Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Black Bean Enchiladas and a Startling Revelation from Gwyneth Paltrow

June 1, 2011 2 comments


This is a rant post. Those that know me well understand that when I get fired up about something, I get, well…pretty PO’d. The cause of this fury was located in my mailbox. Being a person with a passion for cooking, I subscribe to Bon Appetit magazine. I adored Gourmet magazine and was devastated when it folded. Well apparently BA has a new sheriff in town (editor/sheriff/crapmaster) and the format has changed. The editor was the former editor of GQ and is looking to shaking things up other than martinis. The new format reads like Maxim magazine with short attention span articles that are the length of a visit to the toilet. I always enjoyed the at-length adventure stories that whisked me away to other cultures with interesting, tasty recipes to follow.

Now what do I get? I get Gwyneth Paltrow telling me how to cook. Nu-uh. Not going to happen my friend. I won’t even put a link to show you my disdain for someone who dabbles in a bunch of everything and is mediocre at best (okay, I did like her as an actor, but her singing, blogging, cooking – ugh!).  What fired me up was that her recipes were beyond blah and that the magazine actually printed her “advice” when cooking:

“Drink while you cook!”

“Clean as you go!”

“State the obvious for those that cook all the time!”

Okay, the last one was mine, but REALLY – “Drink while you cook!” What a startling revelation!  Why didn’t I think of that?

So in summary, thumbs down to Bon Appetit and the new hazmat…oops, I mean format. So in response, I will post a recipe for Black Bean Enchiladas that I modified from America’s Test Kitchen, one of the few sources I still trust. Now if Christopher Kimball starts appearing on Glee, we’re all in trouble.

Black Bean Enchiladas
Makes 12 Enchiladas, serving 4 or 5

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves of garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 cans black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed
2 cans tomato sauce (8 ounces each)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 can diced green chilis
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , grated (2 cups)

Tortillas and Toppings
12 corn tortillas (six-inch)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sour cream(optional)

1. FOR THE SAUCE AND FILLING: Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beans and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with spices, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and 3/4 cup water; and stir. Bring to simmer. Pour mixture through medium-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on beans and onions to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside. Transfer mixture to large plate; freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, green chilis, and cheese in medium bowl and set aside.


2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Have a margarita! (Because we all know drinking while cooking is fun!)

4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 45 seconds. Get a 11x 14 baking dish and spread 1 cup of the reserved sauce on the bottom. Fill each tortilla with 2 tablespoons of filling, roll it up and place in dish. Top with 1 cup of cheese (or more if you have it!). Cover baking dish with foil. Bake enchiladas on lower-middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, top with sour cream if wanted.

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Sweet(ass) Potato Fries

May 17, 2011 2 comments


The more I cook, the more I find myself using less seasoning when I cook. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a spice drawer that is slowly overtaking my kitchen (Thank you Penzeys). Salt, pepper, and oil olive have now become my taste bud trinity. This recipe is no exception. Now you could get crazy and add other types of seasoning like curry or a little cayenne for some kick. But sometimes simple is good.

I like this recipe since you can do them in the oven or on the grill. My kids eat them up like regular fries and I appreciate how easy they are to make. When selecting the potatoes, try to get ones that are symmetrical as they are easier to cut up and make for more uniform looking fries.

Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 5

3 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut in half and once again and then cut into strips, like steak fry size. Place on large cookies sheet. Drizzle oil over the potatoes and using your hands toss the potatoes so they are covered in oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over the fries. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sweet Potato Fries and a Black Bean Burger

Sweet Potato Fries and a Black Bean Burger

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Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins

February 8, 2011 5 comments

The longer I cook, the more often I find myself eye-balling measurements of ingredients. It’s not that I see myself as this awesome ninja chef with some mad cooking skills. The truth is I hate doing dishes and I figure the less I have to wash, the better. However, one arena of cooking where I don’t throw caution to the wind is when I bake. The balance of ingredients like baking soda, baking powder and salt can really cause culinary chaos when your ratios are off. So you can imagine my dork-like excitement when I opened up one of my Christmas gifts to find new measuring spoons and cups. But these were just no ordinary measuring devices…they were magnetic!

The magic of these measurement devices is that they have a spoon on each end and you only need to wash the spoon you use and you get two uses out of each spoon.  And with their magnetic-ability they stay together when you need them to and apart when you don’t.  It’s genius if you ask me.  So when making this new recipe for Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins, I busted out both the spoons and the cups.

These small but fluffy muffins are so light and airy, I will warn you: it is possible to consume more than one at a time. Since they are not huge, it’s a great size for the kids. I am not a big fan of super sweet breakfast pastries, as these are perfectly balanced with not being too sweet. The apple adds a fun taste for the buds and keeps them from drying out (I HATE the word *moist*).  These are based on a recipe from Isa Chandra’s Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook. You may notice the lack of eggs (as they are based off a vegan recipe) but you would never know the are eggless.  In my opinion Isa has mastered the art of baking without dairy and eggs.  Try them and you will not be disappointed.

Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins

For Muffins:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup chopped apple (1/4 inch pieces)

For topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs canola oil

Prepare the topping by mixing all the dry topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the oil while mixing with your fingertips until crumbs form. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 12 – muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry muffin ingredients. Create a well in the center and add the apple juice, oil, and vanilla. Mix, then fold in the grated and chopped apple.

Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Sprinkle the crumb topping over each muffin. Bake for 20-22 minutes.


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A Safety Net of Noodles

February 1, 2011 1 comment

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Yesterday I did not have a very good day. In the grand scheme of life, it was just a bitty blip on the bad day radar. But still I was stressed and found a way to relieve some of that ickyness. So what did I do? Some yoga? Hit the bottle? No, I busted out my pasta maker. For Christmas my husband got me a pasta maker attachment for my KitchenAid and the downward spiral has officially started. For those that know me well, many of them have been surprised I have not entered the experience of homemade pasta. I had a fear. I knew that once I made fresh pasta, anything out of a box would be inferior in taste and I would be destined to make fresh all the time. I was not ready to take that path, until yesterday.

Within a blech kind of day I found solace and comfort in cooking and here’s why. What I realized while boiling the pasta water was that I appreciated the consistency of cooking. My pasta water would always boil at 212 degrees. My blueberry coffee cake would always take 45 minutes to bake. Cooking makes no judgment on you and best of all, cooking will always be there for you. I will always have to cook and I appreciate that stability in life’s ups and downs.

So how did I use my fresh fettuccine? I made Fettuccine with Peas and Asparagus – a nice light and appealing dish where using fresh pasta really makes the dish.  I did not use pancetta (I just used a little olive oil to serve as the fat) or fresh basil.  Sorry…I missed taking a photo since we gobbled it up so fast (if you click on the recipe link there is a great picture there).

Today has been a better day and perspective has kicked in as well…but after last night’s dinner therapy, I may have to attend another type of meeting…those addicted to making fresh pasta.  Crap, I knew this would happen.

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Breakfast Bowl O’Goodness: Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

October 6, 2010 2 comments

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Or also titled: How a Stoner from Wisconsin Brought our Family Closer.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

This recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal was born in my bedroom. This past weekend all three kids piled into my bed and found a surprise visitor…my husband.   He was supposed to have been fishing in Wisconsin for the weekend, but when the guys arrived at the cabin late at night they found the grandson of the cabin’s owner having his own personal pot party.  Needless to say even though the trip was a bust(should have been a drug bust instead), the kids and I enjoyed the new-found time with Daddy. 

As all five of us cuddled in bed, we talked about what we should make for breakfast.  We are a big oatmeal family, eating it a few times a week.  I make a big batch in the morning as it is cheap, fast and you can make it at least 73 tasty different ways.   My son said we should make banana oatmeal, a kind I have made before.  But then my oldest daughter upped the ante…”Banana oatmeal with chocolate chips.”  I think we all ran downstairs, faster than I have moved in a while for anything.  I made this one up on the spot and it will now be a part of our oatmeal routine.

This is a great recipe for a breakfast treat, as it is quite sweet.

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

Serves 5

3 cups oats – not quick cooking kind or instant
2 cups almond milk (you can use plain milk too)
3 cups water
3 Tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 bananas – really mashed
1/4 cup or more chocolate chips

Pour oats, milk and water into a large pot and heat on medium.  Bring to a boil and stir moderately.  When it starts to thicken and it’s not so watery add the bananas, sugar and salt.  Cook until oatmeal looks, well done and looks like oatmeal.  Serve in bowls and top each serving with a few (or a ton) of chocolate chips.

*Best way to eat is to wait a few minutes after putting chips on top, then stir to blend.

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Broccoli Penne with Pesto Cream Sauce

September 30, 2010 2 comments

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If I could pick a dream job, being the host of a TV cooking show would rank pretty honkin’ high.  When I was a kid, I would pretend the window that was above the kitchen sink really was a camera and I would talk to the window like I was hosting my own cooking show.  I even did my own commercials ( I still remember the one I did for Vlasic pickles…so any ad agencies out there, gimme a call).  This was waaaay before Food Network so my idols were few, but the uber-talented chefs like Julia Child and the sort really made cooking on TV fun for me.

I would say 88.7% of the recipes I make are those of other people, they are not my own creations.  I wish that number was lower, but the more I cook the more comfortable I get with combinations and techniques.  Last night I had some broccoli from the garden that needed to get used up, so I totally improvised (Augggh!) and to my and my family’s surprise, it turned out pretty good!

I know I will never be the Next Food  Network star (even though my last name just screams out numerous options for a snappy title).  But that’s fine with me, as the house I live in now has a window over a sink and I have an in-house studio audience of four who give me applause and won’t cancel me due to poor ratings.

Broccoli Penne with Pesto Cream Sauce

Serves 5 (2 adults, 3 kids)

1 lb penne pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb or more fresh broccoli ( I would not use frozen due to extra water it has)
3 Tbs. jarred roasted red pepper
3 Tbs pesto
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Tbs flour
3/4 cup cream**
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
Optional: grated Parmesan cheese

** To make this a vegan recipe, you could sub in some cashew cream use non-egg pasta and cheese free pesto -> -> I used that for this recipe

In a large pot, boil water.  When water is boiling, add pasta and cook per directions on the box.

Meanwhile in a large skillet,  heat olive oil and cook onions until soft about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir and add white wine first then the broccoli.  Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.  Add red pepper and stir.  Then sprinkle flour over and stir and then cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add cream and stir, cook for 2 minutes and then add pesto.  Season with salt (about 1 tsp) and pepper. You want the broccoli to be cooked but not super limp and overcooked.

Drain pasta and return to the same pot.  Add the broccoli mixture to the pasta and combine well.  Top with cheese if desired.

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Cherry Tomato Pesto – Fresh and Freezer-worthy

September 2, 2010 2 comments

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I’m taking a walk down memory lane today…and through my stroll I am encountering little,  glossy red, ball-shaped fruit that started it all. Started what you ask?  This is the recipe that made my decision to launch What I Ate For Dinner.  After telling friends and family what I cooked,  I kept getting requests like, “Oh, that sounds good, can you email me the recipe?”  Ya, I could…but after a while I spent a decent amount of time sending emails or writing it down for people.  I love my family and friends and all, but it seemed like a waste of time repeating myself.

So humor aside for once, I want to really thank everyone who has read, commented and just somewhat paid random attention to my culinary quips, savory stories and recipes.  Special thanks go to Dave and my kids, who have put up with me putting dinner on pause some nights, because I had to get a good picture of what we were about to eat.  It does make me giggle when I cook something and one of the kids ask, “Is this going to go in your blog?”

I wasn’t quite sure how this little blog would turn out and hopefully my passion for food and cooking have translated into not only a creative outlet for me, but provided you with some good eats along the way.

So I will stop blathering on and give you a really great recipe that I make for Cherry Tomato Pesto.  This is perfect if you have  a million cherry tomatoes you don’t know what to do with.  I use this rich sauce mainly on ravioli.  It also makes a yummy app when you pour some into a baking dish and add some goat cheese and heat till bubbly.  Smear some of it on a sliced french bread pieces and oh, yum.  And one of the best parts is that you can freeze it to enjoy all year ’round. 

Cherry Tomato Pesto

Makes roughly 1 1/2 – 2 Cups

Take two pounds or so of cherry tomatoes and halve them and put them in a 9 x 12 pyrex baking dish. Add 6 cloves of crushed garlic, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons fresh thyme. Bake uncovered in a 250 degree oven for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until edges are a little charred, stirring every now and then. Cool.

Take the tomato mixture and add it to a food processor and add:
– 1/4 cup pine nuts
– 1/4 cup fresh basil

Blend and add more olive oil to you liking of the consistency. You can use roma tomatoes for this as well, just cut to a smaller size.

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