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Sometimes you just need Mexican food. In the form of a bean and veggie tortilla casserole. Spicy, warm, and comforting.
I love Mexican food. It’s one of those things that happens when you move to Southern California. Prior to moving here, Mexican to me was Taco Bell or Don Pablo’s (which is, as I remember now, a not-very-good Mexican chain in the Northeast). I almost always ordered a quesadilla or enchiladas, which is kind of like the cheater “Mexican” food. “Give me a tortilla filled with greasy melted cheese and possibly covered with bland tomato sauce.” Yuck.
Here in LA, thanks to the large Mexican population, you can get authentic Mexican food on nearly every corner. Burritos are my go to, with (soft) tacos a close second. Flour tortillas are smooth and buttery, chewy, sometimes a tiny bit crisp. Tacos from a street truck are just two small corn tortillas topped with the meat of your choice, and cilantro and onions if you’d like. Outside the truck is a table of assorted condiments – spicy pickled carrots and jalapeños, green, red, and orange salsas pureed to a smooth consistency. And since I love condiments, you can guess I load up on all of them.
Not to mention this wonderful thing called POTATO tacos and burritos (notably from one of my favorite Santa Monica spots, Tacos Por Favor). Soft potatoes with lettuce, guacamole, rice, beans. This is a really big thing, considering potatoes are one of my favorite food items. I’ve never seen anything potato related at Taco Bell or a chain Mexican-American restaurant, have you?
I usually need to have some sort of Mexican food at least once a week. Usually it’s a burrito from my beloved Benito’s around the corner, but they’re not exactly the lightest thing to eat. So for those times when I shouldn’t splurge, at-home-Mexican it is.
Enter black bean and veggie tortilla casserole. This is a nice twist on enchiladas. I’m not really a fan of enchiladas anymore because I feel like the corn flavor of the tortillas deepens when they’re baked and ends up tasting weird. Here, in this casserole, the tortillas end up softening and practically melting into the rest of the ingredients. In a word, it’s awesome.
This recipe was inspired by Everyday Food, but has been pumped up with the addition of veggies and mushrooms.
bean and veggie tortilla casserole
makes 6 servings
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces crimini or white mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces each), black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) or 3 cans (10 ounces each) diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 10 corn tortillas
- 6 ounces shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Mexican blend, or Mozzarella)
- Optional: reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream, sliced green onions, avocado, jalapenos for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium pot, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sliced mushrooms over medium heat, until softened, 3 – 4 minutes. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and toss with the frozen corn and peas. Return the pot to the heat.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot, as well as the garlic. Heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beans and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Slightly mash some of the beans.
In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes (with juice) and cilantro. If you don’t have one of those, finely chop the cilantro and mix it with the tomatoes.
Lay 4 tortillas in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, overlapping a bit and slightly going up the sides of the dish. Spread 1/3 of the tomato mixture on top. Spoon 1/2 of the black beans in, then evenly distribute 1/2 of the veggies. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Top with 3 tortillas and repeat the layering process. Finish it with the remaining 3 tortillas, last 1/3 of the tomato sauce, and last 1/3 of cheese.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for another 20 minutes.
To serve, top with sour cream, green onions, avocado, or jalapeno slices.
You guys, this week is my FAVORITE holiday, and I’m so excited. This Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Glazed Banana and Pecans is a non-traditional, but easy way to start off a Thanksgiving meal.
I usually host a Thanksgiving dinner for 40 people, but this year I’m taking it easy and letting my friend’s aunt and uncle do all the work Although, I’ll absolutely be contributing my Mushroom Nut Roast with Mushroom Gravy (recipe to come next week!)
If you’re not quite sure what to contribute this year to your Thanksgiving pot luck, or are looking for a fun addition to your usual menu, give this soup a try. It’s both sweet and savory.
easy pumpkin soup with maple-glazed banana and pecans
makes 4 servings
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or pancake syrup
- 1/2 banana, diced
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 6 teaspoons light sour cream
- Pinch of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the pecans in an even layer and toast for about 7 minutes, or until they’re fragrant. Let cool and chop. Toss with the syrup and bananas.
In a medium saucepan, heat the pumpkin, water, and vegetable stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat until warm, then stir in the sour cream and cinnamon.
Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of the pecan-banana mixture.
I’ve never been much of a chili fan. I don’t know why. It just never floated my boat. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of ground beef crumbles. I don’t like the texture, which is a major reason why I was able to be a vegetarian for eight years and not miss beef at all.
I gravitate towards this delicious chili recipe because 1. It does not have ground beef, and 2. its flavor is completely different from traditional chili. The green chiles, oregano, cumin, and cilantro all come together for more of a Mexican feel. Great on its own and even better topped with light sour cream or chunks of avocado.
chicken chili verde
makes 4 servings
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 oz green chile peppers
- 4 oz diced jalapenos
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 – 15.5 ounce cans cannellini beans, not drained
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Light sour cream, if desired
Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook until golden and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chiles, jalapeno, garlic, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the broth, beans, and chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Add the fresh cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve each portion topped with light sour cream, if you desire!
Per serving, with chicken: 350 calories, 6.5g fat, 1439mg sodium, 42g carbohydrates, 37g protein
Per serving, vegetarian with black beans: 337 calories, 4g fat, 1472mg sodium, 60g carbohydrates, 22g protein
Crumb cake always reminds me of home (Northeastern PA). The population in our area used to be mostly German heritage, and that still permeates through many of the small towns. You can pretty much find some version of crumb cake at any diner, bakery, or convenience store.
Although I really love trying new recipes all the time, so much so that I’d almost rather try something new every night before making a repeat, there are some recipes I make over and over. In the fall and winter, it’s roasted winter vegetable pizza and in the spring it’s this strawberry crumb cake. It’s sweet and sugary with a slight tang from the berries.
strawberry crumb cake
- Strawberry Filling:
- 1/2 pint (8 ounces) fresh strawberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 8 baking pan.
Roughly chop the strawberries and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Toss to mix.
In another bowl, whisk the sugars, spices, and salt. Add in the melted butter, whisking until smooth. With a spatula, stir in the flour. The mixture will be very thick, like a dough. Pat it into the bottom of the bowl.
In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, egg, yolk, and vanilla. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add a tablespoon or so of the sour cream mixture and the butter. Mix on medium until chunks form, about 20 seconds. Increase the speed to beat for 30 seconds. Add half the sour cream mixture and beat for 20 seconds, until fully incorporated. Add the rest of the mixture and beat for 20 more seconds until smooth. Important — Scoop out 1/2 cup of batter and reserve for topping berries.
Put the remaining batter into the baking pan. Smooth into an even layer. Using a slotted spoon to remove excess cornstarch mixture, spoon berries on top of batter. Dollop the reserved batter on top of berries.
Break the crumb topping into large pieces with your fingers. I make mine REALLY big, about 1.5 inches, but if you want a more traditional crumb topping, break them into pieces closer to 1/2 inch. Sprinkle them on top of the cake.
Bake for about 35 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out free of cake batter (although it may be red from the berries). Cool before eating.
to anyone. You don't have to know a lot about cooking or be a foodie to prepare and enjoy nutritious homecooked meals! Read more...