Monday, February 21, 2011

Yummy Beans and Peas

While we've seen some fabulous signs of Spring lately, it's still cool up here in Ohio, which means our family continues to eat lots of tasty soups.

I picked up some Bob's Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix at the grocery store a couple weeks ago and have since tried using it to make chili twice - as red and white versions - and both have been awesome! For simplicity sake, I'm using the white chili recipe below. If you'd like to try to the red, follow the instructions on the back of the package.

Beans, in case you haven't heard, are GREAT protein sources and contain lots of nutrients. Plus, they're fun for little toddler hands. Some might get a little squished, but if you can tolerate the mess, you'll create a meal-time experience your tot will really enjoy! I use peas for the "baby" part of this recipe - you can either mash them, or, if they're really soft and your baby is a little older, you can let your baby start to feed herself.

- 1 package of 13 Bean Soup Mix
- 1 box (28 ounces) of vegetable broth
- 1 package of frozen peas (you can also use about 2 cups of fresh peas, if you want)
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped)
- 1 Tbsp of white pepper

- Prepare beans according to package instructions
- After simmering beans for 2 hours, remove from heat, rinse and return to pot
- Add vegetable broth, 3/4 of the peas, onion, garlic and pepper (beans, peas and onions and garlic should be covered in liquid - if broth isn't enough, add water)
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour
- At approximately the 45 minute mark, bring remaining peas to a boil in a small saucepan
- Boil peas for approximately three minutes, or until soft

For baby: Cool peas and either mash with a fork or serve as "finger food"
For toddler: Use a slotted spoon to scoop and strain beans into a dish
For mommy: Use a ladle to scoop delicious chili into a bowl

Additional tips:
- Try additional toppings on chili: whole grain tortilla strips for toddlers, cheese/sour cream/cilantro for mommies
- This recipe keeps really well - I use old pasta jars to save it in the fridge and freezer and one recipe can usually provide leftover lunches for three or four days
- If you want to punch up the flavor, try adding a little jalapeno juice to the recipe AFTER you've scooped out toddler's beans

Bon apetit!

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