Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Yarn, New Project + TexMex Black Eyed Pea Casserole Recipe

Things have been a little stressful lately and with all of my knitting projects recently completed, I decided that it was time for a little bit of new yarn, as well as a new project. This past winter a friend posted a picture of a wonderful scarf made from yarn from one of my favorite companies.

I've been really good about keeping my promise to myself that I will not buy a bunch of stuff (like yarn or fabric) until I am ready to use it. So, I decided to splurge just a little bit and buy myself the kit for the scarf. I was a nice surprise at the end of a hard day to find the package from The Yarnery on my front step. Here's what the finished scarf might look like:

If this one goes well, I might buy the other colorway and make a second scarf in a different set of colors. I love the Malabrigo yarns!


Here's what we had for dinner tonight. I think it could be a good recipe to make ahead of time and heat up for dinner some night on a camping trip. I altered the recipe a bit, of course.

Tex Mex Black Eyed Pea Casserole
adapted from the recipe found over at RecipeGirl.com
Yield: 6 servings

1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, rinsed (or 2 cans Black Eyed Peas
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more!)(I made about 10 slices of bacon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
One 10-ounce can Ro-tel (tomatoes + green chilies)
3 cups fresh spinach, cut into strips
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
4 Chicken Breasts, cubed, seasoned with Creole Seasoning and North Woods Fire Seasoning, then sauteed in butter until done
chopped cilantro, sour cream and sliced avocado (for serving)

1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the dried peas and boil for 30 minutes, or until tender (as tender as a canned black bean would be). You don't want them to have much of a bite to them, but you don't want them mushy either. Drain the beans when you've got them where you want them.

2. In a deep medium skillet, heat the olive oil at medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, then rice, broth, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 20 minutes (just until the rice has *almost* absorbed all of the liquid). Time will vary depending on the type of rice you choose to use (20 minutes for white rice, but longer for brown, etc).

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scrape the rice into a large bowl. Add peas, tomatoes, spinach, 1 cup of the cheese, bacon and chicken. Stir it all together and then scoop it into a 9x12-inch (or similarly sized) casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes, just until cheese is melted.

4. Serve in bowls topped with sour cream, fresh cilantro and sliced avocado.(We did not do this, but it looks yummy.)

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