Monday, December 31, 2012

Triple-Protein Huevos Rancheros Quesadilla


Sometimes you just need a really hearty brunch. Maybe you had a rough night out drinking and need a big filling, flavorful, kick in the pants to get you going. Or maybe you are over all that, and just recovering from a standard night of baby-feedings, looking forward to a day of chores, like me!

Either way, if you can muster the energy to chef up this protein-heavy vegetarian brunch dish, you'll have even more energy to get stuff done later. AND you'll have some pretty versatile leftovers to use the next day.

Huevos Rancheros (a bean-laden egg breakfast dish) was the inspiration for this breakfast quesadilla. Ground veggie protein, fried egg and jack cheese are folded neatly into a crispy tortilla. The whole thing is topped with warm seasoned black beans, crisp tomatoes, sour cream and hot sauce. Make it even healthier by using egg-whites only and topping with sliced avocado drenched in lime juice. Leftover protein grounds and beans can be used over chips for nachos, on rice or a baked potato for a dinner, or mixed up with tomato sauce for a chili.

If you don't have a little guy depending on your milk factory, like I do, then go ahead and pair this rich breakfast with a brew-driver beer cocktail: 1/2 OJ, 1/2 Wheat Ale (such as Blue Moon or any Hefeweizen / Weiss beer).

Wishing you a happy healthy new year! Cheers!


Triple-Protein Huevos Rancheros Quesadilla

Flour Tortillas

1 T olive oil
1 package Lightlife Smart Ground® Mexican (or other ground veggie protein)
1 packet Sazón Goya with Coriander and Annatto (or your favorite taco seasoning)
cumin
cayenne 
chili powder
Adobo spice mix

1 T olive oil
1 14 oz can black beans, drained
1/2 small onion, diced
Adobo
dried oregano
cumin
salt, pepper

2 eggs (or 1 egg per quesadilla), slightly beaten (if using whites use about 1-1/2 eggs per quesadilla)
salt, pepper

1 C tomatoes, diced
Shredded jack cheese, or sharp cheddar
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce



1. Prepare filling by sautéing grounds with oil and seasoning a little at a time to taste. Cook about 5-8 minutes and set aside. (If you put it directly in a storage container, it makes clean-up quicker).

2. In a small saucepan, cook onions over low heat in oil until tender. Add black beans and season to taste. Cook 5-10 minutes and set aside.

3. Coat a 6-8" frying pan with non-stick spray and heat over medium heat. Add 2 eggs and stir just a little as it starts to cook and then let it set into an omelet. When cooked completely, slide the omelet onto a plate. Repeat for remaining eggs, as 2 eggs will make 2 quesadillas.

4. For each quesadilla, heat a frying pan coated with non-stick spray over medium heat. Working quickly, place a tortilla in the pan and press it down flat. Sprinkle a little cheese over the whole thing. On one half, place half the omelet and 2-3 tablespoons of veggie grounds. Cook about 2 minutes and fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling, just as it starts to brown but before it becomes stiff. Cook another minute or two and slide onto a plate. Repeat for remaining quesadillas.

5. Serve each quesadilla with a few spoonfuls of beans, tomatoes, sour cream and hot sauce.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Sweet Potato Leek Bisque and a Baby



Last weekend I made this delicious soup. It started out as a plan for potato-leek soup with some goods I picked up at the Borough Hall greenmarket.  I decided to add sweet potatoes to give it a happy orange, sweet, and healthy-ish twist. Most importantly, the soup was fresh, quick and provided easily reheated leftovers. Time out shopping and in the kitchen are quite the commodities lately.

You see, 2 months ago I gave birth to my son. The last few weeks of pregnancy I got a little slow, but really had quite a healthy, easy time. But, no more long walks! And then Ian came right on schedule, but with complications and a c-section. He came out beautiful and healthy - and I not so much. Long story short: we were hurried home from the hospital for hurricane Sandy, I struggled to recover and battled extremely high blood-pressure and dizziness, and we were back in the hospital a few days later for pre-eclampsia. At 2 weeks post-partum, most moms would be starting to walk around, picking up their baby and enjoying the thrill of learning to change poopy diapers - and I was able to do none of these things.

So it took me a little longer than most to recover both physically and mentally from the experience of birth. It took us longer to be ready for visitors. It felt horrible to need help making instant oatmeal, or just to get off of a bed. But I was determined to get back in the kitchen, and out walking my dog, as soon as possible. I took a few trial runs while we still had moms here helping, and was out and about on my own by 4 weeks.

Needless to say, I'm not diving into any experiments in cooking, nor am I walking brisk miles with the dog. But I have found a bit of time to cook fresh food on some days, and to teach Misty to walk with the stroller. The greenmarket is the one place where all these things can co-exist - with a little patience and upper body strength!

So, with a stroller in one hand, a dog leash in the other, and a sack of yams in the other, I've found at least some inspiration to cook. And by the way, in case you didn't catch it, I've completely lost the ability to count, or do basic math. The simplest calculations elude me now! So maybe it's best I DO keep it simple in the kitchen, for now. 

But, I'm happy to say I have come up with a blog-worthy recipe. And found time to write it down, take a picture, and gander a few paragraphs of life-stuff in a post. Granted, the process was spread over about 5 days. So for my first post-baby-hiatus recipe, I give you a recipe that is easy, has few ingredients, and makes very yummy leftovers to reheat when time is scarce:

Sweet Potato Leek Bisque
4-6 servings

3 T butter
2 C leeks, trimmed and light green/white parts sliced
2 C Sweet potato or yams, peeled and ½” diced
2 C Russet potato, peeled and ½” diced
4 C vegetable stock
½ C heavy cream
sea salt and black pepper

1. In a stock pot melt butter over low-medium heat. Add leeks and cook 8-10 minutes. They should sizzle gently, and not become crispy and brown.

2. Add potatoes and stock. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and partially blend the soup, either using an immersion mixer or stand blender. Blend about half the soup, leaving chunks of potato.

4. Return soup to low heat. Add cream and season with salt and pepper. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt and add up to 2 more depending on taste.





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