Baked Beans & Pears

Yesterday I came across a recipe for baked beans from the January 2011 issue of Clean Eating Magazine.

Unlike the dog from the Bush’s Baked Beans commercials, Kostas and Tucker do not know a secret recipe.

The unique thing about this recipe is the addition of pears. They are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin C for only 100 calories per serving. This time of year I add pears into my fruit/snack rotation. Yes, sometimes I eat more than just apples.

As usual, I tweaked the recipe featured in the magazine. This will be a great side dish for the week and possibly even the main dish for my brown-bagging.

**Updated–my hand was virtually slapped via Twitter for posting the recipe today–I feel I used the recipe for inspiration and the dish I made fits my needs and tastes. The folks at the magazine said I needed to take it down. An email or direct message – instead of a Tweet – would have been nice.**

If you like more sauce with the beans, just add a bit more water or broth. I used spicy brown mustard because that’s what I had on hand. The magazine recipe uses honey – I prefer the molasses for the extra dose of Iron.

It’s very random that I’d make this recipe, but I think it’s tasty.

Did you cook anything this weekend?
Bloggers–thoughts on posting recipes that are inspired by someone else but you’ve made your own?

Homemade Peanut Sauce

Last Saturday was a trip into the woods to see Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  There’s a beautiful outdoor theatre (American Players Theatre) about 45 minutes west of Madison.  Not only do you get to experience theatre under the stars and trees, but the program is to have a picnic beforehand.  Some people go all out.  Table cloths, real dishes, and even candelabras (I wish I would’ve taken a picture of this table – it looked like “lifestyle guru” Colin Cowie had catered their dinner and provided the decorations).

Inside the outdoor theatre

You’re not going to find me packing a fancy picnic, but I do try to make new dishes for our picnics.  Browsing through the October 2012 issue of Clean Eating Magazine I came across a recipe for Asian Chicken Salad Pitas.  As I do with much of my cooking, I use a recipe for inspiration but then make it my own to accommodate ingredients on-hand and time on-hand to cook.

Enter homemade peanut sauce!  The Clean Eating recipe called for cashew butter and the salad included scallions, cucumbers, and cilantro – I just didn’t have these on hand and had to tailor to QAG’s lack of interest in cucs.

The sauce is delicious!  A standard dinner for me used to be chicken, peppers, brown rice, and peanut sauce.  But the store-bought kind.  At the grocery store on Saturday I did review the label of the sauce I used to use–ingredients include sugar, honey, oil. I’ll stick to homemade!

I’ve been enjoying the leftovers this week and know that I’ll be adding the peanut sauce to my cooking rotation.

Homemade Peanut Sauce

Ingredients – Sauce
2 Tbsp. natural, creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. chicken or veggie broth
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp (or more to taste) ginger
3 Tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Add everything to a mixing bowl; stir well until peanut butter is combined.  Add more broth if needed.

I added the sauce to shredded (baked) chicken, red peppers, and carrots.  Delicious!

Served on a giant bed of spinach. This would also be good in a wrap or sandwich.

Saturday night was cold…I had to break out a parka, hat and gloves.  I should’ve packed hot soup or chili in a thermos for dinner.  We had to “settle” for hot chocolate and hot tea at intermission!

Already frozen

Do you have a favorite homemade sauce?  Has it been chilly enough to break out the Winter gear?

There’s still time to enter the Kranich’s giveaway – thanks to everyone who has already entered!

Notes about the recipe:  Natural peanut butter keeps this tasting incredibly fresh and natural.  I think “regular” peanut butter would ruin the taste.  If you have fresh ginger available, you can certainly use that.  I used ginger spice (but not the Ginger Spice).  If you don’t have the Liquid Aminos, use low-sodium soy sauce.