Super Quick Black Bean Tostada

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My sad history with Mexican food:

  • When hubby and I got married I greatly disliked it….greatly! It was kind of a joke between us and his friends….whenever they hung out they would go to a Mexican restaurant so that my hubby could enjoy one of his favorite foods. πŸ™‚
  • I went to Mexico once in college and once the year after on mission trips. With my great dislike for Mexican food, I remember seeing a Pizza Hut and being so excited that I could finally get some good food. I am embarrassed to admit that fact, and doubly embarrassed to admit that I shed a tear or two (or many) at the fact that I had to eat Mexican food while I was there.

Irony: All these years later, now I absolutely love it! Honestly, it is my most favorite type of food! I am pretty sure I could eat it every single day! And not only does my hubby now have a wife that loves going out for Mexican food with him, but he has one that hogs all the guacamole!

Boy did I miss out in Mexico! To think that I actually thought a very processed Pizza Hut pizza was good food compared to genuine Mexican food! Ugh! Not to mention my tears…

So, in my great love for Mexican food I made another version of a tostada last night. This time I kept it very simple and super quick…cold black beans covered with chili powder and honey, cherry tomatoes, lots of cilantro, and Monterrey Jack cheese. Delicious!!

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Super Quick Black Bean Tostada

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

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(You can make this gluten free by using gluten free tortillas)

  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • 1 can black beans
  • cherry tomatoes
  • Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Honey
  • Chili powder
  • Fresh cilantro

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  • Drain and rinse the black beans.
  • In a mixing bowl, sprinkle the amount of chili powder you like, along with some honey and mix thoroughly.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves.
  • Chop up some fresh cilantro.
  • Put a layer of cheese on the tortillas and toast them in a toaster oven (or broil them in a regular oven).
  • Take them out and put some of the beans on each one, along with the tomatoes, and cilantro. Add more cheese to the top if you want.

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Quinoa, Marinara, & Asiago Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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When I saw these portobello mushrooms at the store, I just knew I needed to create something with them! I absolutely love mushrooms, and I have never taken the chance to make portobello ones before.

When I was thinking about what to stuff them with, the one thing I knew for sure was “cheese.” As I was looking around, I thought of a fellow blogger, Ivy over at Ivy Mosquito,…because I knew she hated Parmesan cheese. So, Ivy, I want you to know that I skipped on past it for you and went with the Asiago…hoping you like it! And I am personally so glad I did walk past that Parmesan, because the Asiago turned out so wonderful with these mushrooms!

This combination of quinoa, marinara, and Asiago with the portobellos was absolutely delicious!! Loved them!

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Quinoa, Marinara, & Asiago Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

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  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Homemade red sauce
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • Asiago cheese- to your liking
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

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  • Make homemade low-glycemic marinara sauce…recipe found HERE. (We love this sauce! It tastes so good!)
  • Put 1 cup of water into a saucepan and boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in 1/2 cup quinoa until it begins to boil again.
  • Reduce to medium heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and let simmer for about 12 minutes or until it has sucked up all the water. (You may want to check on it a few times. If all the water soaks up too soon the quinoa will become really crunchy.).
  • When this is finished, take it off of the heat, stir it, cover again, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Grate the fresh Asiago cheese and put aside.
  • Wash the mushrooms, cutting off the stem and clearing out the inside a bit.
  • When the marinara sauce and quinoa are ready, now you are ready to stuff the mushrooms. First place a layer of the sauce, then the quinoa, and then the cheese.
  • Pour the olive oil in a skillet and heat it up. Carefully add all the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until the mushroom are warm throughout, and the bottoms are a little browned.
  • Ready to eat! πŸ™‚

Note: (You will end up with extra quinoa and marinara sauce unless you are stuffing lots of portobello mushrooms.)

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Chicken Parmesan

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Like I mentioned in my Fiesta Friday post, hubby and I absolutely loved the homemade red sauce I made the other day, so I desperately wanted to figure out something else to make with it. Thus, this yummy Parmesan Chicken!

The tricky part was how I was going to make a low-glycemic version since I can’t use normal breadcrumbs or flour. That’s when I thought of something that is sitting in the corner of my kitchen that I haven’t experimented with much…tapioca flour. And can I just say, I love how this came out! The taste was perfect! And the texture was nice and crisp…loved it!

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Chicken Parmesan

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

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  • Homemade Red Sauce….recipe can be found HERE
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of tapioca flour
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil

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  • Put a quarter inch of oil in a frying pan and heat.
  • Put egg in bowl and whisk.
  • In another bowl, pour the tapioca flour.
  • Dip your chicken in the egg, and then the tapioca flour, making sure it is fully covered. Place in frying pan.
  • Cook each side, flipping, until finished.
  • Put on plates, cover with the red sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

 

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Italian Casserole

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I really look forward to Fiesta Friday every week! Don’t you?! I love getting to celebrate with you and enjoy all the wonderful things you all bring!

Yay for Fiesta Friday! And yay for Angie and this week’s co-hosts (Selma from Selma’s Table and Jhuls from The Not So Creative Cook) who make this party happen each week!

So, what am I bringing to the party? Well I hope this isn’t too disappointing to all my fellow sweet toothers (a new word I made up πŸ˜‰ ), but I am actually not bringing a dessert this week! I know, I am shocked too! So unlike me! In fact, it almost seems wrong somehow. πŸ™‚

That said, I think you all will be pleasantly surprised with how delicious this gluten free, low-glycemic Italian casserole is! Dig in, and if you are like me, you will have to come back for seconds!

It was my first time at making a homemade red sauce. It was quite fun actually. I just kept experimenting with it…putting in a little bit of this and a lot a bit of that. My hubby and I both absolutely loved it! Honestly, I am already thinking about how I could use this sauce next! “More please, more!” is what my tummy is saying. πŸ˜€

I was so excited to use the basil off of my basil plant for the first time! So fun!

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I mixed fresh basil and Parmesan cheese in with the quinoa flour to make the crust.

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Here is the dough, the first layer of the casserole, all spread out evenly.

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This is the homemade sauce I made…sweet with a spicy kick to it.

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Layered on top of the crust, I put chicken and then Parmesan cheese.

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And then to complete the dish, homemade sauce and more Parmesan cheese.

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Italian Casserole

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

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  • 3 cups quinoa flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 really large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Lots of fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Black pepper
  • 5 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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  • In a large saucepan, combine the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, basil, honey, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Let cook on medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute the onions and garlic with some olive oil. When they are finished, add them into your red sauce and let it continue to cook. If medium starts to get too high, then turn the temperature down some.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with the softened butter. Mix until it forms clumps. Add in the Parmesan cheese, along with some chopped up basil. Slowly add in the cup of water. At this point, I just started using my hands to mix it well and make it into a nice dough texture.
  • Grease a 9 x 12 baking dish and spread the dough out in it.
  • Put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • As your sauce and crust are cooking, cut the chicken into small chunks. Next, cook them in a skillet until cooked through and slightly browned.
  • When the crust is ready, take it out of the oven and layer the chicken over it.
  • Take your shredded cheese and sprinkle it over the chicken.
  • Add the sauce (by this point my sauce had cooked for more than an hour, letting all the flavors soak in.
  • Sprinkle more shredded Parmesan cheese over the top.
  • Put it back in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Okay, now to the really impressive part….I cleaned as I went! πŸ™‚ The kitchen (including the floor) is just as clean as before I cooked this meal….woohoo! πŸ˜€

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Chicken Fajita Casserole

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I am continuing to have fun experimenting around with quinoa flour. I came up with this particular recipe for our small group last night, andΒ  I didn’t get to taste it ahead of time, so imagine my relief when everyone loved it! I brought it thinking I would get to bring home lots of leftovers…ya, not so much. πŸ™‚ I kept seeing everyone (including myself) go back for seconds. πŸ™‚ It did my heart good!

This time instead of making the crust plain, I added some fresh spices into it that went well with the dish that I was hoping to create.

This is definitely a keeper around our house! So full of taste, and so many things in it that are good for you! Sometimes I can’t believe I ever thought that low-glycemic and/or gluten-free food was yucky tasting! No way! I have always loved food, but now I love it even more!

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Chicken Fajita Casserole

  • Servings: 8-12 People
  • Print

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

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  • 3 cups quinoa flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 fresh cloves garlic, minced
  • Lots of fresh cilantro πŸ™‚
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Fajita Seasoning (I used Ortega)
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese
  • 3 15 ounce cans of black beans
  • 6 avocados
  • About 9 cherry tomatoes, fourthed
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese
  • 2 1/2 Mexican onions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 miniature limes (or 1 normal size one)

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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mince the garlic and chop the cilantro.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with the softened butter. Mix until it forms clumps. Add in 2 of the minced cloves of garlic, along with some chopped up cilantro. Slowly add in the 3/4 cup of water. At this point, I just started using my hands to mix it well and make it into a nice dough texture.
  • In a 9 x 12 baking dish, spread out the dough.
  • Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, chop up the chicken and Mexican onions, and cook them on high in a large skillet with a tbsp of olive oil.
  • When mostly cooked, add in fajita seasoning. When finished cooking, set aside until the dough has cooked for its 20 minutes.
  • When the dough is ready, layer your chicken over it in the dish. (Leave the stove on 350 degrees, because you are going to use it again in just a minute.)
  • Next, layer the cream cheese over the chicken as best you can. Make sure it is flat and not super thick in some areas and super thin in others.
  • After rinsing and draining the black beans, pour them over the cream cheese.
  • Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • While this is cooking, now it is time to make the guacamole.Prepare by chopping up lots of cilantro (to your liking…I enjoy lots!), mincing the final 2 cloves of garlic, and cutting up the tomatoes. Set aside.
  • Then you will need to slice open all six of the avocados and scoop them out into a large bowl. When you have done this, you want to mash it up.
  • Cut your limes and squeeze the juice over the avocado. You might want to do a little juice at a time and taste test to make sure it is not too strong.
  • Add in the garlic, cilantro, and tomatoes, mixing well.
  • I have never done this before, but I also added about a tsp of honey and it added a fun flavor to the entire dish.
  • When the timer goes off and the food is finished in the oven, layer the top of the dish with the guacamole.
  • Finally, sprinkle Monterrey Jack Cheese over the top.

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Black Bean Casserole

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I have been excited to try out my quinoa flour that I got about a month ago. I’m not sure why I haven’t used it until now, or why I was finally determined to try it out….especially on a night where it was getting late and we really needed a quick dinner. Okay, so this was quick to prepare, but not so quick to cook. πŸ™‚

For this recipe, I just decided to use some of my favorite ingredients, and we really enjoyed it.

Here is a picture of the quinoa flour made into dough:

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We really liked the taste of it, and think it is a great alternative for casseroles!

Black Bean Casserole

  • Servings: About 4 people
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*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

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  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 14.5 ounce can dice tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can black beans
  • A handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup water

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  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with the softened butter. Mix it until it forms clumps.
  • Slowly add in the water and continue to mix until it becomes dough-like. You may not need the full cup of water, so that is why you need to do it slowly.
  • Spread the dough out in an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  • You can leave the cilantro leaves whole or cut them into small pieces.
  • Next, pour in the can of diced tomatoes. I sprinkled the tsp of cayenne over them, as well as half of my cilantro leaves.
  • For the next layer, add the cream cheese, spreading it around as best you can.
  • Drain and rinse the black beans, then put them in the dish, as the final layer.
  • Add the rest of your cilantro leaves to the top.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.

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Creamy Caper & Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

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There are some meals you cook that come out so good that you just want to jump around….okay, well maybe that’s just me who wants to jump around. πŸ™‚ But, you know what I mean! And this meal? Ah….(sighing deeply)…..we took much great pleasure in it!

It does my heart good when I randomly create a meal all my own, and my hubby enjoys it immensely! There is something so great about creating something for the enjoyment of others. This brings to mind a picture of my dad in the kitchen when I was a kid. He cooked awesome meals (I especially think of his ribs, baked beans, and shrimp), but he sometimes didn’t even eat them….he just watched all of us with a big smile on his face. I know without a doubt that he knew that feeling of bringing others delight through his cooking. I now know that feeling as well. πŸ™‚

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CREAMY CAPER & SUN DRIED TOMATO CHICKEN

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

IngredientsFinal

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (just the top thick layer)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 fresh cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Black Pepper (I used lots)
  • 7 sun dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • A few long pieces of Kale

DirectionsFinal

  • Wash, and cut the chicken into strips.
  • Put the olive oil into a skillet and cook chicken.
  • While chicken is cooking, cut up the sun dried tomatoes and garlic.
  • Measure out the capers, rinsing them well.
  • In a small saucepan, put the coconut milk and butter on medium heat.
  • Squeeze the juice from one half of a lemon into the sauce.
  • Add the pepper, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, and capers to the saucepan once the butter is all melted.
  • After it has been cooking for a bit, add in the red wine vinegar. Stir well.
  • Wash a few pieces of Kale and arrange them on a plate.
  • When chicken is thoroughly cooked, lay some of it on the kale, pouring the warm, creamy sauce over the chicken.

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Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Chicken, Kale, Onions, & Carrots

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It is only my third week to join in with the fun at the Fiesta Friday party over at Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener, and I already look forward to it every week! I love getting to see what everyone else is making…you all are SO creative and inspiring!

So what did I cook this week? Well, let me start by asking…

Have you ever come up with an idea, thinking it was going to be easy, soon finding out just how wrong you were? πŸ™‚ That is what happened to me with this yummy soup I created. I knew I was cooking for a decent sized group of people and I thought to myself, “Soup! Easy!” Yep, not so much! πŸ™‚ Okay, if I am honest with myself, it might have been easier if I wasn’t determined to create the recipe myself. Well, “might have” probably isn’t quite accurate enough. πŸ™‚

Here was my task, taking into consideration the people I was cooking for and their dietary needs: create a soup recipe that was low-glycemic, paleo-friendly, gluten free, dairy-free, and nut free. (Okay, just a few restrictions. πŸ™‚ )

3 1/2 hours later, 2 extra trips to the store that my hubby so graciously took for me, and much experimenting (adding more of this and that) and the soup was finally ready! As I taste tested it every step of the way, I honestly didn’t think it was going to turn out well and felt discouraged at times, but I am super relieved to say I was wrong! I really liked it!

I would have preferred to cook it with cheese, but since I couldn’t do that, I set some aside for anyone who wanted to put some in their own bowl. To my hubby and I, this was the perfect finishing touch! Yum!

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CREAM OF CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CHICKEN, KALE, ONIONS, & CARROTS

  • Servings: About 10 People
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*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

IngredientsFinal

  • 3 heads of cauliflower (cooked, mashed, and blended)
  • 4-5 fresh cloves of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Black pepper (I used quite a bit)
  • 4 carrots
  • 3-4 cups Kale
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut up into small pieces
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Chives
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

DirectionsFinal

  • Wash the cauliflower and break off the pieces in small chunks. Put in a stock pot with enough water to cover it all and boil for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut up the garlic, onion, rosemary, and kale. For the carrots, I used a peeler to get short, thin peels. I thought it would be fun to do it this way, instead of just cutting up chunks of carrots.
  • Wash and cut the chicken into small pieces.
  • When the cauliflower is done boiling, drain it and place it back in the pot. Use a masher to get it softened up even more. Add in the coconut milk, half the onions, and water. I then used an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
  • Now, put the rest of the onions, the garlic, rosemary, kale, black pepper, and carrot peels into the soup. Mix well and cook on medium heat.
  • While the soup is beginning to cook, pour the olive oil into a large skillet and add the chicken. Cook on medium heat.
  • When the chicken is finished cooking, add it into the soup.
  • When soup is ready, garnish each bowl with chives and (if you can eat dairy) Parmesan cheese.

Lori

Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potato with Avocado & Feta

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More quinoa anyone?! πŸ™‚ Why not stuff a sweet potato with quinoa, spices, avocado, and feta cheese?!

I randomly came up with this idea last night, and it totally worked! And it continues to do my heart good when I cook yet another recipe involving sweet potatoes that my hubby likes!

QUINOA STUFFED SWEET POTATO WITH AVOCADO & FETA

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

IngredientsFinal

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

DirectionsFinal

  • Measure out and rinse the quinoa.
  • Put 1 cup of water into a saucepan and boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in the quinoa until it begins to boil again.
  • Reduce to medium heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and let simmer for about 12 minutes or until it has sucked up all the water.
  • When this is finished, take it off of the heat, stir it, cover again, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is sitting for 15 minutes, put holes in the tops of your sweet potatoes with a knife, place them on a microwaveable safe plate, cover them. and cook for about 12 minutes. (You could cook them in the oven too, but I was in a hurry and this worked great!)
  • Chop your garlic into small pieces. In a small saucepan, saute the garlic and basil with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  • When quinoa is all ready, pour the garlic and basil over it, along with the nutmeg and black pepper, mixing well.
  • Your potatoes should be done now. Put each on its own plate, slice them open and stuff them with the quinoa. Split the feta cheese between the two potatoes, and then spoon out some avocado for each.

Lori

Spicy Black Beans & Quinoa

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In case you may not have noticed, I have totally been on a quinoa kick! I love, love, love it!!

So, when I didn’t have anything planned for dinner last night I decided to make it into a main dish and combine it with another new favorite of mine: black beans. It didn’t matter that I had just had some for breakfast. πŸ™‚

We loved it and would definitely make it again and again! πŸ™‚

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SPICY BLACK BEANS & QUINOA

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

IngredientsFinal

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/3-1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Leave this or the Chili powder out if you don’t want too much spiciness. For our own preference, we would leave this out next time.)
  • 1 large tomato

DirectionsFinal

  • Measure out and rinse the quinoa.
  • Put 1 cup of water into a saucepan and boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in the quinoa until it begins to boil again.
  • Reduce to medium heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and let simmer for about 12 minutes or until it has sucked up all the water.
  • When this is finished, take it off of the heat, stir it, cover again, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, chop the tomatoes and set aside in a dish.
  • Next, dice up the onion and chop up the cilantro.
  • Drain and rinse the black beans.
  • When the quinoa is done cooking and has been sitting for 5 or so minutes (in other words, you have 10 min left for it to sit), squeeze lemon juice from one whole lemon into a large skillet, adding in the black beans, cilantro, onions, chili powder, and cayenne.
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • When the quinoa has finished sitting, add it to the skillet. Mix with the other goodies, adding 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes and then serve it on plates, adding the freshly cut tomatoes to the top.

Lori