Remember how I hatched a plot to eat greens at every meal?
Yeah…desserts kind of got in the way of that healthy plan. But you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I am still trying to focus on the greenery as much as possible!
So this month for the Secret Recipe Club challenge, I decided to take a recipe for green chile enchiladas—which sounded heavenly—and green them up!
This is just the kind of quick meal I love to throw together when I’ve been having a busy day and I want to get dinner on the table without a lot of fuss.
A tostada is kind of like a taco salad that you pick up and eat with your hands. It can be gloriously messy, but let’s just call that an eating experience, okay? I love the spiced shrimp with a kick of lime. I love the mountain of veggies and cheese piled on top.
Bring a napkin and a fork, and dig in.
Have you ever made your own taco seasoning?
It’s kind of glorious.
Yes, it’s true: I have a penchant for making things from scratch that I could easily have bought in the store…but in this case, I really do think it’s worth it. Not only will you avoid totally unnecessary ingredients, like gums and gluten, but you if you make your own taco seasoning, you can customize the flavors and spice level!
Plus, your friends will be impressed. And isn’t it a beautiful thing when someone compliments your cooking (and you can brag that you even made the taco seasoning yourself)?
I have long been on a quest for the perfect fish taco to make at home: something spicy and tangy and crunchy and earthy that makes me lick my fingers and go back for more. And let me tell you, I have really had some fish taco failures at home—there are so many different recipes to be found, so many marinades and toppings, so many ideas about what makes a good taco! And the truth is that the basic, classic ingredients that make up a fish taco, white fish and coleslaw, can be quite bland.
I am forever ordering fish tacos in restaurants so I can examine them and make mental notes. (Note to self: do not drop an enormous chunk of fried fish inside a tortilla, top it with three shreds of cabbage, and call it a taco. Yuck.)
But Sarah and I were determined to get it right! I think this recipe is a winner, a taco I would make again and again. The coleslaw is sharp and limey, the chipotle mayo adds just the right amount of heat, and the fish is flaky and well seasoned. Taco heaven!
Do you know what mothers of newborns need?
(Aside from more sleep, looser clothing, and a cadre of friends who volunteer to bring them food for several weeks—thank you friends!!)
Mothers of newborns need meals that require almost no effort to put on the table. Things that basically cook themselves while we attempt to entertain rambunctious 2-year-olds and nurse our handsy infants for (seemingly) hours, simultaneously.
New moms, meet black bean ragout!
I have been making this simple black bean ragout for years…pretty much ever since the Smitten Kitchen cookbook arrived on my doorstep. It may not be the most beautiful dish (hello, soupy black water), but it is a quick and easy (and inexpensive…) life-saver. (Assuming I have my wits about me around noon or so to dump all the ingredients into the crockpot.)
I absolutely adore this black bean dish. It’s so simple and versatile! Dave and I have decided that our favorite way to eat these black beans is inside of burritos, but we also enjoy them crostini-style on garlicky bread and tossed into scrambled eggs with salsa for some extra protein in the morning! You could even potentially eat this as a soup. The possibilities are nearly endless.
A while back, I mentioned that I am growing acorn squash this year! I have a little container vegetable garden on my porch, and almost everything I am growing is thriving.
Except, sadly, for my acorn squash. It all started out brilliantly: I had four plants that were green and leafy and growing like gangbusters. About a month ago, a crazy amount of blossoms started opening up and I got pretty excited for some squash to reveal itself. But…only two of the blossoms on all four of the plants sprouted squashes. After a while of not seeing any more little babies growing, I mentally threw up my hands and decided to start harvesting the blossoms. (Maybe that was my mistake? Who knows.)
Immediately after harvesting my first bunch of blossoms, the plants started yellowing. I am not an experienced gardener, people. I was at a loss. Eventually I found that one of the vines was being eaten from within by a worm—and there went one of my two baby acorn squash (augh!). I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with the others.
So. Believe me when I tell you that these quesadillas were a labor of love. With these, I used up the last blossoms my poor, sad acorn squash seem like they are going to produce.
What a tasty way to go out!
One of the unexpected perks of being a stay-at-home mom is getting to have near-weekly lunches with my foodie friend Sarah of Well Dined!
Often when we get together, we view it as an opportunity to make something complicated (I think we like to show off for each other), or something our husbands would never eat. But a few weeks ago, we were craving something simple, full of veggies, and…yes, let’s admit it, cheesy.
Sarah tracked down a recipe for veggie enchiladas, and boy am I glad she did! With a few quick alterations (who has patience for a slow cooker at lunch time?), we were on our way to a delicious lunch.
You can make these enchiladas for lunch or dinner. They are super quick to put together and go well with a salad!
Wow. Today was really a day, if you know what I mean. It started out with very few hours of sleep, became more harried and more chagrined as I rushed off to an early morning meeting that turned out not to be today, and was compounded by my darling son spitting up on my crotch in front of an old friend. Twice.
Do you know what made today really shine? (Aside from the cutest giggles and looks of delight Jake shot my way after he plastered me awkwardly in white goo…)
It was these tacos. Yep. Great texture, bright flavors…what more could a girl ask for?
Now, I know it sounds weird to combine spaghetti squash and black beans, but this colorful, quickie meal just works! I promise these tacos will really light up your day! (Plus, if you are finding yourself tired of the sweetness of winter squash, and can hardly bear to think about how long it will be until asparagus or broccoli come your way, this is a great meal to change the pace and still incorporate seasonal ingredients!)
You know what I need? More 10-minute dinner recipes.
You know why? I am about to become a mother. And infants + complex meals = crazy, worn out mommies. Or so I’ve heard from every single mother of young children I know.
With some trepidation, I have begun gearing up for the first few weeks after the baby arrives. This has not been an easy task, given that we are also having MAJOR, emergency construction done in our house to fix some broken pipes underneath our foundation (booo!). Anyway, I am trying to listen to the advice of my friends, who tell me to do any cooking I want to do now, before my son makes his grand debut, because I won’t be able to spend any time cooking or baking for several months after he is born.
Honestly, even though part of me sees great wisdom in this advice, part of me is incredibly discouraged every time someone tells me to say goodbye to my kitchen.
But you know what makes me incredibly happy? These quesadillas! Not only does my husband love them, but they are super fast and easy…and unlike most quesadillas, actually pretty good for you! I feel quite confident that these babies can remain in the rotation, even after my little one enters the fray!
Do you know the food talk show, The Chew? Five very different personalities joining together to share recipes and mock each other. Love it.
The Chew has become party of my daily lunchtime ritual. I rummage around in my fridge until I find something that takes about 1 minute to get ready, wander into the living room, and Hulu and I settle down to watch a week-old episode about spicy foods or breakfast all day.
So far my favorite episode has been the healthy foods episode from mid-January, on which Daphne Oz made this fabulous moo shu dish. Why am I so excited about moo shu, you wonder? Simply put, my husband should have been born in Asia. Pick a country, he can devour their traditional dishes with the hunger of three men. I also really love most Asian cuisines, but I have never been a huge fan of Chinese food…it usually tastes kind of like grease to me. But the one dish I always really enjoyed before becoming a vegetarian, coincidentally one of Dave’s all-time favorites, was moo shu pork.
How awesome is it that I now have a super-easy vegetarian version I can make whenever Dave needs a Chinese-food fix? And I can eat it, too!