Black Bean Fajitas

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One of the hardest things about meatless Fridays, for me, is that I don’t usually cook on Fridays. It’s our typical date night so we’re usually going out. But, when I go out I’m always drawn to a burger. Or steak. Or something else that’s off the menu on Lenten Fridays. So, we stay home and I cook, even though I usually don’t want to.

Quick meals make it easier to not throw in the towel and order a pizza. These were whipped up in no time and they were really good.

Black Bean Fajitas
(from One Hundred Dollars a Month)
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1  red bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cilantro, optional
Tortillas, for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Add in beans, pepper, onion and zucchini and cook until the veggies are nearly done. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Serve in tortillas.


Sesame Green Beans

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Two posts in one day? Must be recipe swap day! The latest theme was blogger’s choice, so I got to select anything I wanted from Joanna’s blog, Kosher Kitchen. I’ve never had to cook kosher, so it was really neat to spend time poking through her recipes to see the kinds of things she makes.

I settled on this simple side dish because side dishes are usually something of an after-thought for me so I’m trying to vary things up a bit. This was a great, delicious alternative to what I usually do with beans – and nearly as easy as just making some frozen ones.

As a side note, I someone managed to not get a single sesame seed in this picture. I’m not sure how that’s possible, since they were in the pan and then on our plates. Food blogger fail!

Sesame Green Beans
(from Kosher Kitchen)
Serves 4 as a side

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sesame seeds. When the sesame seeds begin to darken, stir in the green beans. Cook, stirring, until they turn bright green.

Add in the chicken broth, salt and pepper and cover. Cook for 10 minutes and then uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.

Want to see what the other bloggers participating made? Check out the roundup below. And thanks to Sarah, as always, for hosting!


Barbecue Quinoa Salad #VeryVegetarian

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A few weeks ago, I was selected to participate in the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge hosted by OXO and Plated. It’s a really fun event - OXO sent bloggers a package of cooking tools to use in creating a vegetarian dinner recipe for Plated. Plated is a service that sends you the ingredients to make a gourmet dinner in under 30 minutes – and they’ll be selecting a few of the recipes submitted to the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge to feature in their meal plans next month. Very cool, right?

I had a lot of fun coming up with a dish to make and submit. This one turned out perfectly - it clocks in at just about 20 minutes and is ridiculously easy to get on the table. It’s also one of those vegetarian meals that will easily please meat eaters too. It can also easily be made vegan – just make sure you’re using a vegan barbecue sauce and skip the cheddar.

Barbecue Quinoa Salad
Serves 2

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small head broccoli
1 ear of corn
1 red bell pepper
1 cup black beans
2 oz. cheddar cheese
4 green onions

Equipment:
Small saucepan
Salad dressing shaker (or small bowl + whisk)
Medium skillet or frying pan
Corn peeler (or sharp knife)
Tongs
Cheese grater
Mixing bowl

 

Prepare quinoa: Rinse the quinoa and add to a small saucepan. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, until all water is absorbed.

Prepare dressing: In a salad dressing shaker, combine the barbecue sauce, Cajun seasoning and 1/3 cup olive oil. Shake until well combined. Set aside.

Cook vegetables: Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces (florets only) and dice the red pepper. Add both to the pan. Using a corn peeler, remove the kernels from the corn and add to pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until broccoli starts to soften. Move the veggies around with tongs occasionally to keep from burning. Add the black beans and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Prepare toppings: Shred the cheddar cheese and dice the green onions.

Assemble the dish: Add the quinoa and cooked veggies to a large bowl. Pour the dressing mixture over and toss using the tongs until evenly coated. Divide between two bowls and top with shredded cheddar and diced green onions.

Enjoy!


Easy Roasted Eggplant

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I’ve been loving all the gorgeous eggplant at the market. I’ve pinned about a million eggplant recipes to try and eggplant has been on my weekly shopping list. This was the first eggplant dish I made this season, and it’s dangerous.

Eggplant dishes (at least the ones I tend to pick out) seem to take a lot of prep. This one takes all of three minutes and then you can do other things while it roasts. After a busy day at work, it’s an awesome dinner and now that I have something so delicious and easy under my belt, it’s been hard to get motivated to do anything else with my eggplant!

 Easy Roasted Eggplant
(inspired by purevege.com)
Serves 2

1 large eggplant
1 T. olive oil
1 T. herbs de Provence
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score a diamond pattern into the white side. Place cut-side up on a baking sheet. Spread half the oil over each side, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the herbs over each half.

Roast until lightly golden brown and a knife slips in easily.

Serve with a side of tomato sauce.


Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

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I feel like I’ve been seeing versions of these on Pinterest forever. They peaked my interest, but I never had a good excuse to try them out. They finally landed on the menu when I decided that I needed to make pigs and blankets for dinner. This was their accompaniment – a way to throw in some veggies and still make it feel like a junk food night.

I was actually surprised how much I liked these. You’re not going to fool anyone into thinking these are actually chicken wings, but they’re good in their own right. The cauliflower becomes almost creamy within the baked coating. And because it’s made with whole wheat flour and baked, it’s much better for mindless snacking. I’m sure these will be a repeat during football Sundays!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”
(slightly adapted from Self)
Makes enough for 4-6 as a side

1 head of cauliflower
1 c. milk
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 c. buffalo wing sauce
1/2 c. ranch or blue cheese dressing

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, flour and garlic. Dredge each piece of cauliflower in the flour mixture, allowing extra to drip off, and place on a lined baking sheet.

Spray the tops of the “wings” with cooking oil and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked pieces to a large bowl. Drizzle the buffalo wing sauce over and toss to coat. Return the coated pieces to the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Burritos

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I’m currently in the middle of a summer fresh produce binge. I love everything with lots of fresh veggies and every trip to the grocery store ends up resulting in produce department impulse buys. I can’t get enough.

I made these a few weeks ago as a new-mom meal for a friend. They seemed like a good meal for that sort of thing, and I just wanted some more veggies.

I kept a few for myself for lunches and they were gone so quickly I had to make another batch the same week. These are simple, but so, so good!

Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Burritos
(from Aggie’s Kitchen)
Makes 8

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red pepper, cubed
1 red onion, cubed
2 jalapenos, diced
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
Salt and pepper
2 t. olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Handful chopped cilantro
Squeeze of lime
Whole Wheat Tortillas or Wraps
Nonstick olive oil spray
Foil

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together veggies with olive oil. Add spices and toss until evenly coated. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. When done, set aside to cool.

Add the black beans, cilantro and lime to the cooled vegetables and toss to combine. Divide mixture between wraps. Spray lightly with cooking spray and wrap in foil. Refrigerate – these will stay good for several days or can be frozen.

When ready to eat, put the wrapped burritos in a 350F degree oven until heated through – about 10 minutes.


Sweet & Spicy Green Beans

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I’ve been on a sides kick lately (have you noticed?) so when I was assigned Nichole’s blog for the latest blogger’s choice swap, I immediatedly went to see what kind of sides she had blogged.

Green beans are a favorite around here, so I knew these would be a big hit. We also always have the ingredients on hand so I’m sure this is a side that will make it into our regular rotation.

Sweet & Spicy Green Beans
(adapted from Cookaholic Wife)
Serves 2 as a side

1/2 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 T. olive oil
1 t. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 t. chile garlic sauce
1 tsp. honey
Pinch of sesame seeds, toasted

In a medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add green beans and cook until slightly browned and soft. Stir in soy sauce, chile garlic sauce and honey, tossing to coat.

Once the sauce has heated through, transfer beans to a serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

You can check out what the other bloggers in the swap chose to make below. Thanks, Sarah, for hosting!




Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Applesauce

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I first tried this recipe out when I wanted a sweet potato casserole but didn’t have the oven room for another dish. Using the slow cooker is the perfect solution. If you’re looking for another side to add to your Easter dinner, but don’t want something that will take a lot of effort, this is the dish to add to your menu. It takes minimal prep and then you just dump everything in the slow cooker – it couldn’t be easier.

This sweet side goes really well with ham.

 

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Applesauce
(slightly adapted from Betty Crocker)
Serves 6, as a side

2 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
3 T. butter,  melted
1 t. ground cinnamon

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray and spread sweet potatoes over the bottom.

In a small bowl, mix together the applesauce, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Pour evenly over sweet potatoes.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours until potatoes are very tender.


Honey-Glazed Carrots

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I love carrots. Mark likes carrots – as long as they’re raw. I almost never make cooked carrots because it’s a lot easier just to put a bowl of raw ones on the table.

I ended up with a lot of leftover carrots from another dish and decided to try out this recipe since I’d had it bookmarked forever. They were awesome and I had to stop myself from eating too many out of the pan before they were done.

Mark wouldn’t touch them but I’m okay with that – more for me.

Honey-Glazed Carrots
(from Martha Stewart)
Serves 6

1 T. vegetable oil
2 pounds carrots, thickly coin sliced
1 c. water
1/2 c. honey
2 T. red-wine vinegar
2 T. unsalted butter
Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes, until beginning to brown, turning once.

Add the water, honey and vinegar to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, cooking for 10 minutes. Remove cover and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, until the honey mixture is thick and syrupy.

Remove skillet from heat and add butter. Stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Korean Vegetable Pancakes and Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce

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Mark and I usually go out to dinner on Friday nights, but this is something we forego during Lent. It’s easier to make something vegetarian at home than to try to accommodate eating meatless at most restaurants. And even though all of the Lenten Friday recipes I’ve shared have been delicious, by this point in Lent it’s starting to wear on us a little bit. We miss our nights out.

I’ve been craving Chinese, so when I ran across this recipe I knew it would be a perfect dinner for us. I love making our own take-out.

Chock-full of vegetables, these are super filling and they reheat very well.

Korean Vegetable Pancakes and Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce
(from A Spicy Perspective)
Makes 4 12″ pancakes

For the pancakes
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
1 large egg
1 1/2 t. sea salt
2 c. shredded potatoes
1 c. shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced julienne
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 bunch green onions, cut in 1 in. sections
Pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for cooking

For the dipping sauce
1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. water
1 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sugar
1 T. sesame oil
1 minced garlic clove
1 t. sesame seeds
1/4 t. crushed red pepper

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together all the dipping sauce ingredients. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, just long enough for the sugar to dissolve. Whisk again and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the flour, water, egg and salt. Set the batter aside to rest.

Preheat two non-stick skillets to medium high heat. Slice all the vegetables and mix into the batter. Add pepper to taste. If the batter still seems very thick, after the veggies are mixed in, add 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix well.

Add a little oil to each skillet and swirl around. Ladle enough veggie batter into each skillet to completely cover the bottom. Fry for 4-5 minutes, per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter.

Cut the pancakes into wedges and serve warm with the dipping sauce.