Unlike Mark Bittman*, I think canned beans are fantastic. Especially at this time of year, when produce is a bit blah, and a pan of rib-stickin’ beans is exactly what I’m hungry for. And talk about a fast, nutritious meal – abracadabra, lunch is ready in 10 minutes, and yay! It’s not yet another sandwich. Take this plate of beans, which was (!) my lunch today. I started off with a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan, added a minced clove of garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a few tablespoons each of pine nuts and chopped red onion, and a dash of dried sage (I didn’t have any fresh, shucks). When it was all sizzly, I stirred in a can of organic navy beans, drained and rinsed, as well as a generous sprinkle of coarse salt (to taste), then sauteed the beans for a couple of minutes. Just for good measure, I stirred in a handful of fresh spinach leaves and sauteed for a couple minutes more, until the beans were hot and crisping a bit in spots and the spinach was wilted. To finish, a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. If I’d checked the fridge a bit more closely, I would have noticed a pork chop leftover from last night – it would have been tasty diced and tossed in with the garlic et al. Ah well, meaty or meatless, still a nice lunch. (Bonus – plenty leftover for another meal.)
Tonight, partly because it is snowing and abominably cold outside, and partly because it’s one of Nathan’s favorites, I’m making Greek avgolemono (egg lemon) soup for dinner. Easy? Puh-lease, the easiest. I stir in pieces of rotisserie chicken breast, but you don’t need to. Alongside a platter of roasted broccoli, and toasted pita topped with olive spread, should make a good post-basketball game dinner (as in light enough to eat after 7:30 p.m., easy to assemble beforehand).
* He also disses canned chicken broth and tomato paste, both of which I frankly find indispensable. The article is otherwise neat, and certainly worth a read, and serves as a good reminder that cooking at home need be neither time-consuming nor expensive.