Rice with beans

This week’s dinner was simple and completely vegan (save for Chad’s salad dressing). We cooked rice with beans and other veggies and served it with a salad. For dessert we had a blackberry and raspberry cobbler. Before dinner we sampled Sierra Nevada’s 2010 Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale. We both enjoyed the beer, although Jacob liked it a bit more than Chad, which is to be expected given that it was a fairly hoppy beer. Overall, this week’s dinner is a flexible and easy-to-do meal. Feel free to adjust it as you see fit!

Rice and Beans

1 cup white rice
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can black beans and liquid
1 can kidney beans and liquid
1 can Southwestern corn medley
1/2 jar banana pepper rings and juice
1 cup  water
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce, to taste
Salt, pepper, and other spices (basil, oregano, cumin) to taste


  • Add all ingredients to a large boiler over high heat
  • Allow mixture to boil for several minutes, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes (depending on amount of liquid remaining in pot and how moist you want the beans and rice to be)
  • Cut off heat and allow mixture to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving
  • Serve with a salad and bread of choice

Blackberry and Raspberry Cobbler
12 oz. frozen blackberries
12 oz. frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar (for berries)
1/4 water (for berries)
1 cup sugar (for topping)
1 cup flour (for topping)
1 cup plain soy milk (for topping)
1 tablespoon melted vegetable spread (for topping)


  • Pour berries into a 9×9 baking dish
  • Mix sugar and water (for berries) and pour over the berries
  • Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over berries
  • Drizzle melted vegetable spread over topping
  • Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (30-40 minutes)


IMG_1831I apologize for the gap in the posts. Needless to say, things are always hectic around here and I haven’t had a lot of spare time. Moving forward, this week’s meal consisted of sauteed chicken served over rotini pasta, served with a salad of mixed greens. It does not get much easier than this!

Chicken and Peppers
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes
3 large bell peppers, diced (we used 1 red, 1 green, and 1 yellow)
1 large sweet onion, diced
1-2 tbs. olive oil
1 small jar prepared basil pesto
1 small jar prepared red pepper pesto
1 jar marinated roasted red peppers
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

  • Heat oil over medium high heat in cast iron skillet. Add onion and saute until onion is translucent. Also put on a large boiler of salted water for the pasta.
  • Once onion is cooked, add chicken and bell peppers. Stir frequently until chicken has cooked on the outside.
  • Now add the juice from the marinated red peppers and the peppers (make sure they are diced before adding) to the skillet. Allow mixture to simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked completely (around 10 minutes).
  • While chicken mixture is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Once pasta is done, drain and put back into boiler.
  • At this point, we decided to add our pestos directly to our chicken mixture as seasoning. We considered, and we believe it would be just as delicious, adding the pestos to the pasta and tossing the pasta with the pesto. We opted not to do this just in case some one did not care for the pesto. We also, after we added the pestos, added our mushrooms. You are can certainly add the mushrooms earlier if you prefer them softer and more cooked.
  • Spoon up some pasta, cover with chicken and pepper mixture and enjoy.
  • IMG_1804

  • Note: We also has a variety of other toppings on the side. These included marinated artichoke hearts, raw mushrooms, feta cheese, feta cheese stuffed olives, and sliced black olives. I added the marinated artichoke hearts and feel that this addition really made the dish stand out and 100% more enjoyable. The feta stuffed olives and being heavy handed with the feta cheese proved to really detract from the dish in our mutual opinion.
  • We began the meal by serving a salad of mixed greens with various toppings. We paired our main dish with crusty sourdough bread.


While we prepared the meal, we sampled two stouts. The first was the Black Belgian Style Stout by Allagash. The second was the Imperial Choklat Stout by Southern Tier. We enjoyed both beers, although we would not recommend pairing them with this meal.

After a slow (thanks to Jacob) and cold (thanks to Chad) 15 mile ride, we hunkered down and decided on Italian for tonight’s meal. The result of our decision was a sort of conglomeration of dishes mixing spicy italian sausage with penne pasta and then adding chicken piccata to the mix. We served the double main courses with a caesar salad on the side. For dessert we baked an apple cinnamon caramel crumble. For this, we simply took a store-bought box of ready-to-make apple crumble, added a can of apples in caramel sauce, and cut up one granny smith apple.

We hope you enjoy Italian night here at Leaven. Cheers!

IMG_1688Spicy Italian Sausage with Penne Pasta

Penne pasta, amount depends on how many you are serving
3-4 spicy italian sausages, we used Johnsonville Andouille
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, or 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic to taste
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded cheese mix (ours consisted of Asiago, Romano, and Parmesan)
Dried oregano, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking Directions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return to pot to keep warm
  • Dice sausage, onion, and garlic and place into large skillet. Cook on medium high heat until sausage is well done, stirring frequently.
  • Once sausage mixture is cooked, drain fat. Then add tomatoes (canned and fresh) and broccoli. Cover, allowing to simmer, and cook until broccoli is tender.
  • To serve, place pasta on serving dish and top with sausage and vegetable mixture. Top with cheeses and serve hot.

IMG_1679Chicken Piccata

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
2 gloves garlic chopped, or 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 cup chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh italian parsley
2 tablespoons drained capers

Cooking Directions

  • Combine flour, salt, and pepper in bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of this flour mixture for later
  • Coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess
  • Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook chicken 4-5 minutes per side or until no longer pink in center. Transfer to serving platter and cover with foil.
  • Add garlic to same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Add reserved flour mixture; cook and stir 1 minute. Add broth and lemon juice; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens. Add chicken back to skillet and allow to cook on low for several minutes. Add capers and allow to cook for several additional minutes.
  • To serve, place chicken on penne pasta (or on rice or by itself); spoon sauce over gravy. Serve with parsley and lemon wedge.

And finally, for dessert, our apple cinnamon caramel crumble!

Day of birth

With all of the holiday festivities occurring this week, and it being Jacob’s birthday, we decided to forgo the traditional meal and opted to take the meal on the road and join our friends at Mellow Mushroom. That means no recipe/dinner this week. We do, however, have this photo to share from our pre-meal ride. The photograph was taken in Milner, Georgia. The bike on the left is Jacob’s and the one on the right is Chad’s. You may click on the photo to see a full-size version.

Our first published meal is lime cilantro shrimp and tomato chicken. We first tried this out several months ago and ate them as  tacos. Last night we titled them fajitas. The concept simply being you have your meat and veggies and you can wrap it in a tortilla, fill a taco shell, or just eat the meat and veggies all by themselves. We hope you enjoy this simple and quick meal as much as we did. Cheers!


Lime Cilantro Shrimp and Tomato Chicken
serves 6-8

Cilantro Shrimp:
Frozen raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (we used 1 pound)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips and diced if desired
1/2 sweet onion, diced
Garlic, to taste
Fresh cilantro (or cilantro pesto paste if cilantro is not  available), to taste
2-3 fresh limes, to taste


Tomato Chicken:
2-3 fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1/8 cup olive oil
1 green and 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips and diced if desired
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes
Harry and David Pepper and Onion Relish (Orange) into the chicken
Cumin, to taste
Cinnamon, to taste
Mexican chili powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lime, squeezed, to taste

Cooking Directions

Saute garlic, onions, and peppers on high heat until onions are translucent. Add shrimp and reduce heat to low. Add cilantro, squeeze limes and add lime rinds, remain on low heat until desired consistency is reached and shrimp are cooked (15-45 minutes)

Saute garlic, onions, and peppers on high heat until onions are translucent. Add chicken and reduce heat to medium high. Stir chicken to ensure even cooking. After 5-10 minutes, add tomatoes. Allow to simmer. After 10-20 minutes, add relish and allow to continue simmering. Once chicken has completely cooked, turn heat to low and add spices and allow to continue to cook until desired consistency is reached. Around 10 minutes before serving, add juice of one lime. If a stronger lime flavor is desired, add more limes and add the juice earlier in the cooking process.

Serve shrimp and chicken on tortillas, tostadas, by itself, or any way you like. We serve ours on flour tortillas and also by itself.

We recommend a key lime pie for dessert.

We sampled a variety of beers while preparing this meal. However, we would suggest a nice wheat beer (Bell’s Oberon Ale) or a pale ale (Terrapin’s Rye Pale Ale) to accompany the shrimp and chicken.

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