Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crock Pot Black-Eyed Peas

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

I don't know about you, but I'm planning on 2013 being an awesome year! 2012 has me burned out on all things political, crazy people and idiocracy in general. Our household is so sick of what we see on the news we have just about given up on watching it. Rest assured, when our taxes go up after we go off the fiscal cliff, you'll be able to find inexpensive ways to feed your family nutritious meals right here. We are all about eating well and not spending a lot to do so.

A few weeks ago, I experienced the saddest thing. An elderly lady, who seemed a little odd, came up to me in Wal-Mart. She was looking for a specific cereal and wanted to find the version of it you could buy in a bag. I was buying my "bag" version of frosted mini wheats and I figured from her description she wanted the puff cereal because she kept on and on about a bear on the box. Once we located the cereal, she told me she needed help figuring out how much she had spent on the food in her buggy. Since nothing had price tags and I don't buy any of what she had, I told her I couldn't help her. She told me she knew what most of the items cost so I looked at the cereal price and we started adding everything up. I was guessing it was pretty close to $49.00 but there was one item she wasn't sure about the cost. She then told me she had $50.00 on her food stamp card. OK. There were three 12 packs of Pepsi and Coke products in the buggy. Everything else was a frozen microwave meal or canned chili. I wanted to cry. We are blessed to eat well everyday. Even if we have the means to, we don't blow it on garbage food. I was guessing her age to be in the mid-60s. How did she get to this age and not know how to feed herself better? How could soft drinks consume almost 1/3 of her food budget?

Later that evening, I talked about it with a friend of mine. Both of us raised children as single Moms. We knew how to cut corners but still eat well. And leftovers? There's always something you can throw together to make use of leftovers and make them delicious. Water is free. How about buying a $1.50 box of flavoring instead of $18.00 worth of canned drinks? If all I had to spend was $50, my family might be eating a lot of soups, but we'd be eating healthy.

The recipe below is my take on crock pot black-eyed peas (also known as Hoppin' John) from Kraft Foods Food & Family magazine using leftover ham from dinner one night and bacon from breakfast. It's the perfect New Year's dish...it's got the greens (so you'll have plenty of green in 2013), black-eyed peas (plenty of coins) and bacon (substitute for hog jowl to ensure health, prosperity and progress). The flavor is out of this world too! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "black-eyed peas are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are low in sodium. They are high in potassium, iron, and fiber and a one-half cup serving of cooked black-eyed peas counts as one ounce of lean meat from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts Group of the Food Guide Pyramid." 

 Crock Pot Black-Eyed Peas
  • 1 lb. Black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 cup water
  • Left-over cooked ham, cubed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bunch greens, chopped  (We used Kale)
  • 6 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice

Pull any odd looking peas out when you sort through them.
In a large saucepan, add black-eyed peas and enough water to cover them by 3 inches. Bring to a boil; simmer on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for one hour.
In a skillet, cook carrots, onion and bacon on medium heat until onions are crisp tender. 

In a large saucepan, bring broth, tomatoes and water to a boil.
Drain peas. Place in crock pot. Add cooked vegetables, broth mixture, chopped ham and cumin. 
Stir all ingredients well. Cover with lid and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Stir in chopped greens. 
Cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until greens are tender.
Serve over rice.


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