Mexican Stuffed Shells

I made this for my wifey Jennifer when she came over last Saturday night. It was a new recipe so I was a little apprehensive, but we both loved it. It is a nice twist on other stuffed shells recipes and has the added bonus of being vegetarian! AND, if you are able to do it right, actually kind of healthy. Unfortunately, both Jen and I liked it so much, there is no picture to share. But I think it’s pretty easy to visualize…

Mexican Stuffed Shells

(adapted from Skinny Mom)

Ingredients

  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1/2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/4 cup part-skim Mexican shredded cheese
  • 2 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook jumbo shells in a large pot until al dente. Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized skillet over low heat. Add EVOO (that’s extra-virgin olive oil for you newbs) and diced onion and green pepper; saute until soft. Add black beans, corn, taco seasoning, and water to the skillet; mix well. Add cream cheese to the skillet and stir as it melts.

In a 9×13 casserole dish, pour the 2 cups of salsa over the bottom and spread evenly. Arrange cooked jumbo shells in the casserole dish and spoon about 1 tbsp of the black bean/corn mixture into each shell. You may need a second casserole dish. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the shells.

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Notes

I did not have reduced-fat cream cheese, only the full-fat good stuff, so that is what I used and my dish was less healthy because of it…do I care? Not really. Allegedly, according to Skinny Mom (she calls this recipe SKINNY Mexican Stuffed Shells), 2 shells will only run you 244 calories if you use the right ingredients.

I also don’t use packaged taco seasoning because it’s far too easy to do myself. A little cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, we’re good.

I recommend undercooking the shells a little bit so they hold up better to the filling. Too soft and they’re difficult to work with.

Enjoy!

Curried Vegetable & Chickpea Stew

I want to dislike this recipe.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s really tasty. But that’s kind of the problem. It’s tastier than any vegan dish has a right to be. Yes you read correctly – this post is VEGAN.

It is insanely healthy; I kind of use it as my “detox” meal for when I’ve been eating all kinds of cookies and candy and burgers and other deliciously non-vegan things.

Try it, you’ll like it.

photo(2)

Curried Vegetable & Chickpea Stew

(adapted from The Kitchn)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 or 3 large potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 5-10 oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions with some salt, then add the diced potatoes with a little more salt. Saute until just translucent around the edges.

Stir in the curry powder, brown sugar, ginger, cayenne pepper, and garlic cloves; cook until fragrant. Pour in 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth and scrape the bottom of the skillet to deglaze. Pour the onion/potato mixture into your slow cooker.

Add the rest of the vegetable broth, the chickpeas, both bell peppers, the cauliflower florets, and the diced tomatoes into the slow cooker. Stir to combine then add some salt and pepper; stir some more. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Just before serving, add spinach and coconut milk. Stir so the spinach wilts. Serve!

Notes

I cheat with this recipe. You’ll notice that the ingredient list is kind of long (at least in my opinion). So I cheat – this time, I bought pre-chopped bell pepper and pre-cut cauliflower, along with the frozen diced onions I use regularly. I KNOW – I am a DISGRACE to COOKING. Whatever. The frozen diced onions have become a habit just because it is so crazy convenient, but I do usually buy fresh bell peppers and chop them myself. This time I didn’t. Oh well.

If you’re anything like me, you will feel really weird eating this stew and keenly feel the absence of cheese and/or cream of some kind. But it’s still good, honestly! It’s detox food.

I’m baaaack! With beef stew.

So I got married, I went to India, got married again…it was all fantastic. Then I went back to normal life. And now finally, three months later, I’m back to the blog.

Everybody loves a good beef stew in cold weather. I can’t really imagine eating it in July, but come October and onward, it’s damn near the most comforting dinner you can have. And EASY. We love good and easy at Chez Sconniemolly.

Because everybody loves a good beef stew, most of you probably already have a recipe that you use every time and love. That’s cool. I actually didn’t, until I came across this one. So I decided to post it in case there are others like me out there searching for a quality stew recipe. I don’t have a picture unfortunately, but I’m pretty sure we all know what beef stew looks like.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

(adapted from Amy Bites)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs stew beef
  • 1.5 cups thickly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 6-8 small potatoes, quartered
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or water
  • 1 cup frozen peas or green beans (whichever you like)
  • S&P to taste

Directions

You CAN dredge the beef in flour and brown it on the stove before dumping it in the slow cooker, but I am lazy and I did not do that, and I feel my beef turned out deliciously. So-

Dump the first 9 ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 8 hours (on LOW) or 4-6 hours (on HIGH).

Ten minutes before serving, add in the peas or green beans. Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste. Done.

Notes

Another dump-it-all-in-and-forget-about-it recipe…love! I made the mistake of including my green beans with the whole stew as it cooked for 4 hours on HIGH…they turned out pretty limp and unpleasant sadly. But not enough that it ruined everything because after all, the beef and potatoes are the stars here, and they were tender and lovely.

Enjoy!

Veggie Mac ‘n Cheese

I know…it’s been a million years. Get used to it. Two and a half weeks from the wedding, I’m surprised I’m posting at all! But, busy though we are, we still gotta eat…and I can only do so much wedding work before I HAVE to do something else for awhile. I actually made this recipe several nights ago and am just getting around to posting it now. It’s a different way to do mac and cheese than anything I’ve tried in the past…for starters, there’s NO butter! Weird, right? But it still turns out tasty.

veggie mac n cheese

Veggie Mac ‘n Cheese

(adapted from The Comfort of Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 10 baby carrots, diced
  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta (elbows, penne, rotini)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 to 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs (I just had regular, which was fine)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta according to package directions.

Arrange a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking tray and coat with cooking spray. Toss your chopped vegetables with a little bit of olive oil (this isn’t the 1/4 cup, that comes in a bit) and salt and pepper. Pour onto the baking sheet in a single layer and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat the 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until softened. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute; then whisk in the milk slowly as it starts to thicken. (Start out with 3 tbsp of flour and add another tbsp if the sauce doesn’t become thick enough.) Remove skillet from heat and add shredded cheese, stirring until melted into the sauce. Add cooked pasta, the roasted vegetables, and crushed red pepper; toss it all together really well.

Pour the whole thing into a casserole dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Put the dish in the oven for just a few minutes until the breadcrumbs have started to brown.

Notes

Yummy, huh? V liked this a lot, which I didn’t really expect. The sauce was perfectly cheesy, but not in a super processed-cheesy way like the blue Kraft box (which I still love, by the way, always will, don’t care).

You may or may not hear from me again until after the wedding, after India…somehow I suspect you’ll manage. Happy summer!

Pasta w/ Navy Beans, Sausage & Tomato

So. Busy. So. Overwhelmed. Wedding. Taking. Over. Life. I’ve been here there and everywhere lately, but tonight I managed to make a decent dinner (last night, I am not ashamed to say, was Papa Murphy’s). This recipe is super easy to throw together and doesn’t take long at all.

pasta with beans sausage tomato

Pasta with Navy Beans, Italian Sausage & Cherry Tomato

(adapted from Good Life Eats)

Ingredients

  • 12 oz whole wheat linguine
  • 1 lb Italian sauage, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (15 oz) can navy or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 or 2 cups fresh baby spinach (to your taste)
  • parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain when finished.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, pour olive oil and add pieces of sausage. Cook until heated through. Remove sausage to a plate and set aside. Lower the heat a bit and add minced garlic to the skillet; stir, taking care not to burn. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until juices begin to come out. Pour in the well-rinsed beans and spinach and stir some more.

After 2 or 3 minutes, mix in the cooked pasta and sausage. Serve with grated parmesan cheese, if you know what’s good for you.

Notes

Seriously, start (boiling the pasta water) to finish (plating) I think the whole thing took 20 minutes. And would’ve taken less if I hadn’t initially forgotten about the spinach. I also had plenty of leftovers that I will be taking to work tomorrow. I LOVE not having to worry about what I’m going to eat for lunch at work. All in all, this one couldn’t be easier – enjoy!

Foolproof Chickpea Curry

I made this recipe today for two of my bridesmaids before heading out to do some wedding shoes/centerpieces/jewelry shopping. (Which was very successful! Although took almost 4 hours – these girls have the patience of saints.) Maid of honor is vegetarian and was coming straight from work, so I knew I needed to feed her well. I’m always looking for more vegetarian recipes for my repertoire, especially ones that are not pasta-based, since I eat so much of that already. Enter: chickpea curry.

chickpea curry

Chickpea Curry

(adapted from The Sweets Life)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 14.5 oz cans chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • approximately 5-6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4  cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions

Pour olive oil into skillet over medium heat; after it warms, add in all the diced onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until clear-ish. Sprinkle garam masala over onions and stir well to coat evenly. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach. Stir until spinach wilts.

Remove from heat and mix in Greek yogurt along with salt. Add fresh cilantro and serve over hot cooked rice.

Notes

Easy as that! Probably one of the fastest, least-fussy curries I have ever made. I kind of wished I’d made naan to go with it instead of rice though. I also completely forgot the cilantro! I just have dried cilantro around, but next time I will be sure not to forget that step. Sometimes I feel kind of iffy on Greek yogurt, but it is PERFECT here; adds just the right amount of creaminess to every bite. Mmmm. Try this one and let me know how you like it!

P.S. Allow me to emphasize – as with every other Indian dish I’ve posted, this is NOT spicy. You can add chilies or whatever to make it spicy if you want to, but as written, it’s safe for literally every palate.

Crockpot Moroccan-Spiced Beef

Hello again friends! Yeah, it seems like once a week is about as much as I can manage these days – that’s about how often I’m trying a new recipe. Every other night it’s just throwing together whatever I can find.

Tonight we have a beef dish, which I believe may be the first beef dish I’ve posted here. I guess we don’t eat it at home terribly often, but it does have all that protein that V’s diet demands – according to the cookbook, this recipe clocks in at 20 grams per serving and just over 200 calories. And it couldn’t really be easier.

moroccan spiced beef

Moroccan-Spiced Beef

(adapted from Better Homes & Garden’s Ultimate Low Calorie Cookbook)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs boneless beef chuck pot roast
  • 2 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 a large onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups hot cooked couscous

Directions

Trim fat from meat if necessary.

In a small bowl, mix together the curry powder, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle spices evenly over meat and rub in with your fingers.

Place onion at the bottom of your slow cooker; add meat and pour diced tomatoes and beef broth on top.

Cover and cook for 9-10 hours on LOW or 4 1/2 – 5 hours on HIGH.

Remove meat from slow cooker. Serve atop cooked whole wheat couscous.

Notes

The original recipe called for 1 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1 tsp ground cumin, and that’s what I used because I follow directions like a good little novice cook. However, I did not find the beef to be sufficiently “Moroccan” – you couldn’t really taste the spices much at all. So here I have doubled the amounts and that’s how I’ll try it next time. It could also be that I’m not very good at rubbing spices into meat; this was the first time I’d ever done that.

It also called for 3 cups hot cooked couscous, which I thought was just excessive. 2 cups does the job just fine, and you can really use any kind of couscous you like. I just really enjoy saying couscous. It’s such a fun word!

Crockpot “Indian” Chicken Stew

Well I told you things were getting busy…I haven’t had time to do much cooking in the last week or so. Thank God for the weekend.

I’m gonna be straight with you. The only thing Indian about this stew is a couple spices. Throw in garam masala and curry powder and voila, something’s Indian. If you’re worried about it being too spicy, don’t – there’s no chilies in here. The curry powder won’t hurt you, I promise. Let me tell you, this stew smelled fantastic as it cooked, and it’s really a very basic dump-it-all-in slow cooker recipe. Gotta love those!

slow cooker indian chicken stew

Crockpot Indian Stew

(adapted from Better Homes & Garden’s The Ultimate Low-Cal Cookbook)

Ingredients

  • approximately 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5) oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5) oz cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 – 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

After cutting your chicken into nice little pieces, add that, the onion, the curry powder, the garam masala, the ginger, the garlic, the salt, and the pepper to your crockpot. Toss well to coat the chicken in all that good stuff. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, and add bay leaf.

Cover and cook for 8-10 hours (LOW heat) or 4-5 hours (HIGH heat). About 10 minutes before serving, discard bay leaf and stir in spinach and lime juice. Serve over basmati rice or with naan.

Notes

The end result was totally delicious, but I will say that there seemed to be a bunch of excess liquid for a stew, so I drained a little bit of that.

This was a pretty perfect meal for us – tons of protein, per V’s dietary demands, and low-cal to boot. The naan felt like a decadent treat after a few days of pretty strict eating. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t kill for a bowl of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream right now, because I definitely would. Like, in a heartbeat.

Healthy, Quick Chicken Fried Rice

It’s been a hell of a week, and it’s only Wednesday morning! Hoping things will calm down at least a little after today. I do not like rushing home and having 12 tasks to accomplish – I much prefer coming home, watching last night’s Daily Show, cooking dinner, and reading. But I suppose it can’t always be like that.

Anyway! This meal is perfect for busy weeknights. It will be ready faster than Chang Jiang can deliver to fried rice to your house!

chicken fried rice

Chicken Fried Rice

(adapted from Skinny Mom)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • approximately 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup peas and carrots, frozen (I used frozen peas and fresh carrots, diced)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 eggs, depending on how you like it
  • 3 tbsp sesame or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Directions

Before anything else, start the brown rice in your rice cooker. Get a rice cooker if you don’t have one!!

Pour the oil into a pan on medium heat. Cut chicken breasts into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the pan. While they cook in there, if you’re going to use fresh carrots, now’s the time to start chopping them. If you’re using both frozen peas and carrots, start chopping the onion.

Once the chicken looks mostly cooked, add in the vegetables and garlic. Stir well until the veggies are softened and the onions are clear. Crack the egg(s) into the skillet and scramble into the rest of the ingredients.

Once eggs have scrambled sufficiently, add in the cooked brown rice and pour soy sauce over the whole thing. Mix very very well.

Notes

The original source recipe calls for four cups cooked brown rice rather than two – and only a 1/2 pound of chicken. I found that to be a pretty crazy rice:chicken ratio for a dish that is trying to be healthy, so I kind of reversed the proportions. You could get by with even less rice than I used if you wanted to.

The frozen vs. fresh carrots are just a time/preference thing. I only had fresh ones so it was a simple call for me, but you could cut down on the prep time by using frozen.

Happy eating!

Tuscan Sausage Soup

We’re having sort of a rough time of it, food-wise, in our household lately. Both V and I are attempting to diet, and for him, this means eating a lot of protein. (I haven’t really determined yet what it means for me – apparently so far, not much.) We all know I cook a lot of pasta, which has dubious nutritional value…but I also cook a lot of spinach, which has good protein…I’m just starting to run out of ideas because I have a certain comfort zone when it comes to cooking. HELP! This isn’t good!

I found this one on Foodgawker awhile ago and for some reason had never made it, even though it incorporates several of my favorite things. It seemed like a good choice for tonight, and it was – very hearty and very satisfying. I believe V found it to be sufficiently protein-rich.

tuscan sausage soup

don’t mind the weird spinach stem sticking out.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

(adapted from Dainty Chef)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • about 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can cannellini or navy beans
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 lb small pasta such as elbows or shells
  • 3 or 4 oz baby spinach
  • grated Parmesan

Directions

Cut up the Italian sausage into slices about a half-inch thick. Put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of a deep, large pan and add the sausage slices. After letting it brown for a few minutes, add your chopped onion, carrots, and minced garlic. Cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, beans, basil, Italian seasoning, and pasta; bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 7-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente-ish. Add in the baby spinach and stir around until it wilts. Serve with however much parmesan your little heart desires.

Notes

I love how simple this recipe is, and I love that it’s another one where the pasta cooks in the same pot as everything else so I’m only getting one pan dirty. It’s the little things, I tell you.