Off the Wagon

I have a confession to make… I’m tired of cooking.

I’m tired of peeling. I’m tired of chopping. And I am so damn tired of doing the dishes.

Remember all of those healthy recipes I posted last week? I made two of them. That’s right. Two. And then I fell off of the healthy wagon and landed smack-dab in the middle of a large cheese pizza.

I had every intention of preparing dinner each night last week. I even managed to conquer the grocery store with Baby J, checking each and every ingredient off of my list as I optimistically tossed them into my cart. But as the week wore on, my motivation waned. Who wants to waste time washing dishes when they could be hanging with their sweet baby boy? Certainly not me. Maybe if I wasn’t working full-time it would be a different story, but probably not. What’s a girl to do?

Cue Mimi (Jack’s grandma).

Yesterday, my mom stopped by the house to drop off “some things,” which turned out to be a homemade meal and some of my favorite oatmeal muffins. Living in the same city as your parents definitely has its perks.

Instead of chips & salsa, a bagel, or whatever else we could scrounge up around the house, we were treated to one of my all time favorite dinners, King Ranch Casserole. This is the meal I would beg my mom to cook on special occasions. Every birthday. Every holiday. Every guy I have ever brought home to meet my parents. It’s always King Ranch Casserole. I can’t imagine a more perfect meal for a cold, wintry night.

It’s not a healthy meal per se (at all), but it’s delicious none the less. My mom always makes me a special vegetarian version using tempeh instead of chicken, but I am posting the recipe as written for all of my carnivorous friends. Make it tonight. Eat it in your pjs. You can thank me later.

I will be polishing off our leftovers today, as I am home from school again due to the icy road conditions. If you read my previous post regarding the “Snowpacolypse 2014,” you know what this means for me… A whole lot of eating and a whole lot of online shopping.

 

King Ranch Casserole

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*photo courtesy of Southern Living

ingredients

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 4 oz can chopped green chilis

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp tabasco

3/4c-1c chicken broth

4 cups Fritos or Tortilla chips, crushed

8 oz sharp cheddar cheese

instructions

Combine soups, green chilis, spices, Tabasco sauce, and broth. Cover bottom of 2-1/2 or 3 qt casserole with 2 cups of crushed chips. Then add 1/2 of the chicken, 1/2 sauce, and 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.

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I really, really love eating this casserole with some buttery french bread (as if the 4 cups of crushed chips aren’t enough carbs).

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Black-Eyed Peas, Please!

Once again we face another new year, a time when many of us reflect on the previous twelve months and make resolutions for the those to come. Me? I’m not a resolution kind of gal, because quite frankly, I don’t stick to them. Ever.

If I resolve to adhere to some kind of crazy, extreme diet, I inevitably find myself face-deep in a bowl of mac and cheese by the third day. Okay, second day. Needless to say, I don’t do diets, and I don’t do resolutions.

But what I do do (cue laughter from my 4th grade class) is eat healthy 90% of the time. And not just because I want to fit into my skinny jeans. I actually like healthy food, and I enjoy cooking, too. Unfortunately my days of homemade nightly dinners have pretty much ceased to exist thanks to my little one, but every now and then when the stars align just right, I am able to knock out a delicious and nutritious dinner.

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest quite awhile ago, and it is one of my go-to recipes. Shockingly, my husband enjoys it as much as I do- We have very different palates. It is super easy to throw together, too. I’m hoping Baby J enjoys it as much as we do when he starts eating solids next month, but I won’t hold my breath.

*You can find the original recipe here.

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole New Year’s Style

*photo courtesy of eatingwelllivingthin.wordpress.com*

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Ingredients

Texas Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh- use as much or as little as you want

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(Click picture for info on tempeh. If you’ve never had tempeh, you should try it! It is very versatile and tasty. You could also use plain tempeh, garbanzo beans, or chicken as a substitute, or you could leave the protein out altogether.)

One 10 oz can condensed Cream of  Mushroom soup

1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise 

2 tablespoons milk- I use skim

1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc.)

black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste- I put red pepper flakes in EVERYTHING I eat, and not only because I like them. Check out this article highlighting the benefits of this ingredient.

2 cups cooked broccoli- I also sometimes include chopped red bell pepper, diced onion, mushrooms, and/or edamame. I always sauté my veggies in olive oil and use a lot of fresh garlic.

1 1/2 cups  COOKED quinoa

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To cook quinoa:

3/4 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear.  In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible.  Fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish – or individual ramekins – with vegetable cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, and spices until well mixed. Stir in the tempeh, quinoa, and broccoli.

Spoon mixture into prepared casserole.  Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes for ramekins) or until bubbly on the edges and golden.  Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

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I have included links above with various ingredients that I use frequently in my cooking. I am a vegetarian, so I am always looking for creative ways to include protein into my diet. The links will take you to websites that explain the benefits of each highlighted ingredient.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year?