups of greens, wild or picked or (2 pkgs)
2 cans of pink beans drained and rinsed
3 garlic cloves pressed
good pinch of pepper flakes
1-1/2 cups water
1 tsp chicken base (2 bouillon cubes)
1/4 cup olive oil + olive oil for finish drizzle

Cover the bottom of your sauce pan with olive oil and heat to medium/high heat.  Add your fresh pressed garlic and pinch of pepper flakes.
When garlic starts to turn golden, not brown (bitter, you DO NOT WANT THAT), add your fresh greens.

Don't worry, they will literally cook down in a matter of seconds.

Start turning your greens so all our coated with oil, and they start to wilt.

Once our greens have wilted, add your water and chicken base (bouillons). Let simmer for a few minutes till the hardiest parts of the greens have softened.

Notice the hardiest stems are now nice and soft and just delicious!!!

Next add your reserved beans.

Stir beans beans gently till evenly distributed, and let simmer for a few minutes till heated thru.  The starch in the beans will literally thicken the sauce!! Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

That was it!!  Seriously, how easy was that?  How many variations of your favorite greens and beans or grains can YOU MAKE??
Will you incorporate sauce, butter, olive oil?  Lemon and oil?  Butter and cheese?  The variations are endless!!  
I served these amazing greens and beans with baked frozen meatballs and homemade garlic bread.

Dinner was less than 30 minutes, literally from start to finish!!  We actually have leftovers for lunch tomorrow, much to hubby's delight!!!
So as I attempt to provide for my family with today's socieo-economic status at hand I encourage you as well my friends, to make homemade, think ahead and be prepared always!!!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi


  1. I too have some greens (spinach) in the fridge that I had intended to make for my husband. However, he is back in the hospital (4th time in 9 weeks!!) and I didn't get to use it. Can I cook it up and freeze it??? I'm sure I can but I'm not sure how. Do I need to do anything "special"?

    Thanks for the links. I've bookmarked them :)

  2. Colleen I am so sorry to hear about your husband!! I will keep you and your family in my prayers!!

    As for the spinach, absolutely you can cook it with say olive oil and garlic, let it cool and freeze in a container. Or prepare it how you were planning on cooking it prior and freeze, or even simpler, bag it fresh take out as much air as you can and freeze it whole!! That's my preferred method for greens!!

    Please take care if yourself as well okay? You need to be strong and healthy to be the caretaker!!

  3. Thanks Didi :) I appreciate your prayers. He is facing another surgery soon. God only gives us what we can handle so with His mercy and grace we'll get through whatever comes along.

    Have a great weekend.

    I cooked up the spinach with a little olive oil and garlic.

  4. You are correct my friend, God only gives us what we can handle, always!! Please keep me updated and take care of yourself as well, okay? Promise??