Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

So the husband and I recently cut the cord.

We are a cable-less household. Honestly…it’s a lot better than I thought it would be. The true test will be during football season – I might will not be such a good sport if I don’t get to wake up to College Game Day every Saturday.

Anyways, the first real challenge came a few weeks ago. When the hubby and I first started dating – as in the second time we ever laid eyes on each other – we discovered we both loved the same TV show. 24. So, we rotated “hosting” 24 night by cooking for each other – obviously that’s how I hooked him!

Well for those of you who are fans, you know that 24 has just started back after several years! It was very exciting news. So, on a Monday night (which was also Cinco de Mayo) – knowing that we no longer have a DVR to record such exciting television events, I found myself in a throw back state of mind. I got home late from work, was all ready to throw together our “Meatless Monday” and “Cinco de Mayo” meal while enjoying the return of Jack Bauer. Woops – forgot it started an hour early. Oh how long it had been since I had to cook during commercials – running back and forth when I’d hear “it’s back on!”. Clearly I had gotten spoiled!

Luckily, the meal I planned was super simple. The longest thing is roasting the vegetables, which doesn’t take much time at all – but man it is so delicious. And it’s really filling, which is awesome. Give this a try on your next “Meatless Monday” or any other day of the week!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (Serves 4 / 7 WW points per serving)

Ingredients

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained

1/2 small red onion, chopped

2 small jalapeno peppers, diced

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

8 tortillas (I use Ole Extreme Wellness, High-Fiber Low-Carb)

Heat oven to 400.

In a lightly greased roasting pan, add potatoes, black beans, onion, jalapeno, seasonings and cilantro. Toss to mix and roast for 20-25 minutes.

Black Bean and Sweet potato - for roasting

Divide cheese evenly in the center of the tortillas. Spoon veggie filling on top, fold tortillas into the center, then tuck in the ends. Add to a baking dish and bake 10-12 minutes.

Burritos-StepbyStep

Serve with salsa for dipping and enjoy!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend y’all!

 

 

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Greek Pasta Salad

I have a confession to make.

I am completely obsessed with Pharrell’s song “Happy” – and I know I’m not alone. I swear, it just makes me want to stop whatever I’m doing and break out into a dance. Which I have actually done. In the comfort of my home. While folding laundry. And getting the side-eye from my husband. Sorry for letting the music guide my soul babe.

Anyways, the other day my co-worker and I were talking about just the little things that get us through long and/or tough days. A big one was our girl friends and just getting to spend time with them – which we were both lamenting over the fact that we just don’t get to do enough. But then later that day she sent me a message about how the musical score to Harry Potter was making a tedious project almost enjoyable. Which was funny, because I was listening to my Harry Potter (Film Score) station on Pandora and it really is just amazing how music can help shape my mood.

I think the “Happy” song really just brings out my inner happiness, no matter how much it seems to be hiding that day. You know what else brings out happiness for me? Cooking.

Seriously, I know some people hate it. Dread it. View it as a necessary evil in order to provide nourishment. But hello, I have a blog about cooking on the BRIGHT side because I think preparing food for yourself or for others can bring so much joy.

So, in light of all of this talk of happiness and brightness, I’m sharing a delicious and beautiful dish with you – Greek Pasta Salad. This is totally an “eat with your eyes” recipe – and it tastes at least as good as it looks…

Close Up_GreekPastaSalad

Greek Pasta Salad (6 servings / 7 WW points per serving)

Ingredients_GreekPastaSalad

6 oz. whole wheat or enriched Rotini pasta (I used Barilla Plus)

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium cucumber, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped (I didn’t quite use a whole onion)

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

8 Tbsp. sliced black olives

4 oz. fat-free Feta crumbles

Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to directions.

While the pasta is boiling, chop your veggies and make your dressing by whisking together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. I personally like the level of “tang” in this, but if red wine vinegar has too potent of a taste for you – maybe start with 1/8 cup and work your way up. I like the pizzazz.

Veggies-Dressing_GreekPastaSalad

When the pasta is done cooking, drain and add to a medium bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes.  Pour your dressing over the pasta. Then add your chopped vegetables, sliced olives and crumbled feta. Using a rubber spatula, mix until all ingredients are combined.

AssembleSalad_GreekPastaSalad

Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. I made a batch of this one Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a beautiful, vibrant and healthy lunch every day that week. Honestly, how can looking at this awesome pop of colors not make you happy?!

Greek Pasta Salad

Have a great weekend y’all!

Roasted Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Friends – we know I have some issues when it comes to all buffalo flavored things.

As in, I want all of the buffalo flavored things.

Now that the husband and I are getting back on track in watching what we eat and taking care of ourselves, we have started doing “Meatless Mondays” again. It can be tricky making it through one when you are absolutely craving something buffalo flavored.

But I’ve taken care of that.

Roasted Buffalo Chickepea Salad - Overhead

 

You’re welcome.

I’ve heard about (and seen) recipes for roasted chickpeas and they always sounded intriguing. God bless the chickpea. Shameless Friends reference.

Well, I decided to kick up the roasted chickpeas a notch and add some buffalo sauce. But obviously that would be a bit messy. So I threw it on a salad. Nothing like some crisp celery and carrots, some blue cheese crumbles, and spicy buffalo sauce to make a salad exciting.

The best thing about this delicious salad? It’s only 5 WW points…so perfect for lunch or a light dinner! The chickpeas are packed with protein – so it leaves you feeling satisfied.

Some other delicious dishes that require no meat? Our favorite – Baked Tacos. Another buffalo favorite – Buffalo Quinoa Cakes. A yummy Veggie Strudel. A warm Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup. A veggie-packed Tortellini and Vegetable Pasta Salad. And a delicious twist on pizza – Shaved Asparagus Pizza.

Roasted Buffalo Chickpea Salad (Serves 4 / 5 WW points)

Ingredients - Buffalo Chickpea Salad

1 14 oz. can chickpeas/garbanzo beans

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

8 cups iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup sliced carrot

1/2 cup Reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

6 Tbsp. Frank’s Hot Sauce

2 Tbsp. Blue Bonnet Light

4 Tbsp. Fat-free Italian dressing

Extra hot sauce

Heat your oven to 425. Drain and rinse chickpeas and pat dry. Add to a small container and toss with oil, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Spread chickpeas on a baking sheet (line with parchment paper or foil to avoid clean-up duty) and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Let chickpeas cool and assemble your salads.

Each serving gets 2 cups of lettuce and 1 Tbsp. of dressing. (I really just drizzled it on to make sure there was enough of a dressing since the buffalo sauce is added later. I also dotted a little hot sauce over the dressing.) Top lettuce/dressing with 2 Tbsp. blue cheese crumbles and 2 Tbsp. each celery and carrots.

Once your chickpeas have cooled slightly, melt the margarine in a small dish and stir in the hot sauce. Toss with chickpeas to coat and add about 1/4 cup to the middle of each salad.

Buffalo Chickpea Salad - Steps

We only did 2 salads – so I left the roasted chickpeas in an airtight container without the sauce so they wouldn’t get too mushy. They do make a pretty good snack!

Easy, unique, filling and delicious…

Roasted Buffalo Chickpea Salad

What more can you ask for?

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

The word of the day is exhaustion!

It’s NBA playoff time and my Memphis Grizzlies are in the middle of a series with the L.A. Clippers. The game Monday night ended up starting at about 7:40 L.A. time…which means it was 9:40 here. Oh, and it went into overtime. Which means yours truly finally went to bed (feeling very depressed after a loss) around 1 a.m.

Coffee was a necessity Tuesday morning. Even more so than usual.

So I’m fading right now (as I write this Tuesday evening) and the sun isn’t even down yet – but have no fear, I have a delicious and diet-friendly recipe to share with you!

Have you ever used spaghetti squash? It’s kind of awesome. You cook it – and it smells awesome. But then you just scrape at it with a fork and it shreds into strands that look like spaghetti.

Soooo I mixed mine with onions, sour cream and cheese and called it a main dish. It was “Meatless Monday” in our house – and man, was it delicious!

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin (Serves 2-4)

1 medium spaghetti squash

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 Tbsp. margarine

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

2/3 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375.

Using a very sharp knife, cut spaghetti squash in half. I start on one side, gradually working my way down and around the squash until it comes apart. Scoop out seeds.

                                  

Sprinkle black pepper and garlic salt inside the flesh and place in a deep baking pan, flesh side down. Bake 20-25 minutes. Then flip and bake another 20 minutes until tender. Let cool.

While squash is baking, saute onions in margarine with garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook until tender. Set aside.

Now take your cooled squash and begin scraping the flesh with a fork – it will shred really easily. I got about 3 cups of shredded “spaghetti”. Add to a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.

Remove paper towels – leaving squash. Add sour cream, onion mixture, 1/3 cup cheese and salt. Mix well.

Pour into a medium to large, lightly greased baking dish.

Top with remaining 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese has melted.

This would make a great side dish – but like I said, this was our dinner for “Meatless Monday” – so we dug in!

Since we were making a meal of it, I went ahead and added half a petite baguette and a glass of red wine.

Seriously, try it. You won’t be sorry!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

So we may have gotten a little out of the habit the past few months, but I’ve started bringing back “Meatless Monday.” Just a little break to appreciate your fruits and veggies!

When we first started doing this, I relied heavily on black bean burgers. That’s not a bad thing – because they are delicious! A few months ago, I decided to make a vegetarian pizza – but I was allll out of pizza sauce. What’s a girl to do?

Um, use cheese. Duh.

I originally used Light Boursin cheese – which is oh so amazing. However, I had purchased  some of the Philadelphia cooking creme (used it in my pierogi recipe) so I decided to test it out. Verdict? You can’t lose. Honestly.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza (serves 2)

Wheat Crust

3/4 white wheat flour

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. honey

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup warm water

Mix together flour and salt. In a small bowl, add yeast, honey and olive oil to warm water and mix, then let sit 5-7 minutes. Add liquid to flour and mix until well blended. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours.

Topping

4 oz. shaved asparagus

1/4 cup Philadelphia Italian Herb and Cheese Cooking Creme, reduced fat

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, fat-free

Olive oil spray

Black pepper

Garlic salt

Italian herb seasoning

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out your dough either into one large pizza, or two individual pizzas. (We like our own pizza for some reason!)

Spray each with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and Italian herb seasoning.

Spread about 2 Tbsp. cooking creme on each pizza, just a light layer. This serves as your “sauce” – yes, that is as amazing as it sounds.

Next, add your shaved asparagus. To shave asparagus, you just need a basic veggie peeler. Peel the asparagus until it is in pretty little slivers and curls! You can add a lot more if you want because it cooks down!

Top asparagus with some cracked pepper, and then add mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until crust is crispy and cheese has melted.

Slice and serve. This is such an easy dish to throw together – and I’m sure it would be great cut into multiple slivers and served as an appetizer!


Now try to tell me you even miss meat in this dish…