Be a mean, lean, beans-n-greens cooking machine.

One bunch of local Georgia mustard greens, roughly chopped, washed, and spun.

One bunch of local Georgia mustard greens, roughly chopped, washed, and spun.

I’m always on the lookout for free apps for the iPad but didn’t realize how invaluable the “How To Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman would become to me — and sadly, it must have been a short promotion because it now comes with a price tag. If you are looking for a great cooking app with lots of linked content and information on techniques and some innovative but still doable recipes, I highly recommend it and would pay for it if I was offered it again having had the chance to see it in action.

All that aside, I am also always on the lookout for almost one-pot dishes that combine things that I love in new ways (for me anyway) that I can portion and whip back out for later or use as a base for other ingredients that may need to be used more quickly or are highly seasonal. If you’ve read previous posts, you know that my versatile chicken bowl of goodness  is a combination I go back to constantly. With the weather finally turning fall-like here in Georgia, my thoughts turn to combinations that will warm me up on the inside.

Great northern beans cooking with a yellow onion, slit stuck with a bay leaf and clove.

Great northern beans cooking with a yellow onion, slit stuck with a bay leaf and clove.

I want to say Bittman’s “Beans and Greens” recipe was on the main screen of the app the day I pulled it up and scanning through the list of ingredients and the techniques I thought, “Now here is something I can totally do without a ton of work and enjoy for days.” I do not want to list the recipe verbatim here because it’s not cool to rip stuff off like that but the concept of cooking beans and then adding greens is something humans have been doing for quite a while. Although I could not find the particular recipe on Bittman’s site, he does have quite a few other recipes posted so do check them out. I will note that the app allows you to email recipes to people as well so I did share it with my mom and health coach Jen Sturm, Get With It For Life.

Beyond the basic technique of soaking your beans overnight, Bittman has us toss in an onion while they cook, sliced to hold a bay leaf and a clove. The greens are really your choice and I had the luck of finding some local mustard greens the day I went shopping for parts. While raw mustard greens are a bit strong to me and arugula and kale more my green of choice, I really wanted to see if the cooking would tame the mustard greens just a bit — plus I’m a sucker for local stuff.

First bowl of beans and greens, turmeric roasted chicken added for variety.

First bowl of beans and greens, turmeric roasted chicken added for variety.

After the beans are “tender but intact” you add your greens and cook everything until tender (upwards to 30 minutes), remove the onion, season (salt and pepper were all added with the beans), and then before serving add garlic, olive oil, and cheese or bread crumbs. Although the first bowl really was the best one, with all the flavors blending just so and the heat of the bowl warming my hands as I made happy grunting noises, subsequent servings have been just as fantastic. I portioned them out in about one-cup servings that I heat up in the microwave and top with whatever protein I’m working with — this week it’s going to be slow-cooker shredded chipotles in adobo/Hot Chix sauce chicken. (Hot Chix is a Georgia brand I also discovered at the farmer’s market.) The chipotles in adobo were leftover from another food adventure in making spicy peanut butter…but that’s for another time!

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