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!)

 

 

 

Salsa Omelette

I’ve made a couple new exciting discoveries lately.

1.  Happy Hour Oysters are seriously awesome.  Buck a shuck?  I think I will.

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2.  These chips from Trader Joe’s are amazing.  There’s flax seeds in them… so that means they’re healthy.  Yup!

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3.  A guilty pleasure:  The Carrie Diaries.  The prequel to Sex & the City.  I forgot how dramatic high school is, and I LOVE it.

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4.  THIS list of 50 Nacho recipes.

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and 5.  I LOVE corn tortillas.  I don’t think I’ll ever buy any other type again!

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While one might think that corn tortillas = tacos (and they may be right), corn tortillas to me = eggs.  It’s the perfect crispy, salty, warm vessel for eggs.  Goodbye english muffins … hello corn tortillas.

My new favorite thing to do is to saute up one or two corn tortillas (2 are only 80 calories! omg!) with some sea salt and stuff them with eggs.  Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and now even a delicious omelette covered in salsa.

Salsa Omelette

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Butter

3 slices of Onion, chopped

1 Jalapeno, chopped

1 handful Fresh Spinach

1 handful Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half

2 Egg Whites & 1 Egg

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese

Red Pepper Flakes, Ground Pepper & Sea Salt

1-2 small Corn Tortillas

2 Tablespoons Salsa (I use Jack’s Special from Wegman’s… its the BEST)

Directions:

1.  Heat the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and jalapeno.  Stir and cook for a few minutes before adding the spinach.

2.  Meanwhile, scramble the egg whites, and egg into a separate bowl.  Add the water and scramble with a fork.

3.  Switch the heat on the pan to medium so you don’t burn the eggs.  Pour the egg mixture into the pan.  Let sit for about 4-5 minutes.  Make sure to tilt the pan so the uncooked egg covers the entire pan.

4.  With a spatula or silicone scraper, lift the sides of the egg up to make sure it’s not sticking. (If it is, forget the omelet and just scramble it up… it will taste just as good!)  When there isn’t much runny egg left on the top, add the cheese, then lift one side up and flip it on the other (creating a half moon shape).  Let cook for another 4-5 minutes or until it looks like there is no runny egg left.  You might want to put a lid on the pan… it will help with the cooking time.  Season w/ Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper Flakes and remove from the pan.

5.  Add a few drops of olive oil to the hot pan and place a corn tortilla or two onto the pan.  Season with sea salt.  Flip after two minutes of cooking.  Add the salsa and tomatoes to the omelette and enjoy!

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Try one of my other favorite Omelettes!

The Ultimate Jewish Omelette

The Ultimate Jewish Omelette

Portobello Omelette

Portobello Omelette

Salami Omelette

Salami Omelette

California Tortilla

I was spoiled rotten my Junior summer of Penn State when I lived a block away from Belly Buster Burrito.  Belly Buster Burrito was similar to Qdoba/Chipotle, etc… but it wasn’t a chain.  It was owned by the nicest man who was always behind the counter putting together our burritos and nachos… and most importantly- he didn’t charge extra for Guacamole.  Loved him.  Obviously.  

Besides enjoying the satisfaction of sticking it to “the man” (McDonalds) and not ordering from Chipotle, everything was better about Belly Buster Burrito.  The price, the quality of the food, the ingredients, the menu, the service, just about everything.  They even had Diet Dr. Pepper “on tap” with free refills and free wifi.  I miss this place.  

Sadly, Belly Buster closed down sometime after I graduated (:(:(:() which was a huge disappointment.  I’ve tried the chain burrito places, and none of them do it for me.  My fast-food Mexican cravings soon subsided (you’re crazy if you’re thinking TacoBell) and I finally accepted the fact that I was never again going to enjoy another Make-Your-Own burrito.  That was… until Dave discovered California Tortilla.

Cue the heavenly choir sound effect… ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The first thing you need to know about California Tortilla is that they have a “Wall of Flame”.  Yup.  They have an entire wall of ranked hot sauces with 75+ varieties.  OMG.  How much fun?  Also, have you seen any of those new spaceship-like soda machines?  Yup, CA Tortilla has those too.  It’s so much fun!  You can pick any type of soda (and so many diet ones too) and add your own flavor.  I obviously stare at this thing for a good 5 minutes before deciding on some type of Diet Dr. Pepper- already beats Belly Buster in one category!

The “Wall of Flame” so many to choose from!

Okay so now onto the food-  they have fresh ingredients, and many of them.  They have a bunch of different options and pre-put together meal ideas that are pretty interesting.  You can get almost anything you want in a burrito, a burrito bowl (everything in a bowl, no tortilla), or a salad (everything in a bowl, no tortilla + a bed of lettuce).  Oh, and then you get to smother whatever it is you decide to get with tons of hot sauce!

Okay I gave in and got cheese on it… but it was sooooooooooo good!

The California Tortilla location that Dave and I went to is right before we get to Delaware (we go there to shop, tax free!).  Not too long ago when I took a few days off of work for some vacay, we went to my new love- CA Tortilla.  We both got whatever was on special- I know it had spicy chicken, and I know it had mango and black beans involved.  Delish.

Why the sad face when I’m eating a delicious Burrito Bowl in my new favorite fast-food Mexican spot?  I put WAY too much SPICY Jamaican Jerk Hot Sauce ALL over it!  😦  Oh well!  I learned my lesson for next time 🙂

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Hello everyone!  I am “up” in NYC this weekend with Dave and some of our friends that we met on our trip to Israel!  I am busy taking lots of pictures of all of the fabulous food we’ll be eating and cocktails we’ll be drinking.  Can’t wait to tell you all about it 🙂  But for now, check out this Mexican recipe I cooked up this week for dinner.  Enjoy and have a WONDERFUL weekend everyone!

It wasn’t until I started blogging that I realized “easy” recipes are my thing.  Well apparently they are.  I’m okay with that.  After a long day of work, and then the gym… what’s the point of coming home to stand in the kitchen for hours?  Of course there is no point, if you can make awesome food simple.  Like i do!

I tried this recipe from the Food Network Show:  Mexican Made Easy.  It really does a good job explaining what type of recipe it is!  Here you go:

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Recipe modified from:  Mexican Made Easy

Makes:  6-8 Servings

Ingredients:

2-3 large Tomatoes

1 cup Unsalted Peanuts

2-3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter

2 Tablespoons Adobo Sauce from Canned Chipotles

1 Chipotle from above (optional!)

4 Chicken Breasts

Salt & Pepper

Sesame Seeds

Cilantro

Warm Corn Tortillas

Directions:

1.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Core the tomatoes and cook in the boiling water for 3 minutes.  Let cool and peel skin off.

2.  Boil the chicken breasts, and then shred using 2 forks.

3.  Add tomatoes, peanuts, peanut butter, and adobo sauce into a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth.

4.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.  Add sauce to the chicken in a skillet.  Stir for 3 minutes over medium heat until thoroughly heated.

6.  Transfer to a platter and serve with warm corn tortillas.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.

I cored my own tomatoes! You might not realize how big of a deal this is… but I was pretty much AFRAID of tomatoes for the past 25 years. Not anymore. Check em out!

Cored… and now cooked and peeled.

I had to document my new talent with tomatoes 🙂

Even Sushi (my family’s pup) couldn’t stay away from this meal! She was hoping I’d drop some chicken for her 🙂

One huge pile o’ chicken!

OMG, I loved this recipe!  It is basically a Mexican version of my favorite Asian peanut sauce.  The Adobo sauce gives it a little bit of heat, different than your average cayenne, hot sauce, or even Sriracha flavor.  YUM!  The corn tortilla, which I have never bought before, brought the entire thing together and is definitely a key part of this recipe being kick-ass.  This recipe was so easy to make, and it could be even easier if you have pre-cooked chicken or even pre-shredded chicken from leftovers.

The cilantro and corn tortilla are CLUTCH! Added huge flavor and contrast to the thick peanutty sauce.

as we like to say in my house… YUM!

This recipe was a hit in our house.  You could use beef or even pork if you have that in stock at your own house.  The unsalted peanuts could be replaced by salted peanuts if you want to take out the salt added at the end.