Saturday, 17 January 2015

Bean and roasted veggie tacos

There are a few things I always have in my pantry -- onions, garlic, canned beans, canned tomatoes (and their Tex-Mex cousin, Rotel). Today, I was needing some lunch but too lazy to go to the grocery store, so I whipped together one of my favorite easy, cheap dishes using those key ingredients listed above and a couple other things taking up residency in my fridge. These tacos are healthy, cheap and incredibly easy to make. They are even vegetarian.

Another huge bonus is that they are endlessly customizable. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand, and if you aren't feeling the Tex-Mex vibe, you could switch up the seasonings and make something more Italian or even Thai inspired. This is hardly a recipe so I'm just going to throw out the basic steps I followed


You'll first need tortillas (I used corn) or some other wrap - pita bread would even do.

The filling
The taco filling is basically beans + roasted veggies. I sauteed black beans in oil with garlic and onion, and added bit of Rotel, some leftover rice and chili powder. For the veggies, chop your veggie of choice into very small pieces (I used broccoli and red onions), coat with oil, salt and pepper, and pop under the broiler for about 10 minutes. Stir it frequently.
Then, just mix the two together.

Plain 2% Greek yogurt is a great topping here, and I made mine a little Tex-Mex by adding a couple tablespoons Rotel. You could sub sour cream, any yogurt or even mayo. I also sprinkled on a little cheese. Wrap all those goodies up in the tortilla and you're ready to eat!

I've fancied these up and served them for guests before, too. If you make some fresh salsa and guacamole to serve on the side and pop a bag of tortilla chips into a serving bowl, suddenly your quick lunch is turned into an impressive but easy dinner.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Cheater calzones

Hey there, long time, no see! It's been a busy winter, but I finally am throwing something up on the blog.

I've been partial to quick and easy meals lately, but that doesn't mean cheating on quality or health! So, the other night, I whipped up these "cheat's calzones," inspired by another great recipe from my 200 20-minute meal cookbook, a gift from a wonderful friend. Seriously, the book is dirt cheap on Amazon and I use it a few times a month - definitely worth the $4 or so. (I am not a fancy enough blogger to make any money if you buy the book. I just really like it.)

The best thing about this recipe is that, as long as you have tomato sauce and cheese, you can make it. There are endless combinations; what I used below are obviously just suggestions.

I also recommend making a big batch of homemade tomato sauce and freezing it in 1-cup or so increments in baggies to use in this recipe or whenever you need red sauce. My "recipe" is at the bottom of this post. It's really easy and cheap to make. If you don't want to make it, feel free to use the tomato sauce you can buy in cans. It's way cheaper than name brand "pizza sauce" or "pasta sauce" and you won't notice the difference. I paid 55 cents per can yesterday!

Without further ado, here is a delicious recipe for cheater calzones, also known as pizza quesadillas.

Serves: 2
Preparation: 15 minutes

Frying oil (light olive oil, canola/vegetable oil, coconut oil)
Salt and pepper
1/2 onion, sliced
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
4 small flour tortillas
1 c. tomato sauce (recipe below)
1 roma tomato, sliced
2 slices bacon, fried or broiled and chopped
4 thin slices deli salami (about 4" in diameter), sliced
1/2 to 1 c. mild tasting cheese of choice, shredded (we used Monterrey jack)

1. In a small nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat. When hot, add onion, mushrooms and pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft; 5-7 minutes.
2. Heat a larger nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. When the veggies are cooked, assemble the calzones. On one half of each tortilla, layer with cheese and then layer all your fillings on top. Top with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce. Then, fold the tortilla in half.
4. Place calzones in frying pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side, until the cheese is melted and tortillas are browned.


extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chopped tomatoes

In a frying pan, heat up a few teaspoons of olive oil over medium-low heat (no higher or it will burn the oil). Add the onions and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft; 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes with liquid from the can and cook for a few minutes more. Add other seasonings here if you'd like (like oregano, herbs de provence, basil, etc.). Add a bit of water if it's too thick. Transfer to a food processor or use an immersion blender to process to a sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

(Just a shout-out: Here's a link to the Cuisinart Smart Stick if you don't have a hand blender. Again, I make absolutely no money off of this but I really, really love my immersion blender for soups, sauces and even smoothies.)