Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I HAD to try it immediately. And while the portion is definitely not in the “cooking for 2” category, this was the perfect meal for Matt and me to cook just for us last Saturday night…and left us with delicious leftovers for several more meals after!

My kids don’t like sweet potatoes yet (I keep trying!), but this would make a great dinner for company coming over…big portion, and really unique.

Original here, my few small tweaks to use less oil and enhance the flavors we prefer here:

1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 cubes (smaller cooks faster)
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
2 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5) oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Corn or flour tortillas
Baby spinach or Romaine lettuce, cotija or feta cheese, diced avocados, fresh salsa or pico de gallo and hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil; place sweet potatoes on foil. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil OR spray well with a Misto of olive oil and toss to evenly coat. Mix together cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper and sprinkle evenly over sweet potatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste then toss to evenly coat. Bake in preheated oven 15 – 25 minutes until tender, removing from oven and tossing once halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and saute until caramelized (golden brown on edges and tender), adding in garlic during last 30 seconds of sauteing. Reduce heat to medium-low, add in drained black beans, corn, honey and lime juice. Heat until warmed through. Toss in roasted sweet potatoes and cilantro. Serve over warm tortillas with desired toppings.

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Tortellini Vegetable Soup

So, I added this recipe a long time ago with a link.  I just went to find the recipe and realized the actual link was the title…but, it took me forever to figure that out.  Knowing that I will forget that the next time I go to look at this recipe, I just decided to repost and type the recipe out.  This is so good.  It freezes really well also.

2 tbs olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

5 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

8-9 ounces fresh torellini

Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot.  Bring to low boil.  Add the tortellini and bring back to low boil.  Cook for 2 minutes, then reduce to simmer for 5-6 minutes longer.

My changes – First, I double this recipe.  The original would be great for just a couple people.  But, there’s 6 of us.  I need more.  ha!  Second, I always add more tomatoes – usually tomato sauce or paste – because I like more of a tomato flavor to this recipe.  That’s something you can decide for yourself and add what you’d like.  Also – I add frozen corn to this soup.  The more veggies I can get in it, the better!

Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

These were just so good and different…I only made these as a main dish for Matt and me, not the boys, because this just really isn’t up their alley. But we’ll have them again. I loved it! My version is if you’re making it for 2…bump up as needed for more, or to make it a side dish for company!

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Ours took so long to bake (read below – I bought a huge sweet potato) that we didn’t let them get to the crispy stage because we were pacing around the kitchen, waiting for them to be done. It didn’t matter…they were still delicious.

Original here, my few changes below:

1 large sweet potato
3/4 – 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 1/2 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo), minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper
1 1/2-2 cups ((half a 10oz bag) spinach
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash your sweet potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Place in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until fork tender (a very large sweet potato like I used takes this long…lesson learned. Maybe I’ll use smaller ones next time).

In a medium size bowl combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and wilt the spinach – this takes about 5-7 minutes, stir as needed. Toss the spinach and shredded chicken together, set aside and keep warm.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a medium size layer of flesh inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own (save the remaining flesh for another use) and place in a baking dish. Brush the skins with with a little of the chipotle sauce and bake for 5-10 minutes until crisp.

While the skins bake, mix the spinach, chicken and chipotle sauce together. Remove skins from the oven and stuff with the chicken mixture, top with shredded cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the skins are hot and crisp.

**Suggestion: use your leftover chipotles in adobo for this Black Bean Chili!

Chicken Pot Pie Stew

I’ve been trying quite a few new recipes found on pinterest lately.  So far, all have been delicious.  This is another one.  I love that it’s another crockpot recipe.  With three kids in sports having many evening practices, I lean on the crockpot A LOT during the week.  One of my children DEVOURED this.  Like, she ate two full servings.  The others tried but did not love it.  They will try again. 🙂

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper ( I omitted this.  I love red, orange, and yellow peppers.  I’m not a huge green fan)
  • 2 cups chopped potato ( I left peels on, but you can go either way)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • sourdough bread, biscuits, or other bread of choice

In a crockpot, combine chicken, onion, pepper, potato, carrots, celery, broth, salt, poultry seasoning and garlic powder.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.  During last hour of cooking, add sour cream and peas.  Stir.  Stir and serve over biscuits or other bread.

 

Chipotle Copycat Corn Salsa

I tore a recipe out of the Food Network Magazine a long time and hadn’t tried it until just now. It’s delicious!

I couldn’t find a poblano at the store, so I had to skip it and instead used a little bit more jalapeno and instead of regular frozen corn, I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn (in the frozen section) for the roasted flavor that was missing from the poblano.

The best part? This whole bowl has only 200 calories or so the way I prepared it!

1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar

IF USING A POBLANO: Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush the poblano with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred but still firm, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.

If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes; drain.

Mix the corn (if using frozen, thaw it and then add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, the lime juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Serve with chips or on tacos.

Feta and Almond Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I ripped this recipe out of a Real Simple magazine a while back, and finally made it for dinner last night. It was so good…even Matt, who generally does not prefer a vegetarian meal, really liked this!

I made some slight tweaks to the recipe to reduce the olive oil used and season it a little differently. Here’s my version that I’ll definitely make again!

1/2 cup quinoa*
1 minced garlic clove
1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds
4 scallions, thinly sliced, with white and green parts separated
salt and pepper
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded and gills scraped (do not rinse under running water; use a wet paper towel to clean off)
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 oz. Feta cheese

Heat oven to 400° F. Put 1/4 cup quinoa, minced garlic, 1/2 cup water, and a dash of salt in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes or so, stirring every couple of minutes, until the quinoa is tender (you MAY need to add more water). Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place the mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet, rub with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast, stem-side up, until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. If they fill with liquid, drain it off.

After the quinoa cools, stir in the almonds, scallion whites, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and Feta cheese.

Dividing evenly, top the mushrooms with the quinoa mixture. Roast until warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes more.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with the scallion greens.

Pardon the pic…taken after I’d already had a couple of delicious bites! 🙂

*You could sub any small grain for this: bulgar, orzo pasta, even rice would work ok

Chopped Dinner: Take 4

Whew…this challenge is finally over! No more creative cooking for a little while 🙂

Dinner #4 in the Chopped challenge was Matt’s. His list was longer (because he was the oldest? I dunno.) but overall, pretty easy to work with AND gave me the excuse to try three new recipes!

Ok, so Matt’s ingredient list (which I accidentally leaked for those of you with eagle eyes last week!) was this:

So for the brie, I made these little Baked Brie Bites that were in puff pastry. Simple to make, and they were ok, but I think that Matt and I both prefer to eat brie bites the way I’ve made them in the past, which is these little brie cups. I’m thinking next time I make those for company, I’ll make some with pepper jelly and some with sweet jelly. I just used what I had on hand, which was strawberry jam, and the flavor was good, but so much jam baked out of the inside even though I felt like I sealed them well that the flavor was lost.

However, Luke and Jack Henry loved them and ate a few each, and Bennett had one and thought it was fine.

Moving on to dinner, which was Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes and Garlic Gorgonzola Steak. Oh. My. Goodness. Some of the best food I think I’ve ever made.

I’m not a huge sweet potato fan…not something I’d usually crave, but these were amazing (for the kids, I just used salt and pepper instead of the spice blend). Follow her instructions and you will not be disappointed. I did parboil the potatoes even though mine were fresh, but then they accidentally got left boiling too long when Jack Henry wandered into the kitchen with a fake sore throat and I was distracted away from my job for 5 minutes. Look at this pic compared to the original, and you’ll see what I mean…they fell apart but it mattered not…they were delicious.

The only change I’ll make is cutting my slices of sweet potatoes slightly smaller, about an inch tall. And I substituted regular chile powder for New Mexico chile powder…I don’t know the difference, but I’m thinking it can’t matter much in this recipe. And for the sake of using cashews in dinner per the Chopped list, I chopped them up finely and put the on each side of the potatoes with the spices. But, it really didn’t add anything, and I won’t do it again. (Bennett, however, was elated to see a can of cashews and put those on his plate instead.)

On to the steak. I did not buy ribeye as Matt requested; I got strip steaks, because I found a huge package of them on sale and they were better than ribeye, so I figured he wouldn’t complain. Plus, we almost never grill steaks, and we truly NEVER share with our kids, so this was a special dinner. Luke likes steak; the other two are fine with it, but seriously they’d rather have chicken or a hot dog, so it pains me to hear “how many bites of this do I have to eat?”

I seasoned all of the steaks as recommended in the recipe: rubbing a cut garlic clove over the steaks, drizzling with a tiny bit of oil (I used olive oil), and then sprinkling generously with salt and pepper. Next time, I’ll skip rubbing a garlic clove on them…for me, at least, it did nothing to give garlic flavor. I’ll use garlic salt and black pepper and omit the regular salt so we actually get some garlic flavor.

After that, Matt grilled them to close to medium for me, and as soon as he got them inside, I melted a very small amount of butter on each, and put gorgonzola on Matt’s and my steak and covered them with foil for a few minutes to help the cheese melt. It was recommended that you do this step ON the grill, but it was already dark out, and I was picturing it being too much hassle with falling cheese, etc. Know, though, that tenting foil over the steak will make it continue to cook, so that you don’t accidentally overcook your steaks.

Anyway, it worked for us to put the toppings on inside, off the grill. I topped the gorgonzola ones with the french fried onions, and that was it. Seriously, one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.

The leftovers tonight were great, too.

So there you have it! The kids commented that I didn’t get Chopped on any of my meals, so we need to do something harder next time.

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