B+W Bean Quesadillas w/ Avocado Ranch Dip

Hi friends!  On Fridays around here… I always like to say “Happy Friday” to everyone at work, the blog, and well… anyone I talk to!  What am I supposed to say on Mondays… “sorry it’s Monday” or “I know how much today sucks for you too”?  UGH!  Mondays are the WORST around here!

Just about the only thing I’ve been liking Mondays for lately has been sharing fun & new meatless recipes with all of you!  I have been enjoying jumping on this blogging bandwagon of Meatless Mondays… it typically saves me some moolah & lightens up my meal for that day.  Are you in on Meatless Mondays yet?

Today’s meatless recipe was so much fun to make.  I felt really fancy making HOMEMADE ranch dipping sauce.  The best part of it all is that this meal was so simple to make, that I only needed to buy an avocado for it.  I had everything else already at home.  Love it!  I barely adapted this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica from How Sweet It Is.  She not only makes some delicious food, but she takes gorgeous photos too!  This recipe was a great find from her blog.

Black & White Bean Quesadillas w/ Avocado Ranch Dip

Serves: 2 for dinner, 4 for lunch or snack

Ingredients:
(for the Quesadillas)
1 cup Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese (or you can use shredded)
8 small Corn Tortillas
Olive Oil for the pan
Hot Sauce Optional for topping
(for the Avocado Ranch Dip)
1 ripe Avocado
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Olive Oil (reduced fat) Mayo
2 Tablespoons Parsley (I use freeze dried, you can use fresh or 1T dried)
1 Tablespoon Dried Dill (or 2T if you have fresh)
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (orig. calls for white but I was all out!)
1/2 teaspoon Hot Hungarian Paprika (use Smoked if you don’t have this)
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
1. In a bowl, mash together Black Beans & Cannellini beans with a fork.
2. Heat a large pan, skillet, or flat griddle over medium heat. Add a Tablespoon or so of Olive Oil (just to coat). Once the oil is hot (a minute or so), depending on the size of your pan, place 2 or 4 corn tortillas down on the oil. Cover each with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Add a heaping Tablespoon-1/4 cup full of the bean mixture and top with 1/2 slice of Pepperjack Cheese. Take another corn tortilla and place ontop, gently pressing down to smush the bean mixture evenly. (Repeat with other tortillas) Cook until the bottom tortilla is golden brown, then gently flip and cook the other side for 2-4 more minutes until that side is also browning.
3. For the Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until creamy, scraping down the sides several times as needed. Taste and season more if needed. You can store this dipping sauce in a sealed container for an extra day or two for other recipes if you’d like!

Recipe adapted from Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

So, while the ingredient list here is a little on the long side- don’t get intimidated.  Like, seriously.  It’s mostly stuff you have in your pantry or spice cabinet.  You could also of course, just skip the sauce all together and just use store bought ranch… but that wouldn’t be as rewarding and impressive as making your own.  Try it!

I have a few comments about this one- besides telling you how fabulously amazing these were. (THESE WERE FABULOUSLY AMAZING!!)

1.  Keep in mind that I have been trying to be healthy and lose weight.  While this recipe isn’t the top of any dieting how-to, you should remember this when looking at my recipes.  I cut down on cheese.  I use whole wheat, whole grain, low fat, etc. versions of everything.  I’m sure this recipe would be seriously more fabulously amazing with some extra cheese.   Try it if you’d like!

2.  I typically try to modify recipes not only to make them healthier when possible, but to try to use ingredients I already have in my house.  For this recipe, the small corn tortillas were fine… but if you have large wraps or burrito wraps in your house- go ahead, use them!

3.  I remember from school that you should always have at least three points when you are making lists or numbering… so it only felt right to do that here.  I really only have those two things to say.  🙂

4.  Okay, maybe I should also tell you that you have to try this for your own Meatless Monday and ENJOY!

B&W... not to be confused with the milkshake!

B&W… not to be confused with the milkshake!

This is all I needed for the dip... I had it all at home already.  (Don't you LOVE my moo-cow salt and pepper shakers?? My Mommom bought them for me :) )

This is all I needed for the dip… I had it all at home already. (Don’t you LOVE my moo-cow salt and pepper shakers?? My Mommom bought them for me 🙂 )

Everything into the food processor to be whipped up into your homemade dip

Everything into the food processor to be whipped up into your homemade dip

Nom nom nom!  Delicious quesadillas.

Nom nom nom! Delicious quesadillas.

quesadilla

 

Dave bought me these gorgeous purple flowers from TJ's this week :)

Dave bought me these gorgeous purple flowers from TJ’s this week 🙂

They make my kitchen look so pretty!!

They make my kitchen look so pretty!!

 

Or…. try one of these other Meatless Monday Recipes!

Butternut Squash Tacos

Butternut Squash Tacos

Portobello Mushroom Burgers w/ Balsamic Glaze

Portobello Mushroom Burgers w/ Balsamic Glaze

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry (Crockpot!)

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry (Crockpot!)

 

 

 

Balsamic Peppers & Chicken Panini

Still goin’ strong with the new Panini maker.  It’s so much fun.  I’ve been really into buying different breads and testing them out to see which is the best.  This week’s bread was the Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane.  This bread is a great shape for a nice big panini and is hearty enough to hold lots of good stuff without falling apart.

There are a few steps to making this panini, but you could make some modifications or even preparations to make life easier which I’ll go over in a bit.

I had some extra time while I was making this so I also decided to be fancy and whip up a nice little Smoky Garlic Aioli to dress the sandwich.  Turns out just an extra tiny little step made a big difference.  Yum!

Balsamic Peppers & Chicken Panini

(for one 🙂 )

Ingredients (for the peppers):

1/4 Onion, cut into thin slices

1/2 Fresh Jalapeno (leave this out if you don’t like spicy), cut into thin slices

1/2 Orange or any Bell Pepper, cut into thin slices

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Sea Salt, Black Pepper & Italian Seasoning to taste

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients (for the sandwich):

2 Slices Hearty Bread (TJ’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane is what I used)

1 Chicken Breast (the thin sliced kind)

Lettuce (I used baby spinach), Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese

Ingredients (for the Smoky Garlic Aioli):

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Mayo

1/2 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, & Smoked Paprika

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice (approx)

Directions:

1.  Cut your veggies and heat your panini press.  Heat the olive oil in a small pan.  Add the garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion, & seasonings to the oil and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar once the veggies are soft and starting to brown just a bit.  Stir the veggies with the balsamic until they are coated.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes while stirring.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breast on both sides.  Wipe the pan clean and coat with cooking spray.  Heat over medium-high and place the chicken breast on the hot pan.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on both sides until the chicken is cooked through.  Set aside.

3.  Prepare the Smoky Garlic Aioli by simply combining the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring until mixed together.  Don’t forget to taste test it.  You can add more mayo if it’s too garlicy or more salt & paprika if it’s too plain.

4.  Put the sandwich together.  I slathered the Aioli on both sides of the bread, followed by the chicken, the peppers & onions, then some spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.  Press the sandwich together and spray both outside pieces of bread with cooking spray.  Place in the panini press and press down!  Heat for about 4 minutes, flip, and repeat.  Enjoy!

Okay, so there are a lot of steps but it's so worth it!

Okay, so there are a lot of steps but it’s so worth it!

All ready for some heat!

All ready for some heat!

All done!  Ready to devour...

All done! Ready to devour…

SO- while this silly little sandwich seems like it’s going to take a while to make, theres a few things you can do to help you out.  You can either buy pre-cooked chicken, or just cook yourself a few chicken breasts extra another night.  I do this often, then save them for a few days for other recipes.  You can do the same with the veggies and even the aioli.

And for the record, “Aioli” is a fabulous scrabble word to get rid of lots of vowels!  One of my personal favorites 🙂

Click here for other awesome Sandwich Recipes:

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Whole Wheat English Muffin

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Whole Wheat English Muffin

Green Apple and White Cheddar Tuna Melt

Green Apple and White Cheddar Tuna Melt

Turkey & Brie Panini w/ Fig Butter

Turkey & Brie Panini w/ Fig Butter

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Marinade

I don’t make seafood enough.  Call this my attempt to rectify that fact.  I make salmon a lot, but it’s normally broiled or grilled with the same spicy Asian teriyaki mix.  I’m over it.  It’s time for some change (cue Peter Brady… when it’s time to change you’ve got to rearrange!!!!) in my seafood repertoire; I’m going to put some Tilapia in the mix today.

I made this marinade the other day and used it with the Tilapia.  It turned out really well, and I would absolutely use it again!  The original recipe says it would be good on chicken, but I thought the citrus worked really well with the fish.  I think it would be really great on the grill in the summer!

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Marinade

Recipe from:  Cooking Light

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (1 Orange) 
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 Limes)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions:  For the Tilapia, I took 4 fillets and placed them in a cooking-spray coated pyrex dish.  Combine the marinade ingredients (except paprika) and pour over the fish.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Broil in the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is done.  Top with Paprika and some fresh Black Pepper.

Before

Before

and After!

and After!