Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Black bean quesadillas or soft tacos or whatever

This is a great solution to dinner-on-the-run. It's delicious, nutritious and (sometimes, most importantly) FAST.

can of black beans
your favorite salsa
cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh spinach
corn or flour tortillas

Heat the beans in a pot or skillet on the stove. I usually let 'em boil gently in the cooking water that came in the can for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam the spinach. The easy way to do this is rinse the leaves well, put them in a microwaveable bowl, cover and cook for 1 minute. When cool enough to handle, chop the steamed spinach.
Assembly is up to you. If you have big tortillas, pile in your ingredients, roll it up (you may have to heat the tortillas first to avoid breakage), and enjoy! If you have little tortillas, you might want to layer the ingredients on one tortilla, top it with the other tortilla, and bake or pan fry until the cheese is melted.

It's very easy to adapt these to include whatever you like. We often add in corn and brown rice if we have some on hand. Sometimes we toss in bite-sized cooked chicken too. It's up to you!

Really moist chicken

I was trying to come up with some way to cook chicken breasts that would make them yummy but neutral enough to use in lunch sandwiches in different combos. I came across this recipe, and it worked out great!

boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup natural plain yogurt
2 Tbsp country-style mustard
1 cup wheat germ, toasted
salt and pepper

Stir together yogurt and mustard.
Toast wheat germ and stir in seasoning.
Dredge chicken in yogurt mixture. Completely coat.
Now coat those in the wheat germ.
Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Cook at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

The yogurt keeps the chicken incredibly moist. The chicken is good as is (serve it with some brown rice and green veggies), but we sliced it up and used it in sandwiches too.

Veggie Toss

I've been happily frequenting the local farmer's market each Saturday, but there is a downside. I tend to get over-excited and completely carried away. I purchase everything that looks yummy, giving me WAY TOO MUCH fresh goodies to use in a timely manner. The other night, I looked at my produce mountain and realized I'd better do something quick. I'll call the result the "Veggie Toss", because that's literally what I did (tossed in different veggies that were laying around). There's no real recipe to relate here, but the results were so pleasing I had to share.

corn on the cob
bell peppers (I had red, yellow and green)
fresh herbs

Roast the bell peppers. If you haven't done this before, you really should! What a flavor impact! Cut the bell peppers in half length-wise. Toss out the seeds and cut out the white ribs. Rub 'em with olive oil and place them cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast on the top shelf of your oven at around 425 degrees or so. Yes, they will turn black. This is what you want! When the skin is all black and blistered, take them out of the oven and toss them in a paper bag, roll the top of the bag shut, and allow them to cool (can use aluminum foil if you don't have paper bags). When they are cool, peel that blistered skin off and voila! Roasted bell peppers, ready for your culinary pleasure!

Chop the zucchini into bite-sized bits. Saute in combination of butter and olive oil until softened, browned and yummy.
Cut corn off cobs. Toss into pan with zucchini. Saute for a few more minutes (enough to heat the corn but not brown it).
Chop herbs. Sprinkle over corn and zucchini and corn along with some sea salt and pepper if that's your thing.
Slice those lovely roasted bell peppers and stir those in too.
It's a hodgepodge mess, but oooooo did it taste good!