I’m slowly but surely making my way back into school (and soon work), so that means easy-peasy meals are the go-to choice. Rules of easy-peasy meals?
1. No shopping for specific ingredients, must make do with what is already in the kitchen. (I usually live by this rule, helps me be creative!)
2. There should be as few steps as possible: Chop, saute, plate!
3. Utilize already-cooked items (such as rice from last night’s dinner or beans I simmered on Sunday)
4. If something has to cook for a while, it should not have to be watched or stirred or pampered. Stick it in the oven and let it do its thang.
5. Prep time should be less than ten minutes and cook time less than an hour… aka “I’m hungry now, where’s my fooood???”
To be honest, these are rules I generally always follow for my own sanity in the kitchen. Yes, of course sometimes I get that cooking bug and spend an entire evening or afternoon in that little space, but for the most part I’m not the world’s most involved cook. I’m utilitarian and I’m busy busy busy.
So today I want to share a delicious, but definitely easy-peasy meal idea. It’s not radical, but this version of a taco salad makes use of one particular component that was new to me. I had seen in the past that Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga had a nut “meat” that she used in tacos. I’ve never had the chance to try it, so I figured that this taco salad would be a perfect opportunity. I urge you to check it out with your next taco or taco salad.
|Spicy Vegetarian Taco Salad
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Bring some easy components together to make a perfect, filling meal after a tiring day.
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- olive oil, enough to bring the ingredients together in the food processor
- Rest of Filling
- 1 onion
- black pepper
- chili powder
- 2 cups lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup cooked beans
- First, put your uncooked rice in your rice cooker, add water and spices and set to “on.”
- For Averie’s “meat,” add all ingredients to your food processor or blender and blend until you get a thick, “meaty” mixture that somewhat (but not too closely) resembles the kind of ground beef taco meat you might make in for a traditional taco salad. Don’t over-process, you still want it to be chunky.
- Dice your onion and 3/4 of it to a pan with a drizzle of oil and a dash of salt, black pepper, and chili powder. You can also add your beans at this point so that they can get some flavor.
- You want to keep the heat on medium and cover until the onions become glassy.
- Finally layer your chopped lettuce in a bowl, add the bean/onion mix, the taco “meat,” and the rice.
- Add some uncooked pieces of diced onion on top, and decorate with tortilla chips (which you can also pan fry yourself!)
So if you’ll notice, I made pretty good on my promise to follow the 5 rules of easy-peasy meals. (Yeah, the prep time is a bit longer than 10 minutes, but it’s an estimate! Maybe your chopping is faster than mine.) In Averie’s original recipe the meat called for both almonds and walnuts. However, I only had walnuts, so I adapted the recipe to my kitchen. Also, I didn’t have sundried tomatoes. I stuck some in my dehydrator, then realized that I didn’t want to wait that long, so I just added them to my “meat” as they were and worked with a new, wetter texture than was initially intended. I still think it tastes wonderful, but I left “sundried tomatoes” in the recipe above because I think it could be EVEN BETTER with them.
In short, the easy-peasy rules just illustrate the different ways that you can be an adaptive (and lazy) cook. And they work pretty well for me
Posted in CSA, Dinner
Tagged "Meat", Beans, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Lettuce, Onion, Rice, Taco, Taco Salad, Tomatoes, Turmeric, Walnuts
It’s another Thursday where I have produce aplenty to share with you! I’ve got some repeated vegetables from last week, and then a few new ones. Also, I received two juicy peaches (one of which I immediately devoured all by itself). And I’ve got high hopes for baking that other peach. I’m completely into the idea of making a brown sugar crumble inside of it. Ah, in short I am just giddy on my post-CSA retrieval high.
So this week I got more green beans (still have to come up with something killer to do with them- I’m not good with green beans), more corn (that’s easy!), garlic, green bell peppers, and a pretty little basket of cherry tomatoes.
I already made a heartstopping salad last night with the corn and some of the tomatoes, which I will share with you soon. And tomorrow I’m making a vegetable tart for a work party. I really want to use up the basil quickly because it’s already picked, and who knows how long it will last. I could always dry some, of course, but the faster I can eat it fresh the better.
Also, I’m going to be spending some time at my parents’ house for the next two weeks or so, so I’m feeling like I should use up my stash pretty quickly and then bring the rest with me. Luckily, my planned veggie tart should handle the bell peppers, some corn, and the tomatoes. Too bad you can’t put green beans in a tart… can you? I don’t think I’m going to go there…
I also wanted to include a recipe for a meal I’ve been eating for the past week. I used up the rest of my beets and potatoes from my last Thursday Stash by making a filling, creamy, and lightly spicy Potatoes and Beets au Gratin (or Potato-Beet Casserole?). And when I say that I’ve been eating it for the past week, I really mean it. That’s no exaggeration. I made a big dish (which lasts one person for quite a while) that I haven’t gotten sick of yet. It’s eggy, cheesy, spicy, and filling. And it makes the perfect lunch, dinner, or breakfast. Here she is:
Recipe: Potatoes and Beets au Gratin
- 2 cups potatoes sliced (that was two medium potatoes and 6 small ones for me)
- 1 cup yellow beets sliced (about two medium ones for me)
- 1 white onion sliced
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (sharp white cheddar was delicious)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Slice your vegetables.
- Whisk eggs into the milk, and then add cheese.
- Stir in the spices.
- In a casserole dish, layer half of your potatoes, beets, and onions.
- Pour half of the egg mixture evenly over the veggies.
- Layer the rest of the potatoes, beets, and onions.
- Pour the rest of the egg mixture over the dish.
- Place in oven for about 45 minutes.
- Remove when a fork easily pokes into the potatoes and beets.
There is not a lot to the egg mixture, in fact it’s quite sparse. The idea is to have a dish that mostly features the potatoes, beets, and onions, rather than a dish that is mostly eggy. You, of course, can increase the amount of egg or milk.
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 45 min
Posted in CSA, Dinner, Lunch, Recipe
Tagged Basil, Beets, Black Pepper, Casserole, Cayenne Pepper, Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Garlic, Green Beans, Green Bell Pepper, Peaches, Potatoes, Salt, Sharp White Cheddar, Turmeric
Woah it’s been a busy week! I’m finishing my summer job tomorrow with a big celebration, so we’ve been working really hard to get everything together. Then, from Monday to Tuesday, I had a reunion of sorts with some of my ladies who have been out of town for the summer, and one who was abroad this past spring. It’s been exciting, but definitely busy.
Because of all this, I’ve been making a lot of really boring meals, and have even been straight-up lazy and hit up my neighborhood taqueria… And, to be perfectly honest, I’ve been making some dishes that were simply not blog-worthy. It’s embarrassing, but true. You know when you have high hopes for a meal and then it just lacks something? Well, I’ve had a few of those. I’ve also made some big meals that have turned my fridge into leftover city.
But regardless of the little disappointments, I have found a really fabulous success. And that is what I’m here to share with you. This is a perfect side dish that takes extremely minimal effort, yet manages to make your tastebuds dance with joy. I’m not kidding, and that is not hyperbole. It also takes advantage of one summer vegetable that I’ve been seeing in my CSA box for the past few weeks, and therefore am trying to gobble up.
So what is it? Well I can tell you that it’s the kind of summer treat that will be perfect by the grill or accompanied by some cold summer tea. As you may have guessed, it’s roasted corn. But not just any roasted corn. This corn is rubbed in olive oil, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper, and then rolled in aluminum foil and roasted in the oven until it’s tender and spicy. And although that may seem simple, you have to trust me when I say the results are genius.
Roast this corn up alongside some homemade fries! (I’ve been making some fat fries lately, as well as the thin ones
But whatever you pair it with, I’ve no doubt you’ll be pleased with this spicy, summery treat. You wont even mind the corn and spices stuck in your teeth after gobbling it off the cob, promise.
Recipe: Spicy Summer Corn
Summary: The perfect summer side dish, this corn tastes like mid-July and smiling faces. No kidding.
- Corn on the cob
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cut out a piece of aluminum foil for each cob.
- Place corn on the foil and then drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
- Sprinkle a generous amount (teaspoon each) of the black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper onto the corn and then rub it in.
- Wrap the corn up in a nice little aluminum burrito and then place in the oven.
- Leave alone for about 45 minutes.
- Remove corn from oven, unwrap, let cool for a few minutes, and then dig in.
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
All I have to say is: Ahh it finally feels like summer! And I know that it might seem a little late to say that (especially because I’m already halfway through my summer job), but this weekend I finally did my big “one thing of the summer that’s going to suck.” Maybe that sounds a little harsh, but this was one of those requirements that sticks around in the back of your mind even in your most relaxing moments. When I lay in the sun at the pool, I couldn’t help but think that maybe I should be studying instead. So I finally took the CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers) test this past Saturday and I am finally feeling free as a bird.
Of course, I wont know how I did for another month, but it’s nice to be in this blissful in-between time. Everything is out of my hands for a month, so I can just sit back, relax, and forget about the test. And that is exactly what I have been doing for the past 29 hours.
In the meantime, I think that I’m going to load up on this tasty summer food. After my “new potatoes” post, I kind feel like the crazy potato girl, so don’t roll your eyes… but whatever, everybody loves fries! And you cannot deny that they’re one of the best additions to an afternoon barbecue or lazy evening at home.
I love really crunchy desiccated fries, so I made sure to julienne the potatoes on my mandolin so that they were uniformly tiny. Then I baked the hell out of them for quite a while. Le boyfriend likes his fries to taste more like their natural form, so he takes them out earlier than I do. Either way, it’s oh-so easy to bake homemade fries. You can play around with spices too. Maybe make curry fries, or spicy fries. Hmm, I wonder if sweet fries might be in my future? Has anybody ever tried that before?
Anyways, go slice up some potatoes and experiment! Maybe bring these over to your next barbecue or just serve them alongside some lazy summer food. I promise that you’ll like them better than the fries you buy in the frozen section of the supermarket. Not to mention the fact that they take about as long as those babies to cook! It’s a win-win situation!
Now go enjoy your lovely summer! I’ll be basking in it right alongside you
Recipe Type: Snack
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Perfect addition to a summer barbecue! Easily customized to your liking, these shoestring fries are easy and delicious.
- 2 medium red potatoes
- black pepper
- sea salt
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Slice your potatoes and then toss them with your spices and olive oil.
- Place them in the oven and keep a watch on them. When they’re cooked to your liking, pull them out and chow down.
I love crunchy fries, so I left mine in for a loong time. Just watch the potatoes until they’re to your liking.
Also, to make your potato slices cook at a regular rate, use a mandolin to slice them all the same size.
With Falafel Burgers!