4.09.2015

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

I was nervous about serving these to my very picky kids but they sounded so yummy to me I decided to make them anyway. THEY WERE A HIT. I had to adjust the original recipe to make them more mild and use what we had on hand, but it was glorious. The 5 year old asked for seconds and is looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch today. I'll start with my recipe modifications and include the original recipe and link below. We made them restaurant style rather than casserole style. It's how my husband prefers them and it helped keep them very mild and gave the option to serve them un-"smothered" since my daughter usually has an aversion to any kind of sauce.

photo credit: budgetbytes.com
SAUCE
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp chili powder
4 cups water
6 oz. can tomato paste
t tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
t tsp garlic powder (or 2-3 cloves fresh garlic)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp salt

*to make more mild, add:
up to 1 additional can of tomato paste
about 1/2 can coconut milk
1-2 Tbl sugar
OMIT CAYENNE PEPPER

ENCHILADAS
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained a rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, finely chopped and microwaved in 30-second increments to soften
2 C. Shredded Cheese, divided
handful cilantro
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cumin, Coriander, Salt, to taste
Optional: frozen corn, diced avocado, green onion
16 small flour tortillas (fajita size)

Instructions
First prepare the enchilada sauce. In a medium sauce pot combine the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder. Heat the mixture over a medium flame until it begins to bubble. Add fresh minced garlic, if using. Whisk and cook the bubbling paste for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the water while whisking. Add the tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk until smooth and continue to heat over a medium flame. Let the sauce come up to a gentle simmer, at which point the sauce will thicken. Once thickened, turn off the heat and set the sauce aside until you’re ready to use it. This makes a lot so FREEZE THE EXTRA SAUCE :-)

Combine all enchilada filling, including about 1/2 of the cheese. Add in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and adjust seasonings to your taste.

For restaurant style enchiladas...
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip tortillas in enchilada sauce and squeeze off excess. (Or brush a layer of enchilada sauce on the parchment, then brush it on the tops after stuffing) Stuff and roll your tortillas and place them close together to fill the pan. Top with remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Serve with more enchilada sauce, sour cream and guacamole.

For casserole style enchiladas...
Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. Stuff and roll your tortillas and place them close together to fill the pan. Pour more enchilada sauce to cover the tortillas. Top with remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.

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Original Recipe (found at budgetbytes.com)
SAUCE
2 Tbsp vegetable oil 
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
2 Tbsp chili powder 
2 cups water 
3 oz. tomato paste (1/2 6 oz. can)
½ tsp cumin 
½ tsp garlic powder 
¼ tsp cayenne pepper 
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tsp salt 

ENCHILADAS
1 (15 oz.) can black beans 
1 medium avocado 
1 small tomato 
1-2 whole green onions 
½ cup frozen corn kernels
handful cilantro
¼ tsp garlic powder 
½ tsp salt 
8 small tortillas (fajita size) 

Instructions
First prepare the enchilada sauce. In a medium sauce pot combine the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder. Heat the mixture over a medium flame until it begins to bubble. Whisk and cook the bubbling paste for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the water while whisking. Add the tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk until smooth and continue to heat over a medium flame. Let the sauce come up to a gentle simmer, at which point the sauce will thicken. Once thickened, turn off the heat and set the sauce aside until you’re ready to use it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain and rinse the can of beans, then add them to a large bowl. Cube the avocado, dice the tomato, slice the green onion, and pull a handful of cilantro leaves from their stems. Add them all to the bowl, along with the frozen corn kernels. Stir everything together. Season with a little salt and garlic powder (recommended amounts above, or use fresh minced garlic).
Coat an 8×8 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Warm the tortillas briefly in the microwave to make them soft and pliable. Fill each tortilla with about ⅓ cup of filling and roll tightly. Place the filled tortillas in the casserole dish, seam side down. Once all of the filled enchiladas are in the dish, pour the enchilada sauce over top.
Bake the enchiladas in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until they’re heated through and the sauce is bubbly along the edges. Then devour!

Wheat Berry Pancakes or Waffles in the Blender

This has been a beloved recipe since I first tried it about 3 years ago but I'm just now getting around to sharing it. It's wonderful as is but I made a few adjustments today that made it even more scrumptious and share-worthy.

Pancakes 
1 C. Raw wheat kernels
1 C. Milk
1/4 - 1/2 C. Milk*
1 T. Lemon Juice
3 Eggs
2 T. Brown Sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. Oil (or part almond butter and part veg. oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

 Blend the first two ingredients in a heavy duty blender for 2-3 minutes, minimum. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend only until smooth. Fry about 1/4 C. at a time on a hot griddle. Serve as desired, but we prefer butter, powdered sugar and frozen berries.
 *after the initial blending the batter will be very warm. Dividing the milk helps to cool it down and not activate your baking powder too quickly. 


Waffles (original recipe) 
1 C. Raw wheat kernels
1 C. Milk
1/4 C. Milk*
3 Eggs
1 T. Honey or Brown Sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. Oil

Blend the first two ingredients in a heavy duty blender for 2-3 minutes, minimum. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend only until smooth. Cook in batches in your waffle iron as directed.
 *after the initial blending the batter will be very warm. Dividing the milk helps to cool it down and not activate your baking powder too quickly.

1.27.2014

Real Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie is one of my most favorite desserts.  Real key lime pie is made with key limes, not regular limes. They are the small round limes. Another thing, key lime pie is YELLOW, not green. There are a lot of okay recipes out there, but this one is the best. Trust me, I have tasted a lot of pie. I literally ate key lime pie in all forms at every chance I got on a road trip to and from Key West. I had deep fried, frozen, chocolate dipped on a stick, etc... So, I'm practically an expert. Haha.  I was pregnant, so, no judging.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Crust
1 1/2 sleeves graham crackers
1/3 c. butter

Put the graham cracker in a Ziploc bag. Use a rolling pin to crush to the desired texture. I like a bit of texture to my crust so I don't crush them all the way to powder. Melt butter. Add graham cracker crumbs and combine. Press into a glass pie pan or round casserole dish. I actually prefer the casserole dish because it gives you a smaller deeper pie, but it doesn't matter either way.

Filling
1/2 c. key lime juice
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
5 egg yolks

I use real key limes and squeeze them to make the juice. This is what makes the pie so yummy. If you squeeze the limes yourself, be sure to use a fine strainer so you don't add any pulp or seeds. You can also use bottled key lime juice. Nellie & Joe makes a pretty good bottled key lime juice. Combine lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and the egg yolks.

Bake the empty crust for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the filling into the pie. Return the oven and bake for 15 more minutes. Your pie shouldn't be runny at all. The crust will be golden brown. Every time I make this pie, I first think, oh no! my crust is overdone! But it never is. Don't panic.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving. I prefer my pie very cold so I usually make it early and keep it in the fridge until dessert time. You can serve with a little whipped cream or Cool Whip.

11.18.2013

Buttery Soft Pretzels

BUTTERY SOFT PRETZELS
 
 1 cup water (110 deg)
1 pkt dry yeast
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ cup water to boil, (I used 2+ cups)
2 Tbsp baking soda
Coarse or kosher salt
Melted butter
 
Dissolve  1 pkt (2-1/4 tsp) of dry yeast in 1 cup warm (110 deg.) water.  Let sit for 5 minutes to make sure yeast blooms.  Add flour, salt and sugar.  Mix to combine for 2 minutes, then knead with mixer or by hand for 5 minutes.
 
 

Dough will be soft, but not sticky.  Lightly flour dough and place in a gallon zip-top bag.  Zip closed and set aside for 30 minutes (I didn't wait this long).   While dough is rising, dissolve baking soda in water and bring just to a boil, then simmer.
 

 
Preheat oven to 450 deg.  Cut dough into 8 pieces.  Roll each into a long rope on a lightly floured surface.  Twist into a pretzel shape.  Drop or dip into the simmering soda water for 30-45 seconds.  Drain, then place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, or leave plain if you want to put cinnamon sugar on later. 
 

 
Bake at 450 degrees, for about 9-10 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.  If you want sweet pretzels, dust with cinnamon sugar right after brushing with butter.  (If you have a convection setting, I baked them on convection bake at 425 degrees for 6-7 minutes)
 

Store at room temp.  Do not cover or seal or they will get soggy.

I love these, this recipe was from my friend Melissa, who got it from her friend Teresa! My kids and I can't get enough. We even had 'pretzel movie night' last weekend. They are fast and yummy, Enjoy!
 
 

10.15.2013

German Chocolate Cake Topping

This Recipe is from allrecipes.com and makes enough frosting/filling for one cake mix (2 layered cake). However, I usually use 2 cake mixes make a 3 layered cake and extra cupcakes. So, you may want to double or do a one and a half batch.  

 
INGREDIENTS:
1 C evaporated milk
1 C white sugar
3 egg yolks beaten with 1 T water
1/2 C margarine
1 t. vanilla extract
1 C chopped pecans
1 C flaked coconut

DIRECTIONS:
In a large saucepan, combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, margarine and vanilla.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut. Spread on cake while still warm.

8.20.2013

Navajo Tacos (aka Fry Bread)

Anyone who has ever attended the Arizona State Fair has eaten a Navajo Taco. They're amazing. Fry bread, Indian fry bread, Navajo tacos, elephant ears...a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.


They're huge sopapillas you can eat savory or sweet. For dinner we like them topped with beans, cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and salsa (basically a delicious and filling tostada). For dessert you treat it like a funnel cake and top it with butter (duh, right?) and powdered sugar or honey or a fruit sauce.

They're easy and quick to make, took me about 30 min start to finish

4 C. Flour
2 T. Baking Powder
1 t. Salt
2 1/2 C. Warm Milk (possibly less)

2 C. oil for frying

  • Mix the dry ingredients then add in milk a little at a time until you have a soft but manageable dough. *you may not need all the milk called for*
  • Cover the dough with a moist cloth or plastic wrap when not in use
  • Heat oil in a skillet to 365*F
  • Take out a small ball of dough and roll it thin and flat on a floured surface. Fry in the oil until golden brown on the bottom then flip it over and fry the top. Cool on paper towels

5.21.2013

Green Smoothies Simplified

I just wanted to share my latest and greatest green smoothie trick. All the credit goes here:
http://www.whatvegankidseat.com/2013/04/green-smoothie-takeover.html

Basically, you assemble your green smoothies in a ziploc in reverse order and freeze it.

Fruit (fresh or frozen) on bottom
Greens on top.

You can make tons of Ready-to-Blend smoothies and keep them in the freezer. I don't have a fancy-pants blender so I blend my greens first (conveniently located at the TOP of my ziploc bag). Add a fresh banana or two (you can use frozen as well but since my blender isn't as tough I try to baby it with something room temperature in between). Then I add the frozen fruit from the bottom of the bag. No chopping. No dirty knives or cutting boards. No slimy spinach in the fridge that you didn't have time to use. And, perhaps more importantly, more room in the fridge that's NOT being occupied by a giant Costco bag of spinach.

4.27.2013

Jacquee's Whole Wheat Bagels


I'm not going to lie. I'm feeling very proud of these babies. Hence, my name in the title. Not only was it a first-ever attempt at bagels but it was also a self-adapted recipe which turned into a home run  They turned out perfectly chewy on the outside, soft but dense on the inside and made a generous dozen. I went for an authentic hand-rolled shape with these ones but I may make them doughnut style for uniformity in the future.

I adapted it from this method to be whole wheat. I picked this version because it used a sponge method similar to my all-time favorite whole wheat bread recipe. It's a favorite because it's healthy, slices like store-bought sandwich bread and stays fresh MUCH longer than any other homemade breads I've tried. I only made these today, but I hope they last long enough for me to see if they stay soft and tender like my sandwich bread.

Ingredients
3 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour (1 pound)
1 Tbl Active Dry Yeast
3 C. very warm water
1 Tbl Maple Syrup

2 3/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour (more as needed, plus dusting)
1/4 C. Vital Wheat Gluten (this is necessary for elasticity, especially when using whole wheat)
1 T. Salt
1/8 t. Citric Acid/Sour Salt (makes for a lighter texture and a preservative. Can probably substitute 1 T. lemon juice if needed)

Also needed:
cornmeal
wok or wide skillet with 3" of boiling water, plus salt and baking soda added
baking stone
any toppings you want to add

In a stand mixer combine the first 4 ingredients into a sponge mix. Mix for a minute then cover and let rise for 10-20 minutes until doubled. While you're waiting, combine the rest of the dry ingredients in a bowl. 

Once the sponge mix has doubled, add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix/knead for several minutes. The dough should form a ball and be sturdy but not stiff. Add more flour or warm water if necessary. Cover and let rise until doubled. You'll know its ready if you poke your finger into it and the impression stays. 

Stir/punch it down and roll it onto a lightly floured surface. Keep the dough covered while you work. Roll a piece into a log, wrap it around your hand and pinch it off to make a circle. With the dough-bracelet around your palm, roll over the seam to seal it together then set the "donut" on a cornmeal dusted surface. Continue until you've done this with all of the dough. Keep them covered and allow to rise a bit more while your water boils.

Preheat your oven with the baking stone inside to 400F

Boil the bagels in batches for 2 min per side then remove with a slotted spatula back to a cornmeal dusted surface. Top if desired (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated onion, etc). Slide them carefully onto the hot stone and bake for approximately 25 min (will vary depending on bagel size). 

Enjoy!

4.26.2013

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins [Vegan]


Sift

  • 4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 C. Coconut Sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon (I did some cinnamon, some pumpkin pie spice)

Whisk separately, then let rest and "sour" for a few minutes

  • 1 C. Coconut Milk
  • 2 t. apple cider vinegar

Combine dry ingredients, milk mixture and

  • 8 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 C. coconut oil
  • 1/3 C. maple syrup
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • Walnuts, Chocolate Chips (optional)
Beat until smooth.


Pipe or scoop the batter into grease muffin tins filling each 2/3 full and bake at 350F for approx 18+ minutes depending on muffin size (less for mini muffins). Check with toothpick. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool.

This made exactly 2 dozen regular size muffins plus 2 dozen mini muffins.

3.28.2013

Green Chile Chick'n Salad [Vegan]

Well, it happened. We've done too much research and watched a one or two documentaries too many. We've become casual vegans at our house. It's for health reasons: focusing on a more plant-based diet. But I've been pleasantly surprised by how smooth its been going. We're still in transition but my 3 year old really doesn't seem to care. Now, I say "casual" vegans because not only do I believe that we can and should eat all things in moderation, but I'm also human and I don't want to make my life ridiculously difficult when we leave the house, which is pretty often and in a hurry. Therefore, my goal is to be completely vegan at home and more relaxed elsewhere. For now :-)

Not all the recipes I've tried have been a hit, but I invented this one this afternoon to resemble the green chili,  mayo and shredded cheese goo I remember having a few time as a kid. This totally hit the spot. Nothing lacking in the flavor or texture departments. It could certainly be healthier (on a green salad maybe?) and less processed (I'm looking at you Vegannaise). But still, it's my new fav:

Green Chile Chick'n Salad
1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large can diced green chilies
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbl Nutritional Yeast (optional, for cheesy flavor)
2-3 Tbl Vegannaise
Liquid smoke, black pepper & garlic salt to taste

Instructions (it's pretty difficult so try to keep up):
Combine it all in a bowl. Hurry and find a piece of bread or a tortilla to slop it on!
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