Texas Beans and Corn Meal Dumplings

Spicy Beans and DumplingsFall has arrived and with the crisp weather and lower temperatures, something hearty and full of flavor seems like the perfect choice.  So, I’m making Texas Beans with Corn Meal Dumplings.  I found the original recipe for this as a soup on Cooks.com.  However, being from Texas originally, I know that beans and soup are two different things. Neither of them are chili, and there are NO CARROTS.  So, of course I had to “improve” on the basic recipe.  Ordinarily, I would make corn bread in the cast iron skillet, but since I’ve never met a dumpling I didn’t love from the first mouthful, I thought I’d get the best of both worlds. 

My first consideration is always to make a healthy meal.  This dish is extremely low fat and nutritious.  An added bonus is that it’s also really economical and feeds a lot of hungry mouths, and that’s a big consideration these days. 

I recommend using a Dutch oven for this dish.  The slow cooker takes too long and when you’re using canned beans it’s kind of a waste of time and electricity.  I’m getting hungry, so let’s get started.


  • 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans or chili beans rinsed & drained
  • 3 c. vegetable, beef or chicken stock (fat free, of course)
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz.) no salt added diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup mild or hot salsa
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced
  • 1  jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (if you’re really brave, use canned chipotle pepper)
  • 2 instant bouillon cubes (for depth and richness)
  • 1-2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp. cumin
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine onions, garlic and pepper in a Dutch oven with a couple of tablespoons of stock and sweat until onions are translucent.  Add the stock and all other ingredients.  Cover and cook over low heat for 2-4 hours.

 Half an hour before serving make and add the dumplings.

 Corn Meal Dumplings:

  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Dash of salt (optional)
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 beaten egg white or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil

 In a small mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine egg white, milk and oil. Add to flour mixture; stir with a fork until just combined. 

 Turn to medium heat and drop teaspoonfuls of dumpling mixture into the beans to make mounds atop the beans. Cover, cook for 30 minutes more. (No peeking! Do not lift cover.)

If you try this recipe please let me know how you liked it.

Summer’s End

I’ve started to see the long V’s of Canada geese flocking up to head south.  That usually means that fall is just around the corner and we’ve had a few cool days now, so I’m starting to think about some of my favorite  soup recipes.  We eat soup year round, but when fall comes it often becomes the main meal.  This week I made potato soup, and I make a lot of it because it makes a great addition to the lunch box too.  The recipe below is vegetarian, but you could certainly make it with chicken broth or add bits of ham or bacon.

Comforts of Home Potato Soup

This is a simple, easy to make soup that’s great hot, or even cold.
4 or 5 small to medium potatoes, peeled and cut in  1 inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 medium onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carrot, grated
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup half and half (optional)
2 bay leaves
2 sage leaves (or use dried sage)
Salt and pepper to taste



In a large pot, cover the potatoes with broth or water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until tender.   In the meantime, add a ladle full of the broth into a saute pan and add the onion, garlic and carrots.  Saute just until the onions are slightly softened.  Add to the onion, garlic and carrots to the potatoes along with the herbs and salt and pepper. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  Lower the heat, and add the milk and half and half.  This is a good time to add a tablespoon or two of sour cream or non fat yogurt for creaminess. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher.  I like some chunks in my potato soup and a potato masher works perfectly.  Sprinkle with some chopped fresh dill and serve with a hearty bread.

Timesaver Tip
When you’re prepping your vegetables on shopping day, chop enough carrots, celery onions and peppers for the week and store them in containers in the refrigerator.  It will save time in preparing meals.  You can also prepare lunchbox items like carrot and celery sticks ahead of time for speedier lunchbox prep.