Recipe: Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

20130412-075854.jpg

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!}

20130412-075909.jpg

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

20130412-080723.jpg

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

20130412-080711.jpg

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

20130412-080650.jpg

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

20130412-080636.jpg

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

20130412-080753.jpg

20130412-080820.jpg

Recipe: Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup (Vegan)

20130321-205836.jpg

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!

20130321-205857.jpg

20130321-205931.jpg

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!

20130321-205950.jpg

Recipe: UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

20130218-211245.jpg

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!

20130218-210350.jpg

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.

20130218-210406.jpg

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

20130218-210452.jpg

Recipe: Caribbean Black Beans (Crock Pot & Stove Top Versions)

20130203-193147.jpg

We… LOVE this recipe.

My reasons: tasty. easy. a man favorite. simple. fast to prep.
Hubby’s reasons: tasty. tasty. tasty. and ummmm, tasty.

Caribbean Black Beans (Crock Pot & Stove Top Versions)

Ingredients

  • 2 (15 oz) cans of black beans, drained (not rinsed)
  • 1 (8 oz) can unsweetened crushed canned pineapple
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I use frozen)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (if fasting, leave this out… you won’t even notice)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • cooked rice

Instructions For Crock Pot (5 minute prep, 4-6 hours on LOW)

  1. Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir.
  2. Cook on LOW for about 4-6 hours.
  3. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve with hot rice.

Instructions For Stove Top (5 minute prep, 30 minutes)

  1. Combine all ingredients in large soup pot on stove top.
  2. Turn to medium heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  3. Remove the lid, turn to medium-low heat, and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  4. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve with rice.

I got the inspiration for this version from this recipe.

20130203-193202.jpg

Recipe: Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl

20130114-222706.jpg

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.

20130114-222720.jpg

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!

20130114-222729.jpg

Recipe: Easy Black Bean Soup (Vegetarian and Vegan)

The Covenant Diet - EASY Black Bean Soup

My sister-in-law made this soup for a getaway weekend when my husband’s family got together to celebrate his dad’s 60th birthday. She made a chicken tortilla soup for everyone else and then made this one for me (she is super considerate)!

It was sooooooo amazinggggggg that I got the recipe and made it again last night! We loved it and we loved the leftovers today for lunch!

I’m not much a photographer, but I did snag that one pic!

Easy Black Bean Soup (Vegetarian and Vegan)
(Below is the stovetop version and the crockpot variations are in {fancy brackets}!)

Ingredients
• 2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 4-5 cans (14-19 oz each) black beans, undrained
• 1/3 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
• 2 cans (14.5 oz each) vegetable stock {1 can for crockpot}
• 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
• 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
• Sour Cream, optional
• Avocado slices, optional

Directions
1. Heat oil in 4 or 5 quart saucepan. Add garlic and onion; cook until tender.
{Skip this step if you want when making in the crockpot.}

2. Stir in beans with liquid, broth, Frank’s RedHot sauce, cilantro, and cumin. {Include chopped onion and garlic in crockpot.}

3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring often. {Cook on high for three to four hours. No need to stir.}

4. Remove 1 cup of soup. Place in blender; cover securely and process until smooth. Return to saucepan; stir. (Or do this with an immersion blender.)

5. Serve soup in individual soup bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream and avocado chunks or guacamole, if desired.

Note: This was a smidge over mild on my “tongue temperature” gauge, so if you are sensitive to heat then you might consider decreasing the hot sauce. And on the topic of hot sauce, I am not one for “brand name snobbery”, but I think the sauce really makes this recipe so it might be worth the extra trip or having this sauce for just this recipe. I seriously think you’ll want to make it again anyway!

Note: This soup freezes well. Freeze leftovers in individual portions. Thaw and reheat in microwave.

Prep Time: 10 minutes {5 minutes}
Cook Time: 35 minutes {3-4 hours}

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

20120818-124301.jpg

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

20120818-124243.jpg

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!

20120818-125055.jpg