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Veggie packed, gluten-free (or gluten light, dending on your enchilada sauce), rich, cheesy, spicy magic! The satisying texture of a lasagna with a southwestern bite. This is my kind of comfort food!

mexican inspired casserole

Mexican Inspired Casserole with Roasted Corn & Peppers
via a pinch of yum

2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
1 jalapeno or 2 chipotle peppers (optional – just for more kick)
½ red onion
2 cups frozen corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar & pepperjack blend)
10 medium corn tortillas
1 can refried beans
2 cups red enchilada sauce
cilantro, guacamole, or sour cream for topping

Dice the peppers and mince the onions. Heat a large nonstick skillet with a little bit of oil over high heat. Add the onion and peppers, sprinkle with chili and cumin, and stir, rest, stir, rest until you get a nice browning on the outside of the peppers. Remove and set aside. Repeat the roasting process with the corn, sprinkling with chili and cumin, removing from the heat when browned and roasted on the outside. Sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little bit of salt and toss to coat.
Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Put the refried beans in a bowl and mix with a little bit of water to make them easier to spread. Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer in order: half of the tortilla strips, all the beans, half of the veggies, half of the sauce, half of the cheese. Cover with the other half of the tortilla strips, veggies, sauce, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted (I broiled mine for the last 3 minutes to get the top nice and bubbly). Serve with guacamole, fresh cilantro and sour cream!

Sometimes I just don’t have it in me. Sometimes I’m craving something but I want it now and it’s time for a few shortcuts. Wonton soup is one of those things I crave all the time, but with order minimums, there’s only so many times I can order take out and be left with a bunch of other stuff in the fridge (although the husband never minds). I was having another one of those cravings this weekend, grabbed a bag of pre-made wontons, and tossed a few things I had in the fridge and freezer in. Voila! If I did a little more shopping before hand, I might pack this with some more veggies, like bok choy, carrots, broccoli, maybe a bit of cilantro. This is a great base for so many options. Easily made vegetarian or vegan too, subbing out the fish sauce, chicken broth and opting for meatless wontons. Endless possibilities!

5 minute won ton soup

Five Minute Wonton Soup
inspired by the view from great island

4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 package wontons (I used Trader Joe’s frozen chicken cilantro mini’s)
1/3 cup very thinly sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

Bring your stock and water to a low boil, stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Toss in the wontons and let cook for about a minute. Add the mushroom and cook for an additional minute, until the wontons are just done. Remove from heat and stir in in the scallions. Serve hot!

I know that title is soooo long, but I felt like each ingredient really deserved to be highlighted because wow are they great together. And I’m usually a little meh on chickpeas and just sorta like sweet potatoes mostly — together with this lovely browned chicken and bright delicious sauce though, it was such a lovely tasty surprise!

braised chicken thighs in tomato honey ginger with sweet potatoes and chickenpeas

Chicken in Tomato Honey Ginger sauce with Sweet Potatoes & Chickpeas
via food52

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on), about 2 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 (1-inch) piece peeled ginger
1 medium sweet potato
15 oz can chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons orange juice
Torn mint leaves for garnish, optional (I subbed parsley and it was great!)

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Brown chicken in hot oil, skin-side down, about 7 minutes. Set chicken aside. (Reserve skillet and fat in pan.) While chicken browns, finely chop shallot, garlic and ginger. Thinly slice sweet potatoes and set aside. Raise heat on reserved skillet to medium-high. Add chopped shallot, garlic, ginger, turmeric, paprika and cinnamon and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add honey and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and add chicken to pan, covered with sweet potato slices and chickpeas. Cover and simmer chicken until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Before serving, stir in orange juice and scatter mint over servings.

My husband is a HUGE pickle fan and has been on a roll with pickling lately. He started just last month and we’ve already eaten our way through jar after jar of deliciousness. But he really topped himself this week with these amazing sesame ginger pickles. They are super fresh and crunchy and packed with flavor! We served them as an appetizer to our favorite Paleo Chicken Pad Thai. We almost ate an entire jar each (and some the next night too!). This is a super simple recipe, great for beginning picklers.

sesame ginger pickles 01

Sesame Ginger Pickles
via The Joy of Pickling

1 lb Asian or pickling cucumbers (about 3/4 inches in diameter)
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 scallion, cut into 1 inch lengths then slivered
1-inch piece fresh ginger slivered
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and slivered
3 tbs rice vinegar
5 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil

Halve the cucmbers lengthwise and then cut them into 1-inch long pieces. In a bowl, toss the cut cucumbers with the salt. Let them stand at room temperature one hour. Drain the cucumbers and return them to the bowl. Mix them with the scallion, ginger and jalapeños. In another bowl, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, and oil, and pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (he transferred them to mason jars here). Let the pickles stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the cucumbers occasionally. The pickles will keep in the fridge for about a week (day 3 today, and they’re still delicious and crunchy!)

sesame ginger pickles 03

(ps) this is how much my husband loves pickles…. meet Mr. Pickle:

mr pickle

I love this twist on a typical corn chowder! So much healthier too! With coconut milk instead of your traditional heavy cream, this soup has a satisfying heartiness without all the extra heaviness. And with a little chili pepper, it has just the right amount of kick. Might even toss in a bit of chicken next time for some extra protein. This is an awesome base for so many great additions, but is definitely delicious all on it’s own!

thai corn chowder

Thai Inspired Corn Chowder
via the kitchn

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Thai chili pepper, finely chopped, optional
3 tablespoons finely grated lemongrass
4 cups corn kernels (frozen or fresh from 4 corn cobs)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
13.5 oz can coconut milk (1 2/3 cup)
Olive oil
Salt to taste
Roughly chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent. Stir in the potatoes, chili pepper, lemongrass, and a pinch of salt. Add a splash of broth, cover, and cook until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the corn and cook another two minutes. Add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Stir in the coconut milk. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro and lime.

So, so delicious and so easy! This was the perfect side to a bit of chicken this week. I had a few radishes in the fridge leftover from the weekend that I rolled in olive oil & salt and tossed on the pan too. I almost didn’t touch the chicken, this veggie mix was awesome. And the vinegary parsley oil paired with each so perfectly. I love an easy veggie side that’s really just a few minutes in the oven – minimal prep is my fave.

roasted acorn squash with carmelized shallots

Roasted Acorn Squash & Caramelized Shallots with Parsley Oil
via with food and love

2 large acorn squash
6 – 8 large shallots
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt & more for finishing
pinch ground pepper

Preheat the over to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper (or foil). Half the squash & scoop out the seeds, then quarter the squash so you have 8 pieces. Trim the ends of the shallots and peel the thinnest outer layer off. Arrange the squash (with one of the cut edges down) and shallots together on the baking tray, rub them gently with a little olive oil and pinch of sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes, the edges that are down should be golden brown. Flip the squash to the other cut edge and flip the shallots, roast for another 15-20 minutes. The shallots should be beautifully caramelized and the squash should have brown edges and soft centers, if they need a little more cooking, lower the heat to 350 and continue cooking until satisfied. As the squash and shallots are cooking you can prepare your parsley glaze. In a small mixing bowl combine the chopped parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper. When the squash is done cooking immediately rub the mixture all over each piece and serve warm!

One of the things I did over the holidays was make stock. Lots and lots of stock. Which led to many soups and stews over the past few weeks. We made a lot of old favorites (like split pea and turkey noodle), and a few new ones! This beef noodle stew is a rich hearty classic that I’d been craving for a while. There’s just something about a rich beefy stew when it’s freezing outside – warms and fills you up in the most satisfying way.

beef noodle stew

Beef Stew with Noodles
via martha stewart

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups beef, turkey or chicken broth
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups egg noodles
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over high. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until seared and brown, about 6 minutes. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion just begins to soften (reducing heat if necessary), about 3-5 minutes. Stir in flour until beef and onion are coated and cook 1 to 2 minutes (careful not to burn). Add broth and 3 cups water, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender, about 25 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, stir in parsley and vinegar.