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Poblano Chicken Tostada Salad | alidaskitchen.com

Poblano Chicken Tostada Salad

Poblano Chicken Tostada Salad is a healthy entree salad made with chicken, poblano peppers, onion and spices, served over a bed of salad greens on top of a cheesy, crisp corn tortilla. This is easy to make, great for a weeknight!

Poblano Chicken Tostada Salad | alidaskitchen.com

This Poblano Chicken Tostada Salad is inspired by the Chopped At Home challenge with Sargento® Cheese.

For this challenge, at-home cooks are asked to get creative in the kitchen with your best dish, that must include the following ingredients:

  • Sargento® 4 Cheese Mexican Blend
  • Corn tortillas
  • Poblano peppers
  • Chicken thighs

The dish may  contain other ingredients, but the above must be the focus. Needless to say, I was very excited to see the contents of this virtual chopped basket. Creating a Mexican-inspired dish using some of my favorite ingredients would be a fun challenge!…

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Cheesy Beef Taco Lasagna | alidaskitchen.com

Cheesy Beef Taco Lasagna

Tracking PixelCheesy Beef Taco Lasagna puts a Mexican twist on an Italian classic, creating a fun, delicious cheesy dinner the whole family will love! Thank you to Hunt’s Tomatoes for sponsoring this post.

Cheesy Beef Taco Lasagna | alidaskitchen.com

Two of my favorite types of cuisines are Italian and Mexican. I am not a purist by any means and often enjoy them in nontraditional ways (such as these Mexican Quinoa Bites). When I saw this Cheesy Beef Lasagna recipe, a tasty-looking Italian-inspired recipe, I could not wait to put a Mexican spin on the recipe to create Cheesy Beef Taco Lasagna!…

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Slow Cooker Beer Chicken Fajitas | alidaskitchen.com

Slow Cooker Beer Chicken Fajitas

For an easy recipe for game day, try Slow Cooker Beer Chicken Fajitas made with a seasoned beer-lime marinade and served in mini soft tortilla boats and topped with a yogurt-avocado cream.

Slow Cooker Beer Chicken Fajitas | alidaskitchen.com

Whether it is homegating with family or hosting a big game day party, easy recipes made in a slow cooker are a lifesaver for preparing party food. This recipe for Slow Cooker Beer Chicken Fajitas is as easy as they come, makes plenty for a crowd and becomes an instant fan favorite! …

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Mexican Quinoa Bites | alidaskitchen.com

Mexican Quinoa Bites

Tracking PixelMexican Quinoa Bites are healthy, cheesy bite-sized mini mac and cheese muffins made with quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and other southwestern flavors. {vegetarian, gluten free} Thank you to Hunt’s Tomatoes for sponsoring this post.

Mexican Quinoa Bites | alidaskitchen.com

With the big game just around the corner, while I am not necessarily a football fan, I am definitely a football food fan! Since this is also a time of year when people are looking to eat a little healthier, I am even more inspired to create fun tasty recipes with a healthier twist.  Quinoa bites are always my most requested recipes for parties, such as these Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites, Jalapeno Popper Quinoa Bites, Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites and Pizza Quinoa Bites. Time to add Mexican Quinoa Bites to the list…they’re so good!  …

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Mexican Quinoa Skillet | alidaskitchen.com

Mexican Quinoa Skillet

Mexican Quinoa Skillet is an easy, one-pot meal using common pantry ingredients, made in less than 30 minutes.  {vegan, gluten free}  Thank you to CansGetYouCooking.com through the Mom It Forward Blogger Network for sponsoring this post.

Mexican Quinoa Skillet | alidaskitchen.com

Move over frozen pizza, pasta and take-out!  We have a new easy weeknight dinner solution that is delicious, quick to make and healthy too. This Mexican Quinoa Skillet has become my new go-to dinner for busy nights,…or lunches or any time really, because it’s just so good and my kids love it!…

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Lighter Chipotle Beef Tacos #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams

Lighter Chipotle Beef Tacos #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams

Lighter Chipotle Beef Tacos are an easy recipe for a healthier beef taco. {Gluten Free}

Lighter Chipotle Beef Tacos #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams

Back when Mike and I were first married, I tried to cook dinner every night.  At the time, I was still working and often ended up at the office much later than he was. He could tell how tired I was after working 10+ hour days and wanted to help with dinner.  He has always made a mean frozen pizza and used to cook a lot during his bachelor days. He told me he used to make tacos all of the time – meat plus a seasoning kit.  Oy!  I was excited for tacos, but my first thought was…where are the vegetables?  He is very good at following a recipe, so we decided that I needed to come up with a healthier beef taco recipe that is easy to make….

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Quick and Easy Salsa Chicken

Quick and Easy Salsa Chicken #WeekdaySupper #FamilyDinnerTable

Quick and Easy Salsa Chicken

From busy weeknights to inexperienced cooks and everything in between, Quick and Easy Salsa Chicken is a simple yet tasty recipe that everybody needs to have in their recipe box.

Quick and Easy Salsa Chicken is a great choice for when you’re looking to make something fast that is healthy too.   It can be made in less than 15 minutes, and this recipe is very hands off, just put everything in the pan and cook.   Cutting the chicken into bite-size pieces inevitably speeds up the cooking process for the chicken.   While I listed the measurements for what I used in the recipe below, this recipe is very flexible and these amounts are not strict.  Just make sure the salsa covers your chicken and you’re good to go!…

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#shop-chicken-fajita-pasta #kraftrecipemakers

Chicken Fajita Pasta | quick family meals

#shop #kraftrecipemakers #shop Chicken Fajita Pasta #kraftrecipemakers

Chicken Fajita Pasta is a healthy and quick family meal made delicious using a Kraft Recipe Makers meal kit!  

After a long day of  juggling two kids, their activities, naps (or no naps), the big question is ‘what’s for dinner tonight?’  While we often have big ideas of recipes to try, what we really end up needing is a quick, easy meal.  We want something healthy too.  This Chicken Fajita Pasta is just that – healthy, easy and delicious!  It is made with fresh chicken, vegetables, cheese and a delicious sauce, which is actually my new secret weapon.  This little secret of mine is Kraft Recipe Makers!

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Three Bean Vegetarian Chili from Alida's Kitchen

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili #WeekdaySupper

30 Minute Three Bean Vegetarian Chili from alidaskitchen.com Three Bean Vegetarian Chili is so good, carnivores will not miss the meat!  This healthy chili takes only 30 minutes to make, and leftovers reheat well. {vegan, gluten free}

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili, also known as “Veg Head” Chili, is one of our favorite recipes to make during the cooler months. This chili is hearty enough to satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians (and vegans!) alike…due to the addition of the third bean ~ refried beans!  The refried beans are an unexpected addition that thickens the chili perfectly and gives it a the nice hearty texture.  Combined with the other beans and all of the vegetables and spices, this chili has quickly become a family favorite….

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chipotle macaroni and cheese

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese is a delicious, cheesy, veggie-filled baked pasta with a Mexican twist.  It is made with three different cheeses (yum!) and lots of vegetables (yum!).  The chipotle chiles add a nice smokiness and spice which, along with the chili powder, balance nicely with the tomatoes and cheeses.  Black beans give a protein and fiber boost while adding a nice color contrast to the rest of the dish.  A traditional breadcrumb topping is sprinkled over the top before baking.

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese is very easy to prepare and the result is no ordinary mac ‘n cheese, that’s for sure. This recipe makes plenty, and the leftovers heat up nicely for lunches the next day.

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese
 
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry whole wheat elbow macaroni (or other short pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 (14½ ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, including juices
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotle chiles)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting fat and salt.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chiles, onion, and bell pepper, and cook 4 minutes, or until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant, stirring frequently.
  3. Sprinkle with flour and chili powder, and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes, or until mixture is thickened.
  5. Add adobo sauce, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, milk, Parmesan and egg, stirring until combined and cheese is melted. Add cooked pasta and black beans, stirring until combined.
  6. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Adapted from Cooking Light

guacamole grilled cheese sandwich

Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Cheese has always been one of my favorite foods.  As a child I remember sneaking some cheese whenever my mom was in the kitchen, or simply grabbing a Kraft Single on my way out to play.  I also remember my mom always made my brother a ham and cheese sandwich using Kraft Singles, but I liked my cheese plain.  That is…until I discovered the grilled cheese sandwich.  Melty cheese on bread?  So simple yet so delicious!

When I went to college and had my own apartment, I started experimenting with grilled cheese sandwiches.  It was around this time when I noticed Kraft Singles came in more varieties than American, and I was very excited to see they came in Swiss!  I made a tasty little combo with a slice of cheddar, a slice of Swiss, some sauteed onions, all on multi-grain bread.  Grilled cheese perfection every time.  Oh…the memories!

That was all many years ago, yet my love for experimenting with grilled cheese sandwiches continues to this day.  Mike and I like to mix it up with tomatoes, sunflower seeds, onions, bacon (for him)…really nothing too crazy, but always tasty.  This time, I thought it would be fun to experiment with guacamole and make a Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

For a while now, I have had a recipe flagged for a grilled cheese made on the stove top and in the oven, without any butter.  This sounded like the perfect method for the Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  The result?  Amazing!  The stove-to-oven method gives the bread a crispy exterior without any frying or being greasy.  The cheese is perfectly melted, and the guacamole can shine right through.  This Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a fun and tasty twist on a childhood favorite.

Do you have childhood memories or a family story to share about Kraft Singles?  You can share your story at https://www.facebook.com/KraftSingles. Put your story on the map and join the conversation about Kraft Singles!

Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich
 
Yields: 1 sandwich
Ingredients
  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons guacamole, any variety, such as Edamame Guacamole
  • 1 or 2 slices Kraft Singles 2% Sharp Cheddar
  • Cooking Spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Spread guacamole evenly on one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Place a Kraft Single cheese slice on top of the guacamole on each slice of bread, and then flip to make a sandwich (so cheese on cheese).
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Place sandwich in pan for about 1 to 2 minutes or until bread is toasted. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  5. Transfer sandwich from skillet to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, cut in half and serve immediately.

Disclaimer:  As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for free Kraft Singles and a stipend.

edamame guacamole

Edamame Guacamole

One of our favorite cuisines is Mexican, and an essential accompaniment is (of course) guacamole.  For a while now, I have been saving recipes for guacamole and finally decided it was time to make my own.  I wanted to give it with a healthy twist incorporating one of my favorite foods – enter Edamame Guacamole.

This guacamole did not disappoint.  There are little flecks of edamame throughout, adding a protein and fiber boost.  Along with the good fats from the avocado, this guacamole is a nutrition powerhouse.  The combination of the onion, chile and salsa (I used medium) give this guacamole some zip without being overpowering.  Below I listed the amounts that I used, but really everything can be adjusted to taste.  It is such a flexible and forgiving recipe.    This Edamame Guacamole tasted so fresh and delicious, I almost grabbed a bag of baked tortilla chips and some crudites and called it dinner.  Almost….but I needed to save some for a special recipe that I will be sharing with you tomorrow.  Edamame Guacamole meets an old childhood favorite!

Edamame Guacamole
 
Yields: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (thawed if frozen - that is what I used)
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional, to taste)
Instructions
  1. Put avocado, edamame, onion, chile, salsa, garlic and lime in food processor and pulse until smooth. Add cilantro, if desired. Tranfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Adapted from Whole Foods

baked cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado salsa

Baked Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Baked Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa is one of those dishes that combines very simple ingredients to make something versatile, classic and delicious.  The spice rub is an easy way to add flavor to the chicken without any added fat or calories, keeping things nice and light.

The avocado salsa topping is also a combination of simple, fresh ingredients.  The creamy avocado cools the spicy chicken, and the red onion complements everything quite nicely.  While delicious as-is, I can also envision adding some black beans or corn to the salsa or served as a simple side.

The chicken can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake, and the recipe halves easily to serve dinner for two.

 

Baked Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus additional for salsa
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, plus additional for salsa
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless (4 to 6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided (approximately from 1 lime)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (adjust amounts to taste preference). Rub all over chicken and place in prepared baking dish.
  3. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of lime juice over chicken. Bake uncovered for approxmiately 30 minutes, or chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the salsa. Put red onion and remaining lime juice in a medium bowl and let sit. Just before serving, mix in avocado and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve salsa over chicken.

Adapted from Everyday Food Light

sweet potato and black bean enchiladas

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Sweet potatoes and black beans are two of my favorite foods, though the thought of combining the two had me wondering.  I like my sweet potatoes plain and my black beans spicy…would they be good together?   When I came across a recipe for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas, they looked so good, I had to to give it a try.  And I’m so glad!  Whoever decided to put these two flavors together in a tasty Mexican-inspired dish is pure genius.  The sweetness and spicy pair beautifully in this dish, and the queso fresco rounds everything out quite nicely.

I like that you can make the sauce and/or filling ahead of time, since they are the most labor intensive (by labor, I mean time to stand over the stove…they’re really quite easy).  Assembly is a cinch, and then bake until warmed throughout and the cheese is all bubbly.  This recipe makes a lot, which is a very good thing ~ leftovers heat up perfectly!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
 
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
Sauce:
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1⅓ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (3 cups)
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 16 ounces prepared medium salsa
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
  • ½ cup vegetable broth (or water)
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 ounce round queso fresco, divided
  • Cooking spray
Enchiladas:
  • Cooking spray for baking dish
  • 16 16-inch corn tortillas warmed
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 avocado sliced (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Cilantro (optional)
Instructions
  1. Make sauce: Whisk all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer until slightly thickened (about 3 to 4 minutes) and then remove from heat.
  2. Make filling: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, salsa, garlic, chipotle chile, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  4. Mash mixture with a potato masher until combined. Add black beans and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes, or until black beans are heated throughout. Stir in 6 ounces of queso fresco and remove from heat.
  5. Assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread ½ cup sauce in bottom of dish. Fill warmed tortillas with filling (about ⅓ cup), roll and pack close together, seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and queso fresco. Bake 15 minutes.
  6. Broil: Adjust oven to broil and broil enchiladas for 5 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes and then serve.

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

healthy chicken tostada salad

Chicken Tostada Salad

This Chicken Tostada Salad recipe uses a technique for chicken that simply doesn’t cross my mind often enough – poaching!  Poaching is an easy and healthy way to cook chicken, without any added fat, in about 20 minutes.  In this recipe, the poached chicken is shredded and serves as a perfect blank slate for the salad, which combines simple but flavorful ingredients, such as red onions, chili powder, garlic, and lime juice.

The base of the salad is a crispy, toasted tortilla, with cheese baked right on it.  I have used both romaine lettuce and mixed greens.  It is good either way, but since I have mixed greens on hand at all times, that is what I tend to use.  Go with what you like best!  We enjoyed this tostada salad so much for dinner, I decided to make it for lunch again the next day.  It was that good!

Chicken Tostada Salad
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless (or rotisserie chicken breast)
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • ¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese, plus additional for topping (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ½ head of romaine lettuce, shredded OR 5 ounces of your favorite mixed greens
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken in medium pot, and add enough water to cover chicken. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let chicken stand, covered until cooked through (about 12 to 14 minutes). Remove chicken from liquid and shred with 2 forks.
  2. Spray corn tortillas with cooking spray and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Baked until golden and crisp (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  3. While tortillas are in the oven, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the onion and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add chili powder and garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add chicken and the water and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is warmed through and water has evaporated (about 2 to 3 minutes). Stir in 1 teaspoon lime juice and remove from heat.
  4. After tortillas are toasted, sprinkle each tortillas evenly with cheese and bake until cheese is bubbling (about 3 minutes). Remove from oven.
  5. In a large bowl, combine lettuce and remaining lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to coat and divide evenly among tortillas; top each with chicken mixture, tomato, avocado, remaining onion, and cilantro or cheese (optional, for topping).

Slightly adapted from Everyday Food Light

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Vegetable and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

Back when I was working outside the home, I brought my lunch every day.  I usually brought a peanut butter sandwich, pizza or leftovers from dinner the previous night.  Occasionally I brought an organic microwavable meal.  While not an ideal option, I could prounounce all of the ingredients, it was quick and convenient.  It was also pretty tasty too.  One of my more recent favorites was Black Bean Tortilla Casserole.  

I don’t have much of a need for microwaveable meals these days now that I stay at home with Adam. So when I saw a recipe for Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole, I was pretty excited to recreate the convenience food I enjoyed and make it a healthier option. 

The original recipe looked like it could use a little sprucing up, so I added spinach, onion, used more garlic and changed up the spices.   I love the additional vegetables in this dish.  It’s a lighter and healthier option, and is also quick and easy to prepare.  Leftovers reheat nicely…which I guess sort of makes it a microwavable meal, only better!  

Vegetable and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole
Yields 6 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 corn tortillas, warmed and halved
2 cups salsa
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned (about 7 minutes). 
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and chili powder, stir for 1 minute. 
  4. Add black beans and spinach and stir to combine.  Cook until beans are warmed through (about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat.
  5. Arrange 5 tortilla halves in baking dish.  Top with half of the bean mixture and 1/2 cup salsa, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat with another layer of bean mixture, salsa and cheese.  Top with remaining tortilla halves, salsa and cheese. 
  6. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes or until center is hot and cheese melts.  Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbling, 5 minutes OR if your dish is broiler-safe, put under the broiler until cheese is bubbling and browned.

Adapted from Everyday Food, January/February, 2011

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Black Bean Chili with Roasted Butternut Squash

One of my favorite things about the fall season (aside from an abundance of pumpkin recipes) is chili.  Not any chili will do, however…there are only a few chili recipes that I actually like.  Each is as good as the next, and they all have one thing in common.  They are vegetarian, and so delicious that you don’t miss the meat!

This Black Bean Chili with Roasted Butternut Squash is a new recipe to add to my chili repertiore.  It rivals my go-to recipe and then some.  The butternut squash adds a little more work to this recipe, but it’s definitely worth it.  I found some pre-cut cubes of butternut squash, which is what I used this time.  It definintely cut down on prep time.  But if you’re looking at a beautiful butternut squash and wondering what to do with it, I highly recommend trying this chili.

Black Bean Chili with Roasted Butternut Squash
Yields 4-6 servings

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloved, minced
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with chiles, including juices
1 tablespoon chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and/or pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash cubes with olive oil.  Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.  Transfer butternut squash to prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.  Roast, tossing occasionally, until just tender and golden brown (about 30 minutes). 
  2. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft (about 5 minutes).  Add garlic, stirring 1 minute.
  3. Stir in beans, broth, tomatoes, chipotle chiles, chili powder and oregano.  Simmer, covered 10 minutes.  Uncover and cook 10 more minutes.
  4. Stir squash into bean mixture and cook 5 minutes.  Add salt and/or pepper, to taste.  Serve warm.

Adapted from Health, December 2006

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Spicy Beef and Zucchini Pasta

When I was flipping through a recent magazine for the second time, I was a little surprised to see that I flagged something called ‘Stovetop Chili Mac.’  It’s not something that I would typically make, based on title alone.  After a quick glance, I could definitely see the potential in this dish – increase the veggies, give it some kick,…and we find ourselves with the delicious Spicy Beef and Zucchini Pasta.

The beef and zucchini sauce was a spicy and flavorful topping on top of pasta, which is a nice change from your every day bolognese.  The preparation of this sauce reminds me of my go-to taco recipe though.  This recipe makes plenty, so enjoy pasta for dinner and then tacos for lunch the next day.  That’s what we did!

Spicy Beef and Zucchini Pasta
Yields 4 servings

3/4 pound (12 oz) short pasta, such as rotini or rigatoni
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 green and/or red bell peppers, chopped
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with chiles, including juices
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium.  Add onion, peppers and garlic and cook until onion is translucent and peppers are soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Increase heat to medium high, add beef and break it up with a wooden spoon.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add chili powder and cumin, and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add zucchini and cook until tender.  Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and heated through. 
  5. Divide pasta among 4 bowls, top with meat sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.

Adapted from Everyday Food

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Chipotle Black Bean Tacos

Chipotle Black Bean Tacos are a delicious meatless taco recipe filled with black beans and vegetables. {gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, depending on toppings}
Chipotle Black Bean Tacos | alidaskitchen.com
Chipotle Black Bean Tacos are my favorite dish for meatless Monday, taco Tuesday or any day. They are fabulous! These tacos are made with mashed black beans, onions, peppers, chipotle peppers, spices, salsa, some broth, and then topped with any of your favorite taco toppings. The taco filling reheats well, and I often enjoy leftovers for lunches throughout the week (that is if there are any leftovers).
Chipotle Black Bean Tacos | alidaskitchen.com
These Chipotle Black Bean Tacos can be vegan and gluten free, depending on the tortillas and/or toppings. I enjoy them as a vegetarian options, since I like to add a bit of cheese. The taco filling reheats well, and I often enjoy leftovers for lunches throughout the week (that is if there are any leftovers).

Chipotle Black Bean Tacos
 
Author:
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • ⅓ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 15 ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 6 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • Topping ideas for serving: spinach or lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, chopped green onions, salsa
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and peppers to pan and saute for 3-5 minutes, until crisp-tender.
  2. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and chipotle chilis, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add beans and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in salsa. Mash lightly using a potato masher (or fork).
  5. Stack tortillas, wrap in damp paper towel and microwave for 45-60 seconds.
  6. Serve ⅓ cup filling for each tortilla along with desired toppings.
Notes
Adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Cooking Light

Chipotle Black Bean Tacos | alidaskitchen.com

Garlic Beef Enchiladas

My husband has been wondering ‘where’s the beef?’  Well here you go, Mike! 

This week I am participating in an online recipe swap hosted by Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking, and the theme is Mexican.  I received Garlic Beef Enchiladas courtesy of Heather Lynne of Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks.  This is not necessarily a recipe I would have selected on my own, simply because I do not eat a lot of meat.  But that’s the whole point of the recipe swap – try something different.  I was looking forward to making these enchiladas! (and Mike was very excited about meat!) 

In order to give the enchiladas a bit more veggie-flair, I used the entire onion and entire bell pepper.  I also used vegetable broth, simply because that was what I had on hand, corn tortillas instead of flour, and made a few adjustments to the garlic and spices.  In lieu of stewed tomatoes, I used diced tomatoes with chiles to give it an extra kick, and they worked great.  This recipe ended up a combination of Heather Lynne’s adaptation, the original recipe and some of my own recipes.    

These enchiladas were a bit more labor intensive than most weeknight meals, but in end it was worth it.  They were phenomenal!  I savored every last bite – meat ‘n all.  I will definitely be making this recipe again, though next time I plan to try substituting black beans for the beef.

Be sure to check out the round up of the recipe exchange at A Taste of Home Cooking.  A big thank you to Sarah for hosting the recipe swap and a big thank you to Heather Lynne for the great recipe (and Mike thanks you for meat)!

Have a great weekend!

Garlic Beef Enchiladas
Yields 6 servings (2 enchiladas per serving)
FILLING:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chilis

SAUCE:
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 all purpose flour
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) vegetable or beef broth
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin

12 corn tortillas (6 inches) warmed
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheese (cheddar or colby jack)

  1. In a large skillet, heat beef, onion, pepper and garlic over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink.  Add seasonings and stir well.  Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan heat oil over medium heat.  Saute garlic 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.  Stir in flour until blended (making a roux).  Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in the tomato sauce and seasonings.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of the sauce into the bottom of pan. 
  4. Stack tortillas and wrap in damp paper towel and microwave for 45-60 seconds.  Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup filling, top with 1 tablespoon cheese and roll up tightly  Place in baking dish seam-side down.  Continue with remaining tortillas. 
  5. Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce.  Cover with non-stick foil (or spray regular foil with cooking spray) and cook for 30 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Adapted from Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks and from Taste of Home

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Grilled Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

It is not very often that a new recipe immediately leaps way to the top of the list.  But when I saw a tasty recipe in Experience Life magazine, I think my heart skipped a beat with excitement.  I got that ‘I just found a recipe that will change your life’ feeling.  Cheese, black beans, green onions, garlic and spices, all nestled in a tasty little jalapeno?  Seriously?  Time to fire up the grill!

In fact, I was tempted to simply grab a spoon and eat the filling straight from the bowl.

I resisted and instead stuffed these beautiful jalapenos.  The result is a delightful, healthy twist on a jalapeno popper.

This heavenly dish makes for a perfect appetizer at any summer gathering, yet is easy enough to whip together for a light weeknight dinner.  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers
Yields 8 (appetizer) or 4 (dinner) servings

16 jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
4 green onions, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the peppers.
  2. Make a lengthwise slit down each pepper, leaving the stem intact; carefully remove ribs and seeds.  (Tip: a quick rinse helps remove the seeds from the inside, lessening the heat)
  3. Distribute filling evenly among peppers (about 1 tablespoon per pepper).
  4. Heat grill to medium heat.  Place stuffed peppers on a sheet of foil on the grill.  Cover and cook until cheese mixture has melted and peppers are softened, about 10-15 minutes.

Adapted from Experience Life

cheese enchilada casserole

Cheese Enchilada Casserole

Truth be told, after the birth of our son, my husband (Mike) and I fell into what some might affectionately call a “dinner rut.”  Our dinners were something quick and easy for Mike to whip together while I took care of putting the baby to bed.  And the rotation went something like this: pizza (frozen), pasta (fresh ravioli), Pei Wei (sesame chicken!), and eggs (which later morphed into “p’eggs”).  We were tired.  We were hungry.  Sometimes we had pizza 2 nights in a row.  After many many months we were ready for a change.  The baby was older and bedtime a bit more predictable.  It was time to dig into my recipe archives, and the revival of Cheese Enchilada Casserole was born.

Cheese Enchilada Casserole is an easy weeknight meal that’s full of flavor and is healthy too.  With some advance prep work it can easily be assembled and on the table in around 30 minutes.  There are countless variations that can evolve from this basic recipe – add chicken or black beans, vary the cheese or tomatoes or sauce.  Yet it’s just as tasty prepared in the version written below.

Cheese Enchilada Casserole
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (8 oz) fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • ¼ cup (1 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 9 6" corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mix first 6 ingredients, through chili powder, in bowl. [This step can be done in advance]
  3. Place 3 corn tortillas in baking dish. Top tortillas with ½ of cheese mixture. Repeat. Top final layer with 3 corn tortillas.
  4. Pour taco sauce over tortillas and top with ¼ cup cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Slice into 4 pieces and serve.

Adapted from Cooking Light

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Onion Cheese Quesadilla

I discovered this quesadilla recipe while searching for meal ideas for my son, and when I showed it to my husband he said “Yes, please.”  It instantly went on the menu for the week and we’re both very glad it did.

Why have I never made quesadillas before?  Are they difficult?  No.  Time consuming?  Not in the least.  Intimidating?  Maybe a little bit with the whole flipping thing.  Really, these could not be any easier and are so quick to put together. 

There are endless possibilities of fillings, but this time I wanted to keep it simple and stick close to the original recipe.  While my husband and I were eating these wedges of cheesy and onion-y goodness, I could definitely foresee more quesadillas in our future. 

Onion Cheese Quesadilla
Adapted slightly from Weelicious

4 whole wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
cooking spray

  1. Saute red onion in pan sprayed with cooking spray until soft and translucent.  Place in bowl and set aside.
  2. Using another pan (I used nonstick), place tortilla in dry pan over medium heat. Place 3/4 cup cheese and 1/2 the onion on the tortilla and top with another tortilla.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until cheese is melted and tortilla is toasted. 
  3. Repeat with remaining ingredients for second quesadilla.
  4. Slice into wedges and serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole or any of your favorite fixings.

Serves 2 to 4

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