Jimmie, my beautiful sister, is one of the most health-conscious people I know. She eats right, exercises, drinks lots of water, and generally tries her best to keep the rest of us on track, as well. We’d all be fat as bears, walking around all two-seconds-from-a-heart-attack if it weren’t for Jimmie. She teaches us new stuff all the time about how to live better, and eat better. I’m going to share a side dish/snack today straight from Jimmie’s recipe box. Green beans and tomatoes really is a versatile little dish, delicious alongside grilled chicken,
or great just in a bowl for your late afternoon nosh. You’ll think you’re eating something really decadent, but it won’t show up on your hips!
One trait of us Deep Southerner’s that stands out in my mind is our insistence to over-cooking green beans. I love most veggies closer to raw than cooked; broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts…but not green beans. I like my green beans cooked like any other greens: low and slow, and usually with some pork fat involved. Because of this, I’m one of those weirdos who buys more canned green beans than fresh, because with the canned ones half the work is already done, and I don’t always have time for low and slow. Jimmie’s green beans and tomatoes is a great healthy substitute for slow-cooked, greasy green beans, because it’s quick, easy and super-delicious….and uses canned green beans!
I’ll be honest with you all…I don’t always cook things as super-fattening as I let on. I absolutely love a big mess of turnip greens simmered all day in ham hocks, and I could take a swim in some ooey, gooey, super-cheesy macaroni and cheese, but that’s not how we eat on a daily basis around here. I love my family too much to send them to an early grave, and with Coach’s inherited hypertension and high triglycerides, we have to be careful with salt, sugar and fat. I do keep a few sweet treats in the house, but we’ve had plenty of conversations about moderation and healthy food choices. I also keep fruit, yogurt, and snack-able veggies on hand. Nobody in our house is “on a diet”, and we probably never will be, but we aren’t oblivious to health concerns and eating right.
Let’s get started! Saute’ yo’self some minced garlic in a little olive oil, but not too high on the heat.
Burnt garlic is yuck! Drain two cans of green beans (I like cut green beans, but use whatever you like) really well, and add them to the garlic as soon as it becomes fragrant in your skillet.
At this point I like to add some salt and pepper to taste, heavy on the pepper. We love pepper. Let the green beans cook for a few minutes before adding one can of petite diced tomatoes.
I’ve done this two ways: dump it in, juice and all, and let it cook down until the juice is gone, or, drain the tomatoes most of the way and dump them in, cooking until it’s all heated through. Either way is really good, but if you have time, letting the green beans cook down in all that tomato juice does beautiful things.
Dust the whole dern thing with grated Parmesan cheese while it’s still good and hot, so the cheese can melt a little, then serve. It seriously tastes like you’re eating a rich, hearty pasta with red sauce, with half the calories!
So, yeah, I threw a little tad of butter in my skillet right at the end, just to finish it off and give it an extra layer of richness, but that’s totally optional! Hmmm…maybe I do have a problem. But it was just a little!
I’m Southern, I can’t help myself.
Try green beans and tomatoes, y’all. You won’t be sorry.
Make it and throw it into a container and take it for lunch tomorrow. Substitute onions or shallots for the garlic, if garlic is not your thing. Use tomatoes with some Italian herbs in them. Make it with only one can of green beans, if you want to, and eat it for breakfast for all I care, but do try it. Jimmie and I know you won’t regret it.
I’d love it if you guys would share some of your healthy food options with me, but only things that taste really good. I have several go-to recipes that I feel good about serving to my family, but it never hurts to add some variety, so share away! Feel free to leave links to your own blog posts featuring your family’s favorite healthy meals, or just tell me what you like.
And, no, I’m not on a diet, but yeah, I’m thinking about swimsuit weather. Aren’t we all? I’m 42 years old, after all, and I need all the help I can get! If I choose green beans and tomatoes for lunch, or even a snack, I’ll at least feel like I’m getting there.