Tag Archives: southwestern

Spicy One-Pot Southwestern Pasta

30 Mar

One-pot dishes have clearly taken off recently. What’s not to love about healthy meals cooked in one pot (with usually just one cutting board and one knife for prep), that are ready in a half hour from start to finish?

Spicy One-Pot Southwestern Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Not all meals need to be multi-part gourmet dinners that are composed of five dishes! This one-pot pasta is too easy – whole wheat pasta joins a pot of water with black beans, bell pepper, onion, celery, and seasonings for a protein- and fiber-packed dish that’s perfect for busy weeknights or after a workout. Kick up the spice factor by stirring in some hot sauce before serving!

Spicy One-Pot Southwestern Pasta

Serves 4

  • 2 C water
  • 8 oz whole wheat pasta, such as penne, macaroni or shells
  • 1 can or 1.5 C black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried minced garlic, or 2 cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • Shredded cheddar, option, to serve

Place all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, remove lid and let cook about 8-10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed/evaporated.

Stir in the hot sauce and serve into bowls. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Chilled Southwestern Sweet Potato Bowl

22 Apr

Sick of salads? Tired of sad sandwiches? Wary of wraps? Lunch can quickly become boring, especially if you are forced to bring lunch to your office five days a week. Even worse if you don’t have access to a microwave!

But fear not. This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is to develop a recipe that can bring us out of a lunch rut. And boy do I have something delicious for you! Your lunch box will be so happy 🙂

sweet potato bowl recipe redux

This lunch bowl is chock full of flavor, fiber, healthy fats, and protein. It’s gluten free and can easily be vegan. It’s a one-bowl meal, making it as easy as possible to lug with you to the office. It’s eaten cold, so you don’t have to wait in line for the microwave. Prep this the night before or morning of. Just dig in, and enjoy!

Better yet: whip up lunch bowls for your entire family and make everyone lunchtime happy 🙂

Chilled Southwestern Sweet Potato Bowl
Serves 1, easily multiplied

  • 1 small sweet potato, cooked, cooled, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 c canned refried beans
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 small avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek or nondairy yogurt
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Layer the cubed, cooled sweet potato in the bottom of your bowl. Top with the refried beans. Sprinkle with cumin.

IMG_20160420_180111664Top with diced avocado, salsa and yogurt. Garnish with green onions.

Chill in the fridge until ready to eat. Don’t forget to pack a spoon!


My First Race + Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese

26 Jun

I recently participated in my first ever 5k race! This is a big deal for me, and I’ll explain why.

My First Race + Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Up until January of this year, I never ran. Ever. Zumba, yoga, weight lifting, walking…those were my exercises of choice. I did not WANT to run, but more importantly, I did not THINK I could run. It sounded scary: I’d hurt myself, look stupid, or just plain fail. In elementary school when we were forced to run “the mile,” I’d always finish last, huffing and puffing and bright red in the face.

But something got me onto a treadmill in January (a machine I previously loathed). I tried it out – admittedly there was more walking than running at first. I still didn’t enjoy it, but also didn’t quit. I had no idea what I was doing – I knew nothing of form, appropriate pace or use of inclines. I slowly increased my distance, while also trying to increase speed.

There was finally a day nice enough to run outside, which was a totally different experience than being in the gym. By this point, I began not only enjoying the sport, but also looking forward to the day’s run. I’d diligently check the weather forecast, and realized I was bummed whenever conditions were not nice enough for an outdoor run, forcing me back to the gym.

Then I signed up for a 5k. The Summerfest Big Gig 5k. By now, I had become accustomed to running outside and taking different routes. I learned it’s best to mix it up when training, or your body becomes complacent.

The experience was something brand new to me! It was cold and rainy for a June morning…not ideal and certainly nothing I had chosen to run in before. I didn’t know exactly where the start line was and quickly became nervous as the race start neared. Chris came with to watch (thankfully) so I wasn’t totally alone. Well, with 1400 people running a total of three races in this event, there’s no way I could be alone. I took my place at the starting corral, waited for the signal to begin, and was off!

The run was a hard one for me. The route was rather flat, but with all the newness of this experience, I felt figuratively lost. I didn’t have my best time. I didn’t run for the entire distance. I didn’t have a smile pasted to my face for the whole 3.1 miles. But I did enjoy it: the challenge of something new, the obstacle of crappy weather, and being surrounded by complete strangers all looking to achieve the same end. I did the best I could and was damn proud when I crossed the finish line.
My First Race + Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I want to now train for a half marathon on November 1, sprinkled with another 5k and 10k in between. This is a challenge I want to conquer, so here’s to more running! If you have any tips, tricks, or words of encouragement, I’d greatly appreciate it! As singular a sport as running is, I need all the help I can get 🙂

So, onto a tasty recipe. This Mac & Cheese is loaded with all things healthy! Tons of veggies, healthy pasta, and a sauce made primarily from Greek yogurt and milk, this dish is only made better with the addition of some cheese. It’s a perfect dinner post-race, or any day of your busy week.
Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Use whatever veggies you have on hand. The cheeses don’t have to be Edam and aged cheddar, but I do suggest you use a combination of mild and sharp flavors. The creaminess of the Edam adds to the texture of the mac overall, while the sharpness of the cheddar gives it an insane flavor punch – without using too much!

Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese
Serves 6

  • 12 oz whole wheat or other healthy rotini or penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 C skim or nondairy milk
  • 6 oz Edam cheese, cubed
  • 2 oz aged cheddar cheese, cubed (I prefer 5-year aged)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 glass casserole dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return cooked pasta back to the pot. Set aside.

While pasta cooks, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high and saute all the veggies and black beans, 7-10 minutes.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Combine yogurt, milk, cubed cheeses and spices into a blender. Puree until smooth. This will essentially create a cheese milkshake, which is the texture you’re looking for (gross, right?). Taste it and adjust seasoning as desired.

Once veggies are sauteed, add them to the cooked & drained pasta. Pour the prepared sauce on top and stir to coat everything. Stir in the raw chopped tomatoes.

Transfer mac and cheese to prepared glass pan. Spread out evenly. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes

11 Apr

Cooking doesn’t always have to be intricate, shouldn’t always require fancy or foreign ingredients, or require hours slaving over a hot stove. But it SHOULD always produce a delicious result. This recipe was inspired by a lack of time, but a big desire for flavor and health.

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Nutrient-packed sweet potatoes, baked in the oven, topped with a load of southwestern-flavored sauteed vegetables was a meal that truly delivered. I was full, satisfied, and my mouth was just slightly on fire…exactly how I like it. What’s more, this recipe can easily be adapted to your tastes, and stock of vegetables. Throw in tomatoes if that’s your fancy, chop up a zucchini if you have one laying around, or even toss in some diced jalapenos to up the spice ante if you like. Whatever you do, enjoy your next dinner with this healthy, vegan meal. Besides, you can’t go wrong with a recipe that uses salsa AND wine!

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 3 Medium-large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 C peas (or corn) – thawed if using frozen
  • 1 C black  beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 C spicy salsa
  • 1/4 C red wine, white wine or vegetable broth
  • shredded cheese, cilantro, Greek yogurt, more salsa…whatever you want to top these with!

Preheat oven to 375. Grab a lined cookie sheet and set that aside.

Per some genius instructions I found on The Kitchn: Rip off four squares of foil – one for each potato. Stab each potato with a fork, several times. Pour a bit of vegetable oil into your hand, and rub the potato all over. Repeat for each potato. Wrap tightly in foil, and place on the cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes (the bigger they are, the longer they need – stick a fork in them to check for doneness). Once done, remove and allow to cool, while still wrapped in the foil.

When the potatoes have about 10 minutes left in the oven, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5-7 minutes, until fragrant.

Add the bell peppers and peas (or corn), and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip: if using peas, then choose yellow or red peppers. If corn, then choose red or green. This will give you a wonderfully colorful finished product!

Now stir in the black beans and salsa. Cook another 3-5 minutes, to allow everything to be flavored by the salsa. Tip: don’t add any salt, as the salsa will have enough in it.

Now, pour in a glug of wine or broth – I didn’t actually measure, just use enough to deglaze the pan. Cook another minute, and turn off the heat.

While the vegetables are finishing, open up the foiled potatoes. Transfer potatoes to dinner plates and slice open, lengthwise, down the middle. Spread the potato open to allow for filling with vegetables. Spoon vegetable mixture on top, and garnish with your choice of toppings, such as cheese, cilantro, raw onion, Greek yogurt or sour cream or even more salsa (I sprinkled on some Mexican shredded cheese to combat the spice element).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

And now…some GPOY shots of this meal:

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Southwestern Vegetarian Frittata

31 Jan

It’s Frittata Friday! I ❤ alliteration.

Southwestern Vegetarian Frittata

Seems that many of my meals these days consist of vegetables, eggs and cheese. It’s a perfect combination of proteins, fiber, carbs and fat, and makes for a flavor combination that can be adjusted with ease. Frittatas, of course, are one of my favorite dishes to match this collection of ingredients. A few vegetables, a bunch of eggs, and a sprinkle of cheese equals a healthy, hearty and tasty meal that satisfies many cravings.

Southwestern Vegetarian Frittata

This southwestern frittata was thrown together on a whim. I originally wanted to make a sweet potato and kale version, but came home to find a lack of potatoes in the pantry. What I DID have were black beans, onions, peppers, tomatoes and chipotle cheese…hello, southwest! Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this dish comes together quickly and will no doubt fill you up. Add a bit of spice to turn up the heat, or follow the recipe below for a delight your mouth will enjoy.

Southwestern Vegetarian Frittata

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 7 eggs
  • 4 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp freshly shredded cheese (I used chipotle cheddar – use your favorite!)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper for 5-7 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the spices and black beans and cook another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, water and salt & pepper together in a bowl.

Spread vegetables in an even layer within the skillet. Pour egg mixture on top. Let cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top, and arrange halved tomatoes over that.

Transfer the skillet to the center of the oven and cook for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 4 pieces, and serve with more cheese and/or plain non-fat Greek yogurt if desired. Enjoy!

Southwestern Vegetarian Frittata

My sister attacking the frittata.

Are there any ingredient combos that you use a lot? Let me know in the comments!

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