Tag Archives: dinner recipes

Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole

 

Slow cookers are such a blessing to a busy cook! Whether you don’t like cooking, don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, are feeding just one or an army, slow cookers can make healthy, quick meals a snap. With a small amount of planning, you can have dinner ready and cooking in 10 minutes or less before you run out the door, and come home to a hot, home-cooked meal at the end of the day.

Enchiladas are a favorite in my house, because they are customizable, economical, and delicious! Tortillas are cheap, and can even be made at home, corn or flour, for pennies. You can use chicken, beef, or keep it vegetarian with tofu or beans. And beans are great money savers! Especially if you buy dried, and cook them at home (another thing slow cookers are great at!).

Slow cooker enchiladas

In this recipe, I used burrito-sized flour tortillas, because they happen to be the exact size of my slow cooker. You can use smaller corn tortillas and layer them, or even roll individual enchiladas and pile them up in the sauce. Whatever makes you happy!

20160929_073504

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or diced whole tomatoes)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (or canned)
  • 1 can black and/or pinto beans, drained
  • 3-4 tortillas
  • 1 jar enchilada sauce
  • Shredded cheese to taste

20160929_073542

Step 1: Brown your ground meat in a frying pan, and drain. Add the pepper and onion, saute until softened. You can add any spices you like here, such as cumin, taco seasoning, chili powder…

20160929_074032

Step 2: Spray the crock pot with cooking spray, if you like. Line the bottom with a tortilla.  Layer on the meat, tomatoes, corn, and beans. Top with sauce, cheese, and another tortilla.

20160929_184954

Step 3: Continue layering 2-3 times, until the crock is full. Top with some more cheese, and the enchilada sauce.

20160929_185000

Step 4: Set to low for 4-6 hours, or high for 1-2 hours. A programmable crock pot is best to ensure you don’t burn it. Cut yourself a nice slice, and enjoy!

 

Sidenote: If you don’t have a slow cooker, or just want to try something different, do the same thing but in a pie pan or 8×8 pan. Layer all the ingredients, cover with foil, and then bake at 350 for 1 – 1.5 hours. Still an enchilada casserole! You can also then freeze this for re-heating easily later.

Pork Shepherd’s Pie

 

This is a super simple recipe I came up with when I had made pork chops and mashed potatoes, then had copious amounts of leftovers. It is so easy, and takes only 5-6 ingredients. To save even more time, you could use raw pork chunks, and store-bought mashed potatoes. If interested in other Shepherd’s Pie recipes, read my earlier posts.

Or even one step further, use dried potato flakes in the liquid. Then you will not have  a top layer, but will cut down on steps. You  can use whatever type of veggies you like, or not use them at all. I just like to try to stuff vegetables into anything and everything. Frozen mixed vegetables are a cheap and healthy way to pack in extra vitamins & filling fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 small pork chops, diced
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 can biscuit dough
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-3 tbsp flour (or 2-3 tbsp potato flakes)

IMG_4511

Step 1: If cooking the mashed potatoes, simple microwave on high 8-10 minutes, or cook in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes, until you can mash them with a fork. Cook the pork chops on medium heat in a skillet for 4-5 minutes, then turn and cook other side 2-3 minutes. Cut to make sure there is no pink inside.

IMG_4512

Step 2: Spray an oven-safe baking pan, and layer in the veggies and the pork chops. It is best to thaw the veggies, or you will end up with extra-watery pie as they thaw.

IMG_4514

Step 3: In a pan, combine the milk and flour. Heat until just simmering, and ensure all flour dissolves. You could also use cornstarch, or dried potato flakes. Or cream of potato soup.

IMG_4515

Step 4: Pour the milk mixture over the veggies & pork.

IMG_4516

Step 5: Cover in a layer of mashed potato. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, paprika, anything you like. Spread out the raw biscuits on top of the potato layer.

IMG_4522

Step 6: Bake in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

IMG_4524

Vegan Tofu-Sauerkraut Lettuce Wraps

 

As I’ve been diving into the world of vegan food options, it has made me more creative with my meals, how they are cooked, what is in them, and what I can mix together.

One meal option I have fallen in love with is lettuce wraps. It is just like a taco, only completely gluten-free (depending on what you put inside), no added carbs, and very healthy. You get a dose of greens de facto because of the lettuce leaves, and skip the extra calories and added who-knows-what in the typical tortilla (refined & bleached white flour, leaveners, softeners, added sugar, GMOs, etc etc).

And, like a regular taco, you can put just about anything inside! Wraps are a great catch-all for veggies you need to use up, leftover half-batches of grains, and anything else you can think of. Here I use some of my homemade sauerkraut (which is so mind-blowingly easy to make, and delicious!), fried tofu, and mushrooms as my umami base, then load on top of it cooked rice & black beans, diced avocado & fresh salsa. Ah-maz-ing.

IMG_7578

And the best part is, you can’t really over-eat these! There is so much veggie goodness and nutrition packed into every wrap, you can have three or four, no problem. This recipe makes enough for 4 large wraps.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large outer leaves of romaine (plus more shredded)
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut or raw cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 tbsp salsa of choice

IMG_7572

Step 1: I made my black beans from dried (much cheaper than canned!) by taking 1 cup of beans per 2 cups water and putting them in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. This makes the beans nice and tender and ready to eat. Cook the rice according to package directions.

IMG_7570

Step 2: Drain and press the tofu by placing it on a folded paper towel with another on top. Press firmly, or place a heavy object on top, for a few minutes. Then add the tofu, mushrooms, and sauerkraut to a medium-hot frying pan, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are moist and browned. Add a tbsp of water or vegetable stock if it dries out at any time.

IMG_7574

Step 3: Assemble the lettuce wraps. Take a large leaf of Romaine or other head lettuce and hold it in the palm of one hand. Add a tbsp or two of rice and cooked beans, then a heap of the cooked tofu-mushroom-sauerkraut mixture.

IMG_7576

Step 4: Add optional toppings like the diced avocado and salsa, or try sliced olives, juilenned carrot, zucchini, or radish, or shredded cheese. You could add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, sriracha, refried beans, or any other taco topping your heart desires.

IMG_7579

Above all, make it your own and enjoy!

 

Vegan Tofu-Sauerkraut Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 4 large outer leaves of romaine (plus more shredded)
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut or raw cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 tbsp salsa of choice

Instructions

  1. I made my black beans from dried (much cheaper than canned!) by taking 1 cup of beans per 2 cups water and putting them in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. This makes the beans nice and tender and ready to eat. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  2. Drain and press the tofu by placing it on a folded paper towel with another on top. Press firmly, or place a heavy object on top, for a few minutes. Then add the tofu, mushrooms, and sauerkraut to a medium-hot frying pan, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are moist and browned. Add a tbsp of water or vegetable stock if it dries out at any time.
  3. Assemble the lettuce wraps. Take a large leaf of Romaine or other head lettuce and hold it in the palm of one hand. Add a tbsp or two of rice and cooked beans, then a heap of the cooked tofu-mushroom-sauerkraut mixture.
  4. Add optional toppings like the diced avocado and salsa, or try sliced olives, juilenned carrot, zucchini, or radish, shredded lettuce, or shredded cheese. You could add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, sriracha, refried beans, or any other taco topping your heart desires.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/vegan-lettuce-wraps/

One pot chicken pasta

 

As any home cook knows, the best recipes are the ones that combine as many of the following characteristics as possible:

  • Delicious – the family will eat it
  • Fast – not too much prep or cook time
  • Cheap – won’t break the budget
  • Easy cleanup – because who likes dishes?
  • Healthy – because duh

Luckily for you, this recipe combines all those things! In one pan, in under 30 minutes, using frozen, canned, and pantry items, you can have a family-pleasing, heart-healthy, budget and waistline friendly meal on the table.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large frozen chicken breasts (or thawed)
  • 2/3 cup lentils (or other bean if canned)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water or stock
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 cup chopped veggies and/or fresh spinach
  • Seasonings of choice – I used garlic salt and some dried onion

IMG_4820

Step 1: In a pan, combine the lentils, water, tomatoes, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered. Cook for 10-15 minutes and turn chicken.

IMG_4821

Step 2: Add the pasta (and more water if you need it) and bring back to a boil. Simmer covered another 7-8 minutes.

IMG_4822

Step 3: Add in any fresh chopped veggies for the final 5 minutes or so of cooking.

IMG_4823

The spinach I threw in last. You could also make this in a crock pot on low for several hours. Make sure the chicken is fully cooked (cut into it and be sure there is no pink) before serving.

If you want to turn this into a soup, you could do so easily by adding more water. If you want a thicker sauce, let boil uncovered a few minutes to thicken.