Stacked Beef Enchiladas

I love enchiladas but the task itself can be a little tedious, especially with the rolling of the tortillas. So, when I came across this stacked chicken enchilada recipe, I fell in love! It’s like making enchiladas but in lasagna form because you just stack all the ingredients on top. Super easy and incredibly delicious! I followed this recipe almost to a T, except that I used beef, instead of chicken, and seasoned it with garlic salt, pepper, and cumin. I’ve made this dish with chicken before, too; it just depends on what meat I have available at the moment. I also used just 1 can of black beans and 1/2 can of corn.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, so feel free to switch it up! You don’t have to stick with beans and corn if you don’t like corn and beans. Add Spanish rice if you want. Be creative. Have fun with it! Part of the fun of cooking is just going with what feels right and not sticking so much by the book.

At the end, I topped mine with sour cream, avocado, green onions, and cilantro. This dish is definitely in my top 10 of favorites!

Savory Beef & Vegetable Stir Fry

Valentine’s Day today was perfect. I feel like when you’re with the one you love, every day should be a day where you express your love and appreciation for one another. Sure, getting flowers, chocolates, and gifts are always nice, but now that I’m married, I find that every day is Valentine’s Day, and that I don’t necessarily need material things to make me happy. What makes me happy these days is my family and knowing that at the end of a long day, I can come home to the ones I love and count on them to cheer me up, no matter what may have gone awry. So, for Valentine’s Day today, my husband and I didn’t have anything extravagant or lavish planned. We randomly decided to have a fun day out, a family day so to speak, with each other and our son. We woke up together, shared a delicious breakfast, and decided to take our son to the park since the sun was shinning brightly in the bright blue California sky and the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees.

Afterward, we grabbed a bite to eat, did some shopping since the President’s Day sales were so enticing, and came home to unwind. We were hungry by then, as lunch had worn off, and wanted to make something relatively simple. I looked in the fridge and saw we had the basics: beef for stir fry and a load of different vegetables that needed to be used before they spoiled. They say the more color you add to your diet, the better it is for your health and your waistline, so I was excited that we had so many vegetables that I could use. Tonight’s dish was a winner; the ingredients meshed beautifully together to create a savory stir fry that was packed full of flavor. The end result was a beautiful and colorful dinner that my husband couldn’t stop raving about and one that my son loved, too.

One thing I want to mention is that I didn’t measure how much olive oil I used. As a rule of thumb for this dish, use olive oil liberally any time the pan gets dry and you need a little more moisture to nicely sauté the vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef for stir fry (it should already come thinly sliced)
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups mini bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Chop all your vegetables and set aside. Look how gorgeous all the bright colors look next to each other!

Din 1

Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a nonstick pan and cook beef over medium heat until browned.

2

Once browned, drain the fat in a bowl to discard later. Add a few splashes of olive oil, and season the beef with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika; stir.

3

Add the onions and cook for a few minutes.

4

Continue cooking the onions. Add the bell peppers. Feel free to add more olive oil, if needed.

5

Add the garlic and mushrooms.

6

Continue cooking until the onions get nice and soft and the bell peppers become tender.

7

Add the green onions.

8

Cook the green onions until they are slightly soft, but not mushy, and still a little crunchy. Then, add the cilantro.

9

Mix all the ingredients around to combine and remove from heat.

Here’s the finished product!

10

Nights like tonight, when I’m in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my loved ones, I’m reminded that you don’t need to go overboard on these commercialized holidays in order to feel the true essence of what the holiday should really be about. Yes, it’s nice to dress up, go out, and eat at a fancy restaurant, but equally so, a night in to celebrate can be just as lovely, if not lovelier, when you’re in your home with your loved ones and don’t have to worry about overpriced menus, hidden ingredients, long waiting times, and crowds.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Balsamic Reduction

I recently came across a stuffed butternut squash recipe that I tried out for dinner.  The end result was a beautiful and satisfying dish! I made some minor modifications to it:

  • I used turkey bacon, instead of regular bacon
  • I ditched the celery and added baby bell peppers, instead
  • I used the balsamic vinegar to make a balsamic reduction

Here’s my version of the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, halved
  • 1 pound organic, grass fed lean ground beef
  • 6 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 baby bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • A few dashes of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

BNS 1

Preparation:

Cut your butternut squash in half and scrape the seeds out.

BNS 2

BNS 3

Place your squash face down in a Pyrex that’s filled with 1/2 inch of hot water.

BNS 4

Put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick pan, cook your ground beef until browned. Add the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent, then, add the bell peppers and continue cooking. Add the salt, pepper, cinnamon, and stir.

BNS 7

Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Cook the turkey bacon until crispy, remove from heat, and once cooled, crumble and add it to the bowl.

BNS 12

BNS 14

Remove your squash from the oven and wait for it to cool. Then, scrap out the insides, leaving 1/4 inch of squash, and add the scooped out squash to the bowl, mixing all the ingredients. Stuff your squash with the beef mixture and place back in a 350 degree heated oven (without the water) for 20 minutes.

BNS 15

BNS 16

In a small pot, add the balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and then, reduce to low heat. Keep stirring, for about 15-20 minutes, until the liquid reduces and thickens.

BNS 10

Remove from heat.

BNS 11

Take the squash out from the oven and drizzle the balsamic reduction on top.

BNS 20

Grilled Tri-Tip and Oven Roasted Red Potatoes

Picture this: succulent, thinly sliced pieces of tri-tip that have been grilled to perfection and crispy oven roasted red potatoes, drizzled with melted butter. Are you drooling, yet? What if I told you that you can make this dish in as little as 45 minutes? These days, I’m all about coming up with effortless dinner ideas because being both a wife and a mommy can make you pressed for time. If you are following the Paleo diet, you can still enjoy this meal by omitting the potatoes.

Time is ticking, so let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 5 red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds marinated tri-tip roast, thinly sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

Preparation:

Wash and scrub the skins of the potatoes with soap. Dry. In a large bowl, add the quartered potatoes, dried parsley, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer to a sheet pan and spread in an even layer.

TT 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, take out of the oven, flip potatoes with a spatula, and place back in the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven, add a few dashes of more salt, and drizzle the melted butter on top.

Place the sliced tri-tip on a heated grill (I used my George Foreman) and grill for 5 minutes for medium rare or 7 minutes for well done.

TT 2

TT 3

Remove from grill.

Serve with potatoes.

TT 4

Ooh la la! Who doesn’t love some meat and potatoes? Dig in!

Easy Weeknight Dinner: Beef Medley and Coconut Sugar Butternut Squash

After a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is come home and spend hours in the kitchen to feed your family. Tonight’s dinner recipe I’ll be sharing with you can be made in less than an hour and is quick, easy, healthy, and delicious. In this dish, the savory flavors of beef, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and onions collide with the sweet, rich flavor of butternut squash that’s been cooked in butter, coconut sugar, salt, and cinnamon, to give you a dish that will leave your tastebuds dancing.

Ingredients: 

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • A dash of cinnamon

Din 1

Preparation:

Chop your mushrooms and onions (I decided to add garlic on a whim.)

Din 2

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add your beef; cook until browned.

Din 3

Add two tablespoons of olive oil and sauté your onions until translucent, for about 2 minutes.

Din 4

Add the mushrooms and sauté for two more minutes. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the garlic.

Din 5

Add the spinach and cook until wilted.

Din 6

Add cumin, salt, and sprinkle generously with pepper. Remove from heat.

Din 8

In a medium nonstick pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter starts sizzling, add the butternut squash.

Din 7

Saute the butternut squash for 15 minutes, until the squash is tender and turns a deep orange color. Then, sprinkle with coconut sugar, cinnamon, and a few dashes of salt. Remove from heat.

Din 9

Voila!

Din 10