Tag Archives: spinach

Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas

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Happy Labor Day! I hope that all you working people are enjoying a much-earned day off. Being a nurse and now mostly-stay-at-home-mom, Mondays have never had the ‘eh, its Monday’ feeling to me, because my schedule is pretty all over the place and I rarely work Mondays! Therefore, it’s a day that I usually enjoy because it’s a fresh new week and a catch up with the mountain of laundry recharge day after the weekend.

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Last night we took a stroll outside with our pack of dogs and got to enjoy an amazing sky show- I love that Gabby can sit facing forward in her stroller now and see this herself. What better way to learn her colors by looking at God’s own artwork?

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Confession time: We have this family tradition called Gourmet Burgers with Joey’s family every Sunday. Thank goodness I said ‘mostly vegetarian month’. Joey and I may or may not have inhaled 3 burgers between the two of us. Beef never tasted so good! And now we are ready for another week of mostly vegetarian. Which brings me to sharing this recipe for Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas from the Garden Grazer with you!

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This lady knows what she’s doing in the kitchen. I made this Saturday night for the Joester and I, after a sweet friend suggested this recipe for us to try. The green onions and cilantro add tons of flavor and the homemade enchilada sauce is a cinch to make and SO delicious! We subbed corn tortillas for the flour ones, and made homemade chips with the leftovers.

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My tummy= happy tummy. Vegetarian enchiladas for the win!

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~M

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Filed under Food Stuffs., God, Vegetables, vegetarian

Shells with Spinach,Toasted Pine Nuts & Ground Almonds {and HAPPY birthday, MJ}!}

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Good morning, bright & early! Gabs must be going through a growth spurt because we are back to waking up every 4-5 hours at night- pack on those pounds girly, I need more of you in my life!

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I was browsing Pinterest  for dinner ideas a couple nights ago and saw a delicious-sounding recipe for pasta that I decided needed to be in my belly that night. I swapped a few ingredients, added a few more, and viola! Dinner is served.

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Lately all the recipes I’ve been sharing are dinner recipes, and that’s because I can’t stand the idea of turning on my oven to bake something sweet when it’s 90 degrees outside (not complaining!). Plus, I’ve eaten all of the chocolate chips in the house. By myself. Intervention please!

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Now that I’m done bemoaning the fact that my sweet tooth is taking over my body, I’ll focus on dinner. This was a perfect spring dish that totally hit the spot, and wasn’t too heavy for a warm day. I had made (what I thought was) more than enough for the two of us for dinner, but by the time we put down our plates, somehow it was all gone.

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Sometimes when I try new things in recipes, I don’t tell Joey about it until after we’ve eaten because I don’t want it to negatively sway his opinion about the meal. Sneaky me 🙂 This time, the secret ingredient was ground almonds mixed into the pasta. Sounds weird, I know. I saw it in a cookbook a while back and have been wanting to try it ever since! The almonds are ground pretty finely, so it adds a lovely texture and nutty flavor to the pasta.

Joey, a few bites in, totally called me out on it. “Are there almonds in this? It tastes kind of nutty.. what did you put in this?” I tried to judge the situation. Is it too early to tell?? He’s only had a few bites… But I ‘fessed up and he gave it two thumbs up! Whew. Maybe because he’s now an almond farmer? Whatever, I’ll take it!

Try it out and let me know what you think! I used this recipe– but did not use thyme, and added lightly toasted pine nuts, grilled chicken thighs with S&P, about a 1/3 a cup of finely ground raw, unsalted almonds. 

~M

P.S. my running buddy kindly notified me of my pregnancy brain  mom brain (is that a thing?) and reminded me that the Modesto Pregnancy Center 5k is THIS Saturday! I knew it was May 4th, but somehow that still felt a long ways away. We may be walking instead of running because of my injured feet and my running buddy is pregnant, but the goal is the same! There’s still time to donate!

P.P.S And more importantly, it’s my BEAUTIFUL niece’s first birthday today!! That little girl is one of my favorite people on this earth. I am so bummed to be missing her birthday party this weekend in Texas, but soon they will be moving back here for a year so I will give her a big birthday squeeze in a month!! 

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I got her this shirt thinking it was a safe buy, since I was the only aunt! Totally forgot about Tim’s sisters- oops! MJ, lets pretend the shirt says that you are my favorite niece!! 🙂 

 

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Is she not the cutest thing ever?? Love you MJ, and happy Birthday sweet girl!

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White Cheese Chicken Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms

I made this lasagna three times in the past two days.

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I have always been a red sauce girl myself- classic lasagna is one of the most soul-comforting foods out there, in my book! However, my husband is a white sauce only type guy. So that threw me through a loop the first few weeks of our marriage- because staples in my house growing up were spaghetti with marinara (red sauce) and lasagna (red sauce) and mom’s chili (red sauce). There I was, all excited that I had a handful of good dinners planned for my hubby, and all the sudden I have to throw 3 of 5 weekday ideas down the drain!! Now, Joey would have eaten anything I made him- but who wants to spend time making a dinner you know won’t be a hit? Not me.

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So I cautiously entered the world of white sauce.

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And was pleasantly surprised! I still prefer red sauce, but I have found a few recipes for white sauce dinners that are contenders for “The Weekday Dinner Rotation”  we are bound to rely on when our house is full of kids. Did any of you guys have that growing up? The rotation of 5 weekday meals that you knew you’d have because mom is busy and there are 5 kids in the house who are picky and there are only 5 known meals that will satisfy everyone in the house? Yup, totally preparing for that already. My mom had an awesome rotation, so I need to come up with some good stuff here.

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This white cheese lasagna is a cinch to make, and definitely a crowd pleaser. (Which is why I made it three times in two days.) I made two small lasagnas for Joey and I, one to freeze and one to eat, but then we had his brothers and a friend over for dinner so we ended up making both! And the next day I made another one to bring to my dear cousin who just had a beautiful baby girl! Who, by the way, I got to hold last night AND feed her a bottle! Totally precious. Again, February… HURRY UP!

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Anyways, if you’re looking for dinner ideas that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters in your house, here ya go!

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(Sorry the lighting is atrocious in our kitchen after 4:30 pm. That’s why it looks more like yellow lasagna than a white cheese lasagna- bear with me!)

~M

White Cheese Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms

adapted lightly from Lisa Humpf

serves 12

ingredients

9 lasagna noodles                                                   1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 cup butter                                                          1 tsp dried basil

1 onion, chopped                                                    1 tsp dried oregano

1 tablespoon minced garlic                                 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 cup all purpose flour                                     1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1 tsp salt                                                                      2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat

2 cups chicken broth                                              2 cups fresh spinach

1 1/2 cup milk                                                            1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or dried)

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided       1/4 cup parmesan ( I used romano) for topping

8 baby mushrooms, sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water, then set aside.

If you are using fresh chicken, cook breasts in olive oil or butter and season with salt and pepper until cooked through- do not overcook the chicken (it will cook more in the oven!) Slice, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with basil, oregano, and black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9x 13 inch baking dish. Later with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, spinach, mushrooms, and the chicken. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, mushrooms, chicken, and the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over the cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over the noodles. SPrinkle with 1/4 cup Romano cheese or Parmesan and parsley.

Bake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.

Melt the butter

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Lemon Spinach Pesto


It’s finally summmmerrr!!! Ah, how I love summers! Even though technically summer starts on the 21st, who really waits for the official day? No one I know. Bring on the BBQ’s, arnold palmers by the pool, tan skin, summer salads,vacations, and cute little baby nieces in their frilly bathing suits. I love every minute of it! Also, did I tell you guys that Joey and I are going to be going on a Bible tour of Israel for the next two weeks?

We are so excited we can hardly stand it! We’ve been looking forward to this trip for over a year now, and it’s a little crazy to think that we leave on Sunday already. Please keep us in your prayers! I’m not sure what we’ll be eating in Israel, but as long as it involves lots of hummus or this, I’m pretty excited for it.

In the meantime, lets focus on American food. After all of the Oreo cake and pretzel m&m’s, we were pretty sugared out and ready for some protein. And it’s summer, so let’s make it brightly colored, shall we?

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I love anything lemon-y. It’s so light and flavorful, and citrus screams summertime! We eat a lot of chicken in our house- I’m getting better at learning how to cook beef in different ways (since we live on a dairy), but I’m much more familiar with chicken because my mom always cooked it for us. Chicken is great because it can stand up to so many different flavors, preparations, and sauces. So, even if you have chicken every.single.night, it can feel like a completely different meal if you change up the flavors! Sounds good to me.

 

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This particular recipe is one of my very favorites, and its so fast! I might even be able to beat out K’s 11 minute meal. Depends on how long it takes your chicken to cook… so cook it fast and I can call it the 10.5 minute meal! In all seriousness, the only time consuming part is cooking the chicken- I just pan-fried it on the stovetop with a little garlic salt and pepper and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

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The best part of the meal takes about 3 minutes, and can be done while the chicken is on the stove! Just dump some lemon zest & juice, parmesan, spinach, EVOO, and pine nuts in a food processor and let ‘er rip! This is what I love to make when I want a good, fast healthy meal, and with little time spent in a hot kitchen.

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Pretty much the greenest sauce you ever did see, huh? I know its scary, you’ve never had a sauce that green. Your kids might freak out a little bit (or your husband might request a more normal looking sauce with his chicken…ahem.) but rest assured, this is so refreshing and the flavors are all there! Its a slighty cheesy, creamy, fresh, and lemony accent to that chicken … and goes along perfectly with some crusty bread and steamed veggies.

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This sauce is so good, you’ll end up dipping your fingers everything on your plate in it. Not that I did that, or anything.

~M

Lemon Spinach Pesto

serves 4-5

2 cups fresh spinach

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 TBSP lemon juice

1-2 tsp lemon zest

1/3 cup + 2 tsp olive oil

salt & pepper

1/3 cup fresh parmesan, grated

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees- toast pine nuts for 5-10 minutes, watch closely. Cooking times may vary with your oven!

Add all ingredients to blender or food processor, and puree until smooth and creamy. Add more olive oil to get your desired consistency.

Refrigerate, and eat with your chicken! And vegetables… and bread….

Enjoy!

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