BLACK BEAN CHILI & RICE AND BLACK BEAN CHILI WRAPS

With this easy dish we originally had the black bean chili over rice for dinner one nite.  Then the next day we turned it into a wrap style or quesadilla - even tastier!  The chili recipe with rice made plenty with leftovers to have wraps or quesadilla's for a few lunches - a quick easy meal that turned into two recipes.

RECIPE:

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 small onion, diced

3 minced garlic cloves

1/2 a celery stalk, diced

1 cup chopped butternut squash (I used frozen but fresh works too)

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 cup chopped fresh zucchini

14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice plus 1/2 can water

14 oz. can drained and rinsed black beans

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

salt to taste

3/4 Tblsp. chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

grated extra old cheddar cheese

Heat up a pot on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the onion, garlic, and celery, saute about 5 min.  Add in the seasonings and butternut squash sauteing for 5 minutes, then pour in the tomatoes and water stirring well.  Simmer for 15 min. lid off on low heat.  Then add in the zucchini, corn and cilantro - taste to adjust any seasonings, lid on and simmer another 15 min.  Serve over rice with grated cheddar cheese.

For the wraps/quesadillas we found these gluten free wraps (sorry for the poor picture quality!) and they are delicious.

I heated the chili and rice on low heat in a pot on the stove to reheat.  Then using a cast iron frying pan on medium heat add the tortilla then turn over about 25 seconds, and cook another 25 seconds on the other side.

Place on a plate, add the black bean chili and rice, followed by grated cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped lettuce.  Roll up and cut into a wrap or fold over half as a quesadilla.  It is always great to have 1 recipe with leftovers to make another recipe/meal the next day especially a super easy one!

 

 

This was a simple easy meal to make.  In this recipe I used canned lentils (which also freeze very nicely) and some extra vegetables in the fridge that needed using up.  An easy Vegetarian week nite meal.

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 of a large onion, diced

2 minced garlic cloves

1 medium carrot, diced

1/2 cup diced rutabaga

large handful of fresh spinach, chopped

1/3 cup diced celery

2/3 cup chopped fresh green and yellow beans

1  can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes

good splash of Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

1 bay leaf

salt and fresh cracked pepper - to taste

3/4 cup cooked lentils

Heat up a large saute pan on medium/low heat with the EVOO.  Add in the onion and garlic sauteing to sweat out.  Add the fresh vegetables and spices, saute about 8 minutes.  Then pour in the tomatoes with juice, and balsamic vinegar.  Turn to a low simmer and cook about 25 minutes.  Add in the lentils and continue to cook until reduced further - about 10 minutes.

Adjust ragout for any seasonings and serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

 

This is a quick and easy dinner/lunch to make.  What helps make it quick and easy is, we used canned gluten free re fried beans, frozen butternut squash and fresh spinach. (you could certainly use fresh chopped butternut squash in this dish) By the way, I recently learned you can easily freeze fresh butternut squash.  Just peel, chop into pieces place on a sheet pan and pop into the freezer.  When frozen remove and place in a freezer bag to use in any recipe.

Also, you can use any gluten free Taco Seasoning mix you like, but I have included my recipe here, and corn tortillas should work nicely too, although I would put one on top of the other to cook, then flip to the other side to finish cooking in the pan.   The amounts given here make 3 large Quesadillas - plenty for 2 people.

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - divided

3 large gluten free tortilla rice flour wraps

1 cup chopped frozen butternut squash

4 cups packed fresh spinach

3/4 cup re fried beans

1-2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1-2 tsp. taco seasoning - to personal taste

Taco Seasoning blend:

2 Tblsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 Tblsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

guacamole - optional

salsa

Heat up a skillet or cast iron pan on medium high heat with 1 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Add the frozen butternut squash to the pan and saute about 8 minutes.  Add in the taco seasoning and continue to saute 2-3 minutes then remove to a bowl and set aside.  Add in the fresh spinach and saute until wilted, then return the butternut squash to the pan mixing to incorporate.  Then remove to a bowl and set aside.

Using a large wooden chopping board or work surface, place down the tortilla wrap with a good spread of the re fried beans.  Add a good helping of the vegetable mixture, then top with the grated cheddar cheese and fold the tortilla wrap in half.

Add the extra 1 Tblsp of EVOO to the pan and place in the tortilla wrap.  Cook about 3 minutes then flip to the other side and cook another 3 minutes.  Serve sliced in half with Salsa, and guacamole if using.

 

This is a quick easy dish to make if you need to use up the last of the summer zucchinis.  With this dish you could use store bought pesto and marinara sauce or you can make your own.  For the marinara sauce I used this one.  If you make homemade there will be leftover sauce that can be frozen for another use.
2 large zucchinis, sliced 1/4 inch thick- first cut the ends off to carefully slice lengthwise
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cups chopped swiss chard
1 cup cottage cheese - we use lactose free
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 big Tblsp. pesto
1 egg - whisk well
Salt and pepper to taste
marinara sauce
gluten free bread crumbs
grated Parmesan cheese
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat with a good drizzle of EVOO.  Add the chopped swiss chard, and saute until tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl to cool.
Add more EVOO to the pan and turn the heat to medium.  Add in batches the sliced zucchini lightly browning each side about 2 1/2 min. per side, and transfer to a plate.  While doing this heat up the marinara on a low simmer.
Then add the cottage cheese, beaten egg, pesto, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to the swiss chard mixing well.  To a casserole dish, spread a layer of marinara sauce and top with a few zucchini slices.  Then add a layer of the swiss chard/cottage cheese mixture, a handful of gluten free bread crumbs, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  Repeat the layers using up all of the zucchini finishing with the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, bake uncovered about 30-40 min. until bubbly and golden.

Oh how I love Italian Food. What I love is, Italians keep their food simple, without any fuss or complex ingredients, always using fresh ingredients and as a result their food is always delicious.  Jamie Oliver once said he was born in the wrong country....I very much think the same thing!
This recipe was quick, easy, elegant and delicious.  What makes this dish so easy is you can make up the polenta the day before or the morning of.  You can also use leftover marinara sauce or use a store bought jar of marinara if you are in a crunch for time.
How this recipe came about is years ago we had this dinner in a restaurant and I fell in love with it.  That was back in the day when I did not know anything about anything in regards to cooking.  However, I never, never forgot about this wonderful meal. This dish would be wonderful cut into smaller portions as an appetizer too.  Anyways, for whatever reason, this recipe popped into my head the other day and I thought .... yes .... it is time to give it a go.  So happy to go down memory lane...and how delicious it was too.
TO MAKE THE POLENTA:
1 cup of milk (we use 2% lactose free)
2 cups water (plus keep extra water on hand)
1 Bay leaf
salt - be generous
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup Parmeasan cheese
Combine milk, water, generous amount of salt to season, and bay leaf in a good sized pot.  Bring to the boil on low medium heat.  Add in the polenta - whisk well, then turn down to a good simmer.  Now using a wooden spoon continue to stir well.  Keep stirring for a good 30 minutes.  I added in total at least an extra 1/2 cup of water a bit at a time continuing to stir.  When it feels smooth to taste remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan cheese mixing well.
Lightly oil an  8 1/2 x 12 inch glass casserole dish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Transfer the cooked polenta to the casserole dish spreading out evenly.  Allow to cool 20 min. then refrigerate until 30 minutes before it is to go into the oven.
MARINARA SAUCE:
one  796 ml/28oz can of organic crushed tomatoes with basil
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 minced garlic cloves
fresh cracked pepper
2  generous Tblsp. finely chopped Italian Parsley, and fresh Basil
Heat up a sauce pan of low heat with the EVOO.  Add in the minced garlic, and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute until fragrant - a minute or 2.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, and add the finely chopped parsley and basil stirring to combine.  Take the casserole dish of polenta out of the fridge and put aside.  Keep the marinara on a low simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 min. and remove from the heat.
Other ingredients:
130 grams herb crusted goat cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
10 asparagus spears - cut in half
While the marinara is simmering, blanch the asparagus for 1  1/2 min. drain and add to a bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add a few generous ladle fulls of marinara sauce on top of the polenta - spreading evenly.  Then a generous layer of grated Parmesan cheese, topping with the blanched asparagus.  Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese through out the dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes.
To plate:  Add a small ladle full of marinara sauce to your plate, then add a slice of the baked Polenta Asparagus Goat Cheese.  It is amazing how a few simple fresh ingredients can create a delicious wonderful meal.  Enjoy!  We sure did.

This recipe is similar to my Mung Bean Stew - with a few changes/additions.  It is said that mung beans are a legume that are heart healthy, they help to reduce cholesterol, are the least gas forming of all legumes, and they also assist in improving/balancing digestion.  It is my goal/hope for 2018 to eat this dish at least twice a week.  Eating vegetarian meals is an easy way for me to shed a few pounds - always a good thing, plus I love all lentils and curry so this should not get too boring. There is lots of flavor in this dish making it mighty tasty too.
If you soak the mung beans early in the morning or over nite (soak 8 hours) you are good to go.  In terms of preparation - it took about 40 minutes prep/saute time - then the rice was cooked separately, while the mung beans/vegetables took another 35-40 minutes to cook.  In my busy week, this should be something I can handle and with leftovers the next day that should reach my goal with a free day of cooking to make things easier.
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblsp. cumin powder
1/2 Tblsp. mustard seeds
1/2 Tblsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. Madras curry powder - mine was not spicy hot
1/2 tsp. garahm masala
2/3 cups mung beans - soak 8 hours, and drain
1 large tomato, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tblsp. minced ginger - to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped orange yam
1 cup chopped carrots
salt to taste
3 cups water or vegetable stock
1 large bay leaf
3/4 cup frozen peas
huge handful of chopped cilantro
cook 1 1/4 cups Basmati rice in 2 1/2 cups water
Heat up a dutch oven on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the mustard and coriander seeds, sauteing until the mustard seeds start to pop.  Add in the cumin, curry powder, garaham masala and saute until fragrant.  Then add in the onions, garlic, ginger, tomato continuing to saute for another 5 min.
Pour in the water, adding in the mung beans, carrots, bay leaf and yams stirring well.  Season to taste with salt.  Bring to a simmer lid on for about 35 min., then while the rice is cooking, remove lid and keep on a simmer.  When rice is almost done add in the peas, and chopped cilantro to heat through and serve over the cooked rice.  A dollop of organic yogurt is a lovely addition.  This is a dish that will taste even better the next day.

Years ago, there used to be a cafe/restaurant in town that served the most heavenly gluten free Mexican Pie.  We didn't get to that part of town very often, but when we did this would be our lunch.  Basically, it was an Enchilada - but the corn tortillas were stacked on top of one another, with the most delicious filling.  It was cut like a piece of pie, heated and served with Enchilada sauce on top.  I could never figure out how they made it "stick" all together.  In remembrance of their Mexican pie - this is my version but as an Enchilada.
We were very happy with the results.
By the way, this recipe left extra filling and Enchilada sauce.  It would be great with scrambled eggs or in a frittata for breakfast or lunch.  It is even good cold!
Bake a 1 lb yam at 350 degrees heat - scrub, poke with a fork a few times, wrap in tin foil.  Bake 45-50 min. or a bit longer, you want it mostly cooked but still firm.
ENCHILADA SAUCE:
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Roux:   To 2 Tblsp. Sweet Rice Flour add: 1 tsp. chili powder, 1  1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, 3 tsp. garlic powder - mix well
156 ml. can tomato paste
2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
Heat up a medium sized pan on medium heat with the EVOO.  Heat the pan a good 5 minutes.  Then sprinkle in the flour/spice mix, whisking well - for about 2 minutes.  Slowly pour in the vegetable stock - whisking non stop to remove any lumps.  Add in the tomato paste, whisking well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer on low heat and cook about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
FILLING:
cook 1/2 a cup of basmati rice and once done add to a large bowl
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
chopped caramelized yam
14 oz. can black beans drained and rinsed well
3/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 oz. can mild green chilies
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup salsa
3 green onions chopped
3 cups grated aged cheddar cheese, divided
Smoked paprika, salt and pepper
12 gluten free corn tortillas
Once your yam has baked unwrap the foil to allow to cool until it can be handled to peel.  Then chop it up into 1/2 inch size pieces.  Heat a pan on medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the yams to the pan and season with a light sprinkling of smoked paprika.  Season with salt, and cook about 15 minutes until lightly caramelized.
Add the yams to the rice.  Then add in the drained/rinsed black beans, frozen corn, cilantro, mild green chilies, cumin, salsa, green onions and 2 cups of the grated cheese.  Season with salt to taste and mix well.  (please ignore the thumb interference in this picture)
Heat up the corn tortillas.   This is best done in 2 batches.  I use very damp, wrung out paper towel.  Stack the corn tortilla between the moist paper towel - then heat on high 1 minute in the microwave oven.
Lightly oil a large casserole dish.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill each corn tortilla with enough stuffing, but leave room to roll.  Place seam side down into the casserole dish.  Cover with Enchilada Sauce and then sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese on top.
Heat uncovered for about 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
This is the leftover amount of filling and Enchilada sauce...ahem....there would have been more, but yours truly kept diving in to "taste test".  Not!  Just being a piggy 🙂

I love lentils cooked any way - especially in soup.  The other day was a particularly busy day and on my way home from town I had one more stop to make at our local health food store.  Once in the door, something smelled heavenly (I was starving too as it was lunch time).
Our local health food store is owned by a lovely Iranian gentleman and his wife.  I asked him what smelled so good, and he pointed to a crock pot on the counter that was filled with Lentil Soup.  So then I asked him if it was gluten free.  He said all of his food is gluten free and this soup was also vegetarian and vegan.  Yayyyy gluten free soup!  He said that it was simple, good food.  Groceries in the bag, a take out bowl of soup in my other hand, time to go home.  Once the groceries were put away, I eagerly sat down to have the soup.  It was delicious!  Very simple flavors, in fact, I'm not even sure what kind of spices he used.
So today's recipe was inspired by this lovely gentleman's Lentil soup.  One thing is for sure:  I will definitely be going back to his store for more!
3/4 cup red lentils
3 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large shallots, chopped
3 large minced garlic cloves
2 Tblsp. finely chopped ginger
1 tsp. Curry Powder - I used my favorite - Cartwrites
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1  28 oz. can whole tomatoes (place a sieve over an 8 cup glass measuring cup. slice up the tomatoes, give the sieve a good stir a few times and drain all the liquid into the measuring cup. This gave me 2 1/2 cups tomato liquid, then add enough water to reach the 7 cup level)  For a thicker soup, add 1/2 cup less water.
3/4 cup diced celery including leaves
1 cup diced carrots - about 1/2 inch in size
3 medium leeks, chopped
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the chopped shallots, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes, then add in the curry powder and continue to saute 1 more minute.  Season with salt.
Transfer to a med/large crock pot and add all of the remaining ingredients stirring well.  Cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low and cook for 8 more hours.

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