Browsing Tag

easy weeknight meal

Food & Recipes

Weeknight Dinner // Pepperoni Pizza Boats

October 27, 2016

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PizzaBots(2)

I’ve been thinking a lot (and I mean a LOT) about what I want Espresso and Cream to look like in the next couple of years. As I mentioned a while back, I was feeling seriously lack for inspiration and guidance on what I wanted this space to be. When you’ve had a blog for over seven years it morphs and changes over time and I was left feeling that my site had become less cohesive than ever before. A completely random mix of whatever I felt like posting. Or perhaps more accurately, whatever I felt like not posting.

After taking some time to really take inventory of my heart and passions for this little corner of the internet, I’ve realized that more than anything I miss posting recipes. As I’ve been developing more recipes in my freelance career, I’ve wished that I wasn’t always giving the best photos and the best ideas to others but keeping some of those ideas to share with you all on Espresso and Cream. So you’ll be seeing more recipes and more consistency with those recipes going forward.

I’ve decided that the content shared on this site will, for the most part, fall into a few categories:
1. Food and Recipes
2. Fashion and Lifestyle
3. Family and Faith

These categories will, hopefully, give me enough breathing room to be creative while also providing me with guidelines for what does and does not fit on the site. Hearing you all share about what you love about Espresso and Cream was so helpful and you have no idea how much I appreciate your thoughts and input in this process.

So, without further delay, today I’m sharing one of my favorite easy family meals. My mother-in-law is a fabulous gardener and we benefit from all the spaghetti squash she grows every year. I especially appreciate that spaghetti squash store well in the pantry for quite a while, so I have time to work through our supply before they go bad.

For me, pasta night is really not about the pasta. Pasta is mainly a vehicle for marinara sauce and cheese, so I’ve been happy to swap out the pasta for spaghetti squash, and I think you’ll find that your family is, too. This play on pepperoni pizza is just kid friendly enough to please little eaters but good enough to satisfy the adults in your house, too.

Weeknight Dinner // Pepperoni Pizza Boats
Author: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium to large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds/guts removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce of choice
  • ½ cup shredded pizza blend cheese or shredded mozzarella
  • 10 pepperonis
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place spaghetti squash on a baking sheet and drizzle the cut sides with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn but side down on baking sheet and bake 40 to 60 minutes or until spaghetti squash "ribbons" easily when tested with a fork
  2. Scrape/shred spaghetti squash halves to make noodles. Pour ½ cup of marinara on each half and toss sauce with spaghetti squash in shells along with ¼ cup each of cheese. Top each with 5 pepperoni and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
  3. Return to the oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

 

Food & Recipes

Easy Weeknight Meal // Black Bean & Grain Enchiladas (Vegetarian + Non Veg Versions)

March 28, 2016

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Easy weeknight meals. Gosh, isn’t everyone in search of more of those? Honestly, despite the fact that the kitchen is my happy place, I still get flustered and frustrated about weeknight dinnertime. We all know how rushed it can feel to get a meal on the table in the short two hours between 5 and 7. You know, after work and before the kiddos totally melt down and refuse to eat because they are tired? The rush to eat dinner, get bath time done, read books and drink bottles and get everyone to bed and I hate when that time feels like a giant race against time.

Hence, I’m always looking for easy meals that can be made in advance so the night is less stressful and everyone is well-fed and happy. Enchiladas have always been a go-to recipe for our family because they’re easy and can be customized in so many different ways.

Have a lot of leftover veggies? Toss them into enchiladas. Left over cooked chicken? Enchiladas! You get the idea…

I made a version of these enchiladas a few weeks ago when friends were in town. They were so easy to pull together and provided me with a vegetarian option to enjoy. I also made a pan of Green Chicken Chile enchiladas that night, but these were just as popular! The recipe includes an option to make them non-veg, or partially veg (half pan for the vegetarians in your life/half for the meat eaters!) so there are a lot of ways this recipe can go. Don’t feel stuck by the ingredients I used. Customize them using this recipe as a base.

To make this in advance, prepare/assemble the enchiladas but stop before baking them. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake as directed!

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Easy Weeknight Meal // Black Bean & Grain Enchiladas (Vegetarian + Non Veg Versions)
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6 enchiladas
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can (10 oz.) mild, medium or hot red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (14- to 15 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked farro, brown rice or quinoa
  • 1½ cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce, avocado and salsa, if desired
  • *Non-Veg Alternative // Swap the can of black beans for 1 lb. of browned and drained ground beef. Alternately, you could make this veg and non-veg like we do, and do black beans in half the enchiladas and ground beef in the other half, using ½ the amount of both ground beef and black beans.
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, black beans, farro (or other grain of choice), ¾ cup of the cheese, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Stir until well combined. Add all but ¼ cup of the remaining enchilada sauce and stir.
  3. Divide the mixture between the six tortillas. Roll up tortillas and place them in the prepared baking dish. Spread remaining ¼ cup of enchilada sauce on top of tortillas. Sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup cheese.
  4. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Serve with lettuce, avocados, salsa and other desired toppings.

 

Uncategorized

Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup for Two

August 28, 2014

Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup 1 | Espresso and CreamI know it’s August, and I’m supposed to be posting all about summer produce and salads and using up the last of what summer has to give us. But here in Minnesota, we’re experiencing a bit of a cool down that has me convinced fall weather is just around the corner, which means we’ve got football and sweaters and comfort food to look forward to, along with about 10,000 different ways to eat pumpkin. Believe me, I’m excited.

Today, in honor of cooler temps and the start of college football season I’m kicking things off with a soup recipe that’s healthy, easy and incredibly filling. Every time I make soup, I wonder why I don’t make soup more often. I think somewhere deep down inside I have this idea that soup has to be difficult, when in reality it’s just a matter of throwing whatever you have on hand together into a single dish.

One of my biggest requirements when it comes to soup is that it has to be thick, not watery. I don’t mind the flavor of broth-based soups, but when it comes to eating soup for dinner, I believe soup has to be thick and hearty in order to really satisfy. Instead of adding cream to this soup, I blended up a can of white beans into the base to give the soup thickness and body without adding a lot of fat. An added bonus? The beans provide fiber and extra protein, in addition to the chicken.

I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and watch more football than humanly possible! Also, don’t forget to enter the Food Should Taste Good giveaway before time runs out!

Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup | Espresso and Cream

 

Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup for Two
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Juice from ½ of a lime
  • Additional fresh cilantro, shredded Mexican blend cheese and tortilla chips, if desired
Instructions
  1. In a medium stockpot over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add onion to pot and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne to the soup and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.
  2. Pour chicken broth into pot along with the beans. Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture until nearly smooth but some texture still remains. (Alternately, you could use a blender, just make sure the liquid isn't hot.)
  3. Add the chicken, cilantro and lime juice to the soup and bring mixture to a simmer. Spoon into bowls. Top with additional cilantro, shredded cheese and tortilla chips, if desired.

 

 

Uncategorized

Green Chicken Chile Enchiladas

July 12, 2014

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (1) | Espresso and Cream
Over the past week and a half I feel a little like I’m just barely keeping my head above water. Between the doctors visits (which have been numerous) and the morning sickness, which has been getting stronger, to the demands of a busy work schedule, it feels like I’ve got a lot going on. Emotionally, I’ve been a little bit maxed out, so cooking at home has taken a back seat. Thankfully, Joe is extremely flexible and not at all picky, but this weekend I felt the need to re-commit to making dinners and lunches that were worth writing home about.

My manager, Ann, and I were talking last week about favorite family meals and she mentioned that she makes green chicken enchiladas that her family is crazy about. Although I didn’t get the recipe, I got the general idea of what she tossed in her enchiladas and it sounded amazing. So on a rainy Saturday with a little time on my hands, I got to making my own version.

I was pleasantly surprised when it only ended up taking me 15 minutes to put together a pan of these enchiladas and toss them in the oven. While they baked I wrote thank-you notes and did laundry and 20 minutes later our house smelled amazing! I’m pleased to report that these enchiladas also tasted amazing and were a huge hit with both me and Joe. If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner, these should definitely go into a regular rotation. You can mix-up the heat level depending on the spiciness of your salsa and green chiles. And if you’re a real spice lover, I would suggest adding in some diced jalapeno to the filling.

Green Chicken Chile Enchiladas
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (or cooked and shredded chicken breasts)
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 jar (16 oz) salsa verde or roasted tomatillo salsa (I used Target's Archer Farms brand)
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) diced green chiles
  • 6 medium whole wheat tortillas
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Lettuce, salsa and sour cream for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chicken, 1¼ cups of the cheese, 1 cup of the salsa and the diced green chiles. Stir until well combined.
  3. Spoon a heaping ⅓ cup of the chicken mixture onto each of the tortillas. Roll up tortillas and place in baking dish. In a small bowl, combine remaining salsa and the ½ cup heavy cream. Pour mixture over enchiladas, spreading evenly over enchiladas in pan. Top with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly. If desire, broil the last 1 to 2 minutes to brown cheese. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings, such as lettuce, salsa and sour cream, if desired.