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Recipe Time! Chile Relleno Lasagna

Good morning and happy Monday! I’ve got a good recipe for you today that is a great, light vegetarian option (or you can add ground beef and make it a little meatier, which this recipe did).


A few weeks ago, I fell victim to finding a great recipe online, not bookmarking it, and then never being able to find it again. I had green and red peppers in the fridge, chile rellenos sounded great, but I didn’t want to fry anything, didn’t want it to be complicated, and didn’t want to stuff the peppers. So then I thought to search for Chile Relleno Casserole, but all of those recipes called for weird ingredients, or too much carby stuff that would ruin the veggie-tastic theme I was going for.

So¬†I kind of made this up. But it turned out delicious! Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the real thing, but imagine a bell pepper lasagna.

Chile Relleno Lasagna

2 green and 2 red peppers (or all one color if you prefer)
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 bag frozen seasonings (or 1 onion chopped / 1 clove garlic chopped)
1 can black beans
Salsa (I used the tomato sauce recipe for the Stuffed Poblano Pepper* recipe that I love)
1 bag of your favorite shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or higher) and place whole peppers right on oven rack to grill/char. Watch them until the skin starts blackening and blistering (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from oven and place in large Ziploc bag to steam for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute beef and chopped onion/garlic until browned. Drain. Add taco seasoning, a little water and simmer until absorbed. *If you use the homemade tomato sauce, blend 1 can whole tomatoes, 1 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic until liquid. Add salt/pepper. Set both aside. Rinse 1 can of black beans and set aside.

Once peppers are cooled a bit, peel off skin, and slice into large sections (almost like lasagna noodles). We are creating layers, so cut them like large rectangles.

Take out baking dish and put a little sauce on bottom. Layer with strips of pepper. Top that layer with ground beef, black beans, sauce and cheese. Layer again with strips of pepper and repeat with ground beef, black beans, sauce and cheese. Top with last layer of pepper strips, last of sauce and top with more cheese.

Cover with foil and bake about 25-30 mins at 350 degrees or until everything is bubbling together. And enjoy!



Recipe Time! Gazpacho

Are you ever in the mood for a light lunch, something like a salad, but don’t have lettuce, don’t feel like making a salad, or just want something different? I have the solution for you!


gazpachoI don’t remember the first time I had this dish, but remember my Mom making it when I was in high school. It’s basically a liquid salad (I know it sounds gross, but trust me, it’s not). It’s a salty, tangy mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and really anything that would go in a salad. I usually make a big batch and eat on it during the entire week. One of my favorite meals I ate on my honeymoon was Gazpacho, it was at every restaurant and I probably ordered it every time!

This recipe is very basic, but check out Ina Garten’s and The Pioneer Woman’s recipes for a little bit more dressed up version.

P.S. This ia a perfect Summer/Spring picnic item ūüôā


2 large tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 to 1 onion (depending on how big), cubed
1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
Couple glugs of olive oil
Couple splashes of red wine vinegar
1 tblsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and liquefy! Some people do each vegetable separately and then mix together with a spoon. And some like it more liquid, but I tend to keep it a little on the liquid-salsa consistency side. Chill in fridge for about 20 minutes and then serve.

Add any toppings you like: avocado, cheese, croutons, grilled shrimp, etc.



Recipe Time: Shrimp Tostadas

It’s Summer, and with that means I eat an unhealthy and inordinate amount of avocados and tomatoes. So, any excuse to use these two in a recipe, I’m down!

This was a super easy recipe, and one that could be switched around for lots of different uses: tacos, enchiladas, salad, etc. And the website gives all the nutrition info as well — a double bonus!

Shrimp Tostadas
From: The California Avocado Commission

shrimp tostada


  • ¬ĺ¬†cup¬†beer
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp.¬†celery seeds
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp.¬†cayenne
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp.¬†salt
  • ¬Ĺ¬†lb.¬†domestic, wild-caught jumbo shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 2¬†ripe, fresh California Avocados (or any variety you want!), seeded, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1¬†Roma tomato, finely diced
  • ¬ľ¬†cup¬†finely diced red onion
  • ¬Ĺ¬†bunch¬†cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 ¬Ĺ¬†limes, juiced
  • 3¬†Tbsp.¬†extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, black pepper to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 4¬†(6-inch) corn tortillas


  1. Combine beer, bay leaves, celery seeds, cayenne and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just turning pink and cooked through. Remove shrimp from liquid, cool to room temperature, and cut into 1/2-inch dice.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked shrimp with avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir gently, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Meanwhile, pour oil to a depth of ¬Ĺ-inch in a small pan for frying. Fry the tortillas on both sides until crisp and drain on paper towels.
  4. To serve, divide julienned lettuce evenly between each crispy corn tortilla. Top with avocado shrimp mixture and serve immediately.

For my version, I didn’t do the jalapenos or carrots, but that is included on the original recipe’s website. Also, you can top with whatever else you want – black beans, refried beans, sour cream, etc.


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The Salad Challenge

Inspiration comes in many forms. Art. Music. Pinterest. Chocolate milk. It can all give you a little extra oomph in something you’re trying to accomplish.

This week, my inspiration (other than Pincrastination) was: salad.


Good ole, healthy for you, comes in all varieties salad. I’ve mentioned on here that I’m trying to eat healthier, work out more (or just work out) and lose a few pounds here and there. But I often struggle with my innate ability to be a) hungry all the time or b) eat inordinate amounts of chips/salsa, pizza and cheeseburgers, and secret option number c) be more interested in watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey then doing 30 minutes of anything that makes me sweat.

But, I’ve been doing better, and was recently inspired by this post¬†from Can You Stay For Dinner, a healthy living blog. It basically lays out all the different options salad can give you for a healthy lunch. My lunches usually consisted of PB&J, leftover pizza slices, dinner leftovers, or a quick run to the Union Chick-Fil-A. This did not go over well when I had afternoon classes. Nor did it make my Weight Watchers iPhone app happy.

sleeping in class

So, I took up a challenge. Go one week with only salad for lunch and see how it felt. I like salad, I don’t LOVE salad, but I felt like I could try it out. I love variety, and canNOT stand to eat the same thing everyday, so I loaded up on options that would trick my brain into thinking it was getting something different.

Here’s how it went down:

Monday (no picture): regular garden salad (arugula, cucumber, red/orange/green bell pepper, pine nuts, sesame seeds and balsamic vinaigrette.

  • Expectation: boring-ville
  • Reality: not too bad, had a lot of it and it kept me pretty full, but definitely wouldn’t enjoy eating it everyday
Tuesday: arugula, sweet potato, chicken, cucumber and pine nuts with Green Goddess dressing; we had chicken caesar wraps and baked sweet potatoes the night before, so it provided a great chance to apply the “anything leftover from dinner can go in a salad principle”
sweet potato salad
  • Expectation: will pick out the sweet potatoes and only dip extra pita bread I brought in green goddess dressing
  • Reality: very good! The sweet potatoes weren’t so bad, and the mixture with the green goddess dressing was salty/sweet and chicken helped fill me up even more

Wednesday: super greens, black beans, taco cheese, tomato, sour cream and taco shells; we made tacos the night before, hence the taco salad

taco salad

  • Expectation: will LOVE because I love anything Spanish-food related
  • I LOVED IT; I didn’t use any dressing, but I think salsa would have made this even more delicious; definitely making this one again

Thursday: arugula, cucumber, green pepper, pine nuts, walnuts, bleu cheese and green goddess dressing

green goddess

  • Expectation: I wanted to try one with walnuts and cheese to test it out, but I thought the blue cheese crumbles would be too overpowering
  • Reality: not bad! I needed more lettuce to make the topping to lettuce ratio just right, but the crunchiness of the walnuts and the softness of the peppers and cucumbers mixed well

Friday: I ain’t eating no salad because I just finished my first year of grad school and I’m celebrating with a delicious helping of garlic bread and lasagna. Don’t judge me ūüôā

Overall, the experiment was a success. I want to keep trying this to see if it does improve that “heavy” feeling after lunch and see if I can get even more creative. Here’s some combos I want to try:

– greek salad (cucumber, tomato, feta, couscous, etc.)
– apple and brie salad (green apple, brie cheese, vinaigrette)
– salmon salad (either smoked or baked salmon with capers, onions, lemon)
– avocado salad (avocado, black bean, tomato, corn, etc.)

Do you have any favorite salad recipes to share??