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Tag Archives: Garlic

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Last weekend I made shepherd’s pie and it turned out to be one of the best things I may have ever made.  It was so good that I kind of want to make it again.  And again.  And then again.

I have officially made shepherd’s pie twice in my life.  The first time was a few years ago and it was quite a failure.  Well.  It wasn’t BAD.  I just remember being very disappointed with it.  And I think at some point I had to run to the grocery in the middle of making it because I wasn’t following a recipe and realized at the last minute that I needed something urgently.  That sounds like something I would do.

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I found a recipe on Pinterest that makes shepherd’s pie in a cast iron skillet which is a little bit quicker and requires only about one less pan.  But you know what?  One pan is one pan and if I have a say, I will always vote for the method using less dishes.  It ended up working perfectly and I can promise you that I will forever make shepherd’s pie in my cast iron skillet.  It’s so silly to cook the filling in a pan and then transfer it to a baking dish when you can just cook it all in a pan that can go in the oven.  I don’t know… it’s just genius and everyone should just listen to me and do it.

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As for the actual shepherd’s pie.  Wow.  It was delicious.  I tweaked the recipe a little to make it easier and I really just didn’t think some of it was super necessary, like adding an egg to the mashed potatoes and I wanted peas in mine… little things like that.  I think what really made it so good was the A1 sauce I decided to throw in there at the end.  I have a feeling that’s not a normal ingredient to go into shepherd’s pie, considering I haven’t seen it used in any of the recipes I looked up, but believe me when I tell you, adding A1 sauce brings it to the next level.  You get an extra kick of salty-sweet-tanginess that you really just can’t get from anything else.  We even added more once we dished it all up for dinner!

There’s just no way you can go wrong with this dish.  Meat and potatoes.  Isn’t that every guy’s dream?  It’s a little time consuming to make since you have to the filling and the mashed potatoes to go on top, but I can promise you, it’s worth all the work.  It’ll feed you and another person two dinners and a lunch and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be wishing for more after every bite!

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Skillet Shepherd’s Pie 
Adapted from Laura’s Sweet Spot
Makes 6 servings (it fed Brad and I two dinners and a lunch)

1 pound ground beef
2-3 pounds of russet potatoes, cut into chunks (you can peel them but I prefer the skins on)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2-1 whole cup milk (just depending on how thick you want your mashed potatoes)
Butter (to go into your mashed potatoes.  Dare I say I used a whole stick of butter in mine??)
1/2 onion finely shopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-4 tablespoons of A1 sauce (start off with a little and taste as you go)
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Ok- put the potatoes into a large pot and put enough water to cover the potatoes by about an inch. Add a hefty pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your potato chunks.  Drain.  Mash the potatoes either with a masher or with a hand mixer.  Add the milk a little at a time along with the butter until you get a desired texture and taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside when finished.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onions and carrots.  Once they start to soften, add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned, drain any leftover fat.  Mix in the tomato paste and then slowly add the beef broth, worcestershire sauce and A1 sauce.  Again, add a little of the A1 sauce at a time making sure to not add too much for your liking.  Bring to a boil.  Add thyme and peas and simmer for about 5 minutes.  To thicken the sauce, pull a couple spoonfuls of the sauce and mix with the cornstarch to create a thin paste.  Stir into the meat and veggies mixture.  Allow to simmer for another 5-7 minutes until sauce is nice and thick (you might have to add more cornstarch).  Spoon the mashed potatoes onto the top of the meat and spread around evenly.  Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.  It’s already hot so it doesn’t have to go in there for very long.  You can flip the broiler on to just brown the tops of the potatoes, but I wanted to bake it for a little while.

Remove from oven carefully (the sauce seeps up from under the potatoes) and let it sit for a couple minutes.  Spoon into bowls and enjoy!!

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Welp, today is day 4!  We are chuggin along!  It’s been going well, fast actually.  I’m surprised this week has gone so quickly.  We’ve made a couple pretty good meals that I thought I would share with everyone!  All of these recipes are coming straight from the Clean Program website.  There’s tons of resources on their website, including a meal planner that we have been using!  There’s a Pre-Cleanse planner and a full on 3 week Cleanse planner.  We expect to use most of that planner for the next 3 weeks.  So all of the recipes that we have used so far have been from that meal planner.

If I’m going to be honest… for the most part, these recipes are time consuming to make.  We’ve been making breakfast the night before while dinner is cooking.  It’s a lot to do all at once, but it works well with our schedules.  We’ve actually had quite a bit of leftovers and I’ll be sure to note that in each recipe!

photo 1-1Almond Butter Pancakes with Blueberries
Fed us both for 1 breakfast with 1 1/2 pancakes leftover

1 cup almond flour or meal
1 cup almond or rice milk
pinch of sea salt
splash of vanilla (optional)
½ cup almond butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
coconut oil (you only need like 1 tablespoon)
cashew or almond butter + fresh or frozen berries

Mix batter until well combined and almond flour is smooth. On high heat, bring a frying pan or griddle
to a very warm temperature, add a teaspoon of coconut oil and let it melt, spreading on the pan to avoid sticking.
Lower heat to medium and with a measuring cup pour pancakes onto the pan/griddle and wait until they begin to
bubble on top and then flip. Serve warm with almond or cashew butter and fresh berries.

photo 2-1Miso Glazed Salmon with Butternut Squash Fries
This only fed us for 1 dinner

Miso Glazed Salmon:

2 wild salmon fillets
3 tablespoons gluten-free miso
olive oil
2 teaspoons coconut nectar

In a small bowl mix the miso, coconut nectar and enough olive oil to make it into a thick liquid. Cover
the fillets and broil or pan fry until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Serve warm.

Butternut Squash Fries:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
flavor variations: cinnamon: add 1 tsp of ground cinnamon along with the salt, oil and pepper and toss.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease. In a
large bowl, add all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Lay squash slices on the baking sheet in an individual
layer. (If the pieces are touching, it will take longer to bake) Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and
beginning to crisp on the edges, turning pieces over halfway through

photo 3-1This one is actually two recipes.  We ate the side dish (Cranberry Mango Millet Salad) on Monday for lunch and had so much leftover that we ate it with some Black Bean Burgers on Tuesday.  The salad makes enough to eat for 2-3 meals.  And it’s pretty good!

Cranberry Mango Millet Salad

Grains:
1 cup millet
½ cup quinoa
3 cup water

Salad:
1 mango, cubed
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup yellow onions, diced

Lemon poppy seed dressing:
¼ cup lemon juice
1½ tablespoons coconut nectar (or a few dashes of stevia to taste)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
¼ teaspoons herbamare seasoning

Place millet and quinoa in a strainer and rinse in cold water for a couple of seconds. Place rinsed
grains in a medium sized saucepan and combine with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce
heat to simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until water has absorbed. Remove from heat and allow
to sit with the lid on for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool. Meanwhile, combine remaining salad
ingredients in a large bowl. Add lukewarm or chilled grains. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, mix together lemon
poppy seed dressing ingredients before pouring over the salad. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
We were able to make 6 burgers out of this.  They were smaller but we ate 4 for lunch and then saved the other 2 for lunch the next day.  We also topped them with avocado and extra lime juice.  I highly recommend this as they are a little bit dry and the avocado and lime add some good moisture.  And it’s super tasty!

cup black beans
cup quinoa cooked
1 teaspoon cumin
lime juice from 1/3 lime
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork. Mix with the quinoa and then add the
other ingredients. This will make 2-4 patties depending on how big you like them. Heat the oil in a skillet over
13edium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the patties until they are nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and
fry the other side

photo 2Wilted Spinach and Spiced Chicken
This recipe only serves ONE, so you have to plan accordingly.  We actually liked this so much we are going to eat it again on Saturday.  We doubled the mango when we first ate this, but when we make it on Sunday, I think we are going to just use one mango.  In case you were wondering.

1 4-5 ounce chicken breast (we did one chicken breast per person)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 tablespoons sliced red onions
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven 350°F. Place the chicken breast in a baking dish, coat with olive oil, sea salt, paprika,
cumin and coriander. Bake for 12 minutes or until fully cooked (check with a fork). Remove from the oven and let
it cool on a cutting board, once the chicken is slightly cooled, cut into thin pieces. Meanwhile, heat a large saute
pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and gently cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring
continuously. Add the mango and cook until warmed through. Add in the sliced chicken breast, gently toss then
add in the spinach and lemon juice. Cover the pan and allow the spinach to steam. Sprinkle in a touch of sea salt
and serve immediately

photo 3Shepherd’s Pie With Lamb
This has fed us for one dinner and sort of 2 lunches.  We ate small amounts at like 11 and then at about 2 today. It’s crazy good!  I’ve never had lamb before and never really wanted to, but it’s the only red meat we can eat.  I’m trying to be adventurous and stick to this plan, so I ate it.  And it wasn’t bad!  I even ate the mushrooms in it too!  My only suggestion would be to use much less garlic for the mashed cauliflower top.  It doesn’t really get the chance to cook so it’s very overpowering.

Top layer:
1 medium head of cauliflower
1-2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
¼ cup unsweetened, plain almond, rice or coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
optional, but tasty: chives or other fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Chop cauliflower into florets. Steam until tender. Put in blender or food
processor with garlic, coconut oil. Puree until smooth. Slowly add milk until proper consistency – smooth, but still
thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Meat filling:
1 pound ground lamb
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion, chopped
6 ounces baby bella or cremini mushrooms, sliced (we used baby bellas)
1 large carrot chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon coconut flour or almond flour
¾ cup chicken, vegetable or mushroom stock
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
dash of balsamic vinegar

Heat oil on medium in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add carrots, garlic,
mushrooms and celery. Saute until they start to soften. Add lamb and saute for 5-10 minutes or until the meat
starts to brown. Stir in the coconut or almond flour. Add broth and herbs and reduce the heat to low and simmer,
stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until liquid reduces and sauce starts to thicken. Stir in tamari and
balsamic vinegar at the end. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put meat and vegetable mixture in a casserole dish.
Spread the mashed cauliflower over the top. Bake for 35 minutes.

photo 1Green Juice
This recipe comes for the actual CLEAN book.  It was our first time making juice and the first time using our new juicer.  It was really good, however, it was pretty tart because there’s a lot of lemon.  I would suggest using at the most half a lemon, if that.  It says in the book that you can put all the ingredients in a blender and then just strain all the fruit chunks.  We opted for the more expensive route… buying a juicer.  It’s really cool and quick.  It’s a little pain to clean up, but it’s worth it.  I am very excited to use it more!  This recipe serves1.

2 green apples
1/2″ piece of ginger
1 cup of spinach leaves
1 lemon, peeled

Just put it all through a juicer and drink!

Sooo… again… all these recipes except for the juice came from the website.  It’s definitely worth checking out.  Even if you don’t want to do the full pre-cleanse/cleanse you can at least make some of these recipes!  I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted with our progress!


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!


Brad’s birthday was… oh … well … 2 weeks ago, but that’s ok.  I was debating how I was going to post these recipes and decided that I would do both of them in one post for ease (for me, not for you).  Yep.  I’m officially lazy.  Not sure where this has come from, but it’s true.  I have found myself watching more useless television and sleeping at odd hours of the day for longer than a normal person should nap.  Yep.  Lazy.  But it’s ok.  I’ve come to terms with it and have decided I should probably make some sort of changes regarding this laziness.  Maybe this week will be the week I change.  Maybe…  Actually, I’m really not that lazy. I’m just tired all the time because I wake up in the middle of the night to go stand and work for 8 hours.  I still manage to get my lists of things done, I just sleep in between all of those things on my lists.

   

Whatever.  I’m not sure why I even told you all of that.  It was useless information.  Moving on…

OK.  So Brad’s birthday was 2 weeks ago and it was really fun.  I brought him a specially decorated cupcake (I’m not the best at writing in icing) and we went to a concert that night and I made dinner and dessert for him the following night.  When I asked what he wanted for dinner he gave no response.  We had our family over that weekend and fried a turkey and had a whole bunch of sides and appetizers and desserts and beer…. lots of food.  And so he considered that his birthday dinner, however, I was still determined to make him something. So when he gave me no suggestions, I went to the internet and tried to find something a little different.  So stir fry it was!  We haven’t had stir fry in probably a month!  And as for dessert, I wanted something different than cake.  I had brought him home a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream and I made chocolate whoopie pies with brown sugar Italian buttercream for the party, so I didn’t want anymore chocolate cake (that’s his favorite).  I found my answer pretty quickly while wasting time on Pinterest… carmel apple crisp.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Not just apple crisp, CARMEL apple crisp.

Let me start with the stir fry.  This is a beef with bok choy and carrot stir fry.  And it’s awesome.  It’s probably one of my most favorite stir fry recipes that I have made.  The sauce is a perfect combination of a little sweet and salty.  It actually has peanut butter in it, which I was hesitant, but it was barely noticeable.  I loved the combination of carrots and bok choy as well.  I just love bok choy.  If you don’t, you could sub a different leafy green, but I would highly suggest sticking with the bok choy.  Now, the butcher shop in our area didn’t have skirt steak, as the recipe calls for, so I got a flat iron steak.  That worked out really well, it’s so nice and tender!  If you can’t find either of those, flank steak would work just fine.  Let me just tell you, this recipe has definite potential to become our new go-to stir fry recipe!!



As for dessert… Holy cow it was good and holy cow it was easy!  I had found a few different recipes for carmel apple crisp on Pinterest (I had no idea carmel apple crisp was so popular!) so I ended up combining recipes to make, what I felt, would be the best.  Some recipes called for caramel sauce that goes on ice cream, but I don’t feel like that is REAL caramel.  So instead, I used the little caramel cubes that you buy by the bag (which is clearly the real stuff).  I cut them up smaller so they would melt a little more evenly.  And melt evenly they did!  While I got a little excited about the caramels and added a little bit too many, it still turned out delicious.  It could have used another apple with all that caramel, but it’s ok (don’t worry, I took this into account when writing the recipe below).  Bradley thoroughly enjoyed the extra caramel with his vanilla ice cream.

All in all it was a great birthday for him.  We didn’t have a Birthday Extravaganza this year (see this link, this link, and this link for last year’s Birthday Extravaganza), but we had two great days together.  I tried to be a little more low key than normal.  Usually, I go crazy and have all this stuff planned and I jam pack a whole weekend with too many things.  This year, we went simple.  A concert and really good food.  We are both excited for what this next year has in store!

Now go make this stir fry and carmel apple crisp.  It’s just really important that you do it.

Steak, Bok Choy and Carrot Stir Fry
Adapted from Martha Stewart 
Makes about 4 servings

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut butter (We always have this on hand and it worked perfectly in this dish)
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound of skirt steak, flat iron steak or flank steak cut about 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2-3 heads of baby bok choy (I felt this worked better than the large heads the original recipe called for)
4 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced at an angle
Rice for serving
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped (we skipped this but I wanted you to know that this is an option)

In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, honey and garlic together.

In a bowl (or on the cutting board like I did because I didn’t want to have to wash another bowl) mix the steak with the cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.  In a nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil.  Add 1/2 of the steak and cook, tossing, until brown, only a couple minutes.  You don’t want to overcook this!!  Remove from skillet and cook the rest of the steak, remove and set aside.

Add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet.  Toss in the bok choy and carrots.  Cook, tossing occasionally until veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.  Return the steak to the skillet and toss.  Cook for a couple minutes until the steak is heated through.  Serve over immediately over the hot, cooked rice!

 

Carmel Apple Crisp
Adapted from like 5 different Pinterest links (here’s the only one I can remember I used)
Makes about 2-4 servings depending on how hungry you are!

2 apples of your choice, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
8-12 caramel cubes cut in thirds
4 tablespoons flour
6-8 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small chunks
8 tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray the bottom and sides of either a loaf pan or 4 ramekins with cooking spray.  Place apples in bottom of dish(es).  Sprinkle the caramels over the apples.

In a small bowl mix remaining dry ingredients together.  Cut in the butter with your fingertips until mixture is the texture of coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle over the top of the caramels and apples.

Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the apples feel tender when poked with a knife.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately with ice cream!


Holy balls.  I’ve been wanting to write about this dish for a little less than a week now and I am so happy to say that I finally have a minute to sit down and write about it!

I’m actually off of work today because Brad and I went to Cincinnati yesterday to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Cincinnati Reds!!  Pittsburgh is one of our favorite teams because players from our minor league team here in Indy go straight to the Pirates!  So a lot of the players were saw yesterday, we have seen throughout the past few years.  We had a great time in Cinci.  We’ve gone before but never into the city like we did yesterday.  We left about an hour after I got home from work and drove the two hours (well, I slept part of the way) down there.  We made our first stop at Arnold’s which is Cinci’s oldest restaurant, it opened in 1861.   We had a couple beers there then made our way to Moerlein Lager House which is literally across the street from the Reds’ stadium.  Here we drank some beer and were blown away by some amazing food.  Calamari tossed in a red chili aioli and then we split half a bbq chicken with green beans and some of the best smoked cheddar mashed potatoes I have ever tasted.  We couldn’t even believe how good the food was.  Eventually, after stuffing ourselves with food and beer, we made it to the game.  We got an autograph from one of the Pirates’ players, had amazing seats and played with 8 week old basset hounds more than I should have been allowed.  It was Bark In The Park last night, which means if you bought the special tickets, you got to bring your dog.  Unfortunately, the tickets were sold out by the time we got ours, so we couldn’t bring our pups (and it freaking killed me) but I suppose I got enough dog love from those damn puppies.  The game ended up going into extra innings (they played a total of 14 I believe) however, we left after the top of the 10th inning.  Having to drive 2 hours home put a damper on the end of our night because, well, sometimes you just don’t want to go!  But all in all it was an amazing day that I am suuuuper glad we got to do!

And so now it’s Tuesday!  Luckily, I was smart and took today off of work because we didn’t get home until about 1:15 this morning and I’m pretty sure I would be a useless baker if I got less than 2 hours of sleep.  Wise decision on my part!  So here I am, enjoying some extra free time and writing about this delicious dish… I promise, I will actually write about it!

I happened to find this recipe while browsing through Eat, Live, Run’s website.  I happened to see it and thought it looked worth checking out.  While it’s something right up our alley and is something we have definitely had before, it’s also something like we have never had before.  I have never made a dish, especially a Mexican style dish, using cauliflower and sweet potatoes.  I was genuinely concerned that this was not going to turn out.  I was thinking in the back of my mind, while cooking, some places we would be able to eat at if it didn’t turn out.  I wanted to be prepared with a backup plan.

Luckily, and shockingly, I didn’t need a backup plan!  Because this dish is in-cred-i-ble.  When you make this, because you will make this, it will completely blow your mind.  Along with the sweet potato and cauliflower, there are green peppers, red peppers, poblano peppers, corn and onion that really fool you.  You honestly don’t even realize you’re eating such healthy food because it is that good.  You also layer the veggies with spinach!  I mean, let’s face it, this is a power meal!  I think a lot of the greatness comes from the salsa and cheese layered in there as well.  A little salsa and cheese can go a looooong way!

Anyway, I supposed this is long enough.  Trust me when I tell you, you really need to make this dish.  It’s the perfect way to trick yourself, or others, into eat a lot of healthy veggies.  I think even if you went heavy on the cheese it’d still be healthy.  But don’t add too much or you’ll lose the flavors of everything!

Ok… I’m going to go now.  I just accidentally started the MasterChef season finale and so now I have to watch the whole thing without stopping and I just can’t be distracted!!

Layered Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas
Adapted from Eat, Live, Run
Makes 6-8 servings

1 poblano pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4-1/2 head of cauliflower, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups of your favorite salsa
2 huge handfuls of fresh spinach, rinsed and stems removed
4-6 flour tortillas (or whole wheat) torn into large pieces
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Toss the chopped poblano, green pepper, red pepper, onion, sweet potato and cauliflower with olive oil and cumin, garlic powder and salt and pepper.  Roast for 40 minutes until veggies are tender and being to brown.  Toss your veggies every 10 minutes.  Remove pan and reduce heat 350.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, combine the salsa and cilantro.  Spread 1/4 of that mixture on the bottom of the pan.  Cover with one layer of the torn tortillas.  Top with 1/3 of the roasted vegetables and then a handful of the fresh spinach.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on top of that.  Cover with another layer of tortillas, then spoon over some salsa, then top with roasted veggies and lastly, the cheese.  Repeat this one more time until all the ingredients are used up and ending with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and then bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes.

You can serve this with sour cream and chopped scallions, but I don’t think it’s necessary.  It’s amazing without it!


Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love it because the (supposed) cooler weather, the fact that I get to wear jeans and long sleeves and sweaters instead of shorts and tank tops, the apple orchards, the pumpkin picking, the fact that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not too far and of course… the food.

**Side Note: Last week, Brad and I packed up the pups and headed to the Upper Peninsula/northernest tip of Wisconsin with my family for our annual vacation.  This was our 24th year up there and it was amazing.  It was jam packed with sleeping in a small bed, waking up just as the sun was coming out to go fishing, eating big breakfasts, going fishing again, eating a bunch of food at lunchtime, then fishing again, being hot, then eating a big dinner and then more fishing after that.  And then there were trips to town for a twist cone… or two and burgers and curly fries.  There was a walk or two with the dogs in there, a decent amount of beer, some margaritas, and an attempt to check out a for real haunted house, that failed.  We took the dogs on the boat with us where we found out that a boat apparently puts Cash straight to sleep while Etta helped us fish.  We caught big fish, we caught small fish, but from the looks of the beginning of the week, we were just happy to catch any fish.  Brad got to filet some fish for the first time, which was very exciting and we were able to have a fish fry (eh hem, appetizer) on Friday night!

 The view from our cabin

It was an amazing week away from television, computers and phones that was long overdue.  It was a refreshing to escape from the daily grind (although let’s face it, life isn’t that hard here) and it was the perfect change of scenery we were in need for.  If only it wasn’t 10 hours away… So if you were wondering why I haven’t posted anything in, let’s see, almost 2 weeks, that would explain why.  We arrived back on Saturday night and pretty much laid low and did laundry and ran errands on Sunday and then I started back at work on Monday.  So I really haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and write a post in awhile.

Like I said, Cash slept most of the time… in his little life jacket!

 Yea, I caught this beast.  Thank goodness Brad was there to take it off the hook and hold it for me so I could get a photo!!

 I just love this photo too much not to share!

 And of course, the family photo!!

When we arrived back from vacation, we were welcomed by some rain here in Indy, which felt like a miracle since we’ve barely had any over the past 3 months!  It sputtered on Saturday but the real rain came on Sunday and most of Monday where is pretty much rained most of those days.  But, as I said, we were totally happy about it because we now have green grass!  But a rainy Sunday is no day for grilling or any type of summery food…and so when I woke up that morning, I knew what was in store for us that day… CHILI.  

Oh chili… how I love thee.

While the temperature was not exactly in the chili making lows (it was still like 75 out) I just couldn’t keep myself from eating a perfect bowl of chili.  And luckily, Brad was in the same mood I was.

Now, I’ve made several types of chili.  Ok… maybe not several, I think I’ve made 3 or 4, but who’s counting?  I have a go-to easy chili recipe that my mom makes that’s pretty simple.  It’s browned meat and onion, packet of chili seasoning and some diced tomatoes.  Maybe a can of tomato paste too, I can’t remember.  Oh and kidney beans.  But it’s a great last minute chili to make that tastes very good.  I’ve also made a more time consuming pot of chili that comes from Paula Deen’s son that is more involved but has more veggies in it.  It takes awhile to simmer, so it’s more of a chili that you plan on making and set aside a few hours to make.


This pot of chili is a bit of a combination of the two… and it’s vegan (and I didn’t even realize it until Sunday)!  It’s got the veggies of the more complex chili, but the seasoning and tomatoes of the easy chili and beans from both, and some extras that I add on my own.  It’s relatively simple, just a little time consuming because you have to cut up a decent amount of veggies, but I like it because you can either eat it right away or you can simmer it on the stove for an hour or two while your husband takes a nap on the couch and you watch Masterchef on Hulu in the library. Just sayin.

This chili has a great amount of spice and can easily be great with meat but it’s just as good without.  You can add extra veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes or maybe corn, but I was too scared to change it on Sunday so I went with what I knew was good.  You can also add or take away spice, make it soupy or thick and you can take away or add beans.  All around, it’s a very versatile chili that I think can please most anyone!

Oh and you can make it not vegan by adding cheese on top and crackers!  Which, let’s face it, is the way to eat it.

Homemade Chili
Makes about 6 servings I think

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 packets of chili seasonings (I only had one but definitely had to add more seasonings)
1- 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes (I like my tomatoes very small in my chili, you can also use regular diced or whole)
1- 8oz can of tomato sauce
1/2- 1 1/2 cups of water depending on how thick/thin you like your chili
Cheese and crackers for serving, optional

Heat the oil in a large soup pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the celery, green pepper, jalapenos and onion.  Saute until veggies start to get soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for another minute.  Pour in all three beans and stir.  Sprinkle in the chili seasoning (I’d suggest one packet first and then sprinkle in the other packet once all the ingredients have been added and you have tasted the chili).  Stir to combine.  Next, pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir and add as much water as you would like to get the right thickness.  Let this simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Check your seasonings and add the rest of the chili seasoning, salt and pepper.  Simmer for at least another 5 minutes.  You can serve the chili at this point, or you can simmer on a low heat for another hour or so.  Serve with cheese and crackers if you want!

Oh… this is Cash not wanting to go out in the rain.


Oh god.  Stop what you are doing, NOW.  You need to read this, then go to the grocery store and then immediately go home and make these freaking things because they are THAT good.  Yes, just trust me.

I have made enchiladas many times before and I might even go as far as saying that they could be one of my specialties because every time I make them, they are all I want to eat for.ever.  I have always made them with chicken, though and since it had been awhile since I had made them and I decided I wanted to do something different this time.  Plus, we needed a meatless meal for the week and, let’s face it, Mexican food is the easiest to make meatless.  When in doubt, sub beans for meat!

Anyway, so I basically used the same recipe that I have used before for my chicken enchiladas, only instead of the chicken I used black beans and pinto beans.  To be honest, you don’t even notice that there is no chicken.  They are still equally filling and filled with equally amazing deliciousness.

These are pretty easy to make, but they do take a little bit of time to chop, saute, assemble and bake, sooo… fair warning.  It can all be done in about an hour, but you need to be pretty focused and… let’s face it… a seasoned professional like me.  No, it’s really not anything complicated, there are just some things you need to do.

Anyway, so I would make this right away if I were you.  It’s cheesy, beany, spicy, corny, Mexicany, vegetabley, and just all around wonderful.  It’s even great on a hot day!  Which seems crazy to turn the oven on, on a hot day, but this dish is so worth heating up the house a few extra degrees!  The best part is that it makes a TON so you’ll have plenty for 2 dinners and at least one lunch, maybe even 2 lunches since they are so filling!  I just love these enchiladas.  You’ll leave the table feeling so great after eating them!

Now go make them!!

Two Bean and Corn Enchiladas
Makes 10 enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 jalapenos, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2-2 cups frozen corn
1 can Rotel Original
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans enchilada sauce of your choice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
10 whole wheat tortillas
Shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese (we used about 1/2 an 8oz block of each)

Start off with sauteing the peppers in the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until the peppers start to soften.  Add the red onion and corn and saute for another few minutes.  Toss in the garlic and saute for just a minute.  Then add the beans and Rotel and stir to combine everything.  Add the seasonings and just 1/2 of one can of the enchilada sauce.  Don’t use anymore than that because you’ll need it for other stuff!  Ok, so mix that all together and cook for a few minutes until everything is hot.  I like to add a handful of cheese to the filling just for a little something extra.  If you choose to do this as well (which I highly recommend, go ahead and do that at this point.  It won’t take long to melt)

Time for assembly!!  Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Pour the rest of the 1/2 can of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan and spread out.  Heat up your tortillas in the microwave for about 20 seconds until the tortillas are soft and pliable.  Spoon about 1/2 cup of filling in the middle of the tortilla.  I’m not exactly sure on this measurement, as I just use a large cooking spoon, but I think about 1/2 cup is close.  Fold one side of the tortilla over the filling and then fold the other side over.  Place folded side down in the pan.  Repeat with all remaining 9 tortillas.  I have found that sometimes I make less than 10 and sometimes I make more than 10.  It just depends on how much filling you use!  Once all your enchiladas are in the pan, pour the other whole can of enchilada sauce over all of them.  Then top with the shredded cheese.

Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.  It doesn’t have to be in there long because you already cooked everything else.  You just need it in there long enough for the cheese to get gooey and melty.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for a couple minutes, as it’s hard to dish up straight out of the oven.  So, let it sit for about 5 minutes and then serve!!



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