Truffle Oil Butternut Squash, Broccoli and Black Bean Tortilla Lasagna

I think I’m on a roll. Not to brag, but this little creation…jackpot.

As I sit here typing this, I’m a few margaritas into the start of an amazing three day birthday celebration for both my sister Brooke and me. Her birthday is the 22nd (“today” by the time this post is published) and mine is the 24th (Friday). I drove to Orlando to be with her and my grandparents for a few days this week since I have some time off between jobs.

Best decision ever.

Brooke completes me. Yes, I have a husband who truly is my better half. But the bond between sisters cannot be compared to anything else. Being able to celebrate our birthdays basically back-to-back is the best. We are soaking in all of the short time we have together, so I’m going to wrap this up fairly quickly today. 
These layers you see? They are layers of soft flour tortilla, melty Colby-jack cheese, and wholesome veggies roasted in sinful white truffle oil. 

Are you sold yet? Maybe I should mention this meal is “man approved’ too. Does that help? One of my biggest challenges in the kitchen is making something both Greg and I will enjoy. Sometimes that means getting extra creative in the kitchen to use what we have on hand without giving into the temptation of a frozen pizza just because anything else is too complicated. But this? Yes! Even Greg loved it. Maybe I should also mention I’m putting the word “love” in Greg’s mouth. He doesn’t often say he loves something, so I may be exaggerating. BUT! He did go back for seconds and help himself to leftovers the next day without me needing to ask. That, my friend, is saying a lot. 

If this vegetable and bean combination wasn’t delicious enough on its own, you can be sure the white truffle oil will make all the difference. I have never cooked with the heavenly substance before, but knew how amazing it is thanks to the life changing mac and cheese. It takes the meal to another level and will satisfy any appetite. Birthday, non-birthday, weekday, weekend…whatever day it may be, the day calls for a vegetables roasted in truffle oil then layered in cheese and tortillas. 
Can I get an “Amen!”?

Truffle Oil Butternut Squash, Broccoli and Black Bean Tortilla Lasagna

Makes 4-6 servings

6 small tortillas, cut in half and divided
1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
3 cups broccoli florets
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup mined jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 ounces shredded Colby jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9×9 inch dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Also line a cookie sheet with foil and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine diced butternut squash, broccoli, truffle oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, sage and rosemary. Stir until all ingredients are well distributed. Add this mixture to the foil-lined cookie sheet, cover with another sheet of foil, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until vegetables become lightly browned. Remove from heat. Turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees.
3. While veggies are cooking, combine black beans, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper in a small-medium bowl. When veggies are finished roasting, combine them with the black bean mixture in a medium bowl. Stir well.
4. Spread out six of the tortilla halves evenly on the bottom of the 9×9 inch pan. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the shredded cheese on top. Add half of the butternut squash/broccoli/black bean mixture. Layer the remaining six tortilla halves on top of that, followed by 1/3 of the cheese, the rest of the vegetable mixture, and finally the last of the cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about five minutes. Slice in squares and serve hot.

July Blog-A-Day #28: Super Green Quinoa Bowl for One

Monday. The start of a new week.  This means it’s time to get back to a regular schedule and a restocked kitchen. Put the two together and I have myself an easy, delicious and nutritious weeknight meal. Weekends lend themselves to increased eating out, which typically means less balanced/healthy meals. Weeknights on the other hand look more like this. Lots of veggies, especially greens, produce, and whole grains. And just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s not just as satisfying as those indulgent weekend meals. In fact, it’s usually even better. 
Super Green Quinoa Bowl for One
Makes 1 serving
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/4 white or yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 cups raw spinach
1/4 avocado, diced
1/4 cup black beans, cooked
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion and broccoli. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once vegetables are evenly browned, turn heat to low and add vegetable broth. Immediately add spinach to skillet and toss. Cook about 1-2 more minutes and turn off heat. Add salt, cayenne pepper and oregano. Toss to evenly distribute.
3. Add quinoa, cooked vegetables, avocado, black beans and goat cheese to a bowl and serve immediately. Top with hot sauce if desired. 

Weekend Eats 12-17-12

We are so close to Christmas/vacation time that this particular Monday morning doesn’t feel too bad at all! All weekend I found myself saying things like, “This is the last Friday night we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Saturday we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Sunday….” 

Okay, you get it. 
I’m excited. Can you blame me? I know you are too, right?! 
I kicked off the weekend by cooking a pot of my Tempeh and Bean Chili, with a few modifications. I subbed black beans for the red kidney beans, skipped the garlic, and used a can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers rather than using tomato sauce. 
 I love this stuff. It’s so filling and full of nutrients, not to mention just plain delicious. Win win win!
On Saturday, Greg and I spend most of the late morning and afternoon running errands. It wasn’t too long before we were ready to refuel and grabbed lunch from Chick Fil A. 
I got the Southwest Chargrilled Salad with Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing…surprise, surprise. 
Saturday night was spent at my company holiday party at an art museum downtown. We had a great time. I sipped on wine while eating a mini roll with turkey and cranberry sauce and a pork slider on a delicious little biscuit. There was also a do-it-yourself mashed potato bar. Think: Menchie’s (or any other self-serve frozen yogurt place), but for mashed potatoes. Toppings included gravy, shredded cheese, chives, sour cream, sauteed mushrooms, etc. So fun! 
I spent Sunday creating a few different holiday treats. I’ll be sharing those in more detail later this week, but here’s a preview…
Finally, Greg made venison patties for dinner with meat one of his clients gave him (just like last year). 
I feel so adventurous when I eat venison. Kind of like a cave woman too. Regardless, it’s pretty good. And even though I had already eaten more meat over the weekend than I normally like to, Greg made a point that it’s lean and just about as organic as you can get. 
Okay, fine. 😉
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Southwestern Style Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Hi friends! 
I hope you haven’t been missing me too much this week. Just bear with me awhile longer as I continue to adjust to my new life with the puppy. Whew! Early mornings, constant potty breaks and playtime sure do make it difficult to spend time on my computer while I’m at home. Especially since Zoey thinks she’s a blogger too and inevitably paws at my keyboard whenever I have my computer open. 
I have a whole new respect for mommy bloggers!

I have been with you in spirit though, thinking about all I would have to tell you about when I finally had some time to write again. 
I did a much better job this week of cooking real meals at home, rather than eating out or throwing together hodgepodge dinners that I was doing a little too frequently the past couple of weeks. 
This is one dinner in particular I have been very excited to share with you. 

This is just about as simple as you can get and it combines literally almost all of my favorite foods into one. The wide variety of flavors and nutritious ingredients make for one satisfying meal.
Southwestern Style Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
(Adapted from Peas and Crayons)
Makes 1 serving (easily multiplied as needed!)
1 whole medium sweet potato
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cooked black beans
2 tablespoons guacamole
1-2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons crumbled cheese (I used goat cheese)
1 cup lettuce or other greens of choice (optional for serving)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a fork to poke holes all over the potato. Place potato in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Roll potato around in the bowl to evenly coat. Add salt to bowl and roll again to coat. Once oven is heated, place potato directly on the rack. Bake 45-55 minutes. Remove from oven and slice lengthwise. Use tongs to gently squeeze ends of potato to open it up.
2. Spread lettuce evenly across a plate. Add potato on top of lettuce and top with remaining ingredients. 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

It’s no secret that I was one of the pickiest eaters ever as a child. I’ve said it many times before, but that’s only because it’s true.
Of all of the foods I didn’t like (or just refused to try), my relationship with baked beans became the joke in my family. I distinctly remember being at a babysitter’s house when I was about five years old and being served baked beans with my lunch. I wasn’t about to give those mushy, brown, smelly beans a taste. Instead, I pushed them around my plate to make it look as if I ate some. Guess what? She fell for it! I got off the hook that day. 

The same thing happened a few years later when my friend’s mom served mashed sweet potatoes for dinner. I had never seen sweet potatoes before then and didn’t know why my usually white potatoes were orange. Ew. Again, I pushed the mush around on my plate so it looked like I ate a few bites.
When I was a little older, my picky tendencies led to a Christmas “gift” that everyone seemed to get a laugh out of: a giant can of baked beans. I mean, GIANT. 
Ha. Ha. Very funny, Family. 

Little did I know, one day I would actually like baked beans. And not just baked beans, but all kinds of beans. I can’t get enough black beans actually. And those sweet potatoes I once stared at in skepticism have become one of my favorite foods. 
Who would’ve thought?!
I have been obsessed with both black beans and sweet potatoes recently. Besides Sweet Potato Quesadillas, I have been enjoying the two foods separately – different meals at different times. I knew what a great combination they make together, so I set out to create a modified version of my favorite Black Bean Burger recipe (which, by the way, has become a weekly staple in my household). 
Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
(Inspired by How Sweet It Is
Makes 4-6 medium-sized burgers
1 medium sweet potato
1 cup black beans, cooked
1 egg
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4-6 English muffins, buns, or rolls
1. Follow Jessica’s instructions to cook the sweet potato: “Pierce potato all over with a fork and place on a paper towel, setting in the microwave. Microwave for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove, slice in half and let cool until you can scoop out the flesh.”
2. In a medium bowl, add about half of the black beans. Mash well with a fork. Add remaining beans, sweet potato, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir vigorously to combine. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Add breadcrumbs and whisk to combine. 
4. Pour egg and breadcrumb mixture into bean and sweet potato mixture. Stir all ingredients together until well combined. 
5. Divide into equal parts to make patties of whatever size you desire (Since I was using English muffins, I made the patties about the same size as the muffins). 
6. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Coat with non-stick spray. Once hot, add patties to skillet. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes, or until patties are browned. 
7. Place cooked patties on muffins. Top with cheese, sliced avocado or salsa as desired.

What I’m Loving Wednesday (8-29-12)

It’s about that time for another WILW post, dontcha think?

1. Two nights in a row of cooking some of my favorite tried and true recipes.

Sloppy Joes, that I’m renaming Super Spicy Sloppy Joes. I used less spice and hot sauce than my recipe called for and my mouth was still on fire two bites into the sandwich.

Morning Star Copycat Black Bean Burgers with homemade guacamole and corn on the cob? Ohmuhgosh. I could eat this every single night.
2. This. This is what I call Heaven in a Cardboard Container. Have you tried any of Duff’s (aka the Cake Boss’s) Blue Bunny ice cream flavors yet? This Red Carpet Red Velvet Cake ice cream is to die for. I bought this on my dinner break while working a late shift last week and it’s safe to say this is only thing that kept me going at my desk until 10pm.

3. A coffee mug filled with hot oatmeal. Don’t forget the sliced bananas and chai seeds! This is how I’ve been starting my workday for the past two weeks. I’ve gotten in a poor habit of sleeping until the last minute and not having quite enough time to eat my breakfast at home. Solution? Bring my oatmeal to work in a mug! 
4. Oh look, it’s my Lost Dog Cafe mug again! I sure do put that thing to use. After cleaning the oatmeal out of it, I fill it with what it’s actually meant for- Coffee! These rainy days call for a warm and comforting afternoon snack like a hot cup of coffee and a chocolatey Good Greens bar (Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor). 

5. Out of all of this foodie goodness, the thing I am loving most about this Wednesday is that it’s my last full day here in Charleston before my trip HOME!! Tomorrow evening, Greg and I will be hopping on a plane to Columbus for a full weekend of cake tastings, meetings with the caterer, engagement pictures and some much needed family time. I. Can’t. Wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aren’t we precious? 😉

Black Bean Burgers – Morning Star Copycat

IT”S HERE! Friday never felt so good. Besides last Friday, and the Friday before that, and the Friday before that….ok so every Friday feels pretty good, huh?
You know what else feels pretty good? Eating something so healthy, nutritious and delicious. Like black bean burgers for example!

Morning Star’s Spicy Black Bean Burgers have become a staple in our freezer. They are not just for me either, Greg loves them too. For the longest time I ate them simply by themselves or over a bed of lettuce. Then I discovered how great black bean burgers taste on English muffins. 
And thennnn I took a swing at making the patties from scratch. 

The verdict? Ahhh mazing. These tasted just like Morning Star’s, but the patties were even thicker. AKA, better! If you possibly have any doubts or hesitations about black bean burgers, I just have one thing to say: Don’t knock it til you try it. 
This is one recipe I will make again and again. 

Black Bean Burgers
Makes 4 patties
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans
1/3 cup cooked corn kernels 
1 egg
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1. Preheat George Foreman Grill or skillet to medium heat.
2. In a medium bowl, add about half of the black beans. Mash well with a fork. Add remaining beans, corn, garlic and spices. Stir to combine. 
3. In a separate bowl, add egg and breadcrumbs. Whisk to combine. 
4. Add egg and breadcrumb mixture to bean mixture. Stir all ingredients together until well combined. 
5. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal parts. Use hands to form into patties. Place on grill or skillet and cook about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve immediately on top of English muffins or hamburger buns. 
Serving suggestion: Top cooked patties with guacamole, salsa, and/or cheese.