The Best Veggie Quesadillas

There’s no wrong way to make a quesadilla.  It’s one of those foods that can be served as a quick weeknight meal, an after school snack, bite sized as a party app; filled with just cheese, grilled veggies, or shredded meat! The possibilities are endless.
Continue reading “The Best Veggie Quesadillas”

Sweet Potato Taco Cups Yum

I recently co-hosted a baby shower for my good friend, Diana. I am so excited to meet the little one and am counting down the weeks now!
I loved being a part of the baby shower because we did a lot of mini’s and individual foods to mesh with the baby theme. It was too cute!
The fun thing about these taco cups is that you can use whatever filling you choose. I’ve done a seven layer dip, black bean and corn salsa, and now sweet potato and black beans! I have to say, the sweet potato was a hit, not just with my family, but all the guests and especially the mama-to-be! That in itself made this recipe blog worthy.20180811_092502.jpg

Making the taco cups is really easy. In fact, I’ve even made them in advance – just store them in an airtight container and it will last up to a couple of weeks! Yep! These are perfect for parties! Bonus… they take less than 10 minutes to make! It can’t get better than that.20180810_170103.jpg

To make the cups, I used large burrito sized tortillas and a 4 inch diameter round cookie cutter. I got about 4 out of each tortilla – not bad!20180810_164945.jpg

Once you have the amount of disks you want, heat them up in the microwave for about 12 seconds to warm them up and make them soft and pliable. Remember to spray the muffin tin with cooking spray and also the disks to once you press them into the individual cups.20180810_165338.jpg

Bake at 350ºF for about 5-7 minutes until they are golden red. Remove from heat and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container or plate them to use with filling.20180811_092504.jpg

Ingredients:
For Taco Cups:
4 burrito sized tortillas
4 inch round cookie cutter
Cooking spray

For Sweet Potato and Black Bean filling:
1 large sweet potato, peeled, chopped into ½” cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp honey
juice of half lime
Salt
Pepper
Cilantro to garnish

For Avocado Crema:
¼ plain yogurt, whipped
½ Avocado, mashed
zest of 1 lime
juice of ½ lime
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions:
For Taco Cups:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Use the cookie cutter to cut out the disks from the tortilla. Wrap the disks 4 at a time in paper towel and warm in microwave for about 12 seconds to make soft and pliable. Immediately press into greased muffin tin pan. Once all disks are in pan, spray again with cooking spray.
Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove and cool. Store in airtight container.

For Sweet Potato and Black Bean filling:
Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a baking sheet, line sweet potato. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt, paprika and pepper. Mix well and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes.
In a nonstick pan, heat EVOO. Add in onions and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add in black beans and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add in the roasted sweet potatoes, honey, cumin powder, and lime juice. Mix well and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.

For Avocado Crema:
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.

To serve:
Place 1 Tbsp of sweet potato and black bean mixture in a taco cup. Top with a dollop of avocado crema and garnish with cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and will continue to do so.

Polenta & Veggie Pot Pie

I love rainy days!  All I want to do is curl up with a blanket in front of the fireplace, read a book with a cup of chai in my hand.  That probably won’t happen till my kids are off to school.

In the meantime, I decided to put together a hearty stew that warms you from your fingers to your toes.  I took the stew a little further and decided to put a spin on it.  I made cute pot pies but instead of the traditional pastry shell, I used polenta and cheese for the crust.  It tasted so delicious, the creamy polenta and the melted cheese just got all of us, especially my daughter hooked!

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I have these cute little Le Creuset cocottes that I got as a gift from our close friends a few years ago and thought my 2.5 year old will get a kick out of eating from it.  And boy was I right!  She insisted on eating her leftovers the next day from these adorable pots!  I was just happy she loved the stew as much as the cocottes!

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I hope these warm you up on a cold rainy (or snowy) day like it did us!

Ingredients:
½ onion, chopped finely
1c cubed butternut squash
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼c AP flour
2Tbsp tomato paste
2Tbsp cayenne pepper
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp cumin powder
¼tsp oregano
½tsp salt (or to taste)
¼tsp ground black pepper
2c veggie broth
1Tbsp Sriracha sauce
¼c milk
2Tbsp EVOO

For the Polenta:
2c Veggie Broth
2c milk
1c Polenta
¼tsp salt
¼tsp pepper
3Tbsp Butter
3oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, add EVOO.  Once the oil is heated, add onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Now add the butternut squash and for about 10 minutes or until it becomes tender.  Make sure you don’t over cook it as the squash can get a mushy texture.  Add in all the dry spices and mix well.  Cook with the spices for a 1-2 minutes so they bloom and flavor the squash.  Now, sprinkle in the flour.  Stir for about 3 minutes so the flour cooks.  If the flour doesn’t cook through, you’ll be able to taste a raw, gritty flavor which is so unappetizing.  Add the veggie broth, tomato paste, and Sriracha, raise to a simmer and cook until it has thickened.  Once it has thickened, add in the milk and black beans.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust for salt.

Spoon the mixture into 4 individual baking dishes or one pie pan and place on a baking sheet with a 2 inch lip.

For the polenta, add the veggie broth and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and whisk in the polenta slowly.  If you add it all at once, the polenta will be lumpy and not cook through.  Keep stirring until the polenta thickens, approximately 10-12 minutes.  Add in the butter and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the polenta over the pot pie filling and top with cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the polenta is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven, garnish with fresh parsley and let it warm you to your toes as you dig in to this deliciousness!

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Veggie Stuffed Peppers

There are many days recently where we end up eating leftovers because well, with a 4 month old who wants all the attention, it’s hard to spend time in the kitchen when her drooly smile beckons you to play.  Today however, the husband became the center of her attention allowing me a few moments to whip up veggie stuffed peppers.  Layered with rice, veggies and definitely cheese – this is one yummy pepper!

There are a couple different parts to it so bear with me.  Here’s how I made it:

For the rice:

In a nonstick pot, heat up some oil.  Add the cumin and wait till it starts to splutter.  Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.  Oh boy! The kitchen smelled so good with just the cumin and onions cooking together, I couldn’t wait till it was done so I can just dig in!

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Once the onions are translucent, add in the tomatoes.  Be careful!  Don’t add the tomatoes when the onions are not done cooking.  The acid from the tomatoes prevents the onions from cooking all the way through and this will change the flavor profile.

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Saute the tomatoes for a couple more minutes until they are tender.  Add in the rice and saute for a couple of minutes so it can soak in some of the flavor.  Then add in the veggie broth, salt, and taco seasoning.  Mix well and let it cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender.  Turn off the heat and cover the pot.  This is key whenever I make any type of rice – letting the rice sit in its own steam for 5 minutes.  This ensures the rice is nice and fluffy and makes it taste so much better!

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For the Veggie Stuffing:

Heat some oil in a nonstick pan.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in the yellow squash and zucchini and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.  Add in the black beans, salt, fajita seasoning, cayenne pepper and cumin powder.  Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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To assemble the peppers:

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray some cooking spray on a cookie sheet and line the peppers.  Spoon some rice into the peppers, followed by the veggies and repeat till you reach the top.  Sprinkle some cheese on the top and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the peppers are tender.  Serve hot and enjoy!
I’ve included the full recipe below.  I hope you like it just as much as we did.

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For the rice:
1/2c rice
1c low sodium veggie broth
1tsp onions
1/2c finely diced onions
1/2c chopped tomatoes
1Tbsp taco seasoning
1Tbsp Olive Oil
salt to taste

In a nonstick pot, heat up some oil.  Add the cumin and wait till it starts to splutter.  Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.  Once the onions are translucent, add in the tomatoes.  Saute the tomatoes for a couple more minutes until they are tender.  Add in the rice and saute for a couple of minutes so it can soak in some of the flavor.  Then add in the veggie broth, salt, and taco seasoning.  Mix well and let it cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender.  Turn off the heat and cover the pot.

For the Veggie Stuffing:
1/2c diced zucchini
1/2c diced yellow squash
1/2c finely diced onions
1 14oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1Tbsp Olive Oil
1Tbsp Fajita Seasoning
1tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp cumin powder
salt to taste

Heat some oil in a nonstick pan.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in the yellow squash and zucchini and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.  Add in the black beans, salt, fajita seasoning, cayenne pepper and cumin powder.  Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

To assemble the peppers:
2 bell peppers, halved, deseeded
1cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray some cooking spray on a cookie sheet and line the peppers.  Spoon some rice into the peppers, followed by the veggies and repeat till you reach the top.  Sprinkle some cheese on the top and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the peppers are tender.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Quinoa, Brown Rice and Black Beans

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Loaded with protein and yummy veggies, this is one of my new favorite go-to’s.  Simple to make and you can add whatever veggies you choose – I had colored bell peppers, tomatoes and onions in my fridge so that’s what I went with today.

Here’s how I made it:

Soak 1/3c Quinoa in some warm water for about 20 minutes.  This helps the seeds cook easier and softer.

Also soak 1/2c Brown Rice for 20 minutes.  Brown Rice can be tough to cook as it usually takes longer than white rice to make but if you soak it first, it comes out really nice and soft.

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Finely Dice colored Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions and a couple of cloves of garlic.

In a nonstick pot, heat oil and ad the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.

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Cook for 5 minutes, then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and just a touch of hot sauce – it adds that magical touch!   Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.  20150922_191538

Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.  The extra zing tastes really good!  There you have it!  This is a great make ahead recipe and perfect for the fall.

Here’s the recipe all in one spot!

Ingredients:
½ c diced onions
½ c diced tomatoes
1c diced bell peppers (I like to include a variety of colors)
1 can (14oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 c Quinoa
½ c Brown Rice
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tsp, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2 c Water
a couple dashes of hot sauce

Instructions:
Soak quinoa and brown rice in warm water for 20 minutes.
In a nonstick pot, heat oil and add the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.
Cook for 5 minutes, and then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and the hot sauce.
Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.