Chips for dinner

There are times when it’s okay to throw the rules out the window. Allowing yourself to let go of the idea that chips are not a suitable dinner is a prime example of that type of time. This is now the second time I’ve used chips in a dish aside from regular nachos, and the result has been pretty delicious.

While sifting through the pile of cookbooks I received for Christmas trying to meal plan, I remembered a tiny book I hadn’t yet given much attention – Eat Tweet, by @cookbook (aka Maureen Evans). The title alone is accurate for my own life… I eat and tweet (among other, less important things). I’m not going to lie that it’s a little difficult here and there to decipher the abbreviated language within some of the reicpes. But, the recipes are all pretty straight forward considering they’re 140 characters or less. I like the idea of a dish that can fit into a tweet.

This is by no means healthy, and I don’t even know how I got away with serving it as “dinner.” It’s definitely moreso a party snack to be eaten sparingly. However, my fiancé and I totally ate this for dinner, alongside a giant salad. And let me tell you, it was delicious. I’m thinking I should start cooking with chips more often…

I went ahead and decoded the recipe for you, to make it easeir to read… I figured a 140 character abbreviated recipe has it’s place on Twitter, but not neccessarily my blog. I can’t wait to decode more of these.

Frito Pie
via Eat Tweet
Serves 4

2 1/2 cups of chili, any variety  you like (I used Amy’s black bean)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cups Fritos (I used the lightly salted version, as I find their regular is super salty)
2 cups of shredded cheese
*shredded lettuce, sour cream, and salsa for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In greased pie dish, layer 2 cups of Fritos, followed by 1/2 cup diced onion, 1 cup of cheese, and the 2 1/2 cups of chili.
3. Layer remaining cup of fritos, followed by remaining onions and cheese.
4. Bake for 15 minutes until chips and cheese are golden brown.

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!

Product Review: Veggie Style

Gardein Santa Fe Chicken

Most tried and true vegetarians would probably shudder at the thought of pre-packed and processed vegetarian options, but when it comes to lunch, I need something quick and easy. And while I’m only a part-time veghead (I’ve graduated from halfetarian to threequarteraterian), I really do enjoy vegetarian food. I can’t pass up a box of Morningstar Farms’ Black Bean Burgers, or Amy’s Organic Breakfast Burritos. So, while in Wegmans this past weekend, I decided to pick up two things for my lunch this week; Gardein’s Chick’n Santa Fe and also Light Life Smart Deli’s Bologna Style veggie meat. A mouth full, I know.

So let’s start with the Gardein Chick’n Santa Fe. The package comes with two chik’n patties, which are considered to be two separate servings. At just 140 calories each, I figured I could probably have two. However, in order to stretch my dollar, I decided to just bring one for lunch on Tuesday, and I paired it with the leftover mango cous cous I had. It actually turned out to be impressively filling, and I was glad I saved the other patty for later in the week. As someone that does still eat meat, I was shocked at how meat-like the chicken really was. Even my fiancé was impressed with it’s look in terms of color and texture. The patty was stuffed with corn and black beans, and came with a spicy(ish) tomato sauce to pour on top. It only took 2 minutes to microwave, and was perfectly cooked. Needless to say I was really impressed with it, and am looking forward to trying more Gardein selections!

Onto the veggie bologna. Growing up my go-to sandwich was Boars Head bologna with yellow American cheese, cut into quarters. I am salvating just thinking about it. But let’s be honest, for both the meat eaters and non-meat eaters, bologna is pretty gross. So, I decided to give the veggie (and hopefully more healthy) option a try, as my vegetarian friend loves it. I was a bit wary, considering I’ve had real bologna and it was one of my favorite deli meats growing up. I made my sandwich Tuesday night, paired it with some American cheese, and while I was tempted to have a taste, anxiously awaited until 12pm Wednesday to give it a try. While it isn’t real bologna, it definitely does a pretty good job imitating. If I hadn’t known it was veggie bologna, I probably would have assumed it to be legit.

It’s important to keep in mind when having vegetarian substitutes, they aren’t going to taste exactly like that meat you’re swapping out (in most cases). I think if you go into trying something with the idea that it’ll taste exactly like your favorite piece of chicken, hamburger, etc. you’ll be disappointed. However, if you’re willing to try some new flavors and expand your eating palate, veggie substitutes will be nice additions (or swaps)!

Reese’s Chocolatey Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Sometimes you need a relaxing weekend where you don’t do much. That’s exactly what my fiancé and I did this past weekend. Saturday included sleeping in, a solid 6 mile run in the middle of the day (outside, without sweating to death, mind you!), some more delicious pizza, and cupcakes!

I hadn’t made cupcakes since our wedding party BBQ (a whopping two weeks ago), so I figured it was time to make another batch. I found this recipe on Something Shiny’s blog, which was linked to by Cupcakes Take the Cake. I’ve always wanted to make a stuffed cupcake, but have been wary since I don’t have the right tools. This was the next best thing – shove a mini Reese’s peanut butter cup inside a yummy chocolate cake – sold! Considering I love chocolate and peanut butter, this was a no brainer – I knew I had to make them.

The recipe also has a pretty awesome chocolate magic shell, but I tried to keep it basic. And considering I still haven’t replaced my pastry bag, the frosting was less than stellar. So if you want to see really awesome and delicious looking pictures of these cupcakes, I suggest looking at Something Shiny’s. While mine aren’t the most visually appealing cupcakes I’ve ever made, they sure did taste great!

Per the usual I didn’t have all of the ingredients necessary when I first started getting ready to make the cupcakes. So, I had to put the perishables back in the fridge, and run out to the store to pick up some more cocoa powder and sour cream. Mind you, this was after just literally walking in the door from a three mile walk. Oh well, turns out I walked about 4 miles that day – no biggie! I also love hitting up this particular Stop & Shop for items here and there, because they seem to be the only grocery store around me that has Amy’s Organic Breakfast Burritos! Every other store I’ve been to offers some of their other variations, but not the breakfast one. So I’ll be enjoying one of those later this week.

Back to the cupcakes. The recipe was super easy, and the batter was light and fluffy so I knew it was going to be decadent. I popped the little Reese’s cups into the center of the cupcakes, and into the oven they went! After a mere 15 minutes they were done baking and ready to cool. We waited a few hours before enjoying them with the peanut butter frosting (which calls for a creamy variation, but I went chunky). The recipe only made 12, which was perfect for my fiancé and I; we’ve enjoyed one every night after dinner, and they’re keeping well in an air-tight container in the fridge (cupcake and frosting are separate).

Now that I’m a little more comfortable with putting things into the middle of my cupcakes, I’m probably going to experiment a bit. It’ll probably stay pretty basic, but I might come up with a super sweet combination – we’ll see!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (With Reese’s PB Cup Center)
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
– Makes approx 12 –

8 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
1/2 cup (1.5 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (or regular if that’s what you’ve got handy)
3/4 cup (3.75 oz) All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream (you could use reduced fat, but really…why bother)
12-15 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line tin with cupcake liners.
2. Combine butter, chopped chocolate and cocoa in a small bowl. Microwave 30 seconds then stir. Microwave at 15 second intervals until smooth. Don’t overheat! Alternately, you can get fancy and use a double boiler, or a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water.
3. Cool until barely warm.
4. In small bowl, combine flour, soda and powder.
5. In a medium-ish bowl, beat the eggs then whisk in the sugar and salt. Add the cooled chocolate mix, beating until smooth and well combined. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Whisk until fully combined. Add sour cream, mixing well, then add remaining flour mixture, whisking till flour is fully incorporated and batter is thick.
6. Scoop batter into lined tins using you preferred method—spoon, ice cream scoop, measuring cup. Place a mini Reese’s cup in the center of each cake. Press into the batter until nearly level with the top.
7. Bake 15-20 minutes (15 was enough for me).
8. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then move to a wire rack to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from
Easily covers 18 cupcakes

1 cup creamy peanut butter (like I said, I used chunky)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 – 2/3 cup whipping cream (heavy cream) adjust as necessary – add more if it looks like it needs it. Go wild.

1. Beat peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar until thoroughly combined. Add cream and beat until light and fluffy. Give it a few minutes to get nice and pale and lovely. Lick the beaters. No, really. Do it. It’ll make you feel like a kid again.
2. Spread onto cooled cupcakes or pipe with your preferred decorating tip.

Amy’s Organic Breakfast Burritos

I’m a frozen foods junkie. Typically, I stick to them for breakfast and/or lunch, but not dinner, since the little meals are rarely satisfying.

After spending weeks eating instant oatmeal every day for breakfast in an effort to save money and calories, it was time for something new. I did a week of frozen bagels, and a few weeks of different waffle variations. This week, however, I decided to switch it up with Barbara’s Bakery Puffins. Not just any Puffins – the peanut butter kind. They’re so delicious, that I’m almost through my box and it’s only Wednesday.

So, last night I had to stop quickly at Stop & Shop to grab some extra chicken stock for the Southwest Chicken Soup. Remembering that this particular location is Kosher and has A LOT of veggie options, I ran over to the frozen section in hopes of finding Amy’s breakfast burritos. I typically do my weekly shopping at ShopRite, and for whatever reason, they carry every variation of Amy’s burritos EXCEPT the breakfast one! Once I spotted them, I excitedly grabbed two (because I’m always thinking about my fiance), and headed home.

My co-worker that’s vegetarian often has these burritos, and groaned when I excitedly told her I had one for breakfast. That’s how good these things are! They’re completely organic and vegan, but you’d never notice. There’s yummy cheese, tofu, beans, onions, potatoes and tomatoes all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. And at only taking 3 minutes in the microwave, what more could you ask for?!

While the picture I took with my iPhone doesn’t paint it in the best light, it really is delicoius! So next time you’re looking for a quick and easy breakfast option you can bring with you to the office, head over to the frozen section and grab yourself some Amy’s Organic Breakfast Burritos. Maybe grab a box of Puffins too, because they’re equally delicious!

Head over to Amy’s website to see all of the delicious vegeterian and vegan frozen options available!