Veggie Enchiladas

It’s Monday… which means the start of another week and the need for some easy weeknight meals. A fun fact.. I used to be a vegetarian.. for about 2 years… for health reasons. It was a huge adjustment for us as we were newlyweds and I was trying to figure out how to cook yummy meals for my new husband each night. My husband who loves meat. Loves it. And so I began the quest to find yummy vegetarian meals that would satisfy us both – even the toughest meat-eating critics. Here is one of our favorites that I recreated again tonight.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium organic corn, rinsed and drained
  • fresh cilantro 
  • 6 low carb multi-grain tortillas (8 inches)
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (or homemade)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
 

Directions

  • In a large skillet, saute the onion and green pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the beans, corn, cumin and cilantro; cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until heated through. 
  • Yield: About 8 enchiladas.
 Original recipe available here.

Peanut Butter Cookie (Sandwiches)

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It’s birthday week for KH which means homemade cookies every night! Ok, actually two nights but still.. I’m making all of his favs- sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies (basically every variety without chocolate). While we didn’t make the sandwiches this time around, if you’re looking for a fun and different spin on cookies try it out- it’s almost like a homemade version of a do-si-do Girl Scout Cookie. Enjoy!

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup PB
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Peanut Butter filling

  • 1/2 cup pb
  • 4T milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

1. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in pb and vanilla.

2. Sift together (I don’t believe in sifting) flour, baking soda and salt.

3. Stir into creamed mixture. Form dough into 1″ balls. Place on greased cookie sheet 2″ apart. Flatten with floured fork to make “hatches”. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes or until brown.

4. Let cool, get your filling on.

*Recipe yields about 60 single cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Blondies

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And what family get together would be complete without an assortment of desserts. So not only did we enjoy Kyle’s family’s famous Nut Butter balls at our Easter dinner yesterday but I also decided to make a new dessert as well. Chocolate and peanut butter candies in a blondie, topped with vanilla ice cream. What more could you need?! Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9-12 Reese’s 6oz peanut butter eggs (usually individually wrapped)
  • 1 bag peanut butter M&Ms

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 9×13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled lightly with flour.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add in eggs and vanilla and blend until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Pour into the butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.
  5. Press 1/2 the dough into the pan (coat your hands with flour and spread with your hands if needed).
  6. Cut the Reese’s eggs into small chunks and lay them on top of the dough.
  7. Place the remaining cookie dough on top of the Reese’s by dropping in spoonfuls.
  8. Gently press the peanut butter M&Ms on top.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes. When done, the bars will look puffy and the edges will be golden brown. The dough should still be soft in the center as it will finish cooking a bit while cooling.
  10. Allow bars to cool. Eat while warm with ice cream! Heavenly!

Original recipe available HERE.

From our family to yours.. Happy Easter!

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Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

Well yesterday was a success- a successful Easter dinner with the family. We kept it easy and the stress low and I think we all ended the night happy and full 🙂 With help from my parents and my MIL we had a Honey Baked ham, green bean casserole, salad and then these tasty (I think so at least! 🙂 ) mashed potatoes. I wanted a side that I could do some of the prep work ahead of time and then finish as we got closer to eating time. These potatoes were not only tasty but super super easy. One thing to note – grocery stores aren’t open on Easter 🙂 So we made this without the sour cream- I’m assuming it would be even better with it but we were just fine without it too!

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Ingredients:

5 lb russet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
2.8 oz jar real bacon pieces (or 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled)
4 green onions, sliced thin
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Directions:

  • Peel and chop potatoes, place into a large stockpot.
  • Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Test a larger piece by piercing with a fork to make sure they’re cooked through and tender. Remove pot from heat, drain potatoes and place back in pot.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Smash potatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, it’s ok if there are still chunks.
  • Stir in butter and cubed cream cheese. Keep stirring until completely melted.
  • Add in sour cream, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, 3 sliced green onions, salt, and bacon pieces (reserve 1/4 cup bacon pieces for topping).
  • Spread into a greased 3 quart baking dish.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheddar, bacon pieces, and sliced green onion over top.
  • Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.

Original post available HERE.

Nut Butter Balls

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 10.21.46 PMI love it when my husband tells me stories from when he was growing up. There is something so sweet about family traditions and stories from a long time ago. This recipe and these cookies are one of those sweet stories. When KH was growing up his Grandma used to make these cookies every Christmas. Then his mom began helping and over the past several years took on the tradition herself once Grandma was in a nursing home.  Grandma passed away last year and we didn’t have the cookies for the first of many Christmases. Somehow the idea came up to make these for Easter and so here you go.. nut butter balls that have in a way doubled as what I like to call “tombstone cookies” because they remind me of the large tombstone that was rolled away on Easter morning where Jesus was buried. Despite my (what I like to think) clever tie in to Easter,  KH is pretty firm on the fact that these will remain a Christmas tradition. Still sounds perfect to me!

Beat together thoroughly:
1  cup butter
½  cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1  tsp vanilla

Sift together and stir in:
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt

Stir in:
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Chill dough. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll into 1″ balls. Place 2 ½” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until set but not brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Gently remove from baking sheet while still warm and roll in sifted confectioner’s sugar, then cool on cooling rack. Roll again when cool, then store in an air tight container.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Whole30 Burgers with Sweet Potato Buns

IMG_9889We are nearing the end of our Whole30. I’ll give a full update on how the last 30 days have been after Tuesday of next week. Tonight we tried another recipe from The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom book we’ve been using. We had burgers with sweet potato buns and homemade ketchup. This recipe was quick, easy and delicious. Perfect dinner idea for a weeknight and a healthy alternative to no bun. The ketchup was also incredible- so good that my husband already threw our Heinz bottle in the trash. Another tasty hit!

Sweet Potato Buns

Ingredients:

  • 1 thick round sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp cooking fat
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds.
  • Heat the cooking fat over medium heat in a large skillet, swirling to cast the bottom of the pan.
  • When the fat is hot, add the largest slices from the middle of the potato, laying them out in a single layer in the pan. Cook until fork-tender and browned, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Let cook, then stack a burger and fillings between two slices of sweet potato and serve.

Whole30 Ketchup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • .5 cup apple cider*
  • .5 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • .5 tsp salt

*Make sure you follow the Whole30 rules when buying apple cider. No sugar added or in the ingredient list.

Directions:

  • Heat a medium saucepan ove medium heat. Add the tomato paste, apple cider, and vinegar. Stir completely and let it come to a simmer, do not allow to boil.
  • Add the garlic powder and salt and cook, stirring frequently to prevent scorching – you may need to turn the heat down to low or simmer here.
  • Simmer until the ketchup has thickened enough to evenly coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Serve when cool. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

 

Whole30 Chili

We are officially halfway through the Whole30. We are both doing well and feeling great! I’ve lost 7 lb already and Kyle has lost 10 lb. He has more energy but I haven’t really experienced or noticed any change in my energy levels. We are both really aware now of how much we used to snack, especially when it came to nibbling little bits here and there as we fed our son. Being on the Whole30 has made a huge difference as we are paying more attention to what we eat and how often.

For dinners we usually grill some meat or fish and steam some veggies but we have made a couple recipes from the Whole30 book. This one is probably our favorite so far- its yummy and easy and since you can cook it in a crock pot its the perfect weekday winter meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground meat (we used beff)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth

Directions:

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until the meat is fully browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, mustard powder, and salt to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until onions are translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer all contents to the slow cooker. Add bell peppers, tomatoes, and broth and set to low heat, cooking for 6 to 8 hours.

Mexican Corn

This month we are making four meals for four different friends who just had babies. Each meal we are bringing some form of Mexican food- one of our favorites! My go to side item for Mexican is often black beans so when I finally found this recipe (and loved it) I knew we had to write this one down. If you’re looking for a quick and easy side dish with ingredients you’ll most likely find in your pantry then you’ll love Mexican corn!

IngredientsIMG_2153
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups corn (about 4 ears), cut from the cob
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 glove garlic, grated
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 2 tablespoons cotija (or feta), crumbled
  • chili powder to taste
Directions
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the corn, toss and let it sit cooking until charred, mix it up and let it char again, about 6-10 minutes.
  3. Add the jalapeno, saute for a minute and remove from heat.
  4. Mix everything and serve warm or at room temperature.

*This is one of those recipes that you don’t need to include all of the ingredients. We’ve often made it without the feta, jalapeños and even onion. It’s great with as many or as few ingredients as you want to include.

Easy Shredded Chicken

With the holidays in full swing there is lots to do and lots to get ready for. And with my husband out of town this week I need quick and easy dinner meals to get us through those busy nights after school and before bedtime.

One of my favorite recipes for a quick and easy dinner are these Creamy Chicken Taquitos. The only downside is they call for shredded chicken which always seemed like a hassle to come by. Usually I’d buy a rotisserie chicken but even that takes a lot of time to prep. So finally I came across this recipe which results in tasty shredded chicken ready in no time. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTSIMG_1275

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken top-side down in the hot skillet and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes until golden brown on top. Flip the chicken, add the water or chicken broth, cover the skillet and let the chicken simmer gently over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (it will register 160 degrees on a thermometer). Don’t overcook or it might be dry. While the chicken is simmering, add additional water 1/4 cup at a time if the liquid evaporates too quickly. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Let it cool slightly before shredding.

 

Original recipe available here.