Working Weekend

Ever have one (or multiple) of those days where you feel like you just don’t stop going and going? Well, that’s how my weekend felt! I’m certainly not complaining, but it left me little time to spend in the kitchen.

On Friday after work, a group of us decided to go to a local Mexican restaurant for happy hour to take advantage of the 70+ degree weather, where they have $2 Sol beers all day, every day. Conveniently, that’s also the name of the restaurant. We wound up hanging out for a solid 3 hours, and ordered some nachos and stuffed jalapenos – delicious! By the time we got home, we were zonked, so fiancé and I each grabbed a slice of pizza from our local pizzeria that we pass on the way home, and caught up on the excess TV we hadn’t finished from Thursday night.

Saturday was all business, but it started out with the fiancé making buttermilk pancakes! While I love cooking, it’s always appreciated when someone else does it for me. After fueling up and enjoying an episode of DC Cupcakes, I hit the books. Four hours later I came up for air, just in time to head to the grocery store! On our trip I picked up some leeks for a recipe later this week. Little did I know that they were about $4 each, and I grabbed two. Holy moly they are expensive! This feta, leek, and potato tart I’m making on Thursday better be delicious. Dinner was a quick peanut stir-fry that I was too hungry to photograph. We then went to see Paul, which was absolutely hilarious, and stopped to take some pictures of the “super moon.”


Sunday, the “day of rest” was far from it. I was up early to head to my parent’s to meet with a potential wedding florist. After my mom and I did that, we stopped at my favorite bagel spot, Bagel Chateau, where I picked up what I think is one of their best sandwiches. I know it’s New Jersey so everyone assumes we all love “pork roll” or “Taylor ham”… but I’m not a fan. Instead, I got what they call a “dutch,” which is a mixture of eggs, potatoes, and cheese served up on your bagel of choice. It was just what I needed to fuel my run! After a trip to Trader Joe’s my mom and I headed to the park to get our run on. My mom is new to running, so I was super psyched to see her finish an entire mile without stopping! I did three, which is a great feat considering my foot. I’m starting to think I’m back in the running game, but I don’t want to jinx it. I then headed home to finish up even more homework.


Homework Nerd Alert!


Where was my fiancé during my super busy Sunday, you may ask? Oh, he was just completing his Rita’s Ice Tour, 2011 edition. Last year, I too accompanied him on the adventure, but couldn’t due to my schedule this year. They stopped at 14 Rita’s and sampled a different flavor at each. Head over to his blog to read about it!

I really slacked on Sunday night’s dinner, too. I headed up some Gardin chipotle lime “chicken” strips, and paired it with some southwestern hash-browns. The hash-browns were a nice gussied-up version of just plain ‘ole pan-fried potatoes, and I think would go well at any time of day. Yum!

Southwestern Hash-Browns
– Serves 4 –

4 cups frozen hash-browns
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp Adobo
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
6 Tbsp cooking oil

1.  Preheat skillet with 3 Tbsp of cooking oil. Add a layer of hash-browns to cover the skillet (2 cups). Cover, and let cook for 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in another skillet, preheat 2 Tbsp oil, add sauteed onions, and cook for 5 minutes until onions begin to become translucent. Add black beans and corn, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. After 12 minutes, flip the hash-browns, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
4.  Repeat steps 1 and 3.
5. Combine the hash-browns and bean mixture back in the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes.

A Perfect Little Sunday

This past Sunday, still high from my bridesmaid dress shopping win, the fiancé and I set out to make our guestbook for the wedding. I had seen on The Broke Ass Bride, the idea to use a picture calendar (made on Shutterfly) as a guestbook instead of the traditional plain page books. That got my creative juices flowing, and after receiving a coupon code from David’s Bridal for a free 8×8 20 page hard covered picture book, I knew exactly what we were going to do! So after combing through a bunch of pictures we put everything together and ordered it! I’m so excited to see the final product.

We then only spent $50 at the grocery store for the week (win #2), and decided to celebrate with a trip to Chipotle. Well, the trip had already been planned, but we felt a lot less guilty about spending the money on dinner, especially since we had a coupon for buy one get one free thanks to the new show America’s Next Great Restaurant! As you can see, this whole wedding planning and saving money idea has really been rubbing off on me – I’m hell-bent on finding the best deals for everything. I’m pretty sure the fiancé and my wallet are thanking me! And the burrito I devoured could barely be rolled and wrapped shut… YUM!

Baking was done, as well. I made a batch of Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Sugar-Free and Flourless Chocolate and Oatmeal Cookie Clusters. They were SO good! I added 2 Tbsp of coconut oil to give it some extra flavor, and they were really great. They’re so easy, and you probably have all of the ingredients already. Go make them!

I came home to an e-mail to find out I had won RunAddict’s Zensah giveway was a sweet addition to the already positive weekend, too! It ended peacefully watching The Oscars, with dreamboats James Franco and Anne Hathaway (yes, they are BOTH dreamboats).


I hope everyone else had a successful and enjoyable weekend – I know I needed it! Now on to tackle the week… at least it’s above 35 degrees!

Leftovers: Crunchy Turkey Quesadilla

With the massive amounts of turkey left over (three Tupperware containers full, to be exact), I knew getting creative was necessary. Originally I was planning to make a simple turkey and cheese quesadilla on Sunday night, but decided to take it a step further. For anyone that’s ever been to Taco Bell, you know about the “Crunch Wrap Supreme,” which is folded over into itself in the middle, and has a nice crunch in addition to your typical quesadilla/burrito ingredients. I actually came across the original recipe from Hungry Girl awhile back, and decided to make it my own this time around.

In addition to the turkey and shredded pepper jack cheese (yum!) I sautéed some yellow onion with a chipotle in adobo. Once the onion was sautéed and the turkey was warm enough, I piled it into the middle of the tortilla, topping it with cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and a few pieces of corn tortilla chips. You then have to get your fold-on, folding from the outside in, making about 4-5 folds. You then just throw it on a pan (that you’ve already sprayed, of course) so the tortilla becomes golden brown, and each of the sides you’ve folded stick to one another. The entire meal took about 15 minutes to prepare, and when paired with a salad was perfect for dinner!

Prior to our lovely Sunday night dinner, after our 8 mile run, fiancé and I each devoured an ice cream float. During the entire second half of the run, all I could think about was food. Jamba Juice, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, milkshakes, etc. So on the very last leg of our run I announced my plan (albeit out of breath) – “I’m making an ice cream float!” to which my fiancé loudly responded “Oh $*%! Yes!” and immediately followed it with a “That was kind of loud… SORRY!” to anyone listening. As soon as we got inside I scooped some leftover ice cream into plastic cups, and topped it off with some soda left over from Thanksgiving. Oh it was heaven. My stomach didn’t appreciate it much later, and would have rather enjoyed a piece of bread and water, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Maybe next Saturday’s 10 miler will be followed up similarly.

Crunchy Turkey Quesadilla
– Serves 1 –
[Adapted from HungryGirl]

1 flour tortilla (warmed about 10 seconds in the microwave)
½ cup shredded cheese
½ cup shredded cooked turkey
¼ onion
¼ cup shredded lettuce (iceberg works nicely for crunch)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 chipotle in adobo
1 Tbsp sour cream
2-3 corn tortilla chips

1. Sautee onion in oil until almost translucent, add chipotle and turkey when almost done just to warm.
2. Once cooked, add onion and turkey mixture to middle of tortilla, topping with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
3. Fold tortilla inwards towards the middle, in about 4-5 sections.
4. Spray and re-heat skillet on medium heat, and add the quesadilla folded side down, cooking until slightly golden brown (about 2 minutes), flip and cook other side until also golden brown. Serve immediately.

Delicious Fridays

Friday afternoon, my company had it’s third annual Thanksgiving feast during lunch. Everyone brought in a recipe, and at the end we voted for winners. I decided to make Not Your Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie. While I had lots of compliments, I didn’t win. That’s okay, though, because I devoured a whole lot of deliciousness; broccoli casserole, stuffing, corn salad, pumpkin dumplings, cumin and cayenne mashed potatoes with caramelized onion, and topped it off with some peanut butter brownie mousse parfait. I scored the recipes of almost everything I liked, and can’t wait to make it!

Needless to say, I was stuffed (and lethargic) all afternoon. So when I got home, for one of the first times, I wasn’t ravenous for dinner. Eventually, though, I was hungry enough to make something. Having one sweet potato left over from making the pie as well as an avocado and typical Mexican fare (cilantro, tortillas, cheese), I racked my brain for a solid 20 minutes. Eventually I went with a chili cheese burrito and a side of spicy sweet potato fries. It was quick to make and really delicious. A perfect simple Friday night dinner to accompany watching Millionaire Matchmaker and What Not to Wear… guilty pleasures for a Friday night home alone!

Chili Cheese Burrito
– Serves 1 –

½ can of your favorite chili (I used Amy’s Organic Spicy Veggie Chili)
1 flour tortilla
½ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
½ avocado, sliced
¼ cup scallions, diced
¼ cup cilantro
2 tbsp sour cream

1. Heat chili over medium heat until bubbly, remove from heat
2. Place sliced avocado, diced scallions, and half of the cheese on the tortilla, followed by chili, sour cream, and remaining cheese
3. Roll and enjoy!

Spicy Sweet Potato Oven Fries
– Serves 1-2 –

1 sweet potato
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 tsp Adobo seasoning
½ tsp cumin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Peel and slice potato long ways, coat in olive oil then sprinkle with spices
3. Spray a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake an additional 10 minutes
4. Enjoy!

An Early November Fiesta

Similar to Tuesday’s dinner, Thursday was another long prep meal. It actually required to be refrigerated for at least 8 hours, so I prepared everything on Wednesday post-run then threw it in the oven after work on Thursday. Thankfully I read the directions way before I planned to make it, giving me enough time to figure out which day of the week would be best to have it.

I’ve somehow been subscribed to Betty Crocker’s weekly e-mails that come Sunday nights. Often times I don’t really find anything I’m interested in (they’re your typical family styled meal), but every so often I find a gem. Enter the Fiesta Taco Chicken Lasagna (that’s a mouthful!). I decided to omit the chicken just to make things a little easier on myself as well as the black olives because the fiancé isn’t a big fan, and instead of taco sauce I used salsa to give it more texture.

These big bakes with a fiesta, Mexican, or Southwestern label seem to be some of my favorite meals (like this one, or this one). They take some time to prepare because of all the ingredients, but in the end it’s so worth it. I imagine you could throw some eggs into this bad boy to make it a great brunch item. Of course the mention of brunch brings up thoughts of booze (is that normal?), and this would probably go quite nicely with a giant margarita… yes please!

While it wasn’t the most photogenic meal I’ve made, it was delicious. The fiancé was extremely impressed at how great it was, despite it being “a big bunch of mush.”

Since the recipe makes enough to feed a family, I’ll be enjoying this for days.

Taco Fiesta Chicken Lasagna
– Serves 4 –

2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans diced tomatoes with zesty mild green chiles, undrained
1/4 cup taco sauce
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 (16-oz.) can Old El Paso® Refried Beans
1/2 cup sour cream
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
12 oz. (3 cups) shredded colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives, if desired
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Spray 15×12-inch sheet of foil and 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine tomatoes and taco sauce; mix well. Stir in chicken. In medium bowl, combine refried beans and sour cream; mix well.
Spread about 1 cup chicken mixture in bottom of sprayed baking dish. Top with 4 uncooked noodles, breaking to fit if necessary. Spread with half of bean mixture and 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese, half of the onions and half of the olives.
2. Layer 4 more noodles, remaining bean mixture, 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese. Top with remaining 4 noodles, chicken mixture, onions, olives and cheese. (Be sure top noodles are covered.) Cover with foil, sprayed side down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
3. Heat oven to 350°F. Bake covered lasagna for 50 minutes. Uncover baking dish; bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with cilantro. If desired, garnish each serving with dollop of sour cream, chopped tomato and shredded lettuce.

Another set back plus poblano chile & cheese enchiladas

After writing up a blog post about my injury and taking it easy, I went for a 3 mile run in the rain Monday night. By the end, though, my heel hurt in a way it hadn’t before. Enter a few days later, and I’m hobbling around. Now that my ankle pain is pretty much gone, it’s moved on to my heel (awesome!). Everything I read says plantar facitis, but my lack of arch pain says otherwise. While trying to self diagnose, my fiancé made a good point; a doctor would be able to tell you exactly what it is. So I made a doctor’s appointment and was told to get an x-ray. I decided to try and make an appointment with an orthopedist, but unfortunately they’re booked until the end of the month, so I’m hoping to be better by then but we’ll see.

On top of my nagging injury, I also managed to develop a cold. So, even though I stayed home from work both Wednesday and Thursday, it didn’t keep me out of the kitchen completely. I decided to make Poblano Chile & Cheese Enchiladas, and to for once have dinner ready for my fiancé when he got home. Of course, peeling myself away from wedding shows was difficult, but I managed.

This is another wonderful recipe from Vegetarian Times. I cheated by not creating my own enchilada sauce. Sometimes you just need to cut corners. Thankfully, the sauce was pretty decent, so it didn’t come back and bite me in the bee-hind. The poblano chiles added a nice heat, and I added a habanero for extra. I know, I know, I add habaneros to everything. My fiancé grabs 2-4 without fail every week at Wegmans. So, I just make sure to put them to good use.

There was enough left over for lunch the next day, and they were just as good re-heated. I’ve decided I need to incorporate poblano chiles more into my cooking. After discovering them when ordering a chile relleno, I fell in love. So yes, I may have had a burrito for breakfast, left-over enchiladas, and quesadillas for dinner in one day. I think it’s safe to say I should probably move to the South-West.

Poblano Chile & Cheese Enchiladas

Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
2½ oz. dried New Mexican chiles, halved, stemmed, and seeded
4 medium tomatoes, chopped

Enchilada Ingredients:
6 Poblano or Anaheim chiles
1 Tbs. olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1½ cups queso fresco
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
12 6-inch corn tortillas

1. To make Sauce: Heat olive oil in saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic in oil 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add dried chilies, and sauté 3 minutes more. Stir in tomatoes and 2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until chiles are soft. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes, then purée in blender or food processor until smooth.
2. To make Enchiladas: Preheat oven to broil. Place poblano chiles on baking sheet, and broil 15 to 20 minutes, or until blackened on all sides, turning often. Cool in covered bowl, then peel off skins and remove seeds. Chop chiles into 1/4-inch pieces.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic in oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to mixing bowl, and add queso fresco, 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro, and chopped chiles.
4. Spread tortillas on baking sheet. Warm 3 minutes in oven to soften.
5. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Divide cheese mixture among tortillas, and roll loosely. Place filled, rolled tortillas in baking dish. Top with remaining Sauce, and sprinkle with remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until Sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Meatless Monday: Vegan Feijoada

I often hear that vegan food is boring. And I think it’s safe to say that if you haven’t ever had it, just having a general understanding of it, sure, it can definitely sound boring. No real cheese? No animal by-products at all? But what about all the flavor?! Believe it or not, there can be serious flavor with just plant based products!

This recipe comes from Vegetarian Times, which every once in awhile will e-mail or publish a vegan dish. As you know, I’m not a full-fledged vegetarian, so I’m certainly not a vegan. However, I’m always up for new dishes and exciting flavors, so I figured I’d give it a shot; it has black beans, chipotles, and onions in it which are some of my favorite flavors. I added a habanero for extra heat, of course. It also calls for tempeh, which I’d often read about, but never actually tried. Tempeh is made by natural culturing and a controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into cake form, originating in Indonesia (source). It suggested a smoky variation, so I grabed a package of LightLife’s “Fakin’ Bacon” Smoky Tempeh. I don’t think it tastes anything like bacon, but it’s a great flavor on it’s own, not in comparison. I also made sure to grab the 100% vegetarian vegetable broth to stay true to the recipe. Isn’t it amazing that things like vegetable broth aren’t always completely vegetarian? You really need to pay attention to the labels!

When I first read the recipe, I misread the cooking time, skipping down to the re-heat instructions. Originally I thought it was only going to take about 15 minutes to cook once all the other ingredients were ready, but then I realized I actually needed 45 minutes – whoops! So by the time all was said and done, my fiancé and I were ravenous, and managed to forget to take a picture. So, I’m borrowing the picture from Vegetarian Times (source). While mine wasn’t in such a cool pot, it looked pretty much the same.

I decided to make the whole recipe which serves 8, figuring we could bring it for lunch a few days during the week. Since it’s chock full of beans (four cans!) it’s defintely really filling so the entire meal will really stretch your dollar. That’s another thing – everyone assumes eating vegetarian or vegan is expensive. At times, yes, it defintely is. However, this recipe probably cost about $20 – $25 to make, and it’s going to last us for at least three meals, for two people!

Vegan Feijoada
– Serves 8 –

4 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 6-oz. pkg. smoky tempeh strips, such as Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon
1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 rib celery, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tsp.)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1. Heat 2 tsp. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tempeh strips, and sauté 2 minutes on each side.
2. Heat remaining 2 1/2 tsp. oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and thyme, and sauté 6 minutes, or until onion is golden. Stir in black beans, tempeh, broth, garlic and chipotle chile. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
3. To reheat, place feijoada in skillet over medium-low heat. Cover, and heat, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Southwestern Sweet Potatoes

Yet another perfect fall dish – sweet potatoes!

Once again, I’ve found a way to make something I never really liked in the past absolutely delicious. I’ve seen tons of recipes for baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, etc. So I finally figured I’d give them a try. I was never much of a fan of sweet potatoes, I think just because any time I ever tried them it was during Thanksgiving when they were covered in brown sugar and marshmallow fluff. For whatever reason, I don’t like mixing savory and sweet flavors together.

After trying sweet potato fries a few times, I realized that sweet potatoes alone weren’t sweet, and they’d be great (healthy!) additions to any meal. This time, though, they were the main dish. I decided to sauté some onion, pepper, corn, black beans, and habanero and topped the baked sweet potatoes with the mixture, cheese, and salsa. Not to toot my own horn, but man, these were good! They were also huge – I didn’t even finish one half! I was able to have the rest for lunch the next day.

To make sure there were enough veggies, we had some sautéed broccoli as a side, which worked really well. These would definitely be a great side dish (in smaller portions, of course) but they were really great as a main dish as well.

Southwestern Sweet Potatoes
– Serves 2 –

2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 green pepper
1/2 yellow onion
1 habanero pepper (or hot pepper of your choice)
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1/2 can black beans (drained)
Mexican styled seasoning (I used chili powder, taco seasoning and adobo)
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/4 cup salsa

1. Preheat oven 450 degrees, poke holes into the sweet potatoes, and place on a baking sheet with foil. Once preheated, cook the potatoes for 40-50 minutes
2. Slice and sauté onion, pepper, hot pepper, corn and beans with seasoning till tender.
3. Once potatoes are cooked, slice them in half, and top with the sautéed mixture.
4. Finish off with cheese and salsa.

Open Faced Tacos

In a perfect world, there would be more hours in the day available for me to do the things I enjoy: run, cook, read, SLEEP!, etc. However, as we all know this world is far from perfect, and most of my day consists of driving in New Jersey traffic to and from work, sitting in a cube for 9 hours, and then trying to create a delicious meal as quickly as possible to leave enough time to do homework, getting in a workout, and somehow having a little time to relax and plan a wedding. Boy oh boy, life is going to be so fun when I throw kids into the mix!

But I digress… Monday night’s dinner was a nice twist on our regular burrito, with a little less work. I actually had a little more time available, because it’s been rainy and I finally got back to running over the weekend. I was able to complete a mile on Saturday before stopping because the uncomfortable feeling in my ankle/heels started to become a little more painful. Then on Sunday I tackled two miles, and immediately came home and threw my entire foot in a bowl of ice water. I probably could have done another mile, but I didn’t want to push it and I also felt terribly out of shape. I struggled to keep myself going slowly enough not to make things worse, but by the end of that second mile, I was glad I stuck to a 9:30 minute mile pace. Tuesday’s 3 miler was back to an 8:40ish pace, but it definitely hurt afterwards. I’m slated to run a 5k October 9th so I’m hoping I’ll be up to 3.1 miles somewhat comfortably. As of right now, I’m not sure if I’ll pull out of the race or not. We’ll see what the next week and a half has in store.

Dinner was pretty straight forward – some taco sized tortilla shells, refried beans, cheese, ground beef with taco seasoning, and salsa. From there you can really make it your own, depending on toppings (of course you can swap the ground beef for soy crumbles, or nothing at all). I decided to dice up and sauté a few pieces of yellow onion, and a habanero pepper to add some heat. I mixed it into the ground beef that had been cooked with some taco seasoning, chili powder, and adobo. Other than that, I just had to slather the taco shells with refried beans (Old El Paso has a fat-free spicy version – yum!), throw the toppings on the shells, and bake. I suppose this open faced taco is similar to a tostada, however I didn’t use actual tostada shells. My parents have them, though, and they’re awesome.

They were definitely like mini Mexican pizzas, which I was more than okay with. Combine Mexican food and pizza? I’m sold. Next time, though, I’ll probably switch up the toppings and do something a little out of the box. But I encourage you to give these a try!

Open Faced Tacos
– Serves 2-

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion – diced
1 hot pepper – diced (jalapeno, habanero, etc.)
taco seasoning and other spices to taste
4 taco sized torilla shells
1/2 can refried beans
1 cup shredded cheese blend (“taco” or “Mexican” will work)
1/4 cup salsa
(sour cream, guacamole, and other fixin’s are optional – and delicious!)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Grease baking sheet(s) and place torilla shells on them
3. In a skillet, brown ground beef with onion, pepper, and seasoning until completely cooked
4. While skillet mixture is cooking, spread the refried beans evenly on the taco shells
5. Drain the meat, and evenly distribute on top of taco shells, finishing it off with an even coating of cheese
6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until taco shells have a slight brown crisp
7. Top with salsa and enjoy!

Stuffed Hot Peppers

Since I haven’t made anything super spicy in a few weeks, I decided to up the anté and stuff hot peppers. Yes, that’s right; jalapenos, poblano peppers, and Anaheim peppers were stuffed and baked.

I got the idea last year when I spent the weekend at my friend’s shore house, and her uncle made a delicious appetizer spread with stuffed grilled peppers; they were stuffed with different cheeses, crab meat, and all kinds of deliciousness. I aired on the side of simple, and went with a cream cheese, a Mexican cheese blend, and panko bread crumb mixture. I tried my best to remove the flesh from the peppers while still leaving enough noticeable heat. I think I accomplished that, because both myself and my fiancé had burning mouths, and I of course had burning hands for hours afterwards.

These definitely aren’t for the spice wary, but the mixture could definitely go in more tame peppers. They’d also be great just as appetizers, but my fiancé and I paired them with some homemade oven fried onion rings and were stuffed. So next time you’re in the mood for some spicy deliciousness, make these bad boys!

Cheese Stuffed Hot Peppers

3 Poblano peppers
2 Anaheim chiles
4 Jalapenos
8 oz. light cream cheese
1 cup of Mexican blend cheese
3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Slice half of the peppers long ways, removing the stems and flesh. Leave seeds for extra heat, remove for less. Slice only the hops and stems off the other half of peppers
3. Combine cream cheese, cheese blend, and bread crumbs until completely mixed.
4. Stuff peppers with cheese mixture (don’t worry about over stuffing, the mixture won’t ooze/bubble out).
5. Spray a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, until peppers are slightly wilted and cheese has a light crust.