New Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

This is a super easy, yummy recipe. My kids love it because it’s cheesy, and vegetarian (important for my big kid). I’m making a big batch for dinner this week, with plenty of leftovers!

It freezes well so you can make a bigger batch and have some for later.

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles (12 oz)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I use Mexican blend)
  • 1 large (28 oz) enchilada sauce (I like green)
  • 16-19 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bag (12 oz-ish) fajita blend (that’s onions and peppers)
  • spray release

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with spray release.
  2. Layer torn tortillas, black bean crumbles, fajitas blend, tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  3. Layer until pan is filled, top with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.
  5. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and diced black olives (optional, but a family favorite). I serve with a Mexican Caesar Salad, or Cilantro Lime Rice-a-Roni.

To make this dish vegan, use vegan cheese.

Mexican Cesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of your favorite lettuce/lettuce blend (romaine and bibb is great!)
  • 2 tomatoes cubed/sliced
  • ½ cup purple onion, cut into rings
  • 1 small can corn, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ c ranch dressing
  • ½ c your favorite salsa

Directions:

  1. Combine the salsa and ranch together, chill in fridge 6-8 hours before servings. This allows the flavors to blend.
  2. Toss the veggies in a chilled salad bowl with the dressing.
  3. Top with ¼ c crushed corn chips/tortilla chips for some added crunch!

Serve topped with grilled chicken breasts for an entree or without meat as a side dish.  Serves 3 as an entree, serves 6 as a side dish.

 

Get Cookin with Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto (Review and Giveaway)!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. For more information about the use of affiliate links and partnerships, visit my disclosure page. 

Yesterday we had an amazing dinner! We’re still without a full-size fridge, so we’re without meat or a lot of our usual ingredients, thankfully Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto to the rescue! I paired the pesto with farfalle (bowtie pasta), and roasted veggies. It was tasting, filling, and a great way to get veggies into your kiddos.

I wrote down the recipe to share with you. The Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto sauce is so rich and creamy and pairs really well with the veggies I chose.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Veggies and Farfalle with Creamy Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 6.2 oz jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto
  • 1 box of pasta (I used Barilla Farfalle)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded, and cut into slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into coins
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast Veggies (complete directions can be found here)
  2. While veggies are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions.
  4. Reserve 3 T. of pasta water when draining cooked pasta.
  5. Mix a jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto into the cooked pasta.
  6. Add roasted veggies to the pasta/sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve with a little extra parmesan cheese, as needed.

This is a great, easy dish that’s perfect for meat-free nights. This Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto is so versitile. In addition to using on pasta, it makes a great veggie dip (I might be guilty of dipping some of the raw veggies into the jar while I was cooking), a sandwich spread (in place of mayo or mustard), or for marinating meat. Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto does not need to be heated prior to eating, and it’s shelf-stable prior to opening. You can find it in the store near the jarred pasta sauces. I found it at Target, but you can also find it on Amazon.

Giveaway: I want to share Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto with you! I’ve got 2 coupons each for one free jar (up to $3.99) of Barilla Pesto (expiration 12/31/2021). I will choose 2 winners on 10/8/2021 and notify them via email. 

Entering is easy: Leave a comment on this blog post with how you would use Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto!

 

New Recipe: Loaded Roasted Cauliflower

I’ve seen this kind of recipe before and I had never made it because it’s really hard to pick decent fresh cauliflower, and honestly, frozen cauliflower is always kinda… soggy (?) when you defrost it and cook it.

We’ve been getting a lot of cauliflower in our  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box over the past 5 weeks, so I figured it was time to give it a shot.

This recipe is easy. And tasty. It does not duplicate potato skins. I don’t care what any low carb/potato hating website tells you.

Loaded Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 T. Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup bacon crumbles (use real bacon, not baco’s)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Sour Cream (optional, but tasty)
Served with a green salad, rotisserie chicken, and half an avocado. YUM.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place cookie sheets lined with foil into oven to heat up with the oven.
  2. While oven/pan is heating, toss cauliflower in oil, salt & pepper.
  3. Once oven is heated to 450, remove pan, spread cauliflower out in a single, well spaced layer.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn veggies to roast evenly.
  5. Return to oven and bake for another 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Top with cheese and bacon. Broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is melty and bacon is hot.
  7. After removing from broiler, top with green onions and eat up ASAP.
  8. Serve with sour cream, or salsa. Or both.

This serves 2-4 people as a side dish, or be greedy and eat the whole recipe as a main dish. I won’t tell anyone. I make this at least once a week.

This recipe is gluten free. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon.

4/5/2021 Weekly Meal Plan!

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The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes on Monday, so that’s helped me be able to meal prep and write up this post.

I usually spend time over the weekend getting the meal plan and prep started. Saturday I made banana bread (recipe here), and a big box of chicken brown rice. I portioned the cooked rice out so we can have it for lunch and dinner as a side dish a few times this week.

Sunday I made chicken stock using the rotisserie chicken carcass I had tossed in the freezer a few weeks ago, along with the veggie scraps I keep in a large bag in the freezer. It’s usually celery tops, carrots bits, onion skins, and the ends and pieces from various vegetables from my weekly veggie prep. I cooked the stock most of the day, strained off the solids, and used the stock to make a yummy chicken vegetable soup. I used this recipe, substituting the chicken stock for veggie stock.

I did a grocery trip on Saturday- Milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. We are pretty well stocked on most other stuff. I went to Costco last week and did the quarterly stock-up trip- Snacks for lunches, coffee, powdered peanut butter, trash bags, laundry soap, paper towels, and toilet tissue, and a few other things fell into my cart.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling, lately it’s been sandwiches on croissants, and strawberry yogurt.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Vegetable Soup, homemade apple sauce, sourdough toast/Banana Bread
  • Monday:  Poached Eggs with Hashbrowns, fruit salad, Protein shakes (Big kid doesn’t like eggs)
  • Tuesday:   Tamales, Salad, Rice
  • Wednesday:  Roasted Veggies, Baked Potatoes (with an array of toppings)
  • ThursdayCheesy Bacon Meatloaf, Roasted Broccoli, Noodles (or rice)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Recipe Round-up: Fruit and Veggie Extravaganza!

Spring is upon us, and that means that there will be all sorts of fruits and veggies coming into season.

Here are some of our family’s favorite recipes featuring fruits and veggies! These are all easy to make and will satisfy everyone in the family- even the pickiest eaters.

Fruit:

 

Veggies:

Roasting Veggies: Simple and Tasty!

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get us to eat more veggies. But honestly, you can only eat so much mixed green salads and steamed broccoli. My prior attempts at oven roasted veggies were basically a hot pile of steamed veggies that lacked any of the qualities of oven roasted veggies I knew- none of them were sweet, with crispy edges, tender but not soggy. Thankfully with our CSA box coming straight to our door weekly, were getting tons of tasty new veg to try!

I did some reading in a few cookbooks, websites, and asked some of my friends who are chefs/professional cooks. The secret to perfect oven roasted veg? Space. Room. The veggies need space for the heat of the oven to circulate and heat them evenly.

Second tip: place the pans in the oven and allow them to pre-heat. Once the oven has pre-heated, pull your pan(s) out and place your veggies on the pans, then back in the oven.

Third tip: Half way through roasting, turn over/flip your veggies to ensure they are getting equal roasting time in that hot pan. I say pan, but I use a baking sheet lined in foil, like this one.

It’s all about high temp and short cooking time- 450 degrees! Your veggies will be done in less than 45 minutes and you’ll be feasting away! And anyone can make roasted veggies- as long as you have the following:

  • Cooking pans (like these)
  • Aluminum Foil (I like it because it makes clean up easy)
  • 1-2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped up into evenly sized pieces (the secret to having them come out perfect)
  • 3 Tablespoons oil (I like canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your veg) fresh cracked pepper

With the CSA boxes we’ve been receiving weekly, making roasted veggies is a snap. Here are cooking times for a few in season veggies. These times presuppose that you have cleaned/peeled as needed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces as needed. Cooking time is for 1 lb.

  • Beets: 20-25 minutes
  • Carrots: 20-25 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts (Cut off the bottom, and cut in half): 15-20 minutes
  • Onions (I usually quarter and slice them): 15-20 minutes
  • Garlic (peel each clove- if they are large, cut in half) 15-20 minutes
  • Green Beans: 15-20 minutes
  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes: 20-30 minutes
  • Zucchini/summer squash: 15-20 minutes
  • Bell Peppers: 15-20 minutes
  • Asparagus: 10-15 minutes
Brussels Sprouts and Purple Onions

If you’ve got something that isn’t on this list that you want to roast, I suggest starting with 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip the veggies over and see how they are doing. If they are brown and caramelized on one side, give it another 10 minutes for the other side to cook, then test for doneness with a fork. If they need longer, give them another 5 minutes and test again.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bisque (GF, Vegan)

This recipe is super simple, and I’ve included some steps to shave off more time to get the soup in your belly faster!

Butternut Squash Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 T. Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 Large onion, diced
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (You can save time by buying it in the frozen foods section)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Quart Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Hazelnut Milk
  • 1t. Rubbed Sage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil. Add onions, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until clear and fragrant.
  2. Add squash and carrot. Cook approx 10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add vegetable stock, and simmer until veggies are tender/soft.
  4. Remove from heat, add hazelnut milk.
  5. Blend soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve this luscious, velvety soup with hot, crusty bread and a crisp green salad.  It freezes well, in case of leftovers.

1/11/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgWe’re starting to get into the swing of our 2021 schedule, and this week is going to be my OMG busy week. Have you ever noticed that there is usually 1 week each month that is crazy busy? Lots of appointments, phone calls, errands, etc.? This is my week- Insanity.

I had some free time over the weekend, and I spent it in the kitchen doing some meal prep for this week. I made a lot of lunch stuff for the littlest kiddo and myself. I also prepared veggies and stuff for stir fry.

I’ll go to the store this morning and get some more fruit and veggies. And Milk. Always milk.

I’m trying hard to stick to our budget of $100/week for groceries and prepare dinners that are filling and hearty.  It can be a struggle, but I shop sales, discount grocery stores, and use my cashback apps.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

The kids go back to school tomorrow! 1/2 days for the littlest bit, and full days for the big dude. This afternoon I need to pop over to the store and pick up some lunch goodies. Big kid takes his lunch to school, but little bit has lunch at home after school.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers (we all had big lunches, so it was mostly light snacking)
  • Monday:  Salad and Soup (We’ve got leftover beef stew from a few weeks ago- I stashed the extras in the freezer)
  • Tuesday:  Chicken and Cauli-rice casserole (It’s a frozen meal from Birdseye)
  • Wednesday: Veggies Burgers, Veggies Nuggets, fruit, and chips
  • Thursday:  Stir Fry with Veggies and rice
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Egg scramble (with veggies and cheese), Toast/Bagel, and Fruit Salad

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

New Recipe: Baked Tortellini

00169 (1).jpgThis recipe is dead simple. Make it as complicated as you want. Use jarred sauce, make your own from scratch, or take a jar of sauce and church it up yourself. Whatever.

Frozen pasta, fresh pasta, heck, you can even use the shell stable/dried tortellini. You could use ravioli if you wanted.

You can make this Vegetarian, Vegan, Chock Full o’ Meat, Gluten-Free, it’s up to you.

This is one of those recipes that’s a big hit at potlucks too. It’s pretty inexpensive, and we always have the ingredients in one form or another to make a batch.

Baked Tortellini

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of Red Pasta Sauce.  I usually make a big batch of this sauce and portion some out just for this recipe. If you use jarred sauce, I recommend  you add 3-4 cups of veggies (carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers, zucchini, chopped/diced tomatoes, etc.)
  • 22-30 ounces of Tortellini/Ravioli, cooked per the package directions (this will probably take a couple packages)
  • 2 Cups Italian Cheese blend

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta per the package directions. Drain.
  2. Pour pasta sauce into a baking dish (I use a 9×13), toss cooked pasta in sauce.
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-ish minutes until food is bubbly, and cheese is brown and delicious looking.
  5. Serve with hot French Bread or Garlic Bread and a green salad.

This serves 8-10 people as a main.

 

If you are vegan, substitute in filled pasta and cheese that works for you.

5/10/2020 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the kids at home learning schedules, and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier.

And I’ve been trying to visit the store once a week or less. I stocked up yesterday on stuff the kids love (and eat a lot of), so we should be good for the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: Right now our local school district is serving lunch for a drive-through service for kids 18 and under M-F. It’s great because it helps stretch our budget and it gets the kids out of the house for a few minutes. They also include a cold lunch (usually cereal and milk and a piece of fruit) for the next morning. Often times, the cereal ends up being a snack for late afternoon.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

We’re on week 4 of distance learning. It’s finally become a habit, and there are plenty of chances to play and get our wiggles out. I bought the kids a kiddie pool for the patio and that is totally helping them get out the pent up energy.

  • Sunday:  Cheeseburger Salad (It’s a cheeseburger served sans bun on a bed of greens). The kids will have chick’n nuggets as Big dude is a vegetarian, and Bitty doesn’t like red meat.
  • Monday: Cheesy Chicken Broccoli casserole, fruit salad, Texas Toast and leftover nuggets. The casserole has a very small amount of chicken, so I can scoop some out for the big kiddo and he can have some meat-free.
  • Tuesday: Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls with grilled veggies
  • Wednesday:BBQ chicken and veggie bowls (with rice)
  • Thursday: Pizza Night!
  • Friday: Leftovers
  • Saturday: Waffles and fruit salad

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?