Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys today.  This recipe is the first (of many) that I’ve made from one of my new favorite bloggers, Emily Bites!

She is ah-mazing.  Emily writes about lightened up fun comfort food, often with a twist on the original.  She is so super creative and I love that she lists the Weight Watchers point values on each recipe- one less step for me!

This recipe is Continue reading

Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

stuffedpeppers

As it turns out, getting a new job, getting married, planning and going on an 18 day honeymoon in Hawaii all while trying to maintain a social life is JUST ENOUGH to prohibit me from blogging like I used to!  Sheesh!  Imagine that.

I’m more than happy to be back to share the first of many awesome recipes I’ve been busy with in my kitchen for you today.  This recipe is my first attempt at Stuffed Peppers- something Dave and I first tried on our trip to Israel  and that I have promised to make for him since.  It’s only taken 3.5 years.  No big deal.

I will be the first to admit that bell peppers are not my favorite ingredient.  I know they’re so basic and in everything, I just am not their biggest fan, so I guess I wasn’t super excited to try these out.  I think it was my trust in one of my favorite bloggers, Nikki from Chef in Training that gave me the courage to try this new recipe out (she’s fabulous, check out her blog!).  Her recipe for Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers caught my attention, especially because I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry.  Score!

Enchilada Stuffed Peppers
Recipe slighly adapted from: Chef in Training

Ingredients:

6 Red Bell Peppers  

1lb Ground Turkey, lean

2 Zucchinis, chopped small

1 – 15oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup Corn

1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (plus a little extra for topping)

10oz can Enchilada Sauce

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 teaspoon Salt & 1 teaspoon Pepper

Fat Free Sour Cream for topping (optional)

Directions:

1.  Cut just the tops off the bell peppers and hollow out the insides.  Place in a large baking pan or pyrex dish and set aside.  

2.   In a large skillet, brown and chop ground turkey and the zucchini until cooked through and juices run clear and the zucchini is starting to soften.  

3.  Place turkey/zucc mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the black beans, corn, cheese, enchilada sauce, cumin and salt and stir until everything is combined.  

4.  Stuff each bell pepper to the top.  Cover the pan with foil.

5.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 1 hour.  Remove pan and foil and sprinkle a little extra cheese on the top and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes or so until the cheese is melted.  ENJOY!

 

Peppers ready to be stuffed

IMG_0678

IMG_0680

IMG_0682

The original recipe calls for a little more ground turkey, which I didn’t have handy, so I used the chopped zucchini, which worked just fabulously.  You could really use whatever vegetables you wanted!  If you chop them into nice, small pieces, it will work perfectly.

My new job requires me to work one “late day” each week, so this stuffed pepper recipe was perfect for that type of day.  I did all the cooking in the morning, which didn’t take long… then I stuffed the peppers and prepared them in the dish and stuck them in the fridge.  When I left work for my 45 min commute home, Dave popped them in the oven and dinner was ready when I got home!  It was perfect.

We ate the peppers for lunches the rest of the week- they are absolutely delicious.  The enchilada sauce makes the dish so flavorful and spicy, and I just love hot lunches in the wintertime.  I can’t wait to try new versions of this!  Who knows, maybe this will be the start of me finally liking bell peppers?

IMG_0683

 

Tex-Mex Fish Tacos (Guest Post)

Hello friends!  I’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having here in Philly… how about you?  

Today I want to introduce you to Meredith from ReadySetEat.com.  She will be posting an amazing recipe for you today that is just perfect for this time of year:  Fish Tacos!  I have never tried to make them on my own but I cannot wait to try this recipe.  It sounds fresh and so delish!  

 

Easy Summer Dinner: Tex-Mex Fish Tacos

Is there anything more summery than fresh seafood? Fish, shrimp, scallops and crab are delicious all year round, but there’s just something about eating seafood in the summertime that makes you feel like you’re lounging poolside even if you’re stuck in an office or miles away from the nearest beach!

One of the most popular summer seafood dishes is, unsurprisingly, also one of the most delicious: fish tacos. Fish tacos are one of those meals that seems to pop up on every menu at every restaurant the minute it gets warm out, and for good reason. Instead of your typical beef, steak or chicken tacos, fish tacos tend to be a little lighter and are bursting with summery flavors like lime, cilantro and crunchy jicama.

These Tex-Mex Fish Tacos are topped with a fresh slaw, heart-healthy avocado and a zippy salsa, putting them into the delicious category of good-for-you tomato recipes. In place of the avocado, these tacos would also be delicious with your favorite guacamole recipe for extra flavor. They make an easy weeknight dinner but are also definitely impressive enough for entertaining friends and family; they’re perfect for a tasty twist on taco night. Make them from the comfort of your own kitchen and you’ll never feel the need to splurge on them during a dinner out for the rest of summer!

Tex-Mex Fish Tacos

Total Time: 45 min

Serves: 4

• 1 pound pollock or cod fillets, thawed if frozen

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• PAM® Grilling Spray

• 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained

• 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

• 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

• 2 teaspoons minced garlic

• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 cup julienned jicama

• 1 cup shredded napa cabbage

• 1/4 cup shredded carrot

• 12 white corn tortillas (6 inch), heated

• 1 large avocado, cut into 24 slices

For the Fish:

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Spray a grill pan with grilling spray; heat over medium-high heat.

Place fish in the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork (if you’re using a meat thermometer, it should read 145°F). Cool slightly and shred with forks.

For the Salsa:

Combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, sugar, kosher salt and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.

Complete the Tacos!

Combine jicama, cabbage and carrot in a medium bowl. Place 2 tablespoons fish in the center of each tortilla. Top with about ¼ cup of the jicama mixture, 2 tablespoons salsa and 2 slices avocado. Fold in half and serve immediately.

Tex-Mex Fish Tacos

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For easy summer recipes, or for a classic easy lasagna recipe or easy meatloaf recipe, visit http://www.hunts.com.

Thank you Meredith for sharing such an awesome recipe with us!  I want to eat these now!

Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

It’s finally summertime again!  

Well, not officially, but once Memorial Day is here… it’s summer as far as I’m concerned!  What types of food remind you of summer?  For me, it’s Watermelon, Peaches and Plums, Ice Cream, and of course Grilling.  Last week, we fired up our grill and made an amazing BBQ spread with tons of veggies and juicy chicken covered in our Homemade BBQ Sauce.

Dave really wanted pasta salad for a side dish but I wasn’t interested in getting  all Mayo-ey.  I adapted this Tex-Mex Pasta Salad from Cooking Light to make it into a side-dish.  The pasta salad turned out fabulous, we all really liked it.  It was a nice light side that went along perfectly with our grilled veggies and chicken.  I’d love to try this with ground turkey as the original recipe calls for to make a complete meal next time!

Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 box Short Pasta (I used Pipette)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 clove of Garlic, minced
1 packet of 40%-less-sodium Taco Seasoning or 1-2 Tbsp pre-made seasoning
1/2 cup Shredded Reduced-Fat Cheddar or Mexican Blend Cheese
1/2 pint Grape Tomatoes, sliced
1/2 Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped
1 small can Sliced Black Olives, drained
1/2 can (15.5oz) Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 Lime, Juiced
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt & Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cumin

1 Jalapeno, chopped, for topping optional

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain; set aside.
  2. Combine the garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, green onions, olives, and black beans in a bowl.  Carefully stir to combine.  Add the pasta and stir again.
  3. Add the oil, lime juice, taco seasoning, salt, pepper, cumin and stir until combined.  Add extra taco seasoning if desired.  

Recipe inspired by:  Cooking Light

We grilled Zuchs, Onion, Bell Pepper, and Tomato Halves (which is my new fav thing)

We grilled Zuchs, Onion, Bell Pepper, and Tomato Halves (which is my new fav thing)

So many pretty colors!

So many pretty colors!

photo 3 (31)

photo 3 (30)

The original recipe not only included ground turkey, but the sauce was made with sour cream and topped with salsa.  I was planning on using some fat free sour cream to keep it healthy, but when I tasted the pasta salad just using the seasonings, oil, and lime juice… I loved it so much that I just left it alone.  If you prefer a creamy pasta salad, go ahead and add some sour cream.  OR, if you want it to just be a little less dry, you could always add the salsa.

Do you have an awesome pasta salad recipe?  Please share!!

Mango Guacamole

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!!!!!  

I’m pretty much just excited to get free Rita’s Water Ice and see the sunshine.  Where did they ever get the idea “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”?!?!  I feel like it’s quite the opposite, but then again maybe that’s the point.

MV5BMjI0MjMxNjk3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzgxMDUzNg@@._V1_SY317_CR10,0,214,317_

Feeling very Spring-gy today, I wanted to share this great Guac recipe for you that I tried out… it has MANGO in it!!!!!  The mango is awesome in Guac since it gives it a great color and the sweetness and the spicy work so well together.

Sweet & Spicy are my all-time fav combination.  For sure.

Mango Guacamole

Ingredients:

3 Ripe Avocadoes (How to Cut an Avocado), cut into cubes

¼ Cup finely diced Onion 

1 Mango, peeled & diced

1 Jalapeno, seeded & finely diced

1 teaspoon minced Garlic

1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Cilantro 

½ teaspoon Lime Juice

½ teaspoon Lemon Juice

Directions:

You don’t even need to measure anything in this recipe… just stir it all together and make changes when you taste it.  The avocado will mush more when you add the citrus juice, but try not to mash it since it’s good to keep some of the pieces in there.

photo 1 (20)

photo 2 (19)

YUMMY!  I haven’t been very adventurous when making Guac since my normal stuff is just so darn good!  I’m glad I got to try this version… it was especially delicious along with this breakfast I made with Eggs, Corn Tortillas, Beans, & Tomatoes.  Try it with tortilla chips or I imagine it would be super perfect on fish tacos!

To make your first day of Spring even BRIGHTER, check out some pictures of these adorable BABY ZOO ANIMALS!  I love them!!

… and check out these other fruity recipes 🙂

Blueberry Oatmeal in a Mug

Blueberry Oatmeal in a Mug

Kiwi-Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

Kiwi-Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (Eva Longoria's Recipe!)

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (Eva Longoria’s Recipe!)

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!)

 

 

 

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie & Feb Secret Recipe Club Reveal!

I have a huge blogging announcement to make!  I was recently accepted into the Secret Recipe Club!  This is something I’m very excited about, it will be a great opportunity to make new blogging friends and try out new recipes.  I have been on a waiting list to join for a few months and today is my VERY FIRST REVEAL!

Let me give you a brief run down of the “SRC”.  First, I am assigned a blog.  From that blog, I am allowed to pick ANY recipe they have ever made… and make it myself.  We’re allowed to make changes and swaps to fit our own tastes and diets too.  Then, we write a post about the recipe and our experience making it.  Finally, everyone will “reveal” their blog post about their secret recipe on the same day.  I get to tell the blog I wrote about and then someone who had me will tell me too!  It’s all very bloggerifically exciting.

Secret Recipe Club

For February, my SRC Blog assignment was Food-Ramblings.  Not only is this girl an AWESOME cook, but we have so so much in common.  First of all, her name is Elizabeth.  She makes and talks about some seriously delicious looking recipes but tries to stay healthy, just like me.  She even includes Weight Watcher points on her posts which is so helpful.

She’s truly an inspiration… she lost 30 pounds before her wedding and somehow managed to keep it off!  You go girl!

After reading through tons of great recipes, I decided to go with one that I thought was super creative:  Mexican Shepherd’s Pie.  Gasp.  How delicious does that sound?  Why haven’t I thought of this?!

Shepherd’s Pie has forever been one of my Mom’s favorite meals.  Growing up, we used to make it and mix it all together turning it into one big pile of delicious mashed potatoes, meat, and veggies.  Sometimes, my Mom would let my sister and I put food coloring in the potatoes to make it more fun to eat.  (gross!)

This recipe on Elizabeth’s blog  stood out to me right away and I had to get workin’.  I made this one two or three weeks ago now!  I was just so excited to try it out.

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie

**Recipe only slightly adapted from Food-Ramblings

Ingredients

1.5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes

1 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Splash of Half and Half

1/2 Cup Chicken Broth (red. sodium)

1 lb Ground Beef

1 Taco Seasoning Packet

2 Jalapenos, diced

2 Tomatoes, diced

1 can Corn

Cayenne Pepper

1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup Cheddar Cheese (red. fat),shredded

Fresh Cilantro

Directions:

1.  Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until soft and easily pierced with a knife or fork.  While the potatoes boil, cook ground beef with taco seasoning and diced jalapenos.  Drain grease if you have any.

2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Smash the potatoes with half and half, chicken broth, garlic powder, minced onion, pepper, and salt.  Add chicken broth or half and half little by little if you need it to be more wet.

3.  In a foil-lined baking dish, spray with cooking spray.  Spread half of the potato mixture at bottom of pan.  Next, layer ground beef, followed by the tomatoes, corn, and black beans.  Sprinkle Cayenne somewhere in the middle if you’d like it to be spicier.  Sprinkle cheese over top (I used White and Sharp Cheddar).  Spread rest of potatoes over top.

4.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are just starting to brown.  Keep an eye on it!  Sprinkle on some fresh Black Pepper and Cilantro on top.  Serve 🙂

**Elizabeth’s original recipe first of all included a second recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread which I’m dying to try another time!  I made the shepherd’s pie after work one day and didn’t have enough time to try both.  Here are the changes I made:  I used Yukon Gold Potatoes, and less of them with the skins on instead of 2 lbs.  I added Cayenne and Jalapeno (duh).  I also unfortunately didn’t have the 1 cup of skim milk on hand to make the taters so I just used a splash of half and half.  Finally, since I had some on hand, I sprinkled some fresh Cilantro ontop.**

Smash smash smash.

Smash smash smash.

Next, I mixed the potatoes into mashed potatoes with lots of good seasonings and spread half of it into the baking dish.

Next, I mixed the potatoes into mashed potatoes with lots of good seasonings and spread half of it into the baking dish.

Add in some beef, tomatoes, jalapenos...

Add in some beef, tomatoes, jalapenos…

Black Beans, Corn, and some Cayenne for good measure

Black Beans, Corn, and some Cayenne for good measure

Loving two types of shredded cheddah

Loving two types of shredded cheddah

Into and out of the oven it goes... voila!  Amazing!

Into and out of the oven it goes… voila! Amazing!

Close-Up!

Close-Up!

Cross-Section of a Shepherd's Pie... I'm drooling.

Cross-Section of a Shepherd’s Pie… I’m drooling.

Spoon some up and add some hot sauce... call it a night!

Spoon some up and add some hot sauce… call it a night!

We LOOOVED Elizabeth’s Mexican Shepherd’s Pie!  What a GREAT idea!  I loved how she replaced the typical peas and carrots of Shepherd’s Pie with Corn and Beans and exciting flavors which I typically prefer anyway.  YUM!  We ate this for dinner TWICE and a few lunches too… tons of leftovers.

I can’t wait to officially follow Elizabeth’s blog now that she knows who I am 🙂  she has plenty of other amazing recipes I’m dying to try.

shep

In the meantime, PLEASE do yourself a favor and click below to check out these other fabulous recipes that were discovered during this month’s Secret Recipe Club!