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Spinach, Corn & Black Bean Enchiladas

5 Aug

OMG I want to eat these for dinner every night. They were good the first time, and they were just as good reheated. The BF had some and we decided they are restaurant good (though I’m sure, much healthier). These are excellent for serving to dinner guests — they can be completely finished and in the oven, so you have time to clean the kitchen before they arrive and then enjoy a glass of wine with your guests. And, if you’re looking for recipes to introduce skeptics to vegetarian dishes, this is it. It’s so delicious and filling, they won’t miss the meat at all. I very slightly edited the original recipe from Sweet Happy Life, just small things for the sake of convenience.

I actually only made the sauce at first. I spooned a little on top of lunchtime veggie & rice bowls for a few days. It wasn’t until later in the week that I got around to making the enchiladas. So fyi — make a ton, freeze it, and then you can use it for enchiladas (the best option) or to add a little flavor to pretty much any Mexican-style dish.

Enchilada Sauce

FYI, I think the enchilada sauce on its own is kinda spicy, but is not spicy at all when baked on top of the enchiladas. I guess the bread and cheese and veggies balance it out. If you’d like a bit more heat, just add the whole chipotle chili instead of the half, and add another teaspoon of adobo sauce.

The original recipe also said to use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. I thought that was totally unnecessary and therefore a waste of my time (especially since I don’t have an immersion blender, which would mean using my food processor, which is a pain to clean, and the BF wasn’t home to clean it for me). But, you know, to each her own.

These make EXCELLENT freezer meals. I doubled the sauce, and after using what I needed for dinner that night, froze the rest in a couple ice cube trays. (After they froze completely, I dumped them out of the tray to store in a large zipper bag.) For the tortilla rolls, I rolled individual enchiladas up in foil and then froze them in a large zipper bag. For lunch, I grab one foil-wrapped roll, a few sauce cubes, and I’m good to go. I sit my lunch box on my desk so it thaws throughout the morning, then unwrap and heat it up in the microwave. Presto lunch-o.

Enchilada sauce (adapted from Sweet Happy Life)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano (I used Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend ’cause that’s what I had)
1 cup cooking sherry
1/2 diced chipotle chili
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable (or chicken or beef) stock

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes.

Add brown sugar, cumin, and oregano. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add sherry, chili, adobo sauce, tomatoes, and stock. Mix well and reduce heat to low. Simmer until desired consistency (20-25 minutes if you plan to pour it over the enchiladas and bake, where it will thicken; 40-45 minutes if you plan to use it as a condiment.)

BONUS RECIPE!

For dinner that night, I stir-friend some extra firm tofu, about 5-6 minutes on each side in olive oil, added some zucchini slices and corn sliced off the cob. I cooked up some brown rice, mixed all that together in a bowl, and topped it with a little of the sauce and some cheddar cheese. Delicious and easy.

Rice & Veggie Enchilada Bowl

A couple nights later, I invited a couple friends over for dinner, and decided to make the full recipe. I had been craving enchiladas since I had made the sauce.

Assembling the Enchiladas

Enchiladas (adapted from Sweet Happy Life)

1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-oz can corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
1 package tortillas (I used 8-10 whole wheat flour tortillas)
Shredded cheese of your choice (I used a combo of cheddar and monterey jack)

Make sure your spinach is well drained. Squeeze out excess water. Mix well in a large bowl with the beans and corn. Add cumin, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper, and mix well.

Spoon a little enchilada sauce on the bottom of a greased baking dish.

On each tortilla, spread a few spoonfuls of the filling, and add shredded cheese on top. Roll tightly, tucking the ends in, and lay seam-down in the pan.

Add more sauce on top of all the enchiladas. Cover with foil and baked at 350 F for about 35 minutes.

Enchilada Dinner

Enjoy!

Really, these were so good. Just writing this makes me want to make more. We spent lunch today discussing what other things we could put inside these enchiladas. We decided we can’t wait till fall to try sweet potatoes and black beans… Mmm.

I know I didn’t get too detailed on the amounts when I talked about assembly, but all that is really up to you and your personal preference. This made about 8 enchiladas. I would guess that kids and people with light appetites such as myself would eat just one, but adults with normal to hearty appetites would probably eat two. I served these with brown rice, salsa, and guacamole. Chips and queso wouldn’t hurt either.

Deliciousness

Halfway through (approximately 15 seconds after beginning).

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Citrus-Fennel Quinoa with Chickpeas

15 May

I made the healthiest dinner last night, and with all the citrus in there, it must have been jam-packed with vitamin C. And good thing – the BF was sick 2 weeks ago, then I was sick, and now he’s sick again. We apparently could both use a vitamin boost. As with most of my dinners, I found this original recipe online from thekitchn.com, and then I edited based on my own tastes. And also based on what I had on hand and what was cheapest at the grocery store. Instead of the original couscous, I swapped quinoa, since I already had some of that. And instead of lemon and orange, I went with lemon and lime, because those were on sale at the store. I made a couple other small edits here and there.

I started off with one lime and one lemon. I used a microplane to zest each of them and added that into a medium sauce pan. Then I juiced the lemon and one half of the lime into a large measuring cup. If you don’t have one, try this handy citrus press from Pampered Chef – it’s amazing. If you don’t have anything fancy to really get all the juice out, you may want to add another lime or lemon. I topped off the juices with enough water to make 1 1/2 cups liquid and added that to the sauce pan. I finished it with 1 tablespoon olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and cooked over high heat. Once it started boiling, I poured in 1 cup quinoa, covered the pan, and reduced the heat to a simmer. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t dry out.

I heated 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. I added 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks (about 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick). I cooked those about 10-15 minutes. Then I added 1 can (15 oz) drained chickpeas and the juice of half a lime. The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, but I didn’t have any, so instead I added about 1/4 teaspoon “French herb blend” and 1/4 teaspoon lemon garlic blend. But just add whatever you have that sounds good. Last, I finished it off with a couple handfuls of baby spinach. As soon as the spinach cooks down, it’s ready!

What did the Garbanzo say to the waiter? "Chick, peas."

Similar to rice, the quinoa is ready when the water is absorbed. If you’re ready to serve and there’s too much water, let it cook for a few minutes with the lid off. I served the chickpea/fennel blend overtop the quinoa and it was subtly delicious. If you’re looking for a kick-in-the-mouth flavor, go somewhere else. But if you want to appreciate subtle flavors delicately balanced throughout your meal, this is it. Also, this is super healthy, unlike the block of cheddar cheese I’m currently snacking on.

Dinner time!

We enjoyed some tzatziki sauce and pita bread as a little side dish. As a side note, I figured out a super easy way to enjoy this Greek yogurt dip whenever I feel like it. I ordered tzatziki seasoning blend from Wildtree, a company that sells all-natural foods through a Pampered Chef-style set up. You only have to use a little at a time, so it lasts forever – well worth the price. Then I buy individual servings of plain Greek yogurt, like Oikos or Chobani, which is a perfect size for just two people. Before I start dinner, I cut up half a cucumber in tiny teeny pieces, mix it into the yogurt with a teaspoon or two of the seasoning blend, and then it’s ready. It’s delicious and it’s the perfect amount. A lot of the pre-made or store-bought versions are too big, and I usually don’t finish them before they go bad.

Gotta get some Vitamin C up in here

Anyway, the meal was great. I will probably add it to my list of stand-by meals. I thought it was pretty easy to whip up on a weeknight. Bon appetit!

Citrus-Fennel Quinoa with Chickpeas adapted from theKitchn

zest and juice of 2 limes, divided
zest and juice of 1 lemon
olive oil, divided
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks (~ 1″ long, 1/4″ thick)
1 can (15oz) chickpeas, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 handfuls baby spinach

Add the lime zest, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a medium sauce pot. In a large measuring cup, combine the juice of 1 lemon and the juice of 1 lime. Add enough water to make 2 cups total liquid. Pour the liquid into the pot and cook over high heat. Once boiling, add 1 cup quinoa, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes; fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and fennel; cook 10-15 minutes.

Add chickpeas, the juice of one lime, and coriander. Stir well. Add the spinach and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook 5-10 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.

Serve over quinoa.

A-Pizza Pie!

26 Apr

Last weekend, I cooked up a storm. The BF was at some boring conference that I opted out of, so I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. Among other things, I made homemade pizza. And I mean, homemade – dough from scratch, sauce from scratch.

Speaking of the term “from scratch,” here’s a little rant for you. (If you’re not interested, just skip this paragraph.) In my mind, “from scratch” means using real ingredients, no short cuts. So when I find a recipe for tomato sauce called “tomato sauce from scratch” that calls for a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, I just feel like that’s a little bit of false advertising, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily oppose cooking with canned goods. I just oppose cooking with canned goods when it’s supposed to be “from scratch.”

Okay, rant over, because you need to see all the amazing pictures we got of this pizza. Mark Bittman ran a piece in the NY Times about homemade pizza, so along with about 1,453,7459 other pretentious hipsters, we tackled the project. I started with his basic pizza dough recipe, though I altered it a bit to feature whole wheat flour. Although this whole project did take a while, it was easier than I expected it to be.

The Dough

I set up my food processor and added in 1 cup whole wheat flour3/4 cup white flour1 1/2 teaspoon fast-rising yeast1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. I turned it on and poured in 1/2 cup water through the tube. It took about 20-30 seconds to process it into a sticky ball – a large clump of dough was swirling around and around inside. (If yours is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. If too mushy/sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together.)

I rubbed a little olive oil on my palms to keep the dough from sticking to me when I pulled it out of the processor. I shaped it into a ball and wrapped it in plastic wrap. I left it out on the counter for 2 or 3 hours while I attended to other things. (Mark gives you a few more options in his recipe if you’re tight on time.) (Also, sorry for the lack of pictures – my hands were really messy and I was flying solo on this mission.)

Tomato Sauce

On to the tomato sauce. Before I put the food processor away, I pureed 4 small tomatoes  into mush. In a sauce pan, I heated 2 tablespoons olive oil1/2 diced yellow onion, and 4 cloves minced garlic over medium high. Once the onions started to look a little clear and smell more fragrant, I added the tomato puree in. Then I added about 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend and 2 tablespoons white wine. I let that simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. (Near the end it seemed a little thin, so I turned the heat up high and cooked it without a lid to get some of the extra water to steam off.) FYI, we both thought this was a little heavy on the onion – could have cut that down a bit. And we both thought it could have used more tomato flavor – though if I bought tomatoes in tomato season, that probably would be way better.

Pizza

Fast forward a couple hours, and I’m ready to cook my pizza. I took the dough ball and unwrapped it, shaping it into a ball and dusting the outside with flour. I let it rest for a bit while the oven warmed up to 500 degrees (HOT!) and I prepared the ingredients. I shredded up a whole ball of super high quality mozzarella. And trust me, when you splurge on super high quality mozzarella, you really notice the difference. I sliced up some mushrooms, the BF halved some cherry tomatoes, and I sauteed a handful of spinach with some olive oil and garlic for about 4 minutes.

Mmm... Cheese. Is that a little mushroom I see back there?

Aren't you just the cutest little tomatoes I've ever seen?

Spinach Saute

After that, I turned back to the dough and worked on pressing it out. I just used my hands to press it on the counter to about a 1/2 inch thick flat round. I added a little flour here and there when it got sticky. I didn’t worry about making it too thin, (1) because I’m impatient and (2) because I like thick, soft crust. The BF probably would have preferred a thin, crunchy crust, but he wasn’t the one making the pizza all day.

Dough!

I transferred the dough from the counter to my pizza stone. (I spread some olive oil over the crust, but after cooking it, I realized that was really unnecessary – it was pretty greasy.) I baked the crust for about 5 minutes at 500 F. After that, I pulled the crust back out and added my toppings – spinach and mushrooms on my side, spinach and tomatoes on his side. And course, a very large amount of mozzarella cheese for both of us. (If I’d had some, I would have loved to mix some rosemary into the crust.) I popped it back into the oven for 5-7 more minutes.

Totally Sauced

Ingredient #1

PIZZA

And when we pulled it out – omg gooey deliciousness. I sliced up our pizza, the BF cracked open a soda, and we settled down for a movie on the couch. AMAZING. It was SO GOOD.

PIZZA FTW

Blueberry Burgers with Nectarine Salsa

3 Jul

Sounds weird, huh? I thought so. And honestly, they’ve got blueberries in them — of course they taste a little weird. But weird isn’t always bad. Weird can be good. Like keytars. And blueberry burgers. These don’t taste like normal burgers, but they do taste good. I prepared them two ways, so you can take your pick. There’s 3 different recipes in this 1 post — get excited.

 

Blueberry Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually a seed, but it’s used more like a grain. It’s also super duper healthy, so hipsters love the stuff. It’s a complete protein source, which is unusual for plants, so it’s a great staple in a vegetarian diet. It’s also high in fiber and amino acids. You cook is basically like rice, and it reminds me a lot of couscous.

I thought a veggie burger would be great with blueberries, and I decided to use quinoa to give it that extra protein that is sometimes lacking in vegetarian meals. I started the burgers by cooking the quinoa: I boiled 3/4 cup water and then added 1/2 cup quinoa. I cooked it until the water was absorbed, about 12-14 minutes, and set it aside.

Quinoa

I set up my food processor and added in the burger ingredients: 1 can great northern beans (drained and rinsed), 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (if you use regular breadcrumbs instead, use about 1/4 cup), 1 egg, 1/3 cup fresh blueberries, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp oyster sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, a dash of salt, and a  dash of pepper

Quinoa Burger IngredientsI pulsed everything until it was combined but still a little chunky. I divided the mixture into four and formed four patties. They were a little soft and mushy, so I put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and refrigerated them until I was ready to cook them. (At this point, I prepared the other burgers, but I’ll continue with this recipe for the sake of clarity.)

Quinoa Patty

In a large skillet, I heated some olive oil over medium heat. I cooked the blueberry quinoa burgers until browned, about 8-10 minutes per side.

You can dress up your burger however you like, but I added spinach and mozarella to my burger and served it with a side of chips.

Blueberry Quinoa Burger

 

Blueberry Burger

I wiped out my food processor and started over with the meat burgers. I put two slices of bread in the food processor, processed it to crumbs, and set that aside.

Next, I put the ingredients in the food processor: 1/3 cup fresh blueberries, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard,  1 tsp oyster sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper. I processed it until it was pureed and then dumped it all into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. I added 1/2 pound ground meat (I used turkey, but you could use beef or whatever you prefer) and mixed everything together. I didn’t have a potato masher, so I used the mixing attachment from my hand mixer. 

Turkey Burger IngredientsOnce it was all mixed up, I divided it into 4 portions and shaped them into patties. I sent the BF out to the electric grill with them, and he grilled them over medium-low heat until done, about 7-8 minutes per side.

Meat Patty

Again, you can dress up your burgers however you like. I added a scoop of nectarine salsa on this one and served it with tortilla chips and more salsa.

Blueberry Burger with Nectarine Salsa

 

Nectarine Salsa

Honestly, this may have been the best part of the entire meal. I thought it was so good. If peaches are in better shape when you go to the store, by all means, use them instead. I went with nectarines because they were a little more ripe.

First I chopped everything up — not too finely since they go for a stint in the food processor, but just enough for the processor to find them manageable. I used 2 ripe (but firm) nectarines with the skin on, 1 shallot,  and 1 jalapeno (I threw out the stems, seeds, and ribs, which are the spiciest parts).

After I got those chopped up and put in the food processor, I added in the juice of half a lemon, 1 T grated ginger, 1 tsp sugar, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper. I pulsed it just a couple times to get most of the pieces small, but not liquified. It’s salsa, not soup.

Nectarine Salsa

This was great on a blueberry burger — it really made the whole thing nice and sweet an fruity. It was also good with tortilla chips, both that night and the next day — it didn’t last any longer than that.

 

Notes:

  • If you make the salsa, I suggest doing that first so that the flavors have time to sit and meld while you make the rest of the meal.
  • Feel free to flavor your burgers however you like. You can always substitute other flavors and sauces to get the right burger consistency with a different flavor.
  • These would be so fun to serve with a toppings bar that guests can use to dress their burger themselves. Maybe a red, white, and blue summer cookout?
  • Both of these burgers made great leftovers. The next day, I had the turkey burger with more nectarine salsa, and the day after that, I had the quinoa burger with pita and Greek yogurt.