Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Craving Taco Bell?

The most common craving I hear of is Taco Bell. I'm not sure why, because the food is not amazing. But I am guessing it's their commercials. After you hear something to the tune of, "When a craving strikes, Taco Bell is open late!" so many times, it's got to get into your phsychi.

Something I often make for my hot husband to take on his business trips is bean burritos. Why? Because it travels well - does not leak, is easily wrappable, convenient to eat, does not HAVE to be heated up, is high in protein and fiber, etc. And the husband seems to like them. And so do the kids - so when I make him a few for his trip, the kids and I have them for lunch the next day.


2 cans beans (I use black and white)
shredded cheese
whole grain tortillas (I use Flat-Out Wraps)

Open cans and empty the beans into a non-stick sauce pan. Bring to a boil and stir. Use a potatoe masher to smash the beans into a paste. You could also transfer the beans to a food processor for mashing. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a different non-stick pan large enough to fit your tortilla when flat, omelet size?, set heat to medium. Place the tortilla in the pan and spread the cheese on top. Heat till cheese is well melted and the underside of the tortilla is crispy but not burnt.

Remove tortilla from pan and let it sit for a minute. Spread the hot bean paste over the cheese and roll it up into a burrito.

DEVOUR! serves 8

Now, if you like it spicy, add sliced jalapenos, hot sauce, or use pepper jack cheese. You can also add whatever vegetables you prefer like: tomatoes, onions, peppers, lettuce, etc. - they don't add substantial calories, but add much nutritional value!

On to my favorite part: LET's COMPARE!


261 calories
19 g (vegetarian) protein
36 g carbohydrate
7.5 g fat
562 mg sodium
13 g fiber
145 mg calcium

cost: less than 55 cents

1 Taco Bell Bean & Cheese Burrito

370 calories
14 g protein
55 g carbohydrate
10 g fat
1270 mg sodium
11 g fiber
calcium not mentioned on their nutrition facts

cost: 99 cents


With just a little bit of prep work you can have your own "Taco Bell" style meal, but with almost 1/2 the carbs, more protein, less than half the sodium, and more fiber!

Plus - I guarantee, your burrito will be bigger and ONE is completely filling. Seriously, who fills up on just one Taco Bell bean and cheese burrito right? You have to eat two or more, so consider the scary nutrition facts and cost at least doubled...doesn't the Basic Bean and Cheese Burrito sound better?

Something else! add some spanish rice, fresh salsa, and a little sour cream and your burrito will resemble Taco Bells most popular item: The Grilled Stuffed Burrito (which I will admit - are quite tasty).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I bought goat cheese the other day because it was on sale and I had a coupon which made it dirt cheap. I've used feta in many dishes, but never such strong tasting goat cheese as this. I wasn't sure what to do with it, but thought there has to be something that we will enjoy that will not be too strong tasting.

It was easier than I thought - I make bruschetta for most holiday appetizers, using mozzarella - why not goat cheese? It will just taste much more Mediterranean! It worked beautifully!

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

3 oz soft goat cheese
dried thyme
dried oregano
dried parsley

My cheese was in curds, so I used the back of a spoon to smash it into a paste. Season with Italian seasonings, I used parsley, thyme, oregano. Mix till evenly blended. (Spreads best at room temperature.)

3-4 ripe tomatoes
5-6 garlic cloves
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh basil

Dice tomatoes, mince the garlic, shred the basil, and combine the three with the olive oil.

Toast your sourdough or baguette slices in the oven.

Each person can spread cheese mixture on their bread and top with desired amount of the tomatoe garnish.

A little spice, a little twang, a little bit of Europe!

(I didn't feel like running to the store to get fresh basil and I've never been diligent in growing my own herbs, so I used dried crushed basil - it was fine.)

Lemon Butter Spaghetti

Fresh, easy, delicious, healthy!

Lemon Butter Spaghetti

16 oz whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta
2-3 medium sized lemons
3 tblsp real butter
1 raw chicken breast
1 yellow squash
4-6 medium sized mushrooms
freshly ground pepper
grated parmesan cheese

Boil pasta till it reaches desired softness, drain and rinse. Set aside.

Chop squash, mushrooms and chicken into quarter sized pieces, about 1/4 inch thick.

On medium high heat melt 1 tblsp butter in wok. Add chicken and saute until almost done.

Add squash and mushrooms and saute till soft, but not mushy. Drain liquid.

Squeeze the juice out of the lemons and remove the seeds.

Turn heat to high and melt the other 2 tablespoons butter into the wok. Add the lemon juice and pasta and stir to well coated.

Season to taste with fresh ground pepper.

Serve immediately and sprinkle parmesan cheese on each serving if desired.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Roasted Veggie Pasta

I'm lucky my children aren't too picky when it comes to vegetables. Those they don't like: onions, celery, tomatoes, peppers, anything with a leaf. I hide these in marinara so they get them whether they are aware of it or not...

Something my family loves is roasted vegetables, namely cauliflower. Cauliflower is such a versatile veggie. Personal trainers suggest mashing it instead of having carb/starch loaded mashed potatoes. I've not done that yet, but plan to.

I usually roast our cauliflower. The other night I made this wonderful creation. It's so good that I almost didn't get any - caught hot husband snitching from my dish even though he had his own!

Roasted Veggie Pasta

1 head cauliflower
1 grey or green zucchini and/or yellow squash
olive oil
garlic salt
fresh ground pepper

whole grain pasta
grated parmesan cheese

Set oven to Broil. Wash and chop up the cauliflower. If your zucchini is prickly, shave the skin off. Cut zucchini to quarter size slices about 1/4 inch thick. In a mixing bowl, combine vegetables and about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste. Spread on your baking tray and cook under broil till lightly browned (about 20 minutes).

Cook and drain your pasta. When serving, layer your veggies on top of the pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, add more seasoning if desired.


Spring Salad

I make this delicious salad for spring holidays like Easter and Mother's Day. It is always a huge hit! I came up with this recipe in college for an Easter brunch with friends.

Spring Salad
Dish Ingredients:
Baby Spinach Leaves
Fresh Raspberries or Strawberries
Mediterranean Seasoned Feta Cheese, crumbled
Sliced or slivered almonds

Dressing Ingredients:
Olive Oil
Red Onion

Make the dressing the night before so it can marinade in the fridge overnight. Chop about 1/4 of a red onion into tiny pieces. In your serving dish (I use a glass cup or mason jar) pour in equal parts honey and olive oil. Add the onions and stir well. Place in the refridgerator overnight. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 mins prior to serving, stir well.

Toast the almonds in the oven on broil until golden brown. Wash your spinach and berries and pat dry. Slice the strawberries. Combine it all in your serving dish.

Have each person drizzle their own dressing on their salad.

It's sweet, tangy, fresh, and crunchy!

Sorry no picture right now - just trust me on this one!