Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans & Cheddar

Maybe it’s the quarantine, but this is my favorite thing I’ve eaten lately. Somehow the combination of simple flavors and quick cooking feels just right for the times. Plus Hudson likes all the ingredients, and so it’s a winner. I got this recipe from New York Times.

2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1 T. olive oil
Salt
1 cup cooked black beans (in pressure cooker or canned, rinsed and drained)
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar

Preheat oven to 425, and line sheet with parchment paper. Halve sweet potatoes lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and massage till evenly covered.

Place sweet potatoes face down on sheet and roast 30-40 minutes, until a fork goes through easily. Turn them over, flatten slightly, then divide half the cheese over the potatoes. Top with beans and more cheese, then bake 5 more minutes until cheese is melted and beans are warm. Season with salt, pepper, or a cajun or seasoning salt is nice here too.

A few notes:

  • This parchment paper is dreamy.
  • Did you know you can freeze sweet potatoes? I make lots extra, cool and freeze individually in plastic wrap. Then microwave when ready to serve; they come out creamy and delicious!
  • Do you have a pressure cooker? I absolutely love mine. Since I finally found black beans in stock, I’ve been making them on the reg like this: Add beans, 1.5 t salt, 5.5 cups water, a little dried minced garlic; sometimes a little cumin, oregano and pepper, and often 2 T rice wine vinegar and 2 T sugar. Cook 36 minutes under pressure and release naturally. Let me know if you want more pressure cooker recipes. 90% of the time, I use mine for beans, but I do that at least once a week.

Ring Sandwich for a Crowd

I can’t believe this hasn’t been posted earlier. It’s a recipe I’ve made so many times, mainly because it’s so easy, includes Boursin cheese and is pretty because of the way you assemble the bread in a ring. I’ve put lots of things on it, so choose your own adventure!

Ingredients:
2 Pillsbury Italian bread tubes
Olive oil
Italian, bagel or other seasoning

Plus any of these things to taste:
Deli turkey or ham
Salami or bacon
Roasted red peppers
Pesto
Lettuce
Tomato
Avocado (I mash up with a little salt and lime)
Cheese
Boursin

Remove the italian bread from the tubes, and pinch together to form a ring. Brush on a little olive oil and seasoning. Put some diagonal slices into the top of the dough if you’re feeling fancy. Cook according to package directions (on parchment so you don’t have to wash the pan) and let cool. 

Slice bread horizontally, spread with boursin on both sides (or avocado or pesto on one side), then pile on the ingredients. If serving later, cover with foil and put in warm oven. Maybe do lettuce and tomato on the side or add at the last minute.

Fajita Marinade

It should be no surprise if you’ve followed this blog that my son is picky. But he loves steak – who knew! So we are living our best lives more often and having fajitas and other forms of steak.

I recently found this marinade on AllRecipes. It’s easy and good. I go light on the pepper and leave out the cayenne for my boy who thinks ranch dressing is spicy.

1/4 cup lime juice
1/3 cup water
2 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large resealable plastic bag, mix together the lime juice, water, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, salt, and liquid smoke flavoring. Stir in cayenne and black pepper.

Place desired meat in the marinade, and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight. Grill or saute in an oiled skillet.

Beef Bulgogi Tacos

I’ve always loved Smitten Kitchen, my go-to for recipes that are sure to be good. We were in Dallas this weekend, and I stayed up too late with my sweet niece and mom; so I needed something quick for dinner last night. I opened up the awesome Smitten Kitchen Every Day cookbook, and I found this recipe.

Bulgogi tacos are like an asian taco. This recipe non-traditionally uses ground beef, but instead of taco seasoning, you add a sweet and savory soy/ginger/garlic to the beef, then put it all in a taco – low carb tortillas for me, homestyle H-E-B for the rest of the family. They come together in about 20 minutes.

I roasted some sweet potatoes and carrots, and I put them on the tacos with cilantro and sriracha sauce, but there are other ideas below. My son preferred cheese. đŸ™‚

1 pound ground beef
1 large garlic clove, minced
1-2 inches fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1 T sesame oil
Flour tortillas

Topping ideas
Lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, sesame seeds, kimchi, roasted sweet potato cubes, cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add ground beef. When cooked, drain and add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Let simmer for a couple minutes, then add sriracha or red pepper flakes if your family likes spicy (or add your own later if they’re crazy and think ranch is spicy).

Put beef in tortillas, garnishing with your toppings. This is also good in lettuce wraps.

Brad’s Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Carrots

I’m giving you a holiday gift today, a recipe that is company-worthy with just two ingredients for a main dish. Sure, it’s semi-homemade, but who cares when it’s this delicious?

The secret ingredient is called Soy Vey Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce. Now I’m sure you think you’ve never heard of it, but it’s widely available, so check your supermarket. Here’s what it looks like:

Continue reading “Brad’s Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Carrots”

Unforgettable Chicken Casserole

My best friend Jennifer is one of the world’s best cooks. So when she says something is unforgettable, I believe her! This sounds like an amazing cheat meal!

Makes 6 to 8 servings

3 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup (4 oz.) grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
1 (4-oz) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
11/2 cups French fried onion rings

Stir together first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 11- x-7 in. baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 40 min.  Sprinkle onion rings evenly over top. Bake 5 minutes or until bubbly around edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Delicious Lasagna

I made this lasagna for my family when they came for Christmas 2016, and it was really yummy! I’d had it at book club and never forgotten it.
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds,
Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6
noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Taco Seasoning

The last time I needed a taco seasoning packet, I called a neighbor and they were out of the seasoning. I started digging for a good recipe, so that I could keep it on hand. What I found is that it is simple and fresher tasting. Add a pound of hamburger meat or ground turkey with this recipe and you will immediately notice the difference. If you prefer a slightly milder flavor, use a little less. I use ground turkey, flavored with this recipe (you can’t tell the difference from hamburger) on a salad with the Homemade Salsa on this blog as my go to meal. You can also use this recipe to flavor turkey for the Taco Soup recipe found on this blog.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper