Chicken, Chickpea and Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

Chicken, Chickpea and Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing | cookiemonstercooking.com

Chicken, Chickpea and Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing | cookiemonstercooking.com

So guess what?  I am officially an aunt!  My sister-in-law had an adorable baby boy this week and I could not be more excited.  It will be a bit before we get to head up to Boston to meet the little man so until then I’ll just have to admire him via lots of pictures.  And pretend that I’m cuddling with the new baby but snuggle with Emma the beagle instead.  That’s not weird at all or anything.  Let’s hope my sister-in-law doesn’t read this post so she’ll let me hang out with my new nephew and not think I’m a complete oddball.  I’d imagine she’s pretty busy right now so I think I’m safe.

So since there’s really no good way to transition from a cute new baby to food we’re just going to make the jump.  Back to the mexican food bonanza!

Chicken, Chickpea and Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing | cookiemonstercooking.com

Today I have another quick, easy and healthy dinner (or lunch!) option for you.  An awesome salad packed with spiced-up chicken, roasted crispy chickpeas and plenty of juicy fresh mango.  Because I am on a mango and chickpea kick like no other at the moment.  Plus, there is some salty feta involved and a cumin lime dressing.  Mmmm.

We like to enjoy this salad with some homemade pita chips but I think it would also be great with some crusty bread or even tortilla chips.  And if it’s a Friday night after a long week maybe even a fresh honey margarita?  Yes, I do think so.

Chicken, Chickpea and Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing | cookiemonstercooking.com

So go eat some salad.  And chips and salsa.  And then check back Friday for an awesome crockpot recipe that I am super pumped to share.

Chicken, Chickpea and Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

Yield: about 3 to 4 servings

Chicken, Chickpea and Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

Ingredients

    For the chickpeas:
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the chicken:
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • about 6 to 8 ounces mixed greens or baby spinach
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • ½ of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta

Instructions

  1. To make the chickpeas - preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel and add to a small bowl. In another small bowl, add the olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the chickpeas and toss until the chickpeas are evenly coated. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly in the pan. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool directly on the baking sheet (they’ll crisp up even more).
  2. To make the chicken - season the chicken with the cumin, paprika and a little bit of salt and pepper. Set a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add the chicken to the pan. Toss to coat and cook for about 5 minutes, until cooked through and browned on all sides. Remove from the heat.
  3. To make the dressing - add the lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add in the olive oil and whisk vigorously until smooth. Set aside.
  4. To assemble - add some of the greens to each bowl. Top with some of the chickpeas, chicken, mango, red onion and feta. Drizzle with some of the dressing.

Notes

The chickpeas, chicken and dressing can all be made ahead of time and then all you have to do is assemble when you are ready to eat. Store the chickpeas in an airtight container at room temperature (and the chicken and dressing in the fridge). The chickpeas are most crispy when freshly made, but they are still great later on.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/23/chicken-chickpea-mango-salad-cumin-lime-dressing/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Baked Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa

Baked Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa | cookiemonstercooking.com

Baked Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa | cookiemonstercooking.com

And a smoky chipotle dipping sauce.  Because once again that full title would have been far far too long.  And ridiculous.  But it’s all here in this tasty tasty meal.

But before we talk about these chicken tenders, let’s first chat about what I have planned for you over the next few weeks.  So last year I inadvertently posted a whole bunch of mexican-type meals in the run up to Cinco de Mayo.  The timing worked out as I just happened to be on a mexican kick (although really when am I not?).  But this year … oh yes, you better believe it was planned.  I have all mexican inspired dishes for you over the next two weeks.  Yes, two weeks worth of probably my favorite type of food.  It’s gonna be good.

So get your yoga pants on, grab a margarita and let’s get ready to eat.

Baked Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa | cookiemonstercooking.com

First up, we have these super simple chicken tenders that are coated in crushed blue corn tortilla chips.  Now obviously you don’t have to use blue corn – use whatever tortilla chips you prefer.  I just happen to have a thing for blue chips.  What can I say.  I love them.

The chicken is baked and not fried, comes out perfectly crispy and is just plain fun.  Well I think so all coated in blue.  Plus there’s a creamy greek yogurt dipping sauce to go along with it and we all know that dipping chicken tenders is essential.

But if chicken tenders aren’t your thing, pretty please still make the mango salsa.  It may be my favorite part of this meal.  Mango (my favorite), fresh crisp cucumber, creamy avocado and plenty of cilantro in a super awesome salsa that I just ate straight from the bowl with a spoon.  It’s also good with a big bowl of chips.  Chips and salsa = my total weakness.

Baked Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa | cookiemonstercooking.com

A healthy meal that tastes kind of naughty?  I’m all over it.

And check back later this week for more mexican goodness – we’re just getting this party started.

Baked Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa

Yield: about 3 to 4 servings

Baked Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa

Ingredients

    For the chicken:
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups finely crushed blue corn tortilla chips
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch thick strips*
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon adobo sauce**
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • For the salsa:
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. To make the chicken - preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and then set a cooling rack inside the baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Add the cornmeal, salt and pepper to a shallow dish and mix to combine. In a small bowl, add the egg and milk; beat with a fork until well combined. Add the crushed tortillas to another shallow dish. Working one at a time, dredge each chicken strip in the cornmeal mixture, then dip into the egg mixture to coat and finally in the crushed tortillas (pressing them into the chicken on both sides). Place on the prepared cooling rack in the baking sheet. Once all the strips are on the baking sheet, mist the tops lightly with nonstick spray.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the chicken strips over and bake for about another 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is nice and crispy.
  4. To make the sauce - add the greek yogurt, milk, minced chipotle, adobo sauce, salt and garlic powder to a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  5. To make the salsa - add the mango, cucumber, avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt to a medium bowl. Toss to combine.
  6. Serve the chicken strips with the dipping sauce and salsa on the side.

Notes

*Alternatively, you can buy boneless skinless chicken tenders, which will save you the step of cutting the chicken breasts.

**The adobo sauce comes from a can of chipotle peppers. From the same can you get the chipotle peppers to mince, just spoon out the required amount of liquid.

The dipping sauce does have a bit of a kick, so reduce the chipotle depending on your taste.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/21/baked-tortilla-crusted-chicken-tenders-mango-salsa/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Thai Chicken Bowls

Thai Chicken Bowls | cookiemonstercooking.com

Thai Chicken Bowls | cookiemonstercooking.com

If we’re being honest, today I feel like I have nothing to say.  My husband is probably laughing and shaking his head as he’s reading this, since he is of the belief that I ALWAYS have something to say.  I may be known to ramble on and on about silly things while he’s trying to watch TV or do whatever he does, and he is usually happy when I return home from hanging out with friends since he thinks I’m talked out.  Ha!  Like that would ever happen.  Please now, who does he think I am?

But maybe it can happen?  Hmmm dare I say the husband could be right?  In this case I actually haven’t talked much at all today but here I am staring at my computer screen and nothing.  Nada.

Thai Chicken Bowls | cookiemonstercooking.com

And we really enjoyed these thai chicken bowls so I can’t even blame the chicken.  Instead I’ll blame the dreary weather – it’s dragging me down.  Making my concentration fly away.  So instead I’ve spent a large chunk of time being snoopy and watching people from the window in my office.  Because people watching is fascinating.

People watching while enjoying a leftover bowl of this meal right here is even better.  Like that transition today?  So smooth huh?

This is definitely a great weeknight meal right here.  So many layers of goodness in one dish.  Crispy veggies, sweet pineapple and chicken flavored up with peanut sauce (I prefer my homemade version but you could definitely use store-bought!) and then served on top of a bed of coconut rice, my favorite.  Throw in some cashews for even more crunch and finish it off with a bit of sriracha for some kick.

And … and … you can prep different parts of it ahead of time, which will make it even faster.  Make the coconut rice in the morning or the day before, cook the chicken breasts or even use a rotisserie chicken!

Thai Chicken Bowls | cookiemonstercooking.com

This really is a winner winner chicken dinner.  I know, I know, I used that phrase last week.  Do you see what I mean?  I got nothing.

Thai Chicken Bowls

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

Thai Chicken Bowls

Ingredients

    For the rice:*
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 ¾ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • For the bowls:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 3 cups coleslaw mix or sliced cabbage**
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • ⅓ cup cashews
  • ½ cup peanut sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • chopped cilantro, for serving
  • sriracha, for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the rice - add the rice, coconut milk, water and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, give it a good stir, then cover and turn down the heat to medium-low / low. Let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat (leaving the cover on) and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. To make the bowls - set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies are crisp tender. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the pineapple chunks, cabbage and green onions. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the pineapple is warm and the cabbage is wilted down. Turn down the heat to low and add in the chicken, cashews and peanut sauce. Stir to combine. Season with salt to taste (I added about ½ to ¾ teaspoon - it will depend on how salty the peanut sauce is that you use).
  3. To serve, spoon some of the rice into a bowl. Top with some of the vegetable chicken mixture. Garnish with cilantro and serve with sriracha if desired.

Notes

*The amount of liquid required and the cooking time for the rice will vary depending on brand. For the kind I buy, I use the amounts listed. If your package suggests something different, use the same amount of coconut milk listed above and then adjust the water. Additionally, keep an eye on it and adjust the cooking time as needed.

Regular white basmati rice also works if you can’t find brown!

**I had no intention of using a coleslaw mix for this recipe but the last few weeks at the grocery store I could not find a regular ol’ cabbage! I planned to use sliced napa cabbage but had no luck buying any, so just use whatever you have!

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/09/thai-chicken-bowls/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

So asparagus and I are BFFs right now.  I can’t stop buying it – maybe a little excessively so.  When I was at the grocery store this week, the cashier actually stopped to ask me what I was planning to make with all of the asparagus I had piled in my cart.  I politely smiled and answered but really in my head it went something like, why are you questioning my asparagus???  And then two seconds later … hmm maybe it is a little much???  And then stop it, why on earth do you care that the cashier is asking about your excessive asparagus buying???

Because the butcher and I have regular weekly conversations about my cooking plans (and his too), so this is really nothing out of the ordinary.  Apparently I am just very defensive about my asparagus.  Hmpf.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

But it is just so good.  Such as when it is in a creamy cheesy pasta bake with plenty of mushrooms?  With a panko / parmesan topping that gets nice and crispy in the oven?  You betcha.

I’m in that weird phase right now where the weather is starting to get a little bit warmer so I am craving spring vegetables and the like … but I’m also not ready to give up on comfort foods.  Hence this pasta dish.  Combines everything in one.  Winner winner chicken dinner.  But no chicken.  Just veggies.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

I hope that all made sense.  It’s Friday and my concentration is long gone and I’m having trouble forming coherent sentences.

So tell me … weekend plans?  Anything fun lined up?  Whatcha got for me?

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients

    For the pasta:
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into 2 to 3-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta shape (I used shells)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 8 ounces provolone, shredded and divided
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic to a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the veggies are tender. Remove from the oven and add the veggies to a large bowl. Set aside the baking dish for later. Maintain the oven temperature at 400.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta (you want it to be al dente) according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, then drain and add the pasta to the large bowl with the veggies. Add in the diced tomatoes and set aside.
  4. To make the sauce - in a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted add in the flour, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for about 2 minutes, until golden brown and nutty in fragrance. Slowly pour in the milk, continuing to whisk constantly. Let the mixture come to a simmer, still whisking fairly frequently, and cook until it thickens up a bit, about 1 to 2 minutes after simmering. Remove from the heat and add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and parmesan. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the sauce into the large bowl and then add in half of the shredded provolone cheese. Mix until well combined, adding in a little of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta up (I didn’t need any). Season with salt / pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish you used for the veggies. Top with the remaining provolone. In a small bowl, mix together the panko and parmesan and sprinkle over the top.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is golden and bubbly.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/04/baked-asparagus-mushroom-pasta/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Let me introduce you to my new favorite weekend breakfast.  I made this on a whim one morning when I was trying to use up some leftover sweet potatoes I had laying around.  We loved it so much that I made it for the next several weeks straight.  And then I clearly had to make it again to grab photos and share here with you.  Twist my arm.

But one try and I bet that you’ll be hooked too.  And … and … it’s really easy.  Like maybe a little too easy to be sharing but whatevs.  We all love simple recipes right?

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Plus there are eggs involved.  I would probably put eggs on just about everything if I could … runny yolks, I mean come on.  How can you resist?

And then combine them with sweet potatoes spiced up with my other favs (hello cumin and smoked paprika … are you sick of me talking about them yet?) and you have one heck of a breakfast.  Or breakfast for dinner?  I would totally go there except my husband likes to throw a bit of a hissy fit when I try to pull the breakfast for dinner thing.  Correction – a super manly hissy fit since I know he’s not going to like that term.

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Awesomeness that only dirties one skillet.  That’s a win right there friends.

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Yield: about 4 servings

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium vegetable broth, plus extra as needed
  • ½ cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 to 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • salsa, for serving
  • hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the potatoes and then sprinkle with the cumin, paprika, salt and cayenne. Give it a good stir then cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add in the vegetable broth, give it another good stir then re-cover and let cook for about 10 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. If the skillet starts to get too dry (i.e. the potatoes are sticking to the bottom, add in a little more vegetable broth, a tablespoon or two at a time - especially right before you add the cheese/eggs).
  2. When the potatoes are tender, sprinkle the pepper jack cheese evenly over the top. Next, make four small wells in the sweet potatoes (leaving a few sweet potatoes at the bottom of each well) and then break the eggs into the wells. Cover the skillet, turn the heat down to medium low / low and let cook until the eggs are set and the yolks are to your desired doneness (for me this was about 6 minutes).
  3. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the cilantro and green onions. Serve with salsa and hot sauce, if desired.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/26/southwest-sweet-potato-breakfast-skillet/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

You didn’t think I was done sharing soups with you since it’s Spring right?  Honestly, it doesn’t really feel all that spring-like at the moment anyway.  It’s been flipping back and forth between warmer weather and cold, dreary rain.  And we might get some snow on Tuesday.  I’m soooo over it.  I’m ready for nice sunny days.  Period.  But mother nature doesn’t feel like listening to me I guess.  No soup for her.

But there is plenty of soup for me … and you.  And guess who else?  My not-so-very-well mannered little beagle.  The day I was taking photos of this soup the FedEx guy came and I had to sign for a package.  I was gone for maybe 30 seconds …. 30 seconds!!  And I came back to find her straddling a chair with her two paws up on the table … lapping up the soup.

She didn’t seem to care when I yelled at her for touching the food.  She was too excited about getting some this chard and lentil vegetable soup in her tummy.

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

And I mean it is really tasty so I guess I can’t fault her for that.  This is one of those soups that I think is perfect for the transition from winter to spring – comforting and warm yet still nice and light.

It is full of different veggies, including one of my favorites at the moment – swiss chard.  Can’t get enough.  And then with a good amount of lentils, for a little bulk.  Healthy, filling and satisfying.  It goes perfect with a loaf of crusty bread for dinner … or with some pita chips the next day for lunch.

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

So go make a big bowl of this soup – but keep it away from any hungry beagles in your life.  They can’t be trusted.  Nope nope nope.

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion. Cook until it starts to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the carrots and zucchini. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  2. Add in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, lentils, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce the heat to medium / medium-low and let simmer for about 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add in the swiss chard and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some parmesan cheese.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/24/chard-lentil-vegetable-soup/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

Hi!  How are ya?  How was your weekend?  It was beautiful here on Saturday and I soaked up every single second I could outside.  But more importantly, my mom is here!  She flew in yesterday and I have big plans for her week-long visit.  You know, restaurants, shopping at the outlets – all very important things.  Yes yes.  {On that note – just a warning that it may take me longer to respond this week – as we will be busy with said shopping}.

Anywho, I made you some tacos.  And they involve the crockpot so they are super duper easy.  Dump in everything for the filling, walk away and return to a delicious dinner.  Or if you are like me and make it when you are home all day, you can be tortured by the awesome smells wafting from the kitchen that are making you crazy hungry and wanting to eat everything in sight.

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

And this recipe makes a ton of food.  So you can have as many tacos as you want, which is always a very good thing, yes?  I think I like mexican food a little too much for my own good.

These tacos are nice and filling, as they are packed with barley, beans and veggies.  Plus, you can then top them off with a creamy, slightly smoky avocado chipotle cream, some feta and lots of chopped cilantro.

Please excuse the fact that the avocado cream isn’t actually on the tacos in the pictures.  I meant to top them right before I started shooting and then apparently completely forgot.  In my defense I am constantly swatting away one hungry little beagle who likes to try to steal the food off the table while I’m taking photos.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many photos I have with her nose in the shot.  She thinks she’s so sneaky but that snout is hard to miss.

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

And now I want some more tacos … although that’s pretty much the case all of the time.

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream

Yield: enough filling for at least 20 tacos

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup barley*
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • For the avocado chipotle cream:**
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ½ tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon half and half
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • For serving:
  • flour or corn tortillas
  • chopped cilantro
  • crumbled feta

Instructions

  1. To make the filling - add all of the filling ingredients to a crockpot. Give it a good stir then cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed and the barley to be nice and tender and chewy.
  2. To make the avocado cream - remove the pit from the avocado and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Mash well with a fork. Add in the greek yogurt, half and half, minced chipotle and salt. Mix until well combined.
  3. To serve - spoon some of the filling onto a tortilla. Top with some of the avocado cream, cilantro and feta.

Notes

*I used hulled barley for this recipe (I buy it from the bulk bins at whole foods). If you can’t find hulled barley and use pearled barley instead, you will likely be able to reduce the cooking time by about an hour or so since pearled barley cooks quicker.

**The filling that you cook in the crockpot makes a ton of food (i.e. enough for at least 20 tacos!). For the avocado cream, the amounts listed are enough for about 8 to 10 tacos, depending on how much you use. I just made another batch of the avocado cream when we were ready to eat the rest of the filling.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/17/crockpot-barley-bean-tacos-avocado-chipotle-cream/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking. Filling inspired by a recipe given to me by a friend (hi jenna!)

 

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms | cookiemonstercooking.com

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms | cookiemonstercooking.com

I made you something good.  As in I can’t stop thinking about them good.  As in I made them over and over just to “test” the recipe one more time … even though that wasn’t really necessary after a certain point.  But it gave me an excuse to eat them again so I rolled with it.  I think it’s safe to say that we realllllly liked these.

Plus, little pop-able enchilada stuffed mushrooms are the perfect way to start this week off with a bang.  And we all need a little excitement on a Monday.  For sure.

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms | cookiemonstercooking.com

So let’s talk stuffed mushrooms.  These babies are versatile.  Need a fun appetizer?  Done.  Or an easy weeknight dinner to serve alongside a big salad and some crusty bread?  And done again.

Plus it’s hard not to fall head over heels for these.  Juicy, tender mushrooms packed with chicken, black beans, plenty of cheese and spice.  Oh and they’re smothered in enchilada sauce.  A little messy but the deliciousness makes up for that.  Promise.

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms | cookiemonstercooking.com

Now, who wants to give me an excuse to make these again?   Any takers?

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms

Yield: about 24 to 28 mushrooms

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce, divided
  • ¾ cup shredded cooked chicken
  • ½ cup cooked black beans*
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • ¾ to 1 cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • lime wedges, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean the mushrooms then gently pop out the stems (you can discard these). Set aside. Add ½ cup of the enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Tilt the pan back and forth so that the sauce evenly coats the bottom. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the chicken, black beans, cream cheese, chipotle, cumin, paprika, cheddar cheese and another ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce. Mix until well combined. Fill each mushroom cap with a good amount of the filling and then place the caps in the prepared baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the tops of the mushrooms. Top each mushroom with a little bit of the pepper jack cheese.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are nice and hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with the cilantro and green onions then serve immediately. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Notes

*I used a little under ½ of a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) to get this amount.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/10/enchilada-stuffed-mushrooms/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

You didn’t think we were done talking about farro, now did you?  You know my obsessions don’t go away that quickly.  They like to stick around for a while.  To the point where my husband complains that I need to stop making so many meals with whatever it is at a given time.  Hmpf.  Uncool I tell you.  But I just retort with my standard, well I’m cooking so I get to pick what we eat.  I can be so lovely huh?

So this brings me back to farro.  I’ve really been loving playing around with it in the kitchen.  My husband mentioned some time ago that I never make sloppy joes … so I decided to fix that.  Although I replaced the meat with farro.  I don’t think it’s exactly what he had in mind…

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

But!  We actually BOTH enjoyed these.  And they have gone into regular rotation at our house.  Although I should probably ease off them for a bit.  My husband currently has one arm in a sling … sloppy joes are messy to begin with but virtually impossible to eat one handed.  We may have discovered that when I made these not even thinking about the fact that even regular sandwiches are difficult for him to eat at the moment.  Whoops.

Now obviously these are not exactly like regular full-of-meat sloppy joes but the base flavors are there … and quite frankly they are delicious.  The farro is tender but nice and chewy.  And personally I think makes a great substitute to create a nice and “meaty” dish.

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

And we all know that burgers, sloppy joes and the like make a great friday night meal.  What are you waiting for??

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes

Yield: 4 servings

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • pinch of cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1 cup pearled farro
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • burger buns or rolls, for serving
  • sliced cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion, carrot and pepper. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Add in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, mustard powder and cayenne. Cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the farro. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add in the broth, tomato sauce, worcestershire, vinegar and brown sugar.
  2. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover, turn down the heat to medium / medium-low and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.* The farro should be tender and a little chewy. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
  3. To serve, spoon on a burger bun (we like to toast the buns first!). You can also top with cheese, if desired.

Notes

*A lot of brands of worcestershire sauce are not vegetarian - so be sure to read the label / ingredients to check!

**I used pearled farro since that’s the kind I can find at my local stores. If you use semi-pearled or whole farro, you’ll have to increase the cooking time. Just keep simmering until the liquid is almost all absorbed and the farro is nice and tender but still a little chewy.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/07/vegetarian-farro-sloppy-joes/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking