Bean and Corn Vegetarian Casserole

This dish was originally going to be called Refrigerator Quesadilla because I thought I’d top ten 6-inch corn tortillas with whatever I had in my refrigerator and put them in the oven and that’s it. But, I had food in the pantry and half-empty sauces in the fridge I wanted to use because their respective expiration dates were nearing. I don’t like wasting food, but at the same time, I don’t want to store unopened, expired food in my pantry indefinitely either.

To start, chop 1 large onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Setting them aside, take out a medium or large skillet and over medium heat, put in enough olive oil to sauté the chopped onion and garlic. After a minute, pour in a 26.46- oz. carton of chopped tomatoes. After a minute, add a 16-oz. carton of refried black beans. Turn down the heat a little so they don’t stick to the skillet and keep mixing them all together. After 2 minutes, add 16 ozs. of frozen corn, and 1 cup of brown mixed with wild rice (these were my leftovers). If you have other leftovers in your fridge that you think would go well with a Mexican-themed dish, then add those in now. Stir them altogether for about 3 minutes and then turn off the stove and set the skillet aside.

Use an 8” x 13” Pyrex dish and spray inside with olive oil. I had 1 jar of black bean and corn salsa, so I spooned some of that into the Pyrex dish, just enough to cover the bottom. Then take five of the 6-inch corn tortillas and lay one in each corner, placing two in the middle. You can layer these any way you like, as you can see by now what will be happening.

Before layering the mixture from the skillet into the Pyrex dish, take out a 16-oz. block of white cheddar cheese and grate all of it, setting this aside as one of the layers.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Now the layering begins. Spread half of the mixture from the skillet over the tortillas, sprinkling some of the cheddar cheese over it and saving the last layer for an all-cheese topping.  Next, layer the last five 6-inch corn tortillas and spread the remaining jar of salsa over the tortillas. Follow this up with the remaining skillet contents, spreading them all around as evenly as you can. The last layer is the rest of the shredded cheese.

 Once you’re done and the oven is preheated, put the uncovered dish inside and time for 20 minutes. You can turn off the oven when the cheese is melted. Leave it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Then, take it out and let it set for another 5 minutes. Complement the dish with a bowl of salad greens.

¡Comér bién!

Coffee-Laced Chocolate Syrup

ice cream
One quarter cup of cold, leftover brewed coffee sat on my countertop. So there would be no joe left behind, I decided to experiment and make a new kind of chocolate syrup. Over medium low heat, using an 8-inch iron skillet, I melted 1-2 tbsp of shortening (Spectrum organic, non-hydrogenated oil) and dropped in a cupful of dark chocolate chips. Then I slowly added the ¼ cup brewed coffee, turning down the heat to low to avoid boiling. Once everything was melted and fully mixed, I poured the concoction into a glass bowl and timed it for about 10-15 minutes to cool down. Finally, I drizzled the “chocojoe” syrup over my vanilla ice cream, took one taste, and SMILED.

Chili w/Shredded Beef & Spinach topped with Popcorn

chili

Sometimes the winter chill can only be warmed by eating a hot bowl of chili. Here is a complete meal in one pot with lots of fiber, vegetables, protein, and grain. I find the best meat to use is shredded beef, which I had pressure cooked the day before making this meal. However, you can use ground beef, turkey, or chicken. Or, even make it vegetarian. Continue reading

Ground Beef with Peas, Carrots, and Mung Bean Sprouts

This ground beef recipe is a filling for egg rolls. Let’s start with the wrappers.

There are different types of egg roll wrappers. There are thick ones made of wheat that tend to overpower the filling and there are paper thin ones like rice paper or lumpia (loom-pyah) wrappers, both of which are found in Asian grocery stores. You can also use phyllo dough if you wish, but you would bake rather than fry them. The one type typically found in regular grocery stores is made of wheat. Whichever you prefer, the ideal taste I find is one with thin wrapper so the filling is the dominant texture and flavor rather than the wrapper. Continue reading