Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

When I eat an entire pan of enchiladas myself, I know that I have to share the recipe. Not only did I eat the entire pan myself, but I was actually sad to see the last one gone – that’s not how I usually feel after days of eating the same thing over and over again. Trust me, these are goooooooood. enchiladas Gina’s Skinny Taste recipe for Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas took longer to  make than most of my weeknight dinners but it was worth the wait. I ate myself sick the first night (they were so good, I just couldn’t stop), and they tasted even better the second day for lunch and the following night for dinner. I filled my tortillas a little fatter than she did and topped mine with fresh avocado, but otherwise followed her recipe to the letter. Don’t wait long to make a pan of these!

Herby Frittata with Goat Cheese

Here’s a recipe that was easy to prepare but fussy to finish, at least for me. Cooking Light’s Herby Frittata with Vegetables and Goat Cheese is full of great flavor thanks to the fresh dill, chives and goat cheese. It’s simple until it comes to the cooking time. Their recipe claims that the eggs will set up and be ready to eat in 5 minutes. When I followed their instructions, I had a soupy mess that definitely wasn’t pretty. Additional stovetop cooking and a second stop under the broiler left my end product a little dried out.

Final ruling? This is yummy and you should try it. Just make sure your eggs are completely set up on the stove before putting them under the broiler.

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Summer Vegetable Pasta

This simple recipe is all about classic flavors. Garlic, onion and tomatoes are tossed to coat the bow-tie pasta (known as Farfalle) for a light meal:
pasta

Another recipe from EatingWell, this Summer Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese Medallions was ready in less than an hour. I halved the recipe, used frozen Roma tomatoes, and mixed everything in the same pan that had cooked the noodles – making this a one pot meal.

I loved the flavor the goat cheese added to the dish but have to admit, I didn’t love the texture of the panko coating. In the future, I will either make a finer coating for the medallion or skip it all together and just serve it with goat cheese.

Easy Spring Pizza

Nothing says spring to me quite like asparagus. This recipe is a simple, springy pizza that can be made for the family, for one (like mine featured below) or turned into little appetizers for a party – I’m thinking smaller pieces of asparagus on a crescent roll base.
asparagus pizza

Aptly called “Spring Pizza,” this Eatingwell recipe is a snap. I made mine for one on a whole wheat pita by doing the following:

Combine:
1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives

Spread the above ingredients on 1 whole wheat pita and cover pita with asparagus spears.

Spray asparagus with olive oil (if you don’t have a spray bottle, just add it to the above mixture to coat), salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used parmesan because that’s what I had).

Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

A Taste of India

One of my favorite public radio shows is The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, it is “The show for people who love to eat” after all. I’m always eager to give Lynne’s recipes a try and I jumped at the chance to make this one.

Roasted Indian-Spiced Vegetables and Chickpeas with Raisins is vegan, full of flavor,  and makes great leftovers. The recipe calls for soy yogurt on the side but I skipped that and went with jasmine rice instead. indian roasted vegetables

Simple and delicious, you can’t go wrong with this recipe but be forewarned, it takes about an hour. Trust me though, it’s worth the wait.

Getting Corny

I don’t think recipes get much simpler than this one for Mexicorn Salad. This recipe comes from The Mother by way of her friend the Fabulous French Floridian, it was good.
mexican corn salad

It is simple and easy, you can use what you like and skip what you don’t. Here’s the basis:

1 can Mexican style corn, drained
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Avocado, diced or sliced
Fresh tomatoes, diced or sliced
Black olives
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, if desired
Oil & vinegar dressing OR oil & balsamic OR Italian dressing

As you can see, The Mother arranged her ingredients sliced on a bed of corn and served her dressing on the side. If you prefer to dice your ingredients, I would toss all of them together and top with the eggs.

When I try this recipe myself, I’m going to skip the black olives (if The Husband is eating it) and might try adding black beans to the corn. This is a perfect picnic recipe that is easy to personalize, what would you do?

Dinner Detox

The one thing that I really miss while traveling is home cooked meals. After a week of rich food, I needed something nutritious to get me back on track. The challenge? No groceries in the house and a worn out cook.

I always tell people that the secret to quick and healthy eating is a well-stocked pantry and this recipe is proof of that. After digging through the cupboards, I was able to put together a satisfying lentil “soup” using red lentils, garlic, shallots and carrots:
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Here’s how I did it:

1-1/2 cup red lentils
4 carrots
2 giant cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1 tsp salt
Black pepper

Put the lentils* in a saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water (about 6 cups) and salt. While that’s coming to a boil, peel the carrots and chop into a 1/2 inch pieces – add to the cooking lentils. Peel and slice or chop the garlic, add to the pan. I had a shallot on hand so I sliced that up and added it to the pot. If you are without shallots, add more garlic or some onion. When the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 25 minutes. The lentils break down into a stew that is filling and tasty.

This would be great with some flatbread and a green salad on the side. If you need more zip, add a squirt of Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce. Enjoy!

* Lentils often need rinsing before being used.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

It’s all about having a great recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t have one for you.

During an ideal week, I like to plan out my menus. On a typical Sunday before we go to the grocery store, I make a list of dinners we’ll have, the groceries that we’ll need, and then we hit the store to do our shopping. This is a great help for those days when you stagger in from work with eyes crossed and can’t making another decision – just consult the list! When that typical Sunday doesn’t happen, I enter into a world of improvisation and who knows what you might end up eating. That brings us to this delightful soup that I whipped up for myself the other night:
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A more apt title for this blog post would be “Everything But the Kitchen Sink (Or Whatever You Have On Hand),” but that felt a bit longwinded.

There was no menu planning or trip to the store this week, and I was proud of myself for digging through the pantry for supplies instead of calling for pizza. Here’s what I threw in the pot:

1 box of vegetable stock
Some frozen chard
Some frozen peas
Diced (sort of) fresh celery
Diced fresh carrots
One sliced up shallot
Minced garlic
The rest of a box of curly pasta

I seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried oregano; when the pasta was cooked, I added a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans.

VOILA, almost instant dinner – faster than pizza delivery anyway!

I encourage you all to fearlessly tackle your pantry and see what you come up with. Who knows, you might like it! Worst case scenario? You throw it out and call for pizza.

A Taste of Spring – in a Sandwich!

When I was trying to figure out what green-themed recipe to make this week, I realized that I eat A LOT of green food. I also have no problem admitting that I’m completely obsessed with a few of the same recipes (*cough* Green Goddess). Seriously, it is that good. But, I realized I needed something new and different. The most obvious idea would be to make greens, but did I want to be that literal?

In the end, I landed on a weird little dish that was really good, super simple and quick. It probably would have been even better if I’d paid closer attention to the recipe (and the state of my pantry), but what can you do? Running to the Kitchen’s recipe for a Chickpea Pesto Sandwich makes a flexible sandwich filling with a light and fresh taste. One day I used bread, another day I used a flour tortilla, it would even make a good veggie dip. And it’s a forgiving recipe that could be modified in many ways. How was mine different?

What I Skipped:
– My avocados were hard as rocks (BOO!).
– My cilantro’s freshness window had closed.
– I thought we had lemon juice in the house. D’oh!
– Oops… sun dried tomatoes were in the recipe?

What did that leave?
– Chickpeas (YUM!)
– Garlic
– Spinach
– Tahini
– Greek yogurt
– And I added chopped celery to overcome my other shortcomings

I added fresh spinach to my sandwiches, and lunch was set!
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The Griddler Meets the Crunch Wrap Supreme

Every day I feel lucky to have friends who love me. After meals like this, I feel even luckier to have friends who know how much I love food.

When the Best-Good Friend asked if we could make these in The Griddler, I knew it had to be something special. A Beautiful Mess had posted the recipe “Vegetarian Crunch Wrap Supreme,” inspired by her love of Taco Bell. Now, I’ve never eaten Taco Bell but I love Mexican food and anything that can be squeezed between The Griddler’s hot plates.

The Husband and I gave it a test run so I would be prepared for dinner with The Best-Good Friend and it is a new favorite. Of course there were modifications. The Husband’s was not vegetarian, we added seasoned taco meat. I disdain sour cream, so my version did not include any and I also used sliced Pepper Jack cheese instead of Marble Jack.

Feast your eyes on my Vegetarian Crunch Wrap Supreme:
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Beans and Rice, It’s What’s For Dinner

Sometimes the world seems very loud to me. I should amend that. Most of the time, the world feels very loud to me. The Husband says that it’s because I have ridiculously good hearing (it’s my super power). Personally, I think that the world is just incredibly loud and I’m constantly trying to turn down the volume. Some days I lose that battle, the noise follows me everywhere and I discreetly stick my fingers in my ears to block out what I can. I’m unable to tune out voices, entire conversations, the drumming of fingers, the clacking of keyboards, laughter down the hall, the slamming (okay, closing) of doors – you get the idea.

Tonight after a long day of sensory overload, I escaped to one of my favorite quiet retreats to recharge: The Minnesota Winter. Danny’s leash in hand, I braced for the cold air and the cathedral-like silence that comes with the snow. Unfortunately, even there sounds assaulted me at every turn and despite the cold, the night was a-buzz with activity. The crunching of snow under my boots sounded like a roar in my ears, an airplane thundered over, a runner stomped past, there seemed to be no escape. That was when I turned the corner and saw the backhoe digging up a front yard, the Roto-Rooter truck parked on the street. In the midst of all that noise, I felt sympathy for the poor sots with the plumbing disaster in the middle of the deep freeze and my inner quiet started to regain its foothold. Obviously where I was standing, things were looking pretty good.

They looked even better when I got home to find The Husband making one of our favorite dinners, Spicy Black Beans & Rice:

beans and rice

This is a super simple vegetarian recipe that freezes WONDERFULLY. We’ve not only taken it on camping trips for two but increased the recipe to feed 14 for a canoe trip. Freeze it in gallon storage bags and use it to keep the cooler cold, it’s a fantastic recipe. Serve it with taco chips or put it in a tortilla, it would be especially great with some chopped lettuce and avocado, but I never seem to plan ahead for that.

Something tells me though that with beans for dinner there will be a more noise in my future….

Broccoli Makes it Healthy, Right?

The polar vortex reared its ugly head again and the cold weather has me hungry for comfort food. I don’t know about you, but I feel that if comfort food has vegetables in it, its gotta be good for you. Imagine my glee at stumbling across Oh My Veggie’s recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Brown Rice Casserole, that sounded like all kinds of healthy while still having the comfort of cheese.

This proved to be a very easy recipe to make, especially since we had leftover rice on hand. It could be made even easier by using frozen broccoli instead of prepping fresh. I added the optional shredded carrots (they were unnoticeable), along with extra cheese (both parmesan and cheddar).

It was quite lovely when it came out of the oven and we couldn’t wait to dig in:

broccoli cheese casserole

It had a great creamy texture but lacked the depth of flavor that we love in the Sriracha Mac ‘n Cheese. Our solution? Sriracha. Once we added that, it was perfect. We will definitely make this recipe again.