Monday, August 29, 2011

Veggie Burritos w/ Sauteed Cream Cheese & Avocado Spread

2 (8-oz) containers cream cheese
1 avocado
1 Tbsp fresh, chopped oregano
(or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
dash paprika
*1-2 Tbsp teff

*Teff is an itty-bitty grain (introduced to me by Elise) that I love to throw in anything & everything. It's borderline tasteless, but uncooked, it adds a cool little crunch to stuff.

-In a nonstick skillet, add cream cheese. Saute over med-high heat. (Be careful - when the cream cheese gets hot, it splatters.) The melting cheese will get runny at first. Let the cheese turn brown where it's in contact with the skillet, but don't let it burn. Fold over the browned cheese w/ a silicone/rubber spatula so that a new layer of cheese is in contact w/ the hot skillet. Continue to let brown then fold, brown then fold, until the cheese starts to hold to itself and not be runny anymore (almost ball-like). Put cream cheese mixture in a small serving bowl.
-Dice a good avocado and add it to your cream cheese. Using a spoon or fork, mix alvocado and cream cheese, leaving a few bits or pieces of avocado. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. (Note: I added some lime juice, thinking it might taste good and keep the avocado from browning - a dash was ok, but 2 dashes wasn't. If you want to add it, add just enough so that you CAN'T taste it.)

tortillas (my favorite premade ones are Don Julio)
1 container salsa (I had pineapple peach - the sweet spicy paired nicely with the other flavors)
1 can black beans (my favorite is La Costena)
1 red bell pepper, sliced or diced
1 tomato, diced
cilantro, chopped

-Warm black beans in saucepot. Next, assemble burrito by spreading cream cheese/avocado mixture in tortilla, topping with warm beans. Layer on salsa, etc, and fold burrito. Enjoy!

p.s. You might think that sauteeing the cream cheese is an unnecessary step, but I promise it adds great flavor. And I'm learning that one of the secrets to good cooking is "layers of flavor" - which means using multiple cooking techniques for one thing (like when restaurants quickly grill the steak and then finish cooking it in the oven) as well as seasoning things every step of the way. Sauteeing the cream cheese adds another layer of flavor. And oh is it yummy.

p.p.s. I used to never buy salsa (never made it either) because I could never use it all up before it went bad! UNTIL someone clued me in (my mom, I think - smart woman) that I could freeze whatever I don't use. And I freeze it in amounts that I'll use in recipes, etc. Yay!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

House Updates

IKEA - how do I love you? Let me count the ways. *sigh*
The shelves are from (you guessed it!) IKEA and are perfect for keeping things out of Jason's reach. For a while anyway. (At his last appointment, he was almost 3' tall!) The plant trailing above the window is being held up by tiny, clear COMMAND hooks. But riddle me this: What good does having clear hooks do, when the tape underneath the hooks is white?? The cords under the window are also being guided by the same clear/white hooks.
The furniture placement in this photo is completely different now. We have a half wall that overlooks a front room downstairs, and the smaller couch was up against that half wall before. But when Jason started climbing on the couches w/o assistance (dangerous!), it was time to move that couch away from the half wall.
So now there are no couches against the half wall, and the small couch is where the big couch was, dividing the living room from the kitchen.
The big couch is now under that window and the IKEA white storage thing is now where that storage ottoman was. (The IKEA thing had to be turned around to face the wall though, so Jason can't open it - it stores games and puzzles and the like, and Jason loved to get in there and scatter game pieces, bend all the cards in every deck, and tear or suck on paper instructions.)
And the ottoman got moved to the other side of the tv stand.
It took a while to figure out this arrangement, but I like it better than the old one. Who'da thunk?

And in keeping w/ my love of green, white, and purple:
Wall art from BYU's floral/gift shop. A friend of mine diy'ed
some w/ a super fat, pink Sharpie. They rock. Next time...

These are from Target. Goodbye tan and red plaid curtains!!
 p.s. All these changes happened a long time ago, I'm just now getting around to putting up pictures. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Veg Main Dish Recipes

Because I don't even buy meat anymore (except for the healthy ones, like breakfast sausage, bacon, hot dogs, and frozen popcorn chicken... ... ...) I'm forced to turn side dishes into the main dish. Here are some that I've recently tried and liked.

PENNE RIGATE with BROCCOLI (my favorite)
by Anna Boiardi (Chef Boyardee's daughter)
as found on
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs. broccoli, washed - use only florets and cut into small pieces
1 lb. penne rigate
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2/3 c. finely grated pecorino romano cheese (I use fresh parmesan - so much better) + more for serving
salt & pepper
-Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, add a good handful of salt (apprx 1/4 c.), enough that you can taste it. Set a fine strainer in the sink. Add broccoli and wait for it to return to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for time recommended on box. Drain the penne and broccoli in the colander and dump them into a large serving bowl. Add the EVOO & cheese and mix well with a wooden spoon so that the pasta is coated and bits of broccoli are well distributed throughout, creating a nice, green-speckled sauce. Sprinkle w/ a little more cheese and top w/ a little pepper.

by Cindy & Mindy (whoever they are)

2 sm. cans chopped green chiles
1 can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1/4 c. flour (I used Harina de Maiz)
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. shredded monterey jack cheese (I didn't have this on hand, so I just used cheddar)
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
-Preheat oven to 325. Spread chiles on bottom of 9x13 pan and top with cheeses. In a bowl, mix milk, eggs, and flour. Pour over cheese and bake for 30 min. Top w/ tomato sauce and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

SUMMER SQUASH CASSEROLE (requires a bit of prep work, but comes together fast)
by Carolyn Johnson (lady in my ward)

2 lbs yellow summer squash (or a mixture of zucchini) (makes about 6 c.)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use the can that's a combo of Cr.o.Mush w/ Cr.o.Chk)
1 c. sour cream
1 c. grated carrot
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. grated cheese
1 (6-oz) box/pkg stovetop stuffing (I thought it could have used two packages)
1/4 c. hot water (more if you use more stuffing)
2 Tbsp butter, softened
-350. Slice squash and chop onion. In a LARGE pot, boil squash and onion w/ some salt for about 5 min; drain. Meanwhile grate carrots and cheese. In same pot, add soup, sour cream, grated carrots, milk, and cheese. In a separate bowl, use a fork to combine stuffing, water, and butter. Spray a 9x13 pan w/ cooking spray and spread 1/2 of squash mixture in bottom. Sprinkle w/ 1/2 of stuffing. Repeat. Bake at 350 for 30 min.