Taco Salad

So, tonight for dinner I had planned to make my mom’s Taco Salad.
It is delicious. It is a salad that has Dorito’s on it. Enough said, right?
Well, what if I told you that wasn’t even the best part?

Recipe for the Best Taco Salad Ever.

Lettuce
Tomatoes
Shredded cheese
Corn (Roasted in a skillet)
Kidney Beans
Diced Onion
Ground beef, browned (no seasoning necessary, but sometimes I add taco seasoning)
Dorito’s crumpled on top –I usually use the traditional Dorito’s but today I used the Spicy Sweet Chili flavor

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And the best part? It’s the dressing.
It is one part Taco Sauce to one part Catalina dressing. I use classic Catalina because fat free is gross.

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Trust me, it is delicious.

Have a good week!
xoxoxox
Beth WA

Not an Ash Wednesday Recipe

So, today for dinner, I made one of the recipes I had clipped from a magazine. I have approximately 500 recipes clipped from magazines, but I am really bad at making those recipes. Even though I have them in a binder that is organized by category.
For real.

It was in my meal plan for the week, and I made the meal plan forgetting about it being Ash Wednesday. We are on a strict budget, especially with a few things extra this month (paying for concert tickets, throwing a shower), so even though it had meat in it, I still made it, because that is what I had the groceries to make.
It was kind of laborious. Read: Lots of chopping. (and I do NOT like chopping)
But, it was so worth it. It is SO delicious, high in protein, and pretty good fiber content.
I had cut it out of Better Homes and Garden’s magazine.

Anyway, without further ado…here is the recipe.
And as I am reading the recipe, I realized the part I forgot!! Blast it!! It was the thing I was looking most forward to – crunched up dorito’s on top. Maybe tomorrow, when I have leftovers.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

1 12 oz package dried jumbo shell macaroni (I used rigatoni because my husband went to the grocery store and had a hard time finding the jumbo shell macaroni)
3 cups green and/or red sweet peppers chopped (I used several small sweet peppers to make up the 3 cups)
1.5 cups chopped red onion (I used 3/4 of a GIANT red onion)
1 Jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil (i used olive oil because I didn’t read this part, oops)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (i cooked chicken tenderloins in a skillet, however, I think this recipe would be fine without chicken)
1 16-oz can refried beans (I used a 15 oz can of refried black beans, because that is what I had)
1/2 of a taco seasoning packet
2 10 oz cans enchilada sauce (I used red sauce)
1 8 oz package shredded Mexican style four cheese blend (I probably used about half of this amount, maybe even less)
1 cup sliced green onions

and the part I forgot: 2 cups nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse; drain. Set aside.
2. In skillet, cook sweet peppers, onion, jalapeno, and 1/4 tsp salt in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender.

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3. Stir in chicken, beans, taco seasoning mix, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each cheese and green onions.

4. Divide filling among shells. (I didn’t have shells, so I just mixed it with the rigatoni in the 13 x 9 pan) Spread 1 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in 3 quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange shells on top of sauce. Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce.

5. Bake uncovered, for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chips and remaining green onions.

Serve with sour cream or guacamole.

Here is the final product.

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YUmmmmmmmmm.

Well, I am off to chill out. Today has been busy. Start to finish.

I hope you are all having a good week. Only 2 more days, then a THREE DAY WEEKEND!!!!
WOO HOO. I need it, desperately.

xoxo,
Beth WA

PS Beth FS is seeing Maroon 5 tonight!!! And, may or may not be eating a brisket and macaroni and cheese sandwich. Poor thing, she is under the weather, though. Hope she was able to rally and enjoy the concert.

Ready for the week.

It’s Sunday night, and the house is semi-clean, laundry is almost finished, grades are finished for report cards, awards are assigned for our awards ceremony on Wednesday, meal plan is finished, and I feel good about the week.
I had a good weekend, spent time with friends and family, and spent time at home chilling out. I didn’t stay in my calorie count at all, and I didn’t exercise, yet. But, it was still a good weekend. I need to make sure I get back on the wagon tomorrow, and get some walking in as well. I don’t want to be too disappointed come Wednesday morning, when I weigh in.

Today, I cleaned out my pantry and freezer. It was long overdue. I had a garbage bag and a half full of expired items. So, for lunch, I made some of the stuff I found that I had forgotten about. I kind of threw this stuff together, and it turned out DELICIOUS.

I made wild rice in beef broth with raisins added in.

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Then, I roasted acorn squash and sweet potato, using coconut oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes.

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On the stove top, I used the frozen, already cooked, chicken cubes, and warmed them with some black beans.

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Then, I put it all together and dropped a little Sweet baby Ray’s bbq sauce on top. I think it would’ve also been good with apple sauce on it as well. But, I love everything with applesauce on it.

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Then, I ate 1/3 of it, and split the rest in two containers for lunch Monday and Tuesday.
It was low in calories, satisfying, and filling. I think it might’ve been good to add roasted pecans to it as well.

I had lots of grading to do, so when my mom invited us over for dinner, I had to decline. But, my husband went over and brought me home a plate. It was SO delicious. I love autumn dinners. I love roasted veggies.
It was a pork chop, roasted broccoli, fingerling potatoes, and cauliflower. Also, acorn squash. I added cinnamon applesauce to the mix. And my mom makes this delicious sauce to put on the vegetables. (Mom, can you write the recipe in the comments.)

Here is a picture of my plate:

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This school year is flying by! I can’t believe we are starting the second quarter tomorrow. And the second quarter will be over before Christmas break!!!!! CRAZINESS.

Well, off to change the laundry.
Have a good Monday, everybody.

xoxo,
Beth WA

Chicken Fried Rice

Well, Monday was nice to me, so that was good. Instead of a regular school day, we had a retreat with all of the staff. It was nice, and relaxing, and also, it ended at 1:30! Woo hoo.
AND, instead of coming home and taking a nap, I did my second workout of the week to achieve my October goals.
I was really proud of myself. It reminded me of that song on the Biggest Loser, “Do something everyday to make yourself proud…” Or something like that….
As I was on my walk, I actually felt like I was on my way to losing the rest of the weight I need to lose, which is a lot. I was laughing at myself on my walk, because I spent the first 15 minutes of the walk talking myself out of the full 45 minutes. But, I just kept walking, thinking, if I walked 22 minutes away from my house, I’d have to walk 22 minutes back. And, it worked.

I went to my niece, Ava’s, last soccer game, and came home to make a quick dinner. I already knew what I was going to make (because I did a meal plan, per my goals!! yay me!) It was so easy. The nutrition was pretty good, too, except the soy sauce’s sodium. I used low sodium Kikkoman, and it still has a lot.

Here’s what I combined:

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Some garlic and onions: (AND BUTTER!!! REAL BUTTER!!)

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Some eggs:

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And some sauce:

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Here is the finished product. It isn’t that pretty, but it got about 4 compliments from my husband, who usually doesn’t speak at all while eating.
The microwave rice and frozen chicken even tasted exceptional in this mixture.
And, they usually don’t.

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Okay, I have to go grade a million papers.

Have a good Monday!!!

xoxox,
Beth WA

Beef Stew. I mean Beef and Vegetable Soup.

My husband loves beef stew. I like to cook things my husband likes. However, in the 7 years we have been together, I have never made beef stew. For some reason, because it contains beef, I never thought I could make it. I am not good at preparing meat. I try. I just am not.
The best meat we have is when my husband grills it or prepares it.
So, after my friend Liz was telling me that it is so easy to make in the crockpot, and I found this Hamburger Soup recipe that sounded like a beef stew that I would like, I decided to make it today for dinner.

I only had a half day of work today, so I thought I could run to the grocery, and then come home and fill the crockpot with all of the ingredients. I can’t find the original website with the original recipe, but I changed it a bit, so I will just tell you what I used:

2 packages of stew Angus beef (I browned before I added to crockpot)
1 diced onion
15-20 baby carrots cut in half
3 celery stalked sliced
48 oz of beef broth
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1/2 c frozen peas
1 pkg Lipton Beef and Onion
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves (my first time using bay leaves)
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3 idaho potatoes peeled and chopped up in kind of big pieces so they didn’t get mushy.

I put all of this in the crockpot for 4 hours on high.

Here is what it looked like before I stirred it:

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Then, here is what it looked like when we ate it:

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I served it with a French baguette. It was perfect for soaking up the broth.

My husband LOVED it. Although, he informed me it was SOUP and not STEW. That disappointed me a bit, but overall I was happy it turned out as all of the ingredients aside from the beef were pretty nutritional. Not that beef isn’t nutritional, but I meant things that were considered healthy foods.

And it was VERRRY filling.

Well, I am going to catch up on my DVR and sleep, as my niece and I are having a DAY OF FUN tomorrow and then she is spending the night.

What is everybody else up to this weekend?

Thank you to all the people who read my blog. It’s the most exciting part of my day when I check my stats.

Love,
Beth WA

Recipes

I am a wanna be organized person. I have lots of things that are very organized. But usually it is half organized. For instance, my bills and paperwork. All of the bills and paperwork that are filed are organized and very easy to find. But, the last 6 months worth of paperwork and old bills is sitting in a stack and begging to be filed. I had that as a to do list for Christmas break, but as I previously stated, this break was not at all productive on the “to do” list front. I need to do it on a regular basis rather than saving it for one big job.

That brings me to recipes. I am a recipe hoarder. I have cookbooks, magazine cutouts, binders, starred entries in Google Reader, Bookmarked websites, little recipe cards and boxes with recipe cards, and word document folders on my computer. It drives me crazy that they are every where. I want them all in one place. I don’t know why, but I just do. I think that maybe if they are organized I will actually try some of them.
Any suggestions??

Because this isn’t working for me…

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-Beth WA

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes | RecipeGirl.com

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes | RecipeGirl.com.

Pumpkin crazy.

That’s what I am, and that’s what appears the blog world is.  Maybe, that’s why I like the blog world so much.

Anyway, I was catching up with my google reader yesterday, reading all of the blogs for the week, and I came across this recipe.  I am drooling.  And afraid to calculate the weightwatchers points plus.

Today is the day of Beth FS’s little sister’s wedding.  It’s a beautiful fall Ohio day.  I love weddings.  And I love Beth FS’s family, so it will be a blast.

Every time I go to a wedding, I get very nostalgic.  I think about how much I loved my wedding day, and how lucky I was to find my husband.  Because, honestly, that’s what it was.  Luck.  Good luck.

Mr. WA and Me

 

And this is a picture of my bridesmaids.  These are some of the friends I mentioned the other day.  People gave me a hard time about such a large bridal party, but truth be told, I could’ve had 5 or so more.  What can I say, I love a lot of people!

 

I had a really great wedding day, but I know a lot of people had disasters.  Did you have a wedding day disaster?  Is there anything you would do differently looking back?

Black Bean Chili

I wanted to add a recipe that my mom has been making for several years now that is a major crowd pleaser.  I know that there are a million recipes for chili, but this is a good one to add to your repertoire.  It’s got the sweet and spicy flavor that I love.  Beth FS, you probably won’t like it because of the copious amounts of cumin.

I usually make 1/2 of this recipe, but this time I made the whole thing because I was having a crowd over for my my mom’s birthday. My mom usually comes in at the last minute and adds the things to make it just perfect.  I’ve used beef and/or turkey, and I also make it in my giant crockpot instead of a pan on the stove.

Well, I brown the beef on the stove, but I let it all simmer in a crockpot.

Black Bean Chili

5 lbs ground beef

4  – 29 oz cans of tomato sauce

1 large onion

2 large red peppers

1/4 cup chopped and seeded jalapeno (I usually use the canned version because I am afraid to cut jalapenos)

1/2 cup chopped garlic

1/8 cup cumin (to taste)

3/4 cup chili powder

7   15-oz cans black beans (drained)

3-6 tablespoons of sugar (to taste)

Brown beef, onion, red peppers, garlic and jalapeno.

Drain.

Add remaining ingredients.

Bring to boil, then simmer.  No lid.

Enjoy!!

-Beth WA

Sweet Potatoes + Black Beans + Goat Cheese

So, I have been reading on quite a few blogs, especially on http://mealsandmiles.com/ about the combination of sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and black beans.  So, the other day I made myself a quesadilla with this combination and it was DELICIOUS.  I added a little cumin(sorry, Beth FS), cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to the sweet potato.

So, this morning, when I was doing one of my favorite weekend morning activities; drinking coffee, reading magazines, cutting coupons and recipes, and watching my DVR, I was delighted to come across a recipe in my SELF magazine.  It was a Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad.  I never thought to add it to a salad.   And I love warm ingredients on a bed of greens, because I love my lettuce/greens a little bit wilted. (Weird, I know.)

So, I cut up a sweet potato in cubes and baked it at 375 for 15-20 minutes, coated in cooking spray and sea salt.  In the mean time, I filled a bowl with lettuce, yellow pepper, tomatoes, goat cheese, and black beans.  I was trying to decide what dressing I would put on this.

Now, I know salad dressings are frowned upon by the healthy masses, but they are one thing I just LOVE LOVE LOVE.  I don’t need a lot, but I do need it.  As I was deciding what I wanted to put on here, I remembered a salad dressing that Beth FS had made for this delicious BBQ chicken salad she makes.  The dressing is a mix of one part barbecue sauce to one part ranch dressing.  It is the best taste ever, and a little goes a long way.  An added bonus was that I had just found that they sell Bob Evans Wildfire BBQ sauce in the grocery store, so I had purchased some this week.  So, I whipped up 1 tbsp of each, and I didn’t even use half of that.  I put that on the salad before I added the sweet potatoes.

The end result was so delicious, I ate it before I could take a picture of it.  And it was so satisfying.  I highly recommend this to anybody who likes this combination of flavors.

What are your favorite flavor combinations?

 

-Beth WA

Just a few more things I can’t live without

I bought a meal planner.  This is my first step in trying to be more economical with my groceries.  It’s also a way to start to try some of the recipes that I’ve bookmarked, starred in google reader, or cut out of a magazine.  I am hoping that it helps me stay in my points range for Weight Watchers.  Because as they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Right?  Anyway, right now when I go to the grocery I tend to buy the same things over and over, and I sometimes add in new foods I’ve read about in blogs.  I thank food blogs every single day for introducing me to Sunbutter.  It is the most delicious of the natural nut butters.

Jar of Delicious

Here are some other things that I just bought at the grocery that are among my staples.

Krusteaz Pancake Mix.  All you have to do is add water and you have delicious pancakes.  However, I often add oats, fruit, nuts, or other mixins.  It’s a great base, and it is not high in WW Points Plus.

My favorite is to add pumpkin and oats, and eat with Sunbutter on top and a dab of maple syrup.  Delicious flavor, with the protein and fiber.  The fact that pumpkin is 0 weight watchers points plus has been a life changer for me.

 

Speaking of pumpkin, I was SOOO happy to see the return of Liby’s canned pumpkin to my grocery shelf.  I haven’t been able to find it for some time, and the last time I had to buy the huge cans.  While pumpkin is expensive, it is also something I love to add to many foods.

I love pumpkin in oatmeal, pancakes, cookies, smoothies, and cakes!!

I mentioned that food blogs introduced me to Sunbutter.  They also introduced me to http://opensky.com .  It’s a place that some food bloggers act as curators and have sales on certain foods or products that they have featured in their blogs.  Through this, I was introduced to Garlic Gold, and I LOVE it.

Garlic Gold

They are garlic nuggets that are organic and delicious.  I have the Garlic Gold Sea Salt, Garlic Gold Nuggets, Garlic Gold Italian Herbs, and Garlic Gold Parmesan.  The garlic taste is delicious, and the sodium content, on even the sea salt, is low.  They add great flavor and texture.  I love garlic, so I appreciate these to use on salads, vegetables, spaghetti, and many other recipes.

 

Two things that I consume every single day are

Bananas are good for so many things…they are a great thickening agent in oatmeal, they are a great pre-workout fuel, a great afternoon snack, the perfect addition to smoothies for texture and taste, delicious to dip in sunbutter, and what about banana nut bread?  Yum.

 

 

 

And La Croix.  Sigh.  The new love in my life.

Since starting to drink La Croix this summer, I have cut soda out of my daily life.  I used to drink at least one coke zero a day, and now it’s about 2-3 a week, and I usually can’t finish a whole can of pop any more. My “friend” Kath brought this to my attention when I noticed she was always drinking carbonated water.  She said she liked the fizz.  And for me, that’s what I like about pop.  I drink a lot of regular water, but with a meal, I love to have the fizz.  So, this summer, a friend introduced me to LaCroix, and there has been no turning back.  I’ve been trying to moderate my intake, because LaCroix benders are expensive.

Does anybody drink LaCroix?  What’s your favorite flavor?

What are the things that you always have in your pantry?