Chicken, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas

I’m always looking for ways to eat Mexican food in a healthier way. The flavors of Mexican cuisine are so yummy but eating out at Mexican restaurants usually isn’t the best for you. I find making it at home is a lot easier to control what ingredients you are using so you can still get the delicious flavors but without any unnecessary fat and extra calories. Plus, you can be sure that the ingredients you are using are less processed and much cleaner.

When I set out to make these enchiladas, I wanted to make chicken, but I was out. I, mean, who runs out of chicken?! Me, I guess. I always try to have frozen chicken breasts on hand in the freezer so I can always make something for dinner, even if it is just a pantry meal (chicken with whatever veggies we have on hand). Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention and I ran out without realizing it.

I almost just threw in the towel, but then I saw that we had some frozen veggie patties on hand. I’ve really been enjoying the Morning Star Farms Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burgers. I wondered if I could chop those up and throw them in? I warmed them up so they were thawed enough to break apart and added the “burger” crumbles to the corn and black bean mix. 


Most of the ingredients in the patties were pretty much the same as what I had going on anyway, so it totally worked! They made for some really delicious enchiladas. You would never realize they were vegetarian. I will say, though, that because the patties had some of the flavors I was going for already in them, I did NOT include the can of diced green chiles mentioned in the recipe below. If I had just used regular chicken, I would have included that ingredient.

Chicken, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ bag of frozen corn

½ onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded

½ tablespoon cumin

1 small can diced green chiles

Salt to taste

1 bottle enchilada sauce (or homemade)

6 corn tortillas (I used a corn/wheat blend tortilla I found at Trader Joe’s. low fat, low cal, and high in whole grains per serving. 

Low-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

In a skillet with a little olive oil, sauté onions and garlic until soft. Add the corn and black beans and cook until the corn is softened.


Add the chicken, cumin, green chiles, and some salt. Continue cooking until warmed through. Sprinkle in about ½ cup of the shredded cheese and stir to combine.

 

Pour a little bit of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Fill each tortilla and roll up carefully (corn tends to break easily. You can heat them up in a microwave with a wet paper towel to help with this.). Place each enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. Top with more enchilada sauce and cheese (however much or little you want).



Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’ve probably made chicken tortilla soup too many ways to count, but this one is by far the easiest. Also, my husband said this was the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever made, so, you know, it comes with raving reviews! 

When it comes to soups, I much prefer a thicker, creamier soup over a broth-based one. I’ll make an exception for French Onion. I’ve never really been a fan of chicken noodle, even. I find it pretty bland most of the time, and even “good ones” are boring to me. I do, however, love chicken tortilla. When done right, it boasts so much flavor. It’s total comfort food.

I’ve posted a version I made before on this blog, but like I said, this one is so incredibly easy, I had to share it. It’s also really healthy, so that’s more points in the plus column!

It wasn’t my intention to make this soup really spicy, but it was. You can adjust as necessary, for example using regular diced tomatoes in place of the fire roasted one since they usually come with green chiles in them. 

Also, I used baked blue corn tortilla chips: they contain 20% more protein than yellow or white, they are less starchy, they are a more complete protein source, and they have much lower glycemic index. Plus, their blue color comes from anthocyanins which are the same antioxidants found in berries. Need more? They have a sweeter, nuttier flavor than white or yellow corn as well. And they make your food look pretty. You should be able to find them anywhere.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes

1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeds removed (if you don’t want to do all this, just use a small can of diced green chiles)

½ onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ tablespoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable broth, to texture preference

1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ½ cups roasted corn

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

In a skillet with some olive oil over medium heat, add your onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and a little salt and pepper and saute until soft and fragrant. Pour mixture into a blender and add the can of tomatoes (juice and all), the poblano, and the vegetable broth. I didn’t put an amount for the broth because it depends on how thick or thin you want your soup. Adjust as needed for your preferences. Blend until smooth.

In the same skillet you used for the onions and garlic, add a little olive oil over medium heat. Add your beans, corn, and chicken. Stir around until heated through and the corn isn’t frozen anymore. For the corn, I use the roasted corn from the freezer section at Trader Joe’s. You can always use fresh and char it up yourself, or you can just use regular frozen corn. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s in there.

 

Add the chicken mixture to the tomato mixture and serve for a nice hearty soup! Top with some cheese and avocado and tortilla chips.

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I just wanted to share an alternative to this White Chocolate Cranberry cookie. Just follow the recipe the same way, but substitute chopped up dried cherries for the cranberries and semisweet chocolate chunks for the white chocolate. It makes for a really yummy flavor combination!

Food on the Table

To me, white chocolate and cranberry are food soul mates. They just belong together. And they make for perfect Christmas treat bedfellows. You can make just about any dessert white chocolate-cranberry and not only would people love it, but it would look super festive on any table or cookie tray.

These are just a twist on a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe which I usually adapt from Nestle.

Fun Fact: The chocolate chip cookie was invented by a woman named Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. She owned a restaurant called the Toll House Inn. During WWII, soldiers from Massachusettes (where the Toll House Inn was located), shared the chocolate chip cookies from their care packages with other soldiers. Soon they were requesting them from their families who then inundated Ms. Wakefield with requests for her recipe! After her recipe became so popular, she contacted Nestle and struck a deal: they…

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Citrus Roasted Cod

I was never much of a fish eater growing up. My mom wasn’t a huge fan, so we just didn’t have it often. Occasionally, but not often. 

We still don’t eat very much fish, but that’s slowly been changing over the years I’ve been cooking. As I’ve grown up and expanded my food horizons, I’ve found that I really like most whitefish (cod, halibut, barramundi, specifically), and I LOVE salmon. I mean, really, salmon is sooooo good! And of course, I’ve always been a fan of shrimp and crab.

I recently picked up some cod from the store and decided to roast it. I’m going to consider this one of my No recipe Recipes, because it is so stinkin’ easy to put together! Fish takes almost no time at all to cook so it makes for a really fast weeknight dinner. And when my kids have tae kwon do, ballet, and baseball… and I have kickboxing… and my husband has softball, I need dinner to be the last thing to worry about.

I would feel like was doing you a disservice if I didn’t also mention how HEALTHY this meal is. There are approximately 15 grams of protein in 3oz of cod, 70 calories, and .6 grams of fat. It is an excellent source of B vitamins and potassium, and like many fish, a good source of healthy fats. It makes for a very light meal and will take on just about any flavor you add to it because its own flavor is very mild.

For this meal, I just sliced up 1 orange and one lemon and lay the sliced on a parchment lined baking sheet. Save a little bit of the lemon end to squeeze over the top of the fish.

I placed the cod filets on top of the citrus slices. I drizzled each with olive oil (I used my favorite garlic infused olive oil from Trader Joe’s but regular will work). Then I sprinkled each filet with some garlic salt, pepper, and marjoram. Finally, I squeezed the last little bit of lemon over the top. NOTE: you could use any mild white fish here if you don’t have cod.


I put the sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 13 minutes.

That’s it. So simple, but so yummy. It was actually pretty refreshing, which is nice for the warmer spring weather we’ve been having. I served mine with some roasted asparagus, which was easy too since I put the asparagus (coated in olive oil and garlic salt) in the oven about 10 minutes before I added the fish. Both trays came out at the same time.

We will definitely be having this more often!

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup 

So a couple months ago I signed up for Farm Fresh to You. I like it. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to keep it, but it’s pretty cool. I’ve been able to try more veggies than I probably would have on my own, like beets. I don’t think I would ever just pick up a beet in the grocery store and make something with it, but since it was coming in my delivery anyway, I figured what the heck? Why not give it a try.


Since I’ve never had a beet before, I thought it best not to try out a recipe on my own and go with a pro. Enter: Martha Stewart. I found a recipe that seemed simple enough to follow with our soup cleanse and it was actually pretty tasty.

I had read many places that beets sort of taste like dirt. Even after roasting them and combining them with the other ingredients, I can totally see why someone would say that. They were VERY earthy. But the roasted garlic and the leeks really combined nicely with the beets.

Would I make it again? I don’t know. I didn’t love it that much, but it wasn’t hard work at all to peel the beets, though they are very messy. Beets are super healthy, so maybe someday I’ll be inspired to repeat the recipe, but we’ll have to just see.

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 medium beets

1 head of garlic

1 leek

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Remove the greens from the beets and wrap them in parchment and foil with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for about an hour. Cut off about a ¼ to ½ inch of the garlic head and wrap that in foil too with some olive oil. Roast that for the last 30 minutes of the beets.

Meanwhile, saute the leeks and thyme until softened.

Let the beets cool enough to handle them and wipe the skin off with some paper towels. It should just rub off very easily. Add the beets to the blender.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves into the blender. Add the sautéed leeks and thyme, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Blend until well combined. It really helps to have a high powered blender such as a Vitamix, Ninja, or Blendtec.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and taste to see if you need more salt or pepper.

 

The color of this soup is out of this world gorgeous, but be careful because beets can stain.

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

I think I’m really getting the hang of this soup thing, you guys! I love coming up with new combinations of veggies and flavors that complement each other to whirl up into delicious soups. I am also LOVING my Vitamix more and more. I can whip up these soups on the soup setting and the result is a creamy, velvety soup that doesn’t have any dairy in it at all. It’s so mind boggling; every time I take a bite, I can’t believe there’s no cream or dairy in the soup.

The only thing I need to start working on is making bigger batches. Just when I think there’s going to be enough, it only makes about 3 servings, maybe 4 depending on how much you eat in one bowl.

So far this little makeshift soup cleanse we’ve been on has been very successful. We are getting all our veggies in and we still feel full after a bowl of soup. And the hubby and I are both down to below our pre-vacation weight!

 

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

½ red bell pepper, cut in half

½ orange bell pepper, cut in half

1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1 poblano pepper

1 cup frozen corn

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the peppers and zucchini on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

When the veggies are done, place the bell peppers and zucchini in a blender. Put the poblano in a zip top bag and seal it. After about 5 minutes, remove the poblano and peel the skin off. It should just pull right off. Cut it in half (carefully because it will be hot), and remove the stem and scrap out the seeds. Add the pepper to the blender.

Add the rest of your ingredients to the blender and let her whirl until done.


Taste to see if you need to add more salt.


I had some avocado I needed to use up so I topped mine with avocado. I didn’t do it this time, but it would probably be yummy to add more corn pieces as well, to off-set the texture a little bit.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

Here’s another souper easy (see what I did there? Funny, yeah?) soup recipe for you. I’ve got a couple more coming in the next week or so.  These are all experiments, so whenever they turn out as good as these last couple have, I get really happy. I even have one in the works using beets! I mean, seriously. BEETS! I’ve never even had a beet before. I also know that they are really messy. The recipe is inspired by the one-and-only Martha Stewart though, so hopefully that will help things!

Anyway, I am always up for more ways to get more vegetables into my family.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

3 yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
1/2 bag of frozen corn

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (or 1/2 bag of cauliflower florets) 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 4oz can green chiles
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of cayenne *optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay out all your cut up peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in a pan with some olive oil and a little salt until softened and fragrant. Set aside.

Also, steam your cauliflower florets until softened. This will help add a nice smooth, thick consistency to your soup.

In a blender, preferably a high powered one like a Ninja or a Vitamix, put in the onion/garlic mixture, the thyme, the bell peppers, the cauliflower, the corn, and the green chiles. Blend until smooth. I didn’t need any liquid to get a perfect velvety consistency, but if you do, add some vegetable broth as needed.


Taste for flavor. Add some cayenne if you want a touch of heat. Add more salt and pepper if you want. Whatever you want to do to make it taste like what you want it to taste like!