Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Soupy" Old-Fashioned Pinto Beans for Review From "Mary Engelbreit's Fan Fare Cookbook" and Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Some might argue that pinto beans are not soup and technically they are probably correct. But here at Souper Sundays, we are about the spirit of soup (and salad and sandwiches too), so a bowl of slightly soupy beans on top of a little brown rice fits in perfectly.

These beans come from "Mary Engelbreit's Fan Fare Cookbook: 120 Slow Cooker Recipe Favorites." Even if you aren't familiar with her name, you probably have seen Engelbreit's artwork on greeting cards, stationary, in books, calendars and many other places. The Fan Fare Cookbook has 120 favorite slow cooker recipes from the artist's family, friends and fans. Recipes for Chilis, Soups & Stews, Beef, Poultry, and Pork Dishes, Side Dishes, Dips and Sauces and Desserts. Recipes like American-Style Boeuf Bourguignon, Green Chili Stew, Sassy Chicken Balsamic, GiGi's Creamy Zucchini, Walnut Butterscotch Dip, and Slow Cooker Carrot Cake to name just a few. The book is full of Engelbreit's illustrations, notes about each recipe and it is spiral bound so it lays open easily for cooking. Most of the recipes use simple ingredients. There is a fair amount of packaged ingredients and mixes in the many of the recipes--which is good or bad depending on your viewpoint on cooking with convenience foods. This would be a good choice for fans of Englebreit's work, slow cooker enthusiasts, and those looking for easy comfort food dishes.

When it came to picking a recipe to "road test" from the book, the heart and stomach wanted what the a and stomach wanted... in this case a big bowl of basic pinto beans. These "Good Ole Fashun Pinto Beans" sounded simple and good, and you can't beat a recipe with only 4 ingredients.

Recipe author and Engelbreit fan Glenda Jacobs says, "I am Native American and grew up on a large pot of beans slowly cooking on the stove all day. When I got married and began my own family, I did not have time to babysit the pot of beans like my mother did, so one day I set up my slow cooker. These are a great starter for any meal, such as a traditional American Indian meal of "fry bread," rice, beans with seasoned (cooked) ground beef sprinkled on top, and a slice of juicy watermelon."

"Good Ole Fashun" Pinto Beans
by Glenda Jacobs, Norwalk, California
for "Mary Engelbreit's Fan Fare Cookbook"
(Makes 4 Servings--About 8 Cups)

1 (16 oz) package dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
4 to 6 slices bacon, cut in half
1 medium onion, peeled
1 Tbsp salt or Mrs. Dash seasoning, or to taste

Put the beans in a 5-quart slow cooker and add cool water to cover. Add the bacon pieces and the onion. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours. The beans will turn a delightful shade of red when done and will be soft enough to mash if desired. Add salt to taste only after the beans are cooked through.

Notes/Results: Easy and tasty--these pinto beans are a simple, homey and filling dish. The bacon adds a nice smoky flavor (although a little garlic or cumin would be nice too). I added a bit more liquid to my beans to make sure they were extra brothy. I served them over a bowl of brown rice--for added fiber, and topped them with some grated jack cheese and chopped green onions. I think texture and appearance wise, I would cook the bacon before adding it to the beans to crisp it up and give it some better color. Overall a satisfying recipe that I would make again.

Note: I was sent this cookbook by the publisher to review but did not receive any monetary compensation for the review and my opinions are as always, my own.

Now let's take a look at who is in the Souper Sunday kitchen this New Year's weekend.

Joanna from Go Ahead and Snicker made Martha's Chicken Soup, North African Style from Martha Stewart and says, "I'm over sugar actually. It's a blasphenous thing to say, but after two weeks of non stop sugar, I have to call it quits for a while. Luckily massive snow drifts and a long morning of snowman making lies in my future, so the motivation to make spicy pots of toasty soup is fresh. This one is perfect for defrosting snowpeople after sledding, fort building, or whatever else you have planned while digging out from the blizzard today, if you must."

Corina from Searching for Spice was trying out a new cookbook and made Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup. She says, "After all the seasonal excesses I felt something hot, spicy and healthy was needed so chose a recipe for noodle soup. The flavours sounded great apart from the lack of vegetables so I added mushrooms, peppers and spring onions – I like soups to be packed with vegetables. There was enough for us to have seconds and the second helping was much tastier as the stock had had time to stand and more flavour had come out of the spices and chillies so next time I would simmer the stock for longer before adding the beef and vegetables."

Heather of girlichef encouraged good fortune by enjoying some Hoppin" John on New Years Day. She says, "It is traditionally eaten on New Year's Day...and of course there are variations, but for the most part it is a stew-like dish that consists of black-eyed peas, greens, and a smoked pork product. Mmmmmm...smoked pork. The black-eyed peas are symbolic of coins and symbolize good fortune in the new year. By mixing in the greens, you're adding more wealth (green=money) to the pot! By leaving three beans in the bottom of your bowl, a person can ensure luck, romance, and fortune in the new year."

Joanne from Eats Well With Others made a healthy vegan Brazilian Black Bean Soup to appease her thighs which were complaining of all the holiday excess. ;-) She says, "With a hint of subtle sweetness from the mango juice, a bit of spice from the cayenne, and a truly fabulous texture, this soup is one that I will glad make over and over again. And when my roommates ask me why I'm drinking it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'll just explain the thigh situation. They'll understand."

Here's another healthy and delicious vegan soup from Reeni at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. Reeni says, "Gypsy Soup is packed full of the incredibly delicious combination of sweet potatoes, chickpeas and kale. The rusty color of the broth comes from a combination of tomato, paprika and turmeric with sweet basil thrown in for good measure. It's a deeply nourishing elixir that I could feel coursing through my body into my bones making me feel instantly warmer and healthier. It lifted my spirits and rejuvenated me when I didn't realize I felt bad to begin with! I can't help but love a soup like that."

Finally, we have one salad and one new face to welcome this week, Shri from Tiffin Carrier Antic/ques is making her first Souper Sundays appearance. She made a colorful, flavorful and healthy Chickpeas and Green Beans Salad and says, "This was put together with the ingredients in the pantry and the fridge as part of today's lunch." Yum! It is great to have you join us Shri--hope to have you back again soon.

Some very homey and comforting soups and salad this week and lots of veggies and beans! A big thank you to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, simply click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.


*Special Note about next week's Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays: I will be traveling on business and out of the state and Hawaii and time zone next Sunday. Of course Souper Sundays will still go on but I will be posting all entries I have received up through Saturday night bright and early Sunday morning and then any later entries, I will have to post late Sunday evening after a long workday. So the earlier the better with entries next week. ;-) Mahalo--It will all get posted eventually!

*Cheese Lover's Choice Contest Voting Reminder: If you have voted already just bypass yet another reminder ;-) but if you have not yet voted for my Ile de France Camembert Sliders, I would love it if you would. My cheesy mini burgers are in the Top 10 Finalists in the Cheese Lover's Choice Fan Voting Category of the Camembert Contest and I would love your vote. If you click here, it leads to the Ile De France site where you can give me (Deb C. on the poll) the number of "stars" you think appropriate for my dish. (Of course 5 star votes are more than welcome! ;-) lol) Voting is open until Wednesday, January 5th. Mahalo for your time!

Happy New Year and have a wonderful week!


  1. I love some good ol' fashun beans, anytime! Cute book...Mary Engelbreit is fun, but haven't thought about her stuff in a while. I have a great mug w/ a M.E. design that my mom sent to me once waaaay back in college. Still one of my faves :) Delicious, comforting roundup this week...Safe travels to you, my friend!

  2. Love love love soup! With the help of my husband we made some chicken soup to haul to work tommorrow. He's been lifting all heavy pots until my stitches come out - yea for good help :-)

    Your roundup looks drool worthy!

  3. I'm up for a bowl of pinto beans anytime! I'm liking that sprinkling of monterey jack cheese - yum.

    Lots of healthy and vegetarian-based soups this week. I think we're all craving healthy good food right now. It's nice to get back on track.

    Safe travels, Deb!

  4. I love a good slow cooker cookbook. I made some pinto beans myself today with kale. Our goal is to return to some simple, filling and healthy meals like this for the rest of the winter.

  5. Thankyou Deb! :-)
    The soup's look delicious and perfect for our cold weather.
    Look forward to the following weeks!

  6. wow great beans perfect for new year

    Have as blessed 2011

    love Rebecca

  7. You totally crack me up Deb! "the spirit of soup". Love it.

    Nothing like a good bowl of beans to satisfy your hunger cravings. These sound delicious!

  8. The beans look terrific, wonderful with the addition of bacon for sure!

  9. My Dad would be super thrilled if I made him a pot of these beans! Sometimes the simplest things make people happy! Delicious round-up - thanks for including me. Hope you're trip goes well!

  10. Looks great, Deb - I love the simplicity of this, especially being able to just pop everything in the crock pot and then forget about it for several hours :-) Like the idea of adding cumin and garlic - great flavour additions.
    Sue :-)


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