Feb 25, 2014

Veggie Enchiladas Verdes

Grab all your favorite vegetables, mix with a hearty grain, add melty cheese, wrap it all up in a tortilla blanket and what you get is a comforting, satisfying, easy, any-night meal. I saved myself some time by employing a pre-made enchilada sauce (this mama's got stuff to do!) and highly recommend Rick Bayless' Green Chile version. There is dairy in this sauce, so if you're omitting the cheese to prepare these vegan, there's also a tomato/chile pepper version that is dairy-free.


  • 3 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 3 Tbs fresh cilantro
  • salt, pepper, and cooking oil of choice
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Spanish onion, sliced
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 Hungarian wax pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano chile pepper, diced
  • 1 cup corn, cooked
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup pinto beans, cooked, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups monterey jack cheese, freshly shredded
  • 10-12 8" tortillas
  • 2 packages of Green Chile enchilada sauce (see note above)
  • 1 cup queso fresco (similar to feta, crumbles easily)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 Tbs fresh cilantro
  • sliced olives for garnish


  1. Combine fresh cilantro and cooked quinoa and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat with cooking oil, add sweet potato, season with salt and pepper and sauté until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In same pan, add more cooking oil, add onion and season with salt; Caramelize by sautéing about 10 minutes over medium-low. Set aside.
  5. Return pan to medium-high heat and repeat the sautéing process with the mushrooms and peppers until nicely browned. Set aside.
  6. Begin assembly by spreading some sauce over one side of tortillas, making sure to cover entire surface.
  7. Lay flat sauce side down in 9x13 baking dish.
  8. Begin filling inside with quinoa, then jack cheese, beans, potatoes, onion, mushrooms, peppers, and corn. 
  9. Wrap tightly with the seam facing down, and repeat with remaining tortillas.
  10. Cover all of the filled tortillas with the remaining sauce, and crumble queso cheese over top.
  11. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is slightly browned.
  12. To make avocado cream sauce, combine avocado, sour cream, lime juice and cilantro in food processor and blend until creamy. Spread atop enchiladas right before serving and finish with sliced olives.

Feb 14, 2014

Valentine's Croque Madame

Nothing says I love you like a rich and creamy cheese sauce smothering grilled ham, turkey and cheese all topped off with a super runny sunny side up eggs... In the shape of hearts no less! Make this for the one you love and you're sure to leave them happy, albeit sleepy and probably too full to move... But totally worth it! Serve with a simple and light salad of greens and vegetables with lemon vinaigrette to complete the meal.
♥ Happy cooking lovey-lovers! 
Whisk flour and butter until blonde, whisk in milk, stir in cheese, nutmeg and thyme until smooth.

Make egg wash for sourdough bread using whole eggs and whole milk. Fry in pan coated in butter, of course.

Smother assembled sandwich with cheese sauce, place under broiler, and fry eggs.

Ooey gooey layers of melty cheese.

For an extra special touch, finish with crumbled bacon and fresh thyme leaves.
Definitely a fork-n-knife sandwich.
  • Slices of sourdough bread 
  • Whole eggs 
  • Butter 
  • Dijon mustard 
  • Slices of Swiss or gruyère cheese 
  • Black forest ham, thinly sliced 
  • Turkey breast, thinly sliced
  • Béchamel cheese sauce (recipe follows) 
  1. Preheat oven broiler 
  2. Make French toast but dipping each piece of sourdough bread in whisked eggs and milk and fry in butter over medium heat 
  3. Evenly spread Dijon mustard on one side of each French toast 
  4. Place sliced gruyère cheese on bread over mustard 
  5. Layer ham and turkey next on cheese 
  6. Place another piece of cheese over ham and top with another piece of French toast with Dijon on inside 
  7. Cover with cheesy béchamel sauce 
  8. Place assembled sandwich under broiler until sauce is browned and bubbling, 5 minutes or so 
  9. Meanwhile, melt butter in fry pan over high and add whole eggs and fry for just a couple seconds until white is set but yolk still runny
  10. Top broiled sandwich with very runny sunny side up egg 
  11. Season egg with salt, pepper and fresh thyme
Béchamel Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbs. butter 
  • 1 Tbs flour 
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyère cheese 
  • freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1/4 tsp fresh thyme 
  1. Melted butter in saucepan 
  2. Add flour and whisk until blonde 
  3. Slowly stir in milk 
  4. Whisk until slightly thickened, 1 minutes or so 
  5. Add shredded gruyère cheese and stir until smooth
  6. Season with nutmeg and thyme 
  7. Set aside until sandwich is assembled and ready for broiler

Jan 29, 2014

Italian Veggie Sliders

(adapted from The Meatball Shop cookbook by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow with Lauren Deen/Ballantine Books, 2011.)

Veggie Ball Ingredients:
· 1/4 cup olive oil
· 1 yellow cooking onion, finely chopped
· 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
· 2 celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped
· 1 garlic clove, minced
· 3 Tbs tomato paste
· 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped in food processor
· 2 cups green lentils, cooked and cooled
· 3 eggs
· 1 cup parmesan cheese
· 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
· 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
· 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
· 1 jar favorite marinara sauce

· 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
· 1/2 cup pesto
· 1/2 cup mayonnaise
· 1 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. In a large sauté pan add olive oil and preheat over medium. Add onions, carrots, and celery and stir about 10 minutes until cooked through and slightly browned.
2. Add garlic and tomato paste and stir about 3 minutes until fragrant.
3. Add chopped mushrooms and cook for about 15 minutes or until their moisture is gone. Set aside vegetable and let cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, combine lentils, eggs, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest in a large bowl.
5. Once vegetables are cooled, add to lentil-egg mixture and combine completely. Put in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.
7. Using a 1-1/2-inch cookie scoop, roll into balls and place on baking sheet ¼ inch apart from one another. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until firm and slightly browned.
8. Make pesto aioli by combining pesto, mayonnaise and lemon juice together. Set aside.
9. Transfer to a slow cooker or chafing dish with marinara sauce to keep warm.
10. Serve veggie balls on mini rolls with slice of mozzarella and smear of pesto ailoi.

Makes about 24 balls.

Sweet 'n Salty Cookie Bars

· 1 batch chocolate chip cookie dough
· 1 oz. thin pretzels
· 1/2 cup toffee bits (Heath Bits O' Brickle)
· 9 Milk Chocolate & Caramel Squares (Ghirardelli)
· 8 oz. Mini Peanut Butter Cups (Reeses)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Line 9" square baking pan with parchment paper
3. Press 1/2 of chocolate chip cookie dough into bottom of pan
4. Evenly place pretzels, toffee bites, caramel squares and peanut butter cups and over dough
5. Cover with another layer of cookie dough and press down lightly to even out6. Bake 20-30 minutes; dough should look slightly undercooked
7. Let cool completely before cutting into squares

Makes 16-20 bars.

Oct 23, 2013

Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts, Sausage, Pesto

Sometimes when the temperature drops and the sun hides out the one thing that can keep the fall blues away is a big bowl of lavish pasta. I'm talking real pasta, not whole grain, gluten-free or quinoa-based pasta. And what better to fold into the pockets of one of my favorite cuts, orecchiette, than creamy herbaceous pesto. I guess I can make it a little healthy and add some veggies. In this case, I opted for seasonal Brussels, roasted of course with plenty of salt and olive oil to create that nutty, addictive flavor. If you're not a Brussels sprout fan, you can certainly substitute it with another fall veggie, like acorn or butternut squash. The sausage here gives the dish some heft, but it's an easy feat to remove if you're a devoted vegetarian.
Season Brussels olive oil and salt, spread on parchment
Brown sausage over medium heat in large skillet until golden
Add pasta to sausage skillet and toss with pesto
Roast Brussels in 400ºF oven for 30-40 minutes
Toss everything together in skillet
  • 1 lb pasta, such as orecchiette
  • 3/4 cup pesto, store bought or homemade
  • 1 lb uncooked sausage links, sliced
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss Brussels with 2 Tbs olive oil and salt and spread in one layer on baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until golden.
  2. Preheat large skillet with 2 Tbs of olive oil. Add sliced sausages in two batches if necessary making sure not to overcrowd pan. Remove and set aside. 
  3. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and return to same pan sausage was browned in.
  4. Add sausage back to pan with pasta, along with roasted Brussels and toss with pesto. Serves 8-10 generous portions.