Summer with Trader Joe’s Link Up #4

Hello, again.

Summer with Trader Joe’s is back after a brief hiatus and it’s going to be a good one.

It’s Mexican Night (even your kids will love it).

Last week, when I went to buy the ingredients for Mexican Night, I committed the cardinal sin of shopping at Trader Joe’s (and living in Asheville)–I asked for plastic bags.

<Gasp!>

The cashier paused briefly and said, “Well, that’s okay.” But when another smiley Trader Joe’s employee came to help bag, he leaned over and said, “She wants plastic. Don’t shun her.” We all laughed, but as I watched her fumble with the flimsy plastic handles, followed by a tutorial from the cashier on the best way to open them, I became self-conscious with the realization that I could have been her first plastic-bagging customer EVER.

The shame.

Thankfully, the happiest-people-on earth at the happiest-place-on-earth gave me a pass and I went on my way with plastic in hand. {Relief.}

mexican, summer, summer-with-trader-joes, black-beans

Onward and upward.

I love Mexican food. I especially L O V E black beans. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I cook them slow. That’s the best way to give them the creamy texture that tastes like you’ve cooked them in gallons of butter. That’s why they’re great. Creamy and rich, not much fat, lots-o-protein.

Here’s the rundown on the plate above. First, the side dishes. One of THE GREATEST frozen side items at Trader Joe’s is the Chimichurri Rice. I keep a few bags in my freezer at all times. It’s goes with a lot of things, but I like it best with Mexican food.

chimichurri-rice, trader-joe's, mexican

The other side dish on the plate is Trader Joe’s Sweet Corn Tamales. It’s a perfect companion for the chimichurri rice, because the sweetness of the corn mellows the spiciness of the the rice. You can find it in the frozen aisle, as well.

sweet-corn, tamales, trader-joe's, mexican

Finally, the black beans. We usually make soft tacos with them, which reminds me: Trader Joe’s makes the best handmade flour tortillas around.

tortillas, Trader-Joe's

Holy Guacamole, they’re good. I think they’re the sole reason I got addicted to the store in the first place.

Anyway, yes, the recipe for slow-cooked black beans:

1 onion, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 t.- 1t. cumin

4 (15oz.) cans Trader Joe’s Black beans

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, sauteé the onion in 2 T. olive oil on medium heat. Meanwhile, rinse and drain 2 cans of black beans. Leave the other 2 cans of black beans alone; you’ll need the juice later.

When the onion is fragrant and soft, add the garlic. Sauteé for a few more minutes, but don’t let the garlic burn. Burnt garlic turns bitter (she says from experience).

Pour the 2 cans of black beans with their juice into the saucepan, followed by the rinsed beans. Add cumin. Personally, I like cumin A LOT, so I’d add a full teaspoon, but start with a 1/2 t. if you’re not sure. You can always add more later.

Pour water over the beans, enough to create at least a 1-inch layer. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer those babies for about 2 hours. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Check the pot every now and then and add more water as necessary.

When they’re done simmering, move the pot off the burner, and let them cool for a few minutes.

Now, here’s the magic trick if you want a smooth, creamy texture that tastes like you’ve cooked the beans in gallons of butter:

Spoon about half of the slightly cooled,cooked beans into a food processor. Pulse for about 10 seconds.

black-beans, mexican

Add the bean mixture back to the saucepan and stir to incorporate the mixture into the rest of the black beans. Y-U-M.

* * * * * * * * *

We use all sorts of toppings on the black bean soft tacos. Bell peppers, raw onions, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, etc. The fun part, especially for kids, is to arrange all the toppings in small bowls and let each person choose their own personal taco toppings. Always a hit.

Bonus: I think Kristi’s Summer with Trader Joe’s Margarita is the perfect addition to Mexican Night.

We’re excited to see your recipes this week. Don’t forget to link up today starting at 10am.

If you’re new to the link up, find out about our team of bloggers at Summer with Trader Joe’s is Here.

And, as always, here are the rules for the link up:

[inlinkz_linkup id=420810 mode=1]

 

summer with trader joe's

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