Merry (very) Late Christmas! Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past week. The holidays just get a little crazy for us. They usually consist of a lot of food, a lot of driving, a lot of presents and a lot of family time. None of which I am complaining about, of course (expect for the driving thing, if that went away, I wouldn’t cry about it)! We had a busy, yet much less stressful holiday than Thanksgiving. There’s less people and less of a rush for Christmas and that’s why I love it so much. I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday!
I debated posting this recipe because it’s really nothing special, but I left my camera at my parents’ house and so therefore can’t post about anything else until I go get it. And because of that, I decided this recipe was worth posting! It’s so easy that it almost seems silly to write about it, so I don’t really have a whole lot to say. I thought maybe people would appreciate an appetizer post since there are many parties coming up for New Years (dang, I should have posted this sooner so you guys could bring this to all those damn ugly sweater parties!). Currently, we are still debating on what to do for our New Years. For some reason we have terrible luck with New Years so I’m really not going to bother putting pressure on it. Honestly, with how much we have had going on lately, I wouldn’t hate being at home with the pups and cuddling (and falling asleep) with my hubby on the couch. We’ll see what happens…
Ok, so this dip requires 6 ingredients… I know, I know, it says FIVE Layer Taco Dip, but forgive me, you need SIX ingredients. You need a can of refried beans, sour cream, taco seasoning, cheese, tomatoes and scallions. Yep! That’s it! And it’s as simple as spreading the beans on a platter, mixing the sour cream and taco seasoning and spreading that over the beans and then topping with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and chopped scallions. So simple, yet SO.FREAKING.GOOD. You can add as little or as much sour cream/taco seasoning as you want (I went light as Brad isn’t a sour cream man) and you can even add mashed avocados as well (never tried it but thought I’d share the idea). You can add salsa too! Oh the options are endless. Well, maybe not endless, but sort of endless.
So bring this dip (don’t forget the chips!) to any party, whether it’s for New Years, for a birthday or really… for a party in your own house on a Sunday that involves sitting and watching football in your pajamas and falling asleep on a couch under a blanket with a dog. Wait… you guys don’t call that a party?? Oh… nevermind then. Whatever, you get the idea. Just make this and eat it and you’ll be very happy!
Oh and two things to end on: 1) The world didn’t end so that is super exciting and 2) We got a blizzard here in Indy and it was pretty much awesome… except for the roads, the roads were not awesome. But it was pretty fun and really hilarious getting to watch Cash see and play in snow for the first time! Gosh I love having dogs! Ok… I just wanted to talk about that stuff. I’m done now.
Somehow this is the only photo I have of the blizzard. I have about 5 videos of Cash playing in the snow, but no photos of the hour long driveway clearing or Etta running around or our trip to Lowe’s to get supplies for a project or anything fun like that. Oh well. You get the idea that there’s a lot of snow!
Wait. I forgot… Happy New Year!!!
5 Layer Taco Dip
My mom has made this for years, so it comes from her
I have no idea how much this serves, it lasted for 2 days for Brad and I though!
1 can of refried beans of your choice (I always use the vegetarian ones)
1-2 cups of sour cream (depending on how much you want to use)
1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning
2-4oz shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 finely diced tomatoes
2-3 scallions, finely chopped
Serve with tortilla chips
Ok… so this is really something that you have to use the amounts based on your preferences. Spread the refried beans on the bottom of a pie plate, serving platter or any kind of dish you want. Mix your sour cream and taco seasoning (I used about 1 cup of sour cream and half a packet of taco seasoning. Taste test as you add the seasoning and be sure to do a little bit at a time!). Spread that over the beans. Sprinkle the cheese over that (again, as much or as little as you want) and top with the diced tomatoes and chopped scallions! Adjust quantities as you wish, it won’t hurt my feelings, I promise! Enjoy!
Well, I figured that since the world is going to end on Friday, I might as well squeeze in some posts so that everyone has some quality options for what to make for their last meal. I kid, I kid… the world isn’t ACTUALLY going to end… I hope not anyway, I have a lot of stuff that I still want to do!
Now that we have established my stance on the Maya calendar apocalypse the world is ending on Friday stuff… Let’s talk CHILI! Yay!!! I have shared with you an excellent vegan chili recipe, but while this one still doesn’t have meat, it isn’t quite vegan. Only because there is beef broth in it (you could sub vegetable broth or water to make it vegan though!). Yea, I got really creative on this one.
Anywho… this is a spicy chili. That will happen when you add 2 jalapenos, a green pepper and a poblano pepper to it. Oh and two packets of chili seasoning. However, it has incredible flavor. Roasting the vegetables brought out this wonderful smoky charred flavor and it really brought out the spiciness of the peppers, but also some of the sweetness. Mmm it was just really good.
I also added a fair share of beans to this chili. Which shouldn’t be that surprising considering I absolutely LOVE beans. You can use as many or as little as you want (but keep in mind, the beans are the main part of this chili, so use at the bare minimum 2 cans). You can use black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, red beans, cannelini beans… the list goes on! I had black, red and pintos in the pantry, so that’s what I used. If you wanted to, you could add a pound of ground beef to this to sub out some of the beans… I actually just thought of that. As always, this is definitely a recipe you can easily adapt to your liking!
Well, you could make this as your last meal for sure! It’d be a good one to end on. Better than what we will have. I forgot the world was ending on Friday when I made my meal plans and grocery list for the week, so we’ll be eating black bean and rice burritos. Obviously, not a bad choice… steak and lobster might have been a better way to out though! Haha!
Ok… I’m done talking about the world ending. I promise.
Spicy Roasted Vegetable and Bean Chili
Adapted straight from my head.
Makes 6-8 servings depending on how big your servings are
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large green pepper
1 large poblano pepper
1-1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1- 8oz can of tomato sauce
1- 14oz can of petite diced tomatoes
2-3 cups of beef broth (depending on how thick or soupy you like your chili)
3 cans of beans, drained and rinsed (again, I used black, pinto and red beans)
2 packets of chili seasoning (I use the reduced sodium ones)
Ok… Move one of your racks in your oven to the top and turn your broiler on high. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place your peppers (I cut my green pepper in half so it would be easier to broil) on the cookie sheet and place under the broiler until the peppers get really charred, turning them a couple times to get all sides nice and black. Once the are charred and they are soft, pull them out of the oven and place in a plastic ziploc bag and set aside. Put your corn on the cookie sheet and place under the broiler for a few minutes, tossing the corn so it chars evenly. Once that is done, pull it out and just set the pan aside.
While the peppers are in the ziploc bag (hopefully not melting the bag like mine almost did since I bought the store brand of bags rather than the actual quality ziploc brand), put a large pot on the stove on medium heat. Pour the olive oil in there and once that is hot, add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring frequently until they are tender. Add the corn.
At this point, remove the peppers from the bag and rub off the skins. Chop the peppers (removing the stems and seeds) and add to the pot. Toss in the chili seasoning, the tomato sauce, the diced tomatoes and some of the beef broth. Don’t add all of it in case you want your chili on the thicker side. Stir that all together and then add your beans.
Simmer, covered, for a good thirty minutes. Add a pinch of salt, if needed, as well as more beef broth, also if needed. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Top with mounds of cheese, a lot of saltines and maybe even a dollop of sour cream. And ENJOY it!!!
Believe it or not, these black bean burgers have been on my list to make for about 6 months. I have bought the ingredients for them at least 3 times over those 6 months and still never got around to making them. That is, until the other day! I had no reason for not making them, I just for some reason never did. I’m so glad that I finally got to it. These things are awesome!
Now, technically these are “spicy” black bean burgers, but they are only spicy if you add the jalapeno. However, if you are anything like me and you think you have a jalapeno in the fridge that you didn’t use the other day, when in fact you don’t…. well… they aren’t so spicy. But they are still tasty! They just don’t have the kick.
They are actually very simple to make. However, I was determined, once again to not use all the required appliances in order to lessen my dish washing load. I’m not sure what my deal is. I get so excited to have all these awesome food processors, blenders, mixers, cheese graters…. and I love them, but when it comes down to it, somedays I don’t want to use them only based on the fact that they are more time consuming to wash. I should really stop doing that. Anyway… I found that they didn’t stay together super well, but I have a feeling that’s because I didn’t use the food processor to really blend some of the ingredients together so they didn’t act as much like glue as they should have… that’s my guess anyway. So these may be more like “black bean sloppy burgers” but they still have the same awesome flavor as they would if they weren’t sloppy.
These are a great alternative to a real burger. They are just as filling, if not more, and they are so much better for you! They also have soooo much more flavor. We paired them with some steamed veggies and chips and salsa. We also topped our burgers with avocado and hot sauce. Definitely the way to go! Enjoy these! They are a perfect meal for Meatless Monday!
Spicy Black Bean Burgers
From Eat, Live, Run
Makes 5- 1/3 cup size burgers, which are pretty thick burgers
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons of water
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)
Avocado for topping
Hot sauce for topping
Olive oil (or canola oil) for frying
In a small bowl or measuring cup or mug (whatever is easiest to clean!) stir together the ground flax and water. Set aside.
Add the jalapeno and garlic to a food processor or blender and mince finely. Add one can of beans and pulse until combined. Add cumin and salt and pulse more until pretty smooth.
Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, tomato sauce, corn and flax. Stir to combine. Add the remaining beans.
Heat a little bit of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop the bean mixture and form a patty with your hands. Place on piece of parchment paper or foil. Make remaining patties until you have used up all of the bean mixture. Fry in the pan for about 4 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown. Warning! These were pretty tricky to flip, so just be prepared!
Serve the burgers with avocado and hot sauce, maybe even some tomato and lettuce too!
This is the last of the “official vegan week” recipes. Yea… like I said, we didn’t make it very far. Actually, there’s a fourth recipe, but I have no photos so like I said in the previous post, I’ll just tell you it.
This tortilla soup is actually based on Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup, however, I cut out the chicken and the chicken broth to make it… Vegan!! And if you ask me, it’s still pretty good! I subbed vegetable broth for the chicken broth, that’s pretty much the only difference between the recipes.
The original recipe is fantastic. It’s pretty much the best chicken tortilla soup ever (I have to say McAlister’s is a pretty close second though!) It has lots of beans and veggies and adding a little cornmeal at the end to thicken it is key. Knowing how delicious this soup is, I was nervous about how it would turn out without 2 of the key ingredients… chicken and chicken broth. To my surprise though, it was fantastic! There wasn’t a whole lot of difference really. As Brad put it “it tastes like the same soup only I got a bowl without any chicken in it”! I’ll take that!!
As I was getting started cutting up the veggies, I noticed that I still had a couple of ears of corn leftover from our trip to the farmer’s market that past weekend. So instead of using frozen corn like I usually do, I cut all the kernels off the ears and used them! It gave the soup a whole new, fresh flavor that I really enjoyed! I just cooked the corn in the soup pot, but I’m thinking that I could have Brad grill the corn next time to get a char on it… that would really add some good flavor! Frozen corn does work really well, but if you have any leftover corn from the night before or just want to try fresh corn, I highly recommend it!
Anyway, I think this tortilla soup is a great vegan alternative to chicken tortilla soup. It’s just as tasty and just as filling (even more so because I added some extra beans!) While it’s not exactly the best meal for a 100 degree day, it’s still just as delicious as it would be if we were eating it on a winter day! There’s a good chance I’ll start making this instead of chicken tortilla soup from now on!
Oh- real quick! The other vegan recipe is a burrito that we made to take to the track with us! This was when we were still on our vegan diet on Friday. It was one of the best burritos I have had it was ridiculously easy! They were just black beans, Spanish rice and guacamole wrapped in a tortilla! That’s it! I’ll include a recipe at the bottom of this post, but unfortunately I don’t have any photos. But they are so worth sharing! They are perfect for a picnic, day at the track, or just a really quick, easy dinner! And if you use Wholly Guacamole like I did… they are even quicker and easier!
Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup
Serves… a LOT. Not sure how much… at least 8 servings though
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen corn)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 – 10 oz can of Rotel (original diced tomatoes with green chiles… there are 2 in the photo above but I only used 1 can)
32 oz vegetable broth
2-3 cups of water, depending on how thin you want the soup
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Add the corn and cook for about one minute. Then add the onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook for another couple minutes. Then add the cumin, chili powder and garlic powder, stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and mix in. Then pour in the Rotel, vegetable broth, water and beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water (about 2 tablespoons maybe?) in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour into the soup and stir everything together. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Add salt according to taste. A couple minutes before serving, add the tortilla strips and stir gently.
Serve in bowls with guacamole or salsa on top. Crispy tortilla chips go really well on top too! Adds a nice crunch!
Bean, Rice and Guacamole Burritos
Makes 3 burritos
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of cooked Spanish Rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice that cooks in the microwave for 90 seconds. Super easy!)
1 package of Wholly Guacamole of your choice (I used the guac with pico de gallo) or use homemade guacamole if you would like!
3 burrito size tortillas
Heat the first tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to get nice and soft. Spoon 1/3 of the beans in the middle. Top with about 1/3 of the rice and 1/3 of the guacamole. Fold one side over the filling and then tuck the sides in and roll over to close. Wrap in foil (if taking it to go, but the foil also helps hold it together). Side note: you can heat up the beans in the microwave before putting in the burritos. I didn’t though because the burritos were going into a cooler for about 6 hours so we just ate them cold. See!? Couldn’t be easier!!
Two things. 1) I’ve never had a stuffed pepper before. 2) I’ve been on a big Mexican kick lately. For awhile I was on a Thai food thing, but I think I missed Mexican food so much that now it’s all I want to eat again.
Did I mention that it’s awesome eating Mexican food all the time. I just love it.
Remember my Mexican Lasagna? Oh lordy… I’m still dreaming about that dish… Anyway, I got the whole idea from A Couple Cooks which is a food blog written by a couple that lives here in Indy. I had been doing some casual surfing on their website and found a few really good recipes. One being the Mexican Lasagna, the other being these lovely stuffed peppers!
Now, like I said, I have never actually eaten a stuffed pepper. My dad doesn’t eat spicy food so peppers were never really popular in our household growing up. However, they’ve become pretty much a staple in Brad’s and my household and so I figured it was finally time to give them a try. I know that typically they are made with meat, but when people describe them to me, it never sounds totally appetizing. I’m not sure what it is, but a pepper stuffed full with meat just sounds… yuck. So I was super excited when I realized the recipe that I found didn’t have meat! I love a good meal that doesn’t have meat in it. Sometimes it’s harder than you think to come up with a couple meatless meals a week that aren’t the same thing.
Alright. These peppers are IN-CRED-I-BLE. Ohhhh man. We used 2 different kinds of peppers so there would be a variety, green peppers and poblano peppers. We found that we liked the poblano peppers stuffed better than the green peppers. We alllllso grilled these suckers rather than bake them in the oven. There was no way that I was going to turn the oven on, on the hottest day of the year. Uhhhh no. So we gave grilling a try. The poblano peppers did much better on the grill than the green. The green peppers just didn’t get cooked enough. I’m sure in an oven they would have been better, but not so much on the grill. We did put them on a grilling cookie sheet type thing as well. Much less messy. I would highly recommend doing that.
Either way, grill or oven, poblano or green… these are amazing. They stuffing is so perfect and delicious and you can add as much spice as you want. You could easily use leftover rice for these, but I had Brad cook some up earlier in the day. I would recommend that as well, cooking the rice in advance, otherwise you’ll have to wait awhile for that to cook. I might try using quinoa sometime too. I feel like it would go well with this. Other than cooking the rice, these are pretty quick to make. And easy. All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together and stuff the peppers. Uh yea. Easy.
These make a fantastic Meatless Monday meal, or a meal for any night of the week. With them being so easy and quick, they are a great weeknight meal. And I am really proud of myself for coming up with the idea to grill them. Anything we can do to not make the house hotter. Good grief.
2 green peppers, halved and insides removed
2 poblano peppers, halved and insides removed
1 cup uncooked brown rice (or 4 cups cooked)
1 1/2 – 2 cups salsa
1 15oz can of black beans
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1-2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
sprinkling of cayenne pepper, optional
About 1 cup of shredded cheese, divided
Cook the rice according to directions on package.
You can precook your peppers by broiling them for a few minutes after they’ve been halved. Simply place them on a cookie sheet and broil. Or stick them on the grill! (I failed to do this step, which is why our green peppers were still very crispy.)
Combine the rice, salsa, beans, corn, green onions, chili powder and cumin in a bowl. Mix together. Add in about half of the shredded cheese and stir.
Once the peppers have been cooking for about 5-7 minutes, remove them from the heat and spoon the rice and bean mixture into them. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
Place either in the oven or on the grill until the cheese is melted and the peppers are soft. This doesn’t take too long, especially if you precook your peppers. To grill them, line a grill safe cookie sheet (we have a grill pan) with foil (this allows for less cleanup!). Spray the foil with cooking spray so the peppers don’t stick. Then just throw the whole baking sheet on the grill!
Well, it’s 10pm on Friday night and the idea of sleeping is just ridiculous to me. How can I possibly get any rest when all I can think about is waking up at 5 in the morning, driving an hour and a half (well, Brad will be driving) and then waiting for 2 hours and then running, climbing, crawling, jumping, freaking out, and hopefully NOT crying for 12 miles? Yea right. Sleep? What’s that?
So I thought I’d take advantage of this awake state I’m in to write a quick post. I have very few photos of this meal, but I definitely think it’s worth sharing.
We are big on substituting black beans for meat. It’s pretty much our go-to vegetarian meal. Chicken quesadillas? Psh. Put black beans in it. Taco Salad with meat? No way… Put black beans in it! Got a craving for tacos!? Oh you better believe we’re putting black beans in it! *Note… this theory only works with Mexican food. I’m certain that spaghetti would be gross with black beans in it.* But, it’s an easy substitute without having to sacrifice flavor annnnnnd you still feel full when you are done! I hate when I make or eat a meal without meat and don’t feel like I ate enough. You will not, in fact, feel that way when you eat these delicious tacos!
This taco stuffing is actually very similar (and by similar, I mean the same) to what we use for quesadillas. It’s ridiculously quick and ridiculously tasty. All you do is toast up some corn in a skillet, add black beans, a can of chopped green chiles, some taco seasoning and a little water and you are done! Literally takes 5 minutes to make it. And it’s awesome.
These are so great for a Meatless Monday meal but they are really perfect for any night that you want a quick dinner. It makes a ton of filling so, if you are like us and there’s only 2 of you, you’ll absolutely have plenty for lunch the next day. And they taste just as great!
Top them with your favorite salsa and hot sauce, a little lettuce and tomatoes and you are good to go! This week, we did without the cheese and sour cream (Brad never eats sour cream anyway) since we are trying to cut out dairy for the week, but I can well imagine that they would be even greater with a little dairy thrown on top. There’s a good chance we’ll be eating these again in the coming weeks. Oh! And they are really inexpensive too! Much cheaper than buying a pound of meat! Eeeeveeeennnn better!
Black Bean and Corn Tacos
Serves 4+ (2 small tacos each) depending on size
Adapted… well… from my head
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2-3/4 cup frozen corn
1 small can chopped green chiles (optional)
1/2-1 full packet of taco seasoning (depending on your personal preference… or make your own seasoning!)
1/2-1/2 cup of water (again, depending on personal preference of the consistency)
1 package of corn tortillas
Lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, hot sauce of your choice, shredded cheese and sour cream… all for the toppings!
In a skillet, toast the corn over medium heat until you start to get a little char (or just until they get hot), add the drained beans, the green chiles and the taco seasoning. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Add the water if you feel it’s necessary. Let the mixture simmer for a minute until hot.
Microwave 2 corn tortillas (we like to double up because they fall apart so easily) wrapped in a damp paper towel for about 10 seconds. Fill the tortillas with the filling and top with all of your favorite taco toppings! Yummmm!
Don’t panic if you don’t know what this is. I’m going to be honest, when I first stumbled upon this recipe in a Food Network Magazine a few months ago, I was clueless. I had never heard of it before, but when I read through the list of ingredients, I knew it was up our alley. It’s a Mexican dish with pasta. Brad actually described it chili with spaghetti in it. Bingo. It’s a lot like chili with spaghetti in it.
The chili aspect comes from the canned tomatoes (fire roasted… mmm), onion, green pepper, jalapeno, kidney beans, and the chili powder and cumin. Mix all that up, add some chicken broth, and cilantro and then throw in some spaghetti and you have…. Sopa Seca!
This is a very satisfying meal, the beans and the pasta really fill you up. No, seriously, they really do fill you up. I got excited and gave myself a huge bowlful and couldn’t even finish it!
You could make this meal on a weeknight for sure. It’s quick and easy. Not a whole lot of work involved and it definitely doesn’t take long to cook. I sort of changed up some of the recipe. The grocery store was out of poblano peppers (yea, how does that happen?) so I had to improvise with a green pepper and 2 jalapenos. Umm let’s see, I also only used half an onion. A whole onion, to me, is way too much. Also, the original recipe calls for cheese. We skip this. I think this dish is better without the cheese, but that’s just me. You can go to the website (I’ll give the link below) and compare if you want, but I, obviously, like the changes that I have made!
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeds removed and chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
8 oz (half a package) whole-wheat spaghetti, broken into thirds (I used just regular because it was leftover from the Naked Tomato Sauce)
1- 14oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1- 14 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 big handful of cilantro, stems removed and coarsely chopped
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in the onion and peppers and cook for a few minutes until slightly soft. Add the chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook for another couple minutes. Add the uncooked spaghetti and try to toss (this is much more difficult than you would think). Try to let the pasta toast for a few minutes in the pan, but don’t worry if this doesn’t really work. I never has for me.
Add the tomatoes and simmer until the liquid is gone. Then add the chicken broth, bring heat to high and let boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the pasta is fully cooked (about 6 minutes). Add the beans and most of the cilantro and simmer for another minute or two until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Divide among bowls and top with a few sprinklings of cilantro.