Friday, June 6, 2014

Crockpot Refried Beans

I really like Mexican/Tex-Mex food. I could eat it everyday. I LOVE beans and rice. Cheese smothered enchiladas and pork tacos from a legit taco truck are like heaven to me. Where Handsome and I grew up there were a lot of pretty good Mexican food joints around and they were actually owned and operated by people who knew how to cook authentic food. Oh man were they delicious! My favorite was the Taco Wagon. My friends and I would go there all.the.time. in highschool for lunch or for a midnight snack before heading home on the weekends. Their tacos were the best. And there was always the good taco wagon and the bad one. You had to make sure you went to the one that had a picture of Jesus in the window because it tasted way better than the other one. Oh I am drooling right now thinking about how awesome they are!! I love Cafe Rio and Costa Vida, but they are not real or authentic to me. They are delicious, don't get me wrong, but there truly isn't a good Mexican restaurant here in Utah. It is sad. Idaho has you on that one, Utah. Don't tell me Los Hermanos is a contender...because it isn't. Trust me.

I usually have a Mexican inspired meal on my menu every week or so. The ingredients are usually fairly healthy and cheap if you opt to make it yourself. One of my very favorite things to make is crockpot refried beans. Mmmm! These are WAY better than the canned version and they are so cheap. You can make a pot and freeze the rest for later. I like to serve mine on tostadas, tacos, burritos, as a chip or veggie dip, or on nachos. You can serve them with meat or make it a vegetarian meal (which is usually what I do, they are so yummy they deserve to be the star of the meal). Also, because this is a crockpot recipe, it makes life so easy! Set it and forget it until dinner time!

My recipe has one secret ingredient to it. I got this tip from Mel's Kitchen Cafe (great site and awesome recipes). I add a tablespoon of liquid from a jar of banana peppers to the mix. It gives a great little kick and awesome flavor!

Crockpot Refried Beans
Recipe by Darci Gardner

-2 cups dry pinto beans, washed and picked over
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. cumin
-1/2 tsp. pepper
-1/2 jalapeno (use the whole jalapeno if you like, I have little kids that don't like the extra spice), seeded and ribs removed, diced
-1 onion, cut in large chunks so you can easily remove them (I just cut mine in half usually)
-1 Tablespoon juice from a jar of banana peppers
-7 cups of water

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker. Turn on high for 8 hours. When time is up, remove onion from the crockpot. Remove extra liquid and mash everything with a potato masher or place in a blender and blend until the consistency you like. My blender is really powerful and so I usually mash these by hand. I like my beans to not be completely smooth. I am sure you could also use an immersion blender but I don't have one and have never tried it. You can reserve some of the cooking liquid and add it back in as needed to get to your desired consistency.

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