Appetizer Idea: Southwestern Egg Rolls

photo (40)

Another egg roll wrapper recipe comin’ atcha!photo (42)

Why? Because I had a bajillion of them and a hankering for some crispy appetizers! Yes, the egg-roll-wrapper saga is not over. And I question whether or not its crispy goodness should.

Since I’m headed to Texas, I thought I’d try a Tex-Mex recipe, for festivity’s sake.

And like anything I do, this recipe is simple, easy, and fast. Planned for the live-alone girl (or guy) in mind, and made to pack a flavorful pop the “Everything’s Bigger” state can love.

Ingredients

2 egg roll wrappers, sliced in halves

1/4 cup black beans (or pinto)

1/4 cup fresh corn kernelsphoto (41)

1/2 small Roma tomato or 3-4 grape tomatoes

1 T chopped onion

dash of minced garlic

dash of: cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro

twist of lime

optional: Chipotle Ranch dressing

Directionsphoto (39)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a small skillet, combine beans, corn, tomato, onion, garlic, spices, and lime. Saute until veggies appear fully sauteed and seasoned.

Transfer veggies to your four eggroll strips. Parcel out less than you think to each. Divide evenly, but “eyeball,” as my mother would say, to see if you might add a bit more. Before you start to roll, be careful to overlap to create a longer roll and make sure the ends connect up so none of the filling comes out. This is also why you have to underestimate how much veggie filling is needed because more often than not, you’ve added more than can fit.

Bake until crispy and the wraps start to flake up with air bubbles. Serve hot in cool dipping sauce if you like. Que bueno!

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Cilantro Sweet Corn Side Dish

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One of my favorite nutritionist bloggers, Snack Girl, was bragging one July morning on her Easiest Corn Salad. It did look easy and tasty. Of course I had to try it.CC Pics 029

But with my own twist of course. Snack Girl’s was more of a salad, whereas mine is more correctly identified as a corn side with a little cilantro sass.

I’ve changed some of the ingredients to make a side that has a hint of sweet alongside herby cilantro and zesty lime. I quite like the outcome.

Per usual, this recipe makes on serving, but you can make more. See Snack Girl’s post for resizing or comment below if you need help adjusting.

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh sweet corn kernels

twist of lime

pinch of steviaCC Pics 027

1 T diced tomato-onion mix

dash of freshly chopped cilantro

dash of paprika

Directions

Simply combine the corn and veggies. Squeeze lime over the top. Sprinkle on the stevia and add in the cilantro.

Toss. Toss. Toss.

Top with paprika and more cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Satisfying Salads: Zesty Southwestern Black Bean

image

Salads are not for rabbits or desperate dieters. If done right, they are a healthy, filling, nutritionally-generous meal (or side) you won’t regret.

To date, I’ve features these protein- and fiber-packed recipes:

The Sesame Steak Salad

The Garden of Eden Salad

If Asian-inspired beef and veggies isn’t for you and neither is fruit-cheese-and-nut combos–or perhaps you prefer a meat-free option (?)–then try a little Zesty Southwestern Black Bean Salad.image

This is the salad I make when I’m at home and can’t pull myself away from work for long. It’s sort of the kitchen-sink recipe I go to when time is limited. Why?

Because I always have these ingredients in my fridge and pantry, can dump them on top of a bed of lettuce at the drop of the hat, and the protein and fiber in the beans and veggies assures me I won’t be aching for a more filling meal as I work through the rest of my afternoon. The zesty dressing gives it a little bite that keeps my tastebuds happy, too.

Try it!

Ingredients

2 cups Romaine lettuce

1/4 cup black beansimage

dash of cumin

dash of chili powder

dash of red pepper flakes

1 small Roma tomato and a few slices of onion sauteed

-or-

1/4 cup canned tomatoes and green chiles

1 oz. Newman’s Own Southwestern Ranch (or something comparable)

Directions

Toss all ingredients until dressing coats the salad leaves. Or if you’re like me and prefer layers in your salad instead of a mix, start with salad base, and then top with beans, sprinkle seasonings on top, veggies, and finally drizzle dressing on top.

 

Appetizer Idea: Basil-Tomato Margarita Bites

four tomato

So continues my obsession with egg roll and won ton wrappers.tres tomato aerial

If you’ll recall my post “Appetizer Idea: Bite-Sized Fajita Bowls,” I picked up a pack of  Nasoya egg-roll wrappers at HyVee. It’s been true love ever since.

Another one of the won-ton wrapper apps I see floating around on Pinterest.com features a combination of tomato and mozzarella.

For this first one, I wasn’t feeling mozzarella. I’ve been using a soy-based garlic-herb cheese a lot lately, so I crumbled that over the top instead, tossed in some basil, parm, and spice, and felt my eyes roll back in my head when I tasted the crispy-cheesy-flavorful crunch of this appetizer.

Hope you get a pow in the yum like I did. These appetizers are right up my alley. I’m sure I’ll continue to make them for myself, but I suspect they might become my new favorite stand-by for potlucks and dinner parties, too. Very easy, and very good.

Ingredientsbite tomato

1 egg roll wrapper (Get a good healthy brand like Nasoya)

1/2 Roma tomato, diced into medium chunks

red pepper flakes

1 oz. cheese of choice, mozzarella or a heartier herb one will do

dash of parmesan

1 t basil

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a mini-muffin tin. Set aside.

Take the egg roll wrapper and slice into four equal squares. Press into pan, folding sides to fit down as necessary, but not pushing too hard.

In a small pan, saute the tomatoes in a little cooking oil for a few minutes, adding in the basil, then the red pepper flakes. Evenly  distribute among the wrappers.four bore tomato

Bake for about 7 minutes or until edges of wrappers turn golden brown. Top with cheese of choice (cubed or crumbled), dash of parm, and more basil if you like. Bake another 2-3 minutes until cheese melts.

Serve right away and warm, if possible. Enjoy!

Appetizer Idea: Bite-Sized Fajita Bowls

pretty lime fajita

With this post, I begin the first of what I imagine will become a long series of appetizer ideas using my new favorite ingredient for entertaining…fjita aerial

This weekend, I picked up a package of egg-roll wrappers. And since I opened them tonight and starting playing around with them, my mind has been racing with ideas.

I often see won-ton wrappers used to make lots of creative appetizers on Pinterest.com. I finally picked up a package for my own culinary experimentation. But note, I went with egg roll wrappers instead. Why? They’re similar, but bigger. So if I want to cut them to different shapes and sizes with a knife, then I can have whatever I need, including won tons, by slicing accordingly.

Occasionally I am clever.

For this first one, I had some venison steak strips leftover, some peppers, limes, chiles, and tomatoes. The rest is history. I love these. It’s like a perfect appetizer compliment to my own meal and I can’t wait to try them out on a group.tres fajitas

Ingredients

1 egg roll wrapper (Get a good healthy brand like Nasoya)

2 oz. steak, sliced into strips

red pepper flakes

1.5 T red and green chiles

1 slice of lime

a few diced tomatoes

a few thinly-sliced peppers

dash of cumin and chili powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a mini-muffin tin. Set aside.bite fajita

Take the egg roll wrapper and slice into four equal squares. Press into pan, folding sides to fit down as necessary, but not pushing too hard.

In a small pan, sear the steak with the vegetables, cumin, and chili powder. You can use other vegetables, of course, I used common fajita ingredients I had sitting in the fridge, but you might also try corn, avocado (not seared in pan though), tomatoes, black beans, etc. Saute for a few minutes, then evenly  distribute among the wrappers. Spritz some lime juice over the top to keep the steak moist–and a little more after it comes out of the oven–but not too much or else they’ll get soggy.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges of wrappers turn golden brown. Top with chiles and a dash of red pepper flakes. Serve right away and warm!

S’ghetti Squash Bake

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I eat a lot of squash. I’m no paleo fanatic, but I can’t get over how much I love these sweet noodles. So tasty!SAM_5825

So I’ve had my eye on some spaghetti squash bakes for a while. I finally decided to try this one. A lot of them are overloaded with cheeses–which you know will make me so sick–but this one is fresh and zesty. Plus, a sprinkle of parm on top gives it a nice cheesy taste that won’t upset the lactose intolerant.

Interestingly… When I went to make these, I thought it would be cute to place them in a ramekin. (You know, to be more single-serving like.) Imagine my surprise when all the noodles could fit into 3! What does this tell me?

First, these would make adorable sides.

Second, I eat a lot of squash noodles on a regular basis. I usually eat an entire one–a small one, but an entire one no less. And maybe that’s another reason why I like them so much. You get a lot of food that will fuel your body in a healthy way. That’s pretty great.SAM_5844

And pretty tasty.

Ingredients

1 small or half of one medium spaghetti squash

1 small roma tomato or a handful of grape tomatoes

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2 T onion, chopped & to taste

1 T parmesan

chopped basil

dash of cayenne

1 T olive oil

spritz of lemon
DirectionsSAM_5848
-To “bake” the squash in the microwave, you’ll want to halve the squash and spritz with cooking spray. Microwave on high for 3 minutes facing down. Turn squashes upward and microwave another 3 minutes. You may need to microwave for another minute if you can’t take a fork to the squash and pull out a few tender noodles with ease. Scrape out all the noodles into a medium bowl and set aside.SAM_5835
-Meanwhile, prep ramekins by spraying with cooking spray and setting broilers on high.
-Meanwhile and meanwhile, you can start sautéing onions and tomatoes in a small frying pan with cayenne, to taste.
-Now once your squash is finished and your veggies sautéed, mix both together in one large bowl. Now spritz with lemon and toss in oil and basil.
-Dish out the squash mix evenly into ramekins. Top with a little Parmesan, if desired.
-Broil until desired crispiness is achieved. I waited about 4 minutes, once the Parmesan crumbs had melted down a bit.
-Serve right out of the oven, nice and warm.
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Gluten-Free Enchiladas

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The cabbage kick is more or less over, but during my fascination I snapped a few pics of all the crazy recipes I tried.SAM_5423

Okay, they’re not that crazy. But because the Standard American Diet is something that doesn’t feature many veggies, especially not as grain replacements, it seems odd.

With this recipe, I boiled cabbage leaves as tortilla wrappers and used some leftover enchilada sauce from my Enchi-lotta Pasta recipe to make a quick and satisfying lunch.

Ingredients

4-5 Cabbage leaves

3 oz. cooked taco meat (turkey is what I went with!)

¼ cup enchilada sauceSAM_5426

Olives for topping

Optional: cheese

Directions

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add in leaves and boil ‘til tender.

Meanwhile, you can be preparing your taco meat. I added in lots of mix-ins to add more bulk, so onions, sautéed tomatoes and kale. If you need a healthy taco seasoning in a pinch, try my recipe for Preservative –Free Taco Seasoning.Preservative-Free Taco Seasoning

During this time, you’ll also want to get your oven ready. You can either broil the enchiladas on high if you need it faster (as I usually do) or preheat to 400 degrees. Prepare a pan with cooking spray.

When leaves are boiled and tapped dry and taco meat prepared, spoon equal portions of meat on the end of each leaf. Tuck in the sides and roll, leaving the end of the leaf tucked under the bottom so it doesn’t come undone. Transfer to pan. Drizzle the enchilada sauce and olives over the top.

If broiling, you only need only a few minutes. If baking, you’ll want longer, probably 18-22 minutes or until the leaves become somewhat translucent and crispy.

Moroccan Lentil Soup

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“Lots of lentils means lots of filling fiber.”SAM_5357

Or so wrote the editors of Eating Well in this year’s February issue. Can’t have enough of that, right? plus all the delicious spices that come with this recipe–somewhat adapted to my personal preferences–featured along a half dozen or so other soups they featured. I wanted to try them all.

Unfortunately I don’t have that much time.

I do, however, have a lot of lentils in my cupboard. And so, Moroccan Lentil Soup was in order.

IngredientsSAM_5351

  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions and carrots
  • dash of minced garlic
  • dash of each spice: cumin, coriander, ground turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cups lentils
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh kale
  • a little chopped cilantro
  • 1 big squeeze of lemon juice

DirectionsSAM_5348

-In a medium pot (yes, a pot), heat oil; sautee first two veggies and tomatoes ’til tender with garlic. Then add in spices one at a time.

-Add in liquids, cabbage, and lentils. Boil until the lentils are almost perfectly tender. Turn down to a simmer, about 10 minutes at that heat.

-Stew in the kale a few minutes before serving, along with lemon juice and cilantro.

Pretty easy, yes? And it makes one HUGE portion. Okay, maybe more like two. But with so many healthy veggies, you should probably eat the whole thing and get those vegetable serving counts in any way. It’s good for you 😉

Spicy Salmon Rolls

If you’re like me…SAM_5383

You grew up on fried chicken and Oreos.

If you’re like me…

You’re just now discovering health food is delicious.

A recent surprise:

Cabbage.

I’ve been trying it a lot as a mix-in for soups and pastas by sauteeing it. But recently, I boiled those healthful little leaves. My eight-year-old self would have cringed at the very word of such things. My twenty-three-year-old self was more open-minded.

And then, she was pleasantly surprised.SAM_5370

A spicy tuna mix can make anything delicious, but the boiled cabbage I used as wrappers was such a nice compliment of flavors/ textures. I think I’m in love.

And I feel a little bad for my anti-cabbage younger self. Missed way too much good eating because I was way too stubborn.

Ingredients

5-6 cabbage leaves

2 packet of shredded salmon

handful of kale

chopped onions, radishes, and any other veggies you like. SAM_5384

1/2 t minced garlic

squeeze of lemon

tiniest dash of cayenne, and a heftier dash of red pepper flakes

Directions

-Peel and clean off your cabbage leaves. Boil for only a few minutes or until tender. Remove and let dry as much as possible while you…

-Set broilers to high (or bake setting to 400 degrees). Prepare broil-safe pan with cooking spray.

-Prepare salmon mix in skillet with cooking spray on the pan first. Then add in garlic, spices, and chopped veggies. When it starts to look the like the heat is drying it out. Use the lemon juice you’ve been armed with. Sautee for a few minutes; ’til warmed through completely.SAM_5372

-The wrappers are the tricky part. Let them face up and spoon some of the mixture on the fullest end. Not too much salmon, though. You’d be surprised how little it needs. You don’t want it spilling out the edges. Fold the sides in, roll, tuck the bottom of the leaf under. Repeat.

-Line up your salmon rolls. Broil or bake until they’ve turned a bit more translucent and yellowish in color. Remove and serve warm.

You can, of course, also try them cold. I’m sure they’d be just as delicious.

My lunch was delightful. How was yours?

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.