Category Archives: Fast & Easy

Mexican Style Baked Eggs.

I get bored with breakfast, even though it is my favorite meal of the day. I get into ruts where I make the same thing over and over. It usually consists of potatoes, bacon and eggs. I feel like the sky is the limit, but I cannot seem to think out of the box. This is precisely why I got so excited when I saw this delicious looking dish on Pinterest. I headed over to check the recipe out at Closet Cooking. Though I have made baked eggs before, it was on potatoes. I had never made a Mexican inspired breakfast.

I modified this recipe slightly and slimmed down the method to make it a one dish meal. It ended up being really quick and easy to make and did not disappoint!

Mexican Style Baked Eggs. Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

2 fire roasted jalapeños, diced (can sub fresh here)

1 small bell pepper, diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 C frozen corn (fresh/canned is fine)

1 t kosher salt

1 t ancho chili powder

1 t cumin

1 t Mexican oregano

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 T chopped cilantro

1/2 C shredded cheese of choice

4 eggs

Using a 10 inch cast iron skillet, or other oven safe skillet, preheat oil over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeño and sauté 3-5 minutes or until onions are starting to soften. Add bell pepper, garlic, corn and spices and sauté for 3 minutes longer.

Preheat oven to 375.

Add tomatoes and black beans to vegetable mixture and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in cilantro and cheese. Flatten mixture and crack the eggs over the top. Place skillet in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Serve with heated corn tortillas, sour cream, avacado, or any of your other favorite toppings.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Beans, Breakfast, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Fast & Easy, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Weeknight Green Chicken Taco Meat.

The key to making this dish quickly is to have precooked chicken on hand. I like to cook a whole chicken on Sunday and make stock out of the bones, skin and what-nots. This means that when the chicken is done poaching, smoking or roasting I break it down completely and end up with a container of breast, leg, and thigh meat. To make these quick tacos I used a precooked chicken breast and this green tomatillo salsa.

Weeknight Green Chicken Taco Meat.

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 small red onion, sliced

1 small green pepper, sliced

1 breast of chicken, cooked and cubed

1 t cumin

1/2 t paprika (smoked if you have it)

2-3 oz green tomatillo salsa

Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 3-5 minutes or until they are starting soften. Add peppers, chicken, cumin and paprika and cook for 5 minutes. Add salsa and heat through. Serve in tortillas with rice, beans and all of your favorite fixins’.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Chicken, Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Fast & Easy, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired

Weeknight Quick & Easy Enchilada Casserole.

While weekends are mine in the kitchen, as of late it has taken some mental effort to get home from work and want to cook. This is not a normal thing for me. Usually I have no problem coming home after working for nine or ten hours and spending oodles of time in the kitchen, chopping, stewing, baking, sautéing. But for whatever reason, as of late this has been a daunting task. I get home and dig around for left overs, quick snacks, anything that doesn’t take too much effort. That is sort of why I started making all of the quick weeknight dinner posts you have been seeing. I know they are not gourmet or detailed, but they are real life, they are really what people make when they are busy or just plain don’t want to cook and they are, for the most part, not processed. Sure there was a waffle mix (made with whole grains), and store bought chorizo (organic and locally raised), but they are not full of corn by-product.

This is a dish that I grew up eating. It epitomizes the speedy weeknight one dish meal in my head. It can be made with a number of on hand ingredients and takes little effort to prepare. As children, my sister and I loved this dish. We would ask for it by name and devour it when it was placed on the table. For me, it is home.

Interestingly enough I was unable to get the recipe that my family uses for this dish, perhaps there isn’t one, that is exists only proverbially. So what you get below is my rendition, made with on hand ingredients. It is waiting to be modified by you!

Quick & Easy Enchilada Casserole.

Ingredients

6 corn tortillas, chopped up

5 oz red chile sauce (or other enchilada sauce)

1 C cooked chicken, chopped

1/2 C sliced black olives

1 small green pepper, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 C shredded cheese

1 green onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup of cheese in a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with reserved cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is melted and golden brown! Top with green onions and serve with lettuce and sour cream.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Fast & Easy, Mexican Inspired

Weeknight Clam “Chowder”.

Clam chowder is a classic comfort food. It’s warm, creamy, and nourishing. It is also one of those high calorie, time consuming dishes to make and I believe it doesn’t have to be. I developed this recipe one weeknight not too long ago as we were running out the door to be somewhere. It came together so quickly and had such good flavor that I added it to the list of standard recipes that I use.

The hubs loves this soup because it is more of a soup than a chowder. According to Wikipedia: “Chowder is a generic name for a wide variety of seafood and/or vegetable stews and thickened soups, often with milk- and/or cream.” The key word in this sentence is thickened. One of the time savers of this dish is that I don’t thicken the soup, there is no roux, no flour, no thickening agent at all. This was not originally on purpose, but as I said above, we were running out the door and I added the broth in a hurry, and completely forgot that I had not added any flour to the mirepoix! So in fact, it is just soup, but it is still creamy and still crazy delicious and I am still calling it a chowder…because clam soup just doesn’t have the same enticing ring to it!

Clam Chowder. Makes four bowls.

Ingredients

1 large potato (or two medium), diced (something with a firm flesh, like a caribe or Yukon gold)

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

2 T olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 t kosher or sea salt

1/2 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 t dried thyme

32 oz chicken stock

12 oz frozen, cooked clams (I used short neck as they are small and I did not have to chop them)

1 C milk

In a large stock pot sauté potatoes, celery and onions in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and sauté 1-2 minutes longer, until garlic is fragrant. Add stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are completely  tender. Add clams and milk and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, just to heat everything through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Fast & Easy, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Seafood, Soup/Stew

Weeknight Savory Waffles.

Waffles can be a great, quick weeknight dinner. You can adorn them with fried eggs and make a breakfast-for-dinner meal out of it, or you can take a savory twist on them and make a whole new kind of waffle. The later is our favorite way to have waffles for dinner. First, you start with your favorite waffle mix, which should be the Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Mix, because if it is not, you might just be missing out! You can also make up a waffle mix from scratch and store it in a container.

Then you add your favorite fixin’s. We like to add four fried and chopped pieces of bacon, two tablespoons of finely chopped chives and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to a half batch of waffles. We have also done crumbled sausage or chorizo, fresh corn or green pepper, red or yellow onion. Yum! Just remember to precook your meat over the weekend so you can grab it for whatever dishes you are making during the week.

Cook in a waffle iron and serve with your favorite savory topping, a fried egg, or more bacon!

Enjoy!

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Cheese, Eggs, Fast & Easy

Weeknight Chorizo Wraps.

*Sorry about the photo…erg.

You will find a theme with me, especially when we are talking about quick, weeknight dinners: many of them are paninied. It is about the quickest way I have found to create a handheld pocket of goodness that you can eat as you are running out the door for your next appointment. Last week I told you about Pita Pizza Paninis and I got to thinking, though I won’t have a bum finger forever, it might be fun to share more of my quick dinner ideas.

Often when I get home from work midweek and have another activity scheduled that I have to go to I don’t want to cook. This can frequently lead to eating out. Not only is this taxing on the budget over time, it is taxing on the waistline as well. So I have developed many quick dinners that take a little pre-planning, but only a little time to execute the night of.

The key with this dish is to cook up the chorizo ahead of time, it only takes about 15 minutes to cook up a pound of it and throw it into the refrigerator for use all week. If you are feeding more mouths, you may need to scale the weight up, but for two people, this will tide us over with a plethora of chorizo laden dishes all week.

Chorizo Wraps. (makes 4 wraps)

Ingredients

2 medium/large potatoes, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces and boiled for 10 minutes

1 T olive oil

Your choice of veggies, chopped (I like to use whatever is on hand like red onion (1/4 cup), a little zucchini (one small one), and green cabbage (about 1/2 cup shredded))

4 oz cooked Mexican style chorizo

2 eggs, scrambled

1/2 C shredded cheese

4 tortillas

Preheat your panini pan.

Throw all of the ingredients, except the eggs, cheese and tortillas into a sauté pan heated over medium-high heat with olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to get an even seer on everything. Turn off heat and mix in eggs. Scoop one quarter the ingredients onto each tortilla, top with cheese, fold and panini until golden brown.

Serve with cilantro, arugula, sour cream and hot sauce.

As a side note, if you cook up rice or other whole grains at the beginning of the week to use in dishes this would be a great dish to add it to and you could save time not having to cook up the potatoes. You can also skip the panini part to cut down on the time a little…we just really like to panini stuff!

Enjoy!

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Filed under Eggs, Fast & Easy, Mexican Inspired, Panini, Pork, Potatoes

Weeknight Pita Pizza Paninis.

What do I cook when I don’t feel like cooking? All kinds of creative stuff! Since I injured my finger I have not really felt like cooking, it is just too much effort. And as much as the hubs helps, it is more work instructing him than it is to struggle through doing it myself. I guess this is me telling you that I am not teacher! So we are making quick weeknight dinners. Last evening we made this easy, out of the fridge dish that can be adapted to fit your desires.

Pita Pizza Paninis. (serves 2, just multiply by the number of mouths you are feeding)

Ingredients

2 flatbread pitas

1/2 C of shredded cheese

2 T pizza sauce

a handful of your favorite toppings (we used pepperoni, red onion, olives, and artichoke hearts)

Preheat panini pan. Spread one tablespoon of sauce on each pita. Place 1/4 cup of cheese and half the toppings over the sauce. Fold the pita in half and panini until golden.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Bread, Cheese, Fast & Easy, Italian Inspired, Panini, Pizza

Quick Huckleberry Sauce.

I am really not one for maple syrup. The maple flavor is something that I just cannot get the taste buds around. It is such an aversion that I cannot eat maple bacon or even pecans, which taste like maple to me. It is such a beautiful substance, something so pure and natural. It is a great sweetener, topping, a tasty treat. It is something I just cannot enjoy. So I have started to experiment with fruit sauces as possible toppings for things like pancakes and waffles. Recently I made this wonderful huckleberry sauce for my favorite buttermilk pancakes.

Ingredients

1 C huckleberries, fresh or frozen

1/4 C water

1/4 C sugar

juice of 1/2 of a small orange

1 T arrowroot powder

Combine huckleberries, water, sugar, and juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add arrowroot powder and stir until all of the powder is dissolved. Serve over your favorite delicious breakfast bread or ice cream!

Enjoy!

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Filed under Breakfast, Dairy Free, Dessert, Fast & Easy, Fruit, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Sauce and Gravy, Vegan, Vegetarian

Quick Homemade Pizza Dough.

Homemade pizza dough is great. Once you get hooked it will be hard to go back to store-bought. The one thing I often do is to make a batch of about 12 pizzas worth of dough and then freeze the balls. But there is a downside to doing this, if you forget to thaw the ball and then get the thawed ball out of the refrigerator to rise ont he counter for two hours, you won’t have homemade pizza dough that is ready to use. So I have come up with a back up plan: pizza dough you can whip in about 30 minutes.

Ingredients

2 1/4 t yeast (1 packet)

1 C warm water (105-115 degrees)

1 t sugar

1 t kosher salt

2 T olive oil

2 1/2 C  flour + more for your kneading surface

Proof the yeast in water in a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes. Add sugar, salt and olive oil and mix. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix to combine. Put 1/8 cup of flour on a flat surface and turn dough out onto it. Knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour if needed. Pull dough into a ball and place seam side down on floured surface. Sprinkle with a little flour and cover with a clean dish towel (not terrycloth). Allow dough to proof for 15-20 minutes as you get your toppings prepared. Punch the dough down before rolling it out. Depending on how warm your kitchen is, you might get a lot of bubbles you need to work out.

If you only want to use half of this dough the first night, store the remaining dough in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Remove the container when you want to use it and allow the dough to come to room temperature (about an hour). The dough should keep ok in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Bread, Dairy Free, Fast & Easy, Outside of the Box, Pizza, Vegan, Vegetarian

Chicken Smoke-a-Tilla Soup.

We love smoked meats and we make a lot of smoked chicken because it is quick, relatively inexpensive, and we can make several meals out of the meat as well as make stock from the bones and whatnots. As a result of eating a decent bit of smoked chicken we are always thinking of new ways to use it.

As we contemplated how we were going to use our smoked chicken meat this week, the hubs came up with the idea of using it in some tortilla soup, then he promptly named it Chicken Smoke-a-Tilla Soup! How could I resist?

Chicken Smoke-a-Tilla Soup.

Ingredients

8 C chicken broth (I used half smoked and half regular)

8-12 oz smoked chicken pieces

2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 medium red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1-2 T cumin

1-2 T chili powder

1 T Mexican oregano

1/4 t cayenne

1 t kosher salt (if you have any jalapeno salt I recommend that!)

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

10 oz frozen or fresh sweet corn

1 large red pepper, diced

1/4 cilantro, finely chopped

Topping ideas: sour cream, cheese, avocado, tortilla chip strips

Process

Simmer broth, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices in a stock pot over medium to medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, or until the onions are fairly soft. You can cover the pot to speed this along, just be sure to adjust the heat down so you don’t boil over.

Once the onions are as soft as you are going to want them reduce heat to low and add corn, red pepper, cilantro and chicken.

Top with your favorite yummy toppings.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Chicken, Dairy Free, Fast & Easy, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired, Smoker Fare, Soup/Stew