Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Happy New Year! I hope you all are enjoying Day 1 of 2016! How exciting!

I know many people pledge to eat healthier when the new year arrives and here’s a recipe that will help you do just that.  It’s healthy and quite tasty, feeds a crowd and you can make it ahead of time.  I’ve made it a few times now and everyone has loved it.

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake
from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream, optional

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

My Comments
I didn’t rinse my quinoa – it’s so tiny, I have no idea how to do it without it all going down the drain.  To cook it, I followed the directions on the package.

I left the jalapeno out – I’m such a wimp when it comes to spice!

For the enchilada sauce, I used 2 10-oz cans, which is a little more than 2 cups, but it worked just fine.

I love making this ahead of time – just make it all the way up until you need to put in the oven and refrigerate until you want to bake it.  You might need to add some baking time if you put it in the oven straight from the fridge, or you can set it out of the fridge to come to room temperature before baking.

Some Photos Along the Way
The quinoa, cooked
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Onion, peppers, garlic and corn
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder and cilantro
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

This part is done
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

The quinoa, beans and vegetable mixture
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Adding the enchilada sauce
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Stir in half a cup of cheese
Black Bean and Enchilada Bake

Ready for the oven
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Fresh out of the oven
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

 

Healthy never tasted so good! Of course, you have to watch that your toppings don’t spoil your efforts…I served with tortilla chips, corn bread, sour cream and non-fat plain yogurt, avocado slices, cilantro and lime wedges.  YUM!

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2016!

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Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

So I ended up buying four pie pumpkins this year! Come on, they were 50 cents each! I’m surprised I didn’t get more, but maybe I held back because I had other squash filling my wagon too.  Oh how I love going to the pumpkin patch and getting all kinds of fall favorites!

Since my trip to the patch, I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to use all that yummy squash.  The other night, I had the opportunity to look through some old magazines and found this Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce recipe.  I was immediately intrigued and went out to get the ingredients I didn’t have.

This tortellini dish has a really nice flavor – the pumpkin is mild, but if you use canned pumpkin, it might be stronger.  Both Matt and I really enjoyed it and I think the leftovers the next day were even better!

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
from the October 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine

Ingredients
kosher salt
2 9-oz packages of cheese tortellini
1 T unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 c canned pure pumpkin
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
freshly ground pepper
chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)

What To Do
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs.  Reserve 1/2 c cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes.  Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 more minute.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tortellini to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed.

Serve and top with more cheese and parsley, if desired.

My Comments
I made a few substitutions:  onion instead of shallot, homemade pumpkin instead of canned, dried nutmeg instead of fresh, fresh thyme (it’s still going strong in my garden) instead of parsley.

Some Photos Along the Way
Cooking the tortellini – mine only took 3 minutes
Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Cooking the onion in butter
Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Butter and onion plus pumpkin and nutmeg
Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Now with the heavy cream added
Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

The sauce has thickened and the cheese has been added
Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

I added the sauce to the tortellini because my skillet wasn’t big enough to add the tortellini to the sauce.
Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

 

Pumpkin pasta is a great way to celebrate some fall flavors.  Pumpkin is pretty good for you too, so bonus! This recipe was fairly quick to put together and I will definitely be making it again.   I hope you can try it out soon and I hope you all are enjoying this fall season.  Have a great weekend!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Hello out there! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe and I do apologize! I’ve just been busy busy busy and well, this happens every fall.  There’s just so much to do outside and I’ve been trying to get it all done before it gets cold and stays cold.

Something fun: I’m going to get to expand my garden space next year!!! Matt & I have been busy preparing new beds and I’m over-the-moon excited!

BUT, we do have to eat in the meantime, right? Well, here’s a chili recipe that’s nutritious and delicious and doesn’t really take that much time.  I made it today in the midst of working in the yard.  This recipe is a great way to celebrate sweet potatoes and also use up any lingering tomatoes.  It’s full of flavor and is very comforting, especially after a long laborious day.  Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off, it’s not that bad, really!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
I have no idea where I got this recipe from…it’s a copy from a cookbook, it’s on page 208 but I have no idea what cookbook it’s from!

Ingredients
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t sea salt
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2″ cubes
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (or use straight from the garden)
4 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 t cocoa powder
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 c chopped cilantro leaves, washed and dried

What To Do
1 – Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion, red pepper, garlic and salt.  Saute until soft, about 4 minutes.

2 – Add the sweet potato and lime zest, cook 10-15 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

3 – Add the tomatoes, black beans, jalapeño, lime juice, cumin, chili powder and cocoa, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

4 – Serve over brown rice with lime wedges and cilantro.

My Comments
If you don’t want to use canned black beans, use 6 cups of freshly cooked beans.

I left the jalapeño out.

Don’t let it go too long between stirs – mine got a little stuck on the bottom of the pan, but thankfully it came off when I added the tomatoes.  Just don’t let anything burn! 🙂

This should freeze well, I’m going to put a couple individual portions in the freezer to enjoy later.

Some Photos Along the Way
Some ingredients
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

The black beans rinsed and draining
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Step 1
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Step 2
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

The ingredients of steps 1 and 2 mixed together
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Step 3
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

 

I hope you all are enjoying this fall season.  There are so many wonderful foods to enjoy, like sweet potatoes! Have a great rest of your week!

Baked Apple Chips

These are nacho typical chips.  Haha, get it?

Anyway, apples are good for you and these apple chips are a great way to get in your apple a day, as prescribed by the doctor.  And apples are so in season right now.  Apples are the new peach.

Okay, enough.  Better get your ovens ready, before it’s too late.

 

Apple Chips

 

Baked Apple Chips
inspired by Fifteen Spatulas and Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients
2 golden delicious apples
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 225ºF.

Stir together the cinnamon and sugar to combine. Set aside.

Decide whether or not to core your apples, then slice them thinly with a mandolin slicer. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper, and place the apple slices side by side on the parchment, in a single layer. Make sure not to overlap the apple slices or place them on top of each other, otherwise they won’t crisp up. Sprinkle the apple slices with the cinnamon sugar, and note that if you sprinkle from high above, the cinnamon sugar will disperse more evenly.

Bake the apple slices for 1 hour, then remove them from the oven and flip them over. The apples will be floppy, but they will crisp up later. Return the apple slices to the oven for another hour, then turn the oven off. Let the apple chips cool completely in the oven, this is when they will crisp up.

My Comments
I have no idea what kind of apples I have used so far.  I have a friend with a tree in her yard and used those.  They are red with some green in them too.  I think you should just use your favorite apple or experiment a little to see what you like best.

I did not measure the cinnamon and sugar.  I just mixed some together.  Start with sugar and then add a little cinnamon to your liking.

These are really tasty! Crisp and delicious!

Some Photos Along the Way
Slicing an apple with my friend’s mandolinApple Chips
Apple slices on my silicone baking mat, sprinkled with cinnamon sugarApple Chips
After the first hourApple Chips
Flipped overApple Chips
After the second hour and cooled in the ovenApple Chips

 

These do take some time to make.  Perhaps if you have a food dehydrator it would go faster.  But to me, it’s totally worth the time.  I was so surprised at how good these are! These are so great to munch on and I really hope you give them a try!

Have a great week!

Tomato & Basil Salad

Well, my garden is starting to wind down now.  We’ve had some beautiful weather and the cooler temperatures have slowed production.  Matt actually made this Tomato & Basil Salad earlier this summer for the first time and we both really liked it.  We’ve made it several times since then and love that we can use any tomatoes from our garden and we can more or less follow the recipe and it still turns out well.  We still have some cherry tomatoes and the basil is still out there, so yesterday, I quickly tossed together this wonderful salad to go along with some Baked Tilapia and brown rice.  It made for a really nice, quick, delicious dinner.

If you have tomatoes to use up, I highly recommend this salad!

 
Tomato and Basil Salad

 

Tomato & Basil Salad
from a cookbook called Vegetarian

Ingredients
4 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
8 basil leaves, roughly torn
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic or wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

What To Do
Overlap tomato slices on a serving platter.  Sprinkle with shallot and basil.

Spoon oil and vinegar evenly over salad.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

My Comments
So, actually, we’ve never done the serving platter thing.  We have just chopped up tomatoes and sometimes put onion in and sometimes add feta cheese or in yesterday’s case, I sprinkled parmesan cheese on top.  Like I said, we more or less follow the recipe.

For the cherry tomatoes, I just sliced them in half and tossed all the ingredients together.  Very simple.

Some Photos Along the Way
Tomato and Basil Salad

Tomato and Basil Salad

Tomato and Basil Salad

 

So easy and so delicious! I hope summer isn’t over yet and I hope to get some more tomatoes out of the garden but if not, I can look forward to more of these yummy salads next year.

Have a great day!