Freezer Burritos

I never buy pre-made freezer meals! I hate them.

Well, I lied I do buy them sometimes….for Paul. I would rather make my lunch. Pay half the price. Know what’s in it. Etc. Paul on the other hand would rather eat a bag of pretzels for lunch than make a real one. Yes, this has happened.

So, every so often I will buy him those Evol, Annie’s or Whole Foods 365 Burritos. He loves them. I think they are a gigantic waste of money. They often range between $2.50 to $4.00/burrito, depending on the kind or if there are sales. Crazy. So I decided I would try my hand at making my own! It was a little time consuming but on a rainy Sunday afternoon (not to mention move-in day in Boston…eekk!) I didn’t mind and although I didn’t calculate the price, I feel confident that I am paying a lot less for these homemade babies!

Freezer Burritos

  • 6 large tortillas
  • 1 cooked chicken breast (crockpot, oven or skillet); shredded
  • 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 onion; diced
  • 2 garlic cloves; minced
  • 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes in sauce (no salt added)
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese; shredded

Cook rice according to package. Set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat. Cook until translucent and fragrant. IMG_1408
Add rice to onion and garlic. Add diced tomatoes. (I only used half a can with half the sauce but feel free to add more) Cook on medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.IMG_1409

Remove from heat. Add cooked and shredded chicken, as well as black beans to the rice. Add chili powder, salt and pepper. Incorporate well and set aside.IMG_1410

Wet a paper towel and place tortillas on a plate. Cover tortillas with wet paper towel and heat in the microwave for 15-25 seconds until warmed. This makes them easier to fold.

Spoon equal parts of the rice mixture onto each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese and roll each tortilla up. Cover in tin foil or plastic wrap and freeze.IMG_1413IMG_1411IMG_1414
T
he verdict? Paul told me these outranked any of the store-bought burritos I have ever bought. Success! He microwaved it for 2-3 minutes, but this will vary from microwave to microwave, Ours is pretty pathetic…

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Vegetarian Enchiladas

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I was visiting home this past weekend and was presented with a dinner challenge! Sounds exciting right? I mean it’s not that exciting….But I offered to make dinner for my family, however the catch was that my meal needed to consist of a can of black beans that has been sitting, untouched, in the pantry for weeks. Black Beans?! Easy. I eat them almost every day. The dilemma you ask? How do I get EVERYONE else to not only eat them, but enjoy them in a somewhat healthy meal.

I make a lot of black bean, vegetable extravaganzas as I like to refer to them, but I didn’t want to totally shock my families systems with the weird stuff I consistently make Paul eat. That’s love right? So what to do…Mexican! And what’s better on Meatless Monday than rice, bean and veggie packed enchiladas? Give these a try, you won’t even miss the meat!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups rice; cooked
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 medium onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper; diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 can black beans; rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1- 1/2 cups shredded chedder cheese; divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth salsa (or chunky salsa or enchilada sauce)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cook rice according to directions and set aside.

Heat olive oil to medium heat. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper. Saute on medium heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.IMG_1038

Add tomatoes with sauce to the onion mixture. Mix in chili powder, salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.IMG_1039

Add beans, corn and rice to mixture. Incorporate well. Add 1/2 cup cheese and mix thoroughly.
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Spoon about two large scoops of rice mixture into each tortilla. Make sure you have enough of the mixture to feel each one equally. Roll the tortilla up and place crease-side down in baking dish. You may need to squish them over a bit to fit all 8, buy they should fit!
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Pour 1/2 cup salsa over enchiladas. Feel free to use more if you prefer it. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 to 1 cup cheese over the top of the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

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Serve with sour cream, salsa or guacamole….or all of it!IMG_1051

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Living in the city, let alone an apartment building often leaves me missing the sweet outdoors that come with living in suburbia.  I’m actually desperate enough for fresh air and sunshine that I often sit out on our scary fire escape just to create the illusion of a warm patio in the summer. Gotta work with what ya got I suppose. And who cares if all my neighbors can stare directly out at me in my pajamas reading Runners World…right? Eh.

Anywho, I am just as desperate for an outdoor space as I am for a garden. I visited home this weekend and reaped all of the fabulous benefits of my parents garden. Tomatoes, squash and bell peppers, Oh My! The peppers I received from my parents are itty bitty, but I decided they’d make a super cute stuffed pepper recipe.  We had a lot of extra of the mixture. but we just cooked it in a separate dish and enjoyed it on the side. However, the recipe below is meant for normal sized peppers, so fear not and enjoy!

IMG_1023Turkey Stuffed Peppers

  • 6 medium bell peppers
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded chedder cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spary a glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook 1/2 cup rice with 1 cup water. Follow instructions on box. Set aside

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Cook ground beef on medium heat. Add worcestershire to the meat when it’s just about cooked through. Remove grease and add turkey to rice. Incorporate beans into mixture as well.

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Add tomato sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to rice-turkey mixture. Incorporate well and set aside.
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Wash and remove tops and insides of bell peppers. We cut ours in two different ways because we didn’t know which we preferred. After eating, we preferred to cut them lengthwise.
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Whichever way you prefer, fill the bell peppers with rice mixture and top with shredded cheese. IMG_1359IMG_1360
Cook in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. The peppers came out tender and delicious. If you have extra rice mixture, feel free to cook that up for about 20 minutes in the oven and enjoy on the side!
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BBQ Beer Chicken

I’m totally winging it today everyone! I sat down last night thinking and thinking about how to use the leftover tofu I have in the fridge in a quick and fast meal that I could prep the night before. That way, when I came home from volunteering today I could do less cooking and more eating. Well, I failed. I couldn’t come up with a single simple and appetizing meal. So alas, the tofu will have to wait. I’m open to suggestions for a future quandary!

Anywho, what else is ready as soon as I walk in the door than a crockpot meal? I decided to go crockpot only and try a simple BBQ Beer chicken recipe with some odds and ends in my fridge.

IMG_1333BBQ Beer Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1/2 cup beer
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans

Serves 2-3 people

Place chicken breasts at the bottom of crockpot. Season with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Whisk together bbq sauce and beer in a separate cup and pour over chicken.

Pour in beans and corn and lightly incorporate into bbq-beer mixture.IMG_0993

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.5 hours. Mine wasn’t as shreddy as I was hoping for since somebody turned the crockpot off about a half hour early. Ehem, Paul.

To be fair, it came out great anyways!IMG_1329IMG_1330

We served this with sautéed kale and couscous.IMG_1332

Sweet Potato, Bean & Chicken Chili

The heat wave has finally broke, hallelujah! In a last ditch effort on Saturday night, we spent the night at my boyfriends parents house for some heat-related relief. We went out for some drinks, woke up in the morning and were pleasantly surprised to wake up to a beautiful Sunday morning, still hot but definitely doable. We came back to our apartment, (of course only after completing our three loads of laundry…for free!) and I was actually able to do a little cleaning and dinner preparation for the coming week.

After doing a lot of Pinterest searching, clean eating reading, and surveying our pantry I decided to string together a few different recipes and try my hand at my very own slow cooker chili. I created this wonderful sweet potato, chicken, bean and corn chili extravaganza that I prepared Sunday and cooked today while I was at work. I’ve been trying to investigate this whole “clean eating” thing and I could be wrong, but I think this recipe is mostly “clean!”

Sweet Potato, Bean, Chicken Chili

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 TBL chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Serves: 4

photo 1-2 Place chicken breast on the bottom of your crock pot. Add onion, garlic, corn, sweet potato, black beans, kidney beans, and chilies

photo 3-1Pour tomato sauce and chicken stock over the top. Add chili powder and salt. Mix all ingredients well, leaving the chicken breasts on the bottom. Cook on low for 7 hours.

IMG_1264Once cooked, turn off crock pot and use two forks to shred chicken. Incorporate shredded chicken into the chili and serve. We enjoyed this with some delicious bread from a local bakery and topped it with cheese and chives. Enjoy!

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

After a wonderful five day vacation in the cape I am sad and happy to say we’re back! I suppose coming home is always bittersweet though. I am of course going to miss the family time, all the delicious seafood, the beach and the whole not working thing, but I have to admit it’s nice to come back to my normal routines at home. Of course, I wish home wasn’t a 95 degree apartment with only one air conditioner in the bedroom….

Over the week I tried my best to stay as physically active as possible, weed out the unnecessary junk food and save my appetite for only the really good stuff a.k.a Arnold’s clam strips and clam chowder. Yum!

The best type of splurge! (Don't worry, this wasn't all mine!)

The best type of splurge! (Don’t worry, this wasn’t all mine!)

I did this by getting up early to exercise and packing some of my own healthy snacks, such as Larabars, trail mix and almond butter so I didn’t resort to (only) saltwater taffy and beer for fuel.

That being said, with all of my splurges and the heat being pretty much unbearable I figured a nice light, healthy and most importantly oven-free meal was in order.

These Chickpea Salad Sandwiches are a kind of mock-tunafish sandwich using greek yogurt instead of mayo. Feel free to use half or full mayo if you prefer though.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried dill

20130718-155514.jpgAfter rinsing, smash chickpeas in a bowl. I used a potato masher but a fork will work just fine.

photo 2-1Once the beans are mashed, add greek yogurt a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Incorporate onion, celery, salt, pepper and dill.

Serve on your favorite bread, in a wrap or with veggies.

Black Bean Veggie Burger

Happy Monday! Is it Friday yet….? In anticipation of my heat related laziness this week I am so glad I prepared some wonderful Black Bean burgers over the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised by how great this came out. I have attempted veggie burgers in the past but they ended up super mooshy gooshy and never had the right consistency. Although these ones were still a bit loose, I recommend straining out any excess liquid from the veggies after pureeing, they were still a success! This is a great meal to make ahead of time and freeze when you don’t have time to cook or let’s be real, you just don’t feel like it.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

  • 16 oz can of black beans; rinsed drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 red bell pepper; chopped
  • 1 small carrot: peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 small onion; chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup quick cook oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Use a fork and smash black beans in a bowl until it forms thick paste. Set aside. In a food processor combine bell pepper, carrot, onion, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Once chopped, add egg and oats and lightly pulse until incorporated. Combine veggie mixture into the black beans and place into refrigerator for 30 minutes. If the mixture is too loose add more oats in order to firm it up, 1 tablespoon at a time.

In the meantime, line a cookie sheet with wax paper. With lightly oiled hands form 4 patties and place on the wax paper. Pop the patties into the freezer for at least an hour, or until ready to serve.

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When you’re ready to eat spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray and bring to medium. Cool each side between 5 and 7 minutes.

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Enjoy with some of your favorite toppings and a yummy side! We chose a delicious roasted artichoke with a spicy aioli on the side. Yum!

Black Bean Balls

Over the past couple years I have had a lot of practice cooking for one. Living in an apartment withroommates has given me the opportunity to work around two obstacles…space and time.

Space you ask? When living with people outside your familial realm you realize the concept of sharing cabinet, fridge and freezer space. Often time space is tight and it puts a limit on grocery purchases, meals prepared, etc.

Time…no not the time it takes to cook but the time it takes for all the wonderful food you just bought to go bad before you can consume it. Cooking for one is hard if you’ve never done it. It’s all about being creative with what you buy, how much you buy and how many different meals you can stick the same ingredients into!

So with these obstacles methods in mind, I came up with Black Bean Balls….questionable name I know. These are similar in preparation to a meatball, but made with black beans. I love black beans in tacos, quesadillas or rice dishes but I only ever find myself able to eat about a half a can before they go bad on me! So with that I created bean balls which I can eat right away or freeze for later use. I generally estimate the quantities of my ingredients and I usually only use half a can, but for these purposes I have “doubled” what I believe I used in my own bean balls.Image

You will need:

  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 Medium Carrot, peeled and roughly
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 Cup Corn (optional) I always have it on hand so I threw some in
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Panko Inside Mix
  • 1/4 Cup Panko for Rolling

Preheat oven to 350

Begin by throwing peeled carrot, corn, onion and garlic into food processor. Process until finely grated. Add in black beans, olive oil, lemon juice, chili powder, salt and pepper and continue to pulse in food processor. Once everything has been combined the consistency should be somewhat gooey. Now is the time to add in Panko. Start with about about 1/4 cup Panko and incorporate into the mixture. This should thicken up the mixture, if you feel you need more slowly add more. I wouldn’t recommend more than a 1/2 cup as it will get really dry. You should be able to easily roll a ball (a somewhat sticky one) out of the mixture.

ImageIn a flat dish pour 1/4 cup Panko. Roll formed balls in the panko, lightly coating each side. Once all the balls have been coated, spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat to a medium heat. Place balls into the pan and cook each side as you would a meatball, lightly browning them. Once all the balls are evenly browned place them on a baking sheet and pop them in oven for 15-20 minutes.

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I often pair these with brown rice and edamame or salsa and warmed tortillas. Feel freeze to serve them all or freeze them for a later date!

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