yesterday (decided to spend time with family and never finished this post yesterday) two days ago was some big game, I think they call it the Super Bowl. Obviously I am a BIG football fan. However, even though I have absolutely no desire to watch football, I do appreciate any chance to eat lots of food so I took advantage of this day. Oh and if you were wondering who I was rooting for, Josh told me to say, “Go Packers!” So I would say that is who I was cheering on, if you can call it that…and conveniently they won!
Back to the food. For a little pre-game snack we had some multi-grain chips and hummus. I have no pictures because I made neither item and that would just feel like cheating. Moving on…
I will say that I look for any excuse to have Mexican food and since we aren’t eating out while we are on a spending freeze, I do my best to replicate my most favorite local Mexican restaurant (La Hacienda if you didn’t already know). Seriously, those of you who live in or visit Salem..please do not try to convince me that there is a better place out there. I will not believe you. Oh and the other reason why I was craving Mexican food and thus decided to cook it for the big game was because of this beautiful lady. She makes some tempting looking food.
That is part of our big spread. My stomach grew two sizes after consumption. Here is the thing, those tortillas made the meal. Honestly, I would like to say that I made them from scratch, but that would be lying. I actually found them at Costco. I had no idea about them, I actually got the idea from this other fabulous lady. They are just slightly cooked, so you finish the cooking process and voila! You have tortillas that taste super fresh. They are as good with fillings as they are without. I will never buy regular tortillas in the store again. No way.
Our family has also been striving to eat less canned food. Before this decision our cart would be filled to the brim with cans. We love food that doesn’t spoil quickly and beans were our biggest purchase. So, to limit our consumption of canned items (thus reducing our exposure to icky BPA) I am now cooking up big batches of beans in the crockpot and freezing them in individuals bags. So far I have done black beans and pinto beans. Seriously, homemade refried beans are SO much better than the dog food version at the store. They do take some getting used to (unless you choose to WAY over salt them like the canned variety), but once you have tried them you may not go back. Here is my rundown of how I get things done:
Take the bag of dried pinto beans and toss them into a colander. Rinse under cold water and pick out all the icky pieces (shriveled beans, beans that are split in half, and rocks). Throw the cleaned up beans into your crockpot (you need a big one for this). Pour in enough water so that there is an extra 2 inches above your beans. Put the lid on. Let it sit overnight and DO NOT TURN ON.
The next morning get up and dump out the water and beans into your colander again. Rinse. Put back into the crockpot with an extra inch of water above the beans. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours (cooking time varies, but you want them very tender). Once done save a good amount of water and then dump the rest of the water.
Put beans back into crockpot and add some cumin, kosher salt (any salt works, but I love the taste of kosher), pepper, chili powder, a dash of lime juice, some hot sauce if you feel like it (Tapatio is my preferred brand), the reserved bean water as needed, and lots of garlic powder (I also add some fresh minced garlic at the beginning of the cooking process). I would give you measurements, but I never measure anything so just add them until it tastes good. Then just smash away with your favorite potato masher or you can throw into a blender or food processor, your choice. You can then choose to throw them in a pan with olive oil and do the actual “refried” part, but we liked it better when I didn’t do it and it saved us a bunch of time skipping this step. Your call.
For freezing purposes I took about 1 2/3 cup of beans that had cooled off in the crockpot, threw them in a quart freezer bag, smooshed flat, and freezed. Works like a charm. When reheating just throw into a saucepan with a little bit of water over low heat and you have some yummy beans.
I’m hoping to share my recipe for the Mexican rice I made. Definitely not award winning, and probably not completely authentic, but it tasted good and that is what I was going for.