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Tostada Tacos

Time is flying, and we’re still at home. Weather is getting nicer, and we’ve fired up the grill several times already this summer. While my creative juices are beginning to flow again, I find myself gravitating towards easier, more simpler dishes and recipes, given that my husband and I are still navigating parenthood with a 3.5-month-old.

We initially bought flour and corn tortillas to make crunchwrap supremes, then realizing the flour tortillas were too small opted for cheesy gordita crunches. Upon opening the flour tortillas, we noticed they went moldy *Sigh*. Ultimately, we decided to just make tacos, but I had already poured avocado oil in a pan to fry up the corn tortillas. I decided to stick with frying the corn tortillas up a bit and made them into traditional tacos, with a tostada twist.

These were so easy to make, and I used Siete Foods brand Taco seasoning, which was INSANELY delicious. How have I not had this before? You can find this seasoning online at Thrive Market (my go-to for a lot of products and groceries) or at Whole Foods.

Step 1: Pour oil of choice into a shallow frying pan just enough that it coats the bottom of the pan and then an extra 1/4″.

Step 2: Heat the pan on medium and add two tortillas at once. Let them fry for about a minute or two on each side, or until you see them start to bubble and lightly brown on the sides.

Step 3: Let sit on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Assemble as you would tacos with all of your ingredients: tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, taco meat, hot sauce. Enjoy!

The texture of these tacos is a little crisp with a perfect bend in the tortilla, mixed with the mildly-spicy Siete Foods taco seasoning, I’m already anticipating making these again next week; NOMaste and stay safe!

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Cavatappi with Sausage, Spinach, and Marinara

Let’s admit, it’s been a lot on us to try and come up with creative meals for dinner during our stay-at-home order these last few months. To be honest, we’ve resorted to ordering in twice a week and Taco Bell on Tuesday, which tastes delicious, but nonetheless is wasting money and not the healthiest thing to do. We finally cleaned off and fired up the grill on Sunday and made homemade burgers, hotdogs, grilled vegetables, and I was finally able to try some turkey sausages a company sent to me a few months back (by the way, they are AMAZING – Great American Turkey Co.)

Because it was only my husband and I, there were a decent amount of leftovers. Last night, I decided to make some pasta and throw the sausages in, along with some spinach I had in the fridge. I also remembered I took out frozen marinara sauce I made a few weeks ago so I added that to the pasta too. It was a leftover’s dream! Not only did the marinara taste just as good as it did when I made it, but the al dente boiled pasta (I love using Banza or Jovial pasta – which can be found on Thrive Market –> click the banner to the right or click here) and the spinach and sausages were such a good combination. I hate wasting food, so for this dinner to be a homerun, I was darn proud that I was able to use up food from a few nights ago, and what I rummaged in my fridge and freezer.

If you want to make this from scratch, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 package Banza cavatappi (or preferred pasta)
  • 1 package Great American Turkey Co sweet italian turkey sausage links
    • you can find where they are located on their website! Or, just use a different version of your favorite sausage
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
    • I like to make my own, but when I don’t, I use Rao’s
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Start by cooking the sausages to you preference, I like to grill them during the warmer months but you could always slice them and toss in some EVOO on a skillet. When the sausages begin to brown and cook, about 5-6 minutes, toss in the baby spinach. The spinach will cook down and wilt with the sausage. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to boil, and add salt when water is boiling. Cook your pasta to desired doneness, with Banza I cook a minute or two less so that it does not fall apart, so the cavatappi says 9-11m, I cooked for just around 8 minutes or so. Drain the pasta and pour back into the pot. Add in the marinara of choice, then add in the sausage and spinach and mix together. Sprinkle with a little bit of parmesan, salt, and pepper and let your taste buds dance and sing. NOMaste healthy and safe friends!

Fusilli Pasta with Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Pasta. Who says no to pasta? There’s virtually endless “pastabilities” when it comes to making pasta as a meal. You can add vegetables, a variety of meats, different sauces, different shapes of pasta, even alternative pastas such as Banza (chickpea) or brown rice pasta! It’s literally one of the most reliable pantry items that never disappoints.

I’ve wanted to try and make an easy cream sauce and figured being at home lends itself to more experimenting in the kitchen. I had a jar of roasted red peppers and some heavy cream, and decided to throw it into a blender with some dried herbs and parmesan. I will say that this sauce is heavy on the red pepper flavor, so if you aren’t a roasted red pepper fan, this may not be for you. However, I love them so this was incredibly tasty for me (my husband not so much… but hey, ya can’t win them all).

This sauce has layers of flavor: the cream, the parmesan, the peppers themselves, and then the oregano and basil added into it. Tossed with some fusilli pasta – one of my favorites – and it was exactly what my belly needed.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 package of preferred pasta
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Begin by boiling a pot of water. Salt the water and begin to cook your desired pasta until al dente and strain. Pour into a bowl. For the sauce, blend the peppers, cream, parmesan, and spices together in a blender. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. Sprinkle a little more salt, pepper, and parmesan and mix. Serve with fresh basil, a dollop of ricotta, or even some sautéed spinach or zucchini! Plus, this pasta and sauce tastes EVEN BETTER as leftovers the next day. #winning

Barbacoa (Steak) Quesadillas

Day number 49723.6 of quarantine during this global pandemic, and here we are, staying at home, cooking up a storm, and watching reruns of reruns of The Office. Days are blending into the next, and with each day passing a small glimmer of hope appears. I continue to think about the families who lost all their income, the students who are without any source of food, and new moms such as myself navigating parenthood with very limited interaction with family and the real world. What a time in our history, huh?

Over in our home, we love a good Mexican night. What’s not to love? Guacamole, margaritas, and delicious food, such as quesadillas. I didn’t swap anything for these: I used Whole Foods organic flour tortillas, a chuck roast, homemade guacamole and Organic valley mexican blend cheese. THAT’S IT. Barbacoa is traditionally a stewed beef in an oven or a slow cooker, and so that’s what I did. I’ll admit, I started cooking a little late so it wasn’t as tender as I would have preferred, BUT the flavor was spot on and had it cooked for another 2 hours it would have been perfection.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs chuck roast
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 package mexican blend cheese
  • Beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Homemade guacamole or store-bought
    • for homemade:
      • two ripe avocados
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
      • half a lime to squeeze in juice
      • salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

First and foremost, prep the chuck roast by patting it dry and seasoning generously with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place into the slow cooker and fill with 2 cups of water and 32oz broth (I LOVE Kettle and Fire’s beef broth – it’s delicious and packed with collagen and incredible benefits). Set on low cook for 8 hours, or high cook for 6 hour. You want the meat to be as tender as possible.

When the meat is done, pull apart with two forks or use poultry scissors to cut the meat into smaller pieces (this is what I did). Add the meat back to the stock and let it marinade. Spray cooking spray into a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Take a tortilla and let it begin to crisp. Add in the meat, then a few pinches of the cheese. Let it cook for two minutes on this side. Top the tortilla with a second tortilla and flip. Cook again for another two to three minutes. Repeat until all tortillas are used or to your desire. You can always leave some for leftovers tomorrow. Pair with the guacamole and an extra large margarita 🙂 Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Muffin Bars

Can you believe we are already 11 days away from the end of May, and about to enter Summer? I can’t stand how time is flying right now and that our son is two months old. I remember writing recipes in October, basking in the second trimester glory, anticipating what the end result will be, and boy was it a journey (interested in my story? Here’s the link to my blog post).

This recipe was sitting in my notes on my phone for a very long time, probably since September last year, when I wrote it down while I was contemplating what to do with overripe bananas, because regardless of a pandemic or not, I always have at least two bananas that are about to RIP. Scrolling through my recipes I stumbled upon it again and as the ingredients are pretty simple, I decided that it’s about time I make it and see how it turns out – the result is AMAZING. Even my husband said they were good, and he is my biggest critic when it comes to cooking and baking.

These muffin bars are gluten free and made with Thrive Market cassava flour, calls for just one cup of sugar (both coconut and cane), two ripe bananas, and one of my favorite chocolates from Hu Kitchen. What I love about this recipe is that the bars came out so fluffy with a perfectly golden bottom, each bite has a delicate flavor of banana, and the chocolate literally came oozing out. This recipe yields approximately 12 smaller bars, but that depends on how you slice it 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (you could sub almond or oat milk too)
  • Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Cassava Flour
    • You can find my favorite cassava flour on Thrive Market –> hit the banner to the right and it’ll bring you there!
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • (I do recommend Hu Kitchen because they are a paleo-friendly and “back to human” style eatery located in NYC but you can find their products here. I LOVE their crackers too!

Preheat your oven to 375* and pre-grease a 9×9″ brownie or baking tin. Begin by adding the wet ingredients into a bowl (eggs, bananas, vanilla, sugars, and milk). Blend to combine. Then layer in the dry ingredients – I like to pour the flour in a bit at a time so that it doesn’t fly everywhere. Mix to combine until smooth, there will be some chunks because of the banana.

Add in the 1/2 cup of chocolate (I coat the chocolate with some flour so that it does not sink to the bottom) and fold in with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Pour into the tin and bake for 20-23 minutes. Let sit and spread on some almond butter, a dollop of whipped cream, or eat them all in one sitting with a cup of coffee and Bravo Below Deck marathon… no judgment. Stay safe friends!

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