Monday, February 18, 2013

Meatless Mondays: Vegetarian Tostadas

I have been hanging on to this Veggie Tostada recipe from one my former students' Mom for a few years now. Jody has shared several delicious recipes with me via email that I kept in a folder and recently I went back through them and decided it was time to finally make these. It contains flavors that my husband and I love and best of all is meatless! I am always on the hunt for good vegetarian recipes. We both gobbled these up, enjoying the southwestern flavors and all the vegetable goodness. It's a very filling, satisfying dinner that doesn't take much time or effort besides chopping. They even taste great as leftovers. I am going to put this one into the regular dinner rotation. Thank you Jody!!

Vegetarian Tostadas
From Jody
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery or bell peppers (I used a combination of these)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 1/2 oz) red beans, drained (I used black beans instead!)
1 can (15 1/2 oz) Great Northern beans, drained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 t. mild chili pepper
1 t. cumin
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro (dried works fine too!)
6 corn tortillas, optional
Optional toppings: shredded lettuce, chopped fresh tomatoes, shredded cheeses, sliced avocado, sour cream

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and garlic.  Cook and stir 8 minutes or until softened.  Add beans and  tomatoes with juice.  Stir to blend.  Add chili powder, cumin and stir.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  Simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Preheat oven 400 degrees.
While bean mixture simmers, place tortillas in single layer directly on oven rack.  Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until crisp.  Place one tortilla on each plate.  Spoon bean mixture evenly over each one.  Sprinkle cilantro on top. Top with desired toppings.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

White and Milk Chocolate Nestle Toll House Cookies

This recipe may be from the back of the a bag of chocolate chips but I don't care! I am throwing all of my other chocolate chip recipes out the window because I have found my favorite one. These cookies are everything a chocolate chip cookie should be - soft with the right amount of chewiness and fluffiness, a little rich, a little buttery, a little salty with pops of chocolate in every single bite...basically chocolate chip cookie perfection. I made mine with both white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips just to mix things up a bit.
White and Milk Chocolate Nestle Toll House Cookies
Printable Version
Makes 5 dozen cookies - so share with your friends!
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla pictured in vodka bottle)
2 large eggs
1 12 ounce package of chocolate chips (I used about half white and half milk chocolate chips)
1 cup chopped nuts, optional (I omitted these)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, both sugars and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in four mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. 
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for two minutes then remove to write rack to cool completely. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Before we lived in Okinawa I had never heard of yakisoba. It is a a type of stir fry with ramen style noodles and a sweet thick sauce that is very popular here in Okinawa. It's at basically every festival on the island, which is where we usually eat it. I decided I need to try making it at home in our final months here, while I can still get the noodles easily and while I still remember the taste. 
This recipe is based off my friend AnnMarie's recipe. It's one of those dishes that everyone has their own take on. I wanted to try it with shrimp but traditionally pork or chicken is used. I did stay true to the vegetable combination though, using cabbage, carrots, onion, and green onion as a garnish. 
Printable Version
Serves 6
2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil but olive or vegetable would work fine too)
Half a head of cabbage, chopped in about 1/2 inch pieces 
8 baby carrots (or 3 regular sized), thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 pound of shrimp, pork or chicken
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or mirin
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (if you don't have this just add in 2 minced cloves of garlic)
1 package of yakisoba noodles 
Sprinkle of sesame seeds (if desired)
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet. Add in cabbage, onion and carrots and cook for several minuted until onions are translucent. While the vegetables are cooking whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic chili sauce (or garlic). Add the sauce to the wok with the meat and stir until heated through. 
Stir in the noodles and serve immediately with a garnish of green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Puffy Vanilla Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Last week I hosted a Valentine's Day cookie exchange at my house. All the ladies brought at least two dozen cookies to sample and share with one another. It was a lot of fun not to mention yummy! I made these Puffy Vanilla Peanut Butter Chip cookies. 
They are made puffy from using Crisco and also chilling the dough.  I love the strong flavor of vanilla that shines through from my homemade vanilla extract. There is also a slight cinnamon flavor in these cookies and of course a pop of peanut butter in every bite. I am a huge fan of these little babies and once you try them you will be too!
Puffy Vanilla Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies (I doubled the recipe)
1/2 cup Crisco (or vegetable shortening)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt, optional
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup peanut butter chips (can also use butterscotch, white chocolate, or chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with Silpat liners, parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl beat together Crisco, sugars, egg, water and vanilla until batter is creamy. Add in the cinnamon, salt, baking soda and flour and mix until just combined. Fold in the peanut butter chips. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Do not skip this part if you want puffy cookies!
Using a cookie scoop form 1 inch balls (or roll into 1 inch balls) and place about 2 inches apart from one another on cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until barely brown. Remove cookies from the oven when they look slightly under baked and allow cookies to cool and firm up on cookie sheet placed on wire rack for approximately 5 minutes. 
Then remove from cookie sheet and allow to finish cooking on wire rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months. 


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