Here's My Answer

Tag Archives: Green Peppers

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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
2 jalapenos
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!!!

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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!!


I’m tired.  Like, it’s not even 8 and I am ready to go to bed.  However, because I love everyone so much and, well, mostly because I love this pizza so much, I am staying up to write this post.  So if I start rambling and then switch to something else completely unrelated (which I actually do more often than not), don’t panic.  It’s because I’m lost in my many thoughts and probably half sleeping and dreaming.          

Anyway… the story behind this pizza is the following:  A couple Friday’s ago, we went the First Friday Food Truck Festival downtown Indy.  We hadn’t been before, but I heard great things about it and the cupcake truck from the bakery I work at was going to be there.  Plus, I got free admission passes, so it was pretty much a done deal that we were going.  I was craving pizza that night and was planning on getting a certain slice of New York style pizza, however, the truck wasn’t there!  So as we walked past all of the 20 some food trucks, I saw a grilled pizza one!  And even though they only had 3 or 4 options to choose from, I was sold when I saw the “specialty pizza”.  It had everything I could have ever wanted on pizza.  And it was grilled.  Pesto, artichokes, tomato, ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach.  Rack em up!  If only I bought an entire pizza.  That would have been nice.  However, I had to save room for the nachos and bites of Brad’s tacos and his no-bake cookies and the banana pudding… yea, an entire pizza wouldn’t have made sense.

Ok, so come Sunday, I was trying to come up with dinner ideas and I knew pretty much instantly that I was going to recreate that delicious slice of pizza.  It actually almost didn’t happen though.  I had forgotten that I had to make both pizza dough and pesto.  How I forgot that, I do not know, but I started all of this a little late, but that’s ok.  As long as I was going to get to eat my pizza, I was going to survive.          

Now, let me tell you… this pizza is just incredible.  It’s so delicious and so different.  It has so much going on that you might think there’s too much, but somehow it all works so well together that you don’t even realize there are 6 toppings.  For me, the pesto is what brings the whole thing together.  I like pesto, but I don’t entirely love pesto.  So I tried to go a little light on it.  I accidentally added a little too much basil when I made the pesto and I forgot to add garlic (I guess I was really struggling that day), but overall, it did what it was supposed to do and when it was on the pizza, I couldn’t really tell that I messed it up.

This pizza is perfect for the summer.  You could grill it outside on your grill, or just bake it in the oven on a pizza stone (our choice, we never have good luck cooking directly on the grill).  It’s great for all those extra tomatoes you have growing in your garden that you can’t use for salsa anymore because you already have 3 containers of it.  You can use store bought pesto and it will work perfectly.  I made mine because my mom had given me a ton of basil from her garden and she gave me some pine nuts too.  I skipped the ricotta cheese when I made my pizza only because last time I tried putting ricotta pizza, it didn’t work very well.  I think that’s just one of those things that only works when other people do it… for me anyway.  This is a really fresh pizza and it’s even fresher if you use… well… fresh veggies.  I’m not sure what else to say, I feel like all I’m doing is telling you how awesome this pizza is but really, you just have to make it to fully understand.

Ok… it’s bedtime now!

GARDEN VEGGIE PIZZA
Idea taken from Bryne’s Grilled Pizza Food Truck in Indy!

For the Pizza Dough: (word for word from Eat, Live, Run)
Makes 2 pizzas
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 package of yeast (1/4th ounce)
2 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.

Stir in the salt and flour and mix on medium high speed on your KitchenAid for 5 minutes. While the mixer is going, drizzle in the olive oil.

When the dough is soft and elastic, take out of the bowl, rub with olive oil and then place back in the bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for one hour.

After the dough has doubled in size, cut in half to make two large pizza doughs or make mini doughs. You could also do what I like to do and freeze the dough in a plastic baggie for another time! When you are ready for your pizza, roll out the dough, cover with your toppings and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

For the Pesto: (again, word for word from Eat, Live, Run I actually didn’t use a recipe I just threw a bunch of stuff in the food processor, but I think this looks like one of the better recipes I researched)
3 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves

Combine the basil, garlic and two tablespoons of the oil in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend on high until everything is smooth and combined. Then, with the blender on low speed, slowly stream in the remaining oil, along with the lemon juice and the cheese. Taste and then season with the salt and pepper.

To Make the Actual Pizza:
Makes 1 pizza

1/2 of the pizza dough recipe above
2-3 tablespoons of pesto, either homemade or store bought
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Handful of spinach leaves, stems removed and rinsed
1/2 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 red pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes
1/2 green pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes (I thought there were peppers on the original pizza, but their menu doesn’t mention it.  I thought they were good on the pizza)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 Fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Ok… Now that the list is complete… assemble!  Roll out your pizza dough, or mash it down with your fingertips to get a thicker crust.  Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until the crust is cooked enough to handle ( I like to do this because then the crust is crispier).  When the crust is out of the oven, spread the pesto over the whole thing and sprinkle with just a little of garlic powder.  Then top with tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, peppers, mozzarella and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Pop back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and then cheese is melted.

Warning: this can get soggy with the tomatoes being so juicy and the fresh mozzarella.  It definitely is soggy when it’s leftover.  So just be aware of that.  Other than that, it’s quite a yummy pizza!!


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!

Tortilla Soup
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
Foil

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.

Meatless Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from the combination of this recipe and this recipe (both from A Couple Cooks)
Makes 8 halves of peppers, stuffed

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!



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