One Pot, Two Meals


Today we had homeschool co-op, followed by a trip to OMSI for the Lego sculpture exhibit, followed by the grocers.  Friday is typically exhausting for all of us, and it’s nice to come home to find dinner is just about ready.  A bit of prep the night before, then throw everything in the crockpot before we leave the house, and we have a simple, nutritious meal with little effort Friday night – all I have to do is start a pot of rice and put out the dishes.

This week’s Friday night dinner is comprised of pinto and kale (with ham and shallots). The meal works double duty:  I make a big enough batch that leftovers can be used for bean burritos or enchiladas on another busy night later in the week.

The total cost for this dish is just over $4.50, if you include the fact that I grew the kale, shallots and garlic, and the beans are purchased in bulk.  Again, that’s $4.50 for the main dish for two dinners for a family of 6.   Add in rice (also purchased in bulk at the Asian market), and the cost  for this dinner is just about $0.95/person.

Here’s the recipe:

Pintos, Kale and Ham One-Pot

Thursday night, prep the following ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans, sorted and rinsed (sometimes I use cranberry or red beans)

5 ounces of uncured ham (or bacon), chopped

4-5 shallots (about 1 1/2 cups), finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1. In a large bowl, combine beans with 8 cups of cold water.  Cover with a plate and let soak overnight.

2. In a skillet on med-high heat, cook ham pieces until browned and crispy.  Remove, add olive oil, shallots, and garlic, and brown sugar, stirring frequently, until caramelized, about 10 min.  Remove from pan with ham.

3.  Add 1/3 cup of water to the pan, scraping and stirring to deglaze (don’t lose all that yummy flavor you’ve built up on the pan!).  Add the liquid to the shallot/ham combo.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The Next Morning:

1. Drain beans, and put them in your crockpot.  Add the ham/shallot combo to the beans.  Just barely cover with water.  Then add:

1 Tbsp Penzey’s Ham Base

1 bay leaf

2 big handfuls of chopped kale (or spinach)

2 tsp Smoked Paprika

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Stir ingredients in crockpot.  Put on “low” setting for 8-10 hours.  Serve over rice, or with rustic bread.  Garnish with shredded cheddar if desired.