Friday, May 27, 2011

Beef and Portabella Tacos

Oh how I love tacos.

Tacos, tacos, I love you for being so yummy
I fill you up with all kinds of goodness and welcome you into my tummy

These are great. 3 main ingredients: ground beef, portabella mushrooms, and red bell pepper.

Brown the lean ground beef. Once it is cooked, add one minced clove of garlic, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, a tablespoon or 2 of flour, and 2/3 cup water. Simmer until thickened.

Cut one red bell pepper in half lengthwise and take out the core and seeds. Slice thinly. Saute in olive oil. While the pepper starts to cook, clean 3 large portabello mushroom caps by scraping out the gills with a spoon and then wiping with a paper towel. Slice lengthwise and add to the saute pan.

Once the veggies are tender, add them to the beef and stir. Fill whole wheat flour tortillas with the mixture and top with cheese if desired.

Mmmm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Green Quinoa

Please trust me on this one. It is a-mazing. But it does look a little weird.

Start by peeling and cubing a butternut squash. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring at least once.

Now cook your quinoa. To cook 2 cups of quinoa, start with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring the water to a boil and drop the quinoa in. Stir, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, dust off the food processor.

Throw in lots of fresh spinach, as much as you can cram in there, or at least as much as you have on hand. If you need to go ahead and whirl the blades for a second to make room for more ingredients, do it. Then add a handful of fresh basil, the juice and zest of one lemon, 4-5 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper, and up to 1/4 cup olive oil (to achieve desired consistency). Optional ingredient: 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, or in our allergenic case, goat cheese. Puree until smooth.

The quinoa and squash should be finishing up at about the same time. Uncover the quinoa and fluff with a fork; then add your homemade pesto and stir. Add the roasted butternut squash to the mix. Optional: You may top this with toasted almonds or walnuts.

Nonoptional: You must go back for seconds.


Mexican Lasagna

Yet another way to serve up your favorite taco ingredients!!!

For the base sauce of the lasagna...
Brown one pound of your choice of lean ground meat. I used ground chicken breast.
Puree 2 cans drained, rinsed pinto beans in the food processor. Add spices to your liking...chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, etc.
Mix the beans into the meat. Add one can of rotel tomatoes, 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, and 1/2 can tomato sauce.
Once it is all warmed up, taste to see if you need to add any spices.

Boil one package of whole wheat lasagna and drain them when they are still a little firm. Layer the lasagna: A little sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, then noodles, meat sauce, and shredded cheese. Continue until the ingredients are all used up!

Bake in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.


Friday, May 6, 2011

BeST Chicken Pasta

I had a hard time naming this dish. "Basil-Spinach-Tomato Puree and Chicken with Pasta" sounded too long. But that's what it is. And it is oh-so-good. Plus, you can have it completely done in less than 30 minutes! Here's how...

1. Spread a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes on a baking sheet. Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.
2. Cut 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite size chunks. Season with salt and pepper, and brown in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet.
3. Drop a pound of whole wheat penne into a pot of salted boiling water.
4. Combine 3-4 cups fresh spinach, a handful of fresh basil, salt, pepper, and 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil in a food processor. As soon as the tomatoes are done, add them as well. Process until well-blended. I know it looks gross. Try to ignore it.
5. Toast a handful of walnuts in a small skillet until you can smell them (about 5 minutes). Break the pieces up by hand or put in a ziplock bag and take a couple of whacks with a mallet or cast-iron skillet.
6. Drain the pasta after it's been cooking for 10 minutes, and return to the pot. Add the chicken and walnuts; pour basil-spinach-tomato (aka BeST) mixture over everything and stir to combine. Top with Parmesan cheese...


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Recipe from, with 2 small adjustments...

Easiest. Meal. Ever.


Morning: Place chicken in crock pot. (I used a whole pack of split chicken breasts, after removing the skin). Pour one bottle of good-quality bbq sauce over chicken. Dump one can of pineapple chunks with juice over everything. Add some diced rutabegas on top. Pour 1/4 cup soy sauce over the rutabegas. Cover. Forget about it.

Afternoon (7-8 hours later): Remove chicken. Using 2 forks, pull chicken off the bone and shred. Return to juices.

Supper: Eat.

This chicken makes the best sandwiches. I was going to take a picture of my sandwich but I ate it before I could get my camera back out. Oops.


2 for 1: Taco Salad and Calzones

The Coach's birthday was last weekend and we had one of his favorites: taco salad. I know, this hardly calls for a recipe; you just throw all your favorite taco fillings on top of tortilla chips. But here is our house's version:

For starters, we skip the taco seasoning packet and make our own. I really don't measure the spices too carefully, but our mix goes a little something like...2 Tablespoons flour, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of both black and white pepper. You can go heavier or lighter on the cayenne to adjust heat levels. Anyway, mix all those together in a bowl. Brown one pound lean ground venison/beef/turkey/what-have-you in a skillet; then add the seasoning mix and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

Our assembly goes...
1. Tortilla Chips
2. Hot Brown Rice
3. Taco Meat
4. Shredded Cheese
5. Pinto/Black Beans
6. Corn
7. Avocado

You can have this meal from stove to table in less than 20 minutes, if you're intense in the kitchen.

So then the question became, what do we do with the leftovers? I'm always a fan of leftovers for lunch the next day, but we still had tons of taco stuff left after one round of leftovers. So the next night I tried something a little crazy.

Taco calzones.

I started by dumping all the leftovers (taco meat, black/pinto beans, corn, and rice) in a skillet and pouring one can of tomato sauce over everything. I also added probably 1 Tablespoon of chili powder and 2 teaspoons cumin to flavor the sauce.

While that heated up, I made a pizza crust, just like the one I made in this post. I rolled it out flat on a baking sheet and ladled my filling over one side of it. And of course topped everything with cheese.

Then I folded the top down, pressed down the edges, and baked at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes.

It was good.

Enjoy! Twice!


Start by browning some diced chicken and sliced sausage in a pot. I used 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 1/2 turkey kielbasa. Before cooking the meat, season with your favorite cajun or creole seasonings. I used Tony Chachere's seasoning (in the green shaker).

Once the meat is cooked through, remove and set aside. In the same pot, cook 1/2 onion, 2 ribs celery, and 1 red bell pepper, all finely diced.

After about 7-9 minutes, add 1 can diced tomatoes, 2 cups chicken broth, a Tablespoon each of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, a teaspoon of dried bay leaf, and 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking brown rice. I probably also added a little of my Tony Chachere's seasoning here as well. I don't really remember. I knew I should have done this post the night I cooked it.

Bring to a boil and then put a lid on and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add meat back in and simmer for 10 more minutes.