Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pinto Beans, Chicken Legs, and Strawberry Soup

Growing up we had Pinto Beans quite a bit. I hated them back then, but once I got older and moved away from home I found myself craving them upon occasion - not to mention wishing I knew how to make a cheap, easy, versatile dish. My dad gave me his recipe and told me it was "No fail"...of course I managed to somehow find the loophole in that. I'm a decent cook but for whatever reason simple Pinto Beans escaped me. Finally after trial and error (and browsing through many an online recipe) I succeeded! The dish was so delicious I decided to share it with you all in my first post around here...Hope you enjoy!

I served mine with Chicken legs, cornbread (Jiffy!) & A Strawberry dessert - but obviously you can do whatever your heart desires with yours...(Recipes are after the pictures)

Start out with a package of beans - mine was a little over 4 cups...a colander (for straining & searching for stowaway rocks)...Salt, Pepper, and Bacon or Salt Pork (the bacon/salt pork part is optional - but I would certainly recommend opting in!)

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Straining & Rock Searching...

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Beans in the pot with chopped up bacon...covered about 2 inches with water

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This is about 45 minutes to an hour in - it's also the stage where I always start to panic..."The juice is not going to thicken...IT'S NOT GOING TO THICKEN!(@*@)(! OMG *FLAIL*"

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But the little guys soldier on and lo and behold about an hour after that? Perfection.

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Chicken Ingredients...I used legs because that's what we had, but any type of chicken (or pork) will do.

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I cover my pan in foil because it's just so much easier to clean that way...Lay the onions on the bottom...

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Mix up the sauce (Again, Recipe is at the end) and dunk the chicken pieces. Swim little legs! Swim!

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Fit them in the pan like little puzzle pieces...& Stick 'em in the oven

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After a nice, warm vacation they'll look like this. Slightly browned - crispy skin...unless you remove the skin, in which case just...slightly browned.

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Strawberry Dessert time. Cast of Characters. Obviously you can use Sugar instead of Splenda...

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Rinse the Strawberries - as an aside if you keep one side of the sink filled with warm soapy water while you're cooking you can just toss everything you use in there one by one - keeps your kitchen cleaner & makes loading the dishwasher (or washing by hand) a breeze.

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Lop off their little green heads and throw into a food processor (or mixing bowl, or blender)

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Add the sweetener and give it a whirl...

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Once it's sweetened to taste - or almost to taste, add the cool whip (The cool whip adds more sugar, so it's better to under-sweeten with the sugar and then add more at the end if need be)

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I have a real sweet tooth, so after blending it all together I added more of both...I just love that color pink! Once you have it tasting like you want it, just pour it into dessert cups and stick it in the fridge or freezer until after dinner.

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...and the complete meal. I forgot to get a shot of dessert - so just use your imagination there (and if you can, imagine it really, really pretty because that'll make me feel less like a loser for forgetting the picture.)

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Click here for Chicken Hurry Recipe

The bean recipe is really too simple for words...


Bag of Beans
Bacon - a few slices will do, it's really up to how much or how little you like - you can also use Salt Pork
Salt & pepper


Rinse beans in a colander, and sort of pick through them to make sure no rocks or anything are mixed in. I don't know that I 100% believe the whole rock thing, I've never found anything in my bags but beans...of course now that I admit that, I'll have rocky pintos from here on out...

Some people like to fry the bacon in the pan before adding the beans, I just chop it up and toss it all in there together. Raw. Uncooked. I figure cooking it all together will let the flavors mingle and learn to really like each other. Bond, ya know?

Cover with water...actually, over cover with water - by about 2 inches or so. Keep checking the water level for the duration of cooking - at times you may need to add not let your beans dry out!

Here's where my Type A personality kicks in...I set a timer and check my beans every 15 minutes, give them a little stir, & check the water level - generally it takes anywhere from an hour and 45 minutes to 2 full hours to really thicken up and become perfect. I ♥ perfect.

At this point you add Salt & Pepper until your heart's content. If you over salt (this dish - or any dish, really) Toss in a raw potato and cook a little longer...the potato absorbs the excess salt. At least that's the theory...

I served these beans with chicken and cornbread...the next day I made nachos...the day after that I threw in some cooked ground beef and a jar of salsa & served with shredded cheese and Sour Cream. Versatility...another thing I ♥.


The Strawberry dessert is really simple too. I use my food processor, but I imagine you could smash them up or use a blender/mixer.

Just take a box of fresh strawberries (more if you're serving a crew), Rinse & cut off the green part...toss them with some sugar (or Splenda!)...the sugar part is totally a matter of personal taste, but keep in mind you'll also be adding Cool Whip, which is sweetened as well. Blend the strawberries and sugar, then mix in some cool whip. Easy Peasy. This can be plated in Parfait cups or pudding bowls for dessert - or served before the meal as Strawberry Soup. Delicious!

1 comment:

  1. I am so making this one night this week!

    Terrific post, Mandy. I laughed out loud more than once. And the pictures were awesome!




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