Tag Archives: recipes

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

16 Nov

I love black beans.  I love sweet potatoes.  I love tacos.

So of course I wanted to try this recipe when I ran across it on Joy the Baker’s blog!  My only dilemma was deciding when to do it.  Should I make them when the Big Guy is home for dinner?  Or should I make them when he’s gone, so there’s more (all) for me?

I made them for both of us.  One can only have so many beans.  Or should really have so many beans.  You know what I mean.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

The Big Guy is a meat-eater of the highest order, so selling him on any meat-free dish is a challenge.  But he and I both loved this one!  Huge hit.  Plus, it’s an easy gluten-free option if you need to take a meal to a gluten-free family, as I did.  Just use corn tortillas instead of flour.

The cabbage slaw is an amazing, tangy addition to these tacos.  It would be so good on fish tacos, too.  I wanted to add slivers of green apple to it, but just didn’t have the time – so maybe you can try that!

The recipe does include preparing three different parts for your tacos, but don’t worry.  The preparations are all fast and easy.  And this is a recipe you can feel really good about eating before Thanksgiving, too.

Before the Roll-Up

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos
recipe from Joy the Baker

For the Potatoes:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste

For the Cabbage Slaw:
2 heaping cups shredded cabbage (I used a packaged coleslaw mix that has carrots, too – great time-saver)
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onions
2 heaping tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes
salt to taste (approx 1/4 – 1/2 tsp)

For the Beans:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lime

whole-wheat tortillas
sour cream, for topping (highly suggested)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place peeled and diced sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet.  Top with olive oil, salt and chili flakes, and lime juice.  Toss together until all of the potato chunks are coated.  Place in the oven to bake until softened through and toasted brown, about 35 – 40 minutes.   Remove the cookie sheet once or twice during baking to toss the potato chunks around.  This will ensure that the cubes cook evenly.  Remove from the oven and let stand when cooked through.

While the potatoes cook, assemble the Cabbage Slaw.  In a medium bowl, place cabbage, yellow onions, and chopped cilantro.  Add lime juice and salt.  Toss to coat and set aside while the potatoes cook and beans heat.  Letting the cabbage slaw sit will help soften the cabbage.

To cook the beans, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add onions and cook until transluscent, about 3 minutes.  Add ground cumin and stir until fragrant.  Add beans and lime juice.  Cook until heated through.

Pile the sweet potatoes, beans and slaw all together on a tortilla and thoroughly enjoy!  Sour cream takes it to the Next Level.


Cranberry Honey Butter

29 Oct

Cranberry Honey Butter

This stuff is good.  I mean, spread it on everything, good.

It’s super-easy to make, too, with just a few ingredients.  Gather unsalted butter, honey, dried cranberries, orange zest, kosher salt.  Mix.

Possibilities for this Cranberry Honey Butter are endless.  So far, I have…

– eaten just a bit on a pretzel
– spread it on bread with oven-roasted turkey for a little pre-Thanksgiving warm-up

on a turkey sandwich…

– slathered it on pancakes

on pancakes…

I plan on…

– spreading it (heavily) on cornbread
– giving it away in these cute little glass jars (i.e., upcycled (is that the right “green” term for this? seriously, I would like to know) baby food jars)
– trying it on rye bread

Cranberry Honey Butter
from Taste of Home

1 c softened unsalted butter
1/3 c finely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 c honey
2 tsp grated orange peel
1/8 tsp kosher salt

To soften your butter, leave it out overnight.  Don’t worry, it won’t melt into a puddle on your counter.

Toss it in a large bowl and whip it with an electric mixer.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well-incorporated.

Transfer to an airtight container or into pretty serving dishes.

Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Simple and Delish: Honey-Dijon Chicken & Delicata Squash

19 Oct

I bought the squash for its name.  Delicata.  I love it.  There’s nothing delicate-looking about winter squash in general and this one had its share of knobs and bumps – yet it dares to take the name “Delicata.”

It was delicious.  I took a bite before I added butter, salt and pepper, and alone, it was buttery and smooth and just really good.  So you can be super-healthy and skip the tasty additions.  My husband did that.  He’s always one-upping me on the nutrition front.  Are you the one in your relationship that always suggests ice cream or cookies or nachos at 10 pm?  There is always one, mark my words.  But back to the squash.  The Delicata (at least ours) do have less flesh than butternuts or acorns, so buy a big one if you want a substantial side dish.

All I did was microwave it for 7 minutes and let it sit while I did a few things, then cut it in half and scooped out the seeds and stringy stuff.  Easy, easy, easy.

I’ve been wanting to try this chicken marinade for a while, after seeing it in the Pioneer Woman’s show and in her cookbook.  Yum!  It’s a little sweet (that’s the honey talkin’) and a little tangy (the mustard chimes in).  I didn’t use much crushed red pepper, so it lacked heat.  I’ll toss in probably half a teaspoon next time.  Next time I will also top it with thick, crispy bacon and piles of melted cheese.  But this time we had it plain.  The better to really taste it, right?  The Big Guy was disappointed, I know, even though he did not say it aloud.

I grilled it inside, in a grill pan.  Sigh.  I hate doing that because it always, always leaves such a sticky, hard-to-remove gunk in the grill pan.  But the wind was blowing 50 mph – literally – so it was the lesser of two evils.  That’s the kind of wind that will blow a patio chair into your shins and a flower pot at your neck.  I was not taking any chances.  Plus, it would have ruined my hair.

I’m calling the chicken marinade something different, because even she admits no real reason for her original title, Ranch Style Chicken.  Artistic liberty.  I love it.  If you want the original recipe, with all her funny witticisms, click the link above.  Reread for fun.

Honey-Dijon Chicken
serves: 2 plus leftovers (unless you’re really hungry)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even 1/4″ thickness
1/4 c honey
1/4 c dijon mustard, grainy otherwise
the juice of 1/3 a whole lemon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Mix the marinade ingredients together by squeezing in a large plastic zip-top bag.  Add the chicken, press out air and seal.  Squish around to coat evenly.  Refrigerate for 1-3 hours, turning occasionally so every part of the chicken gets soaked in the marinade.

Heat grill pan over medium heat or grill to medium.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, flip and cook until done.

Toddler Muffins

18 Oct

They’re a Hit

Toddler Muffins are still BIG in our household.  I just made another batch, and this time I ran the calories.

The Little Guy devours two a day.  I plan on getting my bird-like little niece hooked on them as soon as I can.  She fell hard for the Quinoa Bites.  It’s only a matter of time and devotion to the cause, and these Toddler Muffins will make their way into her heart.  Along with the bananas, squash and carrots they’re packed with…

Toddler Muffin

Toddler Muffins
Makes 12 regular-sized muffins

1/4 c. canola-vegetable oil blend
1/4 c. plain whole-milk yogurt
1/3 c. light brown sugar
2 lg. bananas, mashed
1-4.5 oz. jar baby food squash puree
2 carrots, grated
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 c. instant oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease muffin cups.

Cream together vegetable oil, yogurt, and brown sugar until smooth.  Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots and eggs.  Stir in the flours, oats, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt until combined.

Spoon batter equally into prepared muffin cups.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until pick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Store at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze.  Or refrigerate!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size – 1 regular-sized muffin

Calories 143
Total Fat 5.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 32 mg
Sodium 134 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 9.9 g
Protein 3.6 g

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

17 Oct

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

I think I’ve done something irreverent to enchiladas.  Beef and bean?  Isn’t that a burrito thing?

I think it is.  I think enchiladas don’t have beans; that’s the defining difference.  Please don’t quote me on that, though.  I’m again making strong statements about things I know little about.  According to my husband, it’s a failing of mine.  He just gets annoyed about it because he so often believes me when I’m wrong (but so convinced) about something.

These Beef and Bean Enchiladas are delish.  Snappy comfort food.  Oh, and easy.  And guys love them.

The Finished Product

Beef and Bean Enchiladas
makes 1 9×13 pan

1 lb. hamburger
1 small onion, diced
1 4.5-oz can chopped green chilies
1 4.5-oz can sliced black olives
1 10-oz can Old El Paso Mild Enchilada Sauce
1 10-oz can Old El Paso Medium Enchilada Sauce
1 can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed; mashed up with your hands
8 oz finely shredded colby jack cheese
8-count package flour tortillas (soft taco size)

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Brown hamburger with onion; drain.  Stir in chopped green chilies, sliced black olives, mashed beans, 3/4 cup mild enchilada sauce and 1 cup cheese.

Spoon equal amounts (about 1/2 cup) into each tortilla.  Roll up and place, seam side down, in pan.  Squeeze ’em together.

Pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas in pan; sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Serve topped with sour cream and salsa.

Note: These are a terrific freezer meal!  If you want to freeze them, do everything but bake them.  After you’ve topped them with the remaining sauce and cheese, cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil.  To bake, thaw overnight in fridge, then bake at 375 until hot and bubbly.

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks

16 Oct

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks

If you think tilapia is boring and fish sticks are for children, I dare you to try this recipe.

It will please both the adults and the kids at your table, and it’s a fun way to serve tilapia – which, I’ll admit, can become a little predictable.  Before running across this recipe in the October issue of Cooking Light, I’d been studiously ignoring the bag of frozen tilapia fillets in my freezer.

They pan-fried their fish sticks.  Having already made Fried Green Tomatoes today, I decided to bake the fish sticks instead and hope for the best.  Success!  I’ll bake them in the future, too.  Who wants to stand over a skillet of hot oil if they don’t have to?

I served these with sweet potato fries and a frozen peas-and-carrots mix.  Back to the basics, kids!

Our Dinner

Super Salsa

15 Oct

Super Salsa

This is it.  We have arrived.  We have a salsa recipe we can live and die with.

It’s the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

Thank you, Pioneer Woman, for this recipe and many others we have enjoyed.  I have both your cookbooks.  I faithfully DVR your show on the Food Network, and even my husband watches it with me, although he likes to pretend he’s not that interested.  We think you’re pretty cool.  And maybe I want to cook in a kitchen like yours.

It’s great because you don’t have to peel and chop any tomatoes by hand at all.  You just dump all your ingredients (okay, you chop a little onion and one single clove of garlic and one jalapeno) into a food processor and blend, baby, blend.  That’s it, and you have Super Salsa on your table and ready to eat.

It makes a ton, too.  We’re going to share a bit of ours, but it sort of pains me to do so.  That’s something I’m working on, that selfishness…

Pioneer Woman’s Restaurant-Style Salsa
(a link to her original recipe; the one below includes the amounts I used – which vary only very slightly)

1 28-oz can whole tomatoes with juice
2 10-oz cans Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (I used a generic brand)
1/4 c diced onion
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced and quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
juice of half a lime
1/2 c cilantro (no need to chop, just break off the leaves)

Pile everything into your food processor (careful; mine barely fit and did overflow just a bit when I pureed it).  Pulse several times until you reach your desired consistency.

Eat immediately.

Creamy Potato Soup

14 Oct

Chopping vegetables is therapeutic for me. Chopping potatoes is not.

So when I realized I only had 2 pounds of potatoes and could only make half this recipe for Creamy Potato Soup, I wasn’t disappointed. I was pleased. The recipe calls for chopped potatoes, but I prefer smaller bites of potato in my potato soups (kind of like how I always dice my veggies and onions, no matter what kind of rough chop the recipe may call for) so dice away, dice away.

So Many Potatoes

Unfortunately, after dicing all those potatoes and mincing two cloves of garlic, I forgot I was halving the recipe, and added the full amounts of chicken soup base, salt and pepper. Well. Potatoes need a lot of seasoning, right? I was comfortable with the mistake. And a happy mistake it was! This Creamy Potato Soup has just the right consistency and an amazing flavor.

I’d suggest doubling this recipe. You’re going to want leftovers. Anyway, like any good soup worth the pot it’s made in, this freezes well, so leftovers need not be wasted.

Creamy Potato Soup

Here’s my version:

Creamy Potato Soup
makes 4 servings

2 lbs. red potatoes, diced (peel if desired; I didn’t)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. (heaping) chicken soup base
4 c. water
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into chunks and softened

Place potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and soup base into slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8. About 30 minutes before you want to serve the soup, mix in the cream cheese. Stir occasionally to help it melt, replacing lid after stirring.

Nutritional Information
(based on 1-cup serving)
calories 150
fat 8 g (using full-fat cream cheese; I used reduced-fat and the consistency was fine)
carbs 17 g
fiber 2 g
protein 3 g

Spicy Pulled Pork and Fried Green Tomatoes

12 Oct

What do those two foods – Spicy Pulled Pork and Fried Green Tomatoes – have in common, you may ask?  Not a thing, my friend, not a thing.

I had the pork bubbling away in the crockpot when my mom presented me with some green tomatoes and what may be the last bag of bell peppers from her garden.

We were both surprised by how much we loved the Fried Green Tomatoes, and how spicy the Spicy Pulled Pork was.  Don’t underestimate the power of the chipotle pepper.  I used about 1/3 of the chipotle the Pioneer Woman’s recipe actually calls for, and it was still enough to light up the back of our throats.  But it was delicious!  It had just the right amount of sweetness to offset that spicy.

Spicy Pulled Pork and Fried Green Tomatoes

Here’s a link to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for spicy pulled pork.

Now the Fried Green Tomatoes…  so easy I could make them more than once every year, which seems to be my current rate of repitition.  Perhaps this weekend, in fact.

Fried Green Tomatoes… I Ate 5

To fry green tomatoes:
Slice tomatoes in 1/2″ slices.

In a dish, whisk an egg (or two if you’re using a lot of tomatoes) with a generous pinch of salt.

In another bowl, dump about a cup of panko bread crumbs; mix with black pepper and a generous sprinkle of ground thyme.

In a large saucepan, heat about 1/4″ of oil over medium-high heat (hot enough to fry, but not to kick oil bubbles up everywhere).

Dunk each tomato slice in the egg bath, then cover as thickly as possible in the bread crumbs.  Place carefully in the pan and fry about two minutes on each side.

Serve with a dipping sauce made of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) and a couple healthy dashes of Sriracha sauce.

Cheesy Broccoli Quiche

9 Oct

Cheesy Broccoli Quiche

This is a surefire winner.  It scores on all counts.

It’s easy.  Mix a bunch of stuff together and bake.

It’s cheap.  No unusual ingredients – in fact, it calls for ingredients you probably already have on hand.  And you won’t use 1/3 of that bag of broccoli, to leave the rest to gather ice crystals in your freezer – you use it all.

It’s cheesy.  Cheese can cover a multitude of offenses for picky eaters, despite what non-dairy argumentists might have to say against it!

I think maybe I just made up a word: argumentist.  I like it.  Try to work that into your conversation in the next day or so, and see what kind of reaction you get.

P.S. I feel a little bad passing this recipe on, truly.  It’s so cheesy that what could have been a healthy, veggie-packed dish… is not.  I thought about suggesting replacing half the cheeses with veggies like shredded zucchini, diced frozen carrots, pureed squash, chopped spinah=ch.  But then it couldn’t really be called “cheesy” broccoli quiche.  It would be more akin to a “veggie” quiche.  So make this when you have overnight company some weekend.  Let your guests help you eat it.  Serve it with a salad or on some greens, to ease any remorse you might feel.  And then move on to find that perfect Veggie Quiche.  I’m on the lookout, too!

With no further ado, the recipe…

Cheesy Broccoli Quiche
serves 8-10
(originally from allrecipes.com, I believe)

2 c. milk
4 large eggs
3/4 c. Bisquick (or other baking mix)
1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1-10 oz. pkg. chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1 c. diced cooked ham
8 oz. finely shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp)

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease a 10″ quiche dish.  (I don’t have a quiche dish, so I used a 10″ springform pan.  It worked well, but if you do the same, remember to encase it in a couple layers of foil to prevent any liquid from leaking out the bottom into your oven.)

In a large bowl, beat together milk, eggs, baking mix, butter and Parmesan cheese.  Batter will be lumpy.  Stir in broccoli, ham and cheddar cheese.  Pour into prepared quiche dish.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until the eggs are set and top is golden brown.  Test by inserting a knife or pick into the center.  I had to bake mine closer to 60-65 minutes.