June 12, 2013

Easy Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

I do not know what it is about the combination of sweet potatoes and black beans, but I loved it! I tried this recipe a couple months ago and am just getting around to posting it so here goes nothing.

This recipe is so easy and every bite is a party in your mouth. If you're a skeptic about sweet potatoes in a taco you just need to try it and you'll be hooked. I promise.

Easy Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
8 flour tortillas, warmed
feta or queso fresco for topping
fresh cilantro for topping

Lime Cream Sauce
½ cup sour cream
Juice of half a lime
Zest of half a lime
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Season chopped sweet potatoes with paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, onion and garlic powder. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add sweet potatoes, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirriing occasionally until the potatoes are cooked through.
2. While potatoes are cooking, combine sour cream, lime juice and zest and salt, whisking well to combine. Set aside. 
3. Add in black beans and toss well. Cover and cook again for 5-6 minutes until everything is warmed through. Heat tortillas and serve sweet potato mixture topped with cheese, cream sauce and cilantro.

June 10, 2013

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Mustard Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

I could go on and on about this salad, particularly the dressing. I first had this at a Relief Society activity, then I made it for my cousin's baby shower and on Saturday I served it at my future sister-in-law's bridal shower. It has been a total hit every time it's been served and I'm absolutely in love with it.
This is my kind of salad. Nuts, berries and cheese mixed with a homemade vinaigrette. You've got to make this the next chance you get. You won't be disappointed.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Mustard Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 green onions, roughly chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. yellow mustard

1 bag of spinach
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or swiss)
8 oz. strawberries, sliced
almonds, grilled chicken, bacon (optional)

1. Mix dressing ingredients in blender until combined and set aside.
2. Combine spinach, cheese, and strawberries in a large bowl. Pour in salad dressing and toss until fully coated.

June 7, 2013

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

I have always loved a good philly cheesteak every now and then, but have always been intimidated to make one at home. Enter these Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes that are so easy to make and absolutely delicious!
My favorite part of this recipe is how quickly it all comes together and the amazing cheese sauce that is poured on top of the meat. This was definitely a favorite at our house!
These would be perfect at a party or perfect for a family dinner. It's always fun to find new ways to use ground beef!

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Slightly Adapted from The Rachael Ray Show
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium-sized onion, sliced into strips
1/4 cup steak sauce (I used A1)
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns

Cheese Sauce:
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup provolone, shredded

1. In large skillet over medium-high heat add olive oil and brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the onions start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and cook about 2 minutes.
2. Split open rolls and toast or broil in oven. Be sure to watch so they don’t burn!
3. While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir the cheese in a figure-eight motion until it is all incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
4. To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.

June 5, 2013

Creamy Tuscan Pasta

I'm sure many of you have seen this recipe floating around Pinterest because I sure did and had to try it. I don't even know why, but it sounded so good to me. I guess I'd drink anything that has the word "creamy" in its name.
Anyway, I didn't even know I liked sun-dried tomatoes but man oh man this pasta was amazing! This was one of those lick-the-plate-clean sauces and I couldn't help but go back for more.

The main thing I adapted from the original recipe was the amount of calories. I cut back on the butter and cream cheese because I'm not one to just throw that much "dairy" into a dish. I also used low-fat cream cheese. It still tasted great, but feel free to follow the original recipe.

You have got to try this if you love anything alfredo or just need to switch up your standard pasta sauce routine.

Creamy Tuscan Pasta
12 oz. bowtie pasta
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. garlic, finely minced
1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
4 oz. low-fat cream cheese, softened and cut into 4 pieces
8 oz. jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
2 cups milk
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste, if needed
1. Boil pasta according to package directions.
2. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the dried basil.
3. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
4. Over medium heat, add the milk gradually, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency, 5-10 minutes. Serve over hot, cooked noodles.

June 3, 2013

Favorite Grilled Chicken Marinade and Roasted Ranch Potatoes

This right here is my absolute FAVORITE summer meal. I really just don't think there is anything better and simpler than some grilled chicken and roasted potatoes. 
This meal comes together in under an hour and you'll find yourself licking the plate. I am just so excited about finding this marinade. Nothing beats freshly marinated grilled chicken on a warm summer night.

And those potatoes? They have the perfect amount of ranch flavor, are perfectly crisp and perfectly soft on the inside. I've made these potatoes about 4 times in the last couple of weeks so you could say I'm addicted.

Grilled Chicken Marinade
Adapted from The Food Network
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. thyme
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
4 boneless chicken breasts

1. Put the vinegar, thyme, mustard, garlic powder and olive oil in a resealable plastic bag. Close the bag and shake to combine the ingredients, squeezing with your hands if necessary.
2. Open the bag and drop the chicken breasts inside. Seal and let marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
3. Once chicken has marinated, grill over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes a side, basting with the leftover marinade a few times as it grills.

Roasted Ranch Potatoes
Adapted from Food.com
2 lbs. small red potatoes, cubed 
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (1 oz.) packet powdered ranch dressing mix

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Place potatoes in a medium bowl, add oil and stir to coat. 
3. Add ranch dressing mix and stir until well coated.
4. Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread into a single layer.
5. Bake for 35 minutes or until brown and crisp.