MexiCali Burrito Bowl

 

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Get your burrito fix! Get it on the half shell!SAM_5105

 

No, no oysters in this burrito recipe, but it’s innovative enough to make onlooking eaters shellfish. (HIMYM reference. Had to go there.)

Some of the recipe pins on Pinterest.com are–in my humble opinion–the best development for crafty cookers since the cake pop revolution a few years back. And this recipe is much easier to make, even easier than cake pops!SAM_5095

Gather your favorite burrito fillings and let’s get started. Oh, and you needn’t set aside much time. It really doesn’t take long.

Ingredients

one delicious, whole-wheat burrito tortilla

cooking spray

DirectionsSAM_5114

Find a small broil-safe dish that you can tuck your burrito into to achieve the shape you desire, i.e. smaller dishes for a smaller burrito bowl with more folds or larger dishes for wider shell with less folds.

Prepare the dish by lightly coating with cooking spray. Preheat broilers. When broilers are ready, fold the burrito into your greased dish. Place in oven for 1-2 minutes to get the bottom crispy. Then add in your filling ingredients of choice. Broil another 2-3 minutes or until edges are crispier and browned.SAM_5116

Serve warm.

By the way, this burrito bowl could also function nicely as a crunchy taco-salad holder or a fun, visually-interesting bowl for entertaining. You could impress guests for some time with this trick.

I even wonder if this would work well as a soup bowl? Okay, you probably don’t want to try that as a freestanding bowl, but like a breadbowl from Panera, it could be  a nice tear-and-peel twist on soup service.

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Curry in a Hurry!

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If you know me, you know my dinner standby is a simple equation of sorts: pasta + veggies + protein. I like to mix up each part, and I love trying new sauces. Definitely my favorite comfort food, and heaven knows I eat a lot of it.SAM_5020

But sometimes when I’m feeling wild and crazy, I make Curry in a Hurry. It’s so simple, so healthful. Plus, it’s fast!

Yes, a good curry can be made fast and made for one. Here’s how.

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry brown riceSAM_5014

4 oz. of cooked protein of choice (chicken, mahi mahi, etc.)

1 cup veggies of choice (onions, scallions, carrots, edamame, broccoli, and red pepper slices are a few of my favorites)

1-2 T broth (for a runnier curry)

1-2 T Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce

1/2 t curry powder

garlicSAM_5006

cooking oil

optional: dash of cayenne or ground ginger for good health

Directions

To cook your rice fast, prepare in rice cooker as directed. Or do as I do and combine 1/2 cup rice and 1 and 3 T water in microwave-safe bowl and zap for about 7 minutes or until all water is absorbed.

While your rice is cooking, heat garlic in a lightly oil pan. Add in veggies. Sautee as you add in the curry powder, then the broth and optional seasonings if you’d like those.SAM_5021

At this point, if you’d like your protein mixed in, then do that now. I often just eat mine over the top, on a bed-of-rice sort of deal.

When the rice is finished, blend it in to heat up with the veggies. After a minute or so, mix the secret weapon, Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce, in. Blend well; add more if you like.

Serve warm. And if you’re in a hurry, at least take a minute to enjoy this incorrigibly good, Indian-inspired dish.

Veggie-Bean Tacos

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Last Wednesday I wrote all about the high-fiber study I was participating in, and about how I was Tex-Mexing with tofu for lack of meat in my diet (as required by the study). Well, the study is over, but these little veggie-bean tacos aren’t, not for me.SAM_5050

Why do I love them? First of all, I almost never eat beans, which is a shame considering all their health benefits. More so than that, I love this recipe because anytime I want a protein-packed, filling meal, it doesn’t require thawing. Defrosting meat is something I hate. It’s disgusting. It’s uneven if you use the microwave, and because I usually prepare whatever I feel like eating when I feel like eating it, I rarely plan ahead.

But beans are ready when you are. Simple and wonderful.

This recipe is very similar to the Southwestern Tofu Scramble because I sautee my beans with my veggies and smash them up a little bit. You don’t have to, but I like them to be infused with similar flavor.

Ingredients

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1/4 cup black beans, rinsed

1 jalapeno

1/2 Roma tomato, chopped

garlic and minced onion, to taste

dash of cumin and chili powder

optional: tortillas, kale, cheese, twist of lime

Directions

-Warm a skillet to medium heat. Spray with cooking oil and begin adding in garlic, onion, tomato, and jalapeno. Sautee for a few minutes.

-Add in beans and then the seasonings into the veggies. Continue to cook until beans and veggies are heated through fully. Again, I smash my beans down a tad, but that’s personal preference. If you want to keep the texture of your mix diversified, don’t press down on them.

-Serve warm with warm tortillas, which I like to toast for a minute or so in the broiler (and it crisps the edges of the veggie-bean mix quite well).

I add kale and spritz a little lime juice over the top. Not too much though or else the tortillas become soggy. And my salsa rice makes an excellent side.

 

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup

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If you know me, you know Happy Fit Mama is one of my favorite bloggers. A successful young mom running her way to happiness and writing about it. What’s not to love.SAM_5001
Oh, and on Wednesdays, she shares her healthy little recipes. Oftentimes, they sound delicious, but I never get around to trying them.
But you know how much I love soup, especially soup I can freeze in mason jars and grab any time I need a quick lunch to take to work.
So I tried her Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup one Saturday sometime back. It was delicious. The recipe, which serves about six, follows…SAM_4991
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Red, Yellow Or Orange Pepper (or combination), diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 14.5 Oz Vegetable Broth
  • 15 Oz Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn
  • SAM_49971/2 Cup Zucchini, diced (optional)
  • Additional optional toppings: avocado, shredded cheese, plain greek yogurt, cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add red onion and pepper. Cook till softened.
  3. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn and zucchini (if using).
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with toppings, such as diced avocado, shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream and cilantro.

Easy Fried Rice

Ever since I eliminated preservatives from my diet, I’ve been missing an old, favorite. Many a Friday night, homemade fried rice was my go-to comfort food. The problem is that the seasoning packets I used to use were chalked full of preservatives–more than I care to think about, even now.

But a few weeks ago, I noticed a new post on Iowa Girl Eats’ Facebook page, called “Take Out, Fake Out: Easy Chicken Fried Rice.”

I investigated, and most of the ingredients were pretty acceptable by my standards.

Naturally, I’ve adjusted a bit and figured out how to create one healthful, heaping serving for one.

Did it taste the same though? Actually, yes! I was shocked at how good fried rice could taste, sans all the salt and preservatives.

The final verdict: I see more fried rice in my Friday night future (probably very soon).

Ingredients

2-3 oz. chicken tenders, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup cooked rice

1/4 cup frozen vegtables (I used carrots, peas, radishes)

optional: a small handful of sliced cabbage

1/2 t crushed garlic

dash of onion salt

1-2 t ginger (depending on how much you like)

1 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 egg

Directions

-In a small or medium skillet, cook chicken pieces in crushed garlic, salt, and part of ginger.

-Once the grease from the chicken begins to collect in the skillet, add in vegetables, cooking for another 3-5 minutes. But if you’re going to add cabbage, save for the end.

-When chicken and vegetables are almost cooked, push to sides, making a hole in the center of the skillet. Crack egg and let fry for a few minutes in the middle.

-Once egg is almost cooked, add in rice. Mix in remaining ginger and soy sauce. Turn until rice is sticky and well-coated in chicken-vegetable mixture.

Salsa Rice

I found this really neat site on Pinterest: My Fridge Food. The site lets you select what’s currently in your fridge, and then it uses your selections to find quick & easy recipes featuring the ingredients you have available to you.

When I punched in my fridge foods, one of the recipes that came up was Salsa Rice.

Salsa what?

I have lots of salsa on hand always, so I was intrigued. What would a salsa rice taste like? Would it be good?

I doctored up this recipe a bit, adding in some spices and seasoned tomatoes, but I think you could easily follow the original recipe (1 cup rice cooked, 1/2 cup salsa) and have a tasty meal in a pinch.

It almost seems like the perfect bachelor recipe–like a Spanish rice my dad could whip up in just a few minutes.

Note: Pick a salsa with all-natural ingredients. On The Border makes a good, all-natural salsa. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods also have some great options.

Here’s the recipe I created:

Ingredients

-1 cup rice, cooked

-1/4 cup

-1 small tomato, sliced and sauteed in cumin and onion salt

-1 t hot sauce

-1 t chili powder

-red pepper flakes to taste

Directions

-Prepare rice.

-Meanwhile, grease a small saucepan with cooking spray. Add in sliced tomatoes and sautee with seasonings for about 5 minutes. Simmer ’til rice is ready.

-When the rice is finished cooking, mix into saucepan. Then mix in salsa, and then hot sauce, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Mix well & serve warm.

CrockPot Sesame Chicken

sesame chicken

Nothing was sweeter than the look on my dad’s face.SAM_4521

“You made this in that CrockPot? This is good.

He was so surprised. And that was the point.

I’ve written about this before, but one of my favorite things about cooking is cooking for my loved ones, especially my dad. The man is a laborer, been one his whole life. He works hard, and unfortunately, most of his suppers aren’t up to caliber in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t judge him for living off venison tacos and Little Ceasar’s $5 Hot-and-Ready pizzas (he is, after all, a bachelor and loving it), but I think he deserves something better. Something more satisfying. Something healthful.SAM_4513

So I made him this recipe, CrockPot Honey Sesame Chicken from The Comfort of Cooking. My dad doesn’t like anything very sweet though, so I scaled that back quite a bit and modified it for two very big servings.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1.33 pounds)

Salt and pepper SAM_4515

1/3 cup diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 packets stevia

1/4 cup ketchup

3 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 T olive oil

1 dash of red pepper flakes

1 T cornstarchSAM_4518

2 cups brown rice, optional

1-2 cups fresh cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower) or carrots

1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds

3 scallions or celery, chopped

Directions

-Begin by heating CrockPot to low. Slice chicken into smaller pieces, almost shredding (but into larger chunks). Season lightly with pepper and salt and let the cooking begin in the CrockPot.

-Meanwhile sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft and golden brown. Transfer to a medium bowl.

-In the medium bowl, start mixing in the stevia, soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Drizzle over chicken.

-Cook the chicken on high for about 1.5 hours or on low for 3 to 4. You can add a tablespoon or so of water if the chicken begins to dry out. Stir occasionally.

-Once cooked through and well-marinated, the chicken is ready to be served in pieces or can be shredded. I served mine over brown rice and veggies, which I cooked separately to keep the flavors from merging together too much. But you could add in the rice and veggies an hour or so in (plus 1/3 cup water to cook the rice).

-When finished, season with sesame seeds and top with scallions (for flavor) or celery (for crunch).

Serve warm over a bed of rice, and if you like you can sprinkle a little ginger on top because it’s oh so good for you, too!