Sometimes you need a dish that’s both fast and nutritious (April 4, 2011)

From 2001, this recipe was contributed by then-Editor of The Monitor, Joseph M. Donadieu.

Sometimes what you need is a dish that goes together fast and is still nutritious and flavorful. This week we have two (or three).

Freelance writer Joann Buhler, a parishioner of St. Clement, Marlboro, faxed in her recipe for Southern-touch Rice and Beans as a low-cost, low-fat, easy-to-fix, meatless Lenten recipe.

“It’s good if you’re in a hurry. I’ve made it many times,” she said.

One of the great things about it, she added, is how easily it can be adjusted to taste. Add more onions, skip the garlic, use more greens, substitute brown rice for black-eyed peas, use a low cholesterol cheese or no cheese, or serve it with hot sauce.

Southern Touch Rice and Beans
– 1 can (approximately 15 oz) black-eyed peas (or frozen black-eyed peas)
– 1 regular frozen-food-size package of collard greens or kale
– 1 or 2 large onions (depending on your preference)
– ½ cup olive oil
– 1 clove minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder) or to taste
– 2 cups instant rice
– 4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
– salt and pepper to taste
– grated cheese (Parmesan, Romano, cheddar) to taste

In a large Dutch-oven-type pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil only until the onions are translucent. (Add as much garlic or onion as you prefer.) Add water and bring the liquid to a boil.

Add the frozen collard greens (rinse them a bit before adding) to the liquid and continue to boil (covered) for about 20 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and stir well. Continue to boil for 10 minutes more (a low boil, not rapid).

Add the instant rice and cover, lowering the heat to a simmer. Simmer until a good deal of the liquid is absorbed. If it is too “watery” uncover and let the mixture “reduce.” If the mixture looks too dry, add more water and a bit more oil. Salt and pepper to taste, and before serving, if desired, sprinkle cheese over top.

If, as we did when we prepared this, you are using frozen black eyed peas and regular rice, add them at the same time as the frozen greens, just after the water begins to boil.

This is a one-pot, quick to prepare dish which is hearty and can be refrigerated for a day or two, and it tastes even better as a leftover when the “flavors meld.” Serves 4-6.

When we prepared this dish at home, we served it with Spicy Baked Catfish.

Spicy Baked Catfish
– 12 oz fresh catfish fillets
– 1 tsp olive oil
– ½ tsp black pepper
– ½ tsp powdered garlic
– ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Place the catfish in an oiled roasting pan. Drizzle the oil over the fish and spread it around. Mix together the black pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder and sprinkle it over the pieces of fish. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

This following recipe for a quick and easy meatless dish is from Rose Chinosi of Corpus Christi Parish, Willingboro, a member of the parish choir and a friend of Monitor News Editor Mary Stadnyk.

Pasta and Peas
– 15oz can of peas, with liquid
– 16 oz elbow macaroni (whatever kind you prefer)
– ½ onion chopped
– ¼ cup oil (whatever kind you prefer)
– salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan heat the oil and sauté onion until light golden. Add peas and salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil and turn off heat.

Cook pasta as directed on the box. Drain, place in a bowl and pour peas on top. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

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