Recipe: Vegetarian Hummus & Kale Tostadas (aka: Chalupa)

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Let’s just get down to the nitty gritty.

Is a flat, fried corn tortilla a tostada or a chalupa?

I’ve done some very, very scientific research on this matter (i.e. wikipedia and cafemom and food.com) and here’s my take:

A tostada is a toasted/fried flat or bowl shaped tortilla (usually made from corn) with toppings on it.

A chalupa is the shallow bowl tostada (unless you are going through the Taco Bell line in which case a chalupa is a soft-dough thick fried flour tortilla folded into “boat” form.

I wanted to clear that up before any fights ensued. Granted, apparently these terms vary by location, so it might be different where you live and eat!

Either way, my husband made me the most amazing tostada/chalupa today for lunch! I baked and fried some corn tortillas for tostadas the other day for the fam (which were also super yummy) and we had two left, so my hubs made up his own invention and I. loved. it.

(By the way, there is no question which of us is the better cook: HE is. Hands down.)

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Vegetarian Hummus Tostada/Chalupa

  • 2 tostadas/chalupas*
  • 1/2 cup of hummus
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup of chopped kale or greens
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • (For vegan: substitute pine nuts in lieu of the feta)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together hummus, feta (saving a few pieces for topping), and kale.
  2. Spread it over the tostadas.
  3. Top with a few more pieces of feta and the tomatoes.
  4. Eat!

I know it’s simple, and didn’t really need a “recipe” but it was just so yummy and so something I’d never thought about that I had to share! Props to my love, Mr. Chord Dice, for making me lunch! I wasn’t even going to post today but it was so yummy I had to share!

* Here is the recipe that I used for making tostadas

  1. Lay them flat on the oven rack at 250° for 7 minutes (keep an eye on them and take them out earlier if they are too brown).
  2. Heat up a skillet with 1/4 inch of canola oil on medium-high (I actually used half canola oil and half coconut oil because I ran out of canola)
  3. With a pair of tongs, lay the tortilla into the oil for about 20-30 seconds using the tongs to push it down into the oil, then flip it over and fry it for an additional 20 seconds.
  4. Lift the tortilla out of the pan allowing the oil to drip off and place the tortilla on a towel-lined plate (or, if you are green like me, put it on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath it so that the oil just drips onto the cookie sheet).
  5. Finish with the rest of the tortillas!

And because I am the queen of selfies, I had to take one with my tostada/chalupa! Haha!

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Recipe: Mexican Potato Casserole

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Gotta love those recipes that are born from “What am I going to cook for dinner tonight” and “Dang, I need to use up some of that 5 lb bag of potatoes” and “What do I have in the freezer???” And once again, this is a hubby-love recipe… as in hubby loved it. He ate a bit after us but he came and found me in the bathroom while I was bathing our boys and said “Oh my goodness. THIS is really good.”

And then he told me again after his second bowl.

And again after his third.

Yep. Score.

Mexican Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 5 or 6 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can ROTEL
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken (or Cream of Potato or Celery if you are vegetarian)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup colby jack shredded cheese, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 5-6 dashes Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce (or similar)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Steam the potatoes on the stovetop until “al dente”. (Can I use that term for potatoes?)
  3. Meanwhile, stir the cumin, garlic salt, and pepper sauce in with the beans and mix to combine.
  4. Mix together the corn, cream of chicken, rotel, beans, 1 1/4 cup of cheese.
  5. When the potatoes are ready, mix them in with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 dish and cook for 17-20 minutes.
  7. Let cool and enjoy!

Recipe: Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup (Vegan)

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This one is partially for my husband who lovvvvvvvves anything I cook with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce. And it’s also partially for my friend over at love.life.chocolate who has lost FIFTY pounds as a vegan!

Buuuuuuut, mainly it’s for me: because it’s EASY. And it’s all pantry/freezer stuff except for the bell pepper – although I have found frozen green bell pepper before, and you could chop them up and freeze them ahead of time if you needed to. You could also easily make your own beans and use fresh tomatoes if you wanted!

Taste-wise, it is reminiscent of my Easy Black Bean Soup… which is probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Well. Maybe not THE most amazing… but it definitely ranks up there in levels of awesomeness!

Anyway, I named it this because it uses a lot of the same ingredients that I used in my UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I prefer the ones that are fire roasted)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Instructions

  1. Dump everything in a large soup pot and stir to mix. (Don’t rinse or drain the beans or tomatoes)
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer at medium for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Let cool for five minutes and DIVE IN!

I just LOVED this picture of the soup… and allow me to just gush praise over this bowl! My husband’s grandmother (Bernice) makes them and she might just be one of the most amazing potters on the planet and she just GIVES me these beautiful hand-crafted unique gorgeous bowls! They are some of my most cherished belongings… partially because they are so amazing, but also because they were formed by the hands of a woman who has spent hours praying over her family. Somehow that just makes them extra beautiful!

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Here is my psycho “this stuff is good” face for all to see. And, yes, I am eating in bed. The boys and I go in my bedroom during my husband’s guitar lessons for their TV time cause otherwise they get too loud!

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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: Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl

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Well, I wanted to make frozen stir-fry tonight (because it’s easy), but my husband has officially turned his nose up to frozen stir-fry. (His parents recently brought us Pei-Wei for dinner and, well, it has ruined him… he only wants the good stuff.)

So, I decided to get cuh.raz.y. tonight and try to make something with the huge load of kale he bought at Market Street the other day.

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And this is what resulted. (My original inspiration came from this recipe at VegWeb… which is a nifty little vegetarian site.)

Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen onions
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped (I used three big “stalks” of the stuff and one little one… I will probably double or even triple that next time for more kale action)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2-3 mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 1 small tomato, diced OR 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained in the colander
  • 1 can red kidney beans (black or butter beans would work as well, I think)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin (more or less depending upon your taste preferences)
  • 9-10 “shakes” of Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce (this stuff is uh.maz.ing. I discovered it with this recipe for Black Bean Soup which is now my absolute favorite thing in the world to make, plus my husband loves it!)
  • 1 cup of quinoa… cook it according to the package directions
  • feta, optional (we put feta on ev.er.y.thing. but I bet any shredded cheese would be good too, or none at all!)

Instructions:

  1. If you haven’t already chopped your veggies, do that first… chop: the kale, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and tomato.
  2. If you haven’t already cooked the quinoa, get that started as well.
  3. Get some water boiling, cause you are going to boil the kale in just a minute.
  4. Heat up a large skillet to medium-high and pour the oil in. Saute the garlic and onions until tender.
  5. Add in the bell pepper, mushrooms, corn, and water. Saute until tender-firm.
  6. While the veggies are sauteing, boil the kale for three minutes and then drain in a colander.
  7. When the kale is finished and drained, add it as well as the tomato and beans and stir it all together.
  8. Sprinkle the cumin on as well as the Frank’s hot sauce and stir. Let it cook for two or three minutes.
  9. While the seasoning cooks in, place the quinoa in the bottom of the bowl, and then spoon in the sauteed veggie mixture.
  10. Sprinkle with feta, if desired, and enjoy!

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Recipe: Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

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This is one of the first recipes that I have ever made-up on my own, so I’ll admit that I had my fingers crossed hoping all day that it would be good! And it wassssssssss!!!

With this one, remember… just because it’s “vegetarian” (if you use two cream of celerys) that doesn’t mean we should super-chow on it. Eat when you’re hungry… until you are satisfied. Then stop. I’d even recommend serving yourself a bowl/plate of it and then immediately putting the rest of it in tupperware and in the fridge. Maybe make yourself a fruit salad to go with it… eat half of the fruit salad ahead of time and then the other half, if you are still hungry, after you finish the enchilada bake. Not trying to be preachy… more so just reminding myself of this for the next time I pull up this recipe to make! It’s always a good reminder for me of how to move away from gluttony!

Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup*
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of celery soup
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
  • 10 oz reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 bag of white corn (or similar) tortilla chips
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups finely shredded colby jack cheese (or similar)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine: cream of chicken, cream of celery, green chiles, sour cream, hot sauce, and cumin.
  2. Crush a few handfuls of tortilla chips and spread over the bottom of the crock pot.
  3. Grab a handful of the verrrrry cold corn and “sprinkle” it on top of the crushed chips.
  4. Place a layer of black beans and kidney beans.
  5. Spread a layer of the soup mixture.
  6. Over the soup mixture, place a layer of shredded cheese.
  7. Repeat the layers again. (I repeated them twice… it might vary based on the size of your crock pot)
  8. End with a layer of chips.
  9. Cooking options: Low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours (but you run a bit of a risk of your sour cream separating if you do this)

*Here you have the “easy/convenient” version, but you could totally make your own cream of chicken/celery, make your own tortilla chips, use fresh chopped green chiles, fresh corn, and cook your own black beans and kidney beans. Honestly, I hope to be able to do that someday but I’m not much of a cook, I don’t really enjoy cooking as some do, and I’m not good enough of a time manager to do all that with my toddler and preschooler with me!

And a quick shout out to this flavor combo… Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with ground cumin is uh.maz.ing. I use it in our black bean soup (which is double uh.maz.ing.) and now I use it in anything Mexicanish.

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Recipe: Southwest-Inspired Corn, Black Bean, & Avocado Salad

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This is one of those “sorta” recipes… it is designed for one of those days when you don’t want to spend a bunch of money to go out but you need flavors and tastes that aren’t usual and… well, you’re either feeling lazy or you don’t have time or energy to slave over the stove.

With that being said, I’m gonna be looking for a substitute for the frozen veggie mix in this recipe so that there is also an all-homemade version.

Southwest-Inspired Corn, Black Bean, & Avocado Salad

Ingredients:
• 1 bag of Southwest-Inspired Corn And Black Bean frozen veggies mix (from Target… there is a pic of the bag below)
• 1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• tsp lime juice
• 1/4 cup shredded Colby jack cheese

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Directions:
1. Cook bag of frozen veggies in the bag in the microwave. Let them cool for a minute or two and then dump them into a cereal size bowl.

2. Add in sour cream and lime juice and stir until combined.

3. Incorporate the avocado chunks and shredded cheese.

4. Eat!

I thought it was super yummy! And so easy and quick. I ate the entire bowl cause I was so hungry but for a normal day it would probably make two servings. This whole not eating after 7pm certainly makes me hungrier at lunch!

Well, that and the hour long walk we took this morning during some fabulous weather!

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