Sunday, November 22, 2015

5-Ingredient Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Have you tried the apple and mozzarella quesadillas yet? If not, I urge you to try them out. Those quesadillas, served along with this pumpkin black bean soup, is seriously our favorite meal these days. This soup is super awesome because you make barely any mess making it, the prep time is less than 1 minute, and the cooking time is just a little over 5 minutes. Oh, and it also is pretty darn tasty AND healthy. It's loaded with Vitamin A, protein, and fiber. You can make it with more kick based on the type of salsa you use in the recipe. The first few times I made it I used a Hatch Chile salsa, and it was nice and spicy. The past couple times I have used Newman's Own Farmer's Garden salsa, which is a little sweet and mild. You can serve this with the apple quesadillas or serve it on its own with some tortilla chips. Yesterday I made it for lunch and served it with oven-baked tortilla chips drizzled with white truffle oil and sea salt . This soup is rich and creamy, and is definitely a comfort-type food, but it has the bonus of being good for you. Make it with the leftover canned pumpkin you might have after making pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving! Enjoy.

Recipe for 5-Ingredient Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

1 can of black beans (15.5 ounces), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup of salsa (we like it with Newman's own Farmer's Garden - you can use hot or mild salsa)
1/2 tsp. of cumin powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt (I like Fage)

Dump the black beans, water, pumpkin puree, and salsa into a medium sized pot. Sprinkle in the cumin powder, salt, and pepper. Use a spoon to mix well. Set the pot over medium heat on the stove top and cook for 4 - 5 minutes, or until hot. Then adjust the heat to low and stir in the Greek yogurt until smooth. Cook for an additional 45 seconds to 1 minute (don't cook too long, because the yogurt will curdle a bit and slightly effects the texture of soup). Remove from heat and ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with white cheddar cheese, if desired.

Makes approximately 2 - 3 servings. 
Original Recipe

Per Serving (with a serving being 1/3 of the recipe): 155 calories, 2 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 50% RDA Vitamin A, 15% RDA Iron,

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Quesadillas with Mozzarella and Buttery Cinnamon Maple Apples

Apples, in a quesadilla? Yes! You will not believe how amazing these quesadillas are. Greg thinks that these quesadillas are the perfect meal for dinner, but that they could also be a good breakfast food because they kind of taste like crepes. Although we have only been eating them for dinner, I agree that these sweet and savory quesadillas would make an outstanding breakfast. You could even sprinkle a little powdered sugar on them if you prefer the breakfast option, and leave off the white truffle oil and use butter instead. We have seriously had these quesadillas for dinner at least 7 times in the past 2 weeks, due to Greg's continued requests. I don't mind since they are so easy to make (especially if you have a batch of the apples in the fridge) and they require very little time in the kitchen. I have been serving them with a super easy pumpkin black bean soup that only has five ingredients, and I'll share that recipe very soon. Fall is the perfect season for enjoying delicious apples, and you can enjoy them in so many ways!

Recipe for Quesadillas with Mozzarella and Buttery Cinnamon Maple Apples

Butter, for coating the baking pan 
8 ounces of Mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1 ounce slices (don't use fresh, because it has too much moisture)
White truffle oil (optional, you can use butter instead) for brushing the sides of the tortillas
Sea salt (optional), for sprinkling the sides of the tortillas

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Lightly grease a baking pan with butter.

Wrap the tortillas in a paper towel and zap in the microwave for about 25 seconds. Blot out any of the excess moisture from the tortillas, then lay them onto the prepared baking sheet. Put one and a half slices of mozzarella cheese in the center of each tortilla (you will have 4 half pieces of cheese leftover that you will use to top the apples with). Place in the oven and cook for about 4 - 5 minutes, or until the cheese has just begun to melt. Meanwhile, if using apples that have been stored in the fridge, place desired amount of apples into a bowl and microwave for about 15 - 20 seconds. Once the cheese has begun to melt, remove the pan from the oven and adjust oven temperature to 375 degrees. Spoon desired amount of apples onto one half of the tortilla (I used about 2 tsp. of apples per quesadilla). Top the apples with the remaining half pieces of mozzarella cheese. Fold the tortillas in half. Lightly brush each side of the tortillas with white truffle oil or butter. I used about 1/8 tsp. of white truffle oil per side. Then sprinkle each side with a little bit of sea salt. Place back into the oven and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes, then carefully flip tortillas and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Original Recipe

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fall Flavors Smoothie (with Pumpkin and Baked Cinnamon & Maple Apples)

What do you think of when you hear the words "fall flavors?" If you are anything like me, you probably think of things like pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon. This delicious smoothie is made with all of those wonderful things. Last weekend I made some baked apples with breakfast for Wendy and Greg. I was sure that Wendy would go crazy over the baked apples, since they are made with butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon, but she didn't even touch them. I always feel a little dejected when I spend a lot of time and energy making something that I am convinced Wendy will like and she turns her little nose up at it! I had a lot of leftover baked apple, so I started to get creative with it. One morning I threw them in with a pumpkin smoothie that I make often to sweeten it up a bit, and I loved how it ended up tasting. Wendy saw me drinking the smoothie, begged me for a sip, and she went gaga over it.  Yesterday I made another smoothie with the apples, and Wendy pointed to it and said "I want that." I was happy that she ended up eating those apples after all! If you love fall flavors, you will most likely also love this smoothie! Enjoy.

Recipe for Fall Flavors Smoothie with Baked Cinnamon and Maple Apples

For the smoothie 
1 cup of 2% or whole milk
1/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. of baked cinnamon and maple apples, chilled (see recipe below)
1/8 tsp. of cinnamon
1 Tbsp. of half and half (optional)

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses. Drink with a straw for a totally amazing experience.

For the baked cinnamon and maple apples
1 1/2 pounds of apples, cored and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (I used Gala apples)
2 Tbsp. of pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted in microwave
1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the apples, syrup, melted butter, and cinnamon. Mix well to coat. Spread the apples out in an even layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in oven and cook for about 30 - 35 minutes, making sure you stop to stir the apples about every 5 - 7 minutes. Then remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Eat plain, stir into Greek yogurt, use in smoothies, or use as a tasty filling to quesadillas!

Original recipe.