Black Bean and Salsa Quesadillas

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I don’t usually eat lunch but once in a while I want it.  As I was standing in front of my pantry wondering what to have, I hit on it.  I always have canned black beans, salsa, cheese, and tortillas so I put them all together to make easy quesadillas.

It’s very easy to use whatever you have on hand to make quesadillas so make these the way you like best!

Black Bean and Salsa Quesadillas

Black Bean and Salsa Quesadillas

3 tbsps canned black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsps salsa ~ I used medium heat salsa so use your favorite
shredded cheddar cheese
2 flour tortillas
softened butter

Mix the black beans and the salsa together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Butter one side of each tortilla. In a cold skillet, place one tortilla, butter side down. On one half of the tortilla in the skillet, spread half of the bean/salsa mixture and top with however much shredded cheese you want. Flip over the unfilled side of the tortilla on top of the filling so it looks like a half moon. Turn heat to medium high and cook until browned on one side then carefully flip and cook on the other side until browned. Carefully slide tortilla onto a plate. Repeat with other tortilla. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut into pieces.

Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, or your favorite toppings.

Makes 2 quesadillas.

Source: Nancy @A Recipe A Day

Happy Cooking!

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Make Your Own Croutons

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I had bought a loaf of sourdough bread last weekend at our favorite bakery and never used it.  I hate throwing food away but this loaf was very stale.  What to do?   I turned it into delicious croutons.

This is one of those “non-recipe” recipes.  It’s really just a how-to and you can make them whatever flavor you want.

Make Your Own Croutons

Make Your Own Croutons

Loaf of stale bread
Butter or olive oil
Favorite spices ~ I used garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper
Cheese ~ optional ~ I used grated Parmesan cheese

Here is what I did:

Preheat oven to 325º.

I sliced the bread into 1-inch slices. I cut off the crusts and then cut the bread into 1-inch cubes.

I melted a stick of butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Added the cubed bread. I sprinkled on some garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and then the Parmesan cheese. I mixed being careful not to crush the bread.

I put this all on a baking sheet and made sure the cubes were all in a single layer.

I baked them for about 30 minutes until they were hard and browning nicely. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet.

Use on salads or in soups or for snacking.

Happy Cooking!

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Mixed Berry Crisp

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Besides the fact that I love all kinds of berries, I love this recipe because I can make it all year round.  Since it uses frozen berries,  I don’t need to buy expensive fresh berries in winter when I am craving something berry-ish.

I think this crisp would be equally good as a dessert and as a breakfast dish.  Breakfast?  Maybe that’s just me but I love recipes like this as a breakfast side dish.

Berry Crisp

Mixed Berry Crisp

2 (12 oz) bags frozen mixed berries, unthawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour, divided
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbsps cold butter, diced

Preheat oven to 375º.

Combine berries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour and lemon juice in a large bowl, blend well.

Transfer berry mixture to a glass baking dish.

Combine remaining 3/4 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub together with fingertips until the mixture resembles small clumps. Sprinkle over berry mixture in baking dish.

Bake until berries are bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings.

SOURCE: Bon Appetit

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Oven Baked Parmesan Fries

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My love for potatoes is well documented as well as my search for an awesome baked fry recipe. I think I *may* have hit on it on Pinterest.

These fries are just so delicious. Besides being easy to make, they are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. I think they would go with just about any main dish.  Even Mr. Meat Eater,  who has no love for potatoes, commented on how good they are.

I left out the rosemary because I don’t like it and added a bit more garlic powder because I love it. If you are going to do more than 1 pound of potatoes, you will have to remake the spices for each pound.

Fries

Oven Baked Parmesan Fries

1 pound of medium russet potatoes (3 medium potatoes)
1 1/2 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/8 tsp Dried Rosemary
1/4 tsp of Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning
2 TBSP of Kraft Parmesan Style Grated Cheese

Preheat oven to 425º.

Wash and cut potatoes into eighths. Place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil and spray with a little Pam so the potatoes won’t stick.

In a small bowl, mix the spices and the Parmesan cheese.

Place all of the cut potatoes (one pound at a time if you are making more) into a gallon size freezer bag, add olive oil and the Parmesan cheese/spice mixture to the bag. Seal the bag and shake until the potatoes are evenly coated.  Remember that you will have to make a new spice mixture for each pound of potatoes.

Once potatoes are coated, empty bag onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread in a single layer.

Bake 30-45 minutes or until tender and lightly golden brown. Your baking times may vary due to the amount and size of fries that you make.

Source:  Playing with Sugar

Happy Cooking!

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Bourbon Mushrooms

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My love for cooking with bourbon is well known around here and when I see it in the title of a recipe, chances are I will try it.  Bourbon really gives some recipes a great flavor.  I cannot stand to drink it but I love cooking with it.

I’ve made a few mushroom recipes over the past few weeks and these were one of our favorites.  Of course I served them with steaks I marinated in…bourbon!  Mushrooms can really take on the flavor of whatever they are cooked it (at least in my opinion) and these were very good.

I used plain old button mushrooms but I think using creminis would be good as well. I also think using fresh herbs instead of dried would be great.

Bourbon Mushrooms

Bourbon Mushrooms

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs mushrooms ~ I quartered mine
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bourbon ~ I used Jim Beam
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsps dried parsley
2 tsps dried thyme

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add quartered mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has been evaporated ~ about 15 minutes. Add the bourbon and cook for 3 minutes more.

Turn heat to low and add the garlic and herbs. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

Serve hot.

Source:  Plain Chicken

Happy Cooking!

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Au Gratin Potatoes ~ The Pioneer Woman’s Version

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Happy New Year!!!  I hope everyone had a great holiday season!

I have changed up my blog a bit.  I was getting bored with it and hope that this redecorating will get me jazzed up again.

One of the side dishes I made for Christmas was these au gratin potatoes.  The main reason I chose this recipe was because I didn’t have to use my mandolin to slice the potatoes.  I cannot be trusted with that thing and shouldn’t even own one.

Mr. Meat Eater and I loved this recipe.  It’s so easy to put together and would taste great with any main dish.  It’s a great dish to serve on a holiday but not complicated at all.  I made half of the recipe and I chunked my potatoes even though the recipe said to dice them.  I thought I remembered seeing Ree make this on her show and remembered that she didn’t peel or dice her potatoes.  I did peel mine since leaving the peel on would not be a favorite for me.  Other than that, I made it as the recipe stated.

Au Gratin Potatoes

The Pioneer Woman’s Au Gratin Potatoes

2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and peeled (or leave the peels on)
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk ~ I used 2%
1/4 cup flour
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
2 green onions, sliced thin ~ I didn’t use these because I forgot

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a large baking dish with the butter. Since I halved the recipe I used a 9×9 baking dish.

Slice the potatoes into sticks, and then cut the sticks to create a dice. As you can see in my picture, I left mine in chunks.

Mix the cream and milk in a bowl. Add the flour, salt and some pepper. Whisk it together well so that the flour is incorporated into the milk/cream mixture. Add the diced or chunked potatoes to the buttered baking dish and pour the cream/milk mixture all over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 to 20 more minutes. Sprinkle on the grated cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the green onions and serve.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

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Peppermint Bark

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This is so embarrassingly easy that it hardly counts as a recipe.  I’ve had several people ask me how to make it so I decided to put it here.  I usually only make it around Christmas and I have no idea why as it would be great any time of the year and I can find the ingredients all year long.

I use CandiQuik for the white chocolate.  There are many different brands of candy coating and any one of them will work.  CandiQuik looks like this:

candiquik

It comes in vanilla and chocolate.

Here is another version of bark that I made a couple of years ago ~ Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

1 pkg vanilla CandiQuik
1 bag hard, round peppermint candy

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Unwrap the peppermints and place in a ziplock bag. Smash all the peppermints in the bag with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until all the pieces are small.

Melt all the CandiQuik according to the package directions. At this point, I dump the melted chocolate into a bowl and then dump in the peppermints and mix well.

Pour over the parchment paper and let harden. If it seems to be taking a long time to harden, place in the refrigerator until hardened.

Break up into pieces with your hands.

Easy peasy!

Happy Cooking!

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