Back when I was living in Budapest, there was this amazing Greek restaurant that I loved to go to. It was right on Danube and had a wonderful patio during the summer and was nice and cozy in the winter. At the time I was also a pescatarian and trust me when I say it can be a challenge to find tasty vegetarian options in a land full of szalámi and gulyásleves. (I never quite understood where fish in a landlocked country came from, so I either didn’t question it or steered clear completely.) Between good veggie dishes and an excellent wine list, it was one of my favorite places in Bp.
I have really had a hankering for Greek food recently. Unfortunately nearly every dish I could think of involved pita or phyllo… While attempting to make gluten-free phyllo dough sounds like a wonderful challenge, unfortunately I just don’t have the time or patience to attempt it. Being the resourceful type that I am, I took a look around the kitchen and decided to improvise. I made the executive decision that corn tortillas would make a perfect substitute (might sound strange to some, but corn tortillas are a staple in these parts, plus they are gluten-free and are very handy for holding/transporting food).
Spanakopita quesadillas were the perfect (gluten-free) fix for a Greek craving. Not authentic by any stretch, but the flavors were there and they were so, so, so easy to make. I threw in a few chopped kalamatas for fun and I served up these quesadillas with some delicious tomato pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic) and some Greek yogurt mixed with dill and a few spices in an attempt to make a totally illegitimate tzatziki. I do kind of , sort of, like tzatziki, but cucumber in general makes my skin crawl, so plain Greek yogurt and dill, garlic powder, pepper and lemon juice was the perfect compromise.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4+ cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- cooking spray
- 1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon dill
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- First make the 'mock' tzatziki. Combine Greek yogurt, dill, garlic powder, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is heated add onion and cooking until translucent and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant. Add oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until mixed.
- Next add the baby spinach. Stir to coat and cook until spinach has wilted.
- Remove pan from heat and put the spinach mix into a bowl or plate and set aside. Wipe down the pan return to medium heat and spray with cooking spray (you can use a new pan, but why do more dishes?). Place one tortilla in the pan and heat. Flip over when warmed and sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella. Top the cheese with half the spinach mixture, 1/4 cup of the feta and half the olives.
- Place another tortilla on top, spray lightly with cooking spray and use a spatula to flip the quesadilla over. Cook until the tortilla is warmed through and slightly crisp, about 3 minutes.
- Repeat with the other tortillas to make a second quesadilla.
- Serve with pasta sauce and 'tzatziki'.
Posted in Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged cheese, cooking, feta, food, gluten free, greek, mexican, olives, onion, recipes, spinach, vegetarian
A couple of years ago I went to my friend Nancy’s Super Bowl party. We spent the weekend coming up with all kinds of delicious ideas. She decided to make one of the day’s main bites to eat (BBQ pulled pork sandwiches) in the crock pot and just let people serve themselves when they wanted. Genius! I don’t eat pork like that, so I didn’t try any, but I liked the idea. I easily could have done BBQ chicken sandwiches here, but tacos are more my style. It would be really easy to prep a taco bar with all the fixings before the big game and allow your and your guests to eat at leisure.
I totally had delicious salsa to put on the tacos, but I totally got distracted by the amazing guacamole. The avocados in these parts are pretty phenomenal at the moment (that and I make delicious guac). Fear not, the salsa will find a home in the leftovers, if it doesn’t meet some tortilla chips first.
Another slow cooker recipe that would be perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, or any day really, I would also recommend my Tri-Tip tacos! They are delicious.
If a taco bar seems like a bit too much work, this recipe could easily be turned into a real chili recipe. You would just have add some more tomatoes/salsa. I would recommend a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (look for fire-roasted or chiles) and their juice and a second can of pinto beans (also drained and rinsed).
Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili Tacos
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or a mix)
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 16 ounce jar prepared tomato salsa, plus more for serving
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1-16 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-2 Tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
- 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 Tablespoon Chipotle powder
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- hard corn taco shells
- Cilantro, shredded cheese, guacamole, lime wedges, and sour cream, for serving (optional)
- In slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, onion, chiles, pinto beans, chili/chipotle powder, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours (or on low, 6 hours).
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board, and shred, using two forks. Return shredded chicken to crock pot and stir with juices. Serve in taco shells, with toppings, if desired.
Posted in Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Slow Cooker
Tagged chicken, food, gluten free, mexican, recipes, slow cooker, tacos
Yes, I am aware it’s Halloween and I should be sharing something themed, but to be quite honest I am not really into Halloween. It’s one day, I don’t get why it now gets a month+ ‘season’ (this also my complaint about christmas). The closest I’m coming to the Halloween spirit is drinking bourbon and reading ‘Helter Skelter‘ (it’s for my book club) all while pretending we aren’t home when trick-or-treaters come by. If that doesn’t say ‘Happy Halloween’, I’m not sure what does…
Enough about things I don’t like, let’s talk about things that I so like: Mexican food. Even in the vaguest sense, Mexican food always makes me happy. This dish is very vaguely Mexican, but tasty enough that we can overlook authenticity. It’s also super easy to throw together. Tasty and easy is definitely a double bonus in my book. I thought about adding in some more vegetables (zucchini or mushrooms maybe), but to cut down on prep/chopping time I decided not to. I thought the end result was very tasty and definitely didn’t seem like it was missing anything, but if I add more time, I would definitely add in some extra veggies as well.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1-7 ounce can diced green chiles
- 1-10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 cups salsa
- 4-6 inches corn tortillas, coarsely torn
- 3 ounces Monterey Jack or Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an unheated large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. In a medium bowl toss together chicken, garlic, and chili powder. Add to hot skillet. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.
- Add canola oil to skillet. Add onion and green chiles. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach.
- Coat a 2-quart square baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1/2 cup of the salsa in the baking dish. Top with half of the tortilla pieces, half of the chicken mixture, and half of the vegetable mixture. Pour half of the remaining salsa over the vegetables and top with half of the cheese. Repeat layers once, except do not top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes and green onions.
This dish is almost like a cooked ceviche. It has all the same flavors, just prepared in a different way. These shrimp would be great in tacos or even as the filling for enchiladas. The sauce in this dish is very simple and easy to make and very versatile. It would be great with chicken as well. This dish comes together pretty quickly, but making the sauce ahead of time would cut down cooking time to around 5 minutes just for the shrimp.
Shrimp in a Mexican Tomato Sauce
For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 jalapeño, finely chopped, including seeds
- 2 cups fresh or canned chopped tomatoes, including juice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- juice of one lime
For the Shrimp:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- juice of one lime
- To make sauce, heat the oil in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat and add onion, garlic and chile and cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, bay leaves and salt and simmer over low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. When thickened, add in lime juice and stir to mix.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. Toss the shrimp with the salt, then add to the oil and sauté, turning occasionally, until barely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir the sauce into the shrimp and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in cilantro and lime juice.
This is a fast and easy meal. It’s perfect for summertime since very little heat is needed. The flavors come together perfectly. The best part of these tacos is the salsa. It’s super fast to make and super delicious. It would be great with chicken or fish tacos or on top of a salad. If you want to add some heat, adding in a couple jalapeños or a bell pepper would be great.
Shrimp Tacos with Black Bean & Mango Salsa
For the Salsa:
- 1 (14.5) ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 mango, diced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs cilantro, chopped
- 2 limes, juiced
For the Shrimp Tacos:
- 3 shrimp per taco
- 1 corn tortilla per taco
- olive oil
- Ground Cumin, to taste
- Ground Roasted Coriander, to taste
- Ground Cayenne Pepper, to taste
- Onion Powder, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Crumbled feta or queso blanco
For the Salsa
- Mix beans, tomato, mango, green onion, garlic and cilantro in a medium bowl. Top with lime juice. Toss before serving.
For the Tacos
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- When oil is heated, add shrimp.
- Sprinkle with cumin, roasted coriander, cayenne and onion powder to taste. Add in the minced garlic.
- Stir to coat. Cook shrimp about 3 minutes per side until pink throughout.
- In a separate pan, heat the tortillas.
- Top the tortillas with shrimp and salsa. Add cheese if desired.
This is a great last-minute appetizer for an Cinco de Mayo. It’s super easy to make if you already have the grill going or you can cheat (like I did) and use a ridged grill pan in the kitchen
I’m a big proponent of putting my favorite foods and ingredients together and just hoping for the best. Pineapple is my all-time favorite fruit. I really enjoy goat cheese as well. Put the two together and yum. I used this amazing goat cheese from Trader Joe’s that had kalamata olives in it . I also really love olives, so I thought it was fantastic. The sweet, caramelized pineapple went really well with the tangy goat cheese and the little bits of kalamata gave the whole thing a little bit of saltiness.
Grilled Pineapple & Goat Cheese Quesadillas
- sliced fresh pineapple (in rings)
- softened goat cheese
- corn tortillas
- Heat the grill to high or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place pineapple rings on the grill. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes until there are visible grill lines on the fruit then flip and grill the other side. Remove from heat when done.
- One side of a tortilla spread the soften goat cheese in a thin layer to cover the tortillas. Place the pineapple on top and cover with an other tortilla. Place the tortilla directly on the grill or in the grill pan and cook until there are visible grill lines. Flip the tortillas and grill the other side.
- Serve and enjoy!
Last minute Cinco de Mayo recipes!
Posted in Appetizer, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged Appetizer, food, gluten free, goat cheese, mexican, pineapple, recipes, vegetarian
Yum. I am so into these tacos. They are so simple and so tasty. The possibilities with this recipe are really endless. You can stick to taco shells, but soft tacos, burritos, nachos, burrito bowl, all kinds of options. And depending what type of salsa you add in, you can really adjust the whole thing to your spice leve. I added in some spinach and mushrooms to make use of some use it or lose it veggies. They were definitely a great addition. I also really liked this recipe because I had so many leftovers, which always makes for an easy/lazy lunch or dinner the next day. It’s also a nice vegan addition to your usual, fairly meaty Mexican fare (I added cheese to mine, so it was not vegan in the end, but the lentil base definitely is without any of the extra taco toppings)..
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1+ garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup salsa
- baby spinach (optional)
- sliced mushrooms (optional)
- taco shells
- 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
- Additional/optional toppings: chopped fresh tomato, cheese, sour cream, green onions, salsa, hot sauce
- In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly.
- Stir in salsa remove lentils to large serving bowl. Add in baby spinach and mushrooms into skillet and sauté until cooked.
- Spoon mushrooms and spinach into taco shells (if using). Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream, etc. if desired.
Posted in Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Vegan, vegetarian
Tagged food, gluten free, lentils, mexican, recipes, tacos, vegan, vegetarian
This dip is definitely a winner and it will not be around for long, so get some while you can. The goat cheese makes the perfect base for the earth flavors of the mushrooms and the smokey chipotles. You can adjust the spice level to taste. I found that the two chipotles I included gave it just a subtle hint of spice. When making it for a crowd, you might want to keep the chipotles on the lighter side to keep everybody’s taste buds happy.
Chipotle Mushroom & Goat Cheese Queso (from Whole Foods)
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 6 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 1/2 cups sliced baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 chipotles in adobo (from a can), seeded and minced
- Heat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are dry and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Spread mushrooms over the bottom of a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish.
- In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, Jack cheese, spinach, onion and chipotles and toss until combined. Spread cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms and bake until bubbling, about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.
Posted in Appetizer, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes
Tagged Appetizer, cheese, food, gluten free, mexican, mushrooms, recipes, vegetarian