I love easy dinners. You know those dinners that take less than 15 minutes to prep and serve? This is one of those dinners. The best part? It’s healthy Mexican. Yup, you heard me, healthy and Mexican in the same sentence.
We start with a layer of brown rice. I happened to have some leftover rice in the fridge, but the only real “prep” work you will need to do is making some rice. The next step is adding some black beans, Mexican cheese, diced tomatoes, avocado and salsa to the bowl. Quickly fry an egg. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top and DONE.
I love this bowl because it is not only simple, but also delicious. It has plenty of protein to keep you full (the beans and the egg) and is just the right amount of food. You know that overly full feeling you get after Mexican? Not with this dish. This is one of my all-time favorite 15-minute meals. Enjoy!Mexican Burrito Bowl
- 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup rinsed and drained black beans
- 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup your favorite salsa (or more to taste)
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Divide the brown rice, black beans and cheese in half. Layer two bowls with the three ingredients, placing the rice first, then the black beans and then sprinkling the cheese over the top. Microwave (or heat) each bowl for 30-45 seconds until cheese has melted and ingredients are warm.
- Top each bowl with tomato, avocado and salsa. Set bowls aside.
- Spray a medium frying pan with Pam (or other baking spray) and heat the pan on high heat for at least 30 seconds. Crack one egg into the pan. Let the egg sit and cook. It is done when the whites are cooked through and the edges begin to turn up. Remove egg from pan and place on top of one of your bowls. Repeat with second egg and place on top of second bowl.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of each bowl and enjoy.
Doesn’t it feel like Monday today? Something about Columbus Day and my whole travel schedule has thrown me off. When my mom and I discussed what to make for dinner last night, she suggested going with the whole “Meatless Monday” idea we have been doing lately. I was really confused thinking it was Sunday (haha)…but in the end we decided to go with one of my favorite vegetarian dishes, this Red Lentil Stew with Caramelized Onions.
This meal has been a favorite in our house for a few years now. The lentils are filling and delicious, but it is the sweetness of the caramelized onions that really pulls the dish together. We like to serve ours over white Jasmine rice to really create a dinner out of it and since there are only 3 of us, we usually eat leftovers the next day for lunch (always a plus).
Red Lentil Stew with Caramelized Onions
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups small red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 to 3 cups boiling water
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For Caramelized Onions:
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 medium onions, halved through the root and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 6 cups cooked white Jasmine rice
- Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Plain or Greek yogurt
- In a large heavy saucepan (we used our Le Creuset), combine the oil, onion, bay leaves and cinnamon stick over moderately low heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to moderately high, and add the ginger, garlic and cayenne. Cook, stirring until the garlic and ginger are soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the lentils and cook, stirring, until they are coated with the oil, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the broth and 2 cups of the boiling water and bring to a boil. Reduce the head and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Squeeze the juice of the lemon through a strainer into the lentils. Add the lemon halves, salt, and the remaining 1 cup broth. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have broken down into a thick puree, 40 minutes. They should be soupy; if they get too thick, add more boiling water as necessary, 1/4 cup at a time.
For Caramelized Onions:
- About 45-60 minutes before serving, prepare the caramelized onions. In a large nonstick skillet, combine the butter, oil, sugar and onions. Cook over low heat until the onions are browned and form a small pile (they will be very soft and have cooked down a lot). Stir the onions every 5 minutes to ensure all pieces are browning evenly. The process should take about 45-60 minutes (onions can be removed earlier, but will not be as sweet and caramelized). After cooking, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Discard the lemon halves and cinnamon from the lentils and season with the salt and pepper to taste. Serve the lentils in bowls over white rice, topped with the caramelized onions, cilantro and yogurt.
Adapted from A New Way to Cook
I know I keep saying I love Fall- the pumpkins, the weather, the birthday month. But I am still holding on to Summer a little bit…
Every Summer my mom plants tomatoes in our garden. We usually get two batches of amazing fresh, homegrown tomatoes each Summer and we eat them with every meal. I’m already counting down the days until we get them again.
We had one last batch of tomatoes this Summer, so we decided to use them to make these delicious tarts (along with a few cherry tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market). We made these tarts for dinner and they were light and refreshing while also being filling. The fresh tomatoes paired with the cheesy tart was just a perfect meal and the leftovers the next day were even better.
For leftovers, I kept half of the tart plain (without the salad) and kept the extra salad in a separate tupperware. When I was ready to eat, I warmed the tart and then added the salad.
Heirloom Tomato Salad Over Cornmeal-Pepper Crust
Makes 2 9″ round tarts (or 1 9″ tart and 1 11.25″ x 8″ Tart)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 yellow stone ground cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 8 ounces cold butter (cut into small cubes)
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 6 cups dried beans or pie weights
- 1 egg
- 15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 pound heirloom tomatoes (some cherry and some large, quartered or halved)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt/ cracked black pepper
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 4-5 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
- 3 cups arugula
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and adjust the rack to the middle.
- In a food processor, combine flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper and pulse to blend.
- Add butter to food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse, chunky sand.
- Through the top of the food processor, slowly add in cold water as you pulse.
- Continue to pulse until dough forms and begins to gather in the middle. (Do not over mix the dough).
- Once ready, remove dough from food processor and divide it into two equal sized balls. Flatten the balls into two discs of equal size. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
- Line counter with slip mat and place one of the discs in the middle. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top and roll out the dough to create a circle 1/4 inch thick.
- Remove plastic wrap and place your dough into a tart shell.
- Form the dough into tart shell by pressing gently with your fingers, remove the excess dough by using the edge of the pan as a knife and pressing the dough onto it.
- Repeat steps 8-10 with second tart shell. For a square tart shell, layer the disc of dough in the center and spread, using excess dough to cover your corners.
- Line tarts with wax paper and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake for 18-20 minutes then carefully remove beans/weights.
- Prick the bottom of your crust a few times with a large fork. This will prevent the crust from puffing up.
- Place crust make into the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until center of crust is firm when tapped.
- Cool slightly.
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees.
- While crust is cooling, combine egg, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl.
- Divide mixture into two and pour each half into a tart shell.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Set aside.
- While tarts are cooling, toss heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and basil in a small bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes so tomatoes can macerate.
- Add arugula and mix.
- For serving, top the arugula salad mix on top of the warmed tart.
I’m so lucky that Q’s family has accepted me as one of their own. As an only child, I never had siblings. I definitely have “only child” traits- i.e. difficulty sharing, used to getting my way, need my alone time (I’m a catch, aren’t I?). But by dating Q, I adopted his sister, brother-in-law and niece as my own. The first time they called me “sis” I cried.
Q’s brother-in-law, Q’s sister, me, Q (not pictured Q’s niece Harper, next time I promise!)
Q’s mom is just as amazing and has become a second mom to me. She recently took a trip to London (she lives in Ireland) and had dinner at Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant. Knowing how much I love his food, she sent me back a signed copy of his new book “Plenty.” I couldn’t wait to try some of his new recipes (all vegetarian).
Q, me, Q’s mom
Last night, I made this Mushroom and Herb Polenta for dinner. When I suggested to Q that when he gets back from “the ‘Stan” we should implement Meatless Mondays in our house he laughed and said “more like Meaty Mondays.” So I guess I have to take advantage of going meatless while he is gone!
This recipe is relatively simple and so worth the time spent to make it. I devoured my piece and can’t wait to have more for lunch today. For your mushrooms, you can use a mixed variety like we did from the Farmers’ Market or just use brown or white creminis.
Mushroom and Herb Polenta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups mixed mushrooms (very large ones halved)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (not minced)
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil
- 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (we used chicken)
- 1 cup polenta (instant or traditional, we used instant)
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- salt and black pepper
- Preheat your broiler to high. Grease a baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil spray or Pam. Set aside.
- Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add your mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try no to move them much so you get golden-brown patches on their surface. Remove from heat, add garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
- Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny (about 5 minutes for instant polenta and 50 minutes for traditional). When the polenta is ready, stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan, butter, rosemary, and 1/2 tablespoon of parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta over your baking sheet and top with the rest of the Parmesan. Place the baking sheet under the broiler until cheese bubbles (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from broiler, top with the mushrooms and their juices. (*Make sure to take out your two garlic cloves from your mushrooms.) Return to broiler for 1 minutes to warm up. Serve hot, garnish with the remaining parsley.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty