What’s Cookin’ in the Country?

Recently my engaged daughter told me she’s looking for some inexpensive recipes to file away for married life.  I love watching Pioneer Woman and similar programs on the Food Network, but honestly, who can afford all those pricey ingredients?  If I had beef brisket, three-inch thick steaks and fresh shrimp on hand, I could make a killer meal too!  But most of us live on hamburger and chicken, and have a budget to stick to!  So, I’m on the lookout for some money-saving recipes that don’t skimp on flavor, just cost.  

In an effort to try some new recipes that don’t break the bank, I tried a new dish that was meatless this week.  That was a little hard for me because I expect to have meat for supper!  The new recipe – Black Bean Cakes with Avocado-Corn Salsa that I tried was from the November issue of Southern Living magazine. Their recipes are always delicious and I felt sure that this would be a hit.  All the ingredients gave the indication that this was really tasty – not some nasty dried up old bean dish.  The end of the story about this recipe is that we loved it!  The words from my  husband were, “You can make this again!”  Yay!  The other great thing is that this recipe cost me about $1.65 per serving!  I added Spanish rice, corn chips and canned peaches on the side, making it a total of about $2.50 per serving!  Could you go to a Mexican restaurant and order a meal for that amount?  No way.

This is so tasty, and the presentation is impressive with the colors in the salsa on top of the bean cakes.  

Black Bean Cakes
3/4 cup diced red onion
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
6 tostada shells
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese

Avocado-Corn Salsa 
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 small avocado, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest, lime juice, canola oil, Dijon mustard, and dried crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Stir in corn kernels, halved grape tomatoes, diced avocado, diced red onion, basil, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper.

Bean Cakes Preparation
1. Sauté onion in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic. Remove from heat.
2. Prepare Avocado-Corn Salsa; chill until ready to serve.
3. Mash together taco seasoning and 2 cups black beans in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in panko, next 2 ingredients, onion mixture, 1 cup pepper Jack cheese, and remaining black beans until well blended. Shape mixture into 6 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.
4. Cook patties in remaining 3 Tbsp. hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
5. Preheat oven to 400°. Place tostadas on a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; top with Cheddar and remaining pepper Jack cheese. Bake until cheese melts. Top with black bean cakes and salsa.

I’m continuing my search for inexpensive recipes and will be sharing them with you in upcoming posts.  What do you fix to cut costs on meal preparation?

From my country kitchen,

4 thoughts on “What’s Cookin’ in the Country?

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