Tex Mex Potato Chowder

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To celebrate the start of “-ber month season,” I bring you this wonderfully hearty potato chowder recipe. This has became a fall time favorite as it is easy to throw together on busy school nights, and it is packed with flavor that lasts a couple of meals. This recipe is great as is, but I think that there are so many things you can add to customize the taste. The next time I make this I may add some jalapenos or maybe a serrano to heat things up.  I bet a topping of queso fresco and/or seasoned tortilla strips would set this chowder off as well. I’ve also considered adding extra broth and thickening it up with some Masa flour to enhance the dish with a “tortilla-esque” flavor. The possibilities are endless. I was inspired to give this dish a try by Aunt Bee’s Recipes which is a great recipe blog that I recommend checking out. Aunt Bee’s recipe (found through the above link) offers a slow cooker version of this recipe. If you are interested in making this in a slow cooker her recipe is the way to go. Keep in mind that her ingredients and directions will be slightly different from mine.

TIME: approx. 45 minutes

SERVES: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 (10oz) can of rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz) bag of potatoes O’Brien, frozen not thawed
  • 2 (32 oz) cartons of chicken broth
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, reserve a few sprigs to top when you dish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, cumin, and chili powder until the beef mixture is well coated. Next, add rotel tomatoes, black beans, corn, potatoes, chicken broth and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
  4. Simmer while covered for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in softened cream cheese and fresh cilantro.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dish topping with the reserved cilantro and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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Southwest Style Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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We have been eating so much cheese, pasta and take out recently that we needed to kick off this week with a healthy veggie dinner. I’m sure I don’t need to preach the benefits of quinoa too much these days because it has bee exhausted at this point, but I will highlight a few of my favorite qualities of this grain: gluten free, high in protein, high in fiber and super high in antioxidants. Just heed my advice and get this stuff into your diet immediately! This recipe is a slam dunk in that it is delicious without the fats, salt and carbs. Please note that I am not calling this recipe vegetarian or vegan because I did cook the quinoa with beef broth. YOU CAN make this vegetarian by cooking the quinoa with water.

Makes: 8 peppers     Calories: 176/stuffed half pepper    Time: prep- 30 mins, cook- 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (the more round the better), cut in half with ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package. I cooked mine with beef broth but you can use vegetable broth or just water.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • OPTIONAL: if you like a little heat 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15.25 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25 oz) can of sweet whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2/3 cup of your favorite salsa, we used “hot traditional”
  • OPTIONAL: cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package. This takes about 30 minutes so be sure to allot the time for this step.
  2. In a large bowl mix together cooked quinoa, garlic, green onion, spices, beans, corn and salsa.
  3. Prepare the peppers by halving them and cleaning out the ribs/seeds
  4. Scoop the quinoa mixture into each pepper halve and place in greased 9×13 baking dish.
  5. If you want to top the pepper with cheese do so now and cover the baking dish with foil.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes and remove the foil to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.thegardengrazer.com

Southwestern Style Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

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When I think of a fulfilling meal salad is not the first thing that comes to mind. I am trying to teach my boys healthy eating habits and in order to do that I feel the need to set an example. That is where the idea of salad for dinner was conceived. This recipe blew me away because not only is it healthy but it is filling and delicious too. The vegetables add substance and texture while the dressing provides out-of-this-world flavor. The only thing I might do differently is add a little bit of avocado to the dressing to thicken it up a little bit. I never thought I would want salad for dinner, but I am certainly looking forward to the next time we do. Another great thing about this recipe is that it is so easy to throw together. I had everything prepped so when it was time to have dinner I just threw it all together, two nights in a row 🙂

Serves: 4 huge salads     Calories: 326.25 per serving      Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • Bag of 3 hearts of romaine, chopped OR 4-5 cups of romaine lettuce
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Santa fe tortilla strips for garnish

For the dressing:

  • 1.5 bunches of cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (original recipe calls for two but I used four. If you like it spicy use four cloves.)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend/pulse until completely combined. Set into refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Assemble the salad with prepped ingredients. Pile lettuce into a bowl or onto a plate. Lay tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, beans and tortilla strips on top. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
  3. Enjoy!

*Dressing recipe adapted from http://www.damndelicious.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me