Unless you're a guru in the ways of healthy eating, have your own veggie patch, or are blessed with a one of these fabulously creative minds who can think of endless possibilities, sometimes it's hard to find ways of eating both fast and well, especially when you're thinking and shopping on the fly. Usually the most convenient foods are, inconveniently, quite unhealthy. Prepackaged, deep-fried, jammed with preservatives, or far too many sugars or carbs, these are just some of the ways that 'fast' food is delivered to us.
Another problem? With just the two of us at home, I buy fresh produce that (more often than I'd care to admit) doesn't get used up before going bad. I could put spinach in pretty much everything, for example, because I find it's the most colourful and healthy addition to so many of our regular dishes. But no matter how many different ways I think of to use it (and use it up), without fail, some of the package ultimately gets sacrificed to the green bin gods.
Enter Cookin' Greens: A company who takes rich, vibrant greens at the peak of their freshness and freezes them for quick meal prep. Here is an excerpt from the material they sent me:
Cookin' Greens "are cut at the peak of their freshness. Our greens go from farm-to-freezer within 6 hours of harvest, locking in all of the goodness intended by Mother Nature. An innovative "quick-frozen" process captures the ultimate flavour and nutritional value found in our dark-leafy greens. Cookin’ Greens™ offers you a sensory journey that is luscious and earthy. So eat your greens and savour the wholesome flavours!"
I was lucky enough to score some vouchers to try their products - disclaimer alert - but can honestly say I will be buying their products again, and often. They solve the problem of fast; they solve the problem of healthy; they solve the problem of wastage. Three massive wins in my book.
I found my bag of Cookin' Greens at Pete's Frootique in Bedford. They were only carrying one kind - Designer's Mix - so I grabbed my loot and went on my merry way, happy with its delicious mix of collards, rapini, spinach, yellow beans, and onion.
Greens are so versatile, they can go in just about anything: in salads, in pastas, on pizzas, in rice, in grains, in casseroles... there are truly few dishes where you couldn't find some way of sneaking in some greens. I probably wouldn't want any in my Apple Pie, though. Just saying.
(Brings to mind "Pie. Seaweed Pie." Anyone on the East Coast remember that old Maple Leaf commercial?)
In any case, I saw a great recipe for Black Bean Burritos on the Cookin' Greens website, and given I'd had hankering for some over the past few weeks, I decided to halve and adapt their recipe to include some of my own favourite ingredients. Being meat-lovers, yes, we opted for the addition of lean, ground beef. Without the meat, however, they would have been perfectly stuffed and hearty on their own.
Like with many things frozen, you need to watch out for the water content coming from the greens as they thaw and cook in your pan, so just account for that extra bit of liquid in whatever dish you're using them in. For example, I omitted the stock from the original version of the recipe below, because I found there was already sufficient liquid and flavour in the pan.Adapted from Cookin' Greens
Vibrant Beef & Black Bean Burritos
Vibrant Beef & Black Bean Burritos
1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Cookin’ Greens - I used Designer's Mix
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin and dried oregano
1/2 a 14oz can black beans
1/2 cup corn kernels
4, 8-inch flour tortillas
1 cup old Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup salsa
In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add ground beef and and fry until almost cooked through, with some pink left inside. Add red onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add any Cookin’ Greens product of your choice and incorporate. Sauté until soft, for 5 more minutes. Add red pepper and mushrooms; continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
Stir lime juice, cilantro, chili powder, cumin and oregano into sautéed vegetables and meat. Cook another 3 minutes. Stir in beans and corn and cook, stirring until heated through about 3 minutes.
In another skillet over medium heat, warm tortilla for 2 minutes, turning once.
Place ½ cup of filling down centre of tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp cheese and 1 tbsp salsa. Fold up bottom and top edges in. Fold sides over filling. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Add extra cheese and salsa over tortillas.
Bake in preheated 300F oven for 10 minutes.
Yields: 4 servings.
|How's that for vibrant?|
|Not the greatest shot, as I was too busy stuffing my face. These were delicious!|
I used the leftover black beans, corn, and Designer's Mix the next night in one of my very favourite throw-together dinners: Tuna Farfalle with Cherry Tomatoes, Cracked Pepper and Parmesan.
Visit the Cookin' Greens website for more great recipes and product information!