Ah, finally Friday. Once again this week felt longer than usual. I spent yesterday thinking it was Friday, shopping with my mom. On Craigslist I found some chairs with rush seats that I thought would be perfect to replace the chairs at my kitchen table. Because I’m always a little nervous to go to any of these Craigslist places on my own, I called my mom to go with me. It turned out to be a cute little store selling items from estate sales. The chairs where exactly what I was looking for, but way to small for my table. While I was there I found the cutest little tray. Marked $10 the man sold it to me for $5, no bargaining involved. He said “how about $5″ and I said “sounds good.” I’m stilling looking for a wrought iron tea cart for my patio and I think once I find it this tray will be the perfect accessory.
We actually had some exceptionally cool May weather the last few weeks. To the point where it was necessary to wear sweaters and pants. We have seem some wacky Florida weather this year, but I’m not going to complain about extra cool weather in May. We all know the hot and humid summer is right around the corner.
It was nice to be able to eat chili out on the patio. And the best part about this recipe is how quick it cooks. After a busy day of work this is an easy recipe to place on the table. Who would think you can make delicious chili in less than 30 minutes.
Black Bean Chili Stuffed Baked Potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 12oz bottle of beer
3 cups black beans, cooked, about 3 cans drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 small Russett potatoes
cheese and Greek yogurt, for toppings
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add beer, beans, tomatoes, chipotles, cumin, chili powder, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While chili is simmering bake potatoes. I like to start them in the microwave to speed up cooking time. Wash and poke holes with fork. Wrap each potato in a paper towel and microwave 5 minutes.
Remove from paper towels and place on an aluminum foil lined pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until soft.
Allow the potatoes to cool for 5 minutes, cut open and spoon chili on top. Top with cheese and Greek yogurt and other favorite chili toppings.
This salad bring me back to college days. I lived with the same roommate for 3 years. We rarely cooked because we were provided lunch and dinner at the sorority house and we would take extra food to last us through the weekend. If we ran out there was always pizza. Yeah, not the healthiest diet.
One time in those three years we decided it would be fun to have a dinner party. We invited a few of our friends and we each made or brought a dish. I don’t even remember what I made, but I distinctly remember my roommate calling her dad for his Panzanella salad recipe. This was the first time I had ever heard of Panzanella salad.
Last week while doing my weekly menu plan I could not get Panzanella salad out of my head. I had to have it. I searched the web and came across this Grilled Cheese Panzanella Salad by Panini Happy. Um, yes please! This salad is like a marriage of my two favorite things. It has the elements of a Caprese salad with the twist of a Panzanella salad and grilled cheese, ok make that three favorite things. All tossed in a light and tangy vinaigrette.
Grilled Cheese Panzanella Salad
4 slices of sourdough bread
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 large tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
about 1/4 cup fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons whte balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped shallot (or red onion)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Heat up panini press to medium high heat. Make two grilled cheese sandwiches with the bread and cheese and cook 5-6 minutes until melted and toasty.
While sandwiches are cooking make the vinaigrette. Whisk together vinegar, shallot, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly to combine.
Allow sandwiches to rest a few minutes. After coming off the grill then cut into 1/2″-1″ squares to make grilled cheese croutons.
Slice tomatoes into chunks, thinly slice onions, and tear fresh basil. Toss together in a large bowl add croutons and pour in dressing. Toss to combine. Let sit about 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
We enjoyed this as our dinner. If you are serving it as a side you could probably feed about 4-5 people.
Lentil Tacos are both a great meatless option and cheap dinner. Taco nights are nothing fancy in our house. I don’t go out and buy specialty shredded lettuce or salsa we use what we have, which means I usually chop up some spring mix and either have chopped tomatoes or pico de gallo (if I have everything to make it). We always have Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and the guacamole this time was just a bonus. When taco shells are on sale I usually buy them and plan tacos into our menu in the next few weeks.
I thought lentils made a surprisingly good taco filling. And leftovers were made into a tostada. I broke tacos shells in half so they laid flat and piled on the toppings. Whether you make these for Meatless Monday or just a penny pinching night. I don’t think you will even miss the meat.
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced,
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup dried lentils
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used vegetable to make this vegetarian)
In a large skillet saute onion and garlic in oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 25-30 minutes.
I love crispy flatbreads. They are one of my favorite things to order out at restaurants. Usually I use naan, but was excited to see that Flatout had come out with a new product, flatbreads. They are thicker than a tortilla, but thinner than the naan I usually use, resulting in a very crispy, cracker like crust when cooked.
This past week they were on sale buy one, get one free at Publix. I hope you picked them up. I snagged the last two when I was there last Friday. Both were spicy Italian, but we can handle the heat.
I perused a few of my favorite flatbread offering restaurants for suggestions and ideas and landed on the Artichoke and Goat Cheese flatbread from Seasons 52. I don’t know that I have had it there, but the flavors sounded like something I would enjoy.
This was a great end of the week meal with a glass of wine. I cooked the flatbreads on the grill and we enjoyed dinner on the patio.
Artichoke and Goat Cheese Flatbread
1 medium white onion, sliced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 Flatout flatbreads
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/2 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 oz goat cheese
Start caramelizing the onions early so they are not rushed. Over medium low heat begin them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir every 10-15 minutes to ensure even cooking. Once they begin to brown and caramelize, after about 45-60 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, let it absord, and set aside.
Drizzle remaining 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over flatbreads. Top each with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, the balsamic onions, roasted red peppers, artichoke, and finish off with goat cheese.
Preheat grill to medium low heat. Grill each flatbread for 5-7 minutes, careful not to burn. They could also be baked for about 10 minutes on 350 degrees.
I love sweet potatoes, I’m not a huge fan of the sweet potato casserole that is oh so popular around the holidays, but a baked sweet potato with a little butter and brown sugar is one of my favorite things.
These Southwestern Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes were born during our Meatless March. Sweet potatoes were on sale for Easter and I just knew I had to make a hearty main course out of them. Can you tell I really like the combo of sweet potatoes and black beans? Like these tacos or these burritos…
To add a little spice I used chipotle in adobo. These canned peppers are always in the pantry. Perfect to add heat any time you need a little kick.
With a side of steamed veggies these were plenty filling as a meatless meal, but they could also be served along side a small amount of lean protein such as grilled chicken or pork for those that can’t go without meat.
Southwestern Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Wash the sweet potatoes and puncture with a few holes. Microwave wrapped in a paper towel for 5 minutes. Finish baking in oven (or toaster oven) at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes.
Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the insides out into a bowl. Leave a small rim of potato around the edge to hold the shape. Mash potato with cream cheese. Stir in black beans, chipotle, and cilantro. Scoop the filling back into the potato halves and top each with 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.
Bake in oven about 5-7 minutes until cheese melts.