Sometimes things work out, and more often then not I have to remind myself of that fact. Apparently a few months ago I had a special moment and forgot to sign up for August’s Secret Recipe Club reveal – my first miss in two years!!! Thankfully I was on Facebook at the right time to see a call to adopt an orphan for Group D, so I still get to participate. The blog I adopted wound up being perfect for me as Dena’s Oh! You Cook! blog is 100% Kosher!!! That’s right – 100% full of treats not treif 😀 Which meant I could pick any of her dairy, vegan, or parve recipes and not have to worry about surprise ingredients which was fantastic since I had only a few days to pick and make the recipe. Since I knew I was hosting another game day over the weekend I decided to look for easy side dishes or dips that would work with out bbq plan. Which narrowed it down to her Black Bean Salsa, Buffalo Nachos, Israeli Beet Dip, and Bean Salad. I really wanted to do her beet dip but struck out at the farmer’s market, and again when I suggested the dip on the meetup page – apparently gamers don’t like beets?!?! So I decided to whip up her bean salad, knowing it would be the perfect gluten-free and vegan side dish for our eclectic group of gamers. Some quick changes: used two cans of chickpeas (thought I bought kidney but apparently didn’t) and argula for cilantro since a few of our friends can’t stand the stuff.
Sure enough this salad was a hit! Some people used it as a really thick dip, others topped their burgers with it, while a few of us dived in with spoons. So while gamers don’t like beets – they most certainly LOVE beans!!!!
Ignoring the random snow we had yesterday (none of which stuck), I think it might be safe to say that spring is finally here! I am ready for the ground to thaw so that I can start clearing out all the old beds and start figuring out my plan for this year. As far as gardening goes this year is going to be a pot garden, since there is no established garden at our new place and I have no idea what areas of the yard will get the right amount sun – with the exception of the patio. The few flower beds in the front of the house are home to a few types of ivy, both poisonous and non, so odds are nothing new will get planted there until I know the nasty stuff is gone. However the first step is going at least a week without frozen precipitation. Today’s recipe is wishful thinking in that it features all the vegetables that I’m hoping to grow in my garden. From tomatoes to spinach to red onion – this cheesy treat is packing with the good stuff!
I’ll always be a fan of dishes that allow for easy seasonal switches. Garden overflowing with zucchini? Toss them in! Growing three types of tomatoes? Add them all! I decided to stick with the spring greens but look forward to trying a summer variety in the coming months. With that in mind I’m sending this over to the amazing Ren and her Simple and in Season April blog challenge, which is being hosted by Michelle who blogs over at Utterly Scrumptious I can’t wait to see all the early Spring treats everyone will be sending in!!!
“Franks” and Beans
Welcome to a BONUS Secret Recipe Club posting! This month I’m featuring an orphan blog from Group C as part of Group D’s link-up, with my normal Group A recipe coming next week. I’m so excited to be starting another year with SRC, I have meet so many amazing bloggers and found so many incredible recipes. Which is why I jumped at the chance to adopt and orphan blog, and what led me to Mary Anne and Mariel’s Feast on the Cheap. This mother-daughter duo focuses on meals that can feed your entire family on a budget that won’t break the bank. They also have one of the more extensive recipe pages out there, focusing not only on the type of meal but also what budget category it fits in. I was immediately drawn to the picture for the $10 meals, but made sure to check all of her categories to insure I found the perfect recipe. In the end I “narrowed” it down to five recipes before finally deciding that the Franks and Beans were too good to pass up – after a slight twist. I’ve never been a fan of cold beans while Joe is not a fan of raw red onions, so I decided to serve this salad hot.
This dish was perfection! Per the original suggestion I served with some leafy greens, massaged kale in this case, and added some fresh sourdough bread to round things out. Originally this dish had corn in it, but from the grocery store to my house the corn went MIA so I added a bit more sweet potato which worked very well – tho I do want to try this dish again with the corn. I’m also hoping to make her s’more brownies because they sound beyond insanely good.
Santa-Fe Rice & Beans
When I saw the /52weeksofcooking challenge for last week, I was a bit thrown. TV dinners aren’t something I grew up eating, outside of the rare kidcuisine, and most TV dinners follow a very standard non-vegetarian format. While I debated replicating the format (1 meat, 2 veggies, 1 dessert), I also thought about some of the vegetarian friendly frozen dinners I enjoyed in high school. When I first started out on the vegetarian path I had very limited cooking experience, and very little time to experiment since I had school, choir, and a part-time job. When I got home from work at 10PM I wanted something quick and easy, so microwave dinners were perfect. One of my favorites was called Santa Fe Rice & Beans, and while I haven’t had it in almost a decade I can still remember the “trick” to getting the rice to be warm without overcooking the beans. So I set out to recreate this late childhood dish, with delicious (and healthier!) results.
This might not be the standard TV dinner, but I can promise that I enjoyed this dinner many times while watching ER or Law & Order or whatever was on at 10 o’clock back in NBC’s glory days. I used homemade salsa verde (tomatillo salsa) based on the recipe on this page, however jar salsa, or a tomato based salsa, would work just as well.
Black Bean and Mushroom Casserole
Time for September’s edition of the Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned Mellissa’s awesome A Fit and Spicy Life blog, which was total perfection. We are BIG fans of spice over here, and always trying to be good decisions when it comes to what we eat. I found so many delicious recipes on her blog, including an incredible sounding summer chili, a very cheerful salad, and a new way to make a veggie friendly pasta sauce. In the end I sent all my choices over to my better half who selected Mellissa’s twist on a Mexican Casserole. I’ve done a few Mexican Lasagna/Casserole dishes but never one that included mushrooms so I was all on board for this dish! I had tons of fresh peppers in my garden so I decided to toss a few of them in as well.
Make sure to check out all of Mellissa’s delicious recipes, including her version of this simple dish. It came together to quickly, and can easily be adapted by switching up the salsa or beans used in the dish. I’m also sending this to /52weeksofcooking for their pepper entry, for while peppers aren’t front and center in this dish they certainly added a strong pop!
Salsa Verde Black Bean Tacos
Last meet submission for the /52weeksofcooking Taco Week challenge! I actually made this on Monday but had a rather insane week that resulted in way more delays then I thought possible. When it comes to tacos I tend to make my black bean sweet potato ones, after all they served at our rehearsal dinner so I’m more than a little partial. However for this challenge I wanted to go outside of my normal taco shell and try something really different. The first thing I wanted to do was make a soft taco, and with that a filling that would have some bit to it as a contrast to the shell. I wanted to keep beans as the primary protein but wanted to include something different. After debating squash, zucchini, green peppers, and tomatoes I decided to try tomatillos – seeing as how I’m a huge fan of salsa verde. I still wanted tomatoes, and more color, so I made some pico de gallo and also cut up some avacados to give them an extra boost. The end results were flavorful and extremely filling soft tacos that provided the perfect punch of heat.
For additional toppings Joe added cheese to his tacos while I stuck with some sour cream and some salsa verde. I’m sure there are other ways I could have incorporated the tomatillos but cooking everything in the same pan allowed the the flavors to all build and blend, resulting in a delicious combination of flavors.
Spinach and Bean Enchilada
I know I just commented on how I didn’t pick an enchilada recipe for SRC because I already have three recipes but I have to add another. There is a Mexican restaurant near us that serves these amazing Spinach & Cheese enchiladas and I had to try recreating them. I switched out the cheese for beans since I’m on a low-cheese diet and greatly increased the amount of spinach. I also made the sauce from scratch, deviating from the original entree again by preparing a red sauce instead of the sour cream verde sauce normally served on them. The end result is a delicious spicy sauce that goes perfectly with the beans and spinach, probably because they got their fair share of spices before being stuffed in the tortilla shells.
and the enchiladas themselves:
The next step will be making my own tortillas, but I’m still more than a little nervous about that. It took long enough for me to conquer bread in my bread machine, but eventually I’ll have to do it!