Want to try a “super food”?

1 11 2013

Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, my exposure to beans as a diet staple was minimal. When my family ate beans they were usually baked beans or the red or white

Cathy Shaw

Cathy Shaw

(cannellini) beans that my grandmother put into her chili and pasta e fagioli. It was not until I moved to West Virginia that beans became a regular part of my diet. My husband’s family and the Appalachian culture introduced me to “soup” beans like navy, great northern and pinto. My love for ethnic foods brought me to enjoy South American dishes with black beans and Creole dishes like red beans and rice. A dear friend from Pocahontas County introduced me to a family tradition of eating black eyed peas for the New Year’s holiday to bring good luck. Her family hid a penny in the bottom of the dish- whoever ended up with the penny was the lucky one for the year!

Beans are truly a “super food”. They are a great source of protein and soluble fiber and are very low in fat. They provide many vitamins and minerals such as folate, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Not only are they nutritious, but they are also inexpensive and easily stored. They can make a very affordable family meal, often for less than 25 cents per cup. They come canned, bagged, and frozen and can therefore be kept on hand for extended periods of time- they should always be in your pantry! Be sure to drain and rinse canned beans to reduce the sodium content by up to 40%. After cooking beans, they can be refrigerated or frozen. They can remain frozen for up to a year and still maintain their quality.

So this week do your body and your wallet a favor and add beans to your grocery list. Enjoy our recipe of the week, Hoppin’ John Stew, which is made with those lucky black eyed peas! The recipe is courtesy of Southern Living Magazine, and one your family will love.


Hoppin’ John Stew with Cheddar Cheese Grits

Makes 7-8 servings

1 Tbsp butter

1c chopped cooked ham

1 med onion, chopped

2 15oz cans black eyed peas- drained and rinsed

2 10oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles

1c frozen corn kernels

1tsp sugar (optional)

¼ fresh cilantro, chopped


Sauté ham and onions in butter until onion is tender. Stir in black eyed peas and next 3 ingredients. Cover and simmer on low 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and serve with grits.

Cheesy Grits

2c water

1 tsp chicken bullion

1 Tbsp lite margarine

1/2c quick cooking grits

1c reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Bring water, bullion and margarine to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Wisk in grits and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese until melted.

Nutrition Facts:

Stew: 166 calories, 3g fat (1.4g saturated fat), 6.5g fiber, 8g protein, 28g carbohydrate, 700mg sodium

Grits: 132 calories, 3.5g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 8.6g protein, 16g carbohydrate, 194mg sodium




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