Posts tagged ‘cheese’

April 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Black Bean and Spinach Quesadilla

This is – hands down – the best quesadilla I’ve ever had!

I had grown weary of quesadillas, the vegetarian versions always have too much cheese and limp soggy squishy vegetables all folded into a greasy tortilla.

This version is light, healthy, delicious and a great dinner for one! Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite ingredients – they are considered one of the healthiest vegetables in the world, and are so flavorful!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 tortilla – I recommend Mission’s Jalapeno & Cheddar
  • about 1/2 can of black beans
  • 1/3 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • spinach, a few handfuls
  • cooking spray

Necessary condiments:

  • medium/hot salsa  (I love trader joe’s fresh hot salsa)
  • sour cream
  • fresh guacamole (it is a good idea to ALWAYS have an avocado laying around)
  • A couple of slices of lime
  • and of course you can always spice it up with fresh jalapeno slices, crushed red pepper, or a spicy tomatillo salsa verde :-)

Directions:

1) Stab sweet potato with a fork, and cook in microwave until soft, let cool
2) Grate cheese – you’ll almost never ever see me using pre-shredded cheese because it doesn’t have enough flavor, and is usually dry and bland.
3) Cook spinach on low heat with a very minimal amount of olive oil, just a drop will do! The spinach will cook down drastically (and quickly!)
4) Mash up sweet potato – you can cut it in half and spoon out the flesh, or mash it with the skin on if you prefer.
5) Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray (or use butter), and place tortilla face down – pan should be at medium heat.
6) Spread sweet potato on one half of tortilla (this is how I prevent over-stuffing of my quesadilla), add spinach and black beans. After about 3 minutes add cheese and close quesadilla. It will cook quickly – about 4-5 minutes on each side, max.
7) Once the tortilla is crispy, remove quesadilla, slice and eat with the above-mentioned delicious accompaniments! Fresh lime juice really helps to bring it all together!
*I mixed all extra sweet potato and black beans together and it made a great snack for the rest of the week  :-)

nutritionally speaking:
excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, B6, C, E, K,  potassium, zinc, thiamin (vitamin b1), folate, calcium, iron, manganese, protein

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January 12, 2011

broccoli leek & potato soup

i made this soup in those dreary weeks between the end of fall and the beginning of real winter. it is a perfect pick me up soup; delicious, hearty and warming from the inside out. i love this recipe because it really showcases the leeks, which often do not get the praise and attention they deserve, and it has a rich creamy texture (with very little cream!). in addition, this recipe uses both broccoli florets and stems to reduce food waste and increase nutritional value.

nutritionally speaking – excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, K, riboflavin, and folate and significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron. low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol.


broccoli leek & potato soup:

  • 2 baking potatoes – peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large broccoli bunches
  • 4-5 medium to large leeks – white and light green parts only
  • olive oil – about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic – chopped small
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of light cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bread (for croutons)
  • parmesan cheese for garnish

directions:

1) peel baking potatoes and chop into 1-inch cubes. cook in boiling water until a fork easily goes through one of the chopped pieces. set aside once cooked.
2) meanwhile, separate broccoli stems from florets. slice the stems into small coin-like pieces (sometimes it is recommend that you peel the outside of the stem, i do not bother with this step unless the outside of the stem is very thick). break the florets into small pieces and steam both the florets and stems together in a vegetable steamer. set aside once cooked.
3) clean and prepare leeks. chop off the darkest green ends of the leeks which are often slightly damaged or worn. cut off the white bearded bulb at the bottom. all you should have left are the white and light green parts. separate the leeks length wise and run under water to remove the dirt between the leaves. some leeks are really dirty – there is nothing wrong with this (usually those are the best locally grown leeks!) just clean them well. once clean slice thinly.
4) in a large fry pan heat olive oil and add garlic. add leeks and cook on medium heat to “sweat” the leeks, stirring often until they begin to soften and are fragrant – usually about 5-6 minutes. add about 3 cups of vegetable broth and cover, reducing the heat to medium-low. cook another 8-10 minutes.
5) mix cooked potato, cooked broccoli and leeks in a large bowl, and transfer the mixture in batches to a food processor (a blender also works) and puree until smooth.

6) as each batch is pureed, return to a large sauce pan on the stove. then add light cream, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chives and parsley.  reheat about 5-10 minutes.
7) serve with shaved parmesan cheese and home made croutons *

*croutons can be made with almost any type of bread, stale bread works best. chop into cubes, add a small amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh or dried herbs of your liking, toss and bake in a toaster oven or oven for 10-15 minutes until crunchy.