Day 640: Veggie Tacos Recipe

I love tacos.

They are so flipping easy and customizable to each person’s tastes and they are just downright yummy.

But tacos, in the original sense, are categorically UNvegetarian and UNvegan. So, like I love to do… I made my own version of them vegetarian style. Of course, to make them vegan, you’d just leave out the sour cream and maybe glop on some guacamole instead.

Plus, if you have carnivores in your life then you can make regular taco meat in a separate skillet and appease everyone! They just might even try the vegetarian option and realize that maybe being a vegetarian isn’t all that bad after all! (Cause honestly, I now prefer veggie tacos to meat tacos.)  Serve these with a small bowl of my favorite Black Bean Soup recipe and you’ll DEFINITELY win them over!

veggie tacos

Veggie Tacos

Ingredients

  • Avocados (I’d suggest 1/2 an avocado per person)
  • Chopped or shredded lettuce
  • Button mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom will work)
  • Bell Pepper, sliced
  • Onion, sliced
  • Cherry Tomatoes (or regular chopped tomatoes)
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Cilantro (optional… but gosh, why WOULDN’T you use it!?!?! Hehe!)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Shredded Cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, saute the mushrooms and onions on medium-high in olive or coconut oil for a few minutes and then sprinkle with taco seasoning (to taste) and saute for a few more minutes.
  2. Toss in bell peppers and saute until firm-tender.
  3. Arrange in tortillas (A little trick, if you put sour cream or guacamole in the bottom of the tortilla it will help to keep the other juices from “dissolving” your tortilla) and spoon in sour cream/guacamole, mushroom mixture, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and top with avocado slices!

Recipe: Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

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I really wanted to call this Found It In My Fridge Tortellini Toss because that was my inspiration… stuff in my fridge. I knew that tonight was cheese tortellini night, but lately the tortellini bake that I make has been too… heavy and greasy. So, I wanted to make something a little bit lighter and this one just sort of… happened!

What I love about it: tastes restauranty and it only took me 15 minutes, start to finish!

Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

  • 1 lb cheese tortellini (I like the tri-color kind from Sam’s)
  • 3 Tbsp butter (or olive oil if you prefer)
  • 1/4 chopped onion (frozen is okay)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 tsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning), to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 orange (yellow, or red) bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 20ish cherry (salad) tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup white wine or white grape juice
  • 1 tsp parsley OR basil, chopped fine

You could veganize this by using another kind of tortellini and using oil each time instead of butter.

  1. Cook the cheese tortellini according to package directions, drain, and lightly coat with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic. Add the Ana’s Herbs, and allow to soak up the oil for about a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the olive oil and then toss in the bell peppers for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes, wine, and parsley and allow to cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes depending upon how firm you want the veggies.
  4. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and mix everything together. Serve, and enjoy!

{I wanted to show you this picture of my cut tomatoes because,
yes, there is a Nerf gun partially on my cutting board.
When you have two boys, you just never know when you might get attacked!}

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{Such an easy starter to a light pasta sauce… right here: oil, onions, garlic, and Ana’s Herbs/Italian Seasoning}

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{I knew these were gonna be pretty in the mix!}

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{This is how I finely chop the parsley… with kitchen shears! Very culinary of me, right?}

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{Look how beautiful these are in the pan sauteing!}

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{The final product… even the hubs said it looked “fancy”!}

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Recipe: UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

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I purchased a bunch of green bell peppers at Sam’s last week intending to use them for stuffed bell peppers, but the more I thought about making stuffed bell peppers the more I just couldn’t muster up the energy to make them. They really aren’t that difficult, although the whole process of getting them to stand up never comes easily to me for some reason, but they are kind of difficult to eat. Plus, my bell peppers always end up a bit… soggy. And, well, that’s just plain ol’ gross. With this recipe because they only are in the oven for about 15 minutes, they still have a bit of crunch to them!

I remembered seeing a recipe for UNstuffed Bell Peppers, and although I couldn’t find it on Pinterest, I did find a couple of others that sorta reminded me of the basic idea, and then I made my own (vegetarian) version! It would be vegan if you just left out the cheese! I would love to try this with black beans as well, but we were out tonight.

A question for my experienced cooks: could I make this ahead and refrigerate it?

UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (frozen is fine)
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic (jarred is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (regular would probably be okay too)
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used tomato and basil but I’m sure any would be fine)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6-8 dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese chunks (if you want… we are feta freaks and so I put it in a lot of stuff where it doesn’t make “sense” but it always seems to be soooooo gooooooood!)

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  3. Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish.
  4. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Saute garlic, onions, dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin until soft (about 3-5 minutes).
  5. While vegetables are cooking, cut and seed the green bell peppers. Cut into 2 inch chunks and arrange along the bottom of the casserole dish.
  6. In skillet, add fire roasted diced tomatoes and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes while the juices cook out a bit.
  7. Add in kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons cumin, and cayenne pepper sauce. Stir to combine and allow to heat through.
  8. Stir in rice.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of colby jack cheese lightly over bell peppers in casserole dish and 1/4 cup of feta cheese on top of colby jack.
  10. Spoon the vegetable and rice mixture into the bell peppers in the casserole dish.
  11. Sprinkle with remaining colby jack and feta cheeses.
  12. Cook at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until colby jack is melted (feta rarely looks melted).
  13. Serve and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes and then enjoy!

As soon as I arranged the bell peppers and saw how pretty it all was, I started to get excited!

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This step is really important I think because it lets some of the flavors come together without it having to spend a bunch of time in the oven.

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I could hardly wait when I pulled the dish out of the oven. It looked beautiful and smelled DIVINE!

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Recipe: Semi-Vegetarian Chickenless Pioneer Woman Chicken Spaghetti

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Okay, no laughing at my title. I had trouble naming this stuff!

The hubs and I have been really eating pretty light lately… well, more like rabbits, lot’s of healthy type stuff involving kale, parsley, and cilantro. He’s trying to slowly transition some of our meals into juicing (we’ll see how that works, neither of us are terribly keen on cleaning the juicer cause it takes forever, so that tends to thwart our motivation at times).

Anyway, I was just fixated on Chicken Spaghetti today (or, as we used to call it at church camp, Chicky-La-La). But, not eating meat again this year sorta gets in the way for having CHICKEN spaghetti. But then I started thinking about how many recipes I have “converted” from omnivore recipes to vegetarian (or at least semi-vegetarian… meaning there might be some animal product in there somewhere), and why not Chicken Spaghetti.

So, I searched for a recipe that used cream of chicken (cause, remember, I’m not a good healthy cook quite yet) and lo and behold when this recipe popped up from The Pioneer Woman, I took heed! So, I did almost exactly what she does only I switched out her chicken for mushrooms and black beans. But, really… look at her version, she has all these beautiful pictures of her chopping everything and laying everything out, etc. It was quite helpful to me (the amateur).

My husband was a BIG fan. As in… go back for seconds… twice. So, here we go…

Semi-Vegetarian Chickenless Pioneer Woman Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1 can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 5 Mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Chicken
  • 2 cups Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper (this was a little more than 1/4 of a large bell pepper)
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion (I used frozen… wait, no, I just realized that I entirely forgot it!)
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot (I used a chicken bouillon cube in the water I cooked the spaghetti in)
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper OR 10 dashes of Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook spaghetti, in water with a chicken bouillon cube, until al dente. Do not overcook. Reserve 2 cups of “broth” before draining.
  3. If desired, saute mushrooms in some olive oil for a few minutes until a little tender.
  4. In a large bowl, combine black beans, mushrooms, cream of chicken, colby jack cheese, green pepper, onion (if you remember), and pimentos and stir just until mixed.
  5. When spaghetti is cooked, stir it into the mixture.
  6. Add seasoned salt and pepper sauce (or cayenne pepper) and 1 1/2 cups of reserved “broth” to the mixture and stir until combined.
  7. Place mixture into a casserole dish (I sprayed mine just to be sure) and cover with remaining cup of shredded cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (The Pioneer Woman suggests that if the cheese starts getting too cooked to cover it with foil).

She also mentions that you can cover and freeze up to six months, or cover and refrigerate up to two days! So, to my friends that are due with a baby in a couple of months… plan on having Semi-Vegetarian Chickenless Pioneer Woman Chicken Spaghetti for your meal!

Recipe: Vegetable Feta Foil Packet

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This one was inspired by my friend Rhonda* who came over to visit me the other day. We chatted about fish in foil packets and it got my mouth watering for veggies made the same way.

I only made one serving because my husband took our oldest out for some male-bonding time, so I was on my own with the toddler. This could easily be a vegetarian’s main course and a side dish for a non-vegetarian.

Vegetable Feta Foil Packet
For one foil packet…
• 4 asparagus spears, cut into 1″ pieces
• 5 button mushrooms, sliced in half
• 1 small red bell pepper, sliced into 1″ pieces
• 1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1″ pieces
• 8-12 cherry tomatoes
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled feta
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 Tablespoon olive oil
• 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 one-foot-long sheets of foil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Get two 1 foot long sheets of foil. Lay one out flat, set the other aside.

3. Cut the vegetables if you haven’t already.

4. Place the asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper, and feta in the center of one sheet of foil.

5. Drizzle the vegetable and feta mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with oregano and Parmesan.

6. Seal the foil packet tightly. Place the foil packet, seam down, on the other sheet of foil and seal the second foil sheet around the vegetable foil packet.

7. Place it on the center rack of the oven and let it cook 10 minutes. Flip the foil packet and let it cook another 10-15 minutes. (This allows the veggies enough time to get crunchy soft. If you prefer them soft then cook 5 minutes longer on each side.)

8. Open the packet, let cool a few minutes, and enjoy!

* Names have been changed to protect the “innocent”! Haha!