Friday, April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014

This week certainly flew by in a flash.  My grad school semester seems to be rushing to a close (and closing in on me!) and I didn't have time to try too many new dishes.  But we did try two, and they were both keepers!

One evening we pulled leftover black bean soup out of the freezer, and I decided to make a small amount of caramelized onion quesadillas along side.  My dear friend told me about another option, sweet potato and black bean burritos!  I decided to serve it as quesadillas because that went better with my dinner plan.  Well dinner certainly was interesting!  When we had the black bean soup fresh, it was amazing, and everyone except Liam loved it.  This time, not so much...the soup consistency changed in the freezer, and no one enjoyed it.  Thankfully we were having the quesdillas to go along with dinner.  So we dumped the soup, and I made a few more of each kind of qeusadilla.  The sweet potato and black bean ones were a super hit!  Everyone already loves the pork ones (our favorite way to use leftover pork), but I was astounded at how much the kids and I loved the sweet potato and black bean ones.  To be honest, I had never bought or prepared sweet potatoes before.  But these were so good that I think I will try roasting them and serving them as a side dish.  Watch out...there might be an overload of sweet potato recipes coming your way :)

The other new recipe we made twice this week, so you know it was a keeper.  We love zucchini everything, and this time I pulled out an old zucchini pineapple recipe.  It was meant to be a loaf recipe, but from the get-go I turned it into muffins. Muffins are so portable, portioned, and fun to eat!  In any case, my kids preferred them without walnuts, and I loved them both ways, so go with your personal preference if you add walnuts or not.  But give them a try!

Another busy week ahead... here goes!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
Zucchini Pineapple Muffins

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

* 2 sweet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cubed
* 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
* 1 1/2 tsp cumin, divided
* 1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 1 can black bean, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups if you use your own homemade)
* 1 red pepper, diced
* 1/2 cup red onion, diced
* 1 small jalapeno, diced (optional)
* tortillas (6-12 depending on size of tortilla and how much filling you will use with each)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Mix the cubed sweet potatoes with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, chili powder , salt and pepper.  Mix to coat everything, then roast on a sheet or in a Pyrex for about 25 minutes or until soft.
3.With about 10 minutes of roasting time remaining, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute the red pepper, onion and jalapeno (if using) for about 5 minutes.  Add the black beans and 1/2 tsp cumin for the additional 5 minutes.  Stir until all combined and heated through.
4. When sweet potatoes are finished roasting, place them in a mixing bowl and mash lightly.  Add the pepper, onion and black bean mixture to the potatoes. Combine well.  Add any additional salt and pepper to taste.
5. Prepare a saute pan or griddle with a little olive oil to make the quesadillas.  Place some filling on half the tortilla, fold and make the quesadilla in the pan or on the griddle.  Let the tortilla get golden on each side, then remove and cut into in half or thirds.  Enjoy!

Wow!  I didn't know if I'd like these, but the big kids and I absolutely loved them!!!!  Hannah and I had the leftover filling heated up the next day (skipped the tortilla) and it was still fabulous!  I added a splash of fresh lime juice to mine and it brightened it up just a bit.  What a great dish! 

Zucchini Pineapple Muffins

* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup shredded zucchini
* 1 8z can crushed pineapple in unsweetened juice, undrained, reserving 1 tbsp liquid
* 2 eggs, slightly beaten
* 1 1/2 cups AP flour
* 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp allspice
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line or grease your muffin pans.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Add the eggs, one at a time.
3. Beat in the zucchini and pineapple and combine well.
4. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice.  Stir until well combined.
5. If using nuts, fold in.
6. Distribute into muffin pan, and bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  As soon as the muffins come out brush the reserved tbsp of pineapple juice onto the tops of the muffins.
7. Cool 5-10 minutes in pan, then remove muffins and finish cooling on a cooling rack.
8. Enjoy warm or room temperature!

We loved these!  I made them once with walnuts, and once without.  My monkeys like them better without the nuts, and I enjoyed them both ways.  In my oven 22 minutes was the perfect amount of time.  Also, the pineapple adds a great flavor, but a lot of people couldn't put their finger on the extra ingredients until I told them.  Give these a try - I bet they will be a hit!  With walnuts in the batter, this made about 18-19 muffins, and without, it made 15-16.