Upside-Down Almond-Fudge Tartlets

This Cooking Light Recipes boxed calendar is going to be the death of me. I can barely wait to turn to the next recipe every other day! The excitement and anticipation wreaks havoc on my impatient body. Well, not really. But it does entice my taste buds and gets me cooking things that I probably shouldn’t have in the house because it’s bad for my hips…. because that’s straight where it goes.

Luckily, it’s Cooking LIGHT and not Cooking LOADED. I can eat an entire one of these tartlets and still stay within my points for a day (I still get a lot of points). It’s completely worth it too because these are just fantastic! You can change up the nuts on top too. Don’t like almonds? Use pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts or even peanuts. Let your taste buds be your guide. Just don’t let your taste buds to convince you to eat two of them like mine did. Tricky buds.

tart, tartlet, almond, fudge, chocolate, dessert

Upside-Down Almond-Fudge Tartlets (from Cooking Light)
Servings: 6
PointsPlus per Serving: 13 (or cut each in half for 7 PP per serving)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse chopped almonds, toasted, 23 PP
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chocolate, 16 PP (I used what I had, which was 1 square bittersweet, 1 square unsweetened and 2 squares semi-sweet)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used crisco butter-flavored sticks for 19 PP)
  • 2.25 oz all-purpose flour (around 1/2 cup), 6 PP
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 PP
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, 4 PP
  • 6 tbsp sugar (I just used 8 tbsp organic cane sugar instead of the sugar and cane syrup for 10PP)
  • 2 tbsp golden cane syrup
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

upside down chocolate almond fudge tart, dessert1. Preheat oven to 350. Set oven rack to lowest third of oven.

2. Coat 6 mini removable-bottom tart pans with cooking spray (CL uses a 9 inch round tart pan). Sprinkle almonds in the pans, distributing evenly. **If you need to toast your almonds, just put them in a dry pan over medium heat and toast until fragrant**

3. Combine chocolate and butter in top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside. (I just put a smaller sauce pan on top of a bigger sauce pan with water and put the stovetop on medium. Then the chocolate/butter went into the smaller pan and melted that way. Worked like a charm!)

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

5. Place eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until thick and pale. Gradually add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating at medium speed 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add golden cane syrup (if using) and vanilla; beat on low speed 1 minute or until blended. Add chocolate mixture; beat 1 minute or until blended. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed just until combined.

6. Pour batter over nuts into prepared pans, spreading evenly. Bake in lower third of oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs (20 if you’re using the 9 inch tart pan). Invert tart onto a serving platter. Top with a scoop of ice cream if you like for some added deliciousness!

Need to serve these at a later time? Nuking them for about 25 seconds will do the trick. You can also try topping them with a scoop of ice cream. I’d recommend vanilla, butter pecan or coffee flavored. Mine stayed good in the fridge for almost a week, so yours should too!

Coz’s French Toast Strips

french toast

Sexy strips du toast a la francais. Oui oui!

I know I said that last week was “breakfast week” and then I posted only one breakfast recipe before socking you in the face with some lamb stock. How very rude of me. I should have given you at least ONE other breakfast dish! I’ll make up for that now.

Jess is utterly fantastical at breakfast food. I’ve mentioned before how she used to lure me out of my slumber with hot breakfast sandwiches and fresh coffee. These days, she’s been doing it with french toast sticks. I’m not complaining.

I don’t even remember the last time I had french toast at a restaurant. It’s just something that’s so easy to make at home that it seems silly to overpay for unhealthy versions of it at a local chain. I’ve seen some of the stats for restaurant french toast. SCARY. The Strawberry Banana French Toast at IHOP tops out at 1060 calories! That’s around 28-30 PP? FOR BREAKFAST?!?! Noooo thank you. In the Original Pancake House’s Sourdough French Toast, one plate is 1250 calories. Sweet Jesus! I feel like a clogged an artery just reading about it.

Well, this french toast is absolutely delicious and will NOT clog your arteries. It tops out below 250 calories and is sure to leave you satisfied. You can even put some slices of fresh strawberry and banana on it AND a dollop of Cool Whip Free and you won’t even be adding on any extra points. Take THAT, food chains!

french toast

Basking in the sunlight for a photo shoot before ending up in mah belly

Coz’s French Toast Strips
Servings: 2 (8 strips total)
PointsPlus per Serving: 6

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of your favorite 2 PP bread (I use Meijer Organics Multigrain), 9 PP
  • 1 egg, 2 PP
  • 2 egg whites, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • cooking spray

Directions

1. Whisk together all ingredients except the bread in a large bowl (because you need the space on the bottom to fit a slice of bread). Get a non-stick skillet or panini pan heated up to right above medium low.

2. Dip your first piece of bread into the mixture and let it sit for a minute to soak up the flavor. Spray the pan with cooking spray and then put bread on. Cook about 1 minute each side. Repeat with other remaining slices. Cut each finished slice into four strips. Top with some sugar-free syrup (around 1 PP per 1/4 cup) and a sprinkle of powdered sugar or coconut flakes and enjoy!

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup

beef stew, balsamic, soup, dinner

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

You can tell it’s the winter season when the majority of my recipes are soups, stews or chili. Here’s more proof that it’s cold outside! Although not today… it’s a freaky 65 degrees, which Maxwell and I enjoyed with a long walk outside. But that’s beside the point; I still made some damn soup.

This one was thrown together when I went home during a lunch hour to check on our sick little poochie. I peeled/cut everything, threw it in the crockpot and came home to fantastical smells permeating from our apartment. If you follow these simple steps, you too shall experience such fantastical smells permeating from YOUR home. Ridiculously awesome, right?

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup
Servings: 4 (2 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (or 4 PP per 1 cup)

Ingredients

  • 9.5 oz lean and trimmed steak, 12 PP
  • 5 oz frozen green beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium red potatoes, diced, 12 PP
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste, 1 PP
  • 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef base, 1 PP
  • 5 tsbp balsamic vinegar, 2 PP
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions
1. Chop up all those veggies and the meat and throw in into the crockpot. Then mix the tomato paste and bouillon base into the water and pour over the veggies. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and the rest of the spices. Cook on low for six hours and enjoy!

Yep, that’s the beauty of a crockpot.  No worries, just dinner!

Pork Enchilada Soup

Click here for this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe from the “Cooking Classy” blog!

Thanksgiving weekend is upon us and I DID promise this recipe to a few of my facebook followers, so here you go! You can be thankful that I got it up amongst my busy days :)

This is a soup that is very easily thrown together and very easily modified to your own tastes. I prefer green enchilada sauce, but I’m sure that red enchilada sauce would work as well. This is also amazing as leftovers! I just top it off with some tortilla strips and I’m in heaven. I’ve made it with chicken before, but I think there’s something extra special about the pork flavor in here, so try it with the pork first if you can. And at 6 points per serving (and they are quite large servings; almost 2 cups worth!) this is definitely a soup you can enjoy as a dieter!

FYI, I recently downloaded a great app to my iPad called My Recipe Book. It lets you import recipes directly to your iPad! You can either import them from typical websites like AllRecipes or Epicurious, or you can “custom import” recipes from ANY website, including blogs! I started importing some of my own recipes using the app and I found that when I had the little dashes in front of my individual ingredients, it messed up the import and I needed to manually remove them. In order to make it easier for you all to import my recipes when using this app or similar ones, I’ll be going through all my recipes and removing the dashes from in front of the ingredients. Apps are about convenience, so I’d might as well do my part to make getting my recipes through this app TRULY convenient! You should all check it out. I love it!

Click here for this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe from “The Family Kitchen”!

Pork Enchilada Soup
Servings: 6
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 8 oz raw pork loin, cut into bite sized chunks 8 PP
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder or regular chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot chili pepper, minced
  • 4 cups fat-free chicken broth, 1 PP
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pouch/can green enchilada sauce, 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro flakes (or fresh!)
  • 1 cup corn, 5 PP
  • 2/3 cup uncooked white rice, 12 PP (replace with brown rice if you’d like. It’ll just take longer to cook)
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers, chopped, 1 PP
  • 2/3 cup mixed sweet peppers, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Click here for this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe from “Amy Bites”!

Directions
1. Heat up a large soup pot with the olive oil over medium heat. Put in the onion, hot pepper (I like habanero!) and garlic and cook until fragrant (just a couple minutes at most). Then put in the pork. Sprinkle the chili powder and some salt and pepper over top. Cook until the pork is no longer raw and then pour the chicken broth and extra water over top.

2. Pour in the enchilada sauce, cilantro flakes, corn, rice, jalapeno peppers and sweet peppers. Bring to a boil and let it boil for a few minutes, then turn it down to medium low and let it cook until the rice is done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Top it off with some tortilla strips and MAYBE some sour cream and/or cheese if you’d like and enjoy! Quick and easy!

You can add beans in there if you want, but with the rice and corn, your carb sector is covered. Basically, anything that you’d want to eat as a normal enchilada, put in the soup (except for the actual soft tortilla). You could do sweet potato, black bean and pork. You could try shrimp, zucchini and corn. It’s really hard to fail at this one. Just remember to put in the enchilada sauce! It really makes it.

It’s Been a Long Time Coming….

It’s time for an update! Life has changed a lot since Jess and I got married and we’re still in the process of making some other decisions that will change our lives even more (and for the better). I can’t talk about some of those things yet because they’re not set in stone, but I can talk about one thing.

bird cake, wedding cake, servatti's, servatii's

Our beautiful wedding cake that went along with the unintentional wedding theme of “Put a bird on it!”

The diet starts over again for the both of us today. Jess has been running again and I’m walking again! Points shall be tracked, muscles shall be built up and weight shall be lost once more! For a while there I just stopped losing and maintained my weight loss because I needed to focus on the wedding and honeymoon. Reasonable, right? I just needed to LIVE. I couldn’t focus on much more.

I’ll be honest, though. I lost most of my mojo when someone (that I love very much) challenged me to “lose as much weight as possible before the wedding so that I could shock everyone.” I know they meant to be helpful and that it was said out of love, but the minute it came out of their mouth, something in me changed. I felt like my weight loss stopped being a healthy journey for me and became a “show” for other people. I tried losing weight after that, but every time I’d start to track my food, I lost interest. Every time someone brought in goodies at work, I ate one… or maybe two. I even talked about it with my therapist. It’s funny how good-intentioned comments can have just a drastic effect on a person. A week later, I decided to stop focusing on the weight loss; I already felt beautiful in my wedding dress and I knew I was going to shock people anyway! I needed a break.

A bunch of my cousins looking just smashing, don’t you think?

It was a beautiful wedding weekend and a blissful honeymoon (in Seattle!) Jess and I put SO MUCH time and effort into planning the whole thing. Our moms helped out so much, especially my mom, since the family reception venue was local to her. We just can’t thank them enough! And everything turned out more amazing than we could have imagined. The courthouse ceremony was short and sweet, but we did write our own vows, so that made it more personal… and made everyone cry :)

These are the people that created me. See the wacky resemblances?

The friend reception was beautifully decorated by our own crew of family members that came to the courthouse, and we served delicious Thai food from our favorite Thai place! The dessert table was a wedding gift from a co-worker and she totally rocked it with homemade marshmallows (caramel and pb) with a little Bunsen burner for smore-making, pizzelles, cream puffs (vanilla, caramel and pumpkin spice), vegan black bottom cupcakes (tofutti and choco chips in some, cherry pie filling in the others) and chai caramels… all homemade!

These are my darling grandparents. They all picked EXACTLY the right props.

The family reception took place at a hotel/conference center, so everyone who drove in to town was able to party downstairs and then go up to their room to sleep off the drunkenness :) And almost everyone was drunk by midnight, lol. It was amazing. We are a combined family of fun, loud, talkative drunks. At 10pm, the reception room was closed off, but the hotel had a bistro with a full bar in it that stayed open until 2am. We closed it. I’ve never seen so many people in my family drunk at one time…. It. Was. Fantastic. Before all the drunkenness, the actual reception was a blast! Again, we decorated the whole place with the help of family members. Jess did the paper lanterns, I did the centerpieces and we both made the escort cards. Jess curated all the music and everyone in there danced at least once. My Noni was even the head of a conga line! Jess and I made photo props for the friend reception and brought those, along with cards and other games, to the family reception and they were a huge hit! My friend, Sara Taylor, from high school took our photos and they turned out beautiful (as you can tell).

Me and my Uncle Tony. He’s the other cook in the family. I’m going to work in his restaurant some day! And this photo is going on the wall in the kitchen.

Our honeymoon in Seattle was amazing. If you haven’t gone there yet, you need to go NOW. It’s so green and calm and artsy! It only rained the last part of our trip, but we love the rain, so it wasn’t bad. And it wasn’t gray all the time like people seem to think it is! Because of the rain, everything is so lush and vibrant. Chicago may be sunnier, but Seattle is definitely not a concrete jungle. We ate at delicious restaurants, spent hours at Pike’s Market, went up the Space Needle, toured a Dale Chihuly glass exhibit and did a lot of relaxing. It was much needed and sooooo worth it. We definitely want to go back.

crabs, pike's market

Jess took this awesome photo of crabs for sale at Pike’s Market! Don’t they look hilarious?

Although I maintained my weight loss (with about a five pound fluctuation) through all the events of these last two months, I’ve gained a few pounds more in the last couple weeks and I’m just done with it. I’m ready to feel good again. I’m ready to lose another 50 lbs so that I can make some healthy babies! That’s definitely the end goal. We want babies.

The hardest part is maintaing the motivation to do this every day again. I find myself doing really well for a day or two and then ruining it on the third day. Do you all experience that when you’re trying to get back on track? I’m promising to exercise AT LEAST twice a week; more if I can get it in. And I’m promising to track (and stay within my points) AT LEAST three days a week. I also just have to take it one day at a time. That’s the only way I can eventually get back on track until our life settles down a bit more. Does that sound like a cop out or a good coping strategy? One of these days I’ll actually go back to meetings… like when I can afford it! Come on, Weight Watchers, make it cheaper! Even poor people want help with losing weight!

Some of my favorite Dale Chihuly work.

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Steak Diane

We hooked up our cable cord to the TV before the Olympics started. Prior to that, we haven’t had regular TV for over two years.

My (somewhat) productive life is on the brink of destruction.

Create TV is just about the only thing we watch now, and we watch a LOT of it. There’s just so many cooking and travel shows that it’s as if we’re watching so much just to make up for all that we’ve missed out on for the past two years! Not good.

But there’s a silver lining. Julia Child dominates that station. On Sunday alone, I learned the joy of omelettes (especially when drenched in clarified butter), three different uses for focaccia dough, how to make chocolate cups, a delicious yellow cake with fresh raspberry sauce, Julia’s obsession with parsley garnish, steak au poivre and steak diane. Julia made steak diane in literally 5 minutes. I wanted to do that.

So, when Jess went to pick up a few things at the grocery store, I told her if she picked up some steaks, I’d make her steak diane for dinner. She picked them up and steak diane we ate! Granted, this is a different version than Julia’s because it’s not drenched in butter or cream, but this version was quick, healthy and VERY tasty. I simplified the ingredient list and I’m pretty sure you have everything you need in your fridge right now.

Don’t have sirloin steak? Use a different cut. The points might vary a little, but as long as you beat your meat down to about 1/2 an inch thick, it’ll work just fine. Don’t have shallots? Use garlic or yellow/white onion and it’ll taste just as good. Don’t have spicy brown mustard? Use some dijon. Don’t have any of the ingredients? Well, damn. It’s time for you to go shopping.

Here’s my perfectly portioned steak diane with a mountain of cast iron roasted veggies (carrots, onion and purple potatoes). And a cilantro garnish since I had no fresh parsley!

Steak Diane (my quick and easy version)
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6

Ingredients

  • 8 oz lean sirloin steak or eye of round, trimmed of all fat, 7 PP
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp light butter, 2 PP (I used a coconut butter since I’m dairy-free now and it worked just the same)
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp diced shallots

Directions
1. As Julia Child says “beat the meat to within an inch of it’s life”. Place the meat between two sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a meat mallet or even a rolling pin until it’s about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick. Then, rub half the olive oil and soy sauce on one side, flip it and use the other half of the olive oil and soy sauce on the other side.

2. Warm up a pan (I’d use a stainless steel one if you have it, but nonstick will work fine too). Once it’s around a good medium heat, add in the butter to melt and then put the steak in. It’ll need about 2 minutes on each side. Put the meat on a plate and set aside.

3. Whisk together the beef broth and mustard. Pour about 1/2 the mixture into the pan and scrape all the good crusty bits from the meat into the broth to flavor it even more. Add the shallots to the pan and saute for about a minute. When the mixture starts getting a bit thick, add more broth until it’s more of a saucy texture.

4. Put the steak right back into the pan on top of the shallots. You can also pour the juices from the steak plate back into the pan as well. Cook for about a minute each side (or 30 seconds each side if your meat is super thin), adding more broth if the sauce gets too thick. Plate right away, pour the delicious pan sauce over the meat, top with a bit of chopped parsley or cilantro and eat it up!

Why do I consider it to be a healthy dish for those on a budget? Because you can use a cheaper cut of meat! A delicious and cheap one is an “eye of round” steak. It averages around $2-$3 per lb. And a lb is 16 oz. If you’re like me and you try to only eat around 4 oz of protein per meal, you’re doing it right! Here’s the breakdown for the steak diane.

– Meat: $1.25 (for 8 oz)
– Butter, Soy Sauce, Olive Oil: maybe 75 cents total?
– Beef Broth: 25 cents
– Mustard: 10 cents
– Shallots: 50 cents

Total Cost: $2.85
Total Cost per Serving: $1.42

WIN!  Even if you eat all 8 oz yourself, it’s a RARE occasion to get a nice steak for under $3.  I haven’t seen that price at Texas Roadhouse in…. EVER.

Curried Yellow Squash Soup

On my FB page, I got a request for a good recipe to use with Yellow Squash. Well, I found something that’s different than just a saute or a casserole or covered in cheese. Curried Yellow Squash Soup! This recipe is one that you can all enjoy, no matter if you are vegetarian, dairy-free or just in the mood for something a bit different.

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas and a New Bike!

Click here for this Shrimp Enchiladas Verde recipe by “Eat, Live, Run”!

I GOT A BIKE!!  Jess and I were finally able to drive up to the REI where it was shipped to and picked it up on Saturday.  Then we drove back the same day… which made it a 6 hour drive round-trip.  But it was totally worth it.  She’s a beauty!  Pictures will come later.  We went for our first bike ride together the next morning instead of going to church and it felt just as good as a spiritual refresher.  We did almost seven miles, which isn’t much on a recumbent bike in a gym, but certainly is with slight hills and lots of cracks in the pavement!  We’re both getting squishy seats soon because, well, you know why.  The feeling of a numb coochie is slightly unnerving. (TMI?)

After the biking, we went swimming!  The water was perfect.  The pool had just opened and no one else was in there, so Jess and I dove right in to cool, cool water.  With the crazy heat we had the last couple weeks, every time we got in the water it felt like we were getting into warm bath water.  Gross.  This was the first time it truly felt like a pool.  Awesome.

Click here for this Zucchini Beef Enchiladas recipe from “Recipe Girl”!

Since I knew we’d both be biking in to work the next day, I wanted to make lunches ahead of time so I could leave the house before the heat index rose too much.  I also wanted to use up some of the veggies I’d had in the fridge for a couple weeks from our local CSA, The Wingfield Farm.  I didn’t have the typical mexican blend cheese in the fridge, so I improvised!  In fact, these enchiladas are full of so much delicious flavor that the tiny bit of feta cheese I put in was really more of an afterthought.  So, these enchiladas can definitely be dairy/lactose-free for those of us who fall into that category.  YAY!  And if you happen to be vegan or vegetarian, take out the pork, use another veggie like corn, potato or kale (just make sure to add a bit of the spices to the veggies that I list for seasoning the pork) and this can be a vegan dish as well!  I love it went that happens :)

This is also my recipe of the week for my cousin’s CSA newsletter.  It’ll be highlighting the tomatoes, garlic, onion and summer squash that everyone will be getting in their baskets.  Score!

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas
Servings: 4 (3 enchiladas per serving, plus fall-out filling!)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10 (or 7 PP for 2 enchiladas each)

Click here for this Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “The Novice Chef”!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, trimmed, 10 PP
  • 12 extra thin La Mission corn tortillas, 12 PP
  • 3 cups diced zucchini/yellow squash
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, 7 PP
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 jalapenos (or less if you don’t want it spicy), diced
  • 3 tsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • spices to season pork (I used ground coriander, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, sea salt and a little adobo powder)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, 2 PP (optional)
  • 2 packages Frontera Verde Enchilada sauce, 6 PP (or 2 cups of another green enchilada sauce of your choice)

Directions
1. Get out a cast iron skillet and turn to medium heat. Season your pork on both sides and cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes or until done.

2. While it’s cooking, get out a medium sized mixing bowl. Rinse the black beans and pour in. Dice up your tomatoes, chop your cilantro and dice your jalapenos and put those in the bowl as well.

3. Now, dice up your zucchini and onion and set aside in a separate bowl. Heat up a medium-sized non-stick pan to medium low heat and pour in 1 tsp of the olive oil and garlic. Let the garlic get fragrant for about 15 seconds and then put in the zucchini and onion. Cook for about 3 minutes or until just tender, then put in the bowl with the other veggies and beans.

Click here for this Thai Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “How Sweet It Is”!

4. Take your cooked pork and let it sit on a chopping block for a few minutes to cool. Then, slice into thin strips (against the grain, preferably) and dice each of those strips. Combined the diced pork with the other filling.

5. Now you can turn your oven on to 375. Take the same non-stick pan you used for the zucchini and onion pour in the enchilada sauce and the last 2 tsp of olive oil and stir up (if you have non-fat greek yogurt, I sometimes stir in a spoonful of it as well to make the sauce creamier). Turn heat to low so that it just gets a bit warm.

6. Take out a 9×13 glass pan and spray with Pam. Organize your counters so you have 12 tortillas on your left, pan of sauce to the right of that, glass dish next to that and the bowl of filling on your right (and a small bowl with the feta if you’re using it next to that). This setup seems to work the best for me. Now, take one tortilla and dip into sauce so that both sides have been covered. Put in the glass dish, sprinkle in a little feta and spoon in a generous scoop of the filling. Roll tortilla, keeping the folded ends on the bottom and shove it into the corner of the pan. Repeat for the next 11 tortillas. You should end up with two rows of six enchiladas, a bunch of leftover filling and about 1 cup of leftover sauce. Scoop the leftover filling into the middle of the dish between the rows of the enchiladas and pour the leftover sauce all over the enchiladas.

7. Rinse your hands and then put into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Take out, top with a little greek yogurt or guacamole or salsa and enjoy!

Bacon Blueberry Goat Cheese Walnut Salad

Boy, that’s a mouthful.  A MOUTHFUL OF PURE AWESOME.

Bacon AND blueberries AND goat cheese AND walnuts? It just came to me.

The bacon had finished crisping up in the pan and I was standing over the sink rinsing salad greens when I looked over and saw an empty tomato container.  Crap.  The BLTs I had planned on making were now a thing of the past.  Salad it would be!  (because there’s just no sense in a sandwich with only lettuce and tomato.  boring.)  I looked in the fridge for other vegetables to throw in and my eyes passed by the pint of beautiful organic blueberries.  I wanted those blueberries.  They wanted to be in my salad.  I gave in.

Blueberries and bacon…. they are perfectly matched in every way.  Sweet to savory, blue to red, juicy to crispy.  But what else could I put in a salad that was saddled with beautiful organic blueberries and crispy center-cut bacon?  I looked in the pantry and reached for the walnuts.  Score!  I wasn’t done, though.  No special salad is complete without the perfect cheese!  And what better cheese than that of a GOAT?  None, I say… none.  My masterpiece was almost done, but I still needed a dressing to bring it all together.

I thought maybe a balsamic vinaigrette would work at first, but I didn’t have any and this salad was too pretty to just splash on some straight balsamic.  I’ve been toting around a bottle of raspberry vinaigrette that I bought from Aldi months ago.  It’s more of an oil and vinegar dressing with some other flavors thrown in, so I read the ingredients, gave it a taste and decided it was the right one.  The red wine vinegar base sealed the deal.

This salad is awesome.  In fact, I’m making a big one for a get-together this weekend.  Bacon and blueberries are a sure-fire winner.  When I open up my own little bistro, this salad will definitely be on the menu.  No joke.  But until I open up that bistro, here’s the recipe for you to enjoy!

Bacon Blueberry Goat Cheese Walnut Salad
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10

Ingredients

  • 3 handfuls salad greens
  • 1/3 cup rinsed blueberries (or more since they’re zero PP!)
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, 3 PP
  • 1/2 oz crumbled goat cheese, 1 PP
  • 3 sliced center-cut bacon, cooked and chopped, 2 PP
  • 2 tbsp raspberry vinaigrette, 4 PP (this was just mine since it was oil-based, but if you have a lighter one, you can easily adjust the points)

Directions
1. Put salad on a plate or in a bowl, top with blueberries, bacon, walnuts and goat cheese. Pour vinaigrette over top. Enjoy!

This is seriously an amazing salad.  I spent about 20 minutes using my “internet curation” skills trying to find recipes that include these four main ingredients and I couldn’t find one!  I’m sure someone somewhere in the vast existence of time has combined these ingredients, but I’ll gladly stake my claim as the first one to officially publish it online!  If you’re curious as to some of the other recipes I found with blueberries and bacon as the main focus, check these ones out:

Blueberry Bacon Breakfast Cake from How Sweet It Is blog (this girl is freaking hilarious too, so you should subscribe to her blog!)
Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Bacon BBQ Sauce from Noble Pig blog
Cheddar Bacon Blueberry Scones from The Cooking Bridge blog

What To Do With Your CSA Veggies

My best fried rice dish

Remember back when I told you all that I’m contributing a recipe each week to the newsletter of the CSA that my cousins are running? Well, it’s been going great! With all the traveling that I’ve been doing in the past month, I’ve been unable to really create new recipes with fresh ingredients they’re handing out, but I have been going through my recipe index to share past ones that use exactly the produce that they’re putting in those baskets.  They’re all tasty and delicious, so I have to share them with you again! They’ve made frequent appearances in my kitchen and will continue to do so.

Drying my herbs in the utility closet so they don’t go to waste!

The first recipe I submitted actually WAS a new, original recipe to highlight spinach. The Italian Spinach and Tomato Egg White Frittata. It got rave reviews too! I’m a huge frittata fan and have made many other variations in the past year.

The next week I submitted a recipe to highlight garlic scapes that I found on another site (since I was traveling again). It was this recipe for Garlic Scape Hummus and it looked wonderful! It’s from The Spiced Plate. I’m a big fan of garlic scapes.

Week three led me to share my Warm Curried Beef Salad recipe to highlight their carrot crops. No other vegetable compliments the flavors of this salad better than a fresh carrot!

For week four I chose to highlight cabbage and shared this Food Republic recipe for Sweet and Sour Chinese Cabbage.  In my life, I’ve only ever really had cabbage in random salads, soups or paired with corned beef.  This recipe inspired me to buy a cabbage at the market a couple weeks later so that I could do something else to highlight it rather than just making it an afterthought again!

Southwestern Black Bean Salad highlighted green onions in week five.  It’s not a huge part of the salad, but it’s definitely an important ingredient.  This salad also highlights corn and tomatoes, both of which are in season right now (at least in my town!)

Last week I shared Spanish-Style Shrimp and Garlic to highlight both their garlic and zucchini crops.  I LOVE this recipe!  It’s especially wonderful when you use raw shrimp rather than pre-cooked shrimp.  It turns out so succulent and bursting with flavor.  I even bought some shrimp on Sunday with this recipe in mind.

Last night’s CSA-inspired meat sauce over pasta wheels

This week I shared my recipe for Fried Rice with Prawns and Ham to highlight the carrots and onions.  This is by far my favorite fried rice recipe.  It’s full of flavor without being full of oil and the wild rice give it just a bit of nuttiness that blends perfectly.  I also describe the best way to prepare it so that all the vegetables lend their flavors to the rice in the best way possible, so make sure to read it if you haven’t yet.

Now that the month of weekend travel is over, I hope to be able to come up with new and fun recipes with the vegetables that I’m getting from my own CSA – The Wingfield Farm.  I’m splitting a half basket with my friend, Cass, and the amount is still plentiful.  And I’m enjoying the selection much more than the CSA I belonged to last year!  Yesterday we received our first basket and I got zucchini, onion, red potatoes, oregano, mint, basil, asian greens and a variation of chinese cabbage.  That was just what I took.  They also had yellow squash, dragon tongue beans, leaf lettuce and arugula.  AMAZING!  Last night I cooked up a semi-homemade meat sauce with the oregano, basil, onion and zucchini.  Basically, you take this recipe for Mighty Meaty Spaghetti Sauce, use half the amount of meat it calls for and replace the other half with finely diced zucchini and a whole medium diced onion.  Cook up the veggies for a couple minutes before you add in the meat and then right before you put in the sauce, put a dash of nutmeg in there.  It’s incredible.

Okay, well, that’s all for now and don’t forget to enter to win the RWWF Love and Gratitude Box!  The winner will be announced on July 10th!