Pretty much all the meals I eat at home are made by me, since my partner is not very good at thinking of nutrition and tends to just fry onions, mushrooms and sausages in too much oil and slap it on a GIGANTIC pile of mashed potatoes :/
Last night I made bacon pasta, which is kind of my signature dish. It's a tasty meal that doesn't break the bank. So here it is...
Bacon Pasta for 2 Ingredients 2 rashers of bacon (I normally use shoulder bacon as it's relatively cheap) cut roughly into approx. 2cm pieces 1/2 red capsicum/bell pepper, diced 3 white button mushrooms - sliced 1/2 brown onion - finely diced A few cloves of garlic - finely chopped A can of crushed/chopped tomatoes - drained, but reserve the juice Salt, pepper, herbs of choice (I like to use basil and oregano) 2 cups pasta shapes
- Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet, and while it's cooking:
- Lightly saute the mushrooms until they start to brown up and smell amazing - Add onions and garlic, and cook until they start to change colour but not so they go transparent - Add bacon, cook until they start going crispy - Add capsicum last, cook for a couple of minutes and mix everything together so the flavours mingle - Add the drained tomatoes and mix it all around. If it seems a bit dry or like it's going to burn, add a little of the tomato juice. You want the sauce to be thick, but not dry and not runny either. - Season to taste, and simmer in the pan until the pasta is ready. - Bang the sauce onto the pasta, and add a little grated cheese (I use parmesan, but you could use whatever cheese you want).
Sometimes I add paprika to give it a little kick, or if I'm feeling rich, I add a little cream.
In doing lots of research on kidney beans, I've found there are two different kinds. So that might account for some of the difference. But I've tried as many kinds and brands as I can find in MN and I haven't hit on what I remember from MI.
Some beans are grown in MI and if they grow kidney beans in MI, then the ones we bought were probably regionally canned as well. They were fairly soft. They kept their shape, even when mixed up in a salad, but they didn't have any real bite to them. They were soft like macaroni in macaroni salad would be (which we also at a lot of ... my grandmother made mixed salads for a cafeteria so we always had lots of mixed salads at holiday dinners!).
The kidney beans in MN are hard - the cooked ones, I mean. They have a pretty strong bite to them.
We cook up pinto beans in the pressure cooker and serve them as 'refrieds', although we don't refry them. We just mash them up with a little salt and eat them in tortillas with whatever fixings the individual wants: taco sauce or salsa, cheese, yogurt are the mainstays. Sometimes someone will chop up onions or maybe lettuce or finely sliced cabbage. If we cooked two bags of beans a week, they would get eaten around here. As I think I might have said, No1 son eats them multiple times a week for lunches.
Sometimes I make enchiladas out of them by dipping the tortillas in Old El Paso enchilada sauce, putting the mashed beans and cheese in and rolling them up. Then dumping more sauce on top and topping with cheese after they're lined up in a baking dish. When I've taken these to pot luck, people rave about them and can't figure out why their enchiladas aren't as good. I figure the difference is home cooked beans. We have no added fat but more importantly, no added seasoning. Canned refriends just taste weird to me and I think it's the seasoning they put in them. I wouldn't be opposed to seasoned refrieds but usually any seasoning in canned stuff isn't done as well as seasoning put in by the home cook.
Every once in awhile, I splurge on tortilla chips and eat the beans kind of like tostadas. Just create a layered 'dip' with beans and cheese and yogurt and sauce/salsa and shredded lettuce. You could get fancy with guacamole but guac is expensive and I don't know much you taste it with the beans. I save quac for chicken dishes.
The northern beans do come in bags you can cook from scratch but the kind we bought in MI were cooked already - like most beans that come in cans - but in a jar that was two to three times larger than the standard can. When I cook them now, I just make a broth from smoked ham shanks and then cook the beans in that broth.
I've always liked beans done fairly simply. I like baked beans but I like plain beans just as much. My mother would serve canned butter beans, hot but straight out of the can, and I loved the salty broth from the beans on bread.