Tuesday, May 29, 2012

taco seasoning

This is the recipe I've been using for a while for taco seasoning.  I love it because it has a lot of veggies in it in addition to the spices.  I never feel bad adding more for spice because I'm only adding more veggies.  I like the mix.  It does call for items that are not run of the mill grocery items like dried celery, dried bell peppers, and tomato powder.  My favorite place to purchase those items is currently honeyvillegrain.com mostly because of their 1 low price shipping charge.  They also have regular sale codes for 10 or 15 % off. Truth be told though, I think my tomato powder is from one place (possibly honeyville) and my celery and bell peppers are from shelf reliance, so use what you like.


  • 1 cup tomato powder
  • 1/2 cup dried onions
  • 1/2 cup dried celery
  • 1/2 cup dried bell peppers (I have a red/green mix)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic minces or garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt.
  1. Combine all ingredients in an airtight container.  I store mine in a large canning jar.  I always shake this up before using it.  

zucchini corn cakes

Saw this cute little idea in an old Pillsbury magazine that I have from August 2001 - Crazy old.  I'm pretty sure I hardly looked at it back then because it is a vegetarian edition of the magazine and that didn't really interest me at the time.  Now however, that is a different story and I have tried a few things lately out of there.  This one was nice and simple.  Even though I was out of pancake mix and had to make more the entire meal only took me 30-40 minutes to prepare and that includes cleaning up as I went along and setting the table.  Not bad.  I have of course adapted it to my liking.  First and foremost using my own pancake mix rather than a store bought one, but I also did things like topped it with salsa rather than diced tomatoes....  I thought these were great.  DH swears he can taste the zucchini in them.  I don't think you can - no more or less than zucchini bread anyway.  Duncan loved them and had 3 or 4 which for Duncan is a lot of food.  Tavio hated them "too wheaty"  in his opinion - Mostly that is an aversion to my waffle mix which he doesn't like.  I thought they were a great, simple meal and 5 out of 6 members of the family ate them just fine.  :)  I would rate these a 4 or 4.5, but in trying to give a good idea of what the entire family likes, I'm giving them only a 3.5.
One final note - I did double the recipe from the original.  I ended up with a decent amount of left overs, but again, one of the teenagers at 1/2 of one and that was it.  Feel free to 1/2 the recipe if you have less than 6 people in your family.


  • 3 cups pancake mix (if using a store bought mix, make sure it is a complete mix - the just add water kind.)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed under warm water and drained
  • 1 medium-large zucchini, shredded
  • sour cream and salsa as desired to top
  1. Combine pancake mix, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Stir in water just until lumps disappear.  Stir in corn and zucchini.
  2. Cook on a griddle set to 375.    I spooned mine onto the griddle with a 1/4 cup measuring cup then spread them out a bit with the back of the cup.  It made somewhere around 20 cakes.
  3. Serve topped with sour cream and salsa.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

healthy chocolate squares

While making this treat, I determined that I was definitely NOT going to blog about it or ever make it again because first I had it in my food processor.  It started smoking - thought I had ruined it.  I have to admit that I have a super cheap, tiny food processor, so I can not complain about that.  Then I threw this into the blendtec and it was so thick that it was still hard to blend and I had to stop and push it down into the blades a ton of times.  The dates never got really chopped up, and it was a total pain to make.
However, then I ate them....
Well, you see the post don't you.  Yes, they were that good and healthy to boot.  I WILL find an easier/more effective way to make these.  (Starting out with fresher dates may be helpful.)  :)
This recipe is also adapted from one in my new e-book.
I have to say the picture isn't much to look at - they were sticky and hard to cut, but again, you see the post right?  After it was difficult to make - but look at the ingredients - who gets a bunch of fruit and nuts when they eat chocolate???  OK, now I want to make some more.  I finished these off today before dinner. Too bad I'm out of dates.  Better go add them to my shopping list.


  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4-1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4-1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch salt
  • coconut oil (for greasing the pan)
  1. Process all of the ingredients except coconut oil any way you can think of.  I would say high powered blender, or a better food processor than I have.  I may even try my immersion blender - not sure but rest assured I'll keep trying.  :)  Process until it is a nice gooey glob.  It should still have chunks of nuts, but hopefully not much fruit (although mine had plenty of date chunks and it was still delicious - but I used whole dates, not chopped.)
  2. Line a bread pan with wax paper. (I didn't originally line the pan, but I found I didn't want to cut it in the pan and it was a bit hard to take out.  My thought is paper will make it much easier next time.)  Coat the wax paper with coconut oil (or butter.)  
  3. Press mix into the bottom of the pan.  Freeze for 20 minutes or so to make the mix more solid.  
  4. Remove paper from the pan and cut into square.
  5. Keep stored in the fridge.

Pinto Pasta shells

Made these tasty little pasta shells last night.  I loved them and know if I don't get them blogged soon, I will forget what I did and I can't have that because I really liked them.
I got the idea from a March 2000 Betty crocker magazine.  Unfortunately for me (for easiness sake) I didn't have the 3/4 cup taco sauce it called for.  However, I ended up doubling the recipe and using all of the sauce I made which was way more than 1 1/2 cups, so I guess it all worked out in the end.  Certainly home made sauce is better than store sauce with preservatives and such right.  It sure was yummy and that is the most important fact when dealing with food.  Especially since nobody but me found the dinner from 2 nights ago even edible.
If making this again, I would probably start with dry beans - 2 cups dried would work well.  I think you'd get a softer bean that would mash better to make the beans a bit more refried which is always helpful for my picky 3 year old.


  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/2-1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup (or so) diced onion (I had an extra large onion that I used for the sauce, but saved a bit for another part of this recipe.  I'm guessing as to the amount.)
  • 2 cans (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 recipe enchilada sauce (or store bought enchilada sauce or taco sauce)
  • 1 -1 1/2 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
  • handful of crushed tortilla chips
  • Optional sour cream or green onions for garnish (I forgot to pull these out, but they would have went well.)
  1. Make enchilada sauce according to directions.  Cook pasta shells according to package directions
  2. In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until fragrant.  Stir in the beans, cream cheese and 1 1/2 -2 cups of the enchilada sauce.  Head over medium-low heat until cheese is melted, mashing beans up a bit if desired.
  3. Heat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.  Fill the cooked shells with bean mixture.  Place shells in the prepared pan.  Pour remaining sauce over the shells.  Sprinkle with cheese and chips.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chocolate peanut butter popcorn/cereal

So, I really should be done blogging for the day, but the next 2 are so much fun that I just have to keep blogging.  (That and my boys are actually playing very nicely together, and dinner had to marinate for an hour so it is done and in the fridge.  Score!)
A little while ago I got a group of e-books.  One of my favorite in the set is called real food, real easy.  It has some great recipes for real food.  Both of the next 2 recipes are adaptations of recipes from that book.  I'm also planning to redo my sidebar soon and add the blogs of all of the contributors of the e-book because they are more in line with the new healthier way I'm cooking.  Yet another thing on my to do list. :)  
I'm not sure how, but the original recipe didn't have you cook this at all.  Seemed like it would be too moist and sticky.  Since I was already making granola, I just cooked it similarly.  Made the popcorn/cereal perfectly dry.  
I forsee many versions of this popcorn - honey cinnamon, plain peanut butter, maple....  Let the experimenting begin.
All of the kids except Tavio loved this plain as a snack.  Tavio said it tasted burnt.  I actually tossed a few in my milk after my muesli this morning and I think it was even better as cereal than as a snack.  Definitely a keeper.

  • about 3 quarts popped popcorn (1 cup kernels)
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (original was only 1/4 -I may try the lesser amount.  I just messed up this time, but it worked great and I type how I made things)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Melt together the peanut butter, honey, cocoa powder and coconut oil.  (This really took no time - less than a minute on the stove - of course it is summer in Houston.  :)
  2. Pour over popcorn and stir together until well coated.
  3. Pour popcorn on parchment lined baking sheets.
  4. Bake at 300 for about 5 minutes.  (To be honest, I threw mine in when the oven was still pre-heating and left it about 7 minutes.)
  5. Turn the oven off but do not remove the popcorn.  Let rest in the oven for a couple of hours.  (I went to a class at the gym and took this out when I got home.  My granola definitely wasn't ready, but this was perfect.)
  6. Remove and store in an airtight container.

Apple Barley Tart

This original recipe intrigued me for 2 reasons.  1 because it used quince and I have never even heard of that fruit let alone tried it.  Sadly I couldn't find it in the 3 stores I checked in over the week.  However, I was also intrigued by the use of barley.  I'm always interested in using different grains.  This was quite tasty.  Benjamin absolutely loved it and had seconds and thirds.  That is a treat because he usually hates all dinners.  Aaron wouldn't really eat it - ate his 3 bites worth and filled up on salad.  Tavio complained it was too sweet but ate his whole piece.  The rest of us liked it, so go figure - mixed reviews.  It was pretty sweet for a dinner meal, but it also had the Swiss cheese in there to counter act the sweet of the apple.  Thank goodness my apple jelly was expired or it would have been even sweeter.  As it was, I don't think I would have wanted any more sweetness, and I was glad I didn't have the apple jelly that was in the original recipe.  Here is how we made it.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (I used Jarlsberg)
  • 2 cups barley cooked and cooled (I used whole grain barley -both whole grain and pearled say simmer 1 cup in 3 cups water for 45-50 minutes. Worked well for me and I had left over.)
  • 1 red apple cored and diced
  • 1 green apple cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1 - 9 inch deep dish pie crust (I used this recipe with wheat flour and coconut palm sugar)   
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  
  2. Lightly beat eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in cheese, barley, apples and dates.  Pour into the pie crust.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or so until the bottom browns (I believe I had to add a few minutes 2-5)

Black bean and plantain burritos

Why have I never thought of this before?  I love black beans.  I love plantains.  I've eaten them paired together so many times it isn't even funny - especially living in Venezuela.  They both pair well with queso fresco.  So why have I never thought to put them all together in a burrito?  I have no idea.  But I saw this idea in a cookbook I have checked out of the library called The everything guide to being vegetarian.   While I can't say that it is my favorite cookbook, or that I want to buy it, it has had some good ideas - like this one.  However, in this recipe the book used canned beans - I used dried and totally changed up the recipe.  However, I do have to credit the book for giving me the idea of putting those 3 ingredients in a burrito.  So yummy.  The plantain adds a delicious sweetness and the queso fresco adds a nice saltiness that just made a unique and wonderful burrito.  Definitely want to try this again.  Oh, and sadly, the left overs are already gone - should have made more I guess.
Here is my version - some of the measurements are a bit vague, but it is to adjust to taste.


  • 2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • salsa -to taste I'd say 1/4-1/2 cup.  Sadly I ran out so I was closer to the 1/4 cup, but a bit more would have been nice.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ancho chile
  • 2-3 ripe (yellow to black) plantains
  • 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • tortillas -10-12 depending on the size.  If large burrito size, maybe only 6-8.  I used some homemade corn, and some flour ones from the store.
  • queso fresco, crumbled
  1. Place the  black beans, ancho chile, and 6 cups of water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the beans are cooked.  (For me, it took only  about 1 hour.) (I also have to mention here that I took the skin off of the ancho as it cooked - not sure if it is necessary, but it kind of peels right off once it is hot.)
  2. Add oregano, cumin, and salt and continue simmering and stirring occasionally until the water is mostly gone.  
  3. Meanwhile, slice the plantains and fry until golden  in 1-2 Tablespoons of oil per batch. 
  4. When the water is mostly gone int he beans, add the salsa.  Heat through mashing until desired consistency. (For me this was pretty mashed because typically my youngest won't eat beans if he can tell they are beans, but it ok with them if they are mashed.)
  5. Serve beans topped with a couple slices of plantain, sprinkled with queso fresco and wrapped in a tortilla.  YUM!

The tortilla pictured here is a corn one.  I've found a corn tortilla at the store that is like the best of both worlds - soft and pliable like flour, but tastes like corn.  It ran in my mind that they used vital wheat gluten in it, so I tried out these by making the recipe on the masa harina package but adding a Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten and a bit of olive oil.  The result was fine, but still needing work.  Hopefully one day I'll get a version I love and post about it.  :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


As promised (albeit a couple of days later) - a dictionary of chiles.   Honestly had I not said I was going to do it in my last post, I'd move on to the new recipes I want to post - because I really want to post them.  YUM.  But, This will serve me as much as anything.  It is always easier to pull up my blog than pull out a million cookbooks or search the internet for info.  Most of the info here comes from my Healthy Latin Cooking cookbook, online -see links, or just what I know.)  So, here goes.

First up - Fresh chiles

Ahi Dulce (Cachucha) - very mild - think bell pepper mild, small and colorful (red, yellow, green, orange.) These look a lot like a habanero, but without the heat.  I actually saw and used them a lot in Venezuela, but not here.  Can sub out bell peppers.  Also, not to be confused with Aji amarillo (see dried chiles below) which I just learned about a few weeks ago when we made some Peruvian food with a friend.

Anaheim -mild to moderately hot, 6-8 inches long 1-1.5 inches wide.  Also known as California, california green, and chile verde.  If allowed to ripen, it is know as California red

Cubanelle - mild flavor, yellow or light green, about the size of the Anaheim.  Anaheim chile can be substituted if you can't find these.

Habanero - World's hottest chile (although I've seen show on food network that say otherwise.)  It is 50 times hotter than a jalapeno.  More or less the size and shape of a walnut.  Can be green, yellow, orange, or red.

Jalapeno - moderately hot, bullet shaped 2-3 inches long.  Older jalapenos have a striated skin and are usually hotter.    Smoked and dried they are known as chipotle.  Also popular pickled.

Poblano - mild flavor, large (4 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide) dark green chile.  When dried, known as ancho chile.

Rocotillo -very mild - also very small (think tip of your thumb) orange, yellow or pale green.  Used in Spanish-Carribean cooking.  Can sub aji dulce/cachucha, or chopped red bell pepper.

Serrano- moderately hot, small (long and thin), bright red or green.  Similar in flavor to Jalapeno and can be subbed for or with jalapeno.

Dried chiles - I must admit in this arena I'm relying much more heavily on research.  I haven't used nearly as many dried chiles as fresh.

Aji amarillo - moderately hot my book says "fiery and fruity."  Long and narrow (3-4 inches long, 1/2-3/4 inch wide)  Chile of Peru.  Comes dried, powdered, or in a paste.  (I have to say that when I used it, I used a paste that my Peruvian friend had given me because I couldn't find the chile in the store.  I used it to make a rice that was quite tasty - guess I should post the recipe. :)

Aji mirasol - medium hot, similar to aji amarillo but bigger, darker and more mild.

Ancho - Dried poblano.  Relatively mild, large (3-4 inches long, 2-3 inches wide) flat and reddish black.    These seem pretty easy to find in the store and I have used them a few times lately.  Most recently in black bean burritos.  (recipe to follow soon.)

Cascabel -hot and slightly sweet.  Small, reddish-brown round shape whose seeds rattle when shaken.  (Cascabel means sleighbell)

Chipotle - smoke dried jalapeno.  Come in 2 varieties and 2 forms.  a larger tan-brown one, and a smaller redder one which is sweeter and less expensive.  They can come dried or canned in adobo sauce.  I've also found chipotle chile powder which I commonly substitute for the actual chiles just because it is much easier and I can control the spice and still get the nice smokey flavor of the chipotle.

To be continued.....
My book still lists an entire page more of dried chiles, but I don't think I've used any of them - at least not recently, so it will wait until another day. :)  This gives me a good start of chiles I've used (most of them anyway)  I plan to add to the list as I come across new chiles in other recipes making this a work in progress.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

White bean chili verde

When this recipe says chili verde, let me tell you, it means chili verde.  I've been trying to use more dry beans, and I've found that my kids have liked the chilies that I have made.  I've been trying to rotate type of bean, so it was time to try a white bean chili.  This one caught my attention because of it's use of tomatillos.   It also had tons of veggies - spinach, cilantro, peppers... 
Now, I'm not going to lie, this was a bit on the time consuming side.  It didn't help that I overfilled my blender and ended up spraying my kitchen with chunky green salsa either (did I mention that salsa was boiling hot and got all over me too.)  NOT pretty.  The chili did turn out well.  I liked the flavor, and I liked that it had tons of veggies in it.  However, it was a bit soupier than I would have expected.  In fact you could call this a green chili soup.  I actually ended up putting some crushed tortilla chips in my "soup."  It really tasted the best that way.  (I think because we didn't add enough salt. - by the time my poor hubby came home, I wanted out of the kitchen.  My arm hurt from being burned, and I'd spent my "simmer time" cleaning a huge mess.  I headed out to pick up my oldest from wrestling and he finished - resulting in salt not being added at all - but added later.)  
I think this would have been super tasty served with a slice of fresh lime to squeeze in.  It would also keep with the green theme. :)

Here's a little time schedule I used.  I have to say it didn't work exactly as planned but that was due to 1001 interruptions by 4 boys.
The night before - or early in the morning for me - soak beans
Start 3:10 -left the pot simmering while taking a son to cello lessons and dropping another at wrestling.
Home 4:45 -roast veggies then steam 
                     prep veggies non-steamed veggies (tomatillos and cilantro)
5:15 - puree  then simmer
5:45-6:00 - done and serve.

Again, that would be in an ideal world.  I will say that I did start when I got home at 4:45 but I wasn't quite done when I went to get the son from wrestling at 6:30.  But that was normal motherly interruptions  of checking on kids, helping with one thing or another - breaking up arguments...  Then of course there was the minor blender disaster - So hopefully your world is more perfect than mine and the schedule above will be more accurate.  :)
And my final commentary before I get on with the recipe already - this recipe calls for some random chilies.  It has inspired me to do a post on chiles (it will be my next post but will not show up until tomorrow.)  This recipe called for cubanelle chiles or Italian frying peppers - neither of which I could find at the store (and I went to the Fiesta mart - totally should have had every type of chile available in my area.)  So at the store I guessed and went with anaheim.  I was so proud when I got home and looked online and found out that low and behold anaheim is a good sub for cubanelle.  Yea me.  :)

  • 1 1/2 cups dried Great Northern or other white beans, soaked overnight or from the early morning, or quick soaked (I used a mix of Great Northern and small white beans - it is just what I had)
  • 8 cups water (I'd seriously consider reducing this to 6 or even less if you want a thicker chili.  8 makes a nice soup)
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 anaheim chiles (unless you know what cubanelle chiles or Italian frying peppers are and have access to them.)
  • 2 green bell peppers (I actually used 6-8 tiny sweet bells.  I always have them on hand and didn't feel like purchasing greens just for this chile.)
  • 12 ounces spinach (I used baby just because that is what I always have on hand)
  • 12 tomatillos, husked, washed, and quartered (I had some pretty large tomatillos so this was a lot.)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I just used the entire bunch minus a couple that I kept for garnish then forgot to use as garnish - ha!)
  • salt -do NOT forget this.  :)
  1. Drain the beans.  Combine the beans with the 8 (or less) cups water, ancho chiles, and bay leaves in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, (here is my problem.  I didn't see this partially covered part - that may have evaporated off some water??  I needed/wanted them covered because I was gone and couldn't babysit them.)  Simmer until beans are tender - 1 1/2 -2 hours.  (My beans were actually done when I got home after 1 1/2 hours.) 
  2. Roast the anaheim chiles and green pepper (or red and orange)  under a broiler or over a gas flame, turning frequently until the peppers are charred all over.  Transfer to a paper or plastic bag.   Close tightly, and let steam for 10 minutes.  Peel and remove seeds.
  3. Drain the beans, reserving cooking liquid and anchos but discarding the bay leaves.  
  4. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil.  Add the anchos, roasted peppers, spinach, tomatillos and cilantro.  Cook until the spinach is wilted - 4-5 minutes.  
  5. Spoon the spinach mixture into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  (DO NOT OVERFILL - Disaster may ensue)   
  6. Return the puree to the pot with the beans.  Add salt to taste.  Simmer over very low heat for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Serve as desired - topped with cheese, tortilla chips, a slice of lime, sour cream -- any or all of those would be tasty.

summer salad with noodles

Here's a simple salad made a bit unique by adding in noodles.   The original recipe called for shell shaped.  I didn't have any so I just used my ditalini.  Sure shells may have been cuter, but I live in a house of boys who could care less, so why not use what needs to be used in the pantry right?
I loved that this salad was super simple.  It used mixed young salad greens.  I just got a box of the organic spring mix at costco and wha-la, my lettuce was prepped for me.  Super easy.  I did have to slice strawberries and grapes, but I sliced them out of the colander where they were rinsed right into the salad.  The sauce whipped up super simple as well - I just loved that I wasn't dicing a ton of veggies, and clean up was a breeze.  1 pot from the pasta, a paring knife, whisk and a bowl.  Can't beat that.
This salad did turn out summery and light.  I thought it was a nice change from our normal green salad.  The noodles added a fun texture and the dual fruits added nice sweetness.
Here's my version - I did make more than the original - probably wouldn't do that again. (so only use 3 handfuls of greens, 2 cups cooked pasta, 1 cup each of the fruits)  When I did it, I was thinking it would be our only dinner, but the calories were pretty low on it so I added "cheese melted" (at least that's what we called them at my house when we were little - open faced grilled cheese sandwiches if you want to be technical. ;)  I do have to mention that I am writing the increased amount of dressing I made.  I didn't use it all on the salad thinking kids may or may not like it.


  • 4 handfuls mixed young salad greens
  • 3 cups ditalini pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cup thinly sliced strawberries (I used about 1/2 a lb)
  • 1 1/2 cups grapes, cut in half
  • 3 Tablespoons plain yogurt (I used Greek)
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey or to taste

  1. Toss the greens with the shells, strawberries, and grapes and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, and honey and toss with the salad ingredients.  
One additional note - I actually used 5 tablespoons yogurt and 3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and honey but I didn't end up pouring it all on the salad.  Rather than be wasteful, I just wrote what was in the original recipe because that amount would probably have been fine for the amount of salad we had. - at least at my house.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lentil burgers

I don't know why, but I really love to admit on my blog when I try something that I'm a bit afraid to try.  Vegetarian burgers of any type are high on my list of things I just don't have a huge desire to try. (store bought maybe, but make at home - not so much.)  The only other time I've tried one it was black beans and I tried it because I thought it went with the theme of a Mexican burger.  Today's burger was a Lentil burger, but spiced with cumin and coriander and served with a Greek salad.  Somehow it reminded me of falafel or something and managed to make it on my menu.  I actually liked it.  I think I probably over cooked the burgers a bit - I was afraid of them being too mushy, but I don't think that a bit more moisture would have been bad inside the pita.  So - note to self for next time (and anyone else interested) don't overcook the burger if putting them in a pita.
 You can cut this recipe down if not needing to make as much.  I did a 1 1/2 batch of the original.  The original came from a book I have and enjoy called 366 delicious ways to cook rice, beans, and grains.  I will say I did change the directions to saute everything before boiling just to add flavor.  However, the original just tossed everything in a pot and boiled - feel free to do that if short on time.

yield - 6 servings (I made 8 patties and 1 tiny one, but it really did a good job of feeding my family of 6.)

Burger Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice (I used basmati because I love that stuff.)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced  (I had a very large onion.  I used a bit over 1 cup in the burger and served the remainder as an optional topping)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 teaspoons (1.5 Tablespoons) cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 3/4 cups water
Other optional ingredients
  • chopped lettuce (I'm partial to romaine)
  • chopped cucumber (I seed and chop)
  • feta cheese
  • onions
  • olives (I used kalmata)
  • tomatoes (I had some orange cherry tomatoes - sweet and yummy (and I didn't have to chop them.)
  • Caesar dressing (I used the this recipe)
  • pitas (I used this recipe -only I divided it in 8 not 9 - I liked that better.  I also used a bit of dough I had left over in a bucket of 5 minute a day dough - don't worry it will be a future post - made great pitas.)
  1. Saute onion in olive oil until fragrant adding the carrot as it get chopped.  Add garlic, then rice and lentils, then the cumin, coriander and salt.  (Basically I chop my onion, then start cooking as I finish chopping and measuring.)  Once everything is in, I really only saute it a few seconds to get everything coated.  Add the water.  
  2. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently until rice and entils are tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 40 minutes.  (Took mine probably 45.)  Drain in a colander to remove any excess liquid.
  3. Let cool slightly then puree in a food processor, blender, or my tool of choice this day - the immersion blender.  
  4. Form into 3-4 inch patties and fry burgers on a medium hot fire in the grill, under the broiler, in a George foreman grill, or I did mine in a frying pan that has ridges so it looked grilled.  Cook until browned and crisp o both sides (5-10 minutes per side depending on how high of a temperature you are using.)  
  5. Serve in pitas topped with lettuce, cucumber, feta, onions, olives, tomatoes and/or Caesar dressing.  I put all of these ingredients out on the table and told my kiddos they had to have lettuce, but then they could choose 2 other veggies plus feta and/ or dressing if desired.  That worked great.  For myself, I made my salad on my plate, tossed it with my dressing, then put as much as would fit in the pita with my burger, and ate the rest as a side.  Worked wonderfully well.  

Caesar Dressing

I have been trying various new salad dressing recipes lately with our new huge increase in salad eating combined with my decrease in eating foods with lots of preservatives.   Unfortunately I've had a hard time finding many that I really  like.  This one wasn't bad.  I could make it again, and I actually chose it over the homemade catalina the other night (only because I had had catalina on my lunch salad - it is still my favorite.)  However, this one is definitely blog worthy and will be made again.  I have seen another version of Caesar dressing somewhere and if I find it again, I may try it too, but for the time being, this was nice, didn't make too much, and didn't use raw egg (various of the recipes I've seen do.)
I was a bit shy on lemon juice so I tossed in a tiny bit f lemon zest.  I don't think I'd do that again - not that it was bad, I could just taste a hint of lemon that way, and Caesar dressing shouldn't have a hint of lemon in my mind.  I didn't notice this as much the next day, so it may not be that big of a deal.


  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (OK, looking at my recipe it actually said 1/4 cup and 4 Tablespoons I'm sure I only put 1/4 cup -since 1/4 cup and 4 Tablespoons are the same thing??  but I used real Parmesan not Kraft powdery stuff so it had some flavor.  I may have even used me Parmiggiano Reggiano -I can't remember.  It had plenty of flavor or I would have added more.  Depending on the cheese you use, you may want to add more. - there that is my disclaimer. :)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Toss in a blender and blend until smooth.

star wars pizzas

So I saw the cutest post on recipe shoebox this past week.  It was talking about May the 4th being star wars day because -May the 4th be with you.  She had a  pizza that was super cute of General Grievous.  I decided I just had to do that because after all, I live in a boy house and they love star wars.  So I made my General Grievous pizza.
You should definitely check our her blog though.  Hers is cuter and she has a demo of how to do it.

Well, after General Grievous was made, my 6 year old wanted another guy - I think his name was Rex? He tried to tell me what he looked like but finally just showed me on his thermos.  He wasn't too difficult so I made him too.  Here is the pizza with a picture of the thermos I was copying.  :)

Next on my list to try from recipe shoebox is her angry bird pizza.

Monday, May 7, 2012

black bean-sweet potato cakes

It is a good thing I have made some successful sweet potato pancakes recently or these would have been a total flop.  The recipe I was following called for only 2 eggs and no flour.  Let's just say my first batch looked more like hash browns that any sort of pancake.
This recipe also called for a lot more cilantro and chives than I put in (mostly because I didn't have that many chives in the garden.)  I ended up adding some seasoning as well.  Then they were delicious.  Still come in second place to these.
Here is how I ended up making them.


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chopped chives (could up to 1/4 cup and skip the onion powder or omit completely)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro (couldn't really taste this either.  I should have chopped more to have any flavor or omit it entirely.)
  • 4 eggs 
  • salt and pepper to taste - you want at least 1/2 teaspoon of salt probably up to 1 teaspoon
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • dash of onion powder 1/4-1/2 teaspoon maybe
  • oil for frying 1-2 Tablespoons per batch.  I used olive and coconut oil.

  1. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the egg, onion powder, salt, pepper, cilantro and chives (if using) Add the sweet potatoes, black beans and flour and stir until well combined.
  2. Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick griddle over medium heat.  Drop batter on briddle by spoonful to make pancakes.  Flatten with the top of the spoon.  Brown on one side then flip and brown on the other side. 
  3. You can keep these warm in a warm oven or cover them.
I ate one of these topped with salsa, because eating them plain I thought I would like it.  Turns out I liked them better plain.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Brown rice and lentils

For some reason I had a hard time wanting to make lentils this week.  I think because this recipe was spiced kind of similar to the black beans I made on Monday.  However, I ended up liking the lentils a bit more than the black beans.  Having said that, I do have to admit, that for lunch I've been eating the black beans, but that is mostly because I can wrap them in a tortilla and toss some salsa on them, and I really like them that way.  All in all, not a bad lentil recipe.  It comes from my 365 ways to cook rice, beans and grains.  Great book.  I highly recommend it if wanting to add more legumes and grains.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced (3/4 cup is what I used)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup dried brown or green lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 scallion, copped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a large skillet, saute the onions in butter until fragrant - adding the carrots as you chop, then the garlic, cumin and coriander closer to the end with the olive oil.  Saute just until combined and stir in the rice and lentils.  Saute for another minute or 2.  
  2. Add the water and salt.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until rice and lentils are tender.  
  3. stir in scallion and cilantro.  Stir to combine.  Serve

Saturday, May 5, 2012

zucchini pineapple bread

Here is the zucchini bread I mentioned in the last post.  I thought it odd that the 2 of these recipes seemed so different.  as far as this one actually had no oil and nothing that I consider an oil substitute (like the applesauce in the previous recipe - which also contained oil)  Obviously due to the differences in composition, the resulting bread was quite different.  This was a heavier bread -more the type I'd expect for a banana or zucchini bread.  This bread was also good.  I was worried because I thought for sure it was burned - I started smelling it at 48 min, checked and took it out immediately.  However, I absolutely loved the first piece with all of the crust.  It was nice and crispy and delicious - no burned flavor.  I am glad however that I went in the kitchen before the suggest 60 minutes was up or this would have been burnt to a crisp.
Minimal changes here - just changed out the sugar and spices to be more to my liking.  Yum.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams - I weighed mine - seemed easier and I used 201 grams)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used sliced almonds for ease, but would have prefered walnuts or pecans.)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon in a bowl.  Set aside
  3. Place egg, coconut sugar, vanilla, pineapple and zucchini into the blender.  Blend for 10-15 seconds or until well blended.
  4. Add dry ingredients.  Pulse until well mixed (or stir in by hand.)
  5. Stir in nuts and raisins by hand.  Pour into loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 45 -50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

whole wheat banana nut bread

Yesterday I had some bananas that needed to be used (actually have some more today.  :)  And I had some zucchini that I needed to use so for some reason even though I was teaching a piano lesson and making home-made pizza (ie making bread dough) I decided to go ahead and make both of those as well.  I think the thing that possessed me to do such a thing was the fact that both recipes were in the vitamix book.  I guess I figured anything made in the blender has to be speedy right?  Although the recipe said it only took 5 minutes prep an 10-15 seconds blender time, it took me more like 30 minutes to get both recipes prepared.  They were quick, and the blender helped, and maybe if you weren't distracted by children attempting to do dishes or wanting you to play it would take closer to the 5 minutes projected time in the book.  But I was making this "hurriedly"  making this before my piano student arrived.  Ha Ha!

OK, to the bread - this was a nice banana bread (except for the fact that it stuck like crazy to the bread pan, but that was totally my fault.  I forgot to add the applesauce and stirred it in while it was in the pan thus making my non-stick spray quite ineffective.)  I liked this as a different banana bread.  It wasn't overly heavy on the bananas (I actually usually like more banana, and think I'd like to omit the applesauce next time and use another banana, but that is an experiment for another day.)  This bread had a more "bready" texture than regular banana bread.  Usually banana bread is a bit more dense.  This was a bit lighter with a texture a bit more like a yeast bread even though this had no yeast.  It also had a hint of lemon flavor (can't taste it today, but fresh I could taste it.)
I have altered this recipe changing out the oils and sugar.  The vitamix book used a heart healthy butter spread.  I'm into using more real foods and in this case chose coconut oil.
See how sad - the middle totally fell out when I turned the bread over.  


  • 1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (reserve some for the top of the bread)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray
  2. combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl  Set aside
  3. Place egg, coconut sugar, coconut oil, milk, lemon peel, bananas and applesauce in the blender.  Blend for 10-15 seconds or until smooth.
  4. Mix wet and dry ingredients (by pulsing in the blender, or just mixing by hand.  Stir in nuts.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes (I'd check at about 55.  For a change this banana bread actually took a bit less than the recipe said it would.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

whole wheat and flax tortillas and quesadillas

A few weeks ago I tried this recipe for tortillas.  I had comments from yuck it's wheat from my loving 13 year old and probably an "I'm not eating dinner today - I'm not hungry." from the same guy.  to my husband really complementing the meal and how impressed he was at how I've managed to make so many vegetarian meals and keep the variety up.  So, take your pick.  They were good enough.  Maybe a bit more wheat flavored than the other wheat tortilla's I've made - honestly it has to be the flax because that is the only real difference.  I did like that this incorporated some flax, and my biggest complaint was really from the 13 year old.  Everyone else was happy that I was serving these as quesadillas stuffed with vegetarian chili and cheese.  Other than being time consuming (home made tortillas just are - then add on time to make them quesadillas) these were good.  I was actually a bit upset when there were no left overs for lunch the next day (extras had been eaten after dinner the night before and taken to school by my high schooler for lunch that day.)  That is a very good sign.  :)  There are no pictures of these and to tell the truth, they weren't extremely pretty so I'm not all that sad I made them in a non-picture taking phase.  :)   However, they did taste good and that's what matters right?

  • 5 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup freshly ground flax seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Up to 2 Tablespoons seasoning (brewer's yeast, powdered garlic, powdered sage, chili powder etc. -I just used a bit of garlic powder, and  maybe a dash of onion powder)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  1. Using a dough hook mix the dry ingredients, then add the wet.  If it is too dry, add more water a spoonful at a time.  Mix until a ball forms.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.  
  2. Separate into 16 pieces and form into balls.  Roll each ball into a very thin 10" circle.  Stack them on a plate and cover with a damp cloth. (I didn't do this part.  I just rolled and cooked as I went. 
  3.  Preheat griddle to medium-high.  Place dough rounds on the griddle, flipping when air pockets form and piercing the air bubbles. (I never saw air bubbles - honestly it was what really attracted me to this recipe.  I was hoping for bubbles.  My homemade tortillas never bubble -thought it was just my recipe but maybe it is just me.)
  4.  Tortillas are done when golden on both sides.  Use immediately or store in a ziploc in the fridge or freezer.


  • tortillas
  • refried beans or  vegetarian chili
  • cheese (cheddar, Monterrey Jack, colby jack....)
  • Optional: salsa or sour cream to top them or dip them
Spread beans over half of the tortilla.  Top with cheese.  Flip the other half of the tortilla up to cover the beans and cheese.  Heat until cheese is melted; flipping to the other side midway through cooking.

great greek pasta

So, finally a recipe that isn't originally from 6 o'clock scramble.  (I think I've exhausted most of the vegetarian ones in there anyway. :)
I found this recipe in my saving dinner book.  It originally had chicken in it.  I have adapted it to not have chicken although I did serve it with the option of chicken - which all of my children chose.  (I just used some pre-cooked I had in the freezer - thawed it in the microwave and added it on top.)  I had mine without the chicken.  Either way it was a nice pasta salad.  I did not use all of the pasta.  Would definitely have been too dry.


  • 1 pound rigatoni (I didn't use it all -you'd be fine with 12-16 oz.)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup diced onion (I used sweet onion)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (I actually used 1 roma and a few cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teapsoons oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional, chopped, cooked chicken
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet, saute onion in butter until fragrant.  Add garlic and saute a bit more.  Reduce heat and add tomato, feta, lemon juice and oregano.  Stir to combine.  Add pasta and stir until completely heated through.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

cuban black beans and rice

I was going to post a tortilla recipe here, but I'm on a six o'clock scramble roll, so here is another idea I got from there - again, super modified because I decided to use dry black beans and cook the black beans and rice together like a green smoothie girl recipe I tried a while back.  I also subbed a tiny v8 for vegetable or chicken broth because I had it and it was about the right amount without having to open a can.....
While this wasn't my favorite black bean recipe of all time, it is a nice, mild flavored black bean.  I wished it had a bit more flavor, however, those trying to appeal to a crowd with varied palates might enjoy this.
I will say I didn't have many complaints, and Duncan has loved this as much as the vegetarian chili I made last month.  He's had it every day for lunch - ok so have I.  Might I suggest topping it with some tasty salsa (I'm loving whatever fresh salsa they sell at Costco - has a hint of lime flavor.  YUM)  and some sour cream or cheese.


  • 1 1/2 cups dry brown rice
  • 1 medium leek, chopped (use white part and about 1/2 inch of green part
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (I just tossed in a handful I had diced and frozen)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (I think I just juiced a whole lemon)
  • 1 5 oz can v8 (or 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth or stock)
  • 2 cups dry black beans (soaked overnight)
  • 6 cups water
  • sour cream or plain yogurt for serving
  1. In a large stockpot, bring beans to a boil in the 6 cups of water.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or until tender.  (If you soak your beans overnight and until the next afternoon, they will probably take less than 2 hours, unless they are old or something.)
  2. When beans are tender, Soak the leek in cold water for a few minutes to clean thoroughly.  
  3. Add the rice to the beans.
  4. In a saute pan melt butter over medium heat.  Saute leek for a minute or 2 then add garlic, bell pepper, celery and continue sauteing (basically I add to the pan as I chop, then stir)  Add cumin, thyme, pepper, lemon juice and v8.  Stir to combine, and pour into the rice and bean pot.
  5. Continue simmering for about 1 hour or until desired consistency/texture is reached.
  6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or salsa.

grilled cheese with brie

Yet another recipe from 6 o'clock scramble.  Here I decided I didn't want to add the spinach that was in the original because I'm just not a fan of cooked spinach, I had already eaten spinach in my green smoothie, and I was serving this with a salad.  So, I got lazy/just didn't want the spinach, and just made these plain grilled cheese.  However, I did use a bit of peach jam as suggested in the original.  Peach jam and Brie on a sandwich are DELICIOUS!  Worth the post - even though I have no picture, and the recipe is super simple.


  • butter (if desired)
  • peach or apricot jam
  • 8 slices of bread (I used home made wheat - original called for whole grain or sourdough)
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1/8 inch slices
  1. Make sandwich by spreading jam on one slice of bread, top with brie, and another slice of bread.  Bake on a griddle or in a frying pan until toasted on both sides.  I coated my griddle with butter before putting the sandwiches on.

I must add, 8 oz wasn't really enough brie for sandwiches for all 6 of us.  I did make other sandwiches with cheddar or whatever other cheese I had.  Everyone liked these though.

One pot Italian rice and beans

Here is another recipe from my preferred recipe book right now - The Six o'clock scramble.  I did modify this a good deal to use up things I had on hand like fresh rather than frozen green beans, tomato sauce not pasta sauce - upped the basil ... Seemed to go over pretty well with everyone.  Nothing super wow, but also nothing that got too many whines and moans.  :)  Pretty sure I didn't get a picture, and I forgot to serve it with the mozzarella cheese on top, but that would have been yummy.  I just forgot to get it out after making a salad.


  • 10 oz (or so) fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup pitted black olives plus 1/2 cup of their juice
  • 1 1/2 cups pre-cooked brown rice (I had left over in the fridge - original had just 1 cup quick cooking)
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • shredded mozzarella cheese for serving
  1. In a medium stockpot with a lid, combine all ingredients except cheese.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes (more or less depending on how cooked you want your beans and/or how long you want the flavors to mix.)
  2. Serve topped with mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

waldorf salad

This is another simple side from six o'clock scramble.  Somehow I thought waldorf salad was just regular salad with apples.  Go figure.  Yet another super simple, raw fruit and veggie salad that isn't lettuce.  :)
This has a picture of a pasta with beets.  It was only ok (a little dry, so it not getting it's own post.)  It too is from 6 o'clock scramble and would be good with a little tweaking to make it just a bit saucier.


  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon pineapple juice
  • handful of chopped walnuts
Mix all ingredients together and serve.

cucumber salad

One of my favorite things about my book The Six O'clock scramble is the simple side dishes section at the back.  Often she will have something listed from the back.  They really are super simple.  Probably my favorite thing about them is that when I'm getting super sick of salad but want a raw veggie, simple side for my meal that isn't salad, I can turn there and look for an idea.  This is one of those ideas.  I will share her cucumber salad, and then a cucumber/tomato salad that I made a lot on my mission.  Don't do it anymore, but ate it tons then.

Cucumber salad (#1)

  • 3 cucumbers, seeded and sliced.  
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • about 15 mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Combine in a bowl and serve.  

Cucumber salad (#2 - or with tomatoes)
  •  1-2 cucumbers, seeded and sliced
  • 2-4 tomatoes (depending on size), sliced
  • splash of vinegar (your choice, but even plain works well - especially with the seasoning)
  • garlic mix type seasoning such as Mrs. Dash garlic, garlic and parsley.....
Combine cucumbers and tomatoes on a plate.  Sprinkle with garlic seasoning.  Toss with a splash of vinegar and serve.

Mexican Torta

Here is another recipe I was worried about before I ate it.  Honestly it wasn't because it looked like it would taste bad or anything, but I made so many changes to the recipe I was afraid it wouldn't work out quite right.  It actually turned out to be pretty tasty and vegetarian (the original wasn't.)  I may still work on a modification that is only beans - no TVP because that isn't a regular person ingredient.  I'm pretty sure it isn't something I'll buy again having learned more about soy.  However, I have it in my food storage so I used it in this.  Feel free to use 1/2 pound turkey or beef with some taco seasoning in place of the tvp.
Whew, started this yesterday, made it 3 days ago.  I hope I still remember what I did because I had the last piece of left overs for lunch this afternoon, and I definitely liked it.
Here is how I made it -I'm putting some easier substitutions along with what I did. --Yea!  Pictures are back.  Now to update the blog.  I'll be busy for a long time.  :)


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup taco tvp -reconstituted according to package directions- (or 1/2 pound ground turkey or beef and an envelope of taco seasoning or homemade equivalent)
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 16 oz can refried beans -(I used 1 cup ground pinto beans whisked into 2 cups boiling water with 1-2 Tablespoons of home-made taco seasoning then cooked for 1 -2 minutes and pureed with my stick blender. I didn't use all of the beans, but most)
  • 1 7-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained (My jar had red and yellow)
  • optional toppings - salsa and sour cream
  1. In a large skillet saute onions in butter until translucent.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add meat and cook, or just add already reconstituted taco tvp and stir to combine.  (If using meat, add the taco seasoning according to package directions)  Add the chilies and heat through.  Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 400.  Lightly grease a 10 inch pie plate (mine is 9.5 and it worked fine - very full, but it fit.)  Cut 4 of the tortillas into wedges and put evenly over the bottom of the pie plate.
  3. Spread half of the tvp (or meat) mixture over the tortillas.  Top with 1 cup of the cheese.
  4. Cut 4 more tortillas into wedges and place evenly over the cheese.  Spread with all of the beans. 
  5. Cut 4 more tortillas into wedges and place evenly over the beans.  Top with roasted peppers.
  6. Finally cut the last 4 tortillas into wedges and place evenly over the peppers.  Top with remaining tvp or meat mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  7. Cover and bake 30=40 minutes or until cheese is melded and center is hot.  (I covered with non-stick aluminum foil and I took it off at 30 minutes, but let the cheese brown up a bit longer.)
  8. Serve with sour cream and salsa if desired.


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