Photo courtesy of Food Network.
Baking and cooking have become my favorite hobby over the last year of the pandemic. A simple trend of baking bread pushed me from helping my mom cook dinner to a true lover of food. I don’t expect everyone else to join me in the urge to cook tamales from scratch or bake a baguette, but I do truly think every single person should know how to cook.
Firstly, as teenagers, almost all of us are used to a parent cooking our daily meals. While we might make our own breakfasts or pack our own lunches, dinners and family meals are almost always out of our hands and made for us. In a world of DoorDash and fast food, when teenagers don’t have their parents to cook for them, it’s easy enough to go pick up some pre-made food or maybe just boil some water for a box of mac and cheese. I’m not saying that I don’t love boxed mac and cheese as well, or that I don’t order a lot of food, because I do. But, I think that between being used to parents’ cooking and the immediateness of fast food, our generation is going to become reliant on other people for something you have to have to survive. We have to eat to LIVE, and if you have to rely on other people you might end up in tricky spots.
I don’t want to turn this into a rant or tell you to do something though, so I figured I would share the easiest, most delicious recipe that I know. I make this meal almost weekly, and along with being fast and easy, it feeds my family of four for multiple meals.
Black Beans and Yellow Rice
(I know the title might sound boring, but trust me, I could eat it for every meal and hey, you’re here for an easy recipe.)
2 cans of black beans
Pre-seasoned store-bought yellow rice
Olive oil for cooking
1 spoonful of minced garlic
At least ½ an onion
3 handfuls of leafy greens (I prefer spinach, but any greens will do.)
½ can of diced tomatoes
½ can of hatch chiles
At least 2 hot sauces: 4 or more is best
How to Cook It
The first thing I do is put my yellow rice in my rice cooker, following the rice’s printed instructions, plus a dash of olive oil. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can easily cook rice in just a pot.
Next, I get out my biggest pan and pour olive oil onto the center, turning the flame to halfway for medium heat. While letting the pan and oil heat up, chop up your onions and greens. Put in the onions first, letting them go slightly brown before pouring in the rest of what you cut. Then, add a spoonful of your garlic, which, as a bonus, is going to make your kitchen smell amazing. Let those simmer for a few minutes (the greens should have fully shrunk down) before adding your tomatoes and chiles. Then let those cook for a bit on their own. In a few minutes, open your two cans of black beans and drain any extra liquid from them into the sink. Then, pour them into the pan. I then pour in every single hot sauce in my house (six!) but as long as you add some hot sauces, I’m sure it will taste good. Lastly, I add a little lime juice and cover the pan with a lid.
At this point, you just let everything cook for a while. When using a rice cooker, it will automatically cook the right amount of time, but if you use a pot, you’ll need to be watching it. For the black bean concoction, I turn it down to the lowest heat and then let it cook for around twenty minutes. You mostly just want any true liquids to be cooked away, but everything should still be wet.
Serve while hot, and feel free to add any kinds of tortilla chips or sour cream, but I enjoy it by itself. I hope the flavors come out well and that you felt inspired to cook even just a teensy bit more, because not only can it be relaxing and rewarding, but it’s a skill everyone should have.