Veggie Enchiladas

A few weeks ago, I was coming to the end of all of my

IMG_1573fresh vegetables but didn’t really have a whole lot of ideas on what to make. I had the end of a butternut squash, some spinach about to go bad, mushrooms, and an open and half used can of black beans. I wanted to try and use it all up in one meal. Of course when I, “get creative” I am just going to make a variation of tacos.

 

I chopped and mixed all of those ingredients together with a can of rotel, which is crucial to always keep on hand. I grabbed a few corn tortillas, rolled them up into a 9×9 pan and baked them for about 30 minutes. You can leave them plain, or top them with cheese. Either way they are a very filling enchilada that is quick and healthy. All of the fu of Mexican food without feeling too heavy.

 

What is your go to meal to make with leftovers from the fridge?

 

Recipe:

1/2 can black beans

1 can rotel

1 cup diced butternut squash

1 handful of spinach, chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped

6 corn tortillas

1 cup salsa

(optional) 1/2 cup shredded cheese

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the beans, rotel, squash, spinach and mushrooms into a bowl until combined. Pour 1/3 of the salsa into the bottom of a 9×9 pan, or until the bottom is covered. Take each tortilla, fill with the veggie mixture, roll, and place seam side down in the pan until each tortilla has been filled. Feel free to use more tortillas to make more enchiladas, but I just dumped the remaining veggies at the side of the pan and threw them on top of the finished enchiladas on my plate. Then top with remaining salsa, and cheese if desired. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until cheese is golden brown. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Chili

When I posted a photo of my sweet potato chili on Instagram last week, several people commented and asked for the recipe. At first, I was embarrassed because it is the easiest recipe ever, since most of it comes from a can. However, it’s just too good not to share, so here it is! 


Recipe: 

1 large sweet potato, skinned, and cut into small cubes 

3 cans of beans, drained and washed (I used red kidney beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans) 

1 can of low sodium petite diced tomatoes 

1 can of V8 juice 

1 cup or more of diced veggies (I used green pepper, onion, and mushrooms) 

1 McCormicks gluten free chili spice packet 
Pour all of the ingredients into the crockpot. Take the V8 cab and fill it with water and pour that in. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours. 

You can top it with guacamole, plain Greek yogurt, or just eat with a few plantain chips. Any way you have it, this soup is easy to make and works really well as leftovers! 

Hostess Gifts

Besides cooking, one of my other favorite hobbies is gift giving! I absolutely love curating the perfect gift for friends and family! I like being able to think what they like and run with that to create a gift that is fun but useful.

The holidays are always a great opportunity to not just give gifts for Christmas, but also all of your friends who take the time to host you, cook for you, let you stay at their houses, and are just all around nice people.

These are the baskets I made for those hosting and treating me this Thanksgiving: img_1278Items include: Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix, leaf cookie cutter, Trader Joe’s Maple Leaf Cookies, a mild almond hand soap, cookie straws, World Market pumpkin soup mix, jam, a candle, and pumpkin chai tea. I really liked the addition of the hand towel because I thought it added some color and tied it all together.
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Items include: Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix, butter knives, jam, pumpkin chai tea.

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Items include: two chocolate bars, 4 jerky sticks, a box of crackers, 3 types of cheese, and jam. I also, post photo, got two little individual sized bottles of whiskey to go in there too!

Here are some practical tips when thinking about creating a basket:

  1. Create a theme. It doesn’t have to be huge or even that noticeable, but it will keep you on track so you don’t end up with too much going on. My themes for the above baskets were date night, breakfast, and fall flavors.
  2. Pick a basket or box that isn’t too large. This concept seems simple, the larger the basket, the more you have to get to put in it, but I screw this up every time. While you are in the store think about what you have or need to get and how that compares to the basket. You may even walk around the store a bit and get similarly sized items to see how they will fit.
  3. Buy practical and useful items. If you wouldn’t use it, please don’t get it for your friend. Buy something to put in the basket that you know they will actually use. I can’t tell you how many perfumey lotions I have gotten. Unless your friends love those, please don’t put them in.

I hope this helps you surprise all of the sweet people hosting you during this holiday season.

Roasted Vegetable Skillet

On my continuing journey for quick comfort foods, I have stopped at the intersection of brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes for the last two weeks. I just can’t seem to eat anything else, which is perfectly fine because they are delicious! What have been your fall cravings? I am just trying to use all of the great finds from the farmer’s market!

 

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I chopped them up this past week, pan fried them for a bit in a cast iron skillet and then roasted them in the oven with a cut up chicken sausage. It was fantastic! This is the pre oven photo where everything has been slightly sauteed with a little bit of butter to soften the veggies.

If you want to hurry the softening process of the sweet potatoes, after chopping them, pop them in the microwave in a bowl for 1-2 minutes.

 

After roasting in the oven for about 20 minutes, they had a great flavor and bit of crispiness from the baking that made it perfect! The extra 20 minutes before eating was the perfect timing to get my bag packed and ready to go for the next day, so I definitely didn’t mind waiting! This was a quick and easy meal that was definitely filling!

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I am excited to make more meals in my cast iron skillet! The crispy taste that food gets after being in the oven always just makes the meal so much better, and you don’t have to dirty another dish!

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Recipe:

1/2 tbsp butter

6 brussel sprouts, cleaned and sliced

1/4- 1/2 of a sweet potato, chopped

1 chicken sausage, chopped

Seasonings as preferred

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put a small sliver of butter into the bottom of your cast iron skillet and turn the burner on high. When warm, place the brussel sprouts into an even layer in the bottom of the skillet and allow for it to brown. Make sure to toss them around every minute or two to make sure all sides are browning.

Next, add in another bit of the butter with the sweet potato chunks and continue to allow the veggies to warm until softened. Add in the chopped sausage and mix one more time. Sprinkle seasonings on top. I used salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic. Then top with remaining bit of butter.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until browned. Then enjoy!

Peanut Butter Popcorn

I have been so lazy and unimaginative with cooking here lately. All I seem to crave is good ole comfort foods that are simple to make. I have really been struggling with ideas for lunch. img_1205

I was home for lunch a few times this past week/weekend and tried out some new combinations with popcorn in an attempt to spice things up. After the ones that I tried, I have to say this combination was my favorite: peanut butter and marshmallow popcorn!

I know right… it’s amazing! It is the perfect amount of salty and sweet and I am a little upset that I am all out of popcorn and was only able to make it twice. Thankfully popcorn is on my list for the grocery store this weekend. It’s a sticky treat, but so satisfying! It’s like a rice crispy treat with peanut butter added in!

Do you have any favorite popcorn combinations? Or any fun lunch ideas? I would love to hear what others are eating!

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Recipe:

1 small bag of popcorn

2 tbsps peanut butter (I used crunchy)

1/2 tbsp butter

a handful of marshmallows

Pop the popcorn according to maker’s instructions. While popping, place the remaining ingredients in a microwavable bowl. After the popcorn is finished, dump it into the bowl, and put the other ingredients into the microwave for 30 seconds on high. It may need another 10-30 seconds in the microwave depending on how high the settings are. Once the peanut butter is melted, stir the ingredients together and fold into the popcorn. Then enjoy!

 

Chicken Enchiladas Lite

Now that I am in Texas, I can go crazy with my love of Mexican food! I started by making this recipe from Budget Bytes! The chicken was amazing! I made a few adjustments to the recipe by only using 2 chicken breasts and half of a bottle of salsa verde, a whole green and red pepper, and then only about half of a yellow onion. 


I shredded the chicken and used one of the chicken breasts to make the verde chicken bowls. To the chicken, I added some rice, guacamole, the veggies in the crock pot, and more salsa verde. 
I shredded the other chicken breast and put it in a Tupperware in the freezer. A week or so later, I pulled out the chicken and decided to make enchiladas!  


I wanted to lighten these up a bit, so it wasn’t too heavy of a meal. I used a plain Greek yogurt instead of the regular sour cream or cream cheese that is included in my classic enchilada recipe. 


I baked these real quick in the oven. While it was baking, I made a quick guacamole to add to it. 


Recipe: 

For the chicken: 

2 chicken breasts

1 sliced green pepper

1 sliced red pepper

1/2 yellow onion, sliced 

8oz. salsa verde 
For the bowls: 

A big spoonful of shredded chicken

1/2 minute man brown rice bowl

Some of the green peppers, red peppers, and yellow onion from the crock pot chicken

Guacamole

Tortilla chips

Top with a spoonful of the salsa juice in the crock pot or extra salsa verde and then add as much shredded cheese as you want! 

For the Enchiladas:

8 corn tortillas 

1 chicken breast, shredded

1/3 cup shredded cheese

1 6oz plain Greek yogurt 

1 -2 cups chopped or sliced, fresh or frozen green peppers, red peppers, onions, or veggies of your choice 

8oz. Salsa verde 

More shredded cheese to top 

I’m (finally) BAAACCKK!

It’s official! I have passed training, moved to my first duty station, and have started work. The best part of that process is that I can now get back to normal, which means cooking and baking in my giant new kitchen! Okay, maybe it isn’t giant. But it is definitely a lot bigger than the one I had in D.C. I guess what they say is true, everything is bigger in Texas!

For my kick off to baking in my new kitchen, I knew I had to start with a bang. So I made a cookie cake! Not just any cookie cake though, one modeled off of hummingbird cake. I don’t know if any of you have had hummingbird cake, but if not you have to check out these recipes by Southern Living. I have made it and modified it by using C4C flour instead. However, for the cookie cake, I used a cookie recipe, but added the hummingbird add ins instead of chocolate chips!

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I decided to go big with this cake and do a layered cake too, because why not? So this recipe ended up making enough for 2 round 9×9 pans, as well as 4 extra cookies. I mean technically I could have added that dough into the round pans… but I had to taste test the cookies before I could cut into the whole cake. No judgement please!

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I also whipped up a quick icing to put in the middle of the layers and on top. It was definitely plenty sweet, so I made sure it was kind of thin and a little runny so it wouldn’t be too thick.

Sorry there aren’t more photos of the individual pieces…. It was too good to spend time taking pictures of!

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Recipe:

for the cookie:

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 large egg

1/2 of a large, or one whole small banana, mashed

2 tbsp almond milk

2 tsp coconut extract

3 cups gluten free flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray pans, or oil. Whisk together, brown sugar, sugar, and butter. Then add in the egg, banana, milk, and coconut extract until combined.

Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and stir into wet mixture until fully combined.

Add the mix ins: white chocolate chips, flaked coconut, dried pineapple, and pecans, and pour into pans. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on a completely flat surface until hardened and completely cool. Then flip out onto serving plate, then frost (see recipe below), add more pecans, or serve with ice cream. I sliced mine like you would a normal cake, but in smaller pieces so there wouldn’t be a sugar overdose. So it ended up being in 16 pieces overall.

for the frosting:

One box of powdered sugar

1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened

1 tsp coconut extract

1/4 tsp kosher salt

4 tbsp almond milk

Combine until mixed and amazing!