Veggie Packed Enchiladas

Just the other day I was counting how long I’ve been vegetarian, and it’s been 10 months! Sometimes it seems like it’s been much longer than that, and other times I’m so impressed with myself for still going strong. When I first made the switch to being a full-on vegetarian (I hadn’t been eating meat often for a year or two prior, but still had it once in awhile), people would often ask “why” and I never really had a good reason. While I still don’t enjoy people asking me “why,” as though I need to validate my choices, I’ve come to realize that it is definitely more of an ethical thing for me than not – I just hate the idea of seeing animals suffer or be hurt. I realize it’s the “circle of life” and how things go, but I’m not going to participate in something if I’m not comfortable with it! And don’t get me wrong, hamburgers are delicious so I understand and have no problem with you eating one, I just won’t eat one myself.

So why the blabbering about my vegetarian lifestyle choices? Well, I’ve found that there are so many dishes that seem to have meat in them “just because.” There are plenty of dishes where meat is the centerpiece and main focus, but there are also a lot of dishes that seem to include meat more as an accessory. I love the versatility of Southwestern food, because even though it can be very meat-centric, there is also plenty of wiggle room for vegetables (and beans)! I love Southwestern food for the flavors, too, but it’s great that it is something I can continue to enjoy as a vegetarian.

So with a hankering for enchiladas, I took a look at the CSA box ingredients I had for the week, and put together a pretty tasty, meat (and fake meat) free enchilada! I suppose you could say I cut corners by not using homemade tortillas or enchilada sauce, but the time and effort required for those two things in addition to the rest of the cooking just isn’t realistic for your average working, marathon training, zonked from the heat wave person. If you have the time, by all means, go for it… but if you don’t, I promise your dish will be just as tasty!

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Black Bean Enchiladas |

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Black Bean Enchiladas
– Serves 4 –

2 Tbsp oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 scallions, diced
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup corn
1/2 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp Adobo
1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
6 fajita size flour tortillas
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the begin to become translucent. 
3. Add the cubed sweet potatoes, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes, until they begin to soften. 
4. Add the black beans and corn, followed by all of the spices (chili powder, cumin, adobo, and paprika). 
5. Begin to add the kale, a little bit at a time to allow it to wilt a bit and make room in the pan. As it’s wilting, add the 2 tablespoons of water to help deglaze the pan of the spices and aid in the wilting. Sauté until everything is combined and kale is slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat. 
6. Pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 8 x 11 dish. 
7. Take a tortilla and add three spoonfuls of the mixture to the center of the tortilla, and roll. You don’t need to roll it like a burrito (but you can); just roll it more like a taquito – it’s okay if some of the “guts” are coming out of the sides. Place it in the dish. Repeat for the remaining 5 tortillas, layering them next to each other, slightly overlapping. 
8. Top with the remaining sauce, the shredded cheese, and the scallions. 
9. Bake for 18 minutes. Serve with avocado or guacamole, and sour cream or Greek yogurt. 

Sweet on Brunch

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that brunch is a fabulous thing. I could wax poetic about how anything goes, it’s a great excuse to sleep in and still enjoy breakfast foods, etc., but you already know all this. So instead, I’ll give you a recipe for a super easy brunch dish that would be perfect for New Year’s Day… or any day for that matter.

While I may be one of the few and far between not doing a wrap-up of 2012 post or a pre-2013 post, I’ll share with you a few things that in just the last few days, I’ve decided will be my “to-do’s” of the new year. They’re quite simple: run more, cook more (recipe creation, really), complain less, learn to take better pictures, and practice yoga more… all while striving to be happy and healthy. I guess you could say there’s a trend of “more” for 2013, which I’m okay with. Since 2012 was far from what I expected, I have high hopes for 2013. Of course, the aforementioned to-do’s won’t happen without action from me, so we can say that I’m planning on making 2013 the year of doing. I’m pumped.

I’ll be kicking off my year of doing with a 5k on Tuesday, aptly named the Hangover 5k. I somehow hurt my foot on Wednesday last week, ran on it anyway on Thursday, and could barely walk by Friday. So, I haven’t run since then, making my goals for this 5k to just finish without foot pain. Goofy is just under 2 weeks away, and I have to make sure I can finish those 39.3 miles! The 5k will be my first race as an Oiselle Team member, and I can’t wait to rock the racing singlet, rundelicious top, and lesley knickers! And then after the 5k, I’ll probably make this fabulous brunch dish, again.

So next time you’re looking for something brunch-y to eat, you can give this a try. It isn’t really a frittata, or a strata, or a crustless quiche. I suppose it’s more of a Sweet Potato Egg Pie… so that’s what we’ll call it. Cheers to a happy and healthy 2013!


Sweet Potato Egg Pie
– Serves 4 – 

4 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup of shredded cheese
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Coat a cake pan or pie dish (I used a cake pan) with non-stick cooking spray. Layer the sliced sweet potatoes along the bottom, covering as much of the pan/dish as you can. Bake for 15 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together until combined. Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper. 
4. Once the potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, remove from the oven. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the potatoes, and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the eggs are set. 

Taking the ham out of the burger

The first time I had a portabello “burger” was at The Cheesecake Factory in college. I’m not sure what made me pick that off the menu, but it was delicious. At the time, I didn’t realize just how meaty portabello mushrooms are, and what a great meat substitute they make. Even people that aren’t huge mushroom fans will likely enjoy a portabello.

So, with the weather being so nice the past few days, I really wanted to grill up some vegetables, and thought portabellos would be great. Of course, just the mushrooms themselves weren’t enough, so I made them into “burgers” with marinated zucchini, and red peppers on a roll with of course, gouda cheese. Throw in a side of curried sweet potato fries, and you’ve got perfection.

Balsamic Grilled Portabello Mushroom “Burgers”
– Serves 2 –

2 rolls (I used Kaiser)
2 medium sized portabello mushrooms
1 medium sized zucchini, sliced
1 medium red pepper, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic, diced
2 slices of smoked gouda cheese (or your favorite cheese)
1/2 small red onion, sliced

1. Heat grill on medium-high heat
2. Combine the garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Add the vegetables, making sure to coat them completely.
3. Using either a grill basket or aluminum foil, place the vegetables on the grill. Cook on each side, about 10 minutes until there are grill marks and they are cooked through.
4. Layer the cheese on the bottom of the bun, followed by the portabello mushroom, zucchini (about 3-4 slices), and red pepper. Top with raw red onion, and enjoy!


Curried Sweet Potato Fries
– Serves 2 –

2 medium sweet potato fries
1 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Peel and slice potatoes, to look like french fries
3. In a medium bowl, toss the fries with olive oil and curry powder, making sure to coat evenly
4. Spread on a greased baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes

Pie for dinner

Sometimes I wonder if I think at all before I set out to do something. If I did, though, I’d probably wind up second guessing myself and missing out on a lot of things. After a stressful weekend of moving and unpacking, you’d think I would schedule the following week’s meals to be easy and straight forward, and probably not time consuming. Yet I seem to almost always skip over the process portion of the recipes, and pick them solely based on ingredients (and a picture too, of course).

Yesterday started off bright, well rather dark, and early. The fiancé and I were up at 5:30a and out the door by 5:45a to do our first pre-work run. Now that we’re a bit closer to the office we have more time to get ready in morning, so by waking up about an hour early, we’ll be able to get in anywhere from 4-6 miles, depending on our pace. We did 4.22 at about a 9:15 pace – I wound up getting a serious case of runner’s trots about a mile in, and spent the next two miles struggling, so it was slow and steady. At the same time though, it’s also the longest run I’ve done since the dreaded injury, so I’m more than okay with it.

After work and voting, it was time to start on the first of two long and involved recipes for the week. I went with the “Not Your Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie” recipe, which jumped out at me due to the Southwestern styled ingredients (pobalano peppers, cumin, etc.). I can’t remember where it was linked, but this recipe comes from Grist. Since sweet potatoes were involved, they first needed to be softened. I decided to take a short cut and microwave them instead of waiting up to an hour for them to roast in the oven. When getting ready to put all the ingredients into the crust, I came to the realization that I don’t have a rolling pin. Seriously?! I need to get one of them! It amazes me how much I’m lacking in the kitchen in terms of tools and utensils, but I still manage to make almost everything I want.

It was really good – it was completely worth the effort and time involved. Even though I’ve never made a traditional sweet potato pie, I would make this one again and again as it’s a great twist on a classic. Having left-overs is also a huge plus. I’m sure a lot of guests at a Thanksgiving dinner or brunch would be thoroughlly impressed (especially if they’re vegetarian and skipping the turkey)!

While everything was in the oven I had the opportunity to get some homework done. If we hadn’t ran in the morning, there definitely wouldn’t have been enough time for this dinner, voting, and homework. I’m going to miss the longer days come this weekend, even if it means not waking up in complete darkness. But in the end it looks like morning runs have their benefits!

Hopefully I’ll get to do some baking this weekend. I’m thinking either cupcakes or brownies with Halloween candy inside. We have an entire bowl of candy left over from Sunday since we had two trick-or-treaters. Maybe it was because I was prancing around the house like this?

Power tools aside, I highly recommend making this bad boy!

Not Your Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie
– Serves 4-6 –

9-inch uncooked pie crust, rolled into a 10-inch diameter circle and refrigerated (I used pre-made)
3 medium sweet potatoes
3 to 4 medium poblano or Anaheim peppers (or substitute 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle peppers)
4 whole shallots or 2 small white onions, quartered
1/2 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
a pinch of Mexican oregano
a pinch of cumin seeds
salt and pepper
wedge of lime

1. Wash the sweet potatoes well, pat dry, and prick with a fork several times. Place on a baking pan with the shallots or onions. Drizzle the shallots or onions with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Roast at 400 degrees F until the sweet potatoes are very tender and beginning to caramelize. If the onions begin to burn before the sweet potatoes are done, remove them from the baking tray and set aside.
3. Cool cooked sweet potatoes completely.
4. When cool, slip the skins off the sweet potatoes and cut into rough 2-inch chunks. (This step can be done up to several days in advance.)
5. If you have a gas stove, roast the poblano peppers over direct flame until blistered and blackened all over. Otherwise, you can broil them until they begin to blister. Place in a paper bag or wrap in foil and set aside to cool. When cool, rub most of the charred skin off the peppers, deseed them, and — with your fingers, if your peppers aren’t of the hot variety — tear the peppers into strips. Set aside.
6. When your vegetables are cool, remove your pie crust from the refrigerator. Roll out and be sure to patch any holes. Drape your circle of dough over your rolling pin and transfer to a pizza pan or baking sheet if not already on one.
7. Spread the bottom of the crust with the crema or sour cream, leaving a 2-inch border around the outside of the crust.
8. Next, spread the sweet potato chunks, the onions or shallots and the pepper strips over the crema. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cumin, oregano, the cilantro and the green onions.
9. Fold the edge of the dough up over the top of the filling, pleating the dough as you work your way around the circle. Place the tart in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
10. Bake the tart for 45 minutes or until the crust is dark golden brown. Remove from the oven, squeeze the lime wedge over the filling and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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.