Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Welcome to the enchilada casserole – the perfect busy girl’s Mexican comfort meal. By turning the enchiladas into a casserole, you save tons of time that you would have spent rolling each enchilada individually and can better use that time to do homework, do your hair, vacuum the living room….all those things I wish I had more time to do. Basically you take all the ingredients, layer them in a baking dish, and throw it in the oven. So easy and relatively mess-free. This is also a great vegetarian meal; since it’s so hearty and filling, you won’t even miss the meat! But don’t worry, there’s plenty of cheese. You always need cheese. 🙂

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Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz enchilada sauce
  • 18 small corn tortillas
  • 1 1/4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and sliced into small cubes
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can green chilis, diced (not drained)
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Salsa, hot sauce, and sour cream for toppings, if desired

Directions:

1.) Heat oven to 375 F. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and top with 6 tortillas, evenly spaced (might overlap). Top with one more cup of the sauce, a third of the squash, a third of the beans, and 1 cup of the cheese, spreading all evenly. Repeat this layering two more times, saving the final cup of cheese. The baking dish might be full but that’s ok!

2.) Cover with foil and bake for one hour or until squash is tender. Then uncover, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving, then top with desired toppings.

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Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos

These meatless tacos came from an awesome cookbook that my brother got me for Christmas. Thug Kitchen is full of creative vegan recipes written with a creative flair…they really tell it like it is. 😉 I was surprised at how good these tacos were, you definitely don’t miss the meat! These would be perfect for Meatless Monday or for sneaking in those extra veggies.

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Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos

  • Servings: 6 (2 tacos per serving)
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Adapted from: Thug Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups beer
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Juice from one lime
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp hot sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Toppings (I used cruciferous slaw, creamy guacamole, and salsa)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F. Chop cauliflower into small florets. In a large saucepan, add the beer, broth, lime juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, and garlic over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and simmer for about 3-4 minutes, then drain.

2.) In a large bowl, add the salt, spices, and olive oil. Add the cauliflower and onion and stir well until coated. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake until browned, stirring halfway, for about 25 minutes.

3.) Warm the tortillas and fill with cauliflower and toppings!

Hearty Veggie Chili

I’m finally on winter break from grad school, which means I have time to catch up on blogging! I always say I’ll find time to blog during the semester and then all the homework and work and life gets in the way. So now is my catch up time! I made this chili when it first started getting cold this fall. It is very filling and the addition of grains give it a richer, heartier taste. You’ll forget there is no meat in it! It’s the perfect recipe for Meatless Monday or just for those who love veggies!

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Hearty Veggie Chili

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups mirepoix mix (chopped celery, carrots, and onion)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 10 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked freekeh (or another grain, like wheat berries or quinoa)
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:

1.) Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the green pepper, mirepoix mix, jalapeno, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown.

2.) Add the tomato paste and spices (through paprika), cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes, corn, and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

2.) Cook freekeh (or other grain) according to package instructions. Add the cooked freekeh, beer, soy sauce, and beans to the chili and cook for 20 minutes. Serve topped with your favorite ingredients.

Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

Switching up my salads weekly is like a game to me. How can I combine my favorite toppings in different ways to make a delicious salad that I don’t mind eating all week? Usually I try to base them off salads I’ve had in a restaurant or seen on Pinterest. Last week was a Pinterest copy-cat recipe – a Mediterranean salad bowl. I added all my favorite “Mediterranean” toppings (as well as avocado…I just can’t have a salad without it…) on a big pile of greens and it was delicious! Since I topped with hummus, I don’t think it really needed dressing, but I tried to make one anyways. I used tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, a little milk, and some sriracha. Kind of random, I know. It was ok but not fantastic – so Mediterranean dressing ideas are welcome!

Also, I fully planned to make the falafels from scratch, but ran out of time. Story of my life! So the ones I used were in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s and they’re really really good. But if you make them from scratch, I’m jealous of you. Someday I will have time to do that too. 🙂

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Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

Adapted from: The Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spring mix
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, diced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/8 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/8 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2-3 falafel patties
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • Dressing (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven and bake falafel (frozen or homemade).

2.) In a big bowl, add spring mix. Top with the rest of the toppings and the warm falafel. Enjoy!

BBQ Chickpea Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

I love my salads, and while I do have a favorite (hello, feta and avocado), I still like to switch things up every now and then. So since summer is right around the corner, I decided a BBQ salad would be perfect for the hot days ahead. I’ve also been trying to cut down my meat intake, so I liked that this was a meatless twist on the usual meat-centered BBQ dishes. The chickpeas take on the smoky flavor of the BBQ sauce, and the avocado dressing adds a fresh taste to the salad. I didn’t do a good job of stretching the dressing (oops) so it only made enough for 5 salads, while the chickpeas made 6 servings. But you can use more or less dressing as you please, or double the batch! I bet it would make a yummy veggie dip as well. I am including the recipe for the BBQ chickpeas and avocado ranch dressing, but I’m leaving the salad part to you – make it with whatever your favorite ingredients are!

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BBQ Chickpeas

  • Servings: 6 servings
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Adapted from: The Garden Grazer

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas (15 oz each)
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce

1.) Drain and rinse chickpeas. In a saucepan over medium-low heat,simmer the chickpeas with the BBQ sauce, stirring frequently. Add any spices you’d like, or more BBQ sauce!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 165
Fat 2 g (0 g saturated)
Fiber 7 g
Carbs 31 g
Sodium 473 mg
Protein 7 g

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Adapted from: The Garden Grazer

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (plain, unsweetened)
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1.5 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste (I used about a tsp)

1.) In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more seasonings to taste. Will last about 3-5 days in the fridge.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 58
Fat 5 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 1 g
Carbs 2 g
Sodium 233 mg
Protein 1 g

Mexican Fiesta Salad

We all know how much I love Mexican food. Basically an obsession. If I were to ever turn down a taco (or a margarita), be worried, because the world may be ending. So when I needed to switch up my salad routine, I naturally decided to add some Mexican flair. Nothing is better than the combination of avocado, salsa, corn, black beans, cumin…yum! I bet some ground turkey or chicken with taco seasoning would have stepped this salad up a notch, but since it was my first week in the apartment and I didn’t have a lot of time to cook, I made it meat-free. That’s what I love about salads – so versatile, yet such a great way to get your veggies in! This is an entree-sized salad, so it’s enough to keep you full for a meal, but you could also make it as a side dish to go along with other Mexican favorites. Enjoy this colorful and delicious salad, margarita optional 😉

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Mexican Fiesta Salad

  • Servings: 6 entree servings or 12 side salads
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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb spring mix
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans, drained
  • 1 can roasted corn, drained
  • 1 container grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp  ground cumin
  • 3 small avocados, sliced
  • 4.5 tbsp cilantro lime ranch (found it at Walmart!)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1.) Top spring mix with black beans, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, sunflower seeds, and cumin. If serving the salad right away, top with rest of ingredients and toss. If eating one serving at a time, top each serving with 1/2 an avocado, 2 tbsp salsa, 3/4 tbsp cilantro lime ranch, and 1/2 tbsp oil. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 466
Fat 31 g (4 g saturated)
Fiber 14 g
Carbs 39 g
Sodium 555 mg
Protein 14 g

Quick and Easy Veggie Pesto Pasta

Hello everyone! I have had a busy couple weeks…lots of tests and projects for school, a new position at work, and finally some sunny weather! Time is flying by; I can’t believe it’s already the middle of April and almost the end of my first year of grad school. Ah! But I have to say, I’m ready for this semester to be over and the summer to begin 🙂

Due to the hectic schedule I’ve had lately, I’ve needed to make some super quick and easy meals so that I can continue to eat healthy while constantly being on the go. I found a recipe for pasta with veggies and pesto, and since I had all the ingredients, it was perfect! It was delicious and super filling as well; I sort of forgot how yummy pesto makes everything until I made this dish!

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Veggie Pesto Pasta


Adapted from: iFoodreal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pasta, uncooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1 bag raw spinach (8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded

Directions:

1.) Cook pasta, drain, and put back into the pot. While pasta is cooking, cut cherry tomatoes into halves.

2.) In a large skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds and then add spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and stir to wilt.

3.) When all the spinach is wilted, move over to one side of the skillet and add the chopped tomatoes. Add half of the pesto, stir, and let cook for a few minutes. Then add broccoli and stir again. Let cook for a few minutes to let the flavors develop.

4.) Add the pesto veggies to the pot with the pasta. Add cheese and remaining pesto and stir everything together. Serve with a little shredded parmesan on top!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 315
Fat 15 g (4 g saturated)
Fiber 7 g
Carbs 32 g
Sodium 407 mg
Protein 13 g