Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Kidney Beans and Kayaks - Recipes and Writing Prompts with Author Katie O'Sullivan

Author Katie O’Sullivan is my guest today and she's sharing a great recipe with us. What a unique combination of ingredients, Spaghetti Squash and Kidney Beans. And the Cajun seasoning really adds the flavor I'm used to since I'm married to a 'Louisiana Man'. You'll also enjoy the writing prompt Katie devised. Just thinking about the scenario she dreamed up gave me the shivers and jump-started my imagination. Now let's turn this over to Katie

Photo Credit - Perkumpulan Lesman
Kidney beans have always been a staple in my pantry but when two of my teenagers recently became vegetarians, they became even more important. I took a hard look at how to ensure my kids had enough protein in their diets and beans took on a starring role.

Kidney beans have 15 grams of protein per cup, and are great sources of magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin B1, manganese, folate and fiber...among other nutrients! Super food? Yes. Versatile in cooking? More than I ever imagined!

One of our new favorite recipes uses kidney beans in place of ground beef to make a spicy red sauce served over spaghetti squash... but you can also serve it over regular pasta.

Spaghetti (Squash) Sauce Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans or 3 cups cooked kidney beans, rinsed
2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 cup your favorite jar tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper or Cajun seasoning blend
1 cup frozen corn
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 large spaghetti squash (or pasta)

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic with a little olive oil until onion is translucent. Add kidney beans and cook 2-3 minutes before adding diced tomatoes, sauce, water and spices. Cook until bubbling, stirring every few minutes, add corn, then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer 20-30 minutes. Serve over squash or pasta.

To prepare spaghetti squash:
Cut the squash in half, scrape out seeds, and lay flat in a baking dish. Add half an inch of water at the bottom and bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes. (Or boil water and make pasta instead. You decide how healthy you want to be!) Test squash for readiness by pushing fork through skin without resistance. Shred squash into spaghetti-like tendrils by pulling fork through soft insides, scraping into large bowl.

Writing Prompt:
You're on Cape Cod for a family reunion, and a large group decides to rent kayaks to explore the Bass River for the afternoon. Uncle John thought it was a good idea to paddle down to watch the sunset over the ocean, but the tide is going out, the current is strong and darkness is setting in.

About Katie O’Sullivan
Katie O’Sullivan lives on Cape Cod, drinking way too much coffee and inventing new excuses not to dust. Living next to the Atlantic influences everything she writes, from her YA series about mermaids to her contemporary romances for The Wild Rose Press.

You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting the following links

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Thank You So Much


  1. Thanks for hosting me today! Such a fun idea for a blog series!

    1. Katie, you are so welcome. It's a pleasure to have you and you did a great job with both the recipe and the writing prompt. Bunches of success with your books!

  2. Looks like a great recipe. I printed it out. My son was vegan for a short time in high school and it was a struggle to get enough calories in him. Would have been good to have that recipe back then. He's still vegetarian but eats fish now, which helps a lot with the protein. Best wishes on your books.

    1. Thanks, Mary! Yes, I have one who will eat fish, the other won't. My oldest - my only meat eater - is away at college...

  3. Hi Katie! I'm always looking for new vegetarian recipes for the granddaughters. This sounds great. As far as the writing prompt - it's a great start, but I'm scared to death of kayaks.

    1. LOL - Sandra, use that fear for the writing!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I know how kidney beans can be a staple in a vegetarian pantry, having been a veggie lover for years--I do eat chicken and fish now, however. Great sounding recipe. As for Uncle John suggesting kayaks in a strong current, I'll bet he'll rue the day!

    1. (If you eat turkey too, We make the same recipe with ground turkey, like a meat sauce kind of thing that's also yummy)

      I love spagetti squash and I always forget how easy and tasty it is!

  5. Katie - I'm trying you recipe this weekend!! It sounds like a scrumptious winner.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Peggy - hope it works out for you!

  6. Thank you for the recipe, Katie. My family is one of those with food sensitivities and this looks like a good fit for us!