Black Bean Tamale Casserole

Tamale black bean casserole9

Home Cooking During Covid-19

I cook for stress management, personal expression, and because I have a spouse who loves my cooking.

That said, as of today there’s no shortage of dry or canned beans in the markets in our area, though if like me, your’re housebound and you have to have groceries delivered, you may not get your first choice of bean or brand. I ordered dried Navy beans. Out of stock. They sent dried black beans instead “Even better!” said my Tex Mex Soul.

So, how to cook dried black beans? Put them in your Instant Pot*, cover with about an inch of water. Add granulated onion,, dried garlic, cumin, red pepper and salt to taste. Toss in a beef bouillon cube, the peel and segments of one small orange or tangerine (extra points if you can peel it in one long strip).

Process for 25 minutes. Let pressure naturally release.

Couldn’t be easier.

*If you don’t have an Instant Pot, use a dutch oven or large saucepan. Pre-soak (or quick soak by boiling for 2 minutes, covering and let sit for two hours) then add seasonings and cook for about 40 minutes.


Beef and Black Bean Tamale Casserole

Lots of options and short-cuts if you like, but there’s something very rewarding about home cooking for those you love. If you cook your own beans, toss in some orange zest along with onion, garlic and cumin to really get the flavor going!

2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large Clove garlic — thinly sliced
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)
1 tsp southwest seasoning (or a mix of cumin, chipotle, pepper, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups masa flour
2 chicken or beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups hot water
1 tsp oil (to grease baking pan)
1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese

1. If cooking from scratch, prepare the beans.

2. Brown the beef, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Drain if there is any grease.

3. Add the tomatoes, southwestern spices and beans. Adjust seasoning if needed. Simmer about half an hour to meld flavors.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the crust by combining the masa harina with the hot water and bouillon. Cover and let sit while the filling simmers.

5. Grease the bottom of a heavy casserole or oven proof skillet.

6. Spread half the crust into the bottom of the pan.

7. Spoon in the filling. Top with half the cheese.

8. Spoon the remaining crust over the filling. Smooth with the back of a spoon.

9. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

10. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and cooked through.

11. Serve with Salsa and Guacamole. (optional)

Servings: 6

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Oven Temperature: 350°F

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/6 of a recipe (11.1 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients. 2 of the recipe’s ingredients were not linked. These ingredients are not included in the recipe nutrition data.

Nutrition Tamale Beef Black Bean Casserole

Recipe Type: Gluten-Free, Main Dish

Applesauce Bread Pudding

So you’ve gone full Pandemic Pioneer Woman..baking, preserving, conserving. What are you going to do with the leftovers?


Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9″ baking dish. Tear half a loaf of leftover bread into tablespoon size pieces. Add to the dish. Top with a cup of chunky applesauce. Sprinkle on a generous amount of spice (I used cinnamon and cardamom). In a 2 cup pyrex measure in the microwave, melt two tablespoons butter. Stir in 4 tablespoons sugar, two eggs and a healthy dash of salt. Add enough milk or cream to measure 2 cups. Mix well and pour over the bread and applesauce. Bake at 350 until slightly puffed, set and golden. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Bread

whole wheat bread

Nothing smells better than fresh baked homemade bread. Moist and fragrant with a hint of spice, this one is easy enough for inexperienced bakers but worthy of an artisan shop.

Cooking and baking are therapeutic, especially in the cold, grey, and often wet times of the year when we find ourselves housebound. (Or when you;re under a “stay at home” order during a pandemic!) Besides, baking is good for your soul, and I’m convinced that bread is the original source of aroma therapy. This one, especially if you add some ground spices, is comfort food for body and spirit.

This recipe only requires about half an hour of active time. Of the three and half hours from pantry to cooling rack, a good three hours are taken up by the dough’s quietly rising while you are free to do other things.

You don’t have to be a master baker to do this. Follow the directions and think good thoughts. Or, as my mom used to do, use the time spent kneading the dough to work out your frustrations on something productive.

If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can let it do the mixing and kneading, but honestly, I think that removes half the fun…

If your oven has a “proof” setting use it! If not, just be sure to let the dough rise in a warm (not hot) draft-free place.



1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups warm water about 115°F
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt (less if you’re watching sodium intake)
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)


1. In a large bowl, add the yeast to the warm water. Let sit up to five minutes.

2. Combine the melted butter, sugar and eggs. Beat lightly with a fork. Pour into yeast mixture

3. Mix the salt and flours in a large bowl. Add to the yeast/egg mixture. Don’t be timid about it. Just pour it in.

4. Using a fork, a spoon, or your own hands, stir to form a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 6-8 minutes, adding more flour if needed to make a smooth, elastic dough.

5. Return dough to a greased bowl. Turn to coat all surfaces. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes.

6. Form into loaves** and place in lightly greased bread pans (9″x 4″). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

7. Turn out of pans and cool on rack. Makes to large loaves. Freezes well.

8. **To form loaves: Divide dough into two pieces. Flatten each into a 9″x6″ rectangle. Working from the short edge, roll dough into a snug cylinder. It will get longer as you roll. Pinch the edges (sides and bottom) together. Tuck ends under. Place in pan seam side down.

Servings: 24
Yield: 2 large loaves

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 3 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes

Oven Temperature: 350°F

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/24 of a recipe (2.5 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

nutrition whole wheat bread

Survival Stew

survival stew

My mother, may she rest in peace, was like most folk who grew up poor and hungry in Appalachia in the 1930’s, always very frugal. To the day she died (in 2012) she was embarrassed by her childhood and worried about whether her cooking, housekeeping and personal appearance were good enough. As a consequence, she was a great cook, a beautiful woman and great housekeeper. But more importantly, she always took care that every meal she prepared and served was delicious, wholesome, and made with love. And she never, ever, let on that in the early years of my life we, too, were very nearly as poor as she had been.

I remember one meal in particular — fried potatoes and brown cream gravy on toast. We thought it as a feast, never knowing when we ate it four nights a week that it was because Dad’s foreign duty military paychecks were late in arriving (again) and that she had bought the potatoes and bread on credit at the local market. She was that good.

I finally figured that out when I was a young mom and shopping had to wait until the next payday. In my case, the meal was called “Survival Stew” and I made it from whatever left-overs, fresh vegetables and cans of tomatoes I had in the pantry. My sons loved it, and my eldest still makes it and shares the “recipe” with his friends.

Now a days when I am blessed to have more than I need, I still make the soup when I am feeling especially stressed out, frustrated by life or just plain sad. Just smelling it on the stove is a reminder of the continuity of human experience, the goodness of life, and all the folks in every age who stand over a soup pot, cooking whatever they have with love and gratitude. ~ Glyn

Today’s Version
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 can kidney beans ( or any canned bean you have on hand)
1 can (15 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups water
4 herb-ox vegetable, beef or chicken bouillon cube
basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup savory sauce (soy, tamari, etc)
1/4 cup dried pasta (optional)

1. Saute and drain the ground beef. Set aside.

2. Saute the onion, garlic and celery in the vegetable oil.

3. Return the beef to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well and bring to a boil,

4. Reduce the heat, and simmer for one hour.

5. Adjust seasoning and serve with muffins of biscuits or crackers.

Servings: 8

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe (17.3 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients. 2 of the recipe’s ingredients were not linked. These ingredients are not included in the recipe nutrition data.

nutrition survival stew

Recipe Type: Gluten-Free, Soups, Vegetables

Homemade Matzoh



NOTE: I’ve just learned that this recipe IS NOT Kosher for Passover.

This recipe is my take on homemade Matzoh, adapted from the basic recipe on

Start to finish, it can be made in under 18 minutes if you preheat the oven first. I made these fairly thick and they cooked for about 8 minutes. The thinner they are the less time they take to cook. This makes 5 (quarter inch thick loaves), or 10 thin ones. They crisp as they cool.

They taste good and are more akin to what was eaten at the original Passover than the ones we buy at the market. But, strictly speaking,its just unleavened bread, not Matzoh.

Preheat oven to 500 F.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup warm water (plus more if needed)

Combine all ingredients. Mix into a shaggy dough. Squeeze together, adding more water by the tsp. if needed to hold together. Knead until smooth (about 5 minutes.) Tear off a chunk and roll as thinly as you desire. The thinner, the faster it will cook. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, poke holes in the surface. If you want to salt them, brush lightly with water (use your fingertips) and sprinkle on additional kosher salt.

Bake at 500 until the tops begin to brown in spots (thick ones take about 3-4 minutes per side. Use a spatula to turn. Bake other side until brown in spots. Remove from oven and cool. They will crisp as they cool.

Instant Pot Dried Bean and Meatball Stew

Dried Bean and Meatball Stew3

Since many of us will be home-bound for the indefinite future, may not get to the market as often as we normally do, and are learning/re-learning how to cook with canned goods and staple grains, I’m thinking we can all use some one pot meals. This one takes advantage of Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooking techniques, but don’t worry if you don’t have one! Just soak the beans overnight (or in a pinch use the quick soaking method below*)

The Meatballs are optional. If you’re between grocery deliveries, or planning a meatless meal, just leave them out. The bean stew is tasty and very nutritional. Make substitutes as needed, and use what you have on hand.

Don’t be put off by the cooking times — they’re inactive! This stew cooks on it’s own while you do all the other things on your social distancing to do list.

Best of all, this dish is delicious! Also Gluten Free.

To quick soak beans: Cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Cover and let sit for two hours. Proceed with the recipe as a traditional stove top stew.

2 cups dried beans (I used Gigantes Greek Beans, but any bean will do)
4 cups water
1 tsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tbsp dried tomato flakes

1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
2 tbsp breadcrumbs (or gluten-free or oatmeal)
1/2 tsp dried onion
1/8 tsp granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried mint

Part One:

1. Place all ingredients in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Process until beans are done. Check your owner’s manual or online for how long to cook. The Gigantes Beans take a full hour, but other beans may be as little as 25 minutes.

2. If using traditional cooking method, place all part one ingredients in a dutch oven or soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the beans are done.

Part Two:

1. If using an instant pot, change function to slow cooker. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Form into walnut sized meatballs. Nestle the meatballs into the cooked beans. Cover and slow cook for several hours, until meatballs are done and the flavors have melded.

2. If using a slow cooker or stovepot method, combine all part two ingredients. Shape into meatballs, Nestle into the cooked beans. Bring to a bubble, reduce heat, cover and cook slowly until done, at least one hour. Keep warm.

Servings: 6

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/6 of a recipe (11.3 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving

nutrition dried bean and meatball stew

Recipe Type: Beans and Legumes, Gluten-Free, Main Dish, Meat, Vegetables



It is said that in Ireland, there are as many recipes for Colcannon as there are cooks. My mother, of blessed memory, had roots in Clan Kennedy and was a beautiful representative of the Scots Irish of Western North Carolina. She often made a dish which she called hot potato salad. Because it contained bacon and onion, I always thought it was a variation of German potato salad. But thinking about it today, I suspect it was an echo of Colcannon.

I don’t have her recipe; but here, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day is my interpretation of the dish. It serves 8 as a side dish or four as a main.

If you don’t eat bacon, just omit it. Maybe adding additional chopped onions for crunch.


1/2 head cabbage, cored and chopped
1 tbsp chicken bouillon granules
4 cups water
4 oz bacon, diced, fried and drained (fat reserved)
4 medium russet potatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 green onions, sliced OR 2 tsp. dried, reconstituted chives
salt, pepper and additional butter to taste

1. Combine the chicken bouillon granules with the water. Bring to a boil. Add the chopped cabbage and cook until tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking broth. Keep warm

2. Meanwhile, cook and drain the bacon, reserving about 2 tbsp of the rendered fat.

3. Peel, coarsely chop and boil the potatoes in salted water. While they cook, saute the onion in the bacon fat. Drain, and stir into the cabbage.

4. Drain and mash the potatoes. Stir in the butter, and green onions or reconstituted chives,

5. Combine the potatoes with the cabbage mixture, adding reserved bouillon broth as needed.

6. Correct seasoning as needed and serve topped with a dollop of butter.

Servings: 8

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe (8 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients. One of the recipe’s ingredients was not linked. This ingredient is not included in the recipe nutrition data.

Amount Per Serving

colcannon nutrition

Recipe Type: Gluten-Free, Holiday, Vegetables

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