Sweet Potato & Kale Enchiladas

The first time I tried this recipe it didn’t look as good as the picture so I was unsure of how it would taste.  Of course I added some extra sour cream and with the salsa, they the enchiladas became kinda pink.  The husband was a little hesitant at first but it turns out he likes pink foods.  Now, he can never remember what’s in it so he asks for me to make “that pink stuff”.  These are quite filling so there are always leftovers.

Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups prepared)
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups fresh baby kale, stems removed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • zest of one lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat oil over medium heat in large stock pot. Add sweet potatoes and saute until beginning to brown and potatoes are softening, 8-10 minutes. Add black beans, kale, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, lime zest, garlic and salt. Continue to saute, stirring occasionally until kale is wilted, another 3-5 minutes. Remove sweet potato mixture from heat and allow to cool a bit.

Mix together the salsa, sour cream, lime juice and salt.  Scatter the crumbled goat cheese over the top of the sweet potato mixture and stir well to combine.  Evenly divide mixture among the eight tortillas (about 1/3 c. each) and roll up tightly.  Place the 8 enchiladas, seam side down, in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Pour the salsa and sour cream mixture evenly over the top of the enchiladas.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Turn broiler on high and finish under broiler for another 2 minutes or so, to brown the tops of the enchiladas.

Source:  Foodtastic Mom

Rainbow Pad Thai

We love vegetables, my husband especially loves them raw.   I was hesitant with this one because I’m not a big cabbage fan, but it was so colorful I just had to try it.  So healthy and so good.  We actually like a little more of the dressing so I made some extra.  This is excellent for make ahead lunches.

Ingredients:IMG_0613

  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup cooked edamame
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds

Dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • maple syrup, to taste

Preparation:

Prepare the vegetables and mix together the zucchini, carrots, red pepper, and cabbage in a large bowl using your hands. Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. Top the salad with the edamame, green onions, sesame seeds, and the dressing.

Source:  The Girl with the Spatula

Chicken Chickpea Chopped Salad

I’m always on the lookout for easy, healthy salads.  We make salad for dinner at least once a week and often make them to take to work for lunches.  For this one, I got a rotisserie chicken from the deli at the grocery store and made a huge bowl with extra for leftovers.  I’m not a huge fan of BBQ sauce so instead of the BBQ dressing, I used the same lime vinaigrette from Sriracha Lime Chicken.  With the chicken and chickpeas it was a pretty filling salad.

IngredientsIMG_0612
  • 2 large romaine hearts, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup pulled cooked chicken breast
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce for dressing, if desired
Preparation

In a large bowl, add lettuce, top with all ingredients except for avocado and dressing. Toss salad gently.

Place into cold salad bowls. Garnish with diced avocado and drizzle with dressing if desired. Serve with low-fat corn tortilla strips.

Adapted from:  Ambitious Kitchen

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are awesome, we eat them often.  The addition of the chipotle peppers was even better than expected.  These potatoes were delish and will be on the regular rotation going forward.  I paired them with grilled pork chops but they’d work with just about anything.

IngredientsIMG_0620

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Place sweet potatoes in large sauce pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Drain potatoes.

Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mash together until smooth.

Source:  Foxes Love Lemons

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

My husband is a pepper fanatic.  He wants to eat peppers all the time.  Although I’m not a big fan of traditional stuffed peppers, I have tried other versions of stuffed peppers like this.  Since we like philly cheesesteak, I decided to give this one a go.  First, make sure you get a good cut of steak.  I actually just recently started eating steak so I’m not familiar with what’s what.I don’t remember exactly what I picked up, just grabbed something thin, but it was little chewier than I would’ve liked.  The original recipe says to marinate the stead for at least six hours – well I didn’t plan far enough in advance so ours only marinated for about an hour or so.  I like a lot of gooey cheese on my cheesesteak so in addition to the slices on top, I also stuffed a little bit of cheese inside the peppers – you want ooey-gooeyness in every bite, right?  Well, I don’t know if it was my oven or what, but it didn’t turn out very ooey-gooey for me.   The cheese browned on top but wasn’t melted enough inside.  I wonder if mozzarella or swiss would be better.IMG_0543..
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb thinly sliced steak
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 4 provolone cheese slices
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Marinate the strips of steak in the balsamic vinegar.  Pour the olive oil in a pan, add the onions and steak.  Cook over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes until the steak is only slightly pink.  While the steak is cooking, slice the tops off the peppers and scrape out the insides.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fill the hollowed out peppers with the steak and onions.  Place a piece of cheese over the top of each pepper.  Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Adapted from:  Almost Supermom

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach dip is one of my favorite things to eat – with bread, crackers, or just a spoon!  Recently I made this for a shower and it turned out really well.  Super easy and surprisingly how much dip this recipe actually makes.  Instead of the feta cheese I used goat cheese just because I already had some handy.  This dip was great warm but it was good the next day cold as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed

Preparation

Place artichoke hearts, spinach, sour cream, onion, garlic, Parmesan, milk, feta, mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper into a slow cooker. Stir until well combined. Top with cream cheese.

Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours.

Uncover and stir until cream cheese is well combined. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15 minutes.

Adapted from:  Damn Delicious

Veggie Egg Power Cups

Eggs are great, but I don’t normally do eggs first thing in the morning.  I prefer them late morning around brunch or even for dinner, scrambled and smothered in cheese.  My husband on the other hand is a big fan of eggs, just not the yolks.  He puts egg whites in all kinds of things, even his oatmeal.  Yuck.  So needless to say he was all for trying these bad boys out.  Honestly, I was skeptical.  They turned out okay, he enjoyed them for a quick breakfast on the way to work.  Me, on the other hand, not so much.  I even tried adding some cheese to a few to see if it made a difference and the result was… meh.  Now, I understand the health benefits and all, but that only works if you’ll actually eat it, am I right?

Ingredients:

  • ½ carton of  liquid egg whites
  • ½ bunch asparagus, sliced in ½” chunks
  • ½ head of cauliflower, heads cut off and crumbled
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp diced jalapeno peppers
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl pour half the container liquid eggs, adding in the garlic and oregano. Whisk to mix.  In a silicone muffin pan (large 6 muffins), portion out vegetables starting with cauliflower.  Pour eggs mixture to cover each muffin cup, approximately ¾’s full.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, serve warm or cold.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days for an easy snack or meal.

Adapted from: This Lil Piglet

Avocado Stuffed Burgers with Spicy Mayo

We’re big fans of turkey burgers and avocado so when I saw this I knew it’d be a must-try.  Although it’s been a long time since I’ve made regular beef burgers, I decided it would be best to try with beef first since the turkey can be dry and fall apart easily.  The original recipe calls for a spicy paleo mayo, but I didn’t have the time to make it so instead I just added some sriracha to a little regular mayo made with olive oil.  The burgers were a bit greasier than we like and a lot of the mayo oozed out but these burgers were still good on a Hawaiian roll.  Next time I think I’ll try the turkey.  Oh, and the Crispin Hard Pear Cider was a great pairing…

Ingredients:photo464565
  • 2lb lean ground beef
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons herbes de provence
  • 1-1/2 ripe avocado, sliced crosswise

Preparation:

Pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat.  Add all the ingredients except for the avocado, to a fairly large mixing bowl and knead by hand until well combined. Form into 12 thin, equal patties.  Slice the avocados in half crosswise, remove the pit and then slice each half into 3 equal slices; keep the 2 larger slices to stuff the burgers and throw the smaller ends into a small bowl to make the spicy mayo.

To build the burgers, place one avocado slice on six of the patties, then drop a spoonful of the mayo right in the center of the avocado slices. Cover with a second meat patty, then carefully pick this up in your hands and pinch the edges with your fingers to make sure your patties are nicely sealed. Finish forming the patties with your hands so they become beautiful and nice and round.

Brush the patties with avocado oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill over medium-high heat for about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on desired level of doneness.

Adapted from:  The Healthy Foodie

 

Just Breathe…

I cannot begin to explain what I’m feeling right now.  This weekend we attended our first event for prospective adoptive parents since we received the approval letter from the agency.  It was both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.  Exciting because it finally started to feel real and we’d get to meet different kids.  Nerve-racking because we really didn’t know what to expect, didn’t want to get our hopes up too much.  So, this was a back to school match event.  Here’s the premise – prospective parents and kids awaiting adoption get to meet and get to know each other in an informal, social setting.  At the end of the event both the kids and the parents complete a form (separately) making an indication if there was any kind of connection with a particular child/parent.  If any of the matches appear to be viable then social workers help get the ball rolling.  c5397c8849b7b26c0a5e4f0e394f3ada

We arrived early, both of us a little nervous and uncomfortable.  Immediately we met Michael, a recruiter from Children’s Home Society who put the event together.  All of the kids at the event were between the ages of 10-17.  Michael spoke so eloquently and with so much feeling, it brought forth a lot of my emotions almost immediately. I tried desperately to hold back tears.  We mingled and played games, trying to learn about each kid and just have fun.  We’ve said all along we don’t have real parenting experience so attempting to parent a teenager may be too difficult for us to handle so neither of us was expecting to have a strong connection.  But, as Michael said – open your heart, just spending time with this kids and making them special can make a huge impact.  We spent the day getting to know these kids and they were all so wonderful.  I was surprised at how open they were and how the smallest thing could make them smile.

After a few hours we realized we were making connections, we began to truly care about these kids.  They all had different personalities – they all had hopes and dreams and they all have something unique to offer the world.  And, they all just wanted to be happy and to be loved.

What we felt for these kids caught us both off-guard.  At the end of the event when we were completing our form, we wanted to learn more about every one of them.  I swear if we had the means, we’d take them all home with us right then!  But, unfortunately we can’t.  Surprisingly, there was one particular kid that we had a strong connection with.  A young man, who just turned 16.  He was very soft spoken and polite, but open and friendly.  He loves animals and spending time outdoors; loves history, science and art – math?  not so much.  He came up to me before leaving to shake my hand.  To tell me that it was nice meeting us, he enjoyed spending time with us, we seem nice…

So, here comes Michael – and here come the tears…  I couldn’t hold it in any longer.  It was all just so overwhelming.  We leave and head back to our friends’ house where we’re staying for the weekend.  They ask how it went and I don’t know why, but I can’t even talk without more tears.  tears

The rest of the weekend I find myself thinking about this kid – trying to picture what it would be like… is it possible we could parent a teenager?  I just don’t know.  I can’t explain it, but somehow I feel attached to him.  We both do.  After we finally got back home tonight we watched his video on the CHS website.  We don’t know many details about his past or what brought him into foster care, but we did learn that he’s been in and out of foster care since he was six.  Six.  Ten years.  Can you imagine?  We were floored.  And again with the tears…

It’s so hard to explain all the emotions I’m feeling right now.  My heart is breaking and I’m wondering, what do we do?