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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!

Welllll…. we managed to eat like vegans for 4 meals.  Uuhhhh….

Allow me to explain.  We ate like vegans actually for 5 days because I made 2 hearty soups that fed us fantastic leftovers.  We started on Monday and went all the way through Friday, sort of.  I made a total of 4 vegan recipes (one was for lunch and too easy to write a whole post about so I’ll just have to tell you about it), but here’s what happened.  The NASCAR race was in town and there was so much going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday that by Saturday I caved.  I’m not proud of it.  But sometimes when you’ve been drinking beer for a good part of the day and you already came up with some great vegan recipes, it’s hard to come up with more.  So basically, I just got lazy.  There…. I said it.  I’ve decided today that I will not beat myself up over it.  4 meals was pretty good and it’s not my fault that it was race weekend.  Plus, I had too high of expectations to be able to quit all dairy and meat cold turkey.

Instead, I think our goal for right now will be to eat a few vegan meals a week, a few vegetarian meals a week and just try to skip red meat, chicken and fish as much as possible.  I’ll report back with, hopefully, better news next week.  But for the time being I will share my handful of awesome vegan recipes!

This was Vegan Meal #2!  And to my surprise, it was pretty good!  Good enough that I will make it again.  This is another recipe that I found on Whole Foods’ website.  As I said in the last post, I was stunned by how many fantastic recipes they have on their website.  My favorite thing about all their recipes is that they are so different!  There’s a huge variety and that is absolutely what we need if we are going to embark on this journey… again.

As I said, this is an awesome vegan dish.  It’s really simple to make and also pretty quick, you just have to chop up a few veggies and cook the soba noodles which take a whopping 4 minutes to cook.  The peanut butter was definitely a different taste for me since we have never eaten anything savory with peanut butter.  But, I think that having the tahini and tamari helped balance out that out.  The snow peas were my favorite part of this dish too.  I got some of the best snow peas ever from Whole Foods last week.  I couldn’t stop eating them.  On a side note- this does make a LOT.  And sadly, it does not keep well, at all.  The noodles really soak up the sauce, but not in a good way.  You lose a lot of flavor.  So if you are making this for just 2 people, half this recipe.  Otherwise, if you are making this for a family of 4, you’ll be good with the recipe as is.  I just wanted to warn you.  However, if you eat this all right after you make it, yum.  It’s really great!

Taken straight from Whole Foods’ website (with only a couple minor changes)
Serves 4

1- 8oz package of soba noodles
2 cups of snow peas
2 tablespoons of roasted, unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter, or almond butter (this is VERY important.  Do not sub any other type of peanut butter!!!)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce.  You could use regular soy sauce here)
1 tablespoon tahini
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 scallions, sliced
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Cook soba noodles according to package.  You can add the snow peas about one minute before the noodles are done, but I put mine in fresh.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, tamari, tahini and red pepper flakes.  Add a splash of warm water to thin the sauce if desired.  Add the noodles, snow peans, carrots, red pepper, scallions and sesame seeds.  Toss to coat everything with the sauce.  Serve at room temp or chilled (it’s best at room temp)!

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