10/15/19

Taco Tuesday One Pot Casserole Recipe


It's Taco Tuesday! How about using some of the ingredients from tacos, but turning it into a casserole!?

This past Sunday a few friends came over for dinner and I whipped up Taco Tuesday One Pot Casserole!! This dish is similar to a 7 layer dip, but is baked! It also reminds me of shepherd's pie, but instead of mashed potatoes, I used mashed beans. You can easily swap ground beef for ground chicken, or omit the meat all together. This versatile and quick to make one pot dish is great for get togethers and leftovers!

Taco Tuesday One Pot Casserole Recipe

Ingredients
olive oil for the pan
1 small onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced (keep 1/3 cup of diced pepper for the topping)
1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
15 ounce can corn, drained (or use 2 cups frozen corn, defrosted)
4 cups cooked beans, mashed (home made or canned of any variety you like)
8 ounce grated Mexican mix cheese
1/3 cup sliced black olives

To serve: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chips, and lime wedges

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. In an oven proof skillet (Le Creuset!), heat olive oil. Add onion and peppers and sauté until softened.
3. Add ground beef and taco seasoning and cook until browned.
4. Add diced tomatoes and green chiles and corn. Mix to combine. Heat through.
5. Top with mashed beans and sprinkle with cheese.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese has melted and bubbles.
7. Carefully remove from the oven and top with the remaining diced pepper and olives.
8. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chips, and lime wedges!

10/2/19

Mini Applesauce Cakes With Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting


Need a bit of sweetness in your life? Who doesn't?

This past Sunday was Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish New Year. Thus, to follow the tradition of eating honey and apples in order to bring in a sweet New Year, I turned to baking. I slightly adapted Julia Turshen's recipe for Applesauce Cake With Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting, and it was a big success. I'll take that as a good omen.


Mini Applesauce Cakes With Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting

1. Halve the recipe.
2. Add 1/2 diced apple to the batter: I used Honeycrisp.
3. Instead of one large cake, divide the batter equally into 10 lined muffin cups.
4. Bake the mini cakes for only 25 minutes.
5. Add chopped crystallized ginger on top of the frosting.

You don't have to be Jewish to make this recipe. Clearly. The batter was really easy to put together and made for a (cringe!!!!) moist cake thanks to the apple sauce and buttermilk. I think you could experiment by adding shredded carrots or zucchini or dried fruit such as dates to the batter.

My frosting turned a bit grainy: maybe because I used brand store cream cheese? I liked that there was no additional sugar (other than honey itself) in the frosting: a bit of sour cream and a pinch of salt definitely helped with not going into a sugar coma. 

I ate 2, brought 4 to share with coworkers, and am freezing the remaining 4 (minus the frosting) mini cakes.

This would be a great recipe to make after going apple picking!

9/30/19

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal With Strawberries & Crystallized Ginger


Oh hi there another Monday! Fancy seeing you here again. My usual Monday-Thursday breakfast in my cubicle is 2 Wasa crackers with smashed avocado and coffee, but for the last week I've tried something different: overnight oatmeal!

This is the second time I'm giving this concoction a chance: the first one was rather unsatisfactory, but perhaps my taste buds have changed.

My twin Anna and my friend Jenny have been making overnight oats for ages, and I finally decided to give this idea another try.

I found out I did not like the combination of yogurt and milk as it made the texture gluey. I now use almond milk!

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal With Strawberries & Crystallized Ginger

Serves 1

1/2 cup oats (regular, not instant)
3/4 cups almond milk
toasted almonds, chopped
crystallized ginger, chopped
strawberries, chopped
bourbon maple syrup

Add oats and milk to a glass jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Add your toppings in the morning. 
Stir. 

Other combinations to try:
walnuts and grapes
pecans and apples
hazelnuts and pears

Have you tried overnight oatmeal?

9/23/19

Savory Yogurt Bowl With Chimichurri & Vegetables


Bowls, Bowls, Bowls! They are everywhere: quinoa bowls, burrito bowls, oatmeal bowls, etc. Have you ever had a savory yogurt bowl though? Why not!? 

Over the weekend, I visited one of my best friends and her husband grilled churrsaco (Argentinean steak) for dinner, while we made chimichurri, smashed potatoes, and a salad to round up the menu. 

I had some chimichurri left, and used it to make a savory yogurt bowl!

Savory Yogurt Bowl With Chimichurri & Vegetables

Greek yogurt
radishes, sliced
cherry tomatoes, halved
olives, halved
chimichurri
salt
WASA crackers

1. Spoon Greek yogurt into a handmade ceramic bowl.
2. Add vegetables and olives.
3. Spoon over chimichurri.
4. Season with salt.
5. Serve with WASA crackers.

This turned out bright and flavorful and gorgeous, if I say so myself.

You can use whichever vegetables you like and also add fresh herbs. Or even an egg!

9/17/19

Gluten Free "Tacos" With Crispy Chickpeas, Salad & Tzatziki


Two of the best words in the English language are Taco Tuesday! What happens if you are trying to stay away from gluten though? How about using Romaine heats instead of the regular taco shells? It'll be messy, but crunchy, and healthier!

Yesterday, when I saw my friends Washington's Green Grocer instagram one of their meal kits for the Chickpea Gyros with Homemade Tzatziki, I immediately followed the link and was so happy to find out they had the ingredients and directions listed on their website!

To the grocery store I went to pick up my own ingredients, but you can order their bundle that will come directly to your door. {This is not a sponsored post. I simply love sharing things that I love with you.}

While making the recipe, I doubled the amount of chickpeas and increased the amount of spices, as well as making a few other changes that fit my style of cooking. You do you!

Gluten Free "Tacos" With Crispy Chickpeas, Salad & Tzatziki
Servings for 4

Ingredients
Roasted chickpeas
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Salad
1 English cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, finely diced
juice of 1/2 lemon (you'll use the other half for tzatziki)
drizzle of olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste

Tacos
2 Romaine hearts separated into "tacos"

Tzatziki
2/3 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, grated, liquid squeezed out (add it to your water!)
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 garlic clove, microplaned
1/2 teaspoon champagne vinegar (that's what I had: if you have a simple white vinegar, use that)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped dill

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Mix all the ingredients for the crispy chickpeas and roast for 15-25 minutes, tossing them occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, in 2 separate bowls, combine all the ingredients for the salad and tzatziki and refrigerate. 

3. Assemble your tacos into the Romaine hearts by spooning the salad and topping with roasted chickpeas and tzatziki.

Or, mix everything into a salad!

9/12/19

Dinner In 15 Minutes: Medium Rare Beef Filet With Salad & Corn


It's technically Fall, but the weather has me feeling like we are still dealing with the Summer heat and humidity. That, in addition to metro delays, somewhat unexpected rain, and being overly hungry the last few days, had me craving a satisfying dinner that required very little cooking time or heating up my kitchen.

Good thing I had a beef filet from Trader Joe's in my fridge and a bunch of random produce.

Quick note: if you've not added stone fruit to your salads yet, you are missing out!

Dinner In 15 Minutes: Medium Rare Beef Filet With Salad & Corn 

olive oil
beef filet
salt & pepper
corn, boiled
arugula
Boston lettuce, torn into pieces
cilantro, chopped
basil, chopped
Vidalia onion, chopped
pluots, or any other stone fruit, pit removed, flesh sliced
lemon juice

1. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet on the stove. Add olive oil. Season a room-temperature beef filet with salt and pepper on both sides and cook 2-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the steak and how you like your steak cooked. Allow to rest before slicing. 

Quick note: I wanted my steak to be medium rare, but after slicing it (see the photo), realized it was too rare! I ended up quickly searing each piece in the skillet.

2. In a large bowl combine arugula, Boston lettuce, cilantro, basil, onions, and pluots. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and mix.

Quick note: did you know pluots are a combination of plums and apricots!?

3. Serve sliced steak with the salad and corn on the side. 

9/9/19

Meatless Monday: Tomatillo & Avocado Salsa


Tomatillo & Avocado Salsa is a recipe that comes together quickly and is great not only with chips, but also as a salad dressing, a sauce for grilled chicken, or mixed into pasta.

Once a month, Seasonal Roots sends me a box of their produce as a gift. This past month, I got an extra credit when someone used my referral code mangotomato!!! I don't know who used it, but I thank you!!

I  added tomatillos to my box using the credit from the referral code. Did you know tomatillos are not green tomatoes? Although both tomatoes and tomatillos are members of the nightshade family, as are peppers and eggplant, tomatillos aren't unripe tomatoes. 

I decided to make a quick salsa using tomatillos and posted a question on my insta story whether to roast them first or use raw. ROAST was the overwhelming response.

Not having an outdoor grill, I decided to "roast" tomatillos in a dry cast iron skillet. You can also broil them!

Tomatillo & Avocado Salsa
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients
18 tomatillos, husks removed and discarded, washed, dried
1 jalapeno
1/4 Vidalia onion
1/4 cup water
1 cup cilantro
1 avocado
salt to taste
plantain chips

Directions
1. Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove. Add tomatillos, jalapeno, and the onion and cook until all the vegetables have blackened, rotating occasionally.

2. Remove the seeds from the jalapeno and discard. Add blackened tomatillos, jalapeno, and onion to a blender with water, cilantro and avocado and pulse until you get your desired consistency. Season with salt.

I recommend refrigerating the salsa before eating. You may also substitute lime juice, at least partially, for water.

If you like more heat, leave the seeds of the jalapeno!

How gorgeous are these??? I think that's the first time I've seen purple tomatillos: alas once cooked, the color doesn't remain.

9/3/19

Spam, Potato & Pepper Hash With A Fried Egg


It may be hard to believe, but I've been thinking about making Spam, Potato & Pepper Hash With A Fried Egg for several days.

It all started after I saw my friend Jazmin post a photo of SPAM at a Minnesota State Fair. I've not had SPAM in ages and decided to buy it. The timing was somewhat perfect as I just had a dental surgery and needed to eat something soft. Oy.

I also had a leftover baked potato, which I think is the perfect potato to use for a hash because it's already cooked! Undercooked potatoes are one of my biggest pet peeves.

The photo above is my breakfast from yesterday because I had a day off and love to have a big ass breakfast on such an occasion. 


Spam, Potato & Pepper Hash With A Fried Egg

olive oil
onion, diced
green pepper, diced
SPAM, diced
baked potato, diced
salt & pepper
fried egg
ketchup

Start by sauteing onion and pepper in a skillet heated with olive oil.

Once the vegetables are tender, add SPAM and potatoes and season with salt (just a bit!) and black pepper. Continue sauteing until SPAM and potatoes are crispy.

Serve with a fried egg on top: I prefer mine to have a soft yolk.

Ketchup is optional. Feel free to use hot sauce or sriracha.

Do YOU love SPAM?

8/29/19

Picnic Dinner


Have no time or desire to cook but don't want to get take out or eat cereal for dinner? Picnic Dinner to the rescue!!

Earlier this week I quickly stopped at my grocery store to pick up the following ingredients to make a picnic dinner:

chips
salsa
hummus
soft cheese
grapes
tangerines
olives
salami

You can add sliced vegetables, something sweet and decadent, a glass of wine, or any other things you wish. This also makes for a great actual picnic!

8/22/19

Smashed Potatoes Recipe


Smashed Potatoes: have you heard of them? By this point I thought everyone knew about these crispy on the outside and tender on the inside potatoes that are great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Turns out I was wrong.

When a few friends came over for dinner earlier this week, I decided to make smashed potatoes as a side, and they LOVED them. "I'll have two" turned into "These are amazing: I want more!"

Smashed Potatoes

mini red skinned potatoes
water
salt
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

1. Cover the red skinned potatoes in a small saucepan with cold water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Turn the heat slightly down and simmer until a knife can easily go through a potato.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F.
3. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and dry them, and then use a cup or a glass to gently smash each of the potatoes without fully destroying them. This is rather therapeutic.
4. Oil a large cookie sheet and place the smashed potatoes in a single layer. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15-25 minutes or until the edges are crispy.

Serving suggestion: poached salmon and arugula salad with strawberries.